“It’s a dream…you can do anything you want in here.” -Tommy Ray Glatman

I was having a strange dream that I was on an airplane flying back to SFO from the east coast. I’ve had dreams before where I was on a plane so that wasn’t what made it strange. Rather, it was that in this dream, I was asleep and dreaming that I was somewhere else.

Fortunately, I was awake in that dream within a dream. It would have too weird otherwise, especially if this went on and on with no end in sight, turning my psyche into Russian dolls of states of consciousness. Two levels deep was about all I could handle.

In this second dream, I was hiding under a bunk in some kind of wooden structure. I figured I was in the tropics because I could hear jungle sounds outside the window. I think they were birds, but I wasn’t sure. All I knew was that they had the familiar sound of jungle-wildlife sound effects you hear in movies.

I had not been awake for long. Thankfully, there was no memory of what I might have been dreaming. I must’ve drifted off while hiding, but wasn’t sure what I had been hiding from. There was something out there, that much I knew, and whatever it was wished to do me harm.

Perhaps I’d been hiding long enough and the danger was gone. The jungle sounds were reassuring because whatever the menace was, I sensed it was human.

I crawled out from under the bunk and exited the building. Outside, the ground was littered with dead bodies. There were hundreds of them. There was no bloodshed, no signs of violence at all. It looked like they all just lay down and died. Many held plastic cups in their lifeless hands.

I realized then that I was in Jonestown, and from the looks of things, I had just missed the party. I followed a wooden walkway toward the main tent in the middle of the compound. I knew that Jim Jones would be there, a bullet in his head delivered by one of his faithful. I found myself wanting to see him like that as if his death would somehow bring closure to all this.

I stared down at the dead bodies as I walked along the path. Some of them were old, some young, and some were mere children. I know that a child’s death is supposed to be more tragic, but they were all the same to me. I felt a little sorry for them, but glad I had been spared their fate.

There was one exception.  A young woman I thought I recognized lay in a bare patch of dirt next to the walkway. Perhaps I knew her from somewhere, but she also looked somewhat like the female lead from Brazil with a bit of the adult Christina Crawford from Mommie Dearest thrown in. Most people don’t matter much to me, but friends and movie stars do. I felt genuinely sad.

I heard human voices. I wasn’t sure where they were coming from. I suspected they were part of Jones’ inner circle, wrapping up loose ends before they drank the poison punch themselves. Being still alive, I qualified as a loose end.

Escape was out of the question. It might have been possible in the waking world, but dreams have their own rules, their own certainties. If I made a run for it, I would run right into them. If I stayed put, I they would find me eventually.

All was hopeless though I did have enough time to have sex with this dead woman. I’ve never had much interest in diddling a corpse, asleep or awake, but I felt it was the proper thing to do. After all, I was in a cult so by definition my rights had been taken away from me. Soon even the right to continue living would be gone. Before that happened, I deserved a little me time.

But what about her rights? I’m not a monster so I knew I should at consider them before I hiked up the hem of her peasant dress and started going to town.

Could a dead person consent? If you bought into the notion that consent was something that needed to be confirmed and not implied as is the case with field-sobriety tests, the answer was no. On the other hand, the cup in her loosened grasp was strong evidence that she consented to dying and consent of that magnitude would surely have some overflow.

She was also hot. It was froth-around-the-mouth hot, but hot nonetheless. I still had to say something to make my case though. Not to her, of course. She was not listening. Even to me, it would be a hard go. I knew whatever I said would not hold up to scrutiny so I decided to sidestep the issue and rely on levity instead.

“Ain’t nothing as willing as a girl who’s been punched,” I said.

As soon as the words left my mouth, the most amazing thing happened. I was not in a nightmare. The dream had somehow been transformed into a sexy-time story.

Words formed above me. I could not read the words because you don’t actually read in dreams, but I knew what the words were and I also knew that they were the title of the story in this dream. They were: “Kool Laid.”

My eyes opened and I was once again on the airplane. I was glad to be away from Jonestown, but also a little ashamed of myself. Not for my rapey necrophilia. We are all psychopaths in our own subconscious. No, the problem was with the story title. I knew that Jones’ followers drank Flavor Aid. Couldn’t I come up with anything both amusing and with a factually accurate reference?

No matter, maybe this dream would be more relaxing. Air travel is boring, but there’s no stress to speak of once you’ve made your flight. I figured I’d enjoy an in-flight move and a few in-flight cocktails. Pay for them with my dream credit card and wouldn’t owe a thing once I woke up. What could go wrong?

“Allahu akbar,” said the man with box cutter guarding the door to the cockpit.

Oh hell no.

