(As with all dreams, some parts are inconsistent with my actual life, things I've never done, and would never do. I considered placing these in italics, or underline them, but that would be a pointless exercise.)
I walked out of my studio apartment into the storm, and hopped onto my scooter, sans helmet. It was calm around me, save a little wind. But the sky was as dark as daytime would allow it to get. I could smell the rain in the air. Thunder boomed not so far away. I decided to go on my errand anyway, despite the weather… despite the possibility of returning dripping wet.
I rode up the street and the sight of a funnel cloud quickly changed my mind. The trembles wracking my body not withstanding, I could not return the few blocks to my meager home, a studio in a brick building which was built in the 1930s. There was an object inside the funnel -a vehicle of some kind. I could not resist the curious urge to ride up the street and chase it. I had to see what it was.
Then I noticed the funnel-cloud was *below* the vehicle. It seemed to be on an out-of-control course for… my home. I don't have much, but it is still all I have. I high-tail it back, watching the obviously artificial attempt to create a natural disaster while attempting to keep my eyes on an increasingly treacherous roadway.
I weave through the suburban streets, taking a round-about route. I must find out what the hell is going on. The "conspiracy theorist" part of my blood is tingling and will not let this go, while the remaining fabric of my being is terrified and wants only to go home and hide under something more solid.
A just off-duty cop somehow flashes me down. He was on foot, his patrol cruiser in his driveway. I comply, trembling now because I have no helmet *and* no insurance. Fuck, why did I stop. He was on his property, I was not. For some unfathomable reason, I pull into his driveway. Now I could be considered to be trespassing as well. Thunder booms after a flash in the sky close to the funnel. Curiously, he just gives me a warning about being on such a vehicle in such threatening weather. Ignoring even the marks I put in his cruiser's fender trying to back my way out of his driveway, he lets me go.
I take off in a hurry, following the funnel. The vehicle generating it, an oddly shaped semi truck is lower now, about to succumb to gravity in the large lot of a Chevron station behind and below my building. As it hits the ground, the funnel cloud disperses. The rig itself is quite normal. The trailer is a sequence of large transparent spheres, stained with something green and toxic. The sky lightens some and the driver (no…pilot?) falls from the door into a puddle which begins to sizzle with heat.
Concerned coworkers come out of the station. MY coworkers from MY job at the call center - about 12 of them, or so. They are not in any kind of uniform, simply dressed the way I see them every day when I'm at work. I am a lot closer to these people in the dream than in actual life, yet I cannot recall a single name.
The driver-pilot is going on about a lightning strike through the windshield, which was not supposed to be able to happen. A few are helping aid the driver-pilot, and the rest start to circle me… distracting me… urging me to come to a movie with them. They'll even pay. As curious as I am, I decide I'd really rather not know what the hell is going on. We go to the theater, sitting down just in time for the power to fail. Emergency lights guide us to the exits. I suggest we go back to my place (WAY too small for this group) and watch something which is not news about the storm. About six come with me.
I'm being the gracious hostess, but getting all their names wrong. They seem annoyed, but are letting it slide. I pop a DVD in the player when there's a knock on my door. More friends? No. Someone beginning to prattle off confidential information: Birth name; parents' names; blood types; prior addresses; social security numbers; assigned gender at birth. All my friends know I'm trans* and proud of it, but who are these strangers? An African-American man and a Mexican-American woman - neither I've seen before.
While the man prattles off information, including the job I had in Nevada in 2002 (one where my life was in actual danger) I catch the woman trying to sneak in my door behind us. I grab her arm. "Who the FUCK are you people? Are you from the government?" I scream. They say nothing. I owe the government tens of thousands of dollars, and their silence seems to confirm they are agents of some kind, trying to ascertain why I have not made any attempts to pay my debt.
Keeping the woman by the arm, I grab a steak knife from the kitchen drawer. Tears in my eyes, I start pointing out the modesty of my meager existence.
"I owe almost three times what I make in a year to you people." I let go of her arm, pointing at my computer desk with the knife's tip. "My so-called education was supposed to enable me to pay back that money in three years! That was 10 years ago!
"Every cent I make goes to pay for THIS connection to the world at large." The knife points to my cracked ceiling "THIS ROOF over my head…" I open the door to my half empty fridge with too many generics to count. "It goes to THIS food…" I fly to the cupboards and open them, one brimming with generic ramen noodle packages "…in my stomach!"
My friends are watching as I weep and enter the main room, still using the steak knife to point at things. "It pays for my hormones, ONE THIRD of an entire check monthly. THIS spring-bare bed was GIVEN to me by a dead friend. THIS art on the walls was all created by ME!" I point out the door at my scooter. "And that is how I get every day to a job I can barely remain sane at. EVERY CENT I MAKE GOES TO THIS EXISTENCE I CAN BARELY STAND!!!"
I look at my friends, my face soaked in tears, and gesture in an arc -knife still in hand- "These people…" the sobbing starts, but I must finish my sentence. "These people, my friends, are THE REASON I have not used a knife like this on myself. And I think of doing that EVERY SINGLE FUCKING DAY! I should have had a different life by now." I grab her arm, nearly throwing her out the still-open door. Her companion is gone. "Every cent I have goes to this. I cannot repay the money I owe. And knowing what you're up to, I do not want any money going to projects like the one I just saw. Now, even if I could pay it back, I wouldn't."
I slam the door, set down the knife, quietly apologizing to my friends for my outburst. I fake a smile, and one stands up to leave. I stand in her way.
She speaks coldly, calmly. "After what I saw, I can't be your friend. Quit. Transfer to another team. I don't care. Just don't speak to or about me again. Ever." I feebly try to state that she is important to me… to my life… to my sanity… but as she pushes past me, I do not resist. I turn to the rest of my friends, and start to say that I hope they don't feel the same, when they get up -one by one- and go out the open door in silence. None even offering to comfort me.
My closest friends just wordlessly told me that my life isn't worth living, and the importance I place on them and their friendship is either too much of a burden to carry, or I'm too insignificant to warrant caring about.
I don't want to die. But life seems no longer worth living.
(And I awaken with this vision stuck in my head. It is the single most disturbing thing I have ever experienced.)