Sunday, August 18, 2013

Dream Maker

Miles was nine years old when his grandfather gave it to him. At that point, his grandfather was already senile and suffered from dementia. His grandfather had immigrated to the United States from Germany during World War II escaping Nazi persecution.

The thing was weird looking. At the base of the interior roof or ceiling, there were dozens of dull metal tips that looked like pencil erasers. It had copper and lead wires and a few transistors. It was a gray helmet like the ones bicycle riders use. The frame was not solid, it had gaps or slots to avoid the head from sweating or your brain from getting too hot.

Miles was a little slow. It was hard to pinpoint his abnormalities. He appeared to be an average kid, maybe just a little mixed-up. It seemed like his mind was working faster than the way he could express his thoughts. He had a tic, his left eye blinked rapidly when he seemed impatient.

He had been homeschooled; they said there was too much trouble at the public school, and that he’d been bullied to death. He adored his sister Gretchen, she was his best friend. Gretchen was also my best friend.

The helmet was his most precious treasure, he kept it with him at all times. Gretchen and her dad didn't appear to know what the real function of the helmet was. He never used it for protection. He wore it even when he went to sleep. Miles liked me because I treated him like a normal person. He was just a little odd, a little abnormal, but aren’t we all?

Gretchen didn’t mind that I spent more time with him than with her. Miles and I became good friends, and his family was glad we did. They knew it was a sincere friendship. Gretchen said Miles' best friend had been his grandpa.

Miles dad gave him permission to keep everything his grandpa left when he died. He kept it all in perfect order. There were uniforms, boots, medals, diplomas and notebooks. He had several first edition books by Sigmund Freud, a contemporary of his grandfather. All his notes were written in German, but nobody in the family understood the language. Oh, and apparently grandpa had been an inventor.

When I asked Gretchen about the helmet, she said her grandfather built it himself and gave it to Miles just days before he died. Miles wouldn’t go to sleep without it, despite his dad’s insistence to not wear it in bed. It looked uncomfortable to use for several hours at a time, especially in bed.

Conversations with Miles were sometimes a little bit incoherent, but not when he was talking about dreams. That was his favorite subject. He appeared to be an expert in the matter. I never showed him indifference, regardless of how absurd his comments seemed. Gretchen and her dad avoided conversations with Miles about his daily dreams. They thought the dreams were interminable and even boring.

I thought Miles' brain was balancing his deficiencies with his proficiencies. The way it happens to blind persons when other senses get acuter to compensate for the inability to see.

His facial features were out of the ordinary. At first, I couldn't decide whether he was handsome or not, but the more time I spent with him the more I realized he was a handsome kid. His face was mild and peaceful.

Gretchen and I went to the same school. I walked her home every day. I never asked her officially to be my girlfriend, but I knew everybody considered us boyfriend and girlfriend, even we did. We were both nineteen.

After returning from school, Gretchen would give a kiss to Miles, then she'd go to her room to do her homework. I'd stay and talk to Miles for a while. He wasn’t too expressive and he couldn’t show his feelings openly, but he seemed very happy when we talked to each other, and that made me happy too.

After a few weeks, I knew I had gained his complete trust when he mentioned he wanted to show me his dreams.

“I like my other me better than my own self,” he said while tapping his chest with his right open hand. “I’m happier with my inside me,” he said.

“What do you mean Miles? Is there another person inside of you?”

“Yes, he’s always there when I’m asleep. He is smart; his brains are good, he can think better.”

“Can you communicate with him? Does he talk to you?” I asked.

“Are you crazy? He is me! There’s no need to talk to me, we just think, that’s all. When I’m in there with him, we’re smart the same. I like him better than I like myself. Do you want to talk to him, Randy? You can borrow my helmet tonight if you want.”

“Is he inside your helmet?” I asked.

“No dummy, he’s in my dreams, ha, ha, inside my helmet, ha, ha. You’re a little retarded Randy. Sorry, I didn’t mean to insult you, Randy, you’re my best friend, sorry.”

“It’s alright, Miles I don’t feel insulted, you’re also my best friend. But tell me, Miles, how does your helmet work?”

“You just put it on your head before you fall asleep and you start dreaming.” he said.

“But I’ve never needed a helmet to dream, and I’ve dreamed all my life without one.”

“Yes, but with my helmet, you can talk to me in your dreams, you can have real dreams and you can also see my dreams.”

