I dreamt that I had come to the end of a long journey. Stumbling out of a dense forest, I arrived at a small house with a lake behind it. Inside the house was a woman I had never seen before. I walked over to touch her and when I did she melted like wax. Dripping apart into a puddle on the floor, her distorting, deforming face seemed to blame me, to judge me. I tried to run, but I couldn”t find the door. Then, my own limbs slowly started to melt off in the same way the woman”s entire body had, and struggling only made them melt faster. What”s worse, I was naked and late for school.

Paul Wong

I woke up drenched in a lukewarm fluid that I can only assume was sweat. “What a nightmare!” I exclaimed, pushing away the strands of my luxurious mane of hair that had gathered on my face. Lying in the bed next to me was a woman I had never seen before. When I touched her she made a sound like an animal. I realized that I wasn”t in my own bed. Rapidly pulling on my pants, I beat it out of there, running all the way back to my apartment in Northwood II, which I share with my twin brother Reuben.

Reuben always pretends to be annoyed when I come home in the middle of the night and wake him up, but I can tell he loves to hear about my adventures. Call it twin-brother intuition. I went into his room still out of breath from the run and I”m like “Reuben, Reuben, wake up,” and he”s all “you son of a bitch!” Luckily he wasn”t with his girlfriend Xian-Xian at the time, because she always gets pissed when I bother them at night. Not that I can ever tell what she”s saying. Xian-Xian doesn”t speak a word of English as one of the current GSIs for Math 115, she mainly communicates to her students through shrieks and wild hand gestures.

Anyway, so first I tell Reuben about the dream. He tells me I”m a sick bastard, because the dream obviously means that I desire our mother, that these desires are latent but intense, that I should believe him because he took an intro psych course his freshman year and since then has “always been able to figure people out real easy.”

“No way I desire mom, you douchebag,” I said, “you”re only projecting your own desire of her on me. Fuckin” douchebag.” I had taken the same intro psych class, and knew all about latent desires and projecting and all the rest of that garbage.

“If he were still alive, Freud might say that the intense denial of your latent desire for our mother is in itself proof that the desire exists.”

Reuben was always saying dumb college-boy shit like that I didn”t have the hots for my mother, end of story. Quickly changing the subject (and making a mental note to get a second opinion of the dream”s meaning from someone else), I told him about how I had just woken up next to some random girl and had to beat it out of there before the beast woke up.

“You infidel! I thought you were trying to close the deal on the Schafer account. And now this! Kudos, brother, I tip my hat to you.” Reuben is what you might call a misogynist. During conversations, when there are no women around, he refers to them as if they were business deals, to be negotiated and closed he describes Rick”s as a “bull market,” and recently dumped girls as “junk bonds.” By “Schafer account,” he means this girl Rebecca Shafer we knew from class, who seemed to have taken an interest in me. He was convinced that I wanted to “close the deal” on her, or in other words “have sex with her.”

“Back up, hermano,” I said, “I killed the Shafer account, I farmed it out to another company,” meaning I had introduced Rebecca to my friend Simon Katzinsam, a notorious philanderer. “And I don”t even know what I did with this girl tonight. Probably nothing. I must have blacked out again. Hey bro, do you have coffee anywhere? I need coffee.”

“Coffee”s for closers you son of a bitch!” Reuben said, slugging my arm. “So listen to this story. I”m at the New York Stock Exchange on Thursday”

“You mean Touchdowns?”

“Right, me and Xian-Xian had plans for that night, but I was able to call an audible on that shit and pull an end run.” (Reuben occasionally uses sports terminology as well. He had given his girlfriend the “something came up” excuse and avoided plans with her.) “So I roll into NYSE with some of the boys and we see this smokin” little Betty and Veronica couple, and I”m thinking these are some fillies I could definitely put in my stable, maybe use “em to build up my portfolio.” In other words, they came across a blonde and a brunette, and Reuben wanted to befriend them so the potential for sex at a later date could be established, as that would increase his reputation among his friends.

“This is so boring,” I groaned, “can we talk about me and my problems some more?”

Reubs wasn”t having it. “I had my accountant run interference on Veronica while I went after Betty. Sweet Lord, you should have seen the pork barrels on this girl. She opened the trading day high, but about a half-hour before the bells went off, the price started plummeting. I bought low like a pro, you”re goddamned right. I could hear the poor bastards leaping out of buildings on that one.” Basically, he had his friend chat up the blonde”s friend while he went after her. She had started the evening aloof, rejecting the advances of men, but as 2 a.m. drew nearer, she became desperate, waiting for someone, anyone, to take her home. Reuben made his move at 1:30, after most of the other guys at Touchdowns had given up on her. They later regretted it.

“Reuben, could you hurry up with this? I”m still pretty worried about my blackouts. It”s happening more and more these days and I don”t know what to do. I”m really scared, man. I think I need help. God, now that I think about it, I”m not even sure it was a girl in that bed. She kind of sounded like a dude. I only saw her from behind. Jesus.”

“Sure, sure. Anyway, Betty was a done deal. Closed that sucker. Finito.”

“I”m not even really sure how to end this column, man, and that”s never happened to me before.”

“Don”t worry about it, homes, it”s like 4 a.m., you should catch some shut eye.”

“Yeah, I guess you”re right.”

“Just don”t have any more perverted dreams, OK sport?”

“You bastard.”

“Well, you know.”

Ben Goldstein can be reached at bjgoldst@umich.edu.

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