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Nuclear Nightmares

Dreamed c.1984 by Erica DeMane, Michael, Joanne, and Scott

...These days dreams of world annihilation and nuclear protest are common. After having one myself, I asked others. Children, friends, working folk told tales of nighttime horror and sadness. These are people not prone to hysterics, but who now seem capable of imagining the world scattered in pieces. These nuclear nightmares are the fashionable dreams of the eighties.

Erica's Dream

Last night I dreamed that Mel Brooks and I were on our way to the Japanese Embassy to protest on behalf of some kid who was jailed in Japan for sleeping too long. We carried signs that read, "Give Him Back to the Movies."

When we arrived, there were already several hundred Asian protestors picketing the embassy. Their signs read, "Atomic Animals." Dressed in black underwear, the protestors frantically jumped up and down screaming, "We need our blood," and "Don't kill our pets."

Their cries grew louder and they drew closer together, near the embassy's door. A small group of men tried forcing the door open with metal rods, but to no avail. Suddenly, my father came up from the back of the crowd, and with one powerful kick, drove the door open. Thousands of dead fish in brown water poured out from the embassy, washing over the protestors. Everyone yelled, "nuclear water!" and ran in all directions, disappearing into the city.

Mel Brooks and I had flat fish stuck all over our bodies. We tried scraping them off with the protest signs, but they stuck firm and we were horrified. He said his wife could remove them using an old Italian boiling process. But I told him that if they were radioactive it didn't matter if we got them off or not, they'd still do harm.

Michael's Dream

"About one week before the anti-nuke rally in the park," 13 year old Michael told me, "I dreamt there was an atomic force in my bedroom. Not a bomb, but something that put pressure on my head and ears, like what I imagine my mother's migraine headaches to feel like. The pressure kept getting worse and stuff started flying around the room like in The Exorcist. My rug came up and hit me in the face.

"Then one by one my fingertips exploded and shot apart with a pop. White lights similar to sparklers flew from my fingers. It was wild.

"After the explosion, I sat on my bed looking at my hands. They had been made into hard, white doorknob type bulbs. I tried not to be scared and figured I could still play baseball by using the hard bulb as a built-in bat."

Joanne's Dream

"I've never been to Paris," Joanne said, fishing for blueberries in a container of Dannon yogurt. "But I dreamed a war was on and I got blown from school in New York over to Paris and landed in a pine tree covered with fresh snow. The smell of pine was intense.

"Looking down I could see young kids playing that game where you run around a pole with colored ribbons attached to it.

"It was cold in the tree so I slid down and landed in a restaurant where nuclear victims were kept. They were all about 3 feet tall and had dark blue chalk on their faces; some were hunch backed. A French army officer had them peeling potatoes because they all had long, curled-back fingernails that could be used as knives."

Scott's Dream

"[I was] driving past a row of stores on a main highway. An announcement came over the car radio: New York city has been targeted. No time to escape.

"From my car, I could see the city's skyline in the distance.

"My car stopped. The radio shut off . There was silence. The skyline started turning white, fading out as if it had been bleached. There was no noise.

"The bleached out fog came nearer, turning the stores white. It was approaching my car. I could no longer see the car's hood.

"Melancholia set in. I was going to lose my friends, my family.

"Now only the dashboard was visible.

"The white bleach, I realized, was hot. Inside the car I was burning. I saw my hands melt on the steering wheel. I saw my skin melt and the muscles that gripped the steering wheel were exposed.

"Everything bleached white. I was dying alone."

SOURCE: Dreamworks: an Interdisciplinary Quarterly (v.4, no.1, 1984-85, p.38-40). Intro abridged and 7 dreams cut to 4.

Erica: politics - diplomats - surrealism - locks & keys - dads - oops! - fish - radioactivity - more from Dreamworks
Michael: kids' dreams - nuclear forces & energy fields - heads - pain - telekinesis inside dreams? - hands - bang! - disability & deformity - sports
Joanne: war - flying - trees - scent in dreams - cold - kids - play - radioactivity - Size Matters - hands again - disability & deformity again - knives & claws
Scott: on the road - war - New York - apocalypse - surrealism again - light & heat - hands yet again! - dying

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