A nice doctor lady took pity on a wheezing, choking pre-pleuritic patient yesterday and granted him the succor of a bottle of laudanum to still his racking coughs. Well, perhaps not actual laudanum -- but something that set his sleeping dreams into an unaccustomed hyper-reality, all kaleidoscopic patterns, disjointed narratives and twisted landscapes. He awoke this morning to find not a Person from Porlock but a large brown dog licking his face.*
Springing from his bed he scrabbled frantically for a pen and paper to write down immediately the details of the dream -- knowing that with every passing moment more and more of it would be lost. When finally he was able to put his hands on a crayon and piece of construction paper from the wee ones' room, the only shred that remained from the vision was one line of dialogue. And thus I present (for, dear reader, as you may have divined, the dreamer was myself) as much of it as my opiated memory could retain:
You think it's hot up here, you should check out the Mailroom! They're using the Pitney-Bowes machine to roll their own cigarettes!
No, not exactly Alph the Sacred River, is it. So, disappointed, I decreed Wonder Woman bring her stately pleasure domes over for thorough medical examination, but even that avenue of pleasure was closed off: "I'm not coming anywhere near that cough!"
I wheezed my way downstairs to find the morning WashPost. One glance at the front page and I was off -- the whole thing came flooding back: They were in it! These guys were in my dream! There was a huge Busby Berkeley number, leggy girls in giant jalapeño and maize headdresses, Aztec priests slashing still-beating hearts in an eight-sided kaleidoscopic mandala (death's-head grinning victims leaping up off the slabs and doing a kick-line afterwards, gore splattering everywhere), Santa Anna and Winfield Scott banging wooden spoons on passing helmets in a naked Duck Soup rip ("In any time and any place and any kind of weather/You'll find your mil-i-tary ace in good ol' Fuss and Feathers!"), Minute Men (pronounced My-Newt Men for some oneiric reason I'll never fathom) performing a bizarrely knock-kneed line-dance, their knees and ankles collapsing as they slipped around frenetically in a puddle of crude oil. Climaxing the spectacle, in goose-stepped a line of pith-helmeted mailmen, shoulder-bags and Sam Brownes gleaming, swastikas in place of their USPS shoulder patches, singing this catchy refrain:
When goodness sags and morals lag because of queers and queens
We'll wave the flag and run them fags through the Piiiitneeeeey-Bowes maaa-chiiiiiine!
Maybe you had to be there.
*This is not to imply that Slingin' Sammy Coleridge awoke to find a Person from Porlock licking his face; were this the case, "Xanadu" might have been considerably more popular in high-school literature classes.