Because a power surge fried my DSL modem, this is being noded two days late. This dream stands as proof that I really need to stop watching CNN before I go to bed...

It's nearly dusk, and we're driving across a relatively desolate plain. Through the window of the humvee, I can see mountains on the horizon. The landscape strikes me as being very beige.

Let's pause to take stock of what I already know...

We stop the vehicle, and assess the situation. I'm unclear exactly what we're looking for. Whatever it is, we seem to be having trouble finding it. There seems to be some concern that we'll be discovered, as the Iraqi Army seems to disapprove of American scouts.

Some things are not adding up here. Although I've never been there, I am under the impression that most of Iraq is desert. Further (post-dream) research disproves that notion, with a possible setting being the Al Jazirah plains in northwest Iraq. And what are we doing driving about aimlessly in the Iraqi boondocks? Alone?

Our concerns are validated by the sudden appearance of two Iraqi vehicles, a jeep and an armored personnel carrier, about a half-mile away. We crowd into the humvee and race off in an attempt to flee from the Iraqis. It's unclear exactly how we plan to lose our pursuers, considering that we're in the middle of a featureless plain, we're being trailed by only a few thousand feet and our visibility stretches to the mountain ranges several dozen miles in the distance. No shots have been fired yet.

Did we take a siesta? How did two military vehicles get so close to us without benefit of cover? Why haven't they launched enough rockets at us to level St. Peter's?

I seem to nod off for a few minutes (hours?), only to awaken after nightfall. We've entered a forest and seem to have lost the Iraqis for the moment. The humvee is parked, and we walk around a large, blackened patch of ground that dominates a clearing. One end of the clearing is lit, seemingly by tiki torches. We congregate at this end of the clearing and walk up to a quaint cottage. We're supposed to rendezvous with someone here...with whom, I have no idea.

A forest clearing? Unless we have a magical Chitty Chitty Bang Bang humvee, there's no way that we could have made it to any forest, let alone a boreal forest, replete with birch trees. And how did my friend Drew's house get transported to northwestern Iraq?

It turns out that we aren't alone. The Iraqis appear with weapons drawn, surrounding us. My US Army escorts put up nary a struggle as we are corralled together at gunpoint. The Iraqi officer launches into a heavily accented, cliche-ridden tirade about how us silly Americans were foolish to believe that we could infiltrate Iraq undetected, and that hiding at the "Black Oasis," as this spot is apparently called, was futile. (It seems that Hollywood stereotypes have rooted themselves in my dreaming state.)

My dream is playing out like a badly-written spy drama. I'm officially embarrased with my subconscious mind.

Over the shoulder of the Iraqi officer, I see a glowing light begin to light up the night sky. As the intensity of the light increases, so does a roaring sound. It strikes us that the Black Oasis has been targeted for some sort of missile strike. I separate myself from the main body of American and Iraqi troops and run to the side of the cottage. Hurriedly, I begin to pull the slats from the bottom of the cottage's porch to expose the crawlspace. I'm about to enter the crawlspace when I have second thoughts; the strikes may collapse the house on top of me. I opt to huddle against the cottage's external foundation wall.

The ground is rocked by the explosions. Some time transpires after the missiles hit before I leave my hiding spot. I'm not sure if I passed out, or if I just wanted to make sure that I escaped being captured or shot by surviving Iraqis. When I emerge, only two others seem to have survived, both by taking shelter near me. One survivor, a female American officer, appears unhurt and is standing over top a severely wounded Iraqi. She's screaming incomprehensibly at him, threatening him with the automatic pistol she has positioned a few inches away from his eyebrow. Neither he nor I can understand a word she's saying.

I slowly pan my line of sight to my right to survey the destruction wrought by the missile strike. Bodies are strewn across the Black Oasis, and I am gripped by the sudden compulsion to take photographs.

My dream ends around this point. I don't pretend I have any idea what it means...