Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Effective Dreaming

by Riccardo Berra
(c) Apostrophe/Riccardo All rights reserved

“Welcome to the Nepthys Institute for Advanced Chronotherapeutics … Mr. Jack Fischer. I am Hovington Lee your intake coordinator, and I am here to assist in collecting your intake history.  Before we begin, do you have a timepiece in your possession?”

“No,” I type.

“Please place any timepiece in one of the certified possession pouches on your left.”

“Fuckin’ already said, I ain’t got one!” I shout. I don’t type. The screen in my lap flickers and resets.

“Welcome to the Nepthys Institute for Advanced Chronotherapeutics … Mr. Jack Fischer. I am Hovington Lee your intake coordinator, and I am here to assist in collecting your intake history.  Please follow the prompts on the NetPad and when you are finished with each page, press submit to update your chart. Press the call button if you need further help or explanation. When you have completed the questionnaire, press “Submit Final” and your chronotherapist will escort you to the sleep study suite.”

Thank you Miss Hovington fucking Lee. Twenty percent of the good citizens of this formerly good country are good and unemployed. A swank joint like this should pop for a flesh and blood receptionist instead of a Virtual.

When you called yesterday I thought we were having a real conversation. Fool me once. Not that it’s all your doing. My addiction counselor warned I’d lose all sense of time and what did she call them, certain “social radar skills.” Two handy little fuck-you bonuses of Nex tox. A watch becomes your new best friend. Your old best friends go away. Chronic insomnia—yup, that’s the third bonus.

You’re cute Hovington and I’d love to get cozy and tell you a happy tale. I suspect this won’t be it. The guy don't always get the girl and honor between men always plays second fiddle to lust for a woman. But I’m getting a bit ahead.

Why don’t I start with the Departmental Healthy Audit that flagged my insomnia. Yeah, insomnia. I ain’t shitting. Not so long ago it was a lifestyle, not a medical condition and certainly not some broke-dick TMC (treatment-mandated condition). Mind, nobody forces you to do nothing in the CivDiv, but if you don’t seek treatment in six months or you do but you don’t get cured in 5 years, then you get dunked in the “Unhealthy Pool.” That’s no pool you want to swim in these days. Insurance pays for everything until you’re Unhealthy 10 years. Then they ship you to the Chronic Pool and drain the water. Essentially they pay for you to die. So what the fuck?

It sucks being an “Unhealthy.” Tossing and turning all night, never zoning before 4, 5 in the a.m. There are days when the only thing gets me out of bed is the promise of a cup of black joe and a contraband smoke. Don’t help none always being late for work—walking around, day in day out, like a zombie. But I ain’t gonna get frog-marched into something that’s gonna drug-fuck my head. Seen enough of that. I don’t trust them and their designer pills no more. Last year, a guy I sorta know in router maintenance got a script for a new monoclonal impotence patch and now he has some rare dick cancer. His po sprouted two extra inches overnight and stays rock hard twenty-four seven. Until they cut it off next week. Ain’t near as funny as it sounds. Poor Unhealthy fuck.

Your flier promised “Return to Healthy—A Drug-free Choice! Hovington, baby I’m all for choice. I just don’t know how you fit all that on a NetPad. No use delaying the main event.
“Mr. Fischer? Mr. Jack Fischer?”

“None but!”

“I’m Assistant Chief Clinical Chronotherapist Anka Galeneski, Mr. Fischer. Welcome to Nepthys.”

She takes the NetPad from me and motions cute as a bell, for me to follow. She’s a right easy one to follow. Shoulder-length, wavy red hair, bright as a copper penny in a money museum.  5’2”, maybe 5’3”, low-cut peasant blouse, pale creamy tits, a hint of curvy thighs and long pale legs peek out from under her tight Nepthys-blue labcoat. Something to hold onto. Thirty, maybe thirty-five. Nice tight, little package. Natural red? Only one way to tell. Something to dream about tonight. So we head devil may do down this narrow hallway lit like the Space Station.  One side is covered by a large smoked-glass window. Control room I’m figuring. The other side, six frosted-glass doors lead to darkened rooms.

I peek in the control room door as we pass. One wall, floor to ceiling racked cloud blades. The other a bank of fancy monitors, scopes and controls face plush chairs designed for long nights staring at bright displays. I did plenty ass-duty in Mili-Cloud C4I rooms just like this. She opens the last door on the right and lights go on. It’s hotel-swank, with a queen bed, a large vidscreen and a cluster of dim lights and gadgets recessed into burnished plexiwood. An old-style green marblelite bathroom says come hither big boy. The light here is soft and supposed to be soothing. It reminds me of desert sunsets in the Saud.

