Flying Down, 2006, by David Salle
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They say that eating cheese before bedtime causes nightmares. I didn’t eat any cheese last night and I wouldn’t say I had a nightmare but I was glad to wake from a confusing night’s disturbed sleep and discover that my life was normal – ordinary, maybe, but normal.
I don’t usually remember my dreams but this one was particularly vivid, full of movement and colour. One moment I was in the bath, the next I was flying in a small passenger plane with no idea where I was going or why. I stood up and discovered I was naked from the waist down except for wellington boots. That was embarrassing and I tried to explain it to the pilot, who, meanwhile, had turned into a magician; that was quite fitting as I always think there must be some magic trick to keeping heavy objects in the air. He wasn’t listening to me. He was performing a routine to an audience that was heckling and jeering. So disappointed was he that he disappeared, literally faded as I watched, telling me as he went that he had a fine gift for me and it would be delivered very soon.
As the last vestiges of the pilot/magician evaporated a crane swung towards me. Sure enough it was my gift, but what a gift. Super-sized earrings for my ears, they looked more like missiles but then maybe that’s what I needed to catch the attention of the man of my dreams. Sadly, the object of my amour had been transformed into a dying duck – elegant and beautiful to watch in his plummet to earth. And then, finally, as I struggled to make my voice heard, felt I was strangling, tried to call out, a sneering double-eyed cartoon vortex spun towards me. I feared abuse but the creature, so colourful, so insane, passed me by, my naked butt still on display, and plunged into . . . and then I woke up, heart pounding, glad to be . . . dull.