I was having dinner with a woman. She was familiar to me in the dream, but no one I know in real life. We made chit-chat, and somewhere in the middle she said, rather out of the blue, "You're way sexier than any man." I remember thinking--in the dream--am I not a man? What defines a man, anyway? I wasn't upset by this, more uplifted. I thought no, I am not a man--not just a man--I am something more. And we had sex, and it was implausibly good. Afterwards, she dreamily looked me in the eyes, and slid her hand around the back of my neck. I grabbed her hand and said, "No, don't." She sighed, "You know we have to." I sighed in turn, pursed my lips while trying to pucker them at the same time, and pressed them to hers. "Nice fish kiss," she said, and suddenly I noticed I was feeling very tired. She noticed this too, and I felt her fingers sliding up the back of my neck, pressing firmly inward.

I bolted upright in bed, my own hand palming the nape of my neck as if to protect it from more unwanted prodding. Laura stirred, rolled toward me and sleepily draped her arm around the bend of my waist. I sat there palpating the back of my own head. The dream had been so compelling, so real; I was captivated. My prodding found nothing unusual, but I wasn't quite prepared to push hard where I feared in that moment I had an off switch. But I could resolve this another way.

Throwing back the covers, I stormed out of bed, nearly dragging Laura out with me. I found the nearest piece of pottery and smashed it against the stone floor, sorting through the rubble for large, sharp fragments. Laura extracted herself from the mess of blankets and sat up blinking profusely but not saying a word. One by one I started through the fragments, dragging their edges firmly across my finger, trying to find one sharp enough to draw blood. Laura finally registered what I was doing, ran over and grabbed the bits out of my hands yelling, simply, "Stop that!"

I sat there on the floor, back against the wall, toes idly twiddling with bits of broken ceramic. Laura loomed over me like a mother preparing to scold her child. Then I saw the tiny plume of red erupt from the floor, and looked up to see the blood dripping from her fingers. She followed my eyes and discovered the same, dropped the fragments on the floor. I leapt to my feet to take care of her, saying only "sorry sorry sorry sorry" the whole time until I was annoying myself with it as much as her. The fragments were plenty sharp. My fingers are fine.

Still it seemed a ludicrous proposition, so while I was wrapping bits of cloth around her fingers I thought to see how long I could hold my breath. That would be many hours now and running, except, as I find, I have to breathe to speak. The urge to breathe grows at first in the usual manner, but just to a point and no further. I feel no ill effects from this whatsoever, except that I have started farting profusely in the last half hour or so. I guess I'll take up breathing again, as I am by now convinced that either I am superhuman, or not human at all. And the farting is annoying if not actually hazardous.

Once again I find myself expecting to wake up from this dream. If I could hasten that by pinching myself, I would, but alas even going at my fingers with sharp bits hasn't done it, so I have but to wait, or to accept.

It occurs to me in retrospect I should have expected...this. Or, to be more accurate, anything, many things. Despite all my purported faith in my own project, I never really believed it would work without a hitch. I assumed it would be a good first try, a huge batch of data to keep us busy for years refining the process. But what if it worked without a hitch? If I had gone in with that expectation, I would have woken up from the scan immediately asking myself, "Am I the original, or am I the copy?" And from that expectation, I would have had to conclude in short order that I, the me that is here writing this entry now, am but a copy--one of god knows how many, or where, or when.

I am a copy.

I will have to sit with this thought for a while.

[Prev | Index | Next]