So there I was . . . staring Death in his unblinking bloodshot eyes, powerless within his unwavering gaze and apparently destined to meet a cruel and painful demise. As the road-kill stench of his fetid breath began to engulf me in its miasmatic haze, I began a feverish prayer for salvation. To my immense surprise the incantation seemed to take affect as I noticed an almost imperceptible flutter of the eyelids, a flicker of uncertainty in those malevolent, blood-gorged orbs.
In the blink of an eye, if you’ll forgive the pun and cliché, I slammed my right fist into Death’s solar plexus and threw my other hand forward with two fingers distended—a perfectly aimed shot, each finger pushing an eyeball ever deeper into their sockets, until suddenly, the thick-skinned yet gelatinous orbs burst, and my fingers briefly broke through the membrane separating sight from imagination and brushed against death’s mind. The foul beast roared with physical pain, the humiliation of defeat, and the knowledge that I would evermore be immune from his deadly gaze. And there I was . . . immortal.
So there I was . . . looking down a long mist-enshrouded aisle of some vast ancient cathedral. Throngs of shadowy apparitions crowded the pews, waiting in mute anticipation for the commencement of some sort of sacrilegious ceremony. An unknown force beckoned me towards the cathedral’s immense altar, and though a deep feeling of dread permeated my senses, I stepped forward into the mist without hesitation, buoyed by my newfound perception of invulnerability.
I found myself before a hoary priest who began speaking ceremonial words in some long forgotten tongue, but the meaning behind the words became clear as the bride to be stepped up beside me. Paralyzed with abject terror as the priest intoned, “and do you take Edna Hottschlaider as your lawfully wedded wife, to love, to hold and cherish for all eternity?” I turned to look into the mottled and pimple-scared face of my third-grade nemesis—Edna, the dreaded playground kissing girl. And though my mind screamed a frenzied “No!” I heard my voice calmly state, “I do.” And there I was . . . wishing I wasn’t so immortal.
So there I was . . . running through a shattered, fire-seared landscape reminiscent of Danté’s Inferno, all 300-plus pounds of Edna fast on my heels. Evil looking demons, imps and gargoyles kept grasping for me out of the darkness, slowing my bid to escape. Edna drew ever closer, foaming at the mouth in eager anticipation of consummating our unholy matrimony. I headed for a bright light in the distance, somehow cognizant that it represented my only possible hope for escape, and as I came within one step of the bright portal, a hideous monster rose up before me with a staccato screech, and Edna was upon me. I smacked the monster on his nose, plainly labeled “Snooze,” slammed my elbow in Edna’s great girth and pushed towards the brightness of escape and resurrection.
And there I was . . . thankfully awake . . . and vowing once again to never ever mix vodka martinis with sushi.
—Originally published in Johnstonian Sun and/or Kenly News, Circa 1990
OK, so the dream sequence is a bit cliché, but way back then I thought it was fairly clever.