“Well, it sounds a little bit complicated, but I'll give it a try. Are you going to be okay without it for one night? Gretchen told me you haven’t slept without it since your grandpa gave it to you. What if you change your mind and I have it at home with me.”

“It’s alright Randy, I can still have normal boring dreams without it. Sometimes I remove it in the middle of the night, sometimes I’m boring myself.”

“Before I take it, just tell me how it works. Does it need a battery or a charger, do I need to connect it to an electrical receptacle?" I asked mockingly, which I immediately regretted.

“I don’t know how it works, my grandpa never gave me any instructions. He just made it and gave it to me and said, ‘dreams are its energy’”.

After Gretchen said it was okay to take Miles’ helmet with me, we went back to Miles to confirm. He said yes, and I took it home.

I didn’t even know why I accepted to bring it with me. Probably just to be polite to Miles, but my curiosity was minimal.

I have to admit; the device looked a little medieval. Like you would expect a torture device to look, like an apparatus someone would use to reanimate Frankenstein.

When I went home, I placed the “dream maker” on the nightstand, next to my books. That night, I read a little bit until I got sleepy. After a while, as I reached for the lamp switch; I saw the helmet and grabbed it.

I put the helmet on in the dark. The blunt metal tips inside the helmet rested on my thick hair. The tips felt like fingers, and when I moved my head it felt like I was giving myself a massage. The way it feels when you're shampooing your hair. It didn’t feel bad at all.


I’ve always been fascinated by dreams. Some experts say they are your fears and desires, and I agree. But when they mention conscious, unconscious, subconscious, then, it gets all too complicated for me. I can't understand what happens the moment when you cease to be awake and fall asleep.

I don’t know if time is real inside my dreams. When I explain my dreams to somebody, it takes a couple of minutes to relate the entire dream. But, does that mean my dream lasted only two minutes?

I've always enjoyed my dreams, ordinary, surreal or bizarre. I dream about temptations, wishes, and fears too. My good and evil sides fight and struggle for dominance. Divine and demonic forces fight to control my mind. Sometimes I enjoy my nightmares too.

I dreamed I was on the roof of a tall building and I was afraid to fall, I was paranoid. The roof was very small, a little bigger than my bed. (how bizarre) I was lying down on my back, grabbing the sides of the building with my extended arms. It was windy and I was exhausted of resisting my prolonged fears.

Within my dream, I knew I was dreaming. I wanted to end the dream and my suffering, but I couldn’t. When I accepted I wouldn't be able to stop it, I decided to jump from the building. I thought it was my only escape. But I had decided, that instead of jumping to my death, I was going to fly or glide and enjoy the ride.

I went straight down a hundred miles an hour, but after I relaxed and took control of the situation I began to soar and turned my nightmare into a sweet, beautiful dream. I could see the entire city. I could see the sky, the clouds, and the horizon. I could fly above the treetops, I could go back up to the roof of my tormenting building and go around it. I was happy because I had conquered my fears.

When I woke up I didn’t open my eyes and I didn’t move. I swear to God and all the angels that I truly believed I was able to fly without a doubt. I was lying in my bed, but I’m sure that if I had been at the top of any building, I would have jumped and I would have been able to fly. I was certain I could have done it.

Now I'm certain it was a ridiculous thought.

But I had learned to conquer the fears in my dreams. If I don’t allow my mind control me, I could control it!

When I opened my eyes I had a hard time convincing myself that I'd been dreaming the entire time, including the time when I thought I was awake, but I’m not so sure anymore. Then, I removed the helmet from my head and I wondered if I could have had the same dream without the helmet. 

I just realized that there were two of me inside my dream! There was me, acting my dream, and then the other me, watching me act. Or the physical me dreaming in my bed and my other me inside my dream, and I actually liked the other me, the one with the authority to control the dream.

It seemed very clear then, now it's very confusing.

“Did you wear it, did you dream?" Miles asked the next day.

“Yes Miles, I wore it, but honestly I wasn’t thinking about using it. I just put it on and fell asleep and had a normal dream.”

“A normal dream, was it a normal dream really?”

“Well, yes, nothing different. It was vivid, it felt real and I enjoyed it because I could control it.”

“Did you like the other you better?”

“Yes Miles, yes, I liked my other me better.”

“You see what I mean now, now we’re equal. I like my other me better and you like the other you better.”

