The Thump Thump Thump Dream

My heart would be racing and my breathing labored. I would be in the house, often in the basement or in the scary front hallway that was blocked off by a bookshelf on one end and turned into a side office full of mimeograph machines and file cabinets (my father had a home office). I would hear the sound…

Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump.

Like a giant monster steadily tapping on the roof of the house, or something…something very scary and dangerous.

Somehow I knew I would have to get out of the house, and I had to get over to the base of the tree in the corner of the back yard. This was the climbing tree. It was a medium-sized maple that I could climb quite high in, even as a small child. I could use it to jump into any one of three different yards (and retreat from said yards). It was my escape tree, my spy tree, my safe tree. I knew I needed to get to that tree and find the hole at the base. The cage. The cage that was made out of a hole at the base of the safe tree.

Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump. Louder.

There would be obstructions, things making it hard to get out of the house, like closed doors and pieces of furniture in the way. Finally I would make it to back door, and it would be held shut by the bar set across it on the angle irons. This was an impromptu security device that my brother had made when we found out there was a prowler in the neighborhood. We had no locks on any of the doors. We reasoned that if a bad person was going to try to come into the house, they would come in the back door, not the front door. Only good people came in the front door. So we barred the back door by putting up these angle irons, then dropping a broom into them. That would stop anybody bad enough to try to get in but not bad enough to simply break the glass window on the door and remove the broom.

But in this nightmare, the bar was difficult to remove. It was not just the usual broom handle, but rather a heavy iron bar that resembled the piece of railroad track we had in the basement, the one with the hole drilled through, which in turn had a metal ring through it. That was one of my grandfather’s farm implements…something used to tie a bull to, so it could get around to feed but would be hampered from running quickly. Or so I was told.

Eventually, I would move the rail from the back door, and it would clatter to the floor, and I’d be flying outside under the sound of the thing overhead.

Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump.

And in my dream I would tear across the back yard and fall to my knees at the cage. This was a hole in the ground with bars across it, and inside would be all of my furry and feathered pets. My current cat, and the last cat or two, who were dead in real life but seemed fine in the dream. A rodent or two and a few other critters, and Kelly the parakeet might be in there as well. They were all looking up at me, wanting to be protected. They did not want to leave the cage. This cage was their safety. They were safe from anything in this cage. Anything, that is, but the thing coming closer overhead.

Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump.

Just at that moment, I would turn and look overhead and there would be a monster that looked exactly like Mighty Mouse, but that I knew was not that cartoon superhero at all. He would be wearing a swastika, and he’d fire a rocket down towards the cage. When I would turn back to look at the cage, all my pets would be in there, but all of them would now be dead. Squished, sometimes burned, occasionally beheaded. Always dead. The fur and feathers were always gone, and they were always stiff, with their limbs sticking out in front and behind like they were diving into a pool. And sometimes before I turned my head to see their bodies, I’d hear them scream. The thing overhead had killed them, and now it moved off to other objectives.

Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump.

I had that dream several times (every few weeks?) during two or three summers when I was about six or seven years old.

Years later I figured out what the dream was about. Well, it was about anxiety and fear and so on and so forth. But there were elements to the dream, elements of real life from which it was created.

The cage was obvious to me even at the time. It was at the base of the tree where I regularly buried stuff I wanted to hide. It was a hiding place, and thus a safe place, and thus in this recurring nightmare, it was the safe place for my beloved pets.

The thing overhead was Mighty Mouse, and that was simply plucked from the popular cartoons of the day. The swastika came from the Nazi enemies Mighty Mouse normally battled. The burned and crushed bodies in the safe cage were based on the imagery of the holocaust that I had discovered int he basement of the house, unbeknown to my parents. They had twenty years of old Life magazines in old mildewed boxed down in the basement, and of course the subject matter of these magazines included the war years. I had discovered the magazines and devoured them with relish, and when I found the articles and pictures pertaining to the Holocaust, I devoured those with horror.

So most of the elements of the nightmare were explained. But what about this:

Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump.

That was not a dream element at all, it turns out, but an external trigger and a dream element. It was a real thing that made the dream happen and made it seem so real and urgent and so terrifying. Two or three years after I had this dream, I found out that about five blocks from my house was the temporary landing pad for the local Goodyear blimp. This was over in a big parking lot by Hoffman Park. Even on nights when the blimp did not dock at that location (and I think it actually docked there very rarely), it would often fly by rather low. When I was older and therefore up later, I would often see the blimp go overhead. And I would always hear its diesel engine chugging away. It sounded like this:

Thump. Thump. Thump. Thump.


And now, things are going to get even worse for some people!!!!!

The Pentagon said Thursday that it intends to spend $400 million to develop a giant dirigible that will float 65,000 feet above the Earth for 10 years, providing unblinking and intricate radar surveillance of the vehicles, planes and even people below.

“It is absolutely revolutionary,” Werner J.A. Dahm, chief scientist for the Air Force, said of the proposed unmanned airship — describing it as a cross between a satellite and a spy plane.

Details here,

Uff da.

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2 Responses to “The Thump Thump Thump Dream”

  1. April 16th, 2009 at 9:55 am

    AK says:

    What a wonderful target for the next generation of shoulder-fired weapons!

  2. April 16th, 2009 at 11:14 am

    Monado says:

    With all the increased ultraviolet radiation you really need parasols all year round now…. and trees, lots of overhanging trees. And awnings on all the stores. And hats, generic clothing, and lots of identically dressed friends… Sheesh. We’ll see if President Obama actually lets it get started.

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