Either way, last Friday I woke up in a state of terror that didn't let me go. I was shaking, I was crying, I was scared and twitchy and while I wish I could say that this was a totally new experience, it sure as hell didn't seem to have a reason that I was twitching violently and hiding from pigeons, at the same time gripped with a mindless dread that there was nothing in this world worth staying alive for?
I've had some pretty freaky and vivid nightmares on the theme but the worst came first and was so utterly vivid it was like some LSD flashback it burned into my mind. Transcribed below, incoherent and digressive as dreams are, was the soul-shattering experience.
Those who have heard of it have dubbed it irrelevant, exaggerated and also a great pitch for an HBO series about an amnesiac Manchurian candidate on the run.
Judge for yourself.
All I know was, before I had this dream, I was undeniably sane.
Scene - backstreet near my home
This is what google images gets when I name myself.
(Our dashing hero Ewen walks down the street on an overcast afternoon with a pump-action shotgun broken over his arm. In the distance can be heard alarms and sirens.)
Ewen: Typical. Bank robbery and I'm wandering around with an offensive weapon.
(A side street house fills up with brightly-dressed kids from some kind of birthday party.)
Ewen: OK. Time to avoid a misunderstanding.
(He hurries towards a multistory carpark, but one of the kids has Weeping Angeled beside him.)
Kid: Is that a gun?
Ewen: Is it? Yes. Yes it is. But, seriously, totally harmless. No ammo.
(He shows off the barrel and what looks like a cartridge rattles out.)
Ewen: This isn't what it looks like.
Kid: Is that an everready battery?
Ewen: (examines cardridge) Yeah. Looks like. Stops real bullets being put in there.
Kid: Sorry. Had to check.
Ewen: I understand.
Scene - a house with those kids
(When no one was looking, the scene has changed.)
Ewen: And, er, thanks for showing me round the place.
Kid: It's only polite.
(A woman sits on a couch. Sobbing hysterically.)
Ewen: Something wrong?
(The woman has black eyes.)
Kid: She gets like this.
Ewen: Seriously, something happen here? I'm sensing something.
(The patriarch of the family steps in through the patio doors. He's big, grey haired, broken nosed and played by a guy who was in an episode of Rake.)
This is the most evil face my subconscious can provide.
I was expecting the mixed-race bleach-ass psycho from Cracker, TBH.
Patriarch: Well, well, well. You shouldn't have come here?
Ewen: Really? I was invited.
Patriarch: Not by me.
(He kicks the woman, not particularly violently, but rudely.)
Ewen: Stop that.
Patriarch: I know who you are.
Ewen: Do tell.
Patriarch: Still got the gun.
Ewen: This? (shakes useless shotgun) What are you talking about?
Patriarch: Don't you remember?
(Cue flashback in a dream...)
Scene - my house
(There is a police at the front door. Lights flash.)
Ewen's mum: What's going on?
Ewen: Beats me.
Policeman: How about when you shot someone?
Scene - Patriarch's House
Ewen: I've never shot someone!
Patriarch: I saw it.
(Patriarch points at his arm. Ewen rolls up his sleeve. A scar on the upper arm.)
Patriarch: Then how'd you get that?
Patriarch: What? Got nothing?
Ewen: I wouldn't shoot someone.
Patriarch: You tell yourself that.
(Flashback. Ewen, in this house, shooting someone with said shotgun. Some richocet or injures his arm. The Patriarch watches on. End flashback.)
Ewen: That doesn't make sense. That never happened.
Patriarch: You think you're dreaming all this?
Ewen: I have to be. This. Never. Happened.
(Flashback. Ewen watches as the ambo's wheel away the body. Chalk outline on the floor. End flashback.)
Ewen: If that was real, I would have drawn a smiley face there.
Jon Pertwee's Hamlet.
Didn't occur in the dream but pretty much sums up the whole mood.
Patriarch: This isn't a dream. You're in denial.
Ewen: No I'm not.
Patriarch: Tell that to your therapist.
Ewen: I will! How do you even know I have a therapist?
Patriarch: I know everything you wish I didn't. Stuff you've repressed.
Ewen: I'm not repressing anything. Not that I'm aware of.
Patriarch: I could tell everyone, you know. You'd lose everything.
Ewen: Which would not be much.
Patriarch: But would still be enough. You want to take the risk?
Scene - flashbacky police station
(Flashback. Ewen at a police station with his parents.)
Ewen: This didn't happen! This is just a dream in a dream!
