Dream Solider

Despite the fact this blog began six years ago as a dream diary of sorts–an experiment that didn’t last but a week or so–I don’t like to write about dreams. They are like pets and kids–only interesting to the people to whom they belong. However, as I’m now back into recurring dream land, I need to purge. The past two nights have been on the same dreamscape, followed the same themes, and have been as vivid as any dream I’ve had in months, if not years.

The hardest part was the waiting.

We were barracked in a long, skinny industrial dorm. The concept of “we” was loose, in that our unit was no more than a ragtag band of novice soldiers–professionals, laborers, slackers, and pretty lesbians. The only real military men among us were the commanders, a surly collection of impatient and tired mercenaries.

A volunteer army it was not. While we were all sure of the coming invasion, we were conscripts, forced to leave our families, and laboring under the assumption that there was no way we could win the inevitable war. I spent my hours wandering the complex and trying to find a way to get in touch with my wife. I had a phone card and managed to find a payphone in a dark hallway.

The phone rang and I heard her voice say, “Hello.”

The Soma-calm that came with the sound of her voice was short and cut off by an operator telling me the phone card was out of minutes. I had no money, no more phone cards, no cell phone, no way to get home. I was trapped inside a dark and wet building, surrounded by a razor wire fence, and under a blanket of such fear and doom that no amount of sunshine could set optimism alight.

Men and women were housed together here. The unmarried soldiers in the group were treating their confinement like a doomsday party. On my many walks, I wandered by the group showers and found my fellow American service men and women naked, groping each other, and fucking their way to oblivion. They knew we weren’t going to win. They knew how it was going to end.

The commanders turned a blind eye to it all. I learned after a while that they were only responsible for keeping us in one place. They didn’t care that the lesbians had started a Dorm B fantasy camp, removed their bunks from the wall and started sleeping in a mass of naked flesh on the floor. The officers didn’t care that I spent most of my time huddled in a small lower-tier bunk wondering if I could escape, and, if so, how.

The enemy was the oddly-named Caspians. Their uniforms were blue and fashioned much like the Russians in the old video game Rush ‘N Attack. When they landed–much like a scene of out Red Dawn–we didn’t have any guns. There was no shooting. The commanding officers disappeared. If it wasn’t clear before, it quickly became so. We weren’t meant to fight.

As we were all rounded up and put on a caravan of buses, I wondered about my wife and child. There was nothing I could do for them. I’d held out hope that we might fight and win, that I could someday return to my family.

I don’t know where they were taking us. It’s a looped scene that changes in the exposition but ends the same every time. The Caspian is firm but not violent as he leads me by the arm onto the bus. His face is emotionless and he doesn’t say a word. I don’t struggle. Instead, I let myself be put into an aisle seat on the bus. I can’t see out the window and don’t bother looking to see who is on the bus with me. It’s clear that while the dream will start over at some point, it will never really end. Isolation and defeat are all I know until I force myself awake.


Brad Willis

Brad Willis is a writer based in Greenville, South Carolina. Willis spent a decade as an award-winning broadcast journalist. He has worked as a freelance writer, columnist, and professional blogger since 2005. He has also served as a commentator and guest on a wide variety of television, radio, and internet shows.

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3 Responses

  1. Well, at least you got an aisle seat.

  2. Did I ever mention that I can read dreams?

    NO !

    This one is quite clear.

    It breaks down the inevitable. You, BadBlood and I will accidently run into Mr. Brunson on the blvd. very late Saturday in Vegas.

    He’ll say “come on over to my place. I hear Pauly’s already there.”
    We’ll follow along spilling our beers only outside the confines of the Bellagio. Not one drop inside the hallowed halls. The poker room will be full, but not for the guest’s of Dolly.

    In will walk Antonio, “hey it’s the shoe’s guy” he’ll say in my general direction. I’ll have my red vinyl chuck’s on at the time. Our buy in is covered for us by Mr. Brunson. Ten large.

    We sit and play and chat and steal. Dolly likes us. He orders pizza just the way we like it and we all realize that it’s 11:00 am. It’s time for us to make our move.

    So move we do. A little down the road to where the Sunday odds are just being adjusted for the games. Your wife calls just as we enter the bar, based on this call, the Good Dr. talks us all into splitting a wager on the Cowboys game. We bite because it’s the best odds going since the Swedish pro hockey league championships.

    It hit’s. By one point, with 2 secs. left on the clock.

    Yup… I think I nailed it.

    It all comes down to 2 seconds of sweat.

  3. That’s an awesome story, and a wonderful bit of writing, Otis. Kind of reminded me of The Forever War.

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