I think it comes as no surprise to anyone that there are certain nightmares that many of us have experienced. I searched the issue of recurring nightmares online and found no shortage of lists. And after perusing several of them, I can confirm that I’ve experienced quite a few of the more prevalent ones, e.g., falling, being unprepared for a test in school, etc. My most frequent nightmare related to school, however, was not being unprepared for an exam, but rather, discovering part way through a semester, that I had misread my schedule and had not been attending a class AT ALL. What is that all about?
And then, there are those nightmares on these lists that to the best of my relatively poor ability to recall anything from sleep, I don’t believe I’ve experienced. One list, for example, mentioned nightmares about home maintenance, such as discovering that your home’s lights no longer work. I’ve never had that one. Don’t get me wrong – I have had more than my share of trepidations about my home. But when I do, my eyes have always been open – wide open, staring in disbelief.
But my worst nightmare, I fear, is yet to come. I know it is building in my subconscious, little by little, word by word, every day that I write. And it goes something like this.
Somewhere, in the basement computing facility of any one of the many three-letter organizations, some massive, supercomputer with nothing better to do is keeping tabs on our online searches. So, someone searches the massive virtual repository that we call the Internet for construction plans for a nuclear device, and he goes in the possible terrorist category. Then, someone else sees what they can find on common fire accelerants, and he goes in the possible arsonist category.
But within this list of the many types of possible miscreants, our trusty supercomputer saves one category for the worst of the worst, the absolute scum of the earth. This is the person who isn’t satisfied with just one…or even two ways to murder his fellow man. He wants to know about them all – disease, poison, electrocution, ways to drive people mad, torture, you name it. His thirst for evildoing knows no bounds, as he flits from one diabolical scheme to another. And at the top of that list is, your intrepid mystery/thriller writer, me…who even wants to know about causing nightmares. How low can he go?
Ah, what I would give for that ability to tell myself, this is just a dream, this is just a dream...and wake up.