Stepping out of a house into a deck area, I saw a man seated in a chair. He was reading a paper and having some coffee. He reminded me of Mario, the video game character.
me: "It's-a-you, Mario!"
man: (getting up) "Hey there."
me: "I'm sorry if it's strange that I'm picking you out to talk to. Do you think it's strange?"
him: "Oh, I don't know. I don't think I'm any less noteworthy than Mario, or a mushroom."
At this point I noticed that there was a giant plastic statue of Mario on the deck, and also a little smiling picture of an anthropomorphic mushroom.
The mushroom looked a bit like this:
...though since the man I ended up speaking to didn't seem to look like Mario at all at this point, these objects may have appeared because of my initial impression.
me: "Do you have a name?"
him: "Well, I don't go so much for names. But how about 'mace'?"
me: "Ok, mace it is."
him: "Well, see, I'd spell it M-A-I-S-S-E."
me: "I can remember that."
Maisse is a town in France and a relatively common last name, but not so common as a first name.
me: "This place reminds me of my grandmother's house. Are you somehow related to me or anyone in my family?"
maisse: "Yes, actually."
me: "Um, okay so how do you fit into...the hierarchy? Or not hierarchy, but just what is your relationship to me and my world?"
A small kind of dirty child came barreling into us. I stepped away, fearing an attack. But he just looked at me with big eyes and a dumb look. He kind of smelled bad.
maisse: "Oh nothing to be afraid of, [name] will take care of him. Hmm. But he is kind of a mess."
me: "All right back on the topic, I mean, to give an example...are you a person who is...dead?"
maisse: "No, no. But I was trying for that this cycle, wanted to see what it was like. I didn't get picked."
me: "How can you be picked to be...dead?"
maisse: "Well, it's just a thing you can do, it takes about 50 years. Unless you do the roller-coaster and then it's over in two."
I don't know if he meant a literal roller-coaster, or if he was suggesting that there was some sort of process for expediting one's process by rushing it some other more metaphorical way.
me: "So...okay, in this position of dead or not dead and descriptive terminology for what people are, what am I? And why is it that I'm here mapping out territories of the cosmos that no one from my world seems to know about?"
maisse: "You're a programming person."
me: "That's something I do, but...I mean, am I somehow different biologically from people with other skills or jobs? Like...someone who repairs telephones, they'd be technical maybe but would they not be a 'programming person'?"
Another guy was in the room sitting in a chair, who disagreed with this position. And I woke up.
Currently I am experimenting with using Disqus for comments, however it is configured that you don't have to log in or tie it to an account. Simply check the "I'd rather post as a guest" button after clicking in the spot to type in a name.