This Evening's Presentation

I am standing in front of a large one story brick building.  The flat roof and yellow double doors are vaguely reminiscent of an elementary school, but no sign indicates where I am.  My younger brother is here with a few of his friends.  They all appear to be about 10 years old, and they are running around with plastic toy guns pretending to shoot at each other.  I walk past their little war and into the building.  Inside is a long, empty corridor lined with plain white walls and a floor of highly-waxed linoleum. 

I walk to the other end of the building and out through the double doors into a steaming jungle straight out of a Vietnam movie.  To drive home the point, my brother and his friends are there again, all at least ten years older, decked out in military fatigues, and armed to the teeth with real weaponry.  As the bullets begin to fly, I am approached by a man in a tuxedo.  It is Alex Trebek, and he wants me to come with him.  Not being one to refuse the host of Jeopardy, I agree. 

Together we float up into the air and fly.  I don’t remember where all we went or what he showed me.  Eventually we land.  He is at the top of a hill, while I am some distance down it looking up to him.  I can’t pay attention to what he’s saying.  I’m too distracted by the Loch Ness Monster looming behind him with a look of hunger in its eyes.  I run away…backwards, apparently, since I am watching Trebek waving for me to come back as the monster behind him bends its neck toward the unsuspecting host.

I am flying again.  Trebek must have taught me before he became Nessie-chow.  I cross an ocean.  It’s a beautiful day, but below me the Pacific Princess strikes an iceberg and sinks in seconds.  Finally, I land in Tokyo.  Night has fallen, and I can’t understand a single person or sign that is around me.

I wake up.

“What the hell, brain?”


I’ve never been much for dream interpretation.  Instead my dreams seem to take my desires, my fears, and random stuff I’ve encountered and then put it all into a big blender at which point everything is pureed and presented to me as my entertainment during my sleep cycle.  My brain does seem to show me reruns…or at least variations on a theme…a lot.


I’m in college…again.  The explanation for why is hazy, but somehow I need to figure out how to continue holding down my full-time job at home in Maryland while also living in a dorm on campus in Norfolk, Virginia in Virginia.  The semester has gone well, but there’s this math class that I keep missing.  I’m not even sure where it is.  I can’t seem to find my course schedule that lists the location.  I’m pretty sure we have a test coming up, which should be interesting since I’ve never actually been to the class.


I have had that same dream more than once.  Sometimes the dorm is exactly the one I lived in my Freshman year.  Other times it is older and run down.  There’s always that math class, though.  I’m not even math-phobic, so I have no idea why that’s the course my brain locks on to.  I don’t think you can be scared of something without knowing about it.

The dreams I find far more interesting are the ones where my obsessions come into play.  If I am anticipating a movie, my brain will try to make it for me in advance.  I saw the Alan’s brain version of Jurassic Park months before the actual film was released.  The best part is that, since it’s my production, I get to cast myself.  It doesn’t always work out, though.


It’s night, and I’m running around the exterior of a creepy old motel.  Something is chasing me.  I’m not sure what, but I don’t want it to catch me.  One of the rooms has a light on.  I race to the door and bang to be let it just as the creature gets a bead on me.  Now I know what it is: a werewolf.  And it’s not Oz. 

The door opens, revealing Xander, who quickly yanks me inside.  The werewolf is there, pounding to get it.  Xander starts screaming for Buffy.

The director calls cut.  As I leave the hotel room, the director tells me that Joss wants to talk to me and points toward a long black limousine parked a short distance away.  I get into the back of the limo where Joss Whedon is waiting along with another man in a black suit.  Joss doesn’t speak at all.  Instead the other man does all of the talking.  He explains that Joss isn’t satisfied with how my character has been developing, and that Joss wants to shake things up a bit, and that Joss has decided to kill me off in this episode.  I swear that I can do better.  I promise that I can be more interesting.  I just don’t want to die.

Joss things for a moment, then nods slowing.  The man says that Joss will let me stay on the show…for now.  I thank Joss profusely and then exit the limo.  Xander and his stunt double, who is actually his twin brother (that part is true, folks), ask me how it went.  I tell them I didn’t get fired.  Before I can get back to shooting, though, I wake up.


My dreams have put me in lots of shows and movies.  I’ve been in the Goonies.  I was on Survivor.  I was on LOST.   It’s always as a cast member, though.  My brain is clear enough about the difference between fiction and reality to make sure of that.  Me getting cast on a show like LOST is more unbelievable than an island with mysterious hatches and a smoke monster anyway.

My dreams aren’t helping me solve problems in my life or pointing me to some great truths about myself.  Big deal.  At least they’re keeping me entertained while I go unconscious for several hours each night.

- Alan Decker

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