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Poirot and the Dickheads

Dreamed 2010/3/11 by Chris Wayan


I start illustrating a dream-poem, Snapdragon. (Caution: dragon/human/werewolf sex!)

Then I paint more of my new planet, a very hot world called, naturally, Capsica. The relief's done but the color's patchy. Still, I've nearly girdled the equator now. Slow but... slow.

I've been reading a lot of kids' books about prodigies (so far all written by non-prodigies, grrr!) and most have been painful reads--always some isolation, exploitation, and/or bullying. Today it's Evil Genius by Catherine Jinks. The early bits with his do-nothing adoptive parents and clueless public school are funny if dark--give me flashbacks. The title, we soon learn, refers not to Cadel but his dad. Cadel just likes to tinker recklessly with systems and relates to people badly. Except math freaks.

Thank god I'm not that extreme. Or am I? I get all mad at myself because I can't grasp Jinks's explanation of Stormer numbers--after several reads, realize it's just unclear because SHE doesn't get it. She's just the author, not a math whiz! But I'm not one either. Sure, I prove 262+1 is prime in my head, but I should have done that in seconds not a few minutes, and I shoulda instantly realized Stormer's series uses a somewhat arbitrary threshhold of 2n for flagging the rare factor-rich n2+1...

Hmm, let's invent a friendlier series. I declare friendlies or antiprimes to have more non-trivial factors (not 1 or n) than their square root... 12, 24, 30, 36, 48, 60, 72, 84, 90, 96, 120... but why pick only the stars? Graph ALL integers radially on a clock face (a 12-cycle) making the length of the "hand" the square root of n; a spiral of numbers. Let brightness mark factorability...

Sketch of a math function by Wayan: a spiral plot of digits from 1-75; brightness shows their relative number of nontrivial factors--primes are black, antiprimes (with more factors than their square root) are white.
Instead of brightness, next time make it 3D: a column above each n, whose height above the clockface is the number of useful factors divided by the square root of n. Slumps to 0 for primes, but why obsess on those either? What shape develops overall? I bet it's a cool ribbed nautiloid with amazing textures when you plot your first few thousand...

Nah. No math geeks in dis woodpile, boss. Face it. I'm a Cadel. Just minus the training in explosives.

Evil Genius continues a trend--both books on child prodigies I read last week, Millicent Min and The Report Card, also had geniuses hiding their brains to be accepted. I didn't or couldn't, and was ostracized. Third option: get promoted way beyond your emotional capacity like the driven daughter in Nikita Lalwani's Gifted. Or be comfy but exploited in elite schools like Diane Stanley's Allbright Academy (or uncomfortable and exploited as in Orson Scott Card's Ender's Game).

Enjoy your options, fellow geeks.

THAT NIGHT... I dream I'm Hercule Poirot; detail of painting by Wayan.

College. I rearrange the pillows on my bed there--one course is on sleep and dreaming, and it's experiential--we're required to sleep in class! Another is art--I'm doing a big project there. But as I leave that class I get the sinking feeling I've forgotten totally about two others required for graduation! Never even showed up for them... again. I keep signing up then skipping them, quarter after quarter. One is a hard math course but what's the other? Can't remember.

I walk along a promenade or pier by the Bay, thinking "this disease has affected my brain as well as body. My math abilities are much weaker, I can't visualize..."

Ahead, I spot strange activity. And that matters, since I'm Hercule Poirot. Though I'm not living in a novel by Agatha Christie--this is a much later knockoff by someone else, an Aussie or Zealander I think.

What I see is two guys in the water dragging a third to the pier. Half on it, he vomits over and over. Not much comes up. Swallowed sea water? Seems to be breathing fine. But the auras of all three feel like trouble. Here come some friends; they help the sick guy into a doorway. I walk up and follow them in.

A maze of locker rooms full of these boys with creepy auras. A couple of them have strap-on alicorns on their foreheads--pink fleshy ones, very phallic. In fact... are they dildos?

Whoa. Genuine dickheads!

Several times, I march back to the door as if to leave, and then, feeling the relief fill the room, I turn back and confront them again. Nervouser and nervouser! Their auras sour even more. And the wrongness concentrates on one guy. A stench of guilt--not guilt FEELINGS, not at all, he's shameless; just the sense he's been caught and his crime is serious. I pounce on him, arrest him for a sensational murder. The police come in to drag him off. A day's work well done!

Painting of a dream by Wayan: Hercule Poirot faces two members of the Dickhead Gang, who have pink dildos strapped to their foreheads.
Only... the author isn't Agatha Christie, and she wants a new twist. So we soon hear the news that the heroine from her own detective series just solved the case, upstaging Poirot. Impossible! And it isn't just my admittedly comical vanity as Poirot that riles me; behind that, I too, the dreamer I mean, sensed this guy was guilty.

Now what? What do you do when the author of your own dreams plots against you?


Detail of painting of a dream by Wayan: Hercule Poirot faces a member of the Dickhead Gang who has a pink dildos strapped to his forehead.

LISTS AND LINKS: prodigies - math and logic - detectives - same dreamer, same role: Poirot's Flight - nags and critics - negativity and pessimism - crime - secrecy - dream humor - masks and disguises - sexual dream symbols - unicorns - learn how it feels to strap on The Unicorn Mask of Ignorability - dream paintings - Christie, Agatha - Jinks, Catherine -

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