"So where were you when the shooooting started?"/ "Oh I was there, I started the shooooting."
I wrote that last night in my sleep along with the music to go with it. Trust me, you don't particularly want to hear how it sounds in my head. I've never written any good music. I've never written any music at all except while I've been dreaming. This little ditty sounds like something from a Broadway musical about some 18th-century armed conflict. A light-hearted bad musical. (Does this happen to other people: do they compose music, while asleep or waking, which they themselves can't stand to listen to?) My dream got more light-hearted and silly as it went along. The people with guns got worse and worse at aiming, so there was less and less chance of getting shot -- on purpose, at least. They were 21st century people at first, but they gradually morphed into caricatures of silly 18th-century people who, although they remained in the thick of a shooting conflict, were more concerned about having the proper ruffles on their shirts. There was one sort of triangular piece of ruffle which people wore on one side of their shirts which everyone -- except me -- was taking much more seriously than anything like the the bullets whizzing merrily all around us.
The dream began much more grimly. Yesterday evening, for the 1st time in years, I watched an episode of "24," the extremely-violent TV series starring Kiefer Sutherland as Jack Bauer, the extremely-violent American hero. Jack wasn't around in the dream, but as I was being driven through wet streets to a rendezvous with a terrible person, with the water sometimes so deep that I was amazed that the car kept moving ahead, as opposed to floating away, driven by someone who might've been an ally or an enemy, it wasn't clear, somebody mentioned that the dangerous person I wanted to go see had been on an earlier season of "24."
When we got there the bad guy was torturing someone. I won't go into the grisly details of that, you're welcome, except that he seemed to be really enjoying it. The torturer, I mean, the bad guy I'd come there to see, not the torturee. The bad guy was a Kurtwood Smith-type, scary looking in more of a psychological than a physical way. The guy who'd driven me there, who maybe was my friend and maybe not but I'd had to take a chance because I had to get to this bad guy, was big and imposing, starting to go grey but very lean and tough.
My perhaps-friend talked to the bad guy while I took a seat in the next room, which was very nice, glass-topped tables, beige stone on the walls, comfy sofas. The other two came in, the bad guy looking annoyed because his sadistic fun had been interrupted. He truly seemed like he might have been torturing that day more for fun than for information. He had washed off all of the blood and and put on a clean shirt and jacket. My maybe-friend sat down to my left, the bad guy sat close to me to my right and stared at me expectantly. I was sort of scared. Hoping that my fear wasn't showing, I went for a real hard-ass approach. My approach surprised even me, and I hoped it wouldn't go very badly: I just stared back at the bad guy and didn't say anything, and when he finally broke the stare-down by making an annoyed face and asking me want I wanted, I really scared myself by saying, "You know what I want. You'll either give it to me or you won't, so why waste my breath talking to you?" I hoped I didn't look scared.
The bad guy pondered what I'd said for a little while, and then pulled out a knife which was small but looked very sturdy and very very sharp, and attempted to stab me, but I caught his knife hand in both of mine and pointed the knife back at him. We struggled for a while without either one of us gaining a clear advantage. The big lean silver fox, my maybe-friend, just sat there and watched, as if he were neither a friend nor an enemy to either me or the bad guy, but was just going to sit this one out and deal with the result, whatever it was. However, I thought maybe he was my friend, and simply had way too much confidence in me. I was concentrating very hard on the bad guy and especially on the knife, so I couldn't see if the big lean guy had his gun out, ready to end it one way or the other once he had a clear shot.
Anyway, I ended up killing the bad guy Jack Bauer-style with his own knife. I'll spare you the grisly details.
Then the atmosphere changed abruptly, from "24"-style horror to sitcom- or frat-movie-style silliness. There were still deadly weapons, but all of a sudden no-one seemed very capable with the weapons. The big grey-haired tough guy was gone, and most of the people were in their 20's or 30's, and the action was more slapstick: rushing around all over a city assaulting and robbing each other, indoors and out -- come to think of it: sort of like Grand Theft Auto, but more white-bread, and much less violent, in large part because nobody could shoot straight. Somewhat like a Grand-theft-Auto-"Friends" mash-up. Even by the standards of this slapstick environment I was inept. I was no longer anything like the badass who'd just gone all Jack Bauer on that sadistic torturer. Now, suddenly, I was a sad sack who kept losing things like my jacket and my laptop and getting in my friends' way as they tried to take over this non-shootin' cracker crime empire.
And then came the transition from 21st to 18th century: weapons became older and less effective. Men's hair got longer and eventually was tied into pony tails with ribbons. Women's clothes became less revealing below the waist and more revealing of the décolletage. Everybody, men and and women, suddenly became obsessed with getting that triangular piece of ruffle right. Then came the terrible song, and I woke up.
"So where were you when the shooooting started?"/ "Oh I was there, I started the shooooting." I sang the song. By "I started the shooting," I didn't mean that it was I who had shot first, but that it was I who had annoyed others until they finally started to shoot at me.