I’ve been sick off and on for a couple of weeks, and the thermometer claims I have no fever, but I think I must because of the dreams. For example:
The flowerbeds of the little plaza a few blocks away turn out to be a rich source of earthworms. Nicholas and I spontaneously decide to bring home some worms to enrich our compost bins. (In reality, our compost bins do an excellent job of converting vegetable scraps into solid, tangled masses of worms.) We scoop up some worms and dirt in the nearest handy container, a discarded food box, one of those large styrofoam ones that unfolds into two halves.
I should have known better than to use styrofoam for anything. On the way home, I can hear the worms squirming, and the box is so light that their movements cause it to jiggle and even tilt wildly. But Nick’s hilarity helps me to find it amusing rather than horrifying.
We get home and open the box to separate the worms from anything we might not want to put into our compost. For some reason, we do this while sitting on the floor of the dining room, right next to the table such that it’s casting a shadow over the box. We’re lifting the worms into the lid side of the box. It goes all right at first.
But then there’s some kind of odd, very small creature that I can’t see well enough. It appears to be a scorpion only half an inch long, and I know scorpions wreak havoc, but I also know they don’t normally live in Pennsylvania, so I tell Nicholas to bring a flashlight. Well, the critter does look like a tiny scorpion, and it’s escaping the box! I quickly convert it into a smear on our hardwood floor, but now there’s a new issue:
The flashlight reveals that our little box of dirt is in fact crawling with things other than earthworms. I mean, that silvery, muscular thing is surely too big to be an earthworm. It’s strong and hard to dig out, but determination reveals it to be an eel. Cool! An eel! We will keep it in that large aquarium I just remembered is sitting on the side table. I’ll put the eel over here while Nicholas fills the aquarium by carrying water from the kitchen sink in a juice pitcher. Wow, what else is in here?
For a while I’m happily digging out exotic sea creatures and placing them in a muddy pile on the dining room floor while Nicholas excitedly trots back and forth with pitchers of water. I’m unconcerned about the creatures’ ability to survive a while without water because, after all, they were living in this dirt in the little plaza which is nowhere near a body of water. It’s amazing what you can find in a few cubic inches of dirt. I’ve got the eel, some really cute snails with long eyelashes, mussels, clams, crabs, and, to keep the hundreds of worms company, a roly-poly as big as my hand.
But it all goes wrong when I find the
now that I’m awake, I’m not sure what it is. It’s got a large, intelligent-looking head like an octopus, but instead of tentacles it has one big sucker-foot about eight inches in diameter; it is bluish-gray, with speckles. Nicholas immediately decides to name it Mr. Ploog. The trouble is that Mr. Ploog does not want to leave the styrofoam box and has suctioned onto it, and he does not care for my gripping him about the cranium. A struggle ensues, scattering the earthworms all over the dining room flo–
Oh wait, somehow we’re not in the dining room anymore but down in the basement, near the–
Ack! The sea-creatures have decided to go down the floor drain in search of water! They’re disappearing through the grate in the basement floor! Nicholas is shrieking, “Mama! Get them back!!” I am half upset about losing these interesting specimens–my eel! my king snake! my cute pink snail!–and half concerned that they’ll clog the drain and make our basement smell like rotting marine life. What to do, what to do???
Suddenly we see that Mr. Ploog has transformed himself from stubborn sucker to liquid-like gliding mass. He ripples majestically across the floor, slithers over the mass of creatures cramming the drain, and . . . punches right in behind them, solidly blocking the entire drain and bulging his excess flesh up at us, with his two orange eyes on top glaring indignantly at me.
There is no way I’m going to be able to budge him.
I may as well just wake up. Whew!