Since I have realized I am only dreaming, my relief has been immeasurable.
Not that my dream is all bad. I am dreaming that I recently moved to a place called Pompano Beach. I am living in an apartment with a balcony overlooking a lake, a place where I like to write.
I must have been having this dream since the last day of December. It cannot be real because this place I love is overshadowed by a dystopia, an alternate America presided over by a xenophobic demagogue whose rallying cry is Bring Back Torture.
With confidence and shrugs, he turns crimes into peccadillos. He can brag about sexual assault, then dismiss it as not important and get elected all the same. Real life Americans would never have elected him. My brain hurts. I wonder how long this dream is going to last.
When I do wake, I will cash in on my dream. I will write a novel set in a seedy, Gotham-City-like alternate universe in which such a candidate does somehow get elected president. Maybe I will even include the part about how he locks up America like an airtight mayonnaise jar so no one who looks or thinks differently from him can come in.
Thank you, dream, for giving me such an intriguing, yet implausible, premise.
I am afraid parts of my dream are too implausible for fiction though. In it Russia helped elect the alternative universe president; the CIA said so. Of course, Twitter also helped. Yes, Twitter still exists, even in my dreams.
In fact, I know my current life is unreal partly because I am not on Twitter anymore. Twitter has been an intrinsic part of my life for over three years. Twitter is amazing. It is like another planet, only dimensionless. In Twitter-verse people from all over the world can meet without actually having to go anywhere, which may sound dream-like but it is actually real.
In my waking life, I am totally and hopelessly addicted to Twitter. It is hard to imagine that Waking Me would ever go off Twitter. I try to remember why Dream Me did it, but dreams tend to be hazy even when you are having them. I believe it had something to do with my sanity and my need to save it.
However, I am looking forward to getting back to my Real Life; I intend to fully tweet all about my dream and my unlikely president. For now, instead of tweeting, I obsessively read dream news. It is impossible to turn away. Even though the president is just a nightmare, there is something fascinating about facing your worst fears while enjoying the relief that they are not real.
But sometimes when I do that, I get confused. It is funny how hard it is, even when awake, to know what is real and what is not.
Which brings me to the most exciting part of my dream, a light of rationality amid all the darkness: I have met and spoken to the famous stage magician and skeptic James Randi. 88-year-old James Randi is my hero, along with other like Carl Sagan and Isaac Asimov who were friends with James Randi. They were rational humanists, which means they would not have liked my alternative universe president if they were still alive.
James Randi is renowned, not only for being a magician, but for exposing frauds, charlatans, and faith healers who pretend to have supernatural powers when they are actually only doing parlor tricks. As a stage magician, he was incensed to see liars using tricks to exploit sick, grieving, or disabled people for fame and financial gain.
James Randi lives in Fort Lauderdale, which is close to Pompano Beach, both in my dream and in real life. James Randi has meet-ups every month at a coffee shop which anyone can attend. I dreamed I went to a meet-up and he passed out Skeptic Magazines from his personal collection for my dream self to read – which I have been doing.
Reading them makes me wonder if I should be more skeptical about my conviction that I am dreaming. Nah, just kidding, I am absolutely certain about that.
I admire James Randi because he is dedicated to seeing reality as it is, and not as he wishes it to be. That is a quality too few people possess. In my dream, alterna-verse president lies so much he cannot even stick to his own stories during the course of a single day. Not to mention that he shuns daily intelligence briefings, preferring to govern by fantasy.
In a week, his administration has produced the term “alternative facts,” which could have only come from the Mad Hatter in Through the Looking Glass, which is another reason I know I am dreaming. I wonder: When is this dream going to end?
I want it to end because I have real-life plans. I am going to be a prolific novelist, writing one novel after another, good ones and bad ones, until I fully master the process. I have already written a few, including two I am about to publish. I also have to write my dream-inspired alterna-verse president story, which is my mission now. I just hope I can make it believable.
Therefore, I am trying to figure out how to get back to December 2016 so that I can finally enter the real 2017.
Not that the dream version is all bad. My dark world has a certain beauty. On the personal end, I inhabit a place with a thriving culture, a place where ocean waves are a common sight and where all the restaurants are off-the-charts good. It is in another dream-place called the White House where the dark clouds are gathering; I hope I wake before the storm begins.
Of course, I have little control over that. Until I do wake, I might as well settle in for a while and write on my dream balcony overseeing my dream lake. I will remind myself that the bleak alternative universe president is only a figment of my warped imagination.
I wonder what real-life critics are going to say about my disturbing novel when the real 2017 comes. My guess is that they will find it unbelievable.
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