doctor

My Collapsing Head

I owned an enormous apartment in the penthouse of a tall building in the centre of a city which was an amalgam of London and Berlin. There were several bedrooms with double beds and silk sheets, and a huge living-space with marble floors which extended around a central room. I had been throwing a party for old school friends and acquaintances, and everyone was crashing out now in the beds. F was there, and we had some kind of brief, animated conversation with waving of hands and laughter, and I remember being happy that we could still get on well together.

An old schoolmate was there who had actually killed himself with a shotgun when he was 15, but this didn't appear strange to me; I just became suspicious when I saw him moving the Xbox out of the main room, because I suspected he was stealing it, so I followed him into the bedroom he was bringing it to and asked him what he was doing. He got a dull, haunted look in his eyes as he explained that he just wanted to get on to Xbox Live, and I saw that this was the room with the modem in it. I felt a little guilty for assuming he was thieving, since he obviously knew what I was thinking.

When I left the room, I noticed something a little strange about my head. My forehead felt strange. I found a mirror and was shocked to see that my "forehead bone" had become displaced and was moving around my face, making it misshapen. I thought, "Oh Christ, I've punched myself in the head too many times and this time I've done some real damage, I'm so stupid." I pushed it back into place with my fingers, and it slotted back in painfully and slowly, with a horrible feeling in my face of it sliding around under my skin. I was in a mild panic, and I decided I had to find a doctor. I ran out of the apartment and found some strangers and said "I need a doctor...please help me..."

The next thing I knew I was being examined by two doctors in a surgery. They were fascinated by my dislocated forehead, and they decided it had to be replaced by a prosthetic. While they were in the process of removing the old forehead bone (for some reason I was awake and calm during this procedure) they discovered another thing that interested them - my entire upper jaw had been replaced by an "orthodontic plate". I remembered that this had been done years before when my jaw disintegrated, and I'd forgotten about it. The doctors moved the pieces of my head around like a jigsaw and put me back together.

I went back to the apartment afterwards to find Jo and explain what had happened, because I'd been out all night, and I thought she might think I was out cheating on her. When I got back she told me that she knew what had happened, and she looked at me with deep concern, because the work hadn't taken properly yet. I looked in the mirror again and saw that the prosthetic forehead protruded at the sides and that my eyesockets were in the wrong places, preventing me from seeing properly. I tried to manipulate everything back into place, but it had all become plastic and my face kept morphing away from anything recognizable. My nose grew and shrank, my eyes moved around and even my skin tone changed.

All of a sudden my face turned into my father's face. It was his complete likeness, and I thought "OK, this is possible because genetically I have my father in me." I spoke to Jo, and my voice was my father's voice too. Then a little more manipulation and I changed again. At one point I looked like myself again and there was a sense of relief, but I knew that at any moment it could change again; that what was holding my face together was very fragile. I was trying to think through the implications of this when I woke up.

The Dark And Smiling Face

I was in my old house again, living with my mother, and some of my old friends from school had called over to play cards and drink. I was showing some of them my computer while the rest of them were watching television, and I showed them a website like E2 where I was posting articles on famous chess players. One of them asked "What about Etienne Bacrot? and I typed in his name and brought up a java applet of one of his games. I explained, "Etienne Bacrot just won the French  Championships.

The guys were getting quite loud, and I knew that my mother would be trying to get to sleep so I turned down the volume of the music and the TV and went upstairs to see how she was. I saw that her bedroom door was open and the light was on, and when I poked my head around the corner she said "Hi there," so I went in.

"Sorry about the noise, I'm just kicking the guys out now."
It's fine, don't worry about it. I see you disconnected the Internet and then dialled in again."
"The first call was from a mobile so we dialled in again from the land line, it's cheaper.
"Oh, that's good. Before you go downstairs again, will you do me a favour? Tell me if you see the dark and smiling face.
"What's that?"
"Oh, I thought I told you." She laughs. "The doctor showed me how to tell if I'm sick."

She gets out of bed and we walk to the top of the stairs together, and she waits while I go downstairs and look back up at her. She's half-naked and grossly fat and pale, and she hunches forward so that her belly pushes into a strange, contorted shape. As I stare at it, the folds resolve into a smiling face with dark eyes.

"I can see the face."
"Is it laughing or smiling?"
"Just smiling."
"Okay, I'm still sick then."

