Isaac and I are driving and laughing. I'm vaguely aware we were supposed to pick something up.

We arrive. I have no specific memory of this place. I mean, no particular building or landscape is recognizable, but I'm fairly sure this is another high school dream. We climb out of the Mercury station wagon and open up the back. I don't know what Isaac takes out but I've lost sight completely of any mission or purpose. I seem to be floating away, but I know I'm still standing there, staring passively at Isaac's effort. My vision multiplies suddenly, like a spider's. I can see in back of me and straight into the sky (a dingy grey gutter) and down the street lined with duplexes and stolen bikes. Have you ever heard of Christmas in July?

From one of these directions, or maybe all of them, Santa Clause stumbles/rolls like the living dead up to the car. Isaac stops working and looks up. Suddenly he is right between us and my vision sharply focuses onto him, but he fades in and out of sight, suddenly seeming very close, suddenly nowhere at all. I don't believe in Santa Clause. He is close again and Santa Clause solemly begins to remove a shiny, black boot. He's not acting too fucking jolly, and I have no Santa fetish so I attempt to slyly motion to Isaac to get back in the car. Our bake sale or whatever has lost all importance. Then I notice the boot peels off like cellophane. From underneath blood-stained cotton puffs floatup and out into the wind.

Pseudo-Santa's hands begin tearing at his this disguise, bits of glossy Santa paper rain down on myt face like hellicopter leaves, until only cotton is visible from the from and the back hangs down in tatters. Again, my vision is magnified and I see a long, thin green mass emerge from the cotton where Santa's leg used to be. The leg is uniformly thin all the way to the ankle, about the size of a chair leg and end's in a small clawed foot, like a furless cat's. It is scaly--rough and bark-like. My dream explodes into frenzied running and fractured vision. No matter how far I go Santa paper continues to rain down on my face.

always silent


for the sound

of claws


I wake up in the dark and idly feel for my watch. 5:05. I let my head back onto the pillow. And as I drift to sleep, I swear I hear a sound like my dog makes when she walks down the hallway towards my room. When I wake up for the second time it is almost 7:30. First I become aware that it is my sister's singing that has woken me up. She is improvising disturbing lyrics to the mangled tune of popular Christmas songs. In her verson of Oh Holy Night a bird grows three heads and murders the partridge. Then I realize that I put my dog outside last night before I went to bed.