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Voyage of the Dream Treader

There’s a storm on the horizon. Ahoy! Avast to mid-ships, or something, I dunno.




Cosmically, I think I’m cursed. That must be it. That’s the only justifiable reason I can suss out to make any sort of logical sense to the temporal matter at hand. The bus is late, it seems like the bus is always late. I’m either early, or on time, but I’m never late. Ever. Arguably to a fault. Or inarguably, rather. It doesn’t matter how many times I check the route on my phone, the bus never arrives.


The panic sets in. And the sweats. Lots of sweat. So much sweat. All the sweat. I’m gonna be late. I need to get to school. I have a final exam that’s absurdly worth more than half of my course grade. Whoever decided on those percentage breakdowns was clearly a higher-up faculty sadist.


Does it seem odd that I have a test this late at night? Certainly. The quirky query isn’t lost on me at all. It takes ages to get to school, but eventually I do get there. Even though I’m horrendously delayed, I do finally have some luck at last. The person delivering the tests is even more behind than I am. By official academic rules, if the test messenger doesn’t arrive within fifteen minutes of the preordained time of the assigned work, then I can by right-- walk out with an automatic 100% on my perfect record. That’s the rule that’s been decreed by those with whom have the power to uh... decree things. Yeah.


At fourteen minutes and fifty-seven seconds, a loud knock hits the classroom door like a sonic boom. Curses! The test messenger arrives by the skin of their teeth, off the seat of their pants, and just under the wire. The clock starts. The tests turn over at each and every single desk at the exact same time. The sounds of multiple perfectly sharpened pencils furiously scraping in even syncopated rhythms against paper, that still burns hot off the printing press, are nothing short of horrifically Kafkaesque.


A knot forms and floats around inside of my unpredictably varying levels of stomach acidity. I don’t know a single answer to any of these questions. But how could this be? I studied from the wrong textbook. That’s how. I gotta cheat. That’s it.


Now, if you’re going to cheat, you have to be clever enough to get away with it. All one needs is a diabolical plan, and a high IQ. I’ve cheated on so many tests in the past, so this should be a real cakewalk in the park. Before I unfurl my latest masterplan of downright insidious genius, a loud gong interrupts everything.


Like the syrupy, siren songs that lured Odysseus and his crew crashing onto the razor-sharp rocks, I step outside the School for Scholarly Learning, and gaze upon the ship of Theseus. I climb aboard, utterly excited and entranced at the process of setting a new course. I’m ready to navel gaze to the ends of the earth. We have our heading. Second star to the right, and straight on ‘til morning.


There’s a storm on the horizon. Ahoy! Avast to mid-ships, or something, I dunno. The ship swings hard to the right. The waves turn turbulent. The chop is too much for the ship to handle. We get pulled into the very epicentre of the storm. The deck gets hit hard with monsoon levels of rain. The ship tosses and turns, like a perpetually spinning top, on a never-ending classical vinyl record, released straight from the very depths of Hell.


I tumble off the bow of the ship into the watery darkness below. Lost to the maelstrom of calamitous chaos and virulent fear. Vanished within the blink of an eye in the very same ocular. Everything turns black.


When I come to, I feel mounds of wet sand squeeze through my calloused sailor’s fingers and hands. I both literally and figuratively spit back at the universe, for so callously spitting me out onto the smallest of all possible peninsulas. The only thing to do on this atrocious spit of land--is suffer. Might as well create fire while having birds peck at my shackled flesh for the remainder of all damning eternity.


If I am to be marooned here in purgatory, I might as well have fun doing it. I look down at my feet, planted overtop a secret trap door. Rumrunners! Of course! With what little strength I have left, I haul the heavy door up. My muscles heave and glisten with sweat in the boiling hot sun. To my great disappointment, the stash of booze is gone. Must have missed it by mere minutes. Alright, that’s enough nautical nonsense, time to get off this rock. Problem with rocks, is trees can’t grow on them. What can I possibly use to craft a raft of newborn second-chance life? Then it hits me. Figuratively, not literally. Sea turtles, mate-- sea turtles.


But what pray tell do I use for rope? Human hair. From my back. Problem being, I just got my entire body waxed, right before my world-ending test. The sea turtles weirdly wave at me and swim away. My nose itches. I scratch. It itches more. I scratch it back. Streams of nose hairs pour out of my nostrils with the tensile strength of the hangman’s noose.


I don’t have the time to truly process this disturbing moment of pure, abject, body-horror, as I realize I can now use what just spooled about of my most tender of nasal cavities, as rope. Turtles! Come back! Come back from the East Australia Current! I swear I’m ready to go home this time. I promise! I sneeze, and in demented response, nose hair rope shoots up into the sky with frightening speed and sickening ferocity. I’m going to die here...


Until...


I wake up in a cold sweat, from the straight-up Sisyphean nightmare of continual Herculean labors. I’m back home. It was just a dream. Just—a—dream. My nostrils remain clean and clear of all pesky hairs. My body shimmies and shakes on top of the liquid mattress I just recently acquired on a foolhardy lark. Alright, that’s it. I’m officially returning the brand new gimmicky waterbed I nascently bought in the morning. And I better get a full refund for it!

Mary-Jane



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