She goes back to her room and I get rid of my friends and go to bed.
 

My Fake Mechanical Hand

I was looking after my mother's cats. I can't remember the reason, and there probably wasn't one anyway. My mother has this cantankerous old black-and-white cat called Velvet, and I was carrying her into one of the upstairs bedrooms when she started to piss herself. I put her down gently and went to get a towel, but she just kept pissing, until the carpet was soaked and cat pee was trickling down the staircase. Eventually she stopped, visibly smaller than before, and with a strange and bashful expression.

I picked her up again, and she sank her claws into my hand and wrist. I tried to let go of her, but she just kept tearing at the skin until finally I got free. I looked at my hand. At first it seemed okay - just a few scratches and a few spots of blood - but every time I looked, it got worse - the gouges welled up with dark red arterial blood, which started dripping to the floor. I was trying to clean up the stains, and then I noticed that the cuts went all the way around my hand - they were so deep that I could see my muscle and bone, and it looked like I could have pulled on my fingers and pulled my whole hand off like a glove, leaving only the bones. There was no pain, but I started to panic.

Luckily my friend J is a doctor. He looked at my injuries and laughed, and for some reason this made me feel better, even though my hand was still getting worse - I wondered if I would get gangrene and it would have to be amputated. J brought out a carpenter's vise and I started to get really worried, but it turned out he was just trying to freak me out. He had this idea that people take their injuries too seriously. He looked at the wounds again and said
"This is going to be expensive."
"How much? Thousands of pounds?"
"Expensive."
I kept trying to call the hospital, dialling the numbers with my good hand, but I couldn't get through. Eventually J drove me to the hospital himself. He said he was too tired to do anything himself, but he got a friend of his to attend to me, a young doctor with blonde hair and a calm aura.

He opened up my hand along the line of the cut and extracted a long piece of metal from it. "How the hell did that get in there?" I asked, and he showed me my hand. It was a thin wooden box with metal hasps and a mirror inside. I started to laugh, saying "Oh my god, my hand is mechanical," and he laughed too and took the box away, revealing my real hand. It had just been a joke.

    At this point I woke up, went to get a glass of water, holding my hand delicately because I was pretty much convinced that it had been badly damaged. I went back to sleep and re-entered the dream at exactly the same point.

The young doctor used glue to stick my hand back together. He was in a rush because he had so many patients to attend to, and he was only looking after me as a favour to J, but he did a pretty good job. There were a couple of places where the wound was not fully closed, or where air had been trapped underneath my skin to form a strange kind of bubble, but I was happy enough that it would heal up and I wouldn't lose it.
 

Assimilating Crowley

I was in Knock in the West of Ireland, wandering through the prefabricated  chapels and the fruit machine souvenir shops, when I felt a strange call, and headed out towards the medical buildings...I found this squat, grey hospice, and walked past the windows...and there was someone behind the window, in the showers, who was frantically trying to get to me, to see me...it was Aleister Crowley.

I had to trick my way past the hospice wardens to get to see him by pretending I had other business there. Outside his cubicle was a life-size picture of him in full Masonic regalia, and beside it hung robes, sigils and flowers...it was magnificently camp, a parody of mysticism. He was squatting under the showers in depression or some kind of senility in this hopeless grey place, but he became very alert and sane when we talked. We laughed at the doctors together. He seemed happy to see me, or seemed to recognise me in some way, as if he'd been waiting for me, or someone like me, to come along.

He told me "A god is not bound to the Earth. A god is held by no strictures1." I told him he sounded like J.R.R. Tolkien, and he seemed amused. He told me that he was not responsible for a lot of his excesses of personality during his life. He seemed to really love me and want to communicate with me. Sometimes he looked old and haggard, and other times young and fat.

I told him I was born on his birthday - October 12th - and he looked at me extremely intently and with great urgency, trying to see if I was telling the truth, because he thought this was very important. His hands were gnarled, with long yellow nails. He put one of his fingers in my mouth, and it tasted bad, salty and sour.

Something odd happened when I woke up...I had the feeling, as I was rising out of the dream, that it had ended because my sister was too tired...it seemed that she had been 'channeling' Crowley for me, and couldn't maintain it...it was strange. When I was fully awake, I realized that he would always be there for me - that I could look inside any time and ask him a question, if I needed to.
 


 

1. I realize now that he was trying to tell me that a god cannot evolve.