Max Black from 2 Broke Girls: Been saying that for years, but it never works.
Ewen: Aren't you fictional?
Max: Aren't you a killer?
Ewen: I don't know.
Max: Yeah, this isn't a multiple choice test, I don't think. I suck at tests.
Scene - Patriarch's house
Ewen: It can't be real. It never happened. I was never in jail. You didn't press charges.
Patriarch: I still can. You picked the worst place to turn up and cause a mess.
Ewen: Technically, I was invited.
Patriarch: My heart bleeds. Run. Now.
Patriarch: Not my problem.
(Ewen turns to the rest of the family for support. Finds none. They're kind of hostile now. He runs out into the backyard and down the edge of a sloping hill, passing other kids playing. The Patriarch laughs like an asshole.)
Scene - rear edge of Ewen Park
This park is named after me.
Do not go there alone.
(Ewen runs along the hill, past backyards. It seems to go on for ever but eventually he reaches ground level in a playground-footy-field. A few families and picnicers are around the place.)
Ewen: Is he chasing me?
(Max and Caroline just happen to be there.)
Max: Nope. Don't think he has to.
Ewen: This can't be real. This has to be a dream.
Max: Nah, dreams are like life in a Brooklyn brothel. You lie back and accept all the wierd crap happening. This is as real as real life gets.
Ewen: It can't be! I wouldn't kill someone!
Caroline: OK. Could you seriously maim them instead?
Maxoline. Great for wisecracks but surprisingly poor moral support.
Ewen: But why? I can't remember.
Max: Your memory's rubbish anyway. Proves nothing. Look, what's today's date?
Ewen: ...I don't know.
Max: How about the month?
Max: The year?
Max: And who's the Prime Minister?
Ewen: Tony Abbot.
Max: You see! Why the hell would any sane person dream that? If you're repressing anything it must be an imagination!
Caroline: Face facts, Ewen. You've got form for carrying weapon, infiltrating strangers' houses and running from the proper authorities.
Ewen: You aren't helping!
Max: Help? What makes you think we can help? Look, let me lay this down on you. This is real. You can't change the fact your life is screwed. And properly screwed this time.
Caroline: I don't think anyone would forgive you for this. I mean, do you forgive yourself?
Caroline: Well, you can't expect anyone else to, can you?
Ewen: I can't stay here.
Max: Uh, F-my-I? Where exactly are you going to go? You're as guilty as sin! And believe me, I know sin.
Ewen: I can go home.
Caroline: Well, you can try for that. I guess.
Ewen: There has to be someone... somewhere... I... I can run away.
Max: Good luck with that.
(For whatever reason, the roads out of the park all lead back up the hill Ewen just ran down.)
Ewen: This is just not fair.
Max: Exactly. In a dream, there'd be a bunyip hitchhiker only too eager to help. Heh. I'd be so into that.
Ewen: Hang on, you two aren't real!
Max: I don't see any so-called "real" friends of yours leaping to your defense.
Caroline: We can go if you like. We know where we're not wanted.
Max: Normally in the offices of social security benefits.
Ewen: (angry) Fine! I'll cope on my own!
(He storms off.)
Max: (calls after him) Good idea, Undertaker - get used to the isolation now!
Caroline: You're not being very sympathetic, Max.
Max: He wants sympathy, he can ask his cellmate. Come on, Caroline, you know he's not going to be the bitch in the relationship.
(They head after him.)
Scene - further up the hill
(The Patriarch is enjoying a balcony barbecue in someone else's house. The owner is grim. The Patriarch is monochrome for some reason. Ewen, Max and Caroline approach.)
Caroline: He's everywhere!
Max: He's like hep c.
Ewen: It's not that bad in Australia.
Max: Who told you that? The charity that fired your ass?
Ewen: Good point. Is he following me?
Caroline: Nah, he's a kingpin. A big important member of the community. I think he owns it.
Max: Owns your ass, sure enough.
Ewen: Not if I tell everyone first.
Max: And that helps how?
Ewen: It doesn't. Nothing helps. There's no way out of this. And why the hell is he black-and-white?
Caroline: It's his aura. He's pretty clear-cut as a villain.
Ewen: No one has auras.
Caroline: No? Your aura says "dead meat" pretty clearly.
Ewen: There has to be something I can do! I know, I can go back to the house and remove the incriminating evidence.
(They stare at him.)
Ewen: Which exists only in his memory.
Max: You could kill him.
Max: Hey, in for a penny, in for a ponzie scheme.
