Last night I dreamed I was sitting in a red, padded booth at a courtyard cafe with Roxanne. We were talking about books, doing timed writings, and discussing the latest RWA workshops, when a mutual friend of ours, Anne, came riding by on a red bicycle. We both waved at her, and Anne waved back as she went on riding through the quad.
The courtyard was sectioned off like a maze by a series of mostly waist-high, brown-toned, brick partitions. Each partitioned area had booths and tables like a food court at a mall. We were sitting in a corner nook, and if Anne wanted to join us, I knew she had to go the long way around the quad to get to the other side because the brick partition connected to our booth on the one side ran down the center of the quad without any breaks.
Roxanne and I were facing each other across the table, and behind me, there was taller section of brick wall with plants, rubber tree plants and elephant ears, growing out of the top of it, which made it hard to see exactly what was on the other side of the booth. That stretch of brick portion rose up about six inches over the back of the booth, so I couldn't see over it just by glancing back.
After Anne passed by, Roxanne and I went back to talking, and in the middle of our conversation, we heard something going on behind our booth. Roxanne shimmied under the table and came up on my side, and we both climbed up on our knees to look over the riser. Anne was back there. She had parked her bike and was hanging up a poster on a brick wall behind us.
We had been watching her only a few seconds when Roxanne went completely fan girl over the poster- or at least, I thought that's what had grabbed her attention. She began shrieking and squeeing, and at times she reached over to grab my arm and shake me. I didn't have my glasses on, so I squinted at the poster, trying to read what it said. The border of the poster was white, and there were at least twelve, five by five images spaced out in rows. On some of the color images, there were quotes written in large, white, Helvetica Bold font. (Hey, I couldn't help noticing the font. My dad worked as a sign artist, after all.)
At first I thought the poster had Star Wars images on it, because the picture at the top left corner looked a lot like the Millennium Falcon, but I soon realized the pictures were actually photoshopped memes from Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. (And no, it's not lost on me that yesterday was Douglas Adam's birthday.)
Each picture on the poster was either a NASA shot, or a Sci-fi movie still with sayings printed on them: phrases from Hitchhiker's Guide: 42, Don't Panic, and Did you bring a towel? That sort of thing. I thought it was amusing, but not really squee worthy. I started to ask Roxanne what she was going bonkers about when she began tugging on the sleeve of my shirt and pointing. I looked where she indicated and that's when I saw Stephen King standing off to the side. He had his arms crossed over his chest and was watching Anne while she taped down the final corner of the poster.
I was shocked to see someone like Stephen King at a place like this. The courtyard wasn't shabby, but we were practically alone there. In our own little bubble. I didn't know much about the place, but I assumed it was a maze for lost writers, or something like that. I looked at Roxanne. "Is that who I think it is?"
Rox was too busy squeeing to answer me. She was carrying on so much that it caught Mr. King's attention. He looked our way and grinned, and I was pretty sure the bemused look on his face had something to do with how silly we looked - two grown women peeking over the back of a restaurant booth.
After Anne finished with the poster, he started walking toward us, and Roxanne grabbed my arm. "Oh my god, Cora!" She was babbling so quietly and so fast, I couldn't understand what she was saying to me, even though she'd had leaned to say it all very near my ear.
Mr. King stepped up to the wall our booth was attached to and introduced himself. He offered his hand across the riser. When Roxanne shook it, she was so flabbergasted she had a slip of the tongue and accidentally blurted out, "Hi, I'm Cora!"
I laughed and nudged her shoulder, then I said to Mr. King, "She's kidding. I'm Cora, she's Roxanne (last name withheld)." Mr. King kept a straight face, but his eyes were filled with laughter. I was pretty sure he thought we were both bat shit crazy, but hey, he didn't freak out or get angry, so I allowed myself to relax a little bit.
"Okay ladies," he said. "Here's a question for you." He gestured to the poster, which was apparently his. "What are your thoughts? Is the universe real or a computer program?"
Roxanne and I looked at each other. Neither of us were expecting a question like that; however, I remembered reading an article about physicists testing to discover if the universe is a computer simulation. Before I could mention the article, Roxanne told him, "The universe is real, of course."
Mr. King suddenly had this very sly look on his face. I patted Rox on the shoulder to comfort her, since she looked like she was about to go into major debate mode to defend her position.
I figured that we were probably being baited with such an unusual question, but I went along with it anyway.
"Fine," I said, "I'll be the weird one out. I'll say the universe is a simulation. Only, I don't think it's simply a computer program. It has to be a virus."
Mr. King's brows rose. "Okay. Explain your theory."
I shrugged and said, "Well, like a virus, the universe is resistant to antibiotics, it's spreading at a rapid rate, and it has a finite lifespan."
Both Mr. King and Roxanne looked surprised by my answer. I knew it sounded crazy, but at the same time, it made perfect sense.
If there was a catch to his question, I never figured it out. I woke up after that. As I woke up, I caught myself thinking, Never in my life have I thought so fast on my feet.
And there you have it. I simply wanted to jot down my strange but interesting dream. Another post to my kids will probably read one day and wonder what I was drinking. (Just so they have the answer, Mint Green Tea.) ;o) Happy Tuesday, everyone!