“So, doc, I’m curious here. Hovington Lee? She still here?”

“Who? Oh, no, She was uh, before my time. Let’s get you ready for bed, Mr. Fischer. You may change in the bathroom and when you’re ready, come out and we’ll go over the procedure. We want you to feel comfortable, so follow your typical nightly routine. We’ll hook up your leads and then it’s off to the races.”

“I usually take a shower. You know, to relax.” I’m eying that fancy bathroom real hard. “That’s my … routine.”

“Fine. People love our showers. Take as long as you want. We also have a small library of Health Department-approved stim-disks and uh, literature to help you relax.”

“I ain’t one for reading in the shower doc.” I lie.

“It’s important you do whatever you routinely do in order to relax.”

Is it my imagination, or did she just eyeball me? My routine, lady? After another long day on the shit billet, I hit the Minibodega 222 for two Beefclone burgers, a Veg Shake and coco-flax bars. I cop a pack of Doobs or Jays and rib the ancient counter geez that these were cheaper when they were illegal. He’s actually old enough to remember illegal weed. He tells me get the fuck out his store through a blowhole in his throat. So I come home. I eat. I smoke what I got. I surf. I start my pathetic dry shower with a few minutes of neurostim Virtual Ass Protégé 666. A good clean-jerk or two and I’m fit to hit the sack.

The Surgeon General herself says natural flogging is safer than neurostim and essential to a Healthy-American lifestyle. She don’t say how oft she do, but she do so I do too. Caught her weekly special on public overtube three nights ago. She said it won’t break or fall off, though Lord knows I’ve tried. She says all Americans have the fundamental right to be Healthy. Now that got me kinda dew-eyed and such, until she started in about some 20 year NIH sex extension megastudy funded by the stim industry. Ain’t science grand? Especially when it sucks the pos of politicos.

Yeah, run it up the flagpole. I’m a patriotic American who stays very healthy that way. Sure takes the nightly sting out of sleeping solo the last year. Except, I ain't been sleeping. Not more than two-three hours a night and it’s killing me. Slowly, but it is and I feel it.

Pre-Saud, I was mister easy breezy. Popular, sensitive, likeable Jack. No bite by nobody. But that’s a long time gone and enough spilled milk to start a dairy. Be that as it may or may not, I’m sure as shit not gonna let this lady Bones see me browsing whatever US Grade A “shower lit” they have on file. The bed has at least one vidcam trained on it and I’ll be wired for sound so any working the bolt is in privato thank you. Ain’t too particular about being watched.

So, I hit the head and strip my skivvies. Then I see it. Oh fucking Jesus, Mary and Joseph on a pogo stick. They have real water showers here with pre-restriction showerheads! Boo yah! None of this Auqua-thority antiseptic mist bullshit. Ever since the Global Drought Declaration a good bath ain’t what it used to be. You smell bodies the way bodies really smell. A good nose knows if the chickichita planted next to you in the El got fucked last night and up which hole. It don’t matter what you use to mask it hon, only the super rich get to wash away their tracks.

The soap smells sweet and flowery, lavender, I’m guessing, and the hot water, glorious fucking free water actually stings as it bounces off my face and back. It’s a damned shame you gotta get admitted to some weird-ass dream clinic to get a water shower. I close my eyes and soap up my chest and as the foam slides down my belly I grab my cock and begin to work it hard.

I start to worry about taking too long. Has it been ten minutes or a half hour? No watch, no way to tell. And no doubt Dr. Anka in her control room is timing me.

I relax and think about Dr. Anka. Her slipping into this green bathroom, peeling off her dark blue labcoat. Mumbling some excuse to be here as she unbuttons her blouse. The bra matches the labcoat except it's lacy and slutty. She unhooks it. Ripe to bursting, twin berry nips pop out as it falls off her chest. Dreamy 36 C’s sway free as she unhooks the tight mini I knew was getting busy under all that sexless doctor-civvies. She pulls down her blue panties and yeah, a nice full, carrot bush, just like up top, all natural all the way this one.  Maybe she’s the intellectual sort, but once you get the clothes off, it’s all the same. A lady doctor’s lips fit a Jarhead’s stiffer just as easily as a desert queen’s. Flesh is flesh. The bod is built for sin and I’m a sinful guy. Boo yah.

