stories

The Dream Censor - Chapter (all)

The dream censor arrived at the dream court half past eleven that night, a bit tipsy and feeling good. "I wish you had come a little earlier, Sir," his middle-aged secretary, also with rather drunk eyes, grumbled, turning round on his seat. "The woman's beginning to dream. People from the preconscious and unconscious are queuing up at the entrance." "Well, well." The barrel-chested censor plopped down in his seat. "She has now accustomed herself to a bottle of cooking wine before going to bed. That's why I'm late."
"Yes, she sure is a kitchen drinker now... That affects me, too." The secretary forced a bitter smile, following it with a sad nod. "Well, I suppose we can't blame it on her. She's just lost her only son. No wonder she can't sleep without it. " "We must be careful...We must not let alcohol influence our dream censorship. Under such circumstances suppression often loosens, likely to lead to an immoral dream or even awakening. Well. Shall we commence? " The censor declared, bellowing. "The dream court is now open. Bring in the first interest. " "All right. You. This way. "
Prompted by a sergeant, the first to come into the court was a schoolhouse with a clock tower three stories high of reinforced concrete.
"Isn't this huge! " the censor looked up at the building. "And what does this have to do with court? "
"Ummm. " The secretary referred to a large catalogue, fully illustrated and in complete order, of total occurrences in the women's intricate preconscious and unconscious. "This seems to be the junior high her son used to attend. "
"Ugh, " the censor grunted. "Clearly this connects to the memories of her dead son. Wonder if she could dream of anything else. These are just flooding her recent dreams.
"I should say that such reminiscence is all she has for now. " The secretary, himself a little upset, spoke in her favor. "It's only two months since she lost her child... It's natural that all the people and things showing up at the court relate to her late son. "
"That's certainly true, but what happens if these objects appear in her dream unprocessed? No doubt she would wake up pretty much shocked. She would then have difficulty going back to sleep, weeping all through the night. " The censor straightened his back and announced. "We should definitely deform this image. That's the easiest way to avoid troubles.
We must transform this school into an utterly different structure before appearing in her dream. "
"Understood, Sir... Of course the alternative building has to be chosen from the ones she already knows, " the secretary asserted, diligently searching through the pages of the catalogue. "I suggest we use this Gassho-style traditional house. Since it relates to her childhood memory, it should make her feel relaxed, gently carrying on with her sleep. " He switched on a microphone located on his desk and yelled. "Transformer! To the court, please! Construction work awaiting! "
Nearly a hundred workmen from the Ego Section, Preconscious Actualization Department, immediately appeared and began converting the junior high into a Gassho house.
Good. Call in the next one while they are working on it. " The censor glanced at his watch. "We better hurry or she'll fall into a total sleep. "
Her respiration, heard through a monitor on the ceiling, was gradually deepening.
"Next person enter. "
The sergeant led to the court a young man with a malicious visage.
Slightly lurching on his chair, the censor commented. "What an awful face! Who is this man? "
"He was in charge of her son's class, " the secretary explained. She believes the bullying escalated because the teacher was indifferent... the very cause of her son's death. Well, the actual appearance of this man is not as evil as this. It's almost entirely based on her biases.
"That may be true... But doesn't this man's countenance directly connect to her son's memories? If so, it's out of the question. I cannot allow this man to pass without modification. Replace him with somebody else. " The censor turned to his secretary . "Is there any decent substitute? A man whom we can associate with this teacher, but has insignificant relationships. Of course, in the dream, the substitute shouldŐt remind her of the original. "
"Well. Sir... In that case, she has an uncle named Daizo Shima. " The secretary once again quickly examined the catalogue. "Since the teacher's name is Daizo Kosugi, only their first names match. No other resemblance found... Oh, yes, one thing. She also disliked this uncle. That means the two men share her distaste as well, but it's likely she wouldn't be able to associate them.
I believe he'd be the most adequate person for the replacement. "
"Well done. Disguise this man immediately as her uncle! " the censor commanded.
"Call the makeup ladies! "
"Oh, no! Please wait! " the secretary cut in. "We don't have time for the makeup. When it comes to aging, we need an enormous amount of time. Here I'd like to ask for your permission to summon the real uncle to perform in the dream...
Ha, you can go back now. " Addressing the young teacher, the secretary turned on the microphone again. "Uncle Daizo Shima of Unconscious Level Six, please report to the dream court immediately. "
On the secretary's desk, an intercom buzzed. It was from the Cerebrum Central Headquarters. "Dream court? We would like to inform you that she will start dreaming in approximately thirteen seconds. Please hasten your procedure. "
"Oh my. " gasped the secretary, a little panicked. "We haven't finished the remodeling yet. "
"Just don't worry. Halfway done is fine. Let it appear as is. " asserted the censor.
"Yes, Sir. Go now! " screamed the secretary to the building.
A perplexing building, half junior high, half traditional Gassho, headed for the conscious level. There was a gigantic portal located adjacent to the court, and beyond that the dream stage.
"It went out with a clock tower sticking out of its roof, a blackboard sitting in the middle of its parlor... The most ridiculous Gassho style I've ever seen."
The secretary anxiously whispered and the censor grunted. Just then, a wobbling, bewildered uncle Daizo Shima, who had always been staying at the lower levels of unconsciousness and had seldom received citation entered the court. The bald elderly man wore a kimono and pair of geta, the traditional Japanese wooden clog.
Given a brief backgrounding from the secretary, he nodded. "Ye". So I just go out and stand there. Ye". No problem. "
The old man wobbled into the conscious Level, opening the stage door.
"She has begun to dream, " a voice from the speaker echoed throughout the court.
"Now! The dream act is on! Bring in the next! " growled the fervent censor.
