Last night, after chatting on the phone a bit and reading some more of Kinki Lullaby, I turned in early and feel asleep sometime before 11:30. It wasn’t long before I slipped into a strange dream.
I was at my desk, my computer on, apparently writing something. But it was my old computer, my old Apple II C with the bright green letters on a black screen. Now that I think about it, it’s possible that I didn’t write the words. I just remember reading the words on the screen, not actually writing them. I know there’s this old idea that you can’t read in dreams, but it’s crap. I do it all the time.
“Konichiwa,” said the Urban Cowboy.
“Konichiwa,” I said back. The Urban Cowboy was pointing a derringer at me, a derringer with little pretty flowers painted on it. Despite the flowers, I knew he would shoot me dead before I even drew out my battle sword. What to do, what to do.
Don’t ask me. No idea what any of that means.
My reading was interrupted by a scraping noise coming from the kitchen. I walked into the kitchen, turned on the lights and found everything covered with Ladybugs. The floor, the walls, the ceiling, the table, the stove; everything. Hundreds, thousands of tiny undulating, scuttling masses of red insectoid bodies crawling over every available space. The noise was louder in the kitchen, and seemed to come from the sheer mass of numbers of them moving together. I remember wondering where they came from, if they moved with some group purpose, and, most importantly, how I would be able to make coffee in the morning if they were all still in the kitchen.
That’s all I remember. Next thing I knew, I was awake (sort of), lying in bed with my room only lit by the soft electric blue light from my alarm clock. I had left my world band radio on when I fell asleep, and someone was babbling in Russian or some other East European language I don’t understand. I crawled out of bed and went to the kitchen, just to check. Sometimes when I wake up I’m a little confused between dreams and reality, so I just wanted to be sure.
The kitchen, of course, was fine. No ladybugs, or bugs of any kind for that matter. I took a glass out of the cabinet, got some water out of the sink and drank half of it. I walked back to my bedroom, set the half-full glass on my nightstand next to the clock, and got back into bed and fell asleep.
My alarm woke me up at the usual 7:00 a.m. My shades were drawn closed, so the light was brighter than before although still pretty low. I thought briefly about the dream, trying to remember as many details as I could before I fully woke up and forgot it all. Feelings of being both mildly creeped out and amused flitted through my head. After a few minutes of this, satisfied that I remembered as much as I could, I sat up, turned on the reading light on my nightstand and picked up the half-full glass of water. I was just about to take a gulp when I saw something floating in it.
It was a ladybug. A dead ladybug. But this was not the same ladybug I saw at sunrise the day before. This one was different. For starters, it was larger, fatter. But it’s color was different. This one was not the same bright nail polish red, but was a dull yellow with a slight touch of red mixed in. I suppose the size could come from simple bloating from the water, but I’m pretty sure it was a different one.
But the story doesn’t end there.
On my way to the metro, I drive past the school bus stop for the neighborhood. It had rained sometime overnight, and the sky was still gray and the ground still wet. Not one but two little girls at the bus stop were wearing matching raincoats, those bright red raincoats decorated to make them look like, yes, Ladybugs. And when I got off the metro this morning at Metro Center and made my way down F Street to work, I saw a scrunched up elderly lady who, despite the fact that the sun was starting to come out, walked with her umbrella opened. Which, of course, was decorated like a Ladybug.
I know this is all a little too much to be believed, and in many ways I feel like I’m trapped in some sort of Magical Realist or New Fabulist story. This would be but the first few pages, with something Ladybug related changing my life in the climax. But sometimes life really does move in patterns. Although I’m not particularly religious or superstitious, sometimes the world is just trying to tell you something. I have no idea what, though.
Phew. This ended up being longer than I thought. But I felt it strange enough to blog about. My little narrative brain is working overtime to try to figure out a way to use all this in a story. I’m not sure how yet. It’ll probably take me a few weeks to figure it out.