“What? Wait a minute Miles, there’s only one of me. The conscious one when I’m awake and the unconscious one when I’m asleep, but we’re the same, there’s no need to separate me in two, (I felt a little stupid because I was contradicting myself) when I say that I like the other one better, I mean that I want to act like him in real life. I want to be unafraid and in control, I like the fact that he is free, and he’s not afraid of the consequences of his acts.”

“You have to admit it, Randy, you are feeling envy of the other you, but it’s amazing, isn’t it? Your first dream and you are already struggling with you and yourself.”

“No Miles, it wasn’t my first dream, I don’t envy me and I’m not struggling with myself. But let me tell you one thing, you are a lot smarter than most of us. And don’t believe anybody that tells you otherwise.”

I’m feeling more confused now. I’m convinced that the damn thing is useless, it can’t protect your head, much less your brains. I’m glad for Miles, though; the helmet is his only toy, he loves it and I respect that. Me, I don’t have any toys, I’m not attached to any material things. If an earthquake strikes, I wouldn't run to try to save anything. I would just run with me and myself.

The following day, Miles came up with an amazing and unbelievable commentary.

“Hey Randy, I saw your dream. I’m glad you know how to fly now, from the treetops to the roof of a tall building in just a few seconds.”

“What? That’s impossible, who told you about it? Nobody knows, I never told anybody that’s not possible Miles, how could that be?”

“Randy, you shouldn’t be so surprised, it’s in my helmet. You knew that. Didn’t I tell you that I wanted to show you my dreams?”

It just blew my mind! How could that be possible? To know about that dream he had to be inside my head unless the dream was somehow recorded in the helmet, but that’s so out of this world, so science fiction. There has to be a better explanation. I need more evidence.

It's beyond normal comprehension. If the helmet works like that, the world needs to know about it. Wait a minute, does it?

One thing’s for certain; his grandpa was a genius.

I think I’m going too far ahead on my conclusions; I need to experiment with it a little more before I open my big mouth or do something irrational.

Miles probably saw all the provocative questions in my head because he gave me the thing back and said, “Here Randy, try again.”


Gretchen is not demanding, but she’s not submissive. She needs her own time and space. She’s happy with herself. She’d be happy with me or without me. She’s also a little overweight. What some people might consider being on the verge of obesity I consider voluptuous. I don’t know if we’re going to be together for the rest of our lives, but that would be okay with me. I know she’s a virgin just like me, I think. I mean I am, and I think she is too. But if she’s not, it's not a big deal. I'm fine with that too.

I’ve decided to do a little experiment with her in my dreams. I had noticed that when I do something repetitiously for hours during the day, sometimes at night I dream about it. If I swim for hours, or if I watch a movie that impressed me in any way, I would dream about that.

Gretchen and I will be losing our virginity simultaneously in my dream. There's no need for condoms or promises, no need to take any precautions. Oh, and I want lots of foreplay.

I wrote an erotic story in which I included all my fantasies. I’ll make love to her for hours. I’ll take advantage of my experiment; after all, it'll be just a dream.

I'll read the story in bed several times until I fall asleep. I'll concentrate in Gretchen and me having sex. I hope that’s what I dream. I’d better not forget about my helmet, I mean our helmet, I mean, Miles’ helmet. Oh well, good night.

The day after I gave the helmet back to Miles, he said . . . “Randy I saw what you did with Gretchen, you dirty man! I can’t believe it. I had to turn it off.”

I couldn’t find a proper rational reaction. I just said, “It was just a dream, Miles, don’t pay attention to it.” 

Now, I'm in the middle of a huge dilemma. Should I tell the whole world? Should I get a patent and sell it for a hundred million dollars? No, of course not! The thing belongs only to Miles and I have nothing to do with it. Nevertheless, I know the future of the helmet is in my hands. I could decide to be quiet or expose it to the world.

The potential was infinitesimal. But I’m not concerned about its enormous monetary value.

The main thing, for now, is to be quiet. I shouldn’t tell anyone, not even Gretchen. I’ll keep experimenting with it. I need to find its real potential. I need to investigate its prospects and risks.

“How do you turn it off?” I asked Miles, after a long pause.

“You just tell yourself to wake up, as simple as that,” he answered.

“Please, Miles, don’t say anything to Gretchen about it, okay?”

“Why would I tell her? It was just a dream, right?

“Yes, and completely unpremeditated,” I replied with a little lie.

The dream I had with Gretchen was vivid and real. It was so real, when I woke up I still had an erection. My penis was still sore in the morning. I’m sure it hadn't been a wet dream because my underwear and the bed sheets were clean and dry.

