My Thanksgiving Dream

Posted: November 26, 2009 in The Roper Files
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I’m at my parents house on Thanksgiving and amazed at how so little has changed. When I was a kid I would usually finish eating first and then run back to the den and commandeer the television until the adults wandered back from the dinner table. Then it would be “What’s this shit?” as Dad changed the station from Bugs Bunny back to football. Here I am forty-odd years later doing the same thing; I have finished dinner first and have tip-toed back to the den to see what’s on TV.

As my feet glide across their thick plush carpet, everything I touch gives me a little shock. Used to love this little game when I was a kid but the joke has grown thin since; now I just find it annoying. Touching the door-knob to the bathroom makes me cringe as that microscopic little jolt of electricity zaps my fingers.

 Up front the rest of the family is engaged in routine chit chat; now’s my chance. After scraping off and rinsing my plate I walk down the hall to the den. Wonder what I’m missing on TV? Spot the remote on the table next to Dads big Archie Bunker chair and pick it up. It sparks as I touch it.

 The next thing I know I’m doing full body head-to-toe spins in slow motion backwards in slow motion through outer space. Try to scream but nothing comes out. Can’t control my arms and legs; what the hell? Falling…falling…and then with a thud I fall hard on something. Ow! Open my eyes and notice a pair of black dress shoes next to my head.

 Where am I? Look back over at the shoes; must be Dad. Then I notice the wire next to them; I follow it up; this guy isn’t my father. Takes a few seconds but I recognize the face of Gene Rayburn; he is smiling broadly at me and says: “My wife’s ass is so big you can park a “blank” in it...” and then he points the microphone he is speaking into towards me…

I don’t know how to react to this; I get up and dust myself off and look around. Wherever I am it’s dark and foggy; I’m having trouble making out shapes of anything definitive. Is this some kind of studio?

Gene stands staring at me waiting for an answer. Looking over to my left I can see no audience, only black space; I look over to my right and see some sort of partition. It’s a big wooden box with people sitting in it. I recognize Paul Lynde, Kitty Carlisle and Charles Nelson Reilly.

 “Uh… an SUV?” I answer.

Wrong!” he replies and a trap door opens under my feet; I begin falling again down a dark shaft and hear him laughing maniacally as I drop.

Once again I land with a thud somewhere else. Oh my aching back….

Looking over once again I notice another pair of well-shined shoes connected to a suit. Look up slowly afraid of what I might see. The opening of “Swan Lake” swells from unseen speakers as I recognize the face of Hans Conreid. “Isn’t that beautiful?” he asks. “Just imagine listening to it in the comfort of your own home!”

I pull myself up and look around; this can’t be happening. Is this some kind of bad dream?

Where am I?” I ask him but he doesn’t seem to be listening to me; just reading unseen cue cards.

Order these today on LP or stereo cassettes.” he drones to an unseen camera. Grab him by the collars of his jacket: “Goddammit where the fuck am I? Answer me!” He just smiles at me as another trap door opens beneath my feet. More free-falling and tumbling head-over-heels in mid-air follows.

 Fortunately I land on something soft this time; looking around I see I have landed on one of those big beds from “Love American Style”. That’s better. But the bed is rolling down a busy city street in broad daylight; what the hell?

Looking around I see Mike, Peter, Davy and Mickey of The Monkees dressed in those long Fred Mertz nightgowns at each corner guiding the wheeled bed to some unknown destination. Try to ask them what’s going on but they are looking away from me and ignore my questions. Climb out of the bed and grab Davy by the shoulders since he’s closest to my own height. “What’s going on here? Where are you taking me?”

Davy looks right through me and says nothing just as I feel the ground giving way under my feet…

Another trap door opens and I begin free-falling through black air ; not again! Hope I land on another bed; can’t take too much more of this…this time I hit water and I panic. Never have been much of a swimmer. Splash around uncontrollably; am I a goner this time? Something grabs me by the collar and drops me aboard a boat deck like a fish. Looking up I recognize Lloyd Bridges in full scuba gear.

Thanks for saving me; now can you tell me what I am doing here?”

He lights a cigarette, takes a long slow drag and gives me a grim sort of look and actually answers me.

I’m not supposed to tell you this; but what the hell… you have fallen into the depths of your subconscious.”

This makes no sense to me on any level.

I just want to go home; how do I get out of here?”

You can only leave when you have achieved enlightenment; you’ve spent your whole life staring at the television. Now you have become prisoner of your own subconscious; you can only leave when you start to think outside of that damned box.”

 Start to tremble…there’s only one thing left to do. Start rubbing my feet on the floor again; maybe I can build that same static shock back up to zap my way back out of here. But I am on the  deck of a boat and this only gets me stranger stares than I was already getting.

Suddenly I awake in a chair surrounded by my family; look around. I am still in my parents den; must have been the effects of too much turkey and dressing.

You must have been having one heck of a dream...”

Uh… yeah I was.…”

There’s the remote on the coffee table; I start to pick it up. Wonder what’s on TV?

Sorry; old habits die hard I guess…

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