She slips in behind me and scratches my back with cat-woman nails that bite and leave a trail, but her soapy tits are pillow-soft as they press into my back. The clock’s ticking. No time for formalities or foreplay.  I do a reach-behind and grab a glorious handful of furburger before I spin her around and pin her up against the slick tile wall. Water pours down her back in ribbons as I line my soapy soldier up to her puckered pink eye and frog-march to the breech. She screams out in pain or pleasure, I know or care not. It’s by my leave to spike that quivering ass. It makes sloppy wet, smacking sounds as she takes me to the hilt, as she milks me, as my balls slip slap the loose berry lips of that dribbling red-beard puss. In a blur my po jerks and vittles the wall with ropes of come which the water pulls down the drain as fast as it pumps out of me.

I turn off the shower and towel myself dry. I still got that half-tight ball-ache that says with a little more of that sweet-smelling soap cream and my fertile imagination, I could go again in minutes.  But there’s the real Dr. Anka on the other side with her stopwatch. And me, with no real sense of time. Steam rises off my red skin and steam fills the bathroom. I’m about as relaxed as I’ll ever get in a place like this. Everything—head to po—is whistle clean. Nothing beats an old-fashioned hot water shower.

"Mr. Fischer." Her voice punches through the steam like she’s right here. I didn't see no com. "Mr. Fischer?"

"You can’t see in here, can you Dr. Galeneski?"

"Ha! No. Mr. Fischer."

"Well if you could, you’d get a treat Dr. Galeneski."

"Everything okay?"

"Jest fine thank you."

"I’m … I’m sorry to disturb you. Take your time. And call me Anka, please."

“Okay Anka. Didn’t mean to lollygag.”

I present myself for inspection, scrubbed, apple-cheeked and in my camo-jammies. She enters my room, NetPad in hand.

"I’m sorry Jack, I didn’t mean to hurry you, but there’s a lot to do this first night."

"I was just finishing up."

"Why don’t you hop into bed?"

How's that for an invite? I tuck into the bunk, nice and comfy. She’s close enough to smell my shower-scrubbed skin. I hope she likes it. She seems to. Maybe it’s my imagination but I’d bet my left nut she copped a butt before our session. Tobacco is illegal and its addiction is another TMC but I don’t care how Unhealthy it is. Together female skin and tobacco smell like slutty sex. She shows me three telemetry patches and tells how they’re wireless neuro-sponders that will link me to the Sleep Center’s Cirrus system. One for my left temple. The other on my right.  The third goes over my heart. I’m only half-attending the chatter because as she bends to plays pin the transponder on Jack, I acquire a full-face 180 downblouse. No righteous leatherneck could pass by without a sharp salute.

The two patches on my head go cold for an instant. It’s weird and I’m about to ask what’s what when she holds up a fourth black object. My jaw drops.

“Is that what I think it is?” I think it’s a cock ring.

“This is a penile plethysmograph or PPG. Sexual arousal occurs regularly during REM sleep. Nepthys research has shown that by measuring sexual arousal during REM and comparing it to your brain waves, that we locate the right moment to implant the MILD trigger.”

“MILD trigger?”

“I’ll explain after you place this at the base of your penis. Roll it down as far as it will go. I can step out if you’d feel more comfortable.”

She’s anything but comfortable. Her cheeks are flushed and she’s not quite meeting my eye. Maybe she knows about the bathroom after all.

“No need m’am,” I flash my toothiest smile and slip the cock ring PP- thingy in place. “See? Done.”

She sits by the bedside, opens her NetPad and starts taking notes. When she crosses her legs the labcoat falls open, revealing a tight mini.  Just like I imagined it.  She blushes and recrosses those tight little legs of hers. Was this too a show for my benefit? She’s working one foot like … I don’t know, I used to think I’m good at reading women’s signals but mine is the minority report.

"Is it okay if I call you Jack?"

"Seems like we’re on mighty informal terms already doc. I got no problem with it. I’m just not sure why."

"It’s simple. You suffer from Core Insomnia Syndrome secondary to nokexamine withdrawal. Our goal is to get you into a regular pattern of sleep. The most common cure for your condition involves light therapy, pscychocircadian D and melatonin dosing."

"No drugs!"

"Right. Nokexamine addiction therapy disqualifies you for psychochronoceuticals. But we have a solution for you. You needn’t feel ashamed anymore."

"Who says I am? I ain’t ashamed. I served my country. Devil Dog D Gyrenes. Sub-Saharan and Balkan Water Uprisings, Saudi Jihadi. Three tours."

"You’re highly decorated. You saw action."

"Some. It warn’t pretty. Don’t expect me to chit chat about icing hajis."

“I don’t honey. I have brothers just like you.”

Did she just call me honey? That’s gotta break protocol, but I don’t let on. I just eye her up and down before I say my next piece.

