I sort of phased into a dream mid-conversation, blurry and coming into focus, with a kind of jovial person who was seated with me in something built a bit like a restaurant booth, but it was seemingly in a house.
man: "We were just going to cut our losses after an upgrade, were having a terrible time with Comcast and they weren't giving in with slipcasting attacks. Didn't think there was anything there. It was a fluke that we looked after a billing anomaly and found something--we found you!!"
me: "Um. Well Comcast is my ISP in Florida right now... What's "slipcasting"?"
man: "Hey. Slipcasting, rivelcasting, snap-frame attacks...I could teach you about any of those all day. I went to college just like anyone. But still not as smart as you are, many would say."
I didn't get the terms right, probably...but he was rattling off a bunch of kinds of "casting" attacks I do not know of and that's the closest I could remember. An Internet search suggests "SubNetwork Access Protocol" is a term which might have some kind of technical 'frame' units in it to muck with, so maybe SNAP was something.
man: "But I don't think that sitting around talking about tech is what you want, someone wants to see you."
I felt a very skull-rattling knock on my head that hurt considerably. It happened another time.
me: (turning around) "Ow, what was that, something hit me..."
He pointed behind me at a sculpture of an owl that was sitting on the wall.
man: (smiling) "Y'know, maybe it was the owl. People around here like to play pranks...the owl likes to get in on the fun."
He paused and got more serious.
man: "Or... maybe you hit your head right around near the time you died and you're getting some echoes of that. Could be a sense from near-time of death. Or could be a head punching owl. Maybe neither, we might have rewritten parts of your brain on purpose just to confuse you...guess you're going to have to get used to not knowing."
I had hit my head fairly seriously a few days prior to this dream.
me: "If I'm to take it that I'm some sort of simulated being who has been having provable experiences of being pulled in various directions, why would I be the only one? Wouldn't there have been others like me?"
An Asian-looking man walked up to us and handed me a book with a drab looking beige cover. I tried to make out the title or any pictures on it but could not.
asian man: "Your particular kind of experiences...? No, we don't know of anyone else quite like that. But there are a lot of ways a life can be hard. Here's a book written about a guy that you should read; I'd say he'd give you a run for your money."
We were still in transit on the way to meet someone who wanted to see me, and I passed a mirror in a hallway. I looked about like I do currently.
me: (disappointed) "So among requests I had if technological societies ever resurrected me from the dead--and I had to be a human again for some reason--was to look like I did when I was around late 20s and 30s. I left pictures."
man: (laughing) "Oh, no, no...balding heads are cheaper. We found that particular one on discount--in fact, it wasn't even white at first. We had to spray-paint it. But now it's time to meet your friend."
A girl came up to me and kind of went to embrace me, though I sort of looked at her with unfamiliarity and she stopped and went to shake my hand.
me: (suspiciously) "Yes, nice to see you. It's been so long. Good times, good times."
man: "Don't be so skeptical, this is Tracy, she's a friend of Ellen's."
We went and met a girl who did look like a girlfriend of mine by that name, who was wearing jeans and a Penny Arcade Tetris Heart T-Shirt
, which she had during the era I knew her. We embraced.
me: "I see you still have the shirt."
her: "Well there were enough pictures of it available to dig up, isn't ever hard to print another one when..."
She got emotional and was talking about how she thought she'd never see me again. But the stories were about things that didn't happen...like me giving her a collection of little glass horses once, and how when she got mad at me she'd saved them to break one of them at a time. And how she'd never told someone named "Jeff Mann" about me. So I interrupted...
me: "Well you look like the person I know, and that shirt looks like one she had. But I'm sorry... I don't know who Jeff Mann is and I don't know of any glass horses. So maybe there's some confusion here."
her: "Let's go outside, I want to show you something."
We walked out of the house we were in and it was a sort of spacious outdoor area. We went toward a small house that seemed to be on stilts, like a treehouse. It had been painted colorfully, and there was a cardboard-like slide to climb to get up to it.
She managed to get up the slide but when I did it sort of coiled down and I bumped onto the ground. It had a tension in it like it would bounce up if I released it.
her: (laughing about my fall) "Want me to kiss it and make it better."
I pointed the slide at her like it would release and she warned me to stop.
her: (seriously) "You have to learn something and know it quickly. This is not like a video game, its incarnate. I can get hurt here, and I can feel pain."
I was about to ask more questions about the physics, but, inconveniently, awoke.
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