Friday, 10 October 2014

Nightmare Alice

Is that cat really asleep? Yep, out like a light!

Early birds gaze at the sleeping, night-owl cat.


In the grip of a dream, Ellie's paws and whiskers are twitching.







After a night of outdoor adventures, former feral Ellie Mae has finished a hearty breakfast and settled in for a nap. Before long her sleeping body starts to animate. Her paws and whiskers madly twitch. I wonder if, in her dream, she is running after or running away.

In my youth, the Saturday morning comics (referred to by Mom as the coloured section) were a treasure. And one of my favourite comic strips was Li'l Abner by Al Capp. Among his many rustic and imaginative characters, I found 'Nightmare Alice' particularly intriguing. She was delightfully loathsome but also admirably powerful in her own way. She was scrawny with thin arms and oversized hands and feet. Her dirty feet were always bare. She had unkempt black hair and wore a dark, ragged dress. The residents of Dogpatch would scatter in fear as she buzzed them from her frayed old broomstick.

Well, I have a personal Nightmare Alice. No, she is not an actual person, but rather the nickname I give to the director of my bizarre nightly sleep productions. I can almost imagine her cackle as she mischievously orchestrates my dreams into ridiculous situations that I find myself the starring role of. Usually, these works of fiction are centered around people, animals and places from my remote past and bear little resemblance to reality.

The following are typical examples of Alice's sense of humour.

(z-z-z-z) My car is ancient and falling apart as I pump the useless brakes and try to dodge traffic in some strange and congested city. Sometimes as I commute to work, this defective vehicle morphs into a flattened cardboard box that I try to surf along the highway. (Usually with surprising success and surely scoring great gas mileage!) Oh, and there is the always popular scenario of searching for where I parked it and trying to remember what it even looks like.

(z-z-z-z) I'm working in an office but instead of using a computer, I'm typing on a very old pre-electric typewriter. I must very quickly produce (after all, the Minister has a plane to catch) perfect copy in quadruplicate using carbon paper and special letterhead. Well, you can just imagine the mess this task leads to!

(z-z-z-z) I stroll into our barn and discover that for a very long time (yes, years) I've forgotten we have livestock. Dozens of cows and calves are hungry and thirsty (some of them dying) and the stables are in extreme need of cleaning. After emergency feeding/watering, I push the heavily laden wheel barrow up a slippery, narrow plank and out onto the manure pile. But I discover I'm manoeuvering the unbalanced load onto a dangerously steep mountain which is covered in ice and snow.

On rare occasions, Alice is generous enough to allow me super powers -- flying (well, gliding really) and speed swimming with great flippered feet that perform like high powered outboard motors. Bystanders are very impressed!

Morning and awake now, I'm delighted to return to my mundane but safe and happy, privileged reality. If someone asks me, "Sleep well?" I would reply "Yes, but I had a visitor." And my imagination hears a very faint cackle and I can almost catch a glimpse of a departing black and tattered dress. Oh Alice, you are certainly a character!!!

 
Good morning Sunshine! Sleep well?



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