Almost Contemporaneous Telling of a Dream

I had a long, involved dream, more like a nightmare, several nights ago. I awoke in the middle of the night (see number 8, below) and rushed into my study to record what I could remember. Even immediately after waking, many elements of the dream were unclear and disjointed. I know it was all part of the same dream, but several of the pieces just don’t fit together. Anyway, for psychiatrists with an interest in nocturnal insanity, here’s what I wrote.

  1. I was in a huge room, taking a class on some kind about motorcycles, taught by three  guys. Harleys and the more expensive motorcycles, they said, were the cream of the crop. The cheaper motorcycles were fine for most people, but more expensive were much better. The differences were in the frills; they said Harleys, for example, allowed riders to remote control stoplights so they turned to green from red.
  2. I questioned why the big difference in price and why “frills” made the high end motorcycles so much better. One of the guys was miffed by my question. He wants to show me that I shouldn’t be questioning him.  He gets in an argument with one of his co-teachers; very loud, angry, screaming. Much more discussion of motorcycles and why cheap ones are okay for the masses, but “chosen people” must ride Harleys and their ilk because only the best bikes will do for them.
  3. Not sure how, but the angry guy then is leading us outside in a car. He is screaming and one of his co-teachers is trying to calm him. Something happens, not sure what, but there was a big blow up.
  4. Next thing I know, we are all (more of us now) on a wet, muddy roadway in the dark. Myra Rustin, a friend who’s also a writer and who goes to my church, is walking next to me, trying to get me to talk to her. She gets angry when I tell her to move over closer to the sidewalk as cars pass.
  5. Next thing, I’m with a group of people, including the angry motorcycle guy, who are trying to find someone planning a hit on a major event with a rifle. We are in a big city, downtown, among tall buildings. We see a guy with a rifle in the distance; he is sprinting away from us. We start chasing him but we lose him, but we see another guy  dressed like the first one. He is wearing black slacks and a black t-shirt; something red is visible, not sure what. Somehow, we are certain a major hit about to be staged. We see another guy with a rifle in the distance. We stop a couple of cops and tell them an attack is imminent; they dismissed us, saying “Five Easy Pieces” is being filmed. We say, NO, this is the real thing. They blow us off. I tell one of them I got his name and will report him (though I did not see his name badge). Just then, a guy exits a subway, carrying a rifle, but he looks different. We tell the cops; the guy explains he is there to film “Five Easy Pieces.” We keep running. We arrive at a big building with lots of outdoor space. A priest stands there with several children, looking like they’re posting for photos. Shots ring out. One little girl is hit and falls to the ground, bleeding. Then the priest goes down. Then more little girls. People are running in a frenzy.
  6. Next scene, we’re entering the same building, but there’s no more frenzy. Just a lot of people, all getting ready for some major social event. We push our way through the crowd. I realize I’m wearing a suit, but no tie. A guy from high school, Mark Westerman, walks by with his wife, but it appears he does not recognize me. Yet he speaks to me in passing. He and his wife leave. For some reason, I am very afraid that he is involved in the rifle attacks.  A few minutes later, they return. He is dressed to the nines. He approaches me and asks if I am John Swinburn. “Yes, and are you Mark Westerman?” He says, “It looks like you’ve done very well for yourself, like you’ve made a lot of money that allowed you to retire.” “No, just living in poverty. This is an old suit that I’ve taken good care of.” He then proclaims all of his accomplishments and all the businesses he owns, expressing how over the top successful he is. People all around me, people I do not know, listen. He leaves. A woman close by suggests he is full of himself. I remain afraid. I think he will return with guns.
  7. Westerman returns. “John Swinburn, may I have a word with you?” I am afraid if I go with him, he will either kill me or have me killed. I try to avoid going. Something else is going on around me, quite a commotion. I get in a car, a Mustang, and start driving around a large, circular driveway. Cars are coming from a different direction, chasing me. Shots ring out. I am scared, but I know I must go someplace where I can stop this rifle attack. I hit the gas and move toward a place I think “my side” is trying to stop the attacks.
  8. My wife gets up and goes into the bathroom; my dream is interrupted. I am grateful.
  9. It’s now 3:54 a.m. and I’ve just finished recording what I remember of a dream. Back to bed.

About John Swinburn

"Love not what you are but what you may become."― Miguel de Cervantes
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