Unexpectedly, Clare decided yesterday to take a nap. She crawled into her bunk bed, covered herself up with a Dora sheet and three blankets and told me to go downstairs. When I checked on her five minutes later, she was out cold, her spaghetti noodle arms splayed above her head. It’s been nearly two years since she took a nap if you don’t count falling asleep in the car or passing out on the couch for a few minutes while watching TV. And I don’t.

So, what did I do with the time to myself? Covered up with my favorite afghan and headed for dreamland. It’s rare for me to get a real, uninterrupted nap, but whenever I do, my subconscious kicks into overdrive.

The dream starts out nice enough. It is summer. I am napping on the couch and awake to an engine revving outside. I get up, stretch, and walk to the living room window. Outside, a low-riding, cherry red pickup truck with wicked geometric decals on the side doors is parked on the curb. It seems menacingly close to the house.

A bald man with biceps the size of footballs and a tattoo on the back of his nonexistent neck is leaning into the truck’s open door. There is a woman with frizzy brown hair standing next to him, waiting. He turns around (In slow motion! My dreams are cinematic like a bad soap opera.) and he is holding a huge pair of nunchuks. He looks pissed off.

They barrel through my yard and into the neighbors’ (not necessary to get there, but hey, this is a dream). I get a good look at him — he’s wearing a wife-beater (I can’t help it if my subconscious harbors stereotypes about clothing.) and some dark jeans.

They burst into the crack house with all the crash and rattle of comic book thugs. I move to the dining room for a better look. I can see through the window that the bald man is attacking someone, wrapping the chain of the nunchuks around his neck.

I drop to the floor, terrified they’ll see me, and crawl into the kitchen to grab the phone. Shaking almost uncontrollably, I dial 911. Click, click, click. Buzz. Nothing. I dial again. Ring, ring, ring, ring, ring, ring. I remember there’s a post-it with the number of the local police on it. I dial the number.

“Dispatch.”

I’m whispering. “I can see into my neighbor’s window and there’s a guy, I think he might be killing someone. But I’m afraid to look again.”

Dial tone. We’re cut off.  I hit redial. Ring, ring, ring.

The haze of afternoon sleep hanging over me, I slowly realize my real phone is ringing.

It’s just a dream.

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