July 31, 2007

Crystal Mef

I’m havin’ nightmares, a woo-hooo
They say I’m just p’noid

Entombed in the blurry translucence of a mosquito net, it usually takes me about two or three minutes to realize where I am when I wake. That’s usually because in my dreams I’m transported to disorienting parallel realities – some funny, others horrible, but all frighteningly real.

I’m wakin’ up in the middle of the night
My heart keep thumpin’ like sumpin’ ain’t right
What’s goin’ on?

“Any family history of mental illness, depression, schizophrenia or vivid dreaming?” the doctor asked me at the pre-departure travel clinic. “None of the above,” I snickered, trying to figure out what ‘vivid dreaming’ meant. “Don’t laugh,” she warned, “these things affect everyone differently.”

When I go outside I feel something behind me
I’m lookin’ back but nothing’s around me
What’s going on? I don’t know. What am I trippin’ on?

I just wanted her to prescribe the cheapest and easiest to take malaria prophylactic. It wasn’t going to be covered by my insurance package either way, so I skimped on the expensive dailies and went with weekly dosages of Mefloquine. They’re safer to drink on, I was assured, but can be mentally “destabilizing.” $250 later, and I had myself a seven-month supply of what I joked would be “some good shit.”

There’s somethin’ in the room
It’s lurkin’ in the shadows
Starin’ through the darkness
Man, I don’t know

It’s cold here at night, well into Celsius single-digits, and have seen nary a mosquito. A part of me is disappointed; I was looking forward to going to war with the little buggers. As such, I’ve yet to figure out the exact mechanics of my mosquito net – it just hovers over my bed in a knotted clump, suspended from the ceiling.

As I read in bed, I start to drift off when out of the corner of my eye I trace the familiar silhouette of the female anopheles. With surprising ease, it evades my first swat, cleverly retreating to the dark background of the wood floor. I get out of my comfortable bed into the cool air, determined to stalk the stealthy vector. After a period of fruitless hunting, I give up and decide to just unravel the bed net – only to find it full of holes. With panic creeping in, I hear the awful whine of the ‘skitter closing in, now accompanied by half a dozen of her malarial sisters. Shivering, I shine the flashlight around frantically, but can’t see any of them. I feel them landing on my neck and shoulders. Biting me. Jolt.

I wake up in rat’s nest of sheets, full of sweat, to see the net still suspended over me.

These four walls are closin’ in
These voices ain’t my friends
They hauntin’ me
Those, those memories

I’m with my friend Darryl and we’re blazing through the Sahara at night, trying to find our way back to Europe from a music festival in the desert. The desert is dark and cool as we navigate mountain roads in our Toyota 4x4, when the road abruptly grows so narrow that I’m staring over the side of a rocky precipice through my passenger side window. We careen over.

Somehow we survive, but have become hopelessly lost. Instead of heading north to Europe, we go west, traversing the desert, until we see a cluster of lights in the distance. Thinking it’s the Tangiers crossing to Spain, we celebrate our salvation. But as we descend into the city, it becomes obvious where we actually are – Freetown, Sierra Leone.

The dimly lit streets resemble a post-apocalyptic wasteland more than a city as we hastily try to make a three-point turn to retreat. The truck stalls as fear grips us both. Our vehicle is slowly surrounded by civil war disfiguration – mouths padlocked shut, lips sliced off, ‘RUF’ carved into chests – we’re trapped. Snap.

I wake in a similar fashion, cursing my decision to read Long Way Gone before bed.

And one day, they may even catch up with me man,
But ‘till then I’m Leonardo, Catch Me if You Can

(Lyrics from “Nightmares” by The Clipse)


Scott said...

Usually when people write about dreams it's boring, kind of like listening to someone talk about what they were like as a teenager. I just don't care. But, somehow through the cut-up with Clipse lyrics and the flashback to your buying the drugs this post works well. Oh, but then again it could have been the random Darls-in-charge reference that reeled me in.

Emilie said...

This morning I had a dream about a butterfly that was trying to convey a message to me.

I said to it, condescendingly, "Ohhh, big fat butterfly with a big fat message, eh? It's always the big fats ones!"

Nothing like the trippy psycho dreams you're having, obviously, but still... What could it mean???

Have you seen any large bugs over there, besides all the cockroaches? Any winged messengers perhaps?