Dreamed 1997/8/5 by Chris Wayan
A freshwater lake full of boats. Boats full of chessplayers! Our company owns the boats; we build patented systems for stabilizing small craft, and test them by sending them out across the lake with chessboards. If the owners lose a piece, we recalibrate the stabilizers. Very rare now, even on rough days. I bike along shore near the main chess flotilla and call "Any pieces overboard?" "No" they all answer, as always.
But there is an unfamiliar problem. A stranger's been hopping from boat to boat, challenging our chessplayers--and he plays to win, not to test the stabilizers. He's just challenged our grandmaster, a tall frizzy blonde girl with a wide beautiful smile. Dares her to play a high-stakes game in which the board will be the whole lake and the pieces will be the boats and their crews. To capture, boats will ram each other, or people will wrestle till they throw the enemy overboard.
She accepts. I worry players could drown.
I board the boat where the two of them face off and issue their commands. The stranger is creepy--to my inner eye, he feels devilish.
He pulls out a knife and threatens two women! One's our chess champion, the other's an anorexic friend, Kari. I intervene, afraid of him but willing to fight to stop him from stabbing them or tossing them overboard.
Long tense maneuvering. The stakes, it turns out, are worse than death: our souls. He IS a devil. He's out to seduce or bully the women into joining him, and out to provoke me to try and kill him when he hasn't quite threatened explicitly enough to justify a legal verdict of self-defense: then I'll go to Hell for murder. I protest that using force and magic to send us to hell can't be legal. If devils were allowed to kill or enslave humans directly we'd be extinct by now. I suspect ALL his threats are bluffs meant to provoke fear and hasty reactions.
We all disembark and walk on a path by the water, out toward a breakwater. I worry--the two women are getting casual toward the devil. I warn them he's seducing them. Kari laughs at me, says she's a Satanic witch or a succubus herself--and always was. Just pretending to be nice. I don't know if it's true or he's clouded her memory, but she's sure she's always been a bad girl into sex, sin, and selfishness. Her friend agrees: "We're into Satan, so why don't you leave?"
I do. Look back. He's turned away from me; one of the women has legs wrapped around his waist, riding him. She's a foot higher than she would be with a man; apparently he's manifested a giant phallus, a couple of feet tall, and even with a satanically enhanced vagina she can't fit him all in yet. I feel empty, defeated. Nothing to offer them next to super-sex, magical powers, the fun of being wicked and threatening people. More than that; I wonder if it's true and they were devils all along, laughing secretly at me while I was risking myself to protect them...
So much for automatic stabilizers.
Or is the dream warning "The world's full of mean, ungrateful people, so don't go around trying to rescue them"?
Pretty discouraging either way.
Since ancient times, dream experts have said even the most nightmarish dreams to help. "God turn us every dreame to good." But where's the good word here?
The only constructive message I can see here is: "These people aren't worth your emotional investment. Cut your losses and walk away. We aren't suggesting anyone to walk toward, because right now, in your life, NO ONE is right. They're ALL into games you can't or won't play."
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