Sunday, June 10, 2018

Dream Log: Bruce Slipstream

I dreamed I was a video game designer, and I made a character based on Bruce Springsteen,

named Bruce Slipstream. Bruce's face resembled Springsteen's except that it was oversized like a caricature head, and was always facing toward the viewer.

Bruce Slipstream was even more obsessed with cars than Bruce Springsteen is, if that's possible. He spent some of his time playing music, both solo with an acoustic guitar and leading his band in which he was one of twelve guitarists. But he spent most of his time either in his garage working on his cars, or driving his cars at very high speeds on public roads, often with a passenger he'd invited along who had no idea how fast Bruce was going to drive.

In situations like that, Bruce would often say things to the passenger in the folksy, gravelly mumble with which Bruce Springsteen speaks to his audiences. Things like: "You could be part of somethin' important today: the first time a wheel-driven vehicle has ever gone faster than 500 miles per hour on a public street."

I'm not clear about how points were scored in the video game. Maybe I just hadn't gotten to that point yet in the design.

And then I was in the video game, playing the part of one of Bruce Slipstream's friends. Now Bruce and the rest of us looked like ordinary human beings, and the element of the video game with its comical aspects gradually faded away. We took a break from working on his cars, and Bruce said, "C'mon guys, let's go get a hot dog. On me." Two of us joined Bruce, and we walked the half-mile or so from the garage to the Jersey shore. Bruce now looked exactly like Bruce Springsteen, but he was still Bruce Slipstream.

Bruce's other friend said, "It's very generous of you, buying us hot dogs, seeing as how you only have a billion dollars or so." Bruce just squared his jaw and nodded, used to this line of ribbing from this particular guy. The guy continued, "Why don't you just give us a million dollars apiece? Then we could buy ourselves hot dogs whenever we wanted."

"Not gonna happen," Bruce mumbled.

When we got to the hot dog stand on the beach, Bruce started to get into a painfully detailed conversation with the young woman behind the counter about all the different sorts of hot dogs which were for sale there. I interrupted, ordered a polish sausage on a bun and very quickly and efficiently pointed out which toppings I did and didn't want on it. But when I got it, I wished I had taken my time a little bit more. I was afraid that the taste of the final result would lack condiments. But my point had been to show Bruce that he had been wasting time, and if I spent more more time on my order I would be undercutting that point. But then, to my great relief, I saw that ketchup, mustard and mayo were also available on the customer side of the counter.

When we all had our hot dogs, we walked around to the left-hand side of the stand, where many framed pictures of boats were hung onto the shack's white-painted wall. One of the pictures was somehow not just a picture of a boat, but also an announcement of the upcoming filming of a TV pilot about the fictional owner and operator of the boat in that picture. Suddenly, the producer of the pilot was there, offering me and Bruce's other friend parts in the pilot. Bruce's other friend quickly agreed.

The producer said to me, "I want you to play the lead. The captain of this tour boat. There's one thing, though. I picture the captain of the boat wearing a toupee. A really awful toupee with the hair coming down almost to the bridge of his nose. This wouldn't be a vanity part, if you took it."

I replied that I wasn't vain, but that I was concerned about my physical comfort, and wearing a toupee that covered more than half of my forehead sounded extremely uncomfortable to me. The producer told me that it wouldn't be uncomfortable. I asked him to please not talk nonsense to me. I asked whether I could play the part without the toupee. The producer didn't answer that. By the pained expression on his face, it was clear that, whoever was going to be cast as the captain, the toupee was non-negotiable.

I turned that down flat, and asked whether he had any other parts he could offer me. We started to talk about a smaller part in the pilot, and also about an "art house" (ie low budget) movie starting filming as soon as the pilot wrapped. Then I woke up.

PS: I googled bruce slipstream and for a moment I thought that there was an author who was actually named Bruce Sterling Sliptream, but the man's name is actually Bruce Sterling, and he wrote something whose title began with "Slipstream."

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