Thursday, June 8, 2017


The Dreamer
By Eric Suhem

Jared awoke in the office of the project’s psychiatrist, Dr. Lenov. A metronome clocked back and forth as the psychiatrist looked on from the hazy background. “Now Jared, you’re probably wondering why you’re here. As you know, you’ve been participating in our sleep research program, and we’ve been monitoring your dreams, some of which have been found to be reliable indicators of trends in young consumer demand. While not all of your dreams have resulted in successful marketing campaigns, many surprisingly have. You have become a much sought-after commodity, providing valuable data to advertising teams, who monitor your dreams to track subconscious purchasing impulses. However, as of late, you have been having wild dreams of neon orange trampolines, unicycles that are electronically wired into the vibrations of monks chanting in the Himalayas, and other bizarre merchandise that is not in demand.” The details of the room became clearer to Jared as he regained consciousness. He focused his vision on the wood grain door, inches from his eyes, intrigued by the various dots and swirls. “Now Jared, our goal here is to restore the marketable qualities of your dreams. We’re going to start by examining your childhood,” said Dr. Lenov, who then looked toward the doorway, where a tall, worried-looking man had appeared. “Yes, can I help you?” asked the psychiatrist.

“I’m here for my appointment, Dr. Lenov,” said the man, looking at his watch.

“I’m sorry Mr. Floom, but we can’t deal with your issues of abandonment right now. Come back later, I have an open-door policy with my patients.” said Dr. Lenov, walking to the door and closing it in Mr. Floom’s face. “Now Jared, let’s begin.” As Jared talked about his childhood, there were more interruptions from other patients, and Jared started to notice the psychiatrist’s disturbing tendency to close doors incessantly, often in the face of his patients. In fact, special hinges had been added to the doors of the psychiatrist to prevent his door-closing, but Dr. Lenov overcame the hinges, often slamming a door theatrically as his patient looked on aghast, the door’s varnish and wood grain inches from the patient’s face. When Jared pointed this out to Dr. Lenov, the psychiatrist said, “It’s not helpful for you to project your issues onto me. The issue here is that you have closed the door to your unconscious mind.”

After talking about his childhood for 6 hours, Jared felt exhausted and worn out, falling asleep on the leather couch. The research team entered the room, and attached their surveillance equipment to Jared’s head, his dream soon appearing on their monitor. “I think you’ll find that the lucrative potential of the patient’s dreams has markedly improved,” said Dr. Lenov to the corporate overseers of the project.

In the dream, Jared was leading a group of men in lab coats through an oddly-angled house with stairways to nowhere, acutely slanted windows, jagged light, and barbed shadows. They walked down a lurid red passageway, eventually stopping at a door. “Inside this door are the secrets of my lucrative dreams,” said Jared in the dream, pointing at the door.

Dr. Lenov and the surveillance team leaned forward with anticipation, staring at the dream monitoring screen.

The dream continued with Jared opening the door and walking through. The group in lab coats attempted to follow, but the door slammed shut, a ‘Do Not Disturb’ sign attached to it.

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Eric Suhem lives in the orange hallway.

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