I Am the Craziest Dream You Had Last Night and It’s Best We Keep Me Between Us

Okay, first can I say: Wow. Like where did that come from? Did I deliver or did I de-li-ver? The speedboat chase on the Po, the silly kangaroos, a shirtless Michael B. Jordan feeding you three-cheese lasagna in your Great Nana Joan’s weird basement, that magically warped into the parking lot behind T.G.I. Fridays and then back into your Great Nana Joan’s weird basement. Or how about at the end when the plane was going down and everyone from your sixth grade math class was singing “Seasons of Love” while you were vaping with the baby pilot in the bathroom? Talk about bringing my A-game, and on a boring old Tuesday night. Hello me being spontaneous.

Now for the bad news. And you probably don’t want to hear this and honestly, I can’t believe I’m even saying it but: Do not—I repeat—do not tell anyone about me. Please, I beg of you. It’s not because you didn’t feel like I was the craziest dream ever. You definitely felt that way. Or because you didn’t wake to feel a few tears in your eyes and a little pee in your underwear. Oh my gosh, lol, you totally did. And it’s not because I wasn’t the realest, most compelling dream you ever had. I was, and thank you. Really, it’s not because of any of those things.

It’s because no one gives a shit. Seriously, not even a little bit. You may think: Oh my wife or boyfriend or best friend or mother, one of them will surely care. Negatory. In fact, remember the one when you were stuck in a cherry blossom tree vaccinating Mayim Bialik as her character Blossom from the hit show Blossom—some of my best work—and you told your coworker, Janeane, on Zoom the following morning, in agonizing detail for a good ten to twelve minutes? Well as it happens, not only was Janeane not listening to a word you were saying and just nodding her head and spreading strawberry cream cheese onto her everything bagel, she was actually thinking about a documentary she saw on “scaphism,” an ancient form of torture where a victim’s body is covered with milk and honey and left in the sun to fester and be fed upon by insects and vermin. Makes you wonder what Janeane’s dreams are made of. Hopefully she never tells you though!

This news is confusing, I get it. Especially now that it’s Wednesday morning and you’re brushing your teeth and getting those little flashes of Michael B. Jordan’s meaty chest attached to Great Nana Joan’s withered face. So okay, full disclosure, that’s me there, howling from the other side: “Process me! Process me!” You would think the most practical thing to do would be to tell the first person you encounter all about my enigmatic beauty. Nope. It’s gauche now. And yes, I had to look that word up, too. It’s French for “the most boring activity you could possibly put another human being through.”

Listen, don’t take it personally. We’ve got reputations to protect. If you do get the overwhelming urge to spill the beans, there’s this flabby piece of skin on the underside of your knee, pinch it as hard as you can until the pain is unbearable. Or, a more reasonable approach, think of me akin to that particularly stubborn case of gonorrhea you had post-Palm Springs two summers ago. Sure, it happens to the best of us and it’s nothing to be ashamed of. But you’re not going to go around and share it with every Ron, Nick, and Mary who ends up in the Econo Lodge hot tub with you at 3 a.m., right? Good.

Well there you have it. I’ve said my peace. Does it hurt? Sure. Do we know that what we have is special? Absolutely. Will future me be teeming with toothless toy poodles, a James Van Der Beek hostage situation, and crippling high school gym class panic? You’d love that wouldn’t you, you little sicko.

The Hotel

From The Hotel Years; translated by Michael Hoffman

The Broken Nose

A week later, when I opened the freezer compartment of my fridge, I found that note, written in red lipstick.