Had one of THOSE dreams last night. Sex and birdwatching. Not restful at the best of times, made significantly worse when it’s about someone you actually know and who’s bones you’d jump in a heartbeat if they were even remotely interested. Plus the ducks all turned out to be domestic variants and thus not countable on even a dream life list. Blargh. Foiled at every turn.
The Libido apologizes profusely (if somewhat sulkily) and agrees to go back into the basement. The Sense of Humor–whom I always visualize in these little scenes as an androgynous figure wearing the familiar hooded checkerboard robes in pale grey, and juggling hedgehogs, pomegranates, and three live mice–scuffs its foot along the edge of the cliff and says “Bet you’d get a great story out of it, though.”
“Don’t help,” says the Brain huffily, flipping up a trapdoor and kicking the Libido down the flight of stairs so revealed. The Brain is a tall, statuesque woman wearing a Greek toga and steel-toed boots. “Some things are NOT worth a good story.”
“Sez you,” mutters the Sense of Humor, removing the pomegranates and working two machetes and a hard-boiled egg into the pattern.
The Libido, who is wearing a Betty Page T-shirt, an annoyed expression, and not much else, stomps down the stairs to the basement, where the Sanity and the Faith in Humanity are playing cards. The Sanity has not been allowed out of the basement for so long that nobody’s quite sure what it looks like any more, although a Defective Squirrel is the best guess. The Faith in Humanity is let out on weekends for good behavior, and most resembles a baby seal wearing a crash helmet.
“We’ve really got to do something about that…” mutters the Brain.
The Sense of Humor shrugs and does a tricky crossover with the machetes and a sleeping hedgehog. “It’ll sort itself out eventually. You worry too much.”
The Brain snorts. “It doesn’t help when somebody keeps having dreams about it.” She stomps one steel-shod foot on the floorboards.
“It’s a subconscious,” says the Sense of Humor reasonably, “it does that. Freud said all dreams were about sex anyway, we’re just lucky enough to know it.” It pauses. “I grant you, I’m not sure what’s up with the birds…”
“Freud was an idiot, and it ought to cool its jets,” gripes the Brain, and stomps a foot again. There is a low subsonic moan from under the floor, a lonely humpback whale attempting to speak the unfamiliar language of subway trains.
The Sense of Humor starts to saysomething, and the Brain levels a gimlet eye on it. “And you! Aren’t you supposed to be cheering it up!?”
The hooded figure sighs. “Yes’m.” Hedgehogs go in a pocket, machetes vanish under the robes, and the mice run up the Humor’s sleeve. The egg simply disappears. The Brain has watched this process several thousand times, and still has never managed to see what happens to the egg.
Down in the basement, the Faith in Humanity deals the Libido in for a round of cards. The Sanity chitters moodily in the corner over its hand. The Libido sighs and picks up its cards. The Faith in Humanity smiles hopefully, an expression particularly well suited to baby seals, and hardly marred by the slightly concussed expression, or the vast quantities of duct tape criss-crossing its crash helmet.
The Sense of Humor pulls out a book, strolls to the edge of the cliff (which is framed in irregularly edged floorboards, more like a stage set than anything else) and opens to a random page. “Absolutely, Jeeves,” it read, down into the abyss. “The craving grew upon him. The newts got him. Arrived at man’s estate, he retired to the depths of the country and gave his life up to these dumb chums. I suppose he used to tell himself that he could take them or leave them alone, and then found–too late–that he couldn’t.”
The abyss made a hopeful rumbling noise.
“‘It is often the way, sir,'”–
The Brain turns and stalks away, across the cranial stage. Two thirds of the way to the wings, she spots the treacherous egg, which is lurking in a corner. It looks as if it is plotting something. She resists the urge to punt it into a wall with a steely toe. The Brain’s scientific curiosity gets them in as least as much trouble as the Libido, even if she’ll never admit it, but there are things too dangerous even for her.
In the basement, the Sanity peers down at its cards and says, “Got any sevens?”