I wake up

The reality that elucidates before my eyes is one I find not far removed from the horror movie fragment that just finished projecting itself on the vulnerable side of my eyelids.

The phrase "Based on a True Story" blinks before my mind's eye in chilling red font.

The lyric "Get me out of this air-conditioned nightmare" echoes somewhere deep in the jungles of my mind

Now where would they get electricity out there?

The phrase "Let's take a look at that again" is announced by a projector with a shit-eating grin in the shape of an o. His wheels begin to turn and I see…

That kiss, that sweet glimpse of heaven. No one else in the world but She and I

We're standing on some platform high above it all, or it so it would seem

The backdrop offers a comforting alabaster ambiguity, a clean slate upon which I can finally make my mark freely, without worrying about edging my effect in around the deep and seemingly un-removable scratch marks left there long ago

"But even then," the jaded and detached 3rd-person observer watching this replay from the red seat beside me in the audience says with crossed legs and folded arms, "But even then, what is your effect but white dust?"

I open my mouth but to protest, but the truth weighs a tongue. I close my mouth and turn my attention back to the screen only to find myself looking the girl in the eyes longingly.

We kiss. She holds me. We kiss some more. It's perfect.

"Let's get to the good part!" the me next to me declares while holding up a remote control and hitting the Fast-Forward option. I can see his point, this ethereal post-dream reality purgatory is melting faster than I want it to

Soon the theater, the screen, me, her, will all be puddles on the ground that will fade into a mere stain, only to be absorbed by the withering sands of time.

This seems to be my problem a lot lately.

On the movie screen I look her in the eyes, and she looks me in mine, everything looks so euphoric until suddenly…

What a twist

My eyes bulge and I cough before me and myself, sputtering blood with each violent spasm. I step back and look her in the eyes, and She smiles a wry and vicious Cheshire grin, before holding her hand up in front of my face, baring a bloodied and unidentifiable mess.

The me before me looks down in horror, while the me beside me laughs with morbid glee. "Can you believe the poor jerk didn't see THAT one coming?" he elbows me.

The phrase "A roller-coaster ride of twists and turns" flashes before me in white quotations on the front of my brain's packaging, as the me before me turns around with a gaping wound in my chest roughly the size of her fist, and I see Him standing there laughing.

The background turns a different shade of white, the kind that comes with being COMPLETELY covered by another person's chalk markings.

I turn back towards her and She's laughing in perfect synchronicity with Him. I reach out to snatch my dripping mess back from her hand and she pulls it back, just before hurling it high above my head and into His grip. He laughs as they initiate a game of keep-away that has me bleeding like a kid again.

A 3rd voice joins in on the chorus of laughter and I find it coming from the me beside me, now melting like a wax figure.

The phrase "Outrageously hilarious!" appears in white lettering on the front of my brain's packaging

The cellophane is off now and the theater all melts away in the form of teardrops rolling down my face.

I'm in my bed

A reality not far removed from the red-cushioned theater seat where I tend to sit and watch myself bleed.

I curl up in a ball and bring the covers clenched in my fist up to my chin before shakily telling myself…

"It was all a dream"

"It was only a dream"

Based on a true story