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Chapter Seven

 David lay in his bed, thinking about dreams.

 Usually David dreamed about people he knew, places he was familiar with, things that he could easily analyze when he awakened. But his recent dreams didn't make sense. He couldn't understand why he kept dreaming about this Asian woman. Why Asian? Was he no worse than his mother? Was he racist?

And why did he dream that this woman kept insisting that she herself was real? What did that mean? Did it have something do with being an actor? Maybe something to do with being a celebrity? Maybe the reality show? Not taking it seriously enough. Not giving enough respect to the contestants? Did he not have enough gratitude for his fans?

  And then David stopped thinking about dreams and found himself inside a dream.
He entered a green hallway with an extremely high ceiling and a shiny marble floor. Fancy.  It reminded him of a 5th Avenue Hotel.
David's feet echoed like a drum as he walked. "Hello?" He called out. "Is anyone there?"
No one answered.
"Hello!" David tried again. "Hey! Don't I have an imagination tonight?" Where are all my dream characters?" Is this hall the only thing I can create?"
No one answered.
David sighed, feeling a little bit lonely. To relieve a bit of his boredom, he began to hum the theme song to one of his movies. The Long Hall.

  "Nice song!" A raspy voice called out. Whoever it was, definitely smoked one cigarette too many...well, at least in David's imagination.
"Who said that?" David asked.
"Welcome to my dream world," the voice said. "How are you doing, David?"
"Fine. Dandy!" And then he wondered what it meant that this new character was invisible. What did that symbolize?
"I'm only invisible sometimes," the voice said. Ah, and the character could read minds. Very interesting. "Rachel saw me as a jellyfish."
"Who the hell is Rachel?" Great. Amazing. Now his dream characters were actually alluding to characters off stage...people he didn't even know. How weird was that?
"Rachel is my other dreamer," the voice said. "But that shouldn’t be your question. You should be asking who I am." David detected a touch of jealousy. Or maybe not jealousy. Narcissism?  Well, David knew he shouldn't be surprised. Every character in a dream is supposed to represent a part of oneself. David was an actor. Of course he was a little bit narcissistic.

 "Ow!" Something bit David. And it hurt.
"Maybe you're having a nightmare," the voice said, and then laughed.
David found himself back in his room. Slightly perplexed, very intrigued, and a tiny bit frightened.
His bladder felt a bit full, so he decided to go use the bathroom.
The phone rang. David looked at the clock. 3:20. March 20. He seemed to always see that date or 9/11.
David felt compelled not to ignore the phone.  He picked up the receiver and pressed talk.
Whoever it was hung up.
David started heading toward the bathroom.
The phone rang again.
David grunted, then groaned.
He picked up the phone, heard another dial tone, and then hung up.
He went into the bathroom and peed. He forgot Cassandra wasn't there and dutifully put the toilet seat back down. It sprung back up again.
"What the hell?"
The phone rang again.
David tried the toilet seat again and it repeated its trick.
"Oh, forget it."
He climbed back into bed and closed his eyes. He suddenly felt something warm on his legs. His slippers. He had forgotten to take them off. He liked having them to walk to and from the bathroom, but didn't like wearing them in bed. Although he could actually not remember putting them on to go to the bathroom.
He took off his slippers and then closed his eyes. He waited to be taken to his very weird dreams.
The phone rang.
David reached over and picked up the receiver. He pressed talk. "Knock Knock. Who's There." He didn't know why he was trying to be funny.
"Hello David," A hoarse voice said. "Do you know who this is?"
For a moment, David thought about Scream...the Drew Barrymore scene.  He was slightly terrified. He had an urge to murmur in a petrified baby voice. "Please leave me alone." But instead he played the part of Mr. Tough Guy.
"Look, this has gone too far. Leave me alone or I call the police."
He threw down the phone forgetting to press "End" David was just about to get out of bed, to change that, when he felt something, not just warm, but disgusting and oozing around his feet.
He lifted up the covers and found himself facing some kind of slug-like creature.  Like a miniature Jabba the Hut.  Only this was uglier.
David loved dreams. He even respected his nightmares at times. But the one thing he could not stomach was dreams inside of dreams. False awakenings. Those confused him and terrified him.
He screamed.
"Time for you to come with me," the jellyfish said.
And then he found himself back in the green hall. He was more angry now than scared.
"What are you thinking about?" the raspy voice asked.  It stopped being a jelly fish, and returned to being invisible.