“Then maybe you heard they handed out Nex with our bag nasties in the Saud. Command told us it was like coffee in pill form. Performance enhancer. And it is. Pop a Nex and everything goes sharper, warmer, brighter. You go 72 hours without sleep. You can run, kill and fuck like the devil. My old battle buddy Toffer used to call ‘God-high.’ But there’s this little unfortunate side effect they don’t paste on the label. Forty percent of us got addicted, bad addicted. When I couldn't kick, they pulled my chevron and medicaled me. So I had to kick civi-style. I tried it on my own for awhile, then six months in voluntary lockdown. Shaved a deuce off my life all told and ever since, I keep military time. Life’s a big green weenie. Boohoo me.”

"Jack, we respect your treatment modality choice. Nepthys research shows that Mnemonic Induced Lucid Dreams or MILDs are as effective as psychochronoceuticals against core insomnia, sleep disturbances and many waking phobias. Our goal is to implant the MILD at just the right moment in your REM cycle. We isolate that moment by overlaying the EEG and the PPG to locate a suggestibility trough. A small packet of RF data is transmitted. Ninety percent of the time this immediately triggers an effective dream. These dreams are incredibly vivid and lifelike, but you’ll be aware that you’re dreaming. In this dream, you will go to sleep at midnight and awaken eight hours later, totally refreshed. We will train your body to have this dream these next three nights. By the end of the third session your dream will teach your body to follow suit. Stop me if you don’t understand anything."

“I read the brochure. I pulled two and a half in Neurospatial-Ops. Thas squad telemetry Missy. So I ain’t jest a dumb hillbilly. I got la-yuhs.” I dropped a dollop of snarl in my shugah jest for her sake.

“Forgive me Jack. But it's a lot of complex information and the privacy laws demand oral consent.” Her face is beety and I feel turdy laying it on so thick.

“No offense taken.”

"Good. In order to find the right trough, we need to create a suggestion cascade. This is where Dr. Nathalien Nirs was so brilliant Jack. His research showed that simple talk therapy prior to sleep initialized the cascade most effectively. Which means, you, me, talking, creating a mindset of relaxation and suggestibility. We find the trough this first night. Once we lock in on it and record its event signature we can zoom right to it on the successive nights and re-implant the dream trigger with great precision. You dream effective dreams three nights running. By the third night, you’re cured."

“I’m all for that. So my MILD, whatever is that I’m going to just fall asleep at midnight and wake up eight hours later. I dream it up all by myself. It’s that simple?

“Basically, yes.”

“Does your implant thingy tell me what to dream?”

“No, the MILD data stream initiates the dream bed and triggers the sequence, but your own brain fills in the specifics.”

“And you vidcam my dream?”

“No. We can't. Privacy laws prohibit it. You’ve only consented to an implant. Your dream stream stays unfiltered and encrypted unless you consent to analysis.”

 “Okay. For the sake of non-argument, let’s say I understand and I’m good to go?”

“Then I’d say the informed consent part of tonight’s discussion is over. So if you initial here. And here—please.”

She seems a mite jumpy as I thumbsign and hand her back her NetPad. It wouldn’t hurt to mix it up a little. Just to keep it light.

“You don’t know what you’re in for,” I tease.

“How so?”

“Chewin’ the fat with a wordclass insomniac. All night’s the going rate.”

“That’s no problem.”

“You might need to take a smoke break, doc.” Her cheeks flush like I knew they would. Gotcha cutie!

“That’s no problem.”

“I might need to. Hell, you said whatever. Whatever it takes me to relax. Right?”

“You want one?”



"Got Marlborough?” I ask desperate hopeful.  “Lights will do.”

Her nose wrinkles in cute disgust as she produces a crumpled pack of Frenchie-G’s from her labcoat. I guess even doctors can’t contraband the prize American smokes. The exact day this country went straight to hell was when I was sixteen. Congress outlawed domestic tobacco production in a splashy clusterfuck of politicos, media and anti-smoke holios. She turns on an exhaust vent near the bed and slides a buttcan joe mug between us. We both light up. I take it deep—all the way down. The familiar burn in all its dizzy splendor—as good as the second coming. It's like highschool again, sneaking butts, venting illegal smoke to stay one step ahead of the XO. Fuck weed, it’s been six months since my last cigarette and it is ultra bravo zulu.

“Vive le France!” I say pointing my cig at her. “Your nickel doc.”

“Let’s talk about you and your life. The more personal, the better. No holds barred.”

“No holds, huh? Roger that. So where to start? Ex-Marine. Daylighting in Civi-Cloud services. Tried eight months to PCS to night shift but there ain’t no openings. So I drag my sorry ass to work at 9:00 in the fuckin a.m. and skate through the rest of my day like a zombie. It’s a job I could do in my sleep, if I ever got any.”

