An afterlife in dreams

Come back. Even as a shadow, even as a dream. — Euripides


I can’t sleep at night. I sleep during the day. I turned life upside down. Right side up was killing me. At night I am ‘the ghost who walks,’ like my boyhood hero The Phantom. The cat walks with me. Together, we are night prowlers. I am a ghost in hell waving my gun at demons.

So I sleep during the day. Only in daytime, in dreams, does life return. The best dreams come during the day. Today, I was with S, the 21st day of the month. It was cocktail hour in the living room of our hovel and we were drinking. She was smoking a cigarette. I lit one up too.

“When did you start smoking again?” she asked me.

“After you died,” I said. “I started drinking more too.”

“I didn’t know that was possible,” she said with a wry smile.

“I didn’t care, you know.”

“I know.”

I told her I had opened up one of the cartons of cigarettes she had left unsmoked and lit up. That first drag was like a draught of a life lost, and found again, I told her, the life we shared, drinking and smoking, just having each other, a couple of misfits living in the living room.

“I know you hate sentimentality,” I told her, “but I just want to tell you, thanks for looking after me all these years.” She didn’t say anything so I continued. “And I’m sorry for the times I didn’t treat you right—”

She stopped me there and said: “And I you. You know what you call that? Thirty years of marriage.”

I told her I loved her, not missed her, because she wasn’t dead. We were as alive as ever, smoking and drinking in the living room. I leaned over to kiss her.

I woke up. It was five o’clock in the afternoon. Cocktail hour. That’s when the profound sorrow hit me. She was dead. Cocktail hour would be without her tonight as it has been for three years and four months of nights to this day, the 21st of the month. But in that dream… in that dream we were together again.

Dreams are the door to the afterlife. The best dreams come during the day. Night dreams brought out the demons. Which is why I stopped keeping my gun in the bedside drawer. One of the demons. Bound to use it. And that would end all dreams of S.

We would both be in oblivion. No memories, no life together. As long as you’re alive there’s an afterlife.

So now I read through the night and sleep during the day. To be with S.


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Avoiding the Lake of Fire

Demons and ghosts

This is the house of sloth. Nothing much goes on here except a whole lot of drinking and thinking. 

The lowly bungalow is small but large with demons and ghosts. They are real. There’s no room for fantasy here, no room for fairy tales. Our Father who art in heaven art not here. Father Christmas never comes down the chimney. The Easter Bunny hops right on by. Puff the Magic Dragon never shows up.

There is some magic going on, however. Mandrake the Magician often makes an appearance and gestures hypnotically, causing the occupant of the house (that’d be me) to see illusions, but at least no delusions, neither of grandeur nor of glory nor of the kingdom of heaven — only of the pit of hell where ‘the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars… will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death.’ [Revelations 21:8]

The Bible calls it the ‘second death,’ but I call it the first, here on Earth, in this life — and I am guilty on four counts out of eight. Not a good verdict — not amounting to hell in the first degree perhaps, nor in the second, but maybe in the third, so less time in the lake of fire. Perhaps I’ll catch a break and be guilty of the lesser offense of man/soul slaughter, or get even luckier and get the minimum charge of reckless endangerment with a life/soul, which carries no time in the lake of fire.

Well, hello, Mandrake just dropped in and he’s had a busy day gesturing hypnotically. He wants a vodka martini and I’m just the man to make it for him.

Demons and ghosts

— Image trick by Outosego


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Tokin’ with Jesus

Last night was brain fever night. That’s my name for it. I don’t know if it’s a medical condition or not. A sudden attack of hallucinations and brain shudders. Like a bad trip on LSD.

I don’t know what brings it on, out of the blue, or rather out of the darkness of midnight. Unless it was the four gin and tonics, three beers and two brandies. But I’ve drunk that much before without a brain fever attack.

Maybe it was the Xanax at bedtime that went on a diabolical rage with the alcohol already streaming in my blood.

You can’t sleep. You lie in bed and ride it out like a storm in hell. Around four o’clock in the morning, the waking nightmare begins to abate. Finally you sleep, mainly from the exhaustion of the battle.

The doctor told me my liver was more like a die-r, and to knock off the booze. I don’t see how. Drinking is my last pleasure. Like smoking cigarettes and grass was to my wife. And when she fell ill and was told not to smoke, she still smoked.

And now she’s tokin’ with Jesus.

My wife was a believer, especially when she was high. I try to be, but I can’t get there. Jesus was always high. So were his disciples.

As Matthew relates (14:24): But the boat by this time was a long way from the land, beaten by the waves, for the wind was against them. And he [Jesus] came to them, walking on the sea. … So Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water and came to Jesus.

If you get high, man, you can do anything.

As the Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia said:

Brain fever night

Getting high on the Universe is cool and I can do that, but taking it a step further, maybe if you get high on Jesus, you end up getting high with Jesus.

I don’t know, man — just keep tokin’.


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