In this dream:

I have a brief clip of movie and soundtrack stuck in my head, but I can't remember which movie it's from.

I am trying desperately to search the Internet for the answer, but in the same manner that you sometimes can't read or write properly in dreams, I can't operate the computer properly, and all I can get to is YouTube.

Eventually I get the words I think I need, "ewan macgreggor technicolor song about babboon" [sic], plugged into the little box and click search.

Instead of anything remotely like what I was searching for, I was treated to a movie trailer for Quentin Tarantino's latest film. It opens with the familiar text

The following PREVIEW has been approved for...

And suddenly, the music starts: it's the opening riffs of The Next Episode by Dr. Dre (ft. Snoop Dogg). Chunks of what will probably end up being the opening credits roll in olive drab on a khaki background.




(A PTSDsploitation film)

Pamela Anderson is rolling around on top of a sweaty, screaming Tom Cruise. Tom is wearing about twelve pairs of dog tags, and is covered in crude tattoos. A brief editing error momentarily shows that Pamela is wearing green skintight pants and that all nudity is CGI.

CUT to Pamela Anderson walking out the door, Tom out of focus in the foreground, head in hands and empty bottle overturned on the table.

CENTER WIPE to Tom sitting in the livingroom with a startling number of guns disassembled and laid out methodically. While he's cleaning and inspecting them,

NARRATOR: (tough guy voice) Sergeant Jake Strands had served quietly, honorably, and with distinction.

CUT to Tom receiving a medal.

NARRATOR continues: But even though his country was at peace, he could never forgive his enemies.

CUT to Tom racking the slide on a highly accessorized 1911; FAST CUT to airport ticket counter; FAST CUT to "AIR افغانستان" ticket with Tom's hand on it, a la Kill Bill; CUT to Tom sitting in business class with various Solder of Fortune cover models scattered around the cabin, rifles tucked away between arm rests.

NARRATOR continues: When an army fails, a soldier can succeed.

SMASH CUT to Tom screaming incoherently, eyes rolled back in his head, firing an RPG-7 from the hip.

CUT to black.

I'd watch it in theaters. Maybe some different actors. But hey, who am I to second guess dream Tarantino's choices?

A Tarantino flick capitalizing on the Afghanistan and Iraq wars beats any of the hokey, melodramatic tripe anyone else has managed to squeeze out with apparent sincerity in the last ten years. I'm looking right at you, Hurt Locker and all of your friends.

In any case, for the first time ever when an RPG was involved, I woke up laughing instead of raving. I tried so hard to go back to sleep so I could maybe watch the rest of the movie. It didn't work, but maybe Mr. Tarantino's people will read this and drop me a line.

     I dropped my phone back in my pocket and hurried toward the Lincoln. "Hang on tight," I called, hoping the ferret would hear and understand. "I'm gonna turn the car over."

     I spoke the word of a long-dead tribe that described the act of putting a turtle or beetle back on its feet. I made a sweeping movement with both hands. The headache throbbed anew, but I ignored it.  I wasn't going to keel over just yet.

     The Lincoln creaked over and whammed back down on its wheels. A moment later the ferret poked his head up in the open window.

     I ran to the car and started to unbuckle the ferret's harness, wishing I could remember more about what I was supposed to do with a newly-awakened familiar. According to Cooper, familiars could be tremendously knowledgeable, veritable furry little walking magic encyclopedias, provided you were lucky enough to get an experienced one. If the ferret was as green as I was, though, it would be "Magic For Dummies" time and we were probably screwed. 

     Freed from his harness, the ferret clambered up the door's spongy weather stripping to the roof of the car so we were seeing eye-to-eye.

     "So do you have any idea what's going on here?" I asked.

     "His true body is coming through into this plane," the ferret told me, staring wide-eyed at Smoky's increasingly-monstrous form.  The ferret sounded smart, his voice like that of an excitable middle-aged librarian inside my head.  Finally, some good luck.

     "It's what?" I asked.

     "This animal body ... it's just a flesh vessel for my consciousness.  I am not a ferret, and the entity that has inhabited Smoky's body is most assuredly not a cute little doggie. If I'm not mistaken, he's changing into something close to his true form," the ferret said. He had a little bit of an accent, I realized. A Canadian librarian.

     "But why?"

     "Clearly the magic from the portal has ... altered him."

     "But how?" I did realize I was starting to sound like a three-year old.

     "I'd hazard to say it's a side effect of whatever disastrous magic caused that portal to open."

     "Which is a fancy way of saying you don't know?" The pain was making me crabbier than usual.

     The ferret reared back, looking offended.  "I admit I've never seen anything like this before, but I am certainly capable of educated conjecture."

     The rain was coming down harder; it looked like Cooper and I had called up a real gully washer of a storm.

     "Why wasn't I affected?"

     "Well, you're not a transdimensional being like us familiars, are you?" the ferret replied. "Badly-controlled portal magic will inevitably affect us; I was lucky to be further away."

     "So what are you?" I asked. "What's your true form?"

     The ferret blinked. "You might find my true form ... upsetting. I would seem somewhat alien in my natural state."

     "Alien how?"

     The ferret shuffled his feet uncomfortably. "Can't I just tell you later, once we've gotten to know each other a bit better? I've been a familiar for over 300 years, and during my service I've unfortunately encountered many humans who are prejudiced against --"

     "Okay, fine, whatever." I held up my hands; we really didn't have time to argue. Whatever he was, I was stuck with him, at least for a while.  "Do you have a name?"

     "My name in your language is 'Palimpsest'. You can call me 'Pal', if you like."

     Smoky roared. He'd grown positively huge; his scaled body was over twenty feet long, and I guessed he'd stand as tall as me once he got his six sets of taloned legs working under him. His tail was long and covered in the bladelike scales. His red-eyed head looked more crocodilian than canine, and his maw was filled with serpentine teeth the length of my hand.

     Smoky roared again, and bright green flame erupted from his mouth. His transformation seemed nearly complete.

     "A dragon? All this time, he was really a dragon?" I asked.

     "For lack of a better name, yes, a dragon. But he shouldn't be here."

     Pal's whiskers quivered as he sniffed the air. "I ... something's not right here. I can feel a shift. I think he's warping reality."

     "Warping? How?" I asked, thinking of my brief chat with my dead, damned aunt.

     "I don't have a good sense of exactly what's happening yet. But I worry that once torn, the fabric of your world could keep tearing. You were right to close the portal as you did; now you've got to deal with Smoky."

     My stomach sank. "Deal with him how?"

     "Subdue him, however you have to. He's too dangerous to let run around loose."

     Was he talking about killing Smoky? Jesus. I sure wasn't looking forward to that. "Would Cooper's shotgun work, or do I need to summon up the Calad Bolg or some damn thing like that?"

     "The shotgun should work as well as anything else," Pal replied.

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