“You have good performance evals. You’re an asset to your Department. Hmm, this says you’re married but separated.”

“Yeah, Darla. We had it going for awhile. But she got tired of me being so, I dunno, demanding? Unpleasant? Restless?  You pick the word.”

“I see.”

“Do you? Let me ask a question. Is there a Mr. Doctor Galeneski?”

“Galeneski’s my maiden name.”

“He ain’t in the picture?

“No, I got a restraining order against him. He’s not a nice person.”

"He hit you and shit?"

“He’s a dangerous, unstable man.”  Fear flashes in her running lights as she brushes her hair. She much don’t like this line of talk, but she’s the one pitched this tent. I’m sympathetic. I guess you don’t have to be a blue-collar grunt to get in the shit.

“That sucks Anka. No woman should ever be afraid of a man. Darla and I got into it all the time, but I never, y’know.”

“There is a domestic abuse complaint on record, Jack.”

“Damn it! I already said … Look, I threatened her. But I never actually. I know what this sounds like.”

"Do you blame your combat experience or your Nex addiction for your outbursts?"

“I blame Dar-la for being a two-faced cunt. This is so fucked. I never hit her. I raised my fist once. But I never!” I’m shaking now. Fear, guilt, rage. I never know anymore how or why I’ll respond to things. Shit just hits me and my emotions go twistier than a pross in a cockhouse. And I do blame the Nex for that, but ain’t about to give her the satisfaction. I shut my yap and eyeball her till she looks down at her pad again.

“Ok, I believe you.”

“Now, I don’t believe you. But I bet this wireless shit you got on me can tell if I’m telling the truth.”

“If we ran the filter. Nepthys polygraphic filtering became court admissible five years ago. It’s how we finance our pro bono research in chronotherapy.”

“So run your fuckin filter doc, I’m telling it square.”

"That won’t be necessary for our session. I said I believe you."

A man can only stay surly with such a pretty bird for so long. As the evening wears on, the tension lets up a click. She’s actually easy to talk to. We chat this and that til … I don’t know because I ain’t got no fucking watch and no clock or digital display of any sort here. Don’t matter. You know that thing when you’re on a long trip and you strike up a good conversation and somehow it just keeps getting better. At some point in the trip something clicks and clicks again you’re surprised to realize you’ve made a friend. It don’t happen much since the Nex—which is what makes it kinda special.

When I first met her, I’m thinking she’s all hot bod and great brains, some rich fuck like Dr. Nathalien Nirs’ trophy piece and so totally out of my pay grade. Could be I was wrong. She’s really kind of humble and funny and sweet and as unhappy about her life as I am mine. We got shit in common.

I got this theory. I read somewhere that women go into overdrive in their 30’s. I know enough chicks, prudes in their twenties, turned fuck meat sluts when they hit the big 30. My theory is that that’s when a girl decides what kind of man gonna put the bun in their oven. It’s female biology. And it ain’t the female brain that does the deciding. It’s the female oven. I don’t share my theory with Dr. Anka Galeneski. Instead I tell her about Da and Dar.

The old man was an All-America body-builder. Wall full of medals and trophies. At 6’4’’ he was the 360-pound, 25-year-older version of me. Metaroided to the max. He liked to spin stories about the scams lifters pulled to hide their metaroid use. Clone bladder implants. Blood scrubs. All this before the GAC finally woke up and dropped the roid ban good and proper. Now you won’t find an athlete who doesn’t stoke. Just wouldn’t be competitive. The old man retired to become one of the first Roid Trainer. When I was shorty he was raking piles of credits whipping up muscle cocktails till FDA contractors raided him on some bullshit charge. They pack him off to Sing Sing U for 10 and he do 2. While he’s in stir, one of those alphabet soup pharmcos stole his Metaroid cocktail. They dressed it up for their own and they hit the six billion dollar jackpot. He got squat. And he warn’t real happy bout that.

Going in he was a cruel evil sonofabitch and coming out he was a cruel evil broke-ass sonofabitch who got his kicks fucking with me. I was a kid, 15, a tight little package of a man. I lived with Ma until she couldn’t handle me anymore, then she shipped me to him. Served me good and right. He came home from fight club drunk, calling me night owl pussy boy and tunt face and Gaylord and for fun would bitch-slap me until I’d get good and blubbery mad. Couple of times I lost it and came at him, all rage and tears, like a pitiful baby, couldn’t see a damned thing for all the water in my eyes, just flapping my arms at the turd and he’d just cold-cock me. He thought it the funniest damned thing.

