A New Star

Another dream. A woman was standing over me. She said, "There now, I'll be just a sec," then started disrobing as she wandered about, putting things away, neatening up a little. I didn't recognize her, but god how I wanted her--I wanted to take her right then and there. But I just sat there. She sat down with me, lit up a joint, asked me to explain the theory of relativity to her again. I did, or started to. Part way through she reached toward me and then something snapped in my mind. Suddenly I lost my train of thought, and my sense of time changed, and I realized I was very stoned, and she was laughing, and we were having sex, and her breasts were in my mouths, and my tail was going places tails weren't meant to go (or, well, maybe mine was) and she came, and came again, and we were lying there, and then the phone rang, and she kissed me firmly on the lips, and--I woke up.

Once again I awoke with Laura curled naked against me, and I felt a bit uneasy about my dream, because at this moment I really didn't want anyone but Laura, and could not explain these strange images, these bizarre desires and drives, bubbling up from my subconscious in the night. But as I lay there tracing the curves of her body with the soft pads of my fingertips, I found myself having thoughts which were born of that dream, and it made me wonder: do we define our dreams, or do our dreams define us? I felt somehow changed by each of these dreams I've had, just as any experience changes us. Strange then to think that who we are is in part defined by an entire second life most of us rarely remember. There perhaps is the first and oldest use of simulation: an approximation of the real world created by our own minds in the night as we quietly sleep, a world where we can safely explore ideas, learn the consequences without suffering them, a place we can even die--and live to learn from it.

I showed Laura the star last night. She had never seen it before. It was in exactly the same place, despite it being many hours earlier in the night. I had to ask: if we walked out of town, toward that star, where would we end up? Yes, that's right--her best guess was that we would hit the boundary around the catfish pond. Do you see? I left the lights on.

I left the lights on in the lab.

We rode the horses out there last night to see. By the time we reached the pond, the light was nearly straight overhead, though barely visible due to the angle of view. It must have been a hundred stories high. (Could the boundary itself be that high?) And we weren't the only people there--others had seen the new light in the sky and come out to investigate. This in itself I found amusingly ironic, since what modern man would attempt to chase a star? But they didn't know any better, and they were right. Fortunately, none of them recognized us, but as gossip is bound to spread I'm sure the story of my initial arrival has already collided somewhere with the news of this new star. Soon we will be sought out. Toward what end, I am afraid to guess. One man called it a sign from God, another thought it might be a crack in the boundary. I didn't hear much else, since we turned to leave not long after arriving (for fear of being recognized). But it struck me immediately how casually they approached it, how seemingly idle their curiosity.

Could I have fallen that far and survived? And if so, is it somehow daytime up there while it's night down here? If not, what happened in the hours between opening that door and ending up in the pond?

Where the hell am I?

Oh, I hear voices outside. Gossip travels fast.

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