Work Stress? Me?

I'm at work - vivid studios - and there is a lot of construction going on. This isn't unusual - there's been construction in my office for the past three months - but it seems that the plans have changed. Rather than installing new conference rooms, it has been decided that the space at the rear of my office, behind my desk, will be turned into several hotel-style suites - for workers to sleep in when they stay too late at night. The rooms are very nice, with comfortable furniture and spacious rooms. I worry about what the management is expecting from us in return for these luxury accomodations, but nobody else seems bothered.

I go to the kitchen to get some juice and discover our juice cooler has been filled with soda. Ever flexible, I grab myself a caffeine-free coke and then notice that, somewhere between my desk and the kitchen, I've misplaced my shirt. A strategicaly held three-ring binder provides some cover, until I find a shirt lying on the ground in the middle of the office. It's not mine, but I assume that the owner won't mind if I put it on. Next to where I find the shirt, our office secretary, Rachel, is cooking soup on a rather incongruous gas-range - and since she doesn't have a pan, she's balancing a ceramic bowl on top of the burner - rather precariously. I see nothing unusual about this, and move on.

It occurs to me that perhaps I should get some work done, and I meander back to my desk, only to find an ill-tuned upright piano beside it, and one of my co-workers, Ryan, is ethusiastically playing it. Never a fan of bad music, I ask him to stop. He doesn't. Finally, I slam the keyboard lid down, just slowly enough for him to save his fingers. He wanders off, muttering about my being a spoilsport, while I shove the piano aside, wondering who the hell put it there in the first place.

Working is still not in the cards as I sit at my desk and look around. The office is suddenly crowded with strangers and my friend Jennifer is addressing them. It seems that she's running a huge LARP out of vivid. I'm not particularly in the mood for gaming, and the day is almost fragged completely at this point, so I duck into one of the 'guest suites' to determine my plans for the weekend - apparently it's Friday night - and make a few calls.

Mike, another co-worker, calls me on the phone to let me know that he and some other guys are going to be playing baseball in South Park the next day, do I want to watch? I'm not a fan of sports, and I politely decline. Mike tries to persuade me, mentioning that the teams are going to be in 1950's antique uniforms. This sounds amusing, and a tad bizarre, but I have already made plans for the weekend. I end the conversation, and head to the well appointed bar that our thoughtful manager has included amongst the residential suites.


Too Much Buffy...

I'm at a Halloween costume store in a town I don't recognize, but am familiar with. There are a couple of friends with me, but their faces aren't clear. Recently, the residents of this town have seen a Dracula-esque figure - pale, well-dressed, tendency for flight, rumors of a blood fixation - in the area and I've come to investigate it. I have a nagging feeling that I really don't have a clue what's going on, as I can't remember what makes me qualified to look into these things, but it seems like a good idea.

So, I'm at this costume store. This mysterious figure, despite worrying the hell out of everyone, is a very popular choice for Halloween and the store has practically nothing but fake tuxedoes and cheap capes. I, myself, am looking for a watch that will tell lost time - I have this urgent sense of needing such a thing - and quizzing the wizened old man who owns the store.

Just as I find a watch that I need - it has a rectangular silver filligree bezel, with some layered and moving cutouts over the lower half of the face (which does not have the hours of the day written on it) on a black leather strap - a stranger enters the store, and tries to take the watch from my hand, declaring that he needs it more than I do. He's tall, with an oval face and swarthy skin - his features make me think of Central America. His black hair is long and coarse, and hangs freely in his face, and he is wearing a slightly rumpled black suit.

I beg to differ and a fight ensues. The stranger backhands me and as I see the blow coming I think Uh-oh, lights out for Johanna... But I don't feel a thing, even as my head snaps back. Jamming the watch into my pocket, I lunge for the man, suddenly convinced that he is the stranger that has been worrying the town - otherwise why would he need this watch? We fright, trashing a portion of the store, and even though I'm hitting him with all my strength, he hardly notices my efforts, as I hardly notice his. A concerted heave shoves him out of the door and into the sunlight street, where I hope he might burst into flames and save me further effort.

No such luck. The stranger looks at me, notices my rather dissapointed expression and laughs. "I'm the one you're looking for," he says, "but I'm not what you think." With that, he disappears into the earth with a magickal gesture, and an odd gravestone manifests where he stood.

My nameless friends - who are looking more like Willow and Xander as the dream progresses - and I rush over to the standing stone. There is something written upon in, but it is carved in backwards. Some bright lad produces a sheet of modelling clay, and we take an impression of the stone and read that. There was a name - something Spanish that I can't remember now - an motif of a two interwoven squares and a circle - and an epitaph which pretty much said 'Ha, ha, can't catch me!'.

I'm angry and irritated, but glad that I have a name for this stranger, as that will give me a starting point to do some research. The stranger may not be a vampire, but I think he's worthy of concern, and I want to learn more.

Past

Present

Future

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