"Next, come in! "The sergeant yelled.
Some boys were summoned into the court, one after another. They must have been junior high school age.
"So many! Who are they? "
"They are her son's classmates, Sir. The primary cause of her son's death is their bullying. "
"Not again! "The censor shoved his head. "The most important role of a dream is to let the dreamer continue her sound sleep. Imagine you appearing in her dream. She will surely grow furious and wake at once. "
"It's not our fault, " the students looked at each other. "The people at the Drive Section just called us, you know. "
"We cannot afford to handle so many kids, whether by transformation or substitution. " The censor gave a request to his secretary. "Fortunately they all look alike... perhaps she couldn't remember each one's face. Can you think of a good technique to put them into a symbol, employing something like compression or collection? A single face that would imply the whole group's? "
"When the school invited parents to visit the classes, " replied the secretary, going through catalogue, "she saw the students cropped heads from the back of the classroom and felt like she was viewing a stand of black corn. "
"Excellent! Now you kids stick together and make a stand of corn! " The censor commanded. "Black corn! She never realized it was made of you boys. "
"What!? Black corn? What a stinky thing! "
Still complaining, the students joined together and imitated a stand of black corn as their cropped heads formed rows of ears. The corn rolled on the floor, through the stage door, to take part in the dream.
"May I call in the next dream object? " asked the secretary .
"OH, wait ,wait. Let us see what kind of dream she is dreaming now. " The censor switched on a monitor set on his desk and peered into it.
On the screen, in a ridiculous Gassho house with a clock tower sticking out of its roof, in an insane room with a blackboard covered with mathematical formulae, uncle Daizo Shima was devouring an ear of rotten corn.
"Hee-hee-hee-hee! Perfect! Guess what that is! " Satisfied, the censor gave permission to his secretary. "All right, now next. "
As soon as the sergeant opened the door, Affection came into the court full of fragrance. Affection instantly permeated the court.
"Well, well. Isn't this a lot of affection? " said the censor with a pleased tone, narrowing his eyes.
The secretary replied. "Umm... She is repentant of herself because she thinks her son died for lack of affection. That's why she's now evoking it... "
"A-ha... "a little touched, the censor continued. "That's fine with me, but affection has no concrete figure, as we can see. Before letting it participate in the dream, we need something...like paraphrasing .
"Certainly true, Sir. Let me look for it...affection...affection." The secretary took out a Japanese-English dictionary and started searching. "Affection. Kindness. Tenderness. In English there are a lot of synonyms for this word. "
"Try to find a more adequate word. A word that exactly represents this dulcet fragrance.
"I see, Sir. In that case, there's this word: 'sweetness' "
"Voila !" The censor clapped his hands. "But wait a moment, does she know the English word 'sweetness'? "
"Of course she does," the secretary said , rather surprised. "she majored in English literature in college. And, please remember, "he pointed out with a grin, "we ourselves exist within her consciousness. Indeed, this dictionary refers to her. Any word we can find in this dictionary belongs to her vocabulary. "
"Definitely. "The censor quickly vindicated his dignity with a frown.
"The significance of sweetness is not only affection but also delightfulness, freshness, aroma and so on. Now, what is it for her that encompasses all these expressions? "
"Sir, I'm sure you already have the answer...I really appreciate you giving me the opportunity to answer, "retorted the rather relaxed secretary. "Of course, it is melon. Her favorite. "
"Exactly. Then let us turn into melon fields. "The censor looked about in the court rppm and shouted. "Weren't you listening? Turn into a melon field, all of you! "
The stage door was swung open and the lights came in. As if allured by these lights, Affection wafted toward the dream stage, transforming itself into a melon field.
On the monitor screen melon fields rapidly developed around the Gassho house.
"Pretty good. Bring in the next one. "
The sergeant opened the door. "Next, please... Oh, it's you. "
A delicate, pale boy came in. His eyes were timidly cast down. He seemed to readily realize how the court would treat him.
The censor grunted. "Oh, not you again! "
The secretary held his head in his arms. "You come here every night... We have now run out of methods. We tried deformation, substitution, symbolism... no more translation patterns left. "
Embarrassed and with head drooped, the boy just stood in front of the two.
"All right. Tonight, I will dismiss him right away. "
With the censor's determined voice, disappointment appeared on the secretary's old, benevolent face. Clumsily and hesitatingly, he reminded the censor. "Excuse me, Sir. The function of dreams, other than maintaining sound sleep, as I remember reading, is that it should gradually dissolve one's distress... "
The censor showed a trace of discomfort. "Yes, yes... I know that paragraph, I really do. "
"It's been two months since the boy passed away. I guess perhaps it's time for us to let him appear in her dream as his original figure. Surely she would rouse with shock, seeing her son in a dream. I know then she would weep. Or she might not be able to continue sleeping. But even so, if it lightens her suffering, perhaps we should give her the shock, making her used to it, bit by bit. In addition, she's stressed because her son wouldn't appear in her dream. I believe we should not deny the fact that she is desiring to meet her son... "
As the secretary eagerly and unremittingly went on, the censor stared him in the face, quite surprised. "Are you crying ? "
The secretary bewilderedly wiped the tear off his face. "Oh, my. Is this really me ? Hee-hee-hee-hee-hee. "
The censor momentarily contemplated something, then stammering, slowly told the boy. "Well, all right. You may pass. Go see your mother in the dream. " With eyes slightly blurred with tears, the censor nodded and beamed at the boy. "You may pass through the melon fields. "
The boy nodded back, then headed for the door to the conscious.
Before the stage door, the boy suddenly stopped and turned to the censor and his secretary, who were watching him go.
The boy lightly bowed to them as they gave him a send-off, and smiled.
"Thank you for letting me pass. "