18.  Review

18. Review

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26 December 2054

As far as any of the Lucid Dreamers of Christmas 2054 could report, there was nothing notably intense or extreme about their sleep state while wearing the patch.  The intense dreams that had affected many the night prior weren’t necessarily outdone by those on Christmas night (though, with such a paradigm shift underway, it wouldn’t have been surprising).  Of the selection of users who were open to being asked about their first experiences with Lucidity, there were no definitive conclusions about any exceptional dream or sleep state.

Ricky 2 couldn’t even remember his dreams.  As soon as he woke up, he recalled something vague about a soccer match before it was gone entirely.  Ricky 2 smiled—this sort of thing was exactly what Lucidity was for.

When Ricky 2 opened the menu for Lucid Dream, he saw a new option on the hazy purple menu.  The icon was in the shape of a file cabinet, and the title below it read “library”.  Ricky 2 waved his hand over the file cabinet and the drawer slid open, another menu rising out with a list of dates.  Ricky 2 selected the only folder currently on this menu, titled “Night of 25 December,” and was surprised to see five dreams from the past night to select from.  He previewed a couple, selected a seemingly safe one to share with his parents, and headed downstairs.

Ricky and Shelly were already up and conversing in the kitchen.  The strong smell of imported gourmet coffee greeted Ricky 2, who was a much greater fan of this scent than the drink itself.

‘It’s our little man!’  Ricky said to his son.  ‘How did the night go?  You sleep well?’

Ricky 2 nodded.

‘That’s good.  Your mom and I were out.  Did you check out any of your dreams yet?’

‘No,’ said Ricky 2.  ‘I flipped through a couple frames, but I haven’t even watched any yet.’

‘Isn’t that just the neatest thing?’ asked Shelly.  ‘Your own personal television station, updated every night.  Pretty futuristic!’

‘Did you two watch your dreams?’ Asked Ricky 2.

‘Same as you,’ said his father, ‘We took a little skim off the top.  Just to make sure your mom isn’t having no pervy thoughts about me that she don’t want to show you.’

‘Gross,’ Ricky 2 said.

‘Yeah, I know,’ Shelly replied.  ‘Well at least you can be rest assured that our dreams are both relatively tame.  Almost boring, in fact.’

‘You trying to have a little movie brunch, Ricky 2?’ His father asked.  ‘Because I’d love to set that up.  Once Sera gets down here.  We can all just connect to a virtual screen together and watch the best of everyone’s night.  Does that sound good?’

‘I think that sounds fun,’ said Ricky 2.  ‘I don’t really know what to expect from any of you, so I guess it will just be kind of, like, a trippy sketch comedy show or something.  Especially yours, dad.’  Ricky 2 shot a glance at his father.

‘What do you mean?’ Ricky replied.  ‘Why me?’

‘Bro, you just told us a story yesterday about being in belly-world.’

‘Oh, I guess that’s right,’ Ricky admitted.  ‘Well, do you want to make your way to the family room and watch each other’s movies?’

‘I’m ready.  Where’s Sera?’

Sera was still upstairs, but she had been eavesdropping on the conversation.  The truth was, she didn’t care to make her dreams public to her family.  She could see a lot of ways that it could go wrong.  She spent little to no time thinking about what could go right.

The reason for the negative anxiety was partially due to the fact that Sera didn’t care to share her dream.  Every dream in her archive included Jason, a Korean boy at her school that she had had a crush on since about the fourth grade.  She certainly didn’t want to share those dreams.

When she was called downstairs by her parents, she was already thinking up excuses not to share with them.  When she arrived in the living room, she simply said she wasn’t comfortable sharing her dreams from last night, planning to leave it at that.

‘Sera had a sex dream!’  Ricky 2 yelled.

‘Ricky 2!’  his father said.  ‘She’s thirteen, for Christ’s sake.  Come on.  Don’t make a father think about that.’

‘Alright, well, you know it’s true.’

‘It is not!’  said Sera.  ‘There’s just some things that are private to my life that you don’t need to know about.’

‘Fine,’ said Ricky 2.  ‘But you all are going to love my dream—ready to check it out?’

The family put on their Lenses and synced up their views.  While synchronized to the same virtual screen, Lucid Dream made it easy to choose from the dreams of whomever was on deck.  They started, as per his request, with Ricky 2.

The setting of Ricky 2’s selected dream was in the middle of a snowy expanse.  You could see for miles in any direction.  There were scattered trees in the environment, and Ricky 2 seemed to be standing on a road.  Suddenly, a booming voice came from an unspecified location:  ‘It’s time for the winter Battle Royale—Are you ready?’  The Dream Ricky 2 then removed a baseball bat with nails, apparently out of thin air, lifted it to the sky, and let out a blood-thirsty scream.

Back in real life, Sera started to giggle, and Ricky looked at his son with a smile.

‘What?’  Ricky asked them.

‘I don’t know, son.  I guess I’m just expecting you to rip your shirt off here, or something.’

