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detective brain

March 7, 2012

Last night’s dreams were SO VIVID. They were the most real-feeling dreams I’ve had in a long while. Work has been going great, I’m finally getting into the swing of balancing hobbies/work/hanging out/doing other things, and it’s really nice. I feel like life is settling in to a neat and tidy routine that leaves room for spontaneity, and that’s a good feeling. Anyway…on to the dreams! 


I am at a cheerleading competition. It appears that there are many levels here: elementary, middle school, high school, and even CYO teams. The gym is very bright, and the blue mat in the middle is enormous. I am wearing a uniform, but I’m not on any team. Sitting with the mothers and grandmothers and all the other fans, I cheer loudly when a team I know gets up to the mat. I am sitting next to someone who seems to be in the same boat as I am: she’s wearing an old cheerleading skirt with a souvenir tee-shirt from a competition past. She cheers for different teams, but we occasionally nod at each other when we notice an impressive move or when someone nearly falls. 

Then, I get angry. I suddenly realize that all these teams are doing are sideline cheers and not much else.  There is little skill involved, and everybody knows the same cheers. I note that two teams are doing the same cheer with the same moves, and that it lasts only one round of chanting. They’ve barely gotten out of their seats in the bleachers! For some reason, this enrages me. I start yelling negative things. I’m pretty sure I actually start boo-ing when girls  only manage one measly cheer. I feel angry and jealous. I’m not a cheerleader anymore, but I know bad cheering when I see it. A young woman–a judge for the competition–approaches me from the other side of the mat. It’s an old trainer of mine, a girl who taught me many of the basics I know about cheerleading. When she helped with my teams I was young, maybe 11 years old, and I thought of her as a cheerleading goddess (she was just a high school kid who volunteered for the Pop Warner and CYO coaches). She had a huge smile, she was very thin, and she had lots of those things that “older girls” seem to have: a boyfriend, a boombox, CD’s of bands I’d never heard of, midriff-baring clothes (it was the 90s!), a bra. At any rate, for much of my childhood I looked up to her, and now, here she is in my dream, letting me know that it’s my turn to go on! I thought she was going to yell at me for yelling, but she seems to confirm that those sideline cheers were just a preliminary round, not the real deal. The real competition is about to begin, and I should be joining my former team.

I can’t believe this. I haven’t practiced, I came here alone, but somehow my team knows they need me. The thing is…I kind of suck. I haven’t practiced! I don’t know the moves! It’s my time to shine and I mess it all up. They (this is the Alvirne Varsity squad, now) seem to recognize that there is no way I could know the moves to the dances and cheers, since I haven’t been to a single practice, but as I clumsily try to follow the person in front of me, I feel their angry gazes melting my skin. Someone has given me a second chance at cheerleading, and I have to leave the mat about 20 seconds into the routine because they are all doing back-handspring back-tucks, and all I can do is a cartwheel. I run off the mat, finally recognizing that my glory days are over–I should have just stayed in the bleachers.


A man and I approach the home of an elderly woman. When she answers the door, it is immediately evident why we are there. She is the woman who has murdered countless people, and we are there to apprehend (or kill) her. Her build is slight; she has very short gray hair and a kind expression is nestled into her wrinkles. She wears a pastel Grandma sweatshirt, with some cutesy phrase about grandchildren embroidered on it. She shuffles slowly around the small house, making us tea and bringing us cookies as my partner and I (we are on the police force, I think?) share knowing glances across a glass dining room table. 

The table has a kind of display shelf beneath the glass top, and as the old woman sits and talks with us over tea and cookies, my eyes meet my partner’s, and together we glance slowly and (we hope!) inconspicuously to a shining object on display below the table: a giant gleaming knife–just the kind that might be used for murder. I get excited thinking that we finally have our perp, when suddenly the old woman smiles a knowing–and menacing–smile. In one swift move she makes it clear that she has seen our gazes fall to the weapon and, tilting the table top up, knocking sharply into my friends chin and neck, she grabs the knife and then lunges at him, blood instantly pooling everywhere. I leap to my feet before she has a chance to knock the table over onto me, and for a few long moments she and I are fighting hand-to-hand. I work to wrestle the knife out of her bony, arthritic clutch.

A minute or two goes by and I see a figure pass into the living room out of the corner of my eye. I allow myself to quickly look in that direction and see it is hired help. The cleaning woman has arrived with her young daughter, who is probably 4 years old. The daughter is clearly terrified of the battle she is witnessing, standing wide-eyed in the corner, clutching a stuffed animal. My hand softens as I think about the girl, and the old woman takes advantage of my weakness, freeing her hand and jabbing at the hot air in front of my nose. She misses, but it’s close. 

The cleaning woman decides that she will help me, and not the old woman, and quickly scurries over to help me up before the old woman can attack again. With the power of two, it’s much easier to pin the old woman to the wall and grab the knife. For some reason, though, I need to take it further. Instead of handcuffing her and bringing her to jail, I go Hannibal Lecter on this old lady and cut off the top of her skull, leaving her brain exposed. I take her to the bathroom, take a small piece from the front of her brain, and flush it down the toilet. I take the child and the maid with me,  leaving the old lady behind, her lilac-colored brain pulsing with childlike confusion. I get the feeling, though, as I exit the house, that I will have to come back. That this won’t be the end. That the old woman will kill again.


And now, as I read this back, here’s my one attempt at interpretation: I think my fear of aging has finally manifested itself.

One Comment leave one →
  1. March 7, 2012 1:38 pm

    Oh man. Hand to hand combat with an old lady?? So funny. Well told.

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