Dream of: 20 March 2001 "Survivor"

Nine or ten people and I were standing in a circle in the backyard of a house. We were all engaged in a contest to see who would be the last member of the group to survive. Every week we met and voted off one member; the final survivor would be the winner of the contest.

An amiable man (probably in his mid 30s) who oversaw the contest was also with us. For some reason, this week he had directed that instead of one, two members of the group should be voted off. He also made an unexpected announcement to us: this week, instead of everyone voting, I alone would decide which two members would exit. For a moment I was reluctant to accept this responsibility, but I quickly perceived my best interests would be served if only I were to decide who would be ejected from the group. I therefore accepted the task and began trying to decide who must leave.

One other fellow spoke up; he proffered a suggestion of how I should determine who would leave, but I sternly rebuked him, stating that I would configure my own method.

I had already chosen one person to vote off – a fellow who hadn't even shown up for this meeting was an obvious choice. I remembered him and me having sat next to each other at the last meeting just a few meters from there, in a grove of pine trees. I even remembered how I had thought I would like to plant a tiny pine among the trees. And I had liked the fellow. But since he wasn't there, I decided he clearly must leave. Now, I only had to decide who the second ejectee must be.

***

After I had made my decision, the group congregated in the house, and we all sat down at a wooden table. As we talked among ourselves, I began thinking about one member whom we had previously voted out. She had been referred to as the "Siamese girl." I was unsure how she had come to be known by this name; she wasn't a Siamese twin, and she didn't hale from Siam, although she did seem to have an oriental air about her. I recalled her having reminded me of my friend Kim (a woman a few years younger than I whom I first met in Portsmouth in 1977). I asked the others if they had heard anything about the Siamese girl, and someone said she had killed herself. I was stunned and I said that was just great, that after we had voted her off, she had killed herself.

One woman in the group said she had attended the funeral of the Siamese girl and the woman pulled out some icing which had been on a cake at the funeral. The piece of icing was about five centimeters high and eight centimeters long and looked liked one of the cars of a train, perhaps even the engine. I was rather disgusted to think someone would be carrying this piece of icing around. Obviously the icing couldn't last much longer; I didn't even like looking at it.

The fellow (probably in his late 20s) sitting on my left looked like my old junior high school classmate, Craft. I watched as he leaned back on his back and began pulling on a blue diving suit which would cover his entire body. He had been given the suit as a reward for being in this group. I had earlier seen the suit, but I hadn't been interested in it. Now, however, I was interested and I regretted having not laid any claim to the obviously valuable suit. I resolved if I were ever to see a diving suit like this at a yard sale, I would be sure to buy it.

Our meeting was reaching its climax. At the close we conducted a bit of a ceremony. We began clapping our hands fast and rhythmically. I worked myself into a bit of a frenzy with the clapping. When we finished clapping, we were all supposed to pray. A collection basket was then passed around to take up an offering. I normally gave nothing, sometimes a dollar, but I was feeling generous today and thought I might put two dollars in the basket, even though no one else seemed to be giving more than a dollar. A very large basket for the collection was sitting on the table and appeared to be nailed down to the table, but a smaller basket was passed from person to person, until it reached one fellow, who simply sat with his eyes closed and didn't pick up the basket. Apparently he was still praying. Someone called to him, "Henry, would you please pass on the basket."

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