I looked around the cabin. There weren’t many other passengers, maybe 40 or so. A couple of people lay dead on the floor. Many others sat in their seats petrified with fear or praying to some god who appeared not to give a shit. A few were hunkered down and called loved ones on their flip phones. I overheard “Twin Towers” and “Pentagon” in their conversations. Yep, I was on Flight 93.

There were a few guys huddled around a drink cart. They beckoned me to join them, but I wanted no part of it. I knew what they were planning and I also knew how it would play out.

I turned and headed toward the rear of the aircraft. Though the same fate awaited everyone on board, those farthest back would have it happen to them last. Relocating would not buy me a lot of extra time, only a fraction of a second. It might not even be a noticeable difference, but I didn’t care. I wanted as much lifespan as I could take, no matter how small.

A flight attendant was in the back seat, her knees pulled up to her chest. I recognized her immediately. She was the same woman who caught my eye in Jonestown. I preferred this version of her. This uniform was more flattering than that peasant dress. She was also more attractive here because she was not dead.

Maybe this one would be up for sex. Consent was still not something to be assumed, but at least a living human being was capable of giving it. Unfortunately, she did not appear to be in the mood. Her eyes stared blankly ahead. Her lips silently mouthed words I could not decipher. Poor dear, all this hijacking and terror must have traumatized her.

Maybe some dick would get her mind right. Or not. There was probably no harm in suggesting it and certainly no lasting harm because very soon, this airplane was going to do an impression of a lawn dart in the middle of Pennsylvania and kill us all.

There was no point in being suave about it either because there never is. You can polish your approach all you want and it won’t change her mind. She’ll dig you or she won’t. That’s something the incel dipshits will never understand. They cannot grasp that her choice of partner only needs to make sense to her and sometimes not even that.

That said, I found myself more interested in the proposition than in the sex itself. She had veto power over my actions, but not my words and the ones that came into my head were perfect. They riffed on a phrase uttered by a drink-cart hero, transmitted through a cellphone, and used to both galvanize a nation and inspire Neil Young to write the worst song of his entire career.

“Let’s roll…in the hay,” I said.

Just like Jonestown, words appeared above my head. “Nine E-Lovin’,” was the title of this dream’s story and as was the case before, the title ended the dream.

I woke up thankful I was lying in my own bed. Something seemed off though. The bedroom seemed smaller than it should. Also, the house isn’t usually on fire.

I leapt out of bed and ran out the door. Looking around, it wasn’t just my place that was on fire. The other mobile homes were ablaze as well. Apparently, I was living in a trailer park now. Why couldn’t I dream about being some place nice?

At least it wasn’t one of those dreams where I show up to work naked. I wasn’t wearing much because I didn’t have time to dress, but at least my naughty bits were shielded from public view by my Old Glory boxer shorts. Flag burning usually doesn’t bother me, but it was a different matter when it was an article of clothing I wore. I headed toward the street to put more distance between myself and the flames. That didn’t work because everything around me was on fire.

A pickup truck came barreling down the road toward me. It screeched to a halt beside me and the door swung open.

“Get in,” called a woman’s voice. It was that woman. She was in a park ranger’s uniform now and neither dead nor incapacitated by fear. I liked this incarnation of her most of all, mostly because she was intent on saving my flag-clad ass. I climbed into the truck and off we went.

“Didn’t you get the evacuation notice?” she said.

“I must’ve been asleep.”

“You’re lucky to be alive. I’m taking you down to a shelter down in Oroville. They’ll have a bed and some clothes for you.”

There was a wall of fire rising up on both sides of the road. My rescuer stomped the gas pedal and we raced forward, trying to outrun the flames that threatened to consume us.

We did not make it far. All four tires blew out from the heat and we were dead in our tracks. With flames in all directions, there was no chance we could make it out on foot.

“Fuck,” the woman said, slamming her fist on the dashboard.

She may had just run out of options, but I had not.

“I can think of something else that would be hot,” I said.

From past experience, I thought that cheesy come on would have been my ticket out of there. Instead, all it got me was a confused look from the woman in the driver’s seat.

“Care for some hunka hunka burnin’ love?” I said, upping my game.

“What the hell are you talking about?” she said.

“Hang on, give me a sec. I’ll have an awesome line for you.”

“And how is that supposed to help us?”

“It isn’t us that I’m concerned about,” I said and followed up with “Thanks for the ride and speaking of rides, wanna be my pony I call Wildfire?”

That did the trick. The words “Paradise Lust” appeared above us and I felt myself being spirited away. I didn’t have a chance to say goodbye to the woman, but I somehow knew I would be seeing her again.