Sometimes A Cigar Is Just A Cigar
Sometimes, It Isn't

Note from Johanna: Sometimes the unconconscious mind calls on a rich tapestry of abstruse symbols and signs to make a point. Sometimes it's a subtle as a halfbrick to the head. This is one of those latter times. Weirdness abounds.

Rumble, Thud - What?

I'm at a house - not my own - visiting with a friend. I had intended to be hanging out with MG, but in one of those moments of dream re-casting, I blink and it's now RH sitting on the sofa and bitching about his job. I'm sprawled on the floor, lounging on a sheepskin cushion and playing with a cat and listening to the wind pick up as a storm blows in. The sun has just gone down, but it becomes dark much more quickly than usual as a thunderstorm asserts itself.

It's a dry storm, with only a little wind, but a lot of thunder and lightening. During one of the breaks in the cacophany, I rather sheepishly admit that I'm scared of loud thunder. Far-off storms in the spring aren't a problem, but the wrath-of-God stuff right over my head unnerves me. RH makes fun of me, a bit, but I can tell by his expression that his mind's on something else; he's worried about something and it's not the storm.

A few moments later, I realize that what I had thought to be a quieter rumble of thunder isn't, as it's getting louder and is following a steady, almost familiar cadence. I'm confused for a moment and then I remember something. The house is near a levee (or perhaps a small dam?) and although it doesn't seem like much rain has fallen, the levee has let go in a serious way. The storm might not even have anything to do with it, but that's doubtful.

I look at RH, both of us realizing that the house is not going to survive what's about to hit it, nor is there any way we can outrun it - not a pleasant moment. I make some bitchy comment that my friend should have wondered as to why the property was suspiciously cheap when he settled here and, in fine nothing-left-to-lose tradition, grab him and plant one on him. I'm thinking it's better to die do something fun rather than in a snivelling panic...

...except death does not manifest. The narrative does a hard cut - no transition, no explanation - and I'm walking around an arcology. The building is vast, housing several thousand people, and is almost totally self contained. It seems that society in general got walloped by Mother Nature in the last scene and, in the aftermath, this arcology thing struck the Powers That Be as a good idea. I'm not one to judge, as I'm not more than a medium sized cog in this machine.

I'm also supposed to be blind, but I'm not. The Huge Disaster - whatever it was - left a large percentage of the population without sight. Approximately 2/3 of the women and 1/3 of the men can't see and are looked-after by the state to one degree or another. I know that I - like many others - hold a regular job and manage to maintain a middle-class position for myself, as evinced by the level of the arcology on which I reside. My socio-economic status is also indicated by a necklace that I'm wearing (not a choker or a collar, just a regular chain) as the color and link-type of the necklace describes my status (and my physical state) to anyone who sees me. At the moment, I'm wearing a broad, silver, 'herringbone' type of chain. It's what I usually wear.

I'm not sure why I'm pretending to be blind - I just know that it's important. I think that if I'm discovered to be sighted, I'm doomed some Handmaiden's Tale-esque fate of churning out healthy children for the next generation, or something.

I'm heading down towards the lower levels of the arcology. Only the upper-classes can go down there - and from there, outside - so I don a 'disguise' that will get me past security. I simply step into the shadows and switch my modest silver chain for one of oversized gold links (it reminds me of a mayor's chain of office) and drop the blind act. From that point forward, all doors are open to me.

I come to a secret room, buried somewhere in the basement of the complex, and there I meet a group of friends who are hoping to foment rebellion against the Powers That Be. The societal order has been imposed on us, and we're not happy about it. Looking around the room, I see people that I game with in real life, and I vaguely wonder if this wasn't all some very sophisticated LARP. If that's the case, everyone is well in-character and the meeting gets underway.  The plan at hand features disrupting some big outdoor event, one to which only the priveleged upper-classes are allowed to attend. The idea doesn't involve me at all, so I space out for a bit and, having removed my 'status chain' (as we all have because revolutions are all about egalitarianism, doncha know), someone - RH - makes a crack about what use is a blind person going to be in the revolt. I had defaulted back into my blind-act, through force of habit. AB starts to step up to my defence but, wanting to look after myself, I rather tartly cut RH down and mention that the rebels are going to need the support of the genuinely blind, sooner or later, so knock it off with the wisecracks.

The meeting winds down from there, and I depart feeling unsatisifed and not reassured that these lofty aims are actually going to get us anywhere.


*********
Holiday Camp From Hell? Not  For The Clients!

I have taken up residence in a place that resembles a 'motor court' that would have been the groovy, cutting edge of motel accomdations in the mid 1950s. The camp - because that's what it is - is small collection of boxey two-storey buildings, surrounding an emerald green lawn and the obligatory swimming pool.  The buildings are in good shape - new paint on the walls, bright glass in the oversized windows, but that's where any resemblance to normality ends.

The camp is something like the Stepford Wives meets the tacky men's magazine of your choice. The staff is entirely female, the clientele is all male. The establishment is run by two women who utilize a combination of Prussian efficiency and bondage/discipline to keep the staff (and sometimes the clients) in line. Apparently I've ended up there at the request of my family because it's a better place to find a husband than finishing school - sorry, Alex, you were nowhere in sight.

I'm not enjoying my 'employment' at this place, despite the fact that the business seems to be accepted by the community and most of the clients are pleasant, middle-class chaps looking for a bit of pampering and, okay, wild sex on the weekend. I'm constantly trying to determine a way to escape the place (short of marriage) but the ladies--in-charge have thwarted enough attempts to stop any of mine before I start. At this point, I'm being passed between them like a pet project and that's all you're getting for prurient details, lest I startle a random websurfer.

The dream concludes with a camp activity. All of the clients - all of them, this is a mandatory event - are sitting on chairs or reclining on sun-loungers on the lawn. Every fellow has been given a snake to hold and never mind if you're not too keen on snakes. The ladies-in-charge are quite the herpetology fiends, it seems (no comment).  One chap is not enjoying the exercise, even though the snake he has been handed - a rather fine red python with a feather-like crest of scales running from between its eyes to halfway down its back - is quite friendly and almost kittenish. At a nod from one of the bosses, I pick the snake up - he's a bit unwieldly at almost five feet long - and walk around with him making some comments about how all the snakes have different personalities, which they do. As I walk around, some lazy boa-types are just draped around shoulders, whilst other snakes are playful as puppies, in their way. I stop by to let the red crested python visit with his littermate for a second (who looks exactly the same, but black rather than red) and then the dream ends because a cat jumped onto the bed...

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