Ewen: I don't want to kill anyone!
Caroline: You've already betrayed the sanctity of human life. Go ahead.
Ewen: Have I? I can't even remember who I shot.
Caroline: So, you admit you shot people.
Ewen: This isn't happening!
Max: Are you saying your therapist is part of the illusion? He'll charge you double for that.
(There is the sound of a crowd. Further up the road, a bunch of auctionees with pamphlets are moving up the hill.)
Ewen: They're going to the house. They'll find out everything!
Caroline: They have to pass the bottle shop.
Max: The bottle shop? Get them all drunk! That is an awesome idea! It won't work, but awesome.
Ewen: There's got to be a better idea!
Caroline: Shall we stay and think of one?
Max: And by "we", we mean "you". The murderer. And the loser.
Ewen: I don't even have a nice personality any more.
Caroline: No. Good point.
(They leave. Ewen watches the crowd move on.)
Ewen: What's the use?
(Beat. He runs after the crowd.)
Scene - backstreets
(Ewen can't keep up with the auctioneer mob. Max sits on a stone fence, munching a cupcake.)
Max: How's the whole 'stop the tanks in Tiannaman Square' thing working?
Ewen: I don't know.
Max: Probably because you're chasing them instead of blocking their path.
Ewen: I don't even know what house they're inspecting? Is this a whole waste of time?
Max: Usually is. Ooh, there's something I can do for you.
Max: Come on.
(She moves through some courtyards of the flats, then into the patriarch's house.)
Scene - Patriarch's House again
Ewen: What is it?
Max: I found the old Taran Woodbeast Annual 1979 for you.
(She hands him a threadbare hardback.)
I know. Just... don't say anything. I know.
Ewen: The endpapers have fallen out.
Max: Yeah, but no one's smoked them yet. Quit your bellyaching.
(She shoves the pages into the book.)
Ewen: Other way round.
(He swaps them over.)
Ewen: That looks worse.
Max: Yeah. It does. Still, who cares? It's as bad as that Sylvester McCoy one you were doing. Only this one is printed. And not written by a murderer on the run with everyone against him. Well, I assume not. If I'm wrong - hey, you might have a pal in prison.
Ewen: No I won't.
Max: Yeah. I keep forgetting about your homicidal personality.
Even figments of my imagination consider this pathetic.
Ewen: Hang on. This is... different.
Max: Yep. Back in time, dude. Flashback total.
Ewen: This has got to be a dream.
Max: Yet I still have clothes on and your pathetic life is still in ruins.
Ewen: Is this the day I shoot him?
Max: Beats me. I'm only here for the elevator. It goes sideways through the hill. Awesome!
(She grabs a suitable boyfriend from one of the inhabitants and into the lift.)
Max: Oh, one last thing.
Max: No way, get stuffed, fuck off.
Max: Sorry, I was sure you were going to ask if you'd ever see my face again.
Ewen: Oh. Bye then.
Max: Yeah. Whatever.
(The lift glides out of view. The Patriarch is in the corner, arguing with someone.)
Victim: You're ruining everything.
Patriarch: I don't hear any complaints.
Victim: You never listen.
Patriarch: Ah. The secret of my success. (to Ewen) You going to shoot him or what?
Ewen: I... no!
Patriarch: Look. Either you shoot him or I shoot him and blame you.
Ewen: And I can't stop this.
Patriarch: And I thought that braincell of yours was getting lonely.
Ewen: (to victim) You're pretty sanguine about this.
Victim: Sanguine? You mean like blood?
Ewen: I guess so. No, this can't be happening.
Patriarch: Look, this has gotten old. If you want to pretend this is a dream, fine. I don't need to hear it. You can skip to the end, like all spoilerphiles.
Oblivion. Actual footage.
Ewen: What is this? I can't see anything.
Patriarch: Yep. This is all you've got left now. Nothing. No one. Tell me this isn't fair.
Patriarch: Thought not.
Ewen: You're going to leave me here.
Patriarch: It's a mercy. Do you really want to be able to see everything you've lost?
Ewen: I'm going to wake up.
Patriarch: No. You might fall asleep.
Ewen: This is not happening. This is a dream.
Patriarch: No, anything else is a dream. You can be sure of that. You won't be looking forward to waking up then.
Ewen: No, there must be... something. Hello?
I suffered this for two hours, thirty-seven minutes and three seconds.
I counted them.
And then I woke up.
I've been psychological and drug treatment ever since.