A Better Death Dream

by Justin Coke © 2001

This is my death dream. I was shot---let me check my calendar---somewhere around 30 seconds ago. Actually, my heart stopped beating 30 seconds ago, I suppose, since that was the criteria for the death dream.

What caused my heart to stop was a bullet fired from the gun of an assassin. I'm going to die in four and a half years. Or four and half minutes, depending on your frame of reference. For me, I was shot six months ago, and awoke, whole and healthy in my two story mansion, next to my wife, a girl who died ten years ago.

I programmed my death dream a long time ago. I had always meant to change it. My wife--- well, I'd moved on past her. I'd found a new love. But I never got around to changing it, so I'm stuck with her. Or the replica of her. But, if I try really hard not to notice, it's almost the same.

My name is Brian. I no longer remember my last name. It's unimportant. I'm here, and you are my diary. Perhaps someday my body will be found--- right now I'd imagine it's being dragged off to be disposed of somewhere, and they will be able to find you, my last testament. I'm writing this early because I'm afraid that as I go on, as my brain cells slowly asphyxiate, I will forget more and more... maybe even that I am in my death dream, and the opportunity to tell what it is like, being dead, will be gone.

It's actually fairly pleasant, really. While I wish my death dream had a different set of characters, or maybe a little less prosaic setting, well, you can't have everything, or I wouldn't be dead, I suppose.

Another thing I regret is taking so much time with my death dream. I could have made it last anywhere from five minutes to five years--- I picked five years, because I wanted to squeeze as much time out of the dream as I could. But now I regret it. My mind will go downhill as my brain dies, and by the end of it I will be a drooling senile young man. I probably won't even be able to mix a martini correctly. And I can't commit suicide, for obvious reasons.

Now I wish I had programmed a wild night at a club--- maybe taken some drugs I'd never tried in life. Have some casual sex with a variety of partners (as the dreamer, I get to bang whoever or whatever I want. One of the prerogatives of the dying, I suppose), get drunk, and have a blast. I could even write off the brain failure as the drugs.

I also wish I had erased the knowledge of what this is. I thought at the time that if I knew it was my death dream, I wouldn't screw around, you know. I would actually do things, live what life I have left, bang my wife will all the abandon of a dying man, and savor every bite of my fictional food. It worked, to some degree. On the other hand, I am doing this, talking to you, oh fidelous computer, eternal listener and perpetual recorder. I suppose the best I can do at this point is to hope this is found, so people will be able to plan their death dreams better. Mine's ok, but it could be better.

The grass is always greener, I suppose.

I wonder what I would be feeling right now if I hadn't had this feature installed in my cranium. Fear of death, or just plain fear? Would I be thinking my last thoughts about how much I loved you Darlene, or why I had to get mixed up with those people? Or would I be having another, less controlled death dream? Something that would drive the literary community and angry teens wild with artistic delight if I could write it down?

Pointless guessing, but I really don't have much else to do. Sometimes I hope that some miracle will happen, that some paramedic is over my body right now, shocking it back to life, and when the program runs it course I will awaken anew.

But that really isn't an option. Even if it were happening, my brain chemistry would be destroyed by all the chemicals one has to release to speed the cognitive ability up to stretch five minutes into five years.

Who knows what kind of mess I would be when I woke up. Perhaps I would sense everything in supremely slow motion, and be driven insane by the year long ordeal of taking a piss. More likely I would simply be comatose, and they would euthanize me for my own good.

Like I said, useless speculation. If that assassin is as good as he would have to be to get past my security, he won't be allowing anyone with medical training near me--- unless it's the coroner.

I'm getting sleepy now. It's almost four AM, my time. Who the hell knows what time it is in your portion of reality. Maybe my dream isn't working out as well as I hoped--- maybe this is the final dive. Goodnight.

P.S. Before I go, a note to the programmers--- add weather. It's always a nice 80 degrees and sunny, and it's driving me nuts. All I want to do before I go is watch thunderclouds coming in over the ocean and sit on my porch. Otherwise, the whole experience gets a 7 out of 10.

Hehe. I just had an idea. I think it's Dylan Thomas--- if I'm wrong, well, sue me.

Wild men who caught and sang the sun in flight, And learn, too late, they grieved it on its way, Do not go gentle into that good night.

Grave men, near death, who see with blinding sight Blind eyes could blaze like meteors and be gay, Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

x x x

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