Right up to the day he kicked this year, he showed all fit and foxy, I have to admit, handsome for an old fuck. Now we know if they’d a opened him up they’d a knowed what I knowed instinctual. That he was rotten inside out.

Dar and I’d made our annual New Year’s drop on him. It was the most either of us could tolerate the old fuck. We’re not there twenty minutes and of course he’s shit-faced and running his piehole.

“Y’know,” he said, his voice as slurry sloppy as the GM wood brandy sloshing all over his grimy teeshirt, “Darla there’s sitting on her biological clock. Ticky tocky boom boom! It’ll turn into a time bomb. Whatcha say there, Mizz Darla? You and my little gaylord gonna make me a pap. Or ain’t he man enough to plant a seed in your little pod? You come on over here to Da. Let me feel it.”

Darla slinked over and slapped the old man in the face. He roared and tried to grab her titty. He was still choke-laughing as we were out the door. Family happy hour over. Funny, now I recall how, she didn’t really hit him that hard. Not as hard as she might’ve. The pissed off looked for show. And something behind it. Maybe I’m just whistling Dixie, but something was different between the two of them after that night. Never did put my finger on it, but I always kept one eye on Darla ever since.

All this I spill to Anka. Listening, nodding, she just sits and takes it in.  Is it minutes, is it hours, we talk into the night? She excuses herself a couple times. First to use the john. Then to check on my telemetry. She’s back and we continue our chitchat. Then she leaves again and it seems she’s away longer than before. There’s no clock in here and I can’t tell what time it is. I lie awake as I do every night, staring at the ceiling. She’s gone maybe a half hour.

When she returns she’s different somehow. Her eyes. The way she carries herself. She stares at me through the dark. She’s not even holding her NetPad.

“Pleasant dreams, Jack.”

“I ain’t asleep, if you’re wondering.”

She moves closer to the bed. She stands over me with a strange questioning look in her eyes and I say “Anka?” and in answer she bends slowly over me those auburn tresses the first part of her to touch me tickling my temples as her plump lips settle over mine and I taste the sour burnt leaf taste of crappy French tobacco and sweet breath mints on her tongue.

I'm a normal guy and I don't think its normal for anybody to go a year without getting any.
Sureo at first, I was feeling cocky having this smart, sexy woman paying more mind to me than any bird has for a month of Sundays. My fantasies about her been running hot and wild all evening, but now with her perched over me so close I feel her breath on my eyelids, I get kinda gut-twisted. Why pay me any more mind than a hole in the wall?

"Why?" It’s all I can ask.

The only answer she gives is to kiss me again and this time all I taste is the sweet juiciness of a woman's mouth.  I can't describe how it makes me feel.

“You must lie quietly,” she orders.  “It will fool the transponders.”

“Won't they uh pick up and uh activity?”

“They'll record a masturbation sequence" she giggles. “Totally normal. As long as you let me do everything.”

So I do. I don't even squirm as she kisses me again.

And I don't move a muscle as she slips her blouse over her head or even when she unhooks the sexy bra that's just as I imagined it or even when I get an eyeful of those juicy tits that brush over my chin.

I'm a lying sack if I say no muscles move when she unhooks her skirt and it drops to the floor. One muscle’s twitchin to beat the band as she turns to show me her sweet pear ass and slides them little lacy panties all the way down her luscious legs. It’s driving me to distraction.

“A little light,” I beg all breathless at what’s about to happen next. “You are so beautiful. I want to see you.” What I want is to know the truth. Natural or not? I’m betting yes. “Lights up,” I order and the room complies.

“Lights out,” she barks and the room goes dark.

“Compromise,” I beg and she smiles as she climbs on deck and brings the lights up just enough for me to make out that I am right. She slides the covers down and grabs my po like she’s trained to handle it professionally. It don’t take this one much. She's the doc and I'm the grunt whose body's forgot what the body of a woman who wants you feels like. Anka mounts me and gives me my education. Her strange sad eyes meet mine again as she cocks her knee and places my po at the gate of her heavenly tunny. She sinks down, oh so slow and sweet and sad until I’m wetware to the hilt inside her all the while praying fast and furious, Je-Sus, don’t let me come in ten seconds. Make it last Looord, please make me last.

Slowly, slowly up she slides. Slowly, slowly down she pushes. There’s no hurry to this. Buried in her, I wonder as I have once or twice, what it feels like to have something living squirming inside you that ain’t you. I ain’t no homie or psychotherapist but once or twice in a pinch, I think to put myself in the mind of the woman, feeling what this feels like to have a pulsing, warm, man-thing nestled up in you. Does her love tunnel feel its exact shape or just the general feeling being stuffed full? Can she tell that I dress left? That I’m circumcised? Is my tip ringing her bell? Is she imagining what my kids would look like? Is she getting all crazy gooey emotional like I am or is this just another night’s adventure fuck at Nepthys?

