Dream Guy

Steve Hetzel

I dreamt that I was going to play with some little kids at a boys and girls club. The club was very office-building like: sterile, with small rooms down long hallways. When I got there, I was directed to a room where some women who worked at the club were taking care of a litter of un-hatched kittens (yes, you read that right) whose eggs had been abandoned by the mother. In my dream, kittens hatched from eggs that were white and just a little bigger than large chicken eggs. The women were excited that I was there to help out, as the eggs were just about to hatch. I was drawn to one particular egg, and picked it up, putting it in my left pocket to keep it warm. I kept looking around for the kids that I was there to see, but I also kept checking on the kitten egg, and soon found that it had started to hatch.

I eventually found that the kids were all sitting on the floor in a room with off-white walls, watching some sort of comic magician perform for them. I paid no attention to the performer and showed the kids the egg that was hatching. The performer continued, but was clearly annoyed by the ruckus I was causing.

I sat on top of a map that was acting as a cover for the chair, and held the egg in both hands in my lap for the kids to see it. As the kitten started to hatch, some of the kids wanted to touch it, but I pushed them away with my fingers because I knew that it needed to hatch without disturbance if it was going to develop properly. As the egg completed hatching, I set the kitten between my legs on the map (thinking that it would be easier to clean up the shell that way) so it would have a flat surface to test its legs on. It was small and white, with its short fur slick and wet. Its mouth was sealed shut by mucus. It hadn’t started to open its eyes yet, but it knew of my presence and started to try to crawl towards my face. I tried to clean off its face by licking my pinky finger and wiping the kitten’s mouth with it.

To get it better cleaned off I got up and went across the hall to a room that looked like a science classroom, with beakers and test tubes on lab tables. I went to the teacher’s table and set the kitten down on it. It was standing on its own just fine now. I used a damp paper towel to clean up the kitten a little more, especially its face. It was so cute, and was the sweetest kitten imaginable. Several of the women that worked at the club came out of an office that was connected at the end of the room where the teacher’s table was. They were impressed with my ability to care for the kitten.

I knew that the kitten must be hungry, so I fed it a little water to get it started, but I knew that it would probably vomit any solid food we fed it. We tried anyway. One of the women had some brown, lightweight, puffed wheat-like cereal that she said it could eat. We gave it one grain to try nibbling on. The kitten sniffed the grain, decided it was okay, and took a few bites out of it. It seemed satisfied for the moment. I said that it would probably vomit now that it had eaten something that wasn’t its mother’s milk, and sure enough, it did. It threw up the chewed up brown cereal, but continued vomiting a large black thing that was about as big as the kitten itself was. Some of the women were grossed out, others were disturbed. I was worried. We eventually realized that the white kitten was vomiting up another kitten head first! We also realized that these two kittens were really twins, but that one ended up developing inside of the other.

This kitten was black and gray, and looked very sick. In fact, we thought it was dead, so we paid no attention to it as it started to slide off the table, and continued tending to my kitten instead. It wasn’t dead, though. It started breathing, and moving, and very quickly had opened its eyes and started running around the room. This kitten was not sweet and cute like my white kitten; instead it was mean and almost evil. It ran around the room, too fast for any of us to catch it, breaking the beakers and test tubes and a TV in the room. It hissed and jumped onto people and was clawing at them. It didn’t cause any real harm to people because it was so little, but its intentions of causing harm were very clear. My white kitten was obviously afraid of this new kitten, and it cowered as I held it. All I could think of was protecting my kitten and the children that I was at the club to see in the first place.

That’s when I woke up.

—Awoken from a cat nap

The first major theme in your dream is your altruism. You’re volunteering for the first time at a boys and girls club, and no sooner do you get there than are you confronted with another way to be kind and generous: caring for baby kittens. (“Aww…”) Hatching kittens, that is. Looks like someone’s subconscious needs to start attending biology class.

Not only do you start caring for one of the eggs, but you attend to the kids by showing them the egg and giving them a science lesson (ahem) when it begins hatching. When the kitten begins to emerge, you gently clean it off, and try to give it food and water.

And not only are you being altruistic, but you’re the best at it, and everyone recognizes that. When you first begin helping with the eggs, the rest of the people there—all women—are glad that you’re there to help out, and are impressed with your full range of caring abilities. You are, for all intents and purposes, the kitten’s mother, as you do everything to care for it before and after its leaves the egg. The kitten seems to recognize you in that role as well, as it starts to crawl toward you because “it knew of [your] presence.” You reluctantly agree to feed the kitten the wheat cereal, and you just know that it’s going to vomit it up. It’s ironic, therefore, that all the other women there couldn’t do as good a job as you. There was some innate connection between you and baby kittens, especially this particular one.

Your role as ultimate caretaker is also notable when you distract the magician’s performance to show the kids the egg. Now, call me crazy, but I think that if I was a kid at that club, I would be much more interested in a magician—a comic magician, no less—than an egg that was going to hatch. Thus, against the odds of space and time, you immediately sway all the kids to your entertainment, the “biology” lesson. The magician, no longer needed, slinks away dissatisfied, never to appear again, the unseen Malvolio of this act.

The other major theme of your dream is the purity all around you: the boy’s and girl’s club is just this side of a hospital, being spotless and sterile, and containing small rooms, long hallways, off-white walls, etc. The cross between baby chickens and kittens is also significant: it combines two of the cutest, most seemingly pure baby animals in all of old MacDonald’s farm. Cute kittens now have an even cuter way to come into existence.

In them midst of all this purity comes the flaw in the ointment, the tiny bit of yin inside yang, the drop of marinara sauce on your tux shirt. And interestingly, it only comes because you relax your maternal and superior control over the kitten for one fatal second. You didn’t realize how much harm could come from the woman with the wheat cereal. “She said it could eat it.” Famous last words. You gave in, knowing full well that the kitten would vomit. And this slight disturbance turns out to be more than just that: it becomes the dark doppelganger, the black cat in your path, the root of all evil and destruction. It tears around the room, trying to destroy everything in its path, although good ultimately triumphs, since “It didn’t cause any real harm to people because it was so little.” Yet it continues its rampage, with very clear “intentions of causing harm.” You are left with this fear, this anxiety over what will come of this destructive beast in the midst of everything else that is good.

Your altruism in the dream was abundant, yet there was something that went awry. It wasn’t totally your fault—the cereal did come from someone else—but you relaxed your care just enough. This may suggest that there’s something—albeit a tiny thing—that doesn’t sit quite right with you, when it comes to altruism. Maybe it was some guilt over turning away the magician, the only other adult male in the dream. Maybe it’s a fear that you will mess up and accidentally cause ultimate death and destruction, while will lead to doomsday. MWA HA HA! But seriously, it’s not difficult to see how dreams can take a tiny nugget of discomfort inside us and blow it way out of proportion.

When there’s something strange in your Dreamworld, you know who to call. I ain’t afraid of no subconscious.