July 01, 2008

Village of the dreamed

Last night I slept in the village and woke up with a nightmare, about milk and insects. We worry about milk: we have to worry, in the Aragonese summer, and try not to leave the fridge open for more than the shortest possible time. And the evening before a column of ants had discovered the cat's rejected biscuits and had to be sent on their way, with spray and mop and disinfectant, just before we went to bed.

I dreamed I was drinking coffee, and somebody warned me that the milk was off: then they lifted up a huge, huge transparent bag of milk, discoloured milk full of insects and maggots. I woke, feeling sick, thinking I had drunk the rancid milk. But neither the taste nor the image would go away, recurring every time I closed my eyes - so I had to make myself stay awake until the desire the sleep had gone.

While I was forcing wakefulness into my head, while I was trying to think of other things than crawling insects and rancid milk, I thought about my thoughts, about the process of trying to think of one thing in order to block out another: which brought to my struggling mind The Midwich Cuckoos, Gordon Zellaby thinking of a brick wall to hide from the Children the bomb he has brought. It had not occurred to me before a sleepless hour this morning: one of the great heroes of twentieth-century English literature is a suicide bomber.


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