"Sometimes the future is like a long tunnel that gets narrower as I move through it. It's like the trick of drawing perspective -- you make the four lines intersect to give the illusion of depth."
"The illusion of depth? Tell me what you mean by that."
Roger pauses. "I guess I mean... I don't know, like the tunnel is literally narrowing. The future, I mean. Narrows as I move through it."
Dr. Klein leans back. "Roger, try to tell me how it feels, as you imagine moving through this tunnel. Don't tell me what you think it means, tell me what your feelings are."
Oh Roger, you can fuck me harder, it's okay okay aaah that's it! that's it! You like it like this? harder Roger you can have me any way you want, any waaaah Any way, how about like this? like this? you like this?
"Lonely. It feels really, deeply lonely--"
Now Roger crumples. Dr. Klein sees him try to hold back, in his body and his face, but the tears come and they are very hot.
"Lonely," Dr. Klein says. He softens his voice. "It sounds awfully lonely, I imagine it you feel as if there is no one to be with you when you are in this place." Roger nods, his hands on his face.
"It feels like I can't breathe. It's like claustrophobia. I can't go further but I have to, like I'm being pushed. Like there's this huge wall behind me, and it's closing up the tunnel as I move through and I don't want to keep going but I can't turn back..."
That was perfect. Whoa. I know, right? Absolutely perfect. Move your arm. Like this? No, like... this. Like you're curling me. There. Isn't that perfect? Ahh. It absolutely is.
Then they fell asleep.
I am waiting for a number to be called, I guess it's on the TV like the lotto or something. I am waiting for my number to come up
and it is the first ball
and the second ball
I can't remember but then the machine
on the TV catches on fire
and then the TV goes too
and now I'm panicking, I'm shouting Mom Mom the TV's on fire! But when I turn
I see it's not Mom
it's a something dressed as her
though it looks exactly like Mom
I know it's not really her
it's not a man it's something else
like a machine
and I scream and there's an axe in my hand and I swing it and hit her, hard,
right in the chest
and it opens up
and there's a fire there too
it's so hot
and when I wake up the radiator is hissing loudly like electric sparks and that's when I realized what had happened and what the doctor had done--
He does not reply.
"Roger, I want you to listen to me."
"You are not alone."
"But I am."
"Roger. There is no future. What you imagine, the tunnel, the wall, it exists in your imagination. It has no body. The mind can't move through time. I can't go forwards and see what will be. I can't go back and see what was. I can only imagine and in either direction the latest science agrees that the bulk of we think we see we make ourselves. The remembered present. That's where we live."
"It feels so bad, though."
Dr. Klein sighs, leans back and put his hands where Roger can't see them behind the desk.
"Does it have to?"
"What is that?"
"It's a dream machine."
"A dream machine?"
Dr. Klein shakes his head. "Well, not a dream machine exactly. The name dream machine historically refers to device built by Ian Sommerville. Have you heard of Ian Sommerville, Roger? He spent time with Burroughs in the 60s. That dream machine was a cylinder with holes cut in it, and there was a light inside. The cylinder rotated on a record player. People stared at it and saw things. This is not that kind of dream machine. This is more properly a brain-machine interface. It maintains the specific patterns of reverbant loops between your thalmus and cortex during REM sleep."
"What does that do?" Roger is staring at the machine.
"It lets you experience your dreams as if you were awake."
"So.... this is like lucid dreaming?"
"No. Lucid dreamers can control their dreams. Which I dislike the idea of. It is an unfortunate loss of information."
Dr. Klein extends a wire from the base of the dream machine and hands the tip to Roger.
"This is something different. Here. Put this in your mouth."