As usual, please click the video below for the soundtrack accompanying today's chapter. Sort of like Outer Limits, huh? Click it and then we'll return control of your mind after it's finished. If you can't see the video, please click here to fetch it.
James’ experiment continued the next day. The cause and effect seemed pretty clear to him, having had two vivid dreams following two bottles of Zephyr, and striking out after having a different wine. But he could make things even more conclusive tonight if he got the result the thought he would after consuming Zephyr bottle number three.
He settled down in his easy chair, unscrewed the top from the bottle and poured the wine into the glass in front of him.
This was the darkest, most opaque of the three so far. After a good swirl, James inhaled and once again found the aromas captivating but not easily described. They were in his memory somewhere but it was more like a place or situation, rather than a discrete smell.
And as he had found with the first two bottles, the wine was delicious. Smooth tannins, silky, lush, with very deep fruit covering that character he had found in the aromas but couldn’t quite finger. Nice.
James sat there concentrating on remembering why the aromas seemed familiar. He didn’t even realize how sleepy he was as he dozed off.
He was leaving a house he had never seen before yet he knew this was his house. He was getting in an unfamiliar car yet he knew this was his car. And he was leaving for work even though in real life he mainly telecommuted. That’s how dreams are.
Then he placed the light, thin headphones over his head and selected “commute” from the glowing panel on his dashboard. The number 30 appeared on the panel and with each second it counted down by one until it reached 0.
James was now in autopilot mode. His eyes were open wide, his senses alert, yet his brain was in a hypnotic state; he drove to work yet was not conscious of doing so. Science was wonderful. The government couldn’t figure out how to reduce commuting times in the ever-widening urban sprawl so private industry had taken a different approach: Put your brain into a different state so you don’t realize how much time has elapsed from point A to point B.
It had been an expensive device but well worth the cost. Now an hour or more commute each way was nothing because when he emerged from his autopilot state, it was as if he had just begun the drive.
Like clockwork, James pulled into the parking structure of the office, found a space and then regained a waking level of consciousness as the device in the dashboard brought him back with the same 30-second count that had put him into autopilot.
Walking towards the entrance, James wished the same thing he wished every morning. If only they expanded the device to put him on autopilot during the working day, too. Now how much would that be worth?
Maybe this dream put James into a sub-dream autopilot state because the next thing he knew the day had passed and he was walking back to his car in the parking lot to prepare for the commute home.
Going home was even worse in terms of commute time. Thank goodness for his autopilot device. Headphones on, he clicked the button that began the countdown and lapsed into a hypnotic state. James exited the lot and hit the road none the wiser about the surrounding traffic.
74 minutes later, the car pulled into the driveway of the house that for this dream was familiar to James as his house in his neighborhood. It may have well been 5 seconds for him because his autopilot trance kept him unaware of how long the commute had taken.
James went inside and wondered where Lisa and Tim were. Normally when he got home this late she had dinner ready. And as far as he knew, Tim had no activities today after school so he should have been home, also. Maybe they went to get takeout somewhere.
He decided to water the front lawn while he was waiting. Outside, his next door neighbor had the same idea.
“Evening, Dan,” James said with a smile.
“Evening, James. How goes it?”
“Another long commute. I am so glad I bought that autopilot device. One click and,” James declared as he snapped his fingers, “next thing you know you’re at your destination! No muss, no fuss!”
“Gotta try it one of these days,” Dan replied.
“Did you see Lisa and Tim head out?” James asked.
“Lisa and Tim?”
“Yeah, I thought they’d be home but they’re not. Did you see them leave?”
Dan was giving James a weird look. He wasn’t sure if James was trying to joke or not but why would he make a joke like that? He was trying to figure out what his neighbor was up to.
“Oh well, I guess you didn’t see them,” James concluded. “I’m hungry.” Dan was still staring at him. “Why the funny look, Dan?”
“Are you..are you trying to be funny?” Dan asked him. “I don’t get it.”
“Nothing.” Dan shook his head and started to head back to his front door.
“Get what?” James asked again. “What do you mean?”
Dan stopped and sized up James. “Well you know Tim is grown up and moved away and Lisa, well I don’t know. What are you trying to say?”
James was obviously puzzled and said nothing. Dan continued. “I mean, Lisa’s passed away and I’m not sure why you’re talking like she’s just gone out with Tim somewhere, and-“
And then James was awakened by the phone ringing.
To be continued-
Visit the Amazon.com product page for the CD containing the song from today's soundtrack - click here: Harry Chapin - Heads & Tales