Up and down she slides, pretty as you please, no bounce, just slide, the long slippery sloppery music we’re making like Beethoven’s glorious Fifth for po and tunny. Oh my droogy paws desperate to get busy too, grab for the squeezable pillow mounds wagging soft circles right in my face, but when I do, she pulls my grabbers away and pins me down.

“You must lie still,” she commands. With a few extra breaths thrown in for good measure, she picks up the pace.

Yes m’am. I’m puffing like a six pack smoker myself. I ain’t praying, I ain’t thinking and now I ain’t even breathing. I’m just a few seconds from my own personal big bang theory and all my matter has compressed to the tiny couple square inches at my throbbing po-tip.

She’s hopping like a piston now, grunting, groaning, breathing doubletime and Lord I see her come, cause she bites her lower lip and lets out this sweet little squeal like a mouse in a trap and I feel her come, cause her tunny clamps my po like a flesh crescent wrench with waters spraying all around. I’m about to loose this mighty rebel yell, but her hand clamps down on my mouth and even it tastes like cigarette. I lick it to show my appreciation as my hose sprays like it’s stuck on open.

“Pleasant dreams, Jack.”

Next I know, morning and Anka brighten my doorway. I give her this megawatt smile and she returns it.

“Congratulations soldier” she chimes. Eight o’clock on the dot. Excellent first night result. How do you feel?”

“Zillion credits m’am,” I say and I do. I can’t ever remember feeling better than I do right this moment. No tossing, no turning, no heavy weight pressing my chest as I bounce out of bed shiny as a new solarcar. I’m actually looking forward to work.

She’s busy making fussy little notes and I keep waiting for her to drop something about last night. Maybe she’s regretting what we shared, but I sure as hell ain’t. Didn’t do much second-guessing when she was riding the pony. I ain’t expecting love poetry and a blowjob, but something. Anything.

“Is there anything else you want to y’know ask me?”

“Mmm, can’t think of anything. You went out at twelve and got up at eight. It’s as good a result as you can wish for. Did you have a good dream?”

Now hold the fort. I’m sure I catch a twinkle in her eye, so I play foxy too. “Fiddler's Green,” I say, “the abso-tuttin’ best.”

“That’s wonderful Jack. Get dressed and we’ll see each other at 10 tonight. Have an excellent day, Jack.”

“You too, Anka.”

Didn’t go exactly the way I expected but no mas, hoss.  Tonight, as they say is another night. Leaving the Sleep Center for work, the day is warm and promises to be warmer. The sky is so generous uncloudy blue it hurts my eyes—a good hurt. Work goes okay except I gotta wade through a gagglefuck of skylarkers who “want to know how I’m feeling.” The spots on my head from the telemetry patches have been itching like crazy all day. I can’t wait to get back to the land of dreams.

“How was your day Jack?” She’s still playing coy?

"Passable Anka, how was yours?"

“It went well, but I slept poorly. I guess I’m a poor advert for this place.”

She laughed her so pretty kinda sad smile-laugh which I’m just drinking up; appreciating why I’m so eager beaver to be back here. Affairs of the heart end badly, despite our best intentions. If life with Dar taught me anything, it was that. So I’m a fool to be falling again as the song goes.  So I’m a fool.

“Jack, Dr. Pennister is going to manage your session tonight. He’s my research associate.  I’m sorry, but something’s come up. I’ll check in on you later.” She’s practically out the door before I catch her with a desperate question.

“Am I going to have to talk with him?”

“No, remember, we have your trigger set. It goes off at 12:00 and you will too. “

“You’ll look in on me?”


“Then I’ll look forward to it.”  Like that she’s gone. My dream date. Gone.

“I’m Dave Pennister Jack. Let’s get your leads on. Have any questions?”

“Well Dave, where the patches were last night, it’s kinda itchy. Can you move them a little?”

“We can give you something to numb the contact spots Jack, but the placement has to be identical, all three nights.”

He sprays something a little cold, could be Freon for all I know and it takes the itch down I guess. It’s not the same without her. I videe. I read manga-stim. Bored from my gourd my eyes get heavy and the room senses I want lights out and down they go. Seems an eternity passes before Pennister checks in on com. I’m dying to ask him about Anka, but I know I shouldn’t. So we make a few minutes of chit chat. Sports, politics, the sort of talk a guy who thinks he’s better than you makes when he wants to prove he’s still one of the grunts. Something in my voice must show I’m getting tired of his bullshit, cause after a long pause, he calls out, apropos of nothing, “Pleasant dreams, Jack.”

