Dearest Rachel –
Throughout all that time that I was taking care of Chompers for you after the accident, you’ll recall that I told you many times how I’ve never been much for animals. Along those same lines, I’ve always been somewhat contemptuous of animal liberation groups. At best, they tend to be somewhat misguided, like the U.K. group that broke into a mink farm years ago and released all the animals from their cages, only for the majority of them to die within the first twenty-four hours, either from being run over by local traffic, encounters with predatory creatures in the area, or outright cannibalism (minks are nasty little buggers). At worst, they seem to hold attitudes wherein they hold human life to be less important than that of what the rest of us would consider to be lower lifeforms; the life of thus-and-such animal is worth considerably more than that of any human. And while I suppose everyone is entitled to their own beliefs, when it results in the death of said humans, that seems a little beyond the pale.
That being said, even I have my limits. And so it seemed to be last night in a series of dreams.
I’m not going to say I was part of some eco-terrorist group – I think I had just one partner with me, rather than an entire brigade raiding the place – but I was definitely making an assault on some research lab, to rescue a certain particular creature. Quite frankly, I can’t imagine the purpose such an animal would serve science, apart from some attempt to develop the most completely adorable pet; it seemed to be one quarter feline (with the attendant orange coat and stripes), one quarter fennec fox (giving it a diminutive size, along with disproportionately large ears and bushy tail) and the remaining half cocker spaniel (giving it a lush coat and sweet disposition). I wish I could add a picture of it, but dreams don’t work that way.
Oddly enough, for a team trying to break animals out of a research lab, we were only going for this one animal – or maybe that’s all I was after, given my own real-life disdain for this sort of activity. Indeed, we passed over a fennec and a feline along the way – who might’ve been part of this creature’s family tree, for all I knew – before arriving at a relatively open-air enclosure where it was being kept. I’m not sure if it sensed how my heart wasn’t in it, or if it just had been maltreated by those running the lab, but its first instinct was to cower away from me, which only managed to spur me on toward it, as it seemed to need rescue that much more, if it reacted so badly to the presence of a human. I scooped it up in my arms, and we made our escape – only for our vehicle to not start when we tried, at which point I woke up in darkness.
After a little bit of effort, I managed to get back to sleep, whereupon I found myself back at the lab – or maybe a different one, because this had a different feel to it. It was almost like being in a cartoon – think Roger Rabbit – because the next prisoner release was that of Secret Squirrel. I honestly doubt I got the character right, but I knew at the time that’s who it was. The weird thing was, it wasn’t just him, but a rather large collection of clones of him, all flying out of the cage I opened for him, holding onto each other’s tail like a real-life (well, as real-life as a cartoon character can be) string of those old ‘barrel of monkeys’ toys I used to play with as kid, only they were fluttering out under their own power in groups between three and nine Squirrels.
It seems like understatement to say it, but that was really strange.
There was a bit more to the dream, but the third reel felt like a fairly extended dénouement. It involved hiding out in a cabin in the woods, complete with a campfire outside, which you would have enjoyed tending. You might have been a little disconcerted by the fact that the creature couldn’t seem to moderate its temperature, as its paws would catch fire if it got too close to the flame, but if it was too far away, snow would form on them, despite there being none on the ground and it not being all that cold out, as far as I could tell. We – my partner and I; I don’t know if it was you, or someone meant to fill in for you, we didn’t talk much – eventually had to just hold it to keep it from one or the other extreme, a task you would have relished. There was also the matter of a dozen or so cereal boxes being stored in the icebox for some reason; I think it was my subconscious reminding me of my real-life plans to make Rice Krispie treats with the girls in order to break in the stove; a plan that is too late to implement for the stove’s sake, but I still have everything in readiness for when they can get their schedules to match.
And that’s about it. Yes, it’s weird, with some pretty mundane stuff mixed in, and probably doesn’t mean much, if one was trying to interpret it. But you always used to tell me yours when you managed to wake up while I was still around; the least I could do is tell you mine these days when I have them, right?
Talk to you later, honey. Until then, keep and eye out for me, and wish me luck; I’m probably going to need it.