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Dreamed 1989/1/16 by Chris Wayan

I'm a reporter in Arizona, generations from now.

One day, a plane crashes into a red stone ridge. A lonely place, hard to reach. I have to hike up toward the crash site. Above, alone on the ridge, on the cliff-edge, hangs a mansion, where a reclusive millionaire lives. The locals have never met him, and can't say who. I know, though, from research. It's the home of a dog, a very very rich dog. He's a singer, a pop star who went a bit crazy from too much adulation. He decided he must be the reincarnation of Elvis! So this dog, and he's a small dog at that, lives utterly alone on the ridge in that splendid, echoing, fully automated castle, convinced it's Graceland, and he's... the King.

I know better than to knock on THAT door.

The nearest neighbors are out, too. They left only a tiny lapdog to guard the ranch. Their regular guard-dog called in sick, so they rented this little furball. Still, when he sees me he calls 911 and yaps "Hep hep hep". L is a hard sound for small dogs--maybe the babytalk is why little dogs get no respect, though they're as smart as anyone else; the gengineering is the same. I explain why I'm here, and he calms down. Says "The cops arready pooed the survivors from the crash." Two of them are here--some burns, but no serious injuries. He lets me in to interview them.

The two survivors lie in separate sickbeds, in the same room. A dog, and a puma. That's prime cougar country up there--was the cat a witness on the ground, or an actual passenger? I stroke the lion gently once, to say Hello, but interview the dog first--they're usually more articulate. But when I pat him reassuringly, out of habit, I forget how sore he must be. I pet him too hard and he snaps at me angrily. Hurts my hand.

The puma growls, a deep, nerve-baring rasp. Will she attack too? I back out, step by step, radiating apology with my body.

I should have known better. Pit bulls are a touchy breed.

Breedism? You can accuse me of breedism after your interviewee bites your hand off...


I wasn't sure, even after writing the dream down, if the reporter was breedist or not. He blamed the bite on breed, not on the biter's stress level. Sounds racist, but... he'd just had his hand bitten, after all! If the crash victims are allowed to be snappish and irrational after trauma, isn't he?

His/my comment that no one respects little dogs, even though they're just as smart, implied that the mutant dogs are breedist themselves.

Aside from symbolic, inner meanings to the dream (a friend had just complimented me that day on my music, so I see myself as a small dog convinced he's Elvis now).... the dream can be taken as a literal prediction. As genetic engineering proceeds and animals with human-level intelligence appear, we'd better get it clear how racism develops, or we'll face a whole new wave of it. We've got to learn how to separate acknowledgment of differences from judgments and generalizations about them--and as the dogs show, that's not easy. When times are good, we mind our manners; but in a crisis, things can... snap.

LISTS AND LINKS: time travel - the future - planes - crashes - biotech & genetic engineering - animal people - dogs - big cats - oops! dreams of mistakes - teeth - musicians - Arizona - meet General Elvis: Faerie

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