I'd lost control of one dream and was able to re-emerge in a kitchen, talking to a woman.
woman: "But you are doing this because you are fighting in a war. I'd think you'd have figured that out."
me: "A war with who?"
her: "The aging powers."
me: "Who are they fighting?"
She sighed like I'd asked an obvious question.
her: "The newer powers, who do not age. But since we're on the subject, do you really want to be 30 forever?"
me: "Well, that's a hard question to answer. I've discussed that maybe there's something we don't see about the natural process of living and dying, and going another level deep into the simulation would be like a caterpillar wishing for eternal life and never getting to be a butterfly. It may be depriving itself of the language by which it could express that it wants to be an eternal butterfly but it just doesn't understand the options yet. That said, I certainly can say that I don't see there to be a whole lot of value in being old and in pain, but perhaps aging looks one way from the inside than from the outside."
her: "If you believed pain and poor health are things steps should be taken to avoid, I'd think you wouldn't drink so much."
By this point the person I was talking to had mutated into what seemed a bit like a morphing crystal skull in a box.
me: (annoyed) "Hey. I'm talking to a skull in a box, while I know I'm asleep, and no one I know goes through this. I mean, this would blow their mind... if it happened to them every night they'd be institutionalized for sure. The few who I've heard live like this don't really engage society so well, especially given the questions this brings about for life and death. What does it matter if I drink to cope with it?"
her: "Well you're certainly very unique, I won't argue otherwise. The point about drinking is that self-destructiveness is a pattern that is likely to re-arise even if you're put in a situation without your current physical concerns. There'll still be destructive choices you can make, scaled up. Why should we think you would do any different?"
I shrugged that off, and we started walking.
me: "I can tell you where I am right now, in fact. I'm in a hotel. In... Vancouver. Wait, no it's not in Vancouver. But it's a hotel. I didn't travel far to get here, a short flight so it must be close to California... Utah maybe? It has a name.... Ohana Waikiki Malia. Okay, I remember that and... ignore everything else I've said. I'm in Hawaii, it is December of 2010. December 14th I think."
I'm unsure why I would suggest those other things. I was only one day off.
As I pinned down my location with more accuracy, impediments began to fall away. Things making it hard to talk in my mouth came flying out, I was able to walk.
me: "As I correctly identified the time and location, it was like it was fixing me. Does knowing that information accurately help our connection."
her: "Yes, but it would help even more if you could know where you actually were."
me: "But I'm pretty darn sure that's right. Do you mean that there's a labeling problem, and what I think is Hawaii when I'm awake is something else? Like spam or bad maps?"
her: "Map splicing scams do happen to some people, but your circumstance is special."
I walked beside her for a while down a street, she was kind of a larger woman with imperfect skin. We went to a garage with no discernable key or handle. She set down a little gray plastic device that ejected wheels, zipped forward and clamped onto the door and it began to raise. Curious as to what this thing was I reached for it, she sighed and discouraged me from touching it.
The door retracted and she was then walking with me in a thinner, younger body. I got the impression that was where she kept swappable bodies.
me: "If you can look like anything you want, I'm curious as to why you'd choose to have freckles and skin imperfections."
me: "Is it considered 'retro' or something?"
She held her hand up as if she were working a puppet and flapped it mockingly.
her: "It's just a puppet. It doesn't matter. It's like... throwing on a tank top or something, what's the difference?"
me: "Well, I mean, throwing on pants is just throwing on pants. But we make aesthetic choices to do so. I'm just wondering why if you could choose anything then you would choose mottled skin. Is something limiting your choices?"
her: (scoffing) "You want to feel perfect?"
Taking my hands she pulled them around her waist and onto her butt. Her body was very firm, and I groped around it. As I did the skin imperfections on her face morphed around a bit, into patterns... dots, contours, other things.
Seemingly she got afraid of something and we wound up underneath some thing where we were trapped and people attacked me with long pipes with the obvious intent of killing me.
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