Tokyo Damage Report

Which is dream and which is hallucination?


OK, here’s two things I wrote last week. One of them is an actual dream I had, the other is an epic ‘flight of fancy’ that I had while taking my father-in-law’s prescription meds in the tub.
The challenge for you guys is: guess which one is which.

A big city. In the center is a large, red, semi-transparent, hemispheric building of mysterious origins wherein lives the Oracle. The Oracle is not the head of the government, but they often consult him on important matters like, “Should we raise tarrifs on wheat?” or “How can we reduce the teen pregnancy rate?” Or “What should we do about the robot snakes invading the provinces?” (of which more later) His answers come in the form of preposterous psychedelic wordplay, like “The Venus virus violates the conundrum of vulvic pelvic penumbra, man!”…  But over the years, a consultant class has evolved that is generally able to parse his drug-addled answers into some useful sort of policy decision. (“Clearly the ‘venus virus’ refers to the temptation to underage sex, and since ‘penumbra’ means ‘ “something that covers or obscures”, a ‘pelvic penumbra’ must mean we should outfit all the teen girls with diaphragms.”) And such was politics in the city.
So the Oracle is JUST about to give an answer to the problem of robot snakes, the earth quakes and millions of the robot snakes erupt from beneath the very oracle building itself – the entire hemisphere is lifted 1000 feet in the air on a geyser-like column of millions of snakes, whose bodies intertwine and solidify, providing a stable foundation. The oracle-man is instantly killed, but the building itself starts glowing a vivid crimson – it is coming to life (public opinion is sharply divided on this phenomenon, with some claiming that the snakes are attacking the oracle, who is rising up in the air to defend itself. Others claim that the robot building – which was there before the city was built – and the robot snakes share a common ancestor and have been working together the whole time, and the current state is their Voltron form).
Anyway what IS clear is that the oracle-person had always been a fraud, and the fortune-tellin’ capabilities had always lain within the building itself, which was a kind of a computer or something. And everyone agrees that it’s best not to ask the oracle directly, “Are you working with the snakes?” – either it IS, in which case probably they will both kill everyone in the city, or if it ISN’T, it’ll get so mad at being accused of being a traitor that it won’t help the citizens anymore.
 So from then on, the humans have to take their hover-craft 1,000 feet into the air to ask questions to this pulsating red dome on top of its giant column of snakes. And instead of answering in psychedelic riddles, the dome is now answering ALWAYS by quoting really terrible rap lyrics. So that a serious question about, say, an outbreak of swine flu threatening the kingdom’s health might elicit a statement like: “My rhymes are like eggs, I keep layin’ ‘em/ I keep sayin’ em!” (House of Pain).   Or a question like, “Should we issue a bond to pay for new schools?” would be answered by a booming, echoey voice saying: “Flip him over with a SPAT-u-la / now we got Kentucky fried CRA-ker.” (Ice Cube, in one of his lesser moments)
 Not only does the current batch of consultants (whose job it is to parse the oracle’s pronouncements into some sort of coherent policy plan) have zero experience with rap, but the oracle is now actively punishing interpretations it doesn’t like. The interpreter is 1,000 feet in the air, and can’t land his hovercraft until he formally parses the oracle’s riddle. If the oracle doesn’t like his interpretation, some of the snakes lash out and knock his hovercraft around. Punishments range from light tapping to turning it upside down and forcing the whole crew to hang on by their fingernails for 5 minutes, to instant and firey death.
Until now, the consultants had always tried to interpret the (former) oracle’s sayings as metaphors for the city. But now, a second faction of consultants quickly evolves a new school of thought based on a different premise: interpreting the oracle’s wack-rap-quote responses IN THE CONTEXT OF THE LIFE OF THE RAPPER, AND WHAT HE WAS GOING THROUGH WHEN HE WROTE THEM. This new faction scrupulously researches all about the wackest rappers, their biographies, textual analyses, semantics,and everything. It is an incredibly dangerous job, and also involves a huge amount of time studying the most terrible rhymes ever written, but on the other hand, even ONE correct (which is to say, not punished by the oracle dome/snake combo) answer can earn the consultant a permanent place in the city’s political establishment.
For example,
CONSULTANT: “O mighty prognosticatin’ Dome-Snake-Tower Combo, should we dredge the canal, so that bigger ships might come to our port and increase our trade profits?”
ORACLE: “You must be on a can of dope AND DOG FOOD / You actin real rude, don’tcha know I’m Tim Dog, dude?”
CONSULTANT: “Tim Dog – uhhh (consults reference work) he was collaborating with KRS ONE, AKA The Teacher. And (checks computer) on that song. Tim and KRS had written their raps at a Cuban bodega near the studio, and at that time, trade with Cuba was restricted by the embargo – except cans of dope. Which were smuggled from South America to NYC, using Cuba as a re-fueling point and bootlegger airport.  So, if we don’t dredge the canal, the people will turn to crime to make their money, either that or be reduced to eating dog food.”
ORACLE: (shoots laser)
But even a lot of THOSE consultants get their hover-craft slapped out of the sky, and the people begin to lose hope: "Behold! Even if the consultants give a good answer, they are punished, while others who give terrible answers are rewarded! Is the world mad???”
As a result, another school of consultants arises – a sort of META-consultant. These guys are scientists who analyze the records of every time a consultant interacted with the oracle – these records are very complete and look at everything from day of the week to the consultant’s zodiac sign, to the weather that day and etc. By employing huge computers, the meta-consultants attempt to find hidden patterns in the data, which will (hopefully) conclusively demonstrate if there is, or is not, any correlation between the performance of the consultant and the punishment meted out by the oracle.
The preliminary conclusions are startling: The model of hovercraft makes a HUGE difference, with the Dynasoar brand being pretty much a garuntee of getting swatted out of the air. . Also the ethnic group and/or home village of the consultant does seem to be significant (although whether this is because the oracle is prejudiced or simply because certain villages’ cultures spent more time teaching the children interpretive reasoning and word-association is not clear).

