Pioneered not unlike a dream dreamt countless times prior. My high school was the setting, the conflict was one I faced on a daily basis back when; I was trying to escape the soul-crushing institution before the bell tolled. There were two exit points, and I nonchalantly wandered the halls in an attempt to scope out each. If I got made, I got schooled.
I initially tried the back door, at the bottom of the southern stairwell, adjacent to the classroom where I had business math my senior year. The first liberation point was blocked; barricaded by a fat fuck named Carlos who works at the blood bank where I sell my plasma twice a week. I had recently told Carlos to ‘fuck off’ in this realm for missing my vein, then saying it was my fault for being dehydrated. He was taking his revenge in the dreamworld, inserting himself as a teacher in my high school who is ready to bust my balls. I pivot; the main entrance is going to be my only viable option.
I trotted through the halls, passing by trapped spirits and nude souls. I peak around the corner to internalize my fear. The front exit is heavily guarded. A spotlight shines down on the threshold to exodus, and the vice principal and school’s resource office stand on either side wielding machine guns. There were two ways to get an early dismissal, in a body bag, or with a note from a doctor.
I gave up and decided to wait out the rest of the day in the northern stairwell like the emo kids did. When I got up there, I saw a face I was elated to see. It was Ammi, the woman sleeping next to me. Of course, I did not know Ammi when I was in high school; it seemed as if she was an older kid in the dream, despite me being four years her elder in real life. I sat next to her. As we began to talk I could feel her presence from this realm seeping into the vision. Ammi was amused by my determination and asked me if I had tried the third exit.
“The third exit?”
“Yeah, the third exit!”
“There’s no third exit!”
“Sure there is. Come on I’ll show you the way”. Ammi led me through a multiplying labyrinth of tunnels and florescent lighting. The next thing I knew, we were outside in the parking lot. I followed her to the same car she drives while awake. I had gotten out of school early. Dismissal was at 3pm, I looked at the clock on her radio, it was 2:03. I asked Ammi if she always snuck out and left early too. She said no, she just wanted to help me.
I woke up with a full bladder and a dry mouth. Ammi was sleeping next to me. I turned on my tablet, it was 2:03am. A message popped up on my screen. It was a former Alien Buddha Press client who I had a falling out with. He had blocked me over a political disagreement regarding the alleged importance of voting some time ago. He was back with a vengeance, blackmailing me with the computer virus to end all computer viruses. I knew the mole-faced jabroni was bluffing. I decided to tell him that I would meet is demands, on the condition that he first licked my asshole. As I attempted to type this counter-offer, the words turned into hieroglyphics before melting off the screen. Frustrated, I decided to shorten my response, and skip to the punchline. ‘Lick my asshole’ I attempted to write. The words kept on disappearing. ‘lick my asshole, lick my asshole, lick my asshole’ I was pushing down the keys but technology was not cooperating. I got angry and punched my tablet. Ammi woke up and asked me what was wrong.
“I KEEP TRYING TO TELL THIS GUY TO LICK MY ASSHOLE BUT THE WORDS WON’T COME OUT RIGHT!”
Once more, I woke. My bladder was still full and my mouth was still dry. Next to my laptop sat an empty bottle of wine and a container of Melatonin. I turned on my computer; it was 2:03am. Ammi was still fast asleep next to me. I got up and walked to the bathroom. As I let out a piss the lines forming the linoleum tiles on the floor multiplied into glowing neon replicas. I grabbed a bottle of water from the refrigerator and headed back to bed. When I opened the door Ammi was sitting up under the blanket, and it scared the shit out of me for a hot second. Our one-eyed chihuahua leaped out of the clothes hamper, over my feet, and jumped onto the bed, crawling on Ammi. I rolled a cigarette, and after lighting it Ammi emerged from under the cover and called for a drag. I handed her the roll-up and she asked me what time it was.
“Just after 2” I told her. I pinched my own arm and felt nothing. I bit my bottom lip, and it took a second, but I finally felt a sting. I took a big drag of nicotine and felt the smoke warming my lungs. I didn’t know for sure if I was still confined to a melatonin dreamscape, but looking directly to the left of me, I was sure I was where I wanted to be.