“Passengers, pardon the interruption, but we will need to make an emergency landing due to severe weather.”
I’m a few thousand miles from home after a four-week blitz when the pilot announcement wakes me from a restful dream, one in which my wife has eight arms like Lord Shiva and is hugging me in an embrace of pure love.
I peer out my window to confirm the weather. Hail the size of golf balls batter the wing nearest my seat, so I strap in and brace the armrest in preparation for a bumpy landing.
Dream law is serious business. As soon as the tires hit the tarmac a public service announcement comes across the screen. Cabin dreams are given a carte blanch, so I tend to catch my best snooze aboard aircraft.
Where you choose to sleep matters, and the crazy concoctions of your brain have a nationality the moment they are hatched on the nest of your pillow.
In-flight dreams have no allegiance, or so they say.
I triple-check my digital paperwork and take a few deep breaths, but I know I’m in deep when I am read my Dream Miranda Rights before I exit the terminal.
Don’t fall asleep in the enemy’s airport. It’s Information Officer Training 101. Yet, when I exit the plane I’m handed a sleep mask, pillow, and lavender pouch before being pointed in the direction of a darkened waiting room and told to await further instructions.
Spooked, I head the other direction and trash the lavender the first can I spot. If I fall asleep here, the sleep tracking devices in the ceiling will record the stream of imagery, voices, and spikes in pulse. All captured data will all be the property of the United States government, sanctioned for their exclusive analysis and use.
Based on my recent international activities, I’m terrified that if I close my eyes, I will wake up in cuffs.
Once I’m reunited with my bags, I make for the boarding gate’s only legal caffeine stand. I intend to order the limit of patches and beverages, and I wait patiently, count opalescent coffee mugs to stay alert. The earthy aroma of the day’s blend is almost enough to calm my nerves, but with two travelers left in front of me, the green siren overhead goes black.
“Sorry folks. No caffeine after hours. Come back in the morning and I will serve you a nice fresh brew. Sweet dreams.” The serving stand pivots around to reveal a metal wall of digitized advertisements. I blink a few times; maybe I’ve already fallen asleep and this is part of a dream. The advertisements flash a revolving set of images: steaming lattes, caffeine croissants, and foamy drinks, but I can’t absorb any of their magic from merely viewing, and yet, I am the last passenger to walk away.
Erick Satie’s Gymnopeedie No. I pipes in from the speaker system, slowing my steps.”The pilot is in on it,” I mumble into a voice memo. “The airport is in on it.” But, this memo will not extradite me any faster should I be found out.
A brilliant tactic. Lull foreign travelers into slumber and steal from their minds. Back in my assigned reclining seat, I pop in earbuds and select my Hail Mary playlist aptly titled, Sleep No More, which starts with a heavy metal anthem. Should my subconscious betray me, I will be permanently detained, forced to testify against myself. I may never again feel my wife’s embrace.
Bobbing my head to the music, I search for toothpicks in my carry-on, I’m not above running an Odysseus play and using them to prop open my eyes.
I look out the glass window, desperate for any signs of dawn. I am determined to survive the evening. Determined not to birth one single American Dream.
© 2022 | K.Hartless
Flashback Track #59 asks us to contemplate the American Dream. I immediately wondered what would happen if dreams had nationalities. I’ve since discovered that dream capturing machines have been invented. See this article for more information on that. I do hope you enjoy this sci-fi flash. I cooked it up yesterday, so it may still need some seasoning to be complete. Let me know your thoughts.