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The General

Dreamed mid-December 1975 by Wayan

A small country in South America. A strange plain with fake Matterhorns here & there, built by Disney. In the rainy season, floods turn them into islets and even drown the lesser crags.

On this plain, the capital. In it, a family lives in a dingy house. Mom and three kids leave. I'm one, a boy. We're poor, but I have a treasure. Hurrying through street on a hill when a yellow VW stops and three tall skinny men get out. One threatens me with a knife. I yell "take it!" and the guy says "Oh, hell, let's leave him" and snatches the treasure but puts away the knife. I relax a bit... and then just as they're putting the Treasure in the car, one of them runs to me and sticks the knife in my back and I fall down dying and their car roars and drives right over me and I lie dead in the street. After murdering my brother, a leftist general strangles me. Nightmare sketch by Wayan.

My mom and siblings come looking for me. Now I'm one of the kids searching--a slender nervous boy in early teens. Find some witnesses and chase them down the street. I fix on one with a blond beard who looks like my dad's friend Bill Kenney. Chase him a long way. He runs into a machine shop; I follow and find TWO Bills. I grab one--who cares which? They both saw the murder. He walks with me by the freeway edge to a green patch inside a freeway cloverleaf, talking. This Bill is a leftist general: strong, hard-to-manipulate, unswerving. Openly admits "I saw who killed your brother, but I won't testify." Why? His purpose is unclear to me.

Later I'm in a hotel. Hear gunfire. Rush to the window. Snipers in high windows of an embassy or palacio. Not just out there--sounds like civil war inside my hotel. Bullets ricochet off the far side of the street. I yell down to someone "Don't go down that street! Firefight down there."

There are rumors about this General. A plotter of some kind, a fanatic, a killer. I found him direct and firm, though: he won't tell me who killed me, but said so promptly and warns me "You're still in danger by hanging round me--you'll be branded a leftist by association."

Now I have a brief vision of my murder--but this time, I notice the General standing in a raincoat, watching as the car pulls up. Eye contact. When they're ready to go, he dives under the rear wheels like he's hit by the car, so he couldn't be involved in a plot with them--but he was.

The General wanted that treasure--why I dunno--but while he may or may not have actually planned to murder my childhood self, he was involved.

And then, in my hotel, I wake in horror from the vision as I feel strong fingers around my neck. He's killing me again.


2017 NOTE

The dream wasn't exaggerating. My life was in danger. Pushed relentlessly by the radicalism of Santa Cruz in the 1970s, I got guilty and racked with self-doubt. Six months later, I got trapped by a batterer. Dropped out of school and let her bully me for two years. She didn't use threats to keep me, but leftist guilt. She had a feminist right to her anger--who was I to complain just because she broke my nose?

By the time I escaped her, and radicalism's stranglehold on me, in 1978, I was nearly dead.

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