Just About The Worst Nightmare I Have Ever Had

For starters, I woke up at around three a.m. with my head coming right off. Usually, over the past several months, it has been my leg trying to make a break for it but this time the list of neck, shoulder and jaw muscles that were locked down would give you a headache yourself if you tried to pore through them.* I had the distinct feeling I had been trying to bite through a leather strap in my sleep.

I deal with these things by exterminating trigger points one at a time. On this occasion it was going to take a while; I slipped out of bed, since the Engineer was occupying about two thirds of it and the cats had half the rest. About half an hour later I was able to climb back in and pass out with a tennis ball under my occiput. No, that isn’t rude.

Sometime around first light I had the dream. I was coming back down the hill from a play or movie with the Engineer and some other vague friend, male I think; it was my street and my house, but the vicinity was far more urban, brick paver walks like they have up toward the nearest underground stop and a jigsaw of shops and businesses reminding me of Alexandria, the next town over. It was early evening. We crossed to my side of the street, and there was my front door lying at the curb, off at the hinges, the house standing open. (My front porch, which in real life is screened, seemed to be missing, too, but I think that was just a vagary of dreams.)

Whoever had done it wasn’t inside any longer. But the living room looked denuded. Some things remained, while large tracts of wall were bare; I realized that, most conspicuously, the housebreakers had taken my CDs, the dinky cheap stereo I play them on, the art from the walls, and my books — all of them.

For some reason, it seemed as if the only thing to do at this point was say goodbye to our friend and go to bed.

When I went upstairs it was worse, because I keep a lot of books on the top floor too, and they were gone. All gone. I thought only fleetingly about things like jewelry or checkbooks. We went to bed, but I couldn’t sleep, and presently noises at the curb drew me outside again; there were all my books, packed in boxes, and an unsavory creep who looked a lot like the literate heavy named Wade (a corporate crook’s fixer) in the Babylon 5 series. Go figure.

Two large empty vans, with a festive logo on a turquoise ground, were idling at the curb. The door was somehow back in the frame, but with the lock jigsawed out. Wade was apparently waiting for assistance loading all the boxes in the trucks. “What are you doing?  Why?” I wanted to know. He just said that he was going to need help because the haul from my “wealthy lifestyle” (he sneered as he said it) was so copious. Oh right. Somehow I found my cell phone and dialed 911; the person who answered seemed to be a person from a customer service department asking what kind of merchandise I wanted help with. I shouted with mounting frustration, “This is 911! I need the police! I’m calling the police!” At this point the Engineer appeared in the door and I pleaded with him to make a phone call to the fucking police goddammit, but all he could come up with was half of a set of cheap walkie-talkies.

My door isn’t wood, by the way. It’s structural fiberglass, and rotsa ruck trying to get through it with a jigsaw.

Thinking about that made me feel better, sort of, while I came down from clenching my jaw again. And for what it’s worth, my left leg wasn’t singing Credo in un Dio crudel for the first morning I can remember in months. I’ll take what I can get.


*If you’re feeling kinda crazy anyway: transverse nuchae, temporalis, zygomaticus, splenius capitus, trapezius, masseter, lateral pterygoid, sternocleidomastoid, scalenus anterior, infraspinatus. I may have missed a couple.


7 thoughts on “Just About The Worst Nightmare I Have Ever Had

  1. I’m going for crazy – transverse nuchae? I’m having trouble finding a diagram, though I did manage to find a couple references to an “occasional” muscle.

  2. I think I’ve heard of it under the o-minor name, but it’s certainly never really come to my attention before. Glad you gave it notice. Thanks for the extra tuition!

    • I think it has a lot to do with horror at the thought of all the houses that washed away in Sandy — if that happened to me and my books went, it would be like murdering me. I can’t imagine myself in the world without them.

      • Oh, for sure. I hadn’t thought of that. I know it stretches credulity, but since I live three thousand miles away where the weather was mild that week, I do not have TV service, and I deny myself the temptations of disaster porn, Sandy and her effects were reduced in my tiny world to often-poignant blog posts. That storm was absolutely the stuff of nightmares.

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