David didn't answer.
"Answer me!"
"I don't talk to things I can't see," David felt like being defiant.
"You'll see me soon. But right now I'm taking you to my gallery.
"Fine," David said. Why argue?
They entered a room with lots of impressive architecture and artwork. Portraits of children with flowers. Religious statues. Some Bible guy and a lion. A mother and baby-Jesus and Mary, perhaps?  Budddha-fat and cute. And then there was an Asian woman. When David looked more closely, he saw it was Daphne.
"I never knew I was so creative." David said. "I wonder what it means though, mixing up the Asian woman with all the religious stuff. And why am I putting religion into the mix anyway. I've never been religious."
"Does it bother you?"
 David had to think about that one before answering. "It just confuses me."
"Well, I made all of it. Not you."
David grinned. "Maybe. But my mind created you."
The voice laughed.
"Yes, that is funny." David agreed.
"Never mind," the voice said, no longer laughing. And then there was silence.
David then suddenly found himself lying on a gold table, tied down with green ropes. The change didn't surprise him. Dreams were notorious for stuff like that. You were one place, and then suddenly you were somewhere different. No big deal. Although he didn't really like being tied down.
"Hello?" David called out and then turned his head toward the Daphne Statue. A tear dripped from her eye. David wondered what that might symbolize.

 Rachel kicked the walls and groaned. She was so sick of walking through the emerald halls. She didn't remember ever being so bored in a dream.
An old man walked toward her through the hall. He didn't look at all familiar to Rachel, which was strange, because she usually dreamed about people she knew in real life.
"Hello," the old man said. "Can you show me the way out of here?"
"Sorry," Rachel said. "But I'm lost myself."
"Where are we?" he asked.     
"Just in a dream," Rachel replied.
"I don't dream," the man said.
Rachel saw no use in arguing.
"My name's Jason," the man said in a very formal way. They shook hands as she gave him her name.
"I guess I'll try to find my way," he said.
"Sorry, I couldn't help you."
The man disappeared.
"Ah, Jason's alarm clock has gone off," the jellyfish said. Rachel looked around for it, bracing herself to get stung.
"I'm invisible today," it said.
 "Who are you?"
"I am me," the voice said. "But is that exciting? Probably not. Wouldn't you rather talk about David?"
"David who?" Well, because she actually did have a third cousin with the name.
"I know you'd like to meet him. And now is your chance."
For a moment, Rachel felt excited, but then she remembered her past celebrity dreams. The celebrities never looked like themselves. The last time she dreamed about David, he had her Uncle's face and Jessica's voice.
"David will be David." The voice interrupted her thoughts; seemingly read them too "Come with me and you'll meet him."
Not that Rachel had a choice. Her feet took on a mind of their own and dragged her across the hall. First she walked and then she began to float-bobbed along like a yellow duck in one of those carnival games.
Rachel came to a room.
"You're here. Go inside."
Rachel followed his orders. She entered and was amazed at what she saw. It was like being in an art museum, but usually she found art museums boring. This was not boring. Something about it was spectacular. It gave her goosebumps.
"Hello?" A voice called out. Rachel's heart started pounding.  David! And it actually sounded just like David. Not Jessica.
"Hello?" David said again. "Who are you?"
Rachel didn't answer. There was no way her tongue would cooperate with her now. That would be way too easy and fair.
"What's wrong? Can't you speak? Have I created a mute character?"
Rachel looked toward where David's voice came from. David (and he looked exactly like David!) lay on a table.
"My name's David. What's yours?"
 Rachel often had this fantasy-turned fear where she actually did get to meet David, but she was too shy to talk to him. And then worse yet she'd fart in front of him.
Here was the fear coming true right before her eyes, well without the fart. Fortunately.
This is just a dream, Rachel yelled silently to herself. You can't be shy in your own damn dream. The Dr. Phil inspired self-pep talk didn't help.
David laughed. To her relief, it was a friendly laugh. "You're very cute."
Cute? He was calling her cute!
Come here," David said. "I can't see you that well."
Rachel took one step closer, but then froze.
"Hi," she managed. And then added. "I think you're a really good actor." There! She did it! She said something. She might have said even more if he didn't vanish into thin air.
Rachel stared at the empty table with disappointment. Then she found herself back in her bed.