Time Pied

I don’t often remember my dreams, but every once in a while, a doozy comes along that’s not only memorable but has an unaccountable vividness to it which leaves me dumbfounded, staring at the cieling in the morning, mouthing “What the FXXX? What the FXXX?” until my wife tells me to shut up.

And I never forget them, either.

(Matthew might be able to dig up the one I sent him a number of years ago about the two brothers in the Russian Mafia….)

At any rate, I had this dream last night. And I swear on a stack of Psychology of the Unconscious’s (in the original German even) that there is not one bit of embellishment here.

The scene opens with a little boy in bed, crying out into the silence of the dark house. Everyone’s just gone to bed.

“Time for pie?”

The boy’s father, gruff but loved by the boy, says, “No, Tim, it is not.”

His father and mother are lying in bed, side by side. This question and answer routine is a nightly occurrence – or at least ever night before Tim’s father takes him to a special place for pie.

Tim waits a few minutes, looking at his clock.

“Time for pie?”

No answer.

Tim giggles, thinking his father is impatient with him. He decides to wait a little longer before asking again.

Meanwhile, his father has taken his last breath.

Tim doesn’t know this….

Skip ahead many, many years. Tim is an old man.

We’re inside his head.

He’s just walked into the diner his father would take him to early in the morning before the others were awake. It’s a busy but quiet place – old people clustering around the dinner counter. The smell of cigarette smoke and coffee brewing predominate the brownish pre-dawn air.

Then he spies it.

The pie.

Peach, always peach.

And the size of a small spare tire, eight or nine striations thick with sliced peaches, holding their form in tight but moist wedges. It’s the perfect pie.

Still in his own mind, Tim wants the pie. He walks this way and that around the hive of activity at the dinner counter. He can’t have the pie. Too many people occupy the counter seats. Too much work for the waitress behind the counter. No one is noticing him.

Then a pair of old women turn, cigarettes in their mouths.

Smiling, they say, “Time for pie?”

“Yes,” Tim says, slowly nodding.

Just then his older sister appears. She’s about two years his senior. He’s no longer in his head but in a sterile nursing home residence. The cards, flowers, stuffed animals, the whole bit. She has just walked into his room and suddenly stops. She has a shocked look on her face which gentles with a sympathetic awareness.

“No, Tim, it’s not time for pie,” she says with a condescending, sisterly voice – if that can be imagined.

Tim looks down at the pie and realizes he’s been eating his clock radio – literally, whacking pieces from it with a fork and knife and trying to devour it. He tastes the bits of plastic in his mouth. He doesn’t spit them out. He looks down at the clock. It’s still plugged into the wall socket.

Tim cries out with great disappointment, holding the clock from its electrical cord.

Fade to black or waking or whatever….


  1. Matthew Lickona says

    Not "Time Pies"?

    David Lynch, call your office.

    I will accept that this dream really happened. But only because you are over 40.

  2. Rufus McCain says

    This could be taken in so many directions. "Peach, always peach" could be an entire 10-episode arc when you make this into a successor-to-Lost TV series.

  3. Matthew,

    I'm missing it: why is 40 an important number?


  4. Matthew Lickona says

    Arbitrary cutoff for the necessary sense of mortality and ability to play with narrative on a subconscious level.

  5. A very interesting dream.

    I wish, and sorry to turn to me, that I could remember my dreams these days. Last night all I remember is watching a Johnny Cash video on youtube (and then I'd seen a photo of him earlier in the day) and, on waking, singing to myself, I'm Mandy, Fly Me.

  6. Jonathan Webb says

    I read the 40th Psalm this morning, no kidding.

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