I dreamed that a friend and I are trying to solve a case involving amysterious American woman in Cairo who has bequeathed,pending several law suits, an astronomical sum of money toM.I.T. She is thought to have murdered a number of otherwealthy women, apparently without motive, but we believethat she herself was one of the murdered, not the murderer.If we can prove it, we hope to gain local kudos by forcingM.I.T. to put the money to lowering tuition -- true ``academicfreedom.'' They might even let us graduate sooner, justto get rid of us.
A 1920s vintage Bentley has recently been unearthed inan old Chicago warehouse, and it is filled with corpses ofwomen dressed in extraordinary finery. Some say the carbelonged to Al Capone, but we know otherwise. Our objectivehas become to prove that one of them is our mystery woman.
We enlist the services of a young physics professor cumphysician who takes an interdisciplinary approach topreventing as well as treating cancer. Using some futuremarvel of technology (its from the Media Lab, so actuallyit's still only in the process of being invented),the patient's entire body is imaged in the formof a functional anatomical map, which is then projected ontoa translucent globe that maps the earth both naturally andpolitically.
Various diagnostic substances are then spread over theglobe and developed by a combination of photo-chemicaltreatments and ancient incantations. We ask the featureeditor from the Christian Science Monitor to take hiscamera crew and wait outside. (I guess I forgot tomention that the Christian Science Foundation traded ussome private time inside their 30-foot diameter,inside-out,back-litstained glass globe*in return for a piece of the action. As if...)
The trouble spotsappear brightest. Other chemicals are used to burnholes in the map, some no bigger than pin pricks, someobliterating entire cities as if by nuclear attack. Theprofessor's theory is that in order for this therapy to beeffective, there must be a parallel universe in which thosecities actually are nuked, killing and maiming millions.Although it would be difficult to confirm the existence of theparallel worlds, the procedure would thus be a kind ofacupuncture implemented using the tools of global thermonuclearwar instead of those charming little needles they like todip in hot water and stick in your ear.
For the past several days, we and the good doctor FisiX (abeautiful tall black American man) have been attempting toreverse the process. By starting with a map of the world as itwas 63 years ago, and marking out all the catastrophes thatwe know now, in hindsight, would ensue, we hope toreconstruct the body of the mysterious womanphilanthropist, and thus identify it among those in theBentley. At any rate, that is the plan.
We were greatly excited yesterday when we unearthedevidence that she herself was practicing a variant ofthermonuclear acupuncture, and had somehow contaminatedthis world with the evils of one of the parallelworlds. Today we hope not only to solve the mystery (andthen immediately dial Night Line), but also to prevent WorldWar II and all its aftermath from ever having happened.
The corpses in the old automobile are badlydecomposed, not much more than skeletons in garment bags,which are hung from a rack over the back seat like thicklyencrusted dresses in a wardrobe. Our present task is toload them into a room-size scanning machine to help us inour cartographic reconstructions, but every time we touchone of them, we prick our fingers on sharp thorny growthsthat cover their bones. To distract myself from the acutepricks, I begin to sing a song:Two are the things that I hate most.
First is getting pricked by dead people's bones.
Second is breathing the dust of an atom bomb's ghost.
My advice to you is, Don't pick up Mrs. Al Capone.
My friend listens a while and joins in. Soon we areharmonizing as we continue the gruesome work ofseparating the decomposed bodies from the garment bagsand laying them out on the scanner's marble bed. It strikesme that we are unraveling mummies, and may well bebringing curses down upon our heads. But if we do not hurry,the corpses will turn completely to dust and blow away.I'm getting scared and I stop singing.
I awake to find myself in a cold sweat and completelytangled up in the sheets. Dubai is leaning on my chest,naked and laughing, her breasts jiggling practically inmy face. She tells me I was trying to sing something inmy sleep with my mouth closed, all moaning and mumbling.Irritated at being woken up, I ask her if she everstashed away a lot of money in Cairo, and then refuse toexplain.
*The Christian Science Publishing Society'sMapparium ``was constructed between 1932 and1935 and remains the only map of its kind in the world. The coloredland areas show the political boundaries of the world at that time andhave not been changed because the globe is regarded as an originalwork of art.'' Indeed it is. For more information, call(617)450-3790. (Note: Please don't mention this little dream episodeto the Monitor's feature editor. It seems Dr. FisiX's researchcreated a slight problem of chemical spillage there, which they'drather hush up. So, mum's the word.)
Dreamed by: Spraxlo