Dreamscapes, or Mechanized Calamityville Horror

by Charlotte E. Wilde

Some people have mechanical minds, so desperate for organization and order that it leaks into conversation and twitches eyes of those whose logical fallacies were found wanting. When the steel teeth of mine click shut around an argument there are few who feel up to the task of chewing themselves free. Perhaps it’s too much effort, perhaps too infuriating to misunderstand the ordered components, whirring clicks and bolts that progress methodically, relentlessly, towards an unknown goal. 4am conversations turned a sour cheek to personal failures in the past, but somehow you and I always ended in a smile or a handshake, no less sincere for it’s ruse.

I don’t wonder that you feel it too, that it sends your scattered thoughts slinking into corners, cowering that they might lie unassailed from the snap of mindful eye-contact or the sting of a 10pm text meant to burn. Bridges or lips, one of us was going down when fingers glowed like cherry smoke, caring not for consequence. You called it– the death of reason slips down my throat to pool in my stomach with a smug sizzle. It tastes like marinated victory, Super Bowl Sundays thrown to an underdog, and senior-night-naked lying on a warm copper roof. I’m no sommelier but I’m finding the fruity undertones of regret and damp spring air, like trouble lurking or a library full of stolen books. I figure I’m the progeny of a bad year for sun-ripened life, swollen like the average mistake of a mind as preoccupied with failure as mine– nothing special, just over-watered and underwhelmed.

Even while my list of good intentions lingers on I’m a regular Dirty-Hariette when left to my own devices. And honestly, I really just couldn’t help myself when I saw hope propped like a trinket on a fence. I winked my way to careful aim, steady as she goes, and the kick-back bloody of my lips never kept me from a smile at the thought. Certainly, Annie Oakley and Calamity Jane would have slipped me the tongue after sharp-shooting marksmanship like that. It’s a carnival, we’re a parade and I’ve a tendency towards horror shows despite my proclaimed distaste for the grotesque.  I’ll mow mountaintops for a pilfered sentiment, kiss the burning swirl of a solitary kamikaze spiral wide on the mouth, or beg that someone, anyone, save me from the danger of a 4AM reflection, but for us it just wasn’t to be. Finally, pre-meditated self-destruction, pre-ordained, and prescribed by a thousand bourbon-laced Freudian therapy sessions, finds it’s way home.

The dreamscape scene shifts again, recurring, redundant: I lay slippery, sliding skin on a leather couch and your voice asked me, “how does it make you feel?” Low, measured, a metronome to my racing thoughts, you continue: “Tell me how it makes you feel. Show me.” So I do, breathless I tried to explain…

But my cotton tongue woke me before I said the words, the ones now carved like our initials in the trunk of my mind.