Wednesday, May 07, 2008


We Have Always Lived in the Castle, or Did Until the Nielsens Were Released


Two nights ago, I screamed in my sleep.

In my dream, some former coworkers and I were temporarily living together in this spooky old house. Like a Shirley Jackson reality show, but without the show or, in retrospect, the reality.

We gradually became aware of horrible music playing through loudspeakers in every room of the house. This sound... it was alive and growing louder. It would not let us sleep or think. It was monotonic. It was needles in the spine.

Soon the residents split up and began to hunt for its source. Throughout the building, people uncovered ancient, industrially sealed phonographs at work. But when the machines were destroyed, there was no effect on the aural terror filling the house.

Finally, I discovered a vulnerable turntable that was clearly playing the music in question. I grabbed the tonearm, and with deliberation, so that all my friends would hear our triumph, I dragged that needle across the platter, heavy and hard. I then stomped the life out of it. There was silence.

Seconds later, the music began again from somewhere else. Raising my clawed hands to the sky, I screamed.

Then the Ms. was standing over me. I'd awoken on the couch, where she'd run all the way from the bedroom. She asked what was wrong. Groggy and sheepish, I said, "I was being tortured."

Quickly, to defuse the moment, I added: "With calliope music."

Nearby the TV was playing the DVD menu screen of "Laugh Your Troubles Away: The Complete History of Riverview Park." It had probably been looping away for the thirty minutes or more since I'd dozed off watching it.

I'll never get my name on movie ads this way. This gentle, nostalgic documentary brings back the fun of yesteryear. "I screamed in my sleep!" -- Five O'Clock Rock

Welcome to my nightmare.

2 comments:

Ubernostrum said...

I still occasionally have stressful dreams starring ex-JVI folk, too.

Jason said...

Funny but not surprising that you could tell exactly which job I was talking about.

All the elements are there: the intercom, the endless audio... all the dream needed was free Fig Newtons.