My friend Brad threw a party. Usually he does house parties, but this time he did something different: he had us all meet in the mezzanine level of a gigantic, super-modern, silver-and-plastic convention center. The mezzanine was suspended in air, midway up a titanic staircase, allowing us to see the football-field-sized convention rooms above and below us, to our left and our right.
About 10 of us came, and Brad said, “Surprise! Despite this being a gigantic, super-modern convention center, there’s absolutely nothing interesting going on here!” We made long faces. “But,” Brad continued, “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade! Let’s go vandalize a fast-food store!” And we all cheered like kids. But instead of typical adolescent vandalism, we did performance art vandalism: Brad had brought huge bags full of a special kind of poly-urethane plastic sheeting. We cut them into millions of 2-inch-wide pieces. We plastered every inch of the outside of this fast-food store with poly-urethane doilies, until it looked like a puffy parade float (the kind made from flowers.).But we were only getting started.
Breaking inside, we covered the walls with tiny 2-dimensional replicas of the food, and covered one whole wall with the letter “Y” over and over and over again. But the coup de grace came when Brad explained that this was no ordinary poly-urethane, this was a special compound mixed with nitro that, when exposed to heat, could explode. So we threw out all the pots, pans, trays, forks, spoons and etc. in the store, and then we got busy making explosive-poly-urethane copies of the pots, pans, cooking equipment . . . not only did the staff and customers have to cook the food at under 100 degrees, not only did they have to hold them gingerly as hand grenades, but all our replica pans, trays, etc were about 1/4 the size of the regular ones. So people were all cooking and eating hunched over, sweating, trembling, afraid for their lives.



6 Comments so far

  1. William MacFarlane May 10th, 2009 7:53 pm

    The oracle story is the drugged up flight of fancy and the fast food performance art a dream?

  2. Wysefool May 11th, 2009 3:31 pm

    The Oracle story was definitely the drug induced one. What were you taking anyways?

  3. fizgig May 13th, 2009 1:02 am

    I think so too. Drug induced trips tend to be more elaborate…

  4. curious May 13th, 2009 6:40 am

    tell us the answer!!!

  5. 23wolves May 13th, 2009 8:02 am

    Thrilling visions!

  6. Steve May 15th, 2009 11:24 pm

    I’m guessing the oracle was the hallucination because I once hallucinated while reading a morphology textbook and had something similar.

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