Ricky 2 ignored him and looked back at the dream.  As he turned around, enemies began to appear from all over.  Some of them just happened to be in the area.  Others rose out of the ground.  Dream Ricky 2 wasted no time in running toward them and brutally mauling them with his weapon.  The bloodshed and the reactions of the crowd were both gratuitous and disturbingly vivid.

‘Jesus Christ, Ricky 2,’ Ricky said in real life.  ‘Is this really what you dream about?’

‘What?’ said Ricky 2.  ‘It’s like an action movie.  You’re telling me you don’t have dreams like this?  Get out of here.’

The dream went on for another ten minutes or so.  After the ‘action,’ bodies were strewn all over the snow.  Ricky turned away from the road he was on, and the snow in front of him began to bulge up into a mound about four times his size.  On the front of the mound, two large, cartoon eyes peeped underneath the bottom layer of snow like it was a curtain.  Two large, cartoon hands emerged from the ground on either side of it.  Whatever this creature was had no mouth, but it’s eyes were certainly smiling.

As it held it’s hands palms up, two beautiful busty women fell into his palms one by one, both completely naked.  It was at this point that Ricky made the executive decision to turn the dream off.

‘What?’  Ricky 2 said.  ‘Why?’

‘Do you really have to ask?’  Ricky said.  ‘Super inappropriate for your sister to see.’

‘But dismantling hundreds of people with a baseball bat isn’t too inappropriate?’  Shelly asked.

‘Fair enough,’ her husband said, ‘but we have to draw the line somewhere.  Jesus, Ricky, is that what you really dream about?’

‘I hardly ever remember my dreams,’ he replied.

‘Well,’ his father said, ‘it was your Christmas present.  But part of me thinks that it was the Good Lord’s intention that you weren’t remembering your dreams.  Jesus Christ, Ricky 2.’

‘Okay,’ said Shelly, ‘I’ll go next.’

Shelly’s highlighted dream was much tamer.  In fact, it was only about 20 minutes of her playing piano in a ballroom of what appeared to be a cruise ship.  The family wasn’t interested in all 20 minutes, though the unique and beautiful melodies Shelly was playing on the piano would have made it worth revisiting in a different context.

Ricky’s dream was not quite as exciting as the dream he had had the night prior.  It was mostly a long sequence of him running around a large house that none of the family had seen before (Ricky included) and saying to himself ‘I love my family.’  Periodically, he would go out on the lawn and yell at ragged homeless people to get off his property.  Other than that, not much happened.

‘Well,’ said Ricky when it was all said and done, ‘What does everybody think?’

On the other side of town, the Caston patriarch was asking the same question.  They had gathered around their own Virtual Screen in order to watch each other’s dreams.

In Darren’s dream, he had wandered around different locations in some sort of University complex.  He would periodically pull of his Lucidity patch as he walked into each building.  At first, he put it in his pocket.  When it kept reappearing on his temple, however, he tried throwing it away, stomping on it, and giving it to passers-by.  Each time, however, it would end up back on his temple within ten seconds of him removing it.

Snow’s dream had been somewhat similar to the one he had had on Christmas Eve.  This time he was floating on a stage above a sea of people, all chanting “Cho—Sen—One!’ followed by eight double-time claps.  He feared it made him look like a narcissist.

Emilie preferred not to disclose her dreams.  Darren hoped that this shouldn’t worry him.

Snow was the first to speak on his thoughts.  ‘I don’t think I want to be gathering around the Virtual Screen looking at each others’ dreams every morning.’

‘Yeah, I don’t think that was the plan,’ his father said with a smile.

‘It just seems like a bit of an invasion of privacy,’ Snow continued.

‘That’s why I didn’t want to share mine,’ said Emilie.  ‘I hardly even know what to make of them—who knows what you two would think.’

‘I agree with that,’ said Darren.  ‘But can we at least agree that it’s pretty amazing it works?  And so seamlessly.  I don’t think it bothered my sleep at all.  Did you two notice anything?’

Emilie and Snow shook their heads.

‘I guess,’ Snow said, ‘I could see how it would be fun to show each other our dreams when we have really outrageous ones.’

Darren nodded.  ‘I have some strange dreams, that’s for sure.  I wouldn’t have any problem sharing some of those with you two.  Not that I’m requesting either of you ever have to bear your unconscious mind to me.’

‘No, I get it,’ said Snow.  ‘I think you’re right.  It’s amazing—I had about five dreams in the device when I woke up, and I hardly remember any but the one I showed you.  It kind of makes me want to dream more.’

‘Well, it’s a game changer, that’s for sure,’ said his mother.  ‘It’s definitely fun and exciting.  And it works so perfectly.’

‘Yes,’ said Darren.  ‘It really is amazing.  If I had any doubt before, I know now for sure—this device is the real deal.  It’s going to change the world.’

19.  A Brief History of Social Media

19. A Brief History of Social Media

17.  Christmas Evening

17. Christmas Evening