Chapter Four

counter on blogger David woke up and looked around the room. He couldn't see that much since it was dark...just the outline of his desk and the shadow from his life-size R2D2 toy.

    
Cassandra was there with him.  She had invited herself over and he hadn’t had the chutzpah to say no.
   
"David, are you awake?" Cassandra touched his arm.
   
"Yes, I just woke up." But before she could move on with the conversation he reminded her, "It's the middle of the night."
   
"Can we talk?"
    
"No. Please. Later."
   
"Why?"
   
"I'm tired."
   
"You're not tired,” she said. “If you were tired, you'd still be asleep."
   
"Maybe my dream ended."
   
"You had another dream?" She seemed exasperated by this.
  
 "I have them every night. and so do you."
   
"Whatever."
   
"I'm going back to sleep. He closed his eyes and tried to pretend Cassandra was not beside him. 
  
"Let's have sex," Cassandra said. But it didn't seem like she even wanted to. It seemed more like an obligation that needed to be met--something that needed to be done.  And once they did it, everything would be magically fixed.

   
"No, thank you." David said simply. The thought of touching Cassandra actually repulsed him.
   
"You really don't love me anymore," Cassandra said.
   
He ignored her and prepared himself for a night of guilt-ridden insomnia. But instead he quickly entered a dream. He found himself inside a cold box, made of metal perhaps. That was funny.  He usually didn't notice materials in his dream. And just the fact that he noticed amazed him. He was in a dream. He knew he was in a dream which made it a lucid dream. Fun, but rare for him these days.  He used to have a lot of them.

 David decided to take control of the dream although he rarely had luck with the whole control-your-dream thing.
   
First thing on the agenda: Get out of the box. David predicted it would be locked. He'd be trapped, symbolizing his relationship with Cassandra. But to his surprise, it quickly opened. He found himself face to face with an Asian woman.

 "Who are you?" she demanded.
   
"I'm David."
   
"David Matthews. I’ve seen some of your movies."
   
"David Tirlson, actually.”  He corrected her.   She glared at him.  “And you?”
   
“And me what?” 
   
“Your name?”
   
"Daphne Ta."
   
"I wonder what that name means?" David wondered aloud. "And why you're Asian. What does that mean?"
  
 "You're a racist jerk. You know that?" Daphne said. "And I hate your movies."
   
Wow. What self-hatred. What could all this mean?
   
"Get out of my damn dream," Daphne said.
   
This was the weirdest dream David had ever had, lucid or not. He had never encountered such animosity from a dream character.
  
 "This is a weird dream."
    
“And it's my dream. So get out!" Daphne shoved him hard and he fell slightly backwards. He was slightly annoyed, but mostly amused.

"What's so funny?" she demanded.
  
 "This is my dream," he told her, wondering what it would be like to be fictional, and actually learn you were fictional. It reminded him of a novel he read in high school. Sophie's World. A young girl learns she is just a character in a novel...very deep and philosophical.
  
"This is my dream." Daphne insisted.
   
"No, it's mine." David said. But for one brief moment, he doubted his words. What if he was the fictional one?
   
"You think you're such hot stuff."
   
"This must all be about Cassandra. And all the pressure she's putting me through lately."
   
"Cassandra's your girlfriend," Daphne said.

"Thanks for the information," David said and then waved his arms in a dismissal gesture. "You can go now. You've played your part."
   
"This is my dream. You get out," Daphne said.
   
David realized this scene would get them nowhere. Amusing, but worthless. "Let's stop arguing," He said. "What do you want to do? I mean even though you don't exist and you're just a figment of my overactive and extremely creative imagination."
   
"I'd like to watch you drown in a pool of your own blood."
   
"Excuse me?" Her violent words shocked David. Where was this coming from?
  
 "Or maybe your own feces. That would be fun."
   
"Do you love me?" Daphne asked, and David wondered how they got from feces to that. But then he realized he was no longer in the dream, and it wasn't Daphne talking. It was Cassandra.
  
 "Leave me alone," he said. "Please." Threats of drowning in self-excrement was better than this. "I was dreaming."
  
 "You were dreaming about a girl, weren't you?" Cassandra demanded.
  
 "No. I mean yes. But we just talked. Argued actually."
   
Cassandra rolled her eyes and got out of bed. David peered at her naked body, trying hard to feel something.
   
Nothing.
   
He watched her grab her purse, grab her clothes, get dressed, and walk out the door.
 
 He knew she wanted him to stop her, that this was the role he was supposed to take. But he failed to take his part.
   
The room was no longer dark. The sunlight beaming on all his Star Wars posters and Simpsons toy collection told him it was no longer evening. No work today, so no harm in sleeping the day away. But his dream wouldn't return. No sleep would return.
  
 He got out of bed just in time to pick up the phone on the first ring.
   
"David."
   
It was his mother with her traditional Saturday call. "How are you?" he asked.
   
"Cassandra called me yesterday. She said you two are having problems."
   
"Why does she have to drag you into this?" David snapped. "This is just between us."
   
"She's worried about you."
   
"I'm fine," David said, but he thought of his dreams and questioned that.
   
"You two are America's favorite couple."

David sighed.  What an exaggeration. They were actually America's 36th favorite couple; according to E! Television Network's recent countdown. But he didn't remind his mother of that. Let her have her delusion.
    
"We don't want that to change?" Who was “we”? "Cassandra is the reason you're still noticed" Well, it certainly couldn't be because David was a talented actor, could it? "People love you two. Together. You give something for young people to look up to."
   
"Mom, that's not true." 
  
 "You should be giving her a ring. That's what I think. Billy would--"
   
And with that name, David broke into a cold sweat. "I have to go. Love-you-bye."

He hung up.


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