The Vanishing Box

I have intensely vivid dreams, dreams that are as real as sitting here. I am aware within my dreams that I’m asleep. My mind wanders in and out of memories and sometimes the dream is an alternate version of a real event, such as dreaming about finding your brother drowned in a swimming pool in your past, although when you wake he’s just as fine as he had been when you went to sleep. Sometimes I get to wander around in my head, like an explorer. The mental atmosphere is disjointed and strange; road signs have names, trees feed on children, pigeons feeding old people, dolphins amusing themselves by tricking us into giving them fish, a little box that allows me to go anywhere. That’s the most amusing thing I’ve ever encountered in a dream and it recurs: I find the same box in different places every time I come across it. Essentially, the box can show me my fears. When I was young, I’d see academic failures in the box, broken friendships, disappearing family members and dying loved ones. I’d see my friends get shot, my family die in traffic accidents, you know, the usual. The other night I encountered the box for the first time in almost five years. The last time I looked into the box I saw my grave. This time I was in my usual imaginary British study. There’s a fire and a pipe and a stereotypical Dickens character. This is a place I go in my dreams to pretend I’m Sherlock Holmes, but unlike Holmes, a character much admired for his usage of cocaine and morphine, I never actually solve any cases. Doctor Watson is a guy I met in Minnesota. I sit there in front of a typewriter and make up adventures in which I solve the problems, then Dr. Watson reads over it and that’s me, as Sherlock Holmes, making fake adventures, wearing his costume. I was in his study when I received a package from an anonymous address. The package contained one of the boxes, the boxes that show me things I fear, I call them vanishing boxes because once I see my fear, the box disappears. The vanishing box at B. Baker street contained a mirror. I showed it to Dr. Watson and he saw the same thing in the mirror as I did: myself, or a very precise imitation. We decided to find out who sent the box. I get my magnifying glass and hat and we went to the post office. The man at the post office thought it was a joke. He turned out to be a robot because one of the questions caused a feedback loop that later cost him his uptime. I asked him (the robot is a Russian man that looks like Zangief from street fighter 2) who sent the package and the fucking robot shut down. It was similar to the scene in 2001: A Space Odyssey when Hal sings Daisy except this bellhop robot did the traditional Russian hoy! hoy! as he powered down in a pathetic little dance. Dr. Watson laughed. Let me reiterate: the person who is substituted as Dr. Watson is a guy I know online. I believe the Sherlock Holmes element of the dreams came from a Star Trek episode where a robot plays Sherlock Holmes, and a negro with strange headgear is Watson. In the episode, Data is unable to solve the mysteries because he knew all the answers, having read all the books, and is [as is inferred] incapable of not computing, using intuition. I am different than the robot in one regard: I do use my intuition and I usually wind up in the hospital or jail when I do, so I’ve endeavored to completely abandon any sense of humanity. Emotions, fears, humiliation, anxiety, insomnia, nightmares, etc–robots don’t need pills do deal with that kind of shit. I’ve never encountered a computer with a cocaine problem. I used to date a chick with a cocaine problem. ‘Great success!’

We go back to Sherlock’s house and played Star Fox 64 and drink vodka. I don’t know what that suggests, that I’m a chronic alcoholic in my dreams, or an impersonation of Sherlock Holmes with with a Jesus beard. Our game of Star Fox was interrupted by our butler (the guy from the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Geoffrey) who says there is a package. It’s another of the boxes. G-Money says the man ran off when he rang the doorbell, so me and Dr. Watson try to track the man down. We follow his footprints to an opium den in Shanghai. I’ve always wanted to hang out in an opium den. The squalor of the institution is something I admire, Lotus Eaters of the new millennium. I tell Watson to look around and order myself a cheap cot on the floor and wait on the opium. A young woman brings me a silver slaver with a pipe and a golf sized ball of black opium. This was turning into a legendary dream. I was in a dank opium den amongst a room of sick and dying people and it was like paradise. It’s hard to have worries when you have a ball of opium the size of a golf ball in front of you with a very accommodating Asian chick holding the pipe. I believe I was there for a long time. Dr. Watson had abandoned his search for the criminal and had started drinking vodka, waiting on me to finish my opium (a very gentlemanly thing to do) and tells me that he knows who sent the package. The opium den catches on fire when I throw my candle at some old Asian woman singing like Yoko Ono. We return to the office on Baker street. Another package is waiting. It’s another mirror, a mirror that I couldn’t see my reflection in. I held it up to Watson. His face reflected in the mirror fine. I looked at it again and it was black, reflecting the open window behind me. I see the reflection of another man, just over where my right shoulder would be. I turn around and see a man in street clothes standing at the door. All of this is stretched out over a long period of time, like real time applies. It doesn’t in the interpretation, but it does in the experience. I go to the door and I’m standing there, the normal me in something I might wear, holding another of the boxes. It was me dressed as Professor Moriarty. He leaves the box and leaves. I open the box and there’s nothing in it, nothing at all, just darkness. I look at Dr. Watson and he’s out of costume, fat and old with blank eyes and chapped lips. Like Sherlock Holmes, I also had a massive collection of trinkets with special meaning to me: the other mirror, that still would show my face, a copy of a book I don’t like from a person whom I very much adore, a .357 with an ivory handle, two red poker chips, loads of shit. Every time I receive something that has meaning to me, it ends up in that collection. I have a voodoo doll of myself. It was made by a friend of mine, a friend of mine who believed I enjoyed misery / pain / depression. So she saved me the trouble of writing a novel by making a nice doll of me in a successful business suit that I can stab every time I start to feel something again, just to cut out the middle memories. Could all of this mental atmosphere and confusion be settled with a healthy diet? Perhaps if I ate more than bread, exercised, got all my vitamins, I wouldn’t hallucinate crying children when I try to sleep. I’ve decided to stop taking the impure medications my psychotic therapists have me on and use the money on healthy food instead of drugs that help me sleep, relieve chest pains and headaches. It’s a shame they don’t have tofu in the South, or soy milk (hence our miserable fat asses.) The reason I’ve decided on this course of action is because of what I believe to be the misdiagnosis of physical trauma to a fetus due to cocaine abuse when in fact it was her unhealthy diet of chips, Dr. Pepsi and McDonald’s led to my grand mal seizures. If only my mother had had an apple a night instead of an eight ball. Who knows? I might not be a bitter and lonely bastard anymore. My career would be over. I NEED MY PAIN.

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