I wake up to a sharp bang. Sounds like glass shattering. There’s yelling in the control room and I hear a heavy thump that pegs my pucker meter.

“Dr. Pennister, I call out. “Dr. Pennister?” The guy who barrel-asses through my doorway is not Dr. Dave Pennister. He’s near seven foot, masked, head-to-toe black leatherette swinging a baseball bat. His first blow lands on my ankle and I scream. His next blow lands on my head and the scream in my throat dies in a hail of stars.

When morning comes and nobody is more surprised at this than I am, Anka is standing over my bed. I jump up all squirrelly and it takes a few moments before I’m calm enough to tell her about what happened. As I do I study her eyes. Their worried look tells me more than I want to know.

“Jack, it’s rare, but we’ve seen a couple of cases like yours.”

“Cases like mine? What the fuck does that mean Anka?

“An effective, lucid dream, followed by a lucid nightmare. As I said, it’s rare and it’s terrifying when it happens, but it’s behind you. I doubt it will recur. We can give you a mild sedative tonight. It may help.”

“No fucking drugs!” I shout.

“We don’t really need to.”

“I’ll tell you what I really need.” I wag my finger, beckon her closer so the com won’t pick up what I’m gonna say. Just in case Pennister or somebody else is listening in. “What I really need is for you to kiss me, like the night before.”

She jerks away. Her face flattens, she don't say nothing and her eyes flutter all kinda crazy and she hightails the room in a right hurry. I shouldn’t a said what I did, but ain't it high time? Guess I figured wrong. Whatever’s left to be said or unsaid, is over. I’ve nothing to do other than get dressed and leave for work.

My third night passes quiet. In my dream, I walk down a long, long corridor. It seems to go on forever, but it ain’t unpleasant. I enjoy the quiet. A little prick of light far in the distance keeps drawing me. Every step I take makes a click. Like tapshoes. Every click sets a beat to my heart. It is a good rhythm and it gets stronger as I get closer. Everything about it feels right. One foot in front of the next, I approach the spot of light which looks now to be a rectangle-outline of a door. It is a door and behind this door is something amazing.

I awake refreshed. It’s revelry in America. On the overtube, the new instant census figures say unemployment jumped to 25% in the last two months. Two hundred Virtuals joined the Teamsters Union and there’s actually a Virtual candidate for union president. I’m so happy I have work, even boring work I can do in my sleep. Water riots killed fifty illegals on LA Island. All of Lalaland is under martial clampdown. Yesterday roboscientists on Hellas Prime isolated a 60 million year old super-bacteria in the Martian southern icecap. They’re bringing the baby Mars bug to Earth for a big celebration. Happy Birthday little guy. We are not alone.

On a personal front, Darla is six months along. She’s begging to come back, but I don’t much like that idea. I’d bet my left nut I’m not the da, but with my da gone, who’d claim kin to the poor little bastard? Ain’t his fault to be born Unhealthy. Ain’t sure I’m ready for this, but the idea sorta sneaks up on me of a little recruit to carry on my mission when I’m gone. Somewheres something I heard hits the nail on the head. Most people, live lives of quiet desperation. But I’m not most people, am I? I ain’t like anybody else.

Last night I got in late and there were messages waiting. I played them back. The last one 12:02 was from Anka.  Odd that she would call so late but she decrypted my dreams--strictly off protocol. Something told me she would. She needs to arrange a follow-up interview for the insurance. Her say-so will reassign me back to the Healthy Pool again.

Healthy at last! Booyah.

She mumbled something else about coming over to share some advanced dream catching technology. She said “Pleasant dreams, Jack” and there was a click. Was her voice hot and flirty or is it just sunspot flare on the network? When I woke up this morning, first thing I did was play the messages back and all but hers was there. Did I erase it before I conked out? Is she the real deal, or just another Hovington Lee? Tell you something, it don’t much matter. The dreams of the night time will vanish by dawn.

See, what I didn’t say is in my third dream, I opened it. Probably shouldn’t of peeked behind that door. Because what I saw there terrified me. If you had any sense, it would terrify you too. But after all these years of head-grinding insomnia, 12 on the dot I drop like a stone and I’m up at O-dark thirty, chirping like a baby birdie. I threw away my watch. It’s all inside now.

Day in, day out, reset and re-tuned, I am the Lord of Dream’s finest instrument. I work hard, sleep deep, and rise bright and eager to do his bidding. Drink in your summer, gather your corn. Time, so they say, waits for no man.

No comments:

Post a Comment