Recently I found myself combing through my mother’s attic, looking for heirlooms to pawn, when I stumbled across an old trunk. The top was stenciled with “Mack Cogdill,” the name of my legendary great-grandfather, famous for being a freelance lumberjack. He would spend his days roaming the countryside, looking for trees to fell. When he found one, he’d let loose with his famous yell of “AAAAAXE!” and chop it down. This made him a good sprinter, as the landowners typically preferred their trees upright. “Go to the forests on the mountain, Mack, that’s where they’re cutting trees!” everyone would tell him. But my great-grandfather found no sport in in a forest full of trees packed so closely together. He lived for the thrill of the hunt.
Curious, I opened the trunk. At first, I thought Great-Grampa had used this trunk to hold his dust collection. But once the clouds settled somewhat and I caught my breath, I saw cloth. Lots of cloth. I pulled it out of the trunk, watching it unfold. “These are the *hack* incredibly ugly drapes!” I exclaimed to myself. However, my amazement quickly turned to some less palatable form of amazement as I unfurled the cloth all the way to reveal it was not drapes at all, but in fact the largest pair of bloomers I had ever seen. “Aha! *gag*” I said, putting the bloomers aside to pack in my suitcase the next time I flew. That’d be worth getting pulled aside for. The little pink gazelles were a nice touch.
I peered into the trunk to see if there was anything else of interest. It looked empty, except for a small dark rectangle in one corner. A book. I pulled it out into the dim light of the attic, and opened the cover. “Mack’s Dream Journal, 1934.” What follows are some of my favorite passages.
April 10, 3:45 AM
Oh, my dearest Lullabelle. Your suggestion to keep this journal by the side of my bed so that I could document the tales of my mental temple has already paid off! My nightly revelations have left me in a state of great agitation!
I found myself transported to a strange world where people carried tiny televisions in their pockets that could display, of their own accord, and manner of news or information its owner desired as soon as it were to occur! It was akin to having a tiny radio you could carry around that would play only the things you wanted to hear, and a newspaper that reported not only all the news of the world, but news on the lives of your friends and families too. And you could talk to people with it! People in faraway cities, or back at home. People walked around, constantly watching the little TVs display anything known to Man, but they were not happy. They complained about them not being “fast” enough, about there being a newer model out that was better. It was curious as I saw these tiny devices move not a whit. Also, it apparently had made some birds angry, though the ones I saw seemed calm enough.
It was then, as I looked into the glassy eyes of a poor soul shackled to his television, that I felt a great dread and sorrow fall over me and I awoke, gasping and shaking, overcome by what I had seen. I nearly awakened my goodly wife, as she lay sprawled across the bed, mouth wide open and snoring in that way you know I love so much. I think I shall have a glass of milk to soothe my nerves, then try to get back to sleep.
June 14, 2:12 AM
Dear, sweet Lullabelle. My nocturnal voyages into the land of Nemo have yet again shaken my soul to its core.
Once again, I found myself in a strange land, filled with people at once so familiar and yet so different. This time I was in the largest general store I had ever seen! It seemed to stretch to the horizon, and it carried every possible thing one could think of. One side was a tremendous grocer’s, and it was stocked with such food that I wonder as to my own sanity that my mind could have conjured it. There was a section of seafood! I surveyed the offerings, and found them odd. Such fare as “krab” and “lobstir” was offered, next to the butcher’s, which offered “ground beaf.” repulsed, I stepped back into an aisle, and it was full of glass cases of frozen meals! One said “Stouffer’s Frozen Family-Size Macaroni and Cheese.” Disturbed, I fled to another part of the store.
There, I found undershirts such as I might wear beneath my work flannels, but in many colors, and etched with the rantings of madmen! Such nonsense as “SWAG, “YOLO,” and “PRINCESS BITCH” were on display. I had no time to read more as I heard a beeping sound from behind me, and I saw the most tragically overweight woman I had ever seen on some self-propelled-cart. She looked as if she had never known a smile, and behind her I counted six children, all wearing more of the insane shirts. One of them carried three bottles of Coca-Cola so huge I could not have drank one in a week, and placed them in a basket at the front of the cart. The woman grunted and breathed through her mouth.
At this point my slumber and vitality were so disturbed that I awakened myself by rolling from the bed, and I came to on the floor, where the cat watched me with eyes so overlarge that I wondered if she had visited this mad mart herself.
August 29, 2:47 AM
My saintly Lullabelle,
I fear my dreams have taken a sinister turn, as once again they have delivered unto me a vision of madness.
This time, I found myself inside a bar. But instead of beer and whiskey, they sold coffee. I was surrounded by the oddest people! At one table, a man in a suit with spiky hair and pieces of metal through his lips and ears sat staring at one of the tiny televisions. At another table, a young woman with her eyes painted like a raccoon sat behind a bigger television with a flat typewriter attached, with a glowing white apple on the back of it. These were very popular as about two-thirds of the people there had the exact same thing. Oh Lullabelle, could this be the Mark of the Beast that Preacher McCoy talks about? It was very unlike a bar, where people talk to each other. here, it was just silence, with the occasional clack of one of the typewriter things.
I turned to the counter, where a bored teenager in a green apron sat staring into space much like the soldiers who came back from the Great War with shell-shock do. Perhaps this was some sort of sanitarium? I walked up to the counter. “What can I get you?” she said in a bored monotone, her eyes still fixed in space. “A coffee?” I asked.
“What blend? Tall, Venti, or Grande?”
“Uh, regular, and- Tall?” I chose the only one of those three words I recognized. She sighed and poured the coffee. She sat a huge paper cup in front of me. “That will be $7.95.”
“I, uh, what?” I was flabbergasted at the price! I turned back to the girl, but she was staring at one of those tiny televisions.
It was then that I awoke, and I think I will discontinue this recording of dreams. Some things are just too disturbing to write down.