How Can I Dream When I Can’t Even Sleep At Night

I deliberately think and worry about things in order to delay sleep, which is a bad thing I do just to avoid a certain dream I’ve been having on a bi-monthly basis since roughly 1992, AD. I worry about the vegetables and fruit I bought after catching a glimpse of my grey, hungover face in the smeary mirror of the vegetable aisle; I doubt I’ll be able to eat them before they moulder audibly in the kitchen in the night, and occasionally I’ll get up and eat them before they do. I worry if I have enough underpants to see out the week; I wonder if I wasted my best ones two days before anyone had cause to see them. I worry about the letter from the post office I left unanswered —  the one informing me that those amateur CVs I sent out in A4 envelopes machine-gunned across the city in the hopes of hitting some sort of employment had been delivered to their myriad destinations in good faith, but that I had failed to meet the postage fee minimum for such lush A4 envelopes and could I please send a cheque for $4.38 to The Post Office, c/o The Mail Man (or whatever, I never did).

I’m under the house of my youth in the dead of night, the kind of flimsy Australian structure that’s up on stilts with a gap between the floorboards and the gravelled ground of about 12 feet. It’s where unclaimed neighbourhood cats get buried, where mud pies are constructed, where my friend Heidi, 5, takes a shit in the corner and says it wasn’t her, it was me. I’m standing in my pajamas looking down at the man I’ve just accidentally murdered: a man who, in eggy moustache and old man cap, is quite clearly David Jason. In his hand he has a half-eaten bacon sandwich. I pick it up and eat it – a dead man’s bacon butty – while I consider what to do next.

I am five years old. I drag him by his feet to a place where I know the gravel goes deep and I won’t hit cement or dead cat after two shovelled scoops. His overcoat splays vertically behind him and he leaves a furrow in his wake. It’s 4am and my Mum will be up soon. She’ll want to know why David Jason is dead and underneath my house. I don’t know why David Jason is dead and underneath my house. I won’t know what to tell her.

For the first half hour of waking I generally think this is a true thing that happened: that I somehow buried a dead David Jason under a house in suburban Australia, and that I ate his bacon butty after taking it from his rigor mortis grip, and it was inexplicably still warm when I did it and noticed he favoured red sauce, not brown. And then I walk to work and I see a man in a suit with a beard of white shaving foam, shaving a streak of stubble in a stop-start fashion, using the shop windows as mirrors as he passes. I wonder who it’s for, the shave, given that he must have passed some hundreds of people and it evidently wasn’t for them. I forget that I accidentally killed David Jason that one time, until it happens again two months later, Groundhog Day in the wrong RPM.

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