After that day, I asked Miles many questions regarding the helmet, without trying to be too fastidious. I didn’t want to lose his trust or his friendship. I asked him about his grandfather. I asked him if I could read his grandfather’s notes and books. He accepted, but it was useless because everything was written in German, and I couldn’t trust anyone to translate it. Miles had been using the ‘dream maker’ every day for over two years. He was the only expert on the matter.

“One day I’ll be with my grandpa Dieter forever. He was my best friend. In the end, my grandpa was crazy like me, but no two crazy peoples can understand each other. After he died, he was in my dreams and I felt safe there with him, only there. The helmet was our connection; he gave it to me to visit him in my dreams.”

Miles said the helmet transported him to another world, to another real world. Better than the one we live in, and that he was spending more time in his ‘dream world’. He said sometimes he didn’t know in which world he was in. He believed that one day one world was going to cancel the other.

He said he could now erase or suppress bad memories or add good experiences to his past, or to his future. It was hard to understand him. Could it be that his defective short-circuited brain was, in reality, a superior brain?

I couldn’t hide the excitement I felt; I tried to simulate my enthusiasm with false indifference. I said to him that I wanted to experiment a little more with it and asked him if we could alternate using the helmet. I was glad he agreed. The reason I didn’t want to look over excited was that I didn’t know how he’d react. I didn’t want to ruin our ‘partnership’. I didn’t want to be cut off out of the project. Above all, my attitude would never be malicious towards Miles.

Tonight, I'll take a tour in hell. It might seem a bit premature, a drastic change from having sex with Gretchen. I figured that since I could control and manipulate my dreams, (I think) if I don’t like hell, I’ll turn it into heaven. I’m still a little hesitant about this choice, but I’m stubborn and that was my first choice. After I gathered some paintings from the masters depicting hell, I focused on them until I fall asleep. But not before I put on the dream maker, or the dream generator or the dream creator or the dream catcher or . . . 

In the morning, I woke up a little disappointed. No hell whatsoever. Probably it doesn’t exist, and if it doesn’t exist, I couldn’t invent it in my dreams. I don’t know, maybe I didn’t concentrate enough. All I dreamed about was Miles having lots of fun with a kite, and an old man cheering him up until Miles fell on his knees. I was there, next to the old man. I saw Miles in my dreams for the first time, but I felt a little frustrated nonetheless. I thought the dream was a failure, it proved nothing.

When I went back to Gretchen’s house I got another surprise when I saw Miles. He had some scrapes on his knees. I asked him right away what had happened to him, and he said he didn’t know. He said he woke up like that and that he probably fell from his bed, but I knew that was very unlikely. Could it be possible that he was in my dream and somehow . . . ? no, no way, either way, I didn’t tell him about my dream.

The following day he told me about his dream.

“Randy, you were in my dreams! My grandpa was there too. I was running and having fun with a kite, until . . .” then I interrupted him and finished his sentence,  “. . . until you fell and scraped your knees!”

I bet we both had the same expression of incredulity and satisfaction.

After a few weeks of practice and experimentation, I learned a lot about my dreams and ‘my device’. I noticed how important it was to be relaxed before falling asleep. I even created a system that took only a couple of minutes.

While lying face up and with the eyes closed, I would focus on my interior body, on imaginary electrical currents pushing tension and stress away from nerves and muscles from head to toes. It feels like the soul is giving a massage to the body. At the same time, I would plant an image in the interior walls of my eyelids of the dream I wished to have. Then, I would concentrate on that image until I fall asleep.

It works for me.

Sometimes, I dream in the third person, when I see myself in my dream. Other times, I dream in the first person, when I’m not in my dreams. I’m just a witness and I don’t participate. I’m there, but I don’t see myself. I like to dream when I’m just a witness, that way I don’t suffer. I can only enjoy, it's just like watching a movie.

Other times, I dream I can’t move. I have some kind of sleep paralysis, and someone's trying to attack me and I can’t defend myself. I can’t even scream and that’s terrifying. I also dream that someone is chasing me with intentions to hurt me, but I can only run in slow motion, and that’s also very scary.

I believe one day I’ll be able to manipulate my dreams. I'll be the master and everybody else will be my slave. It would be like being the director of a movie, or an arrogant boss, just ordering around people what to do. It might be funny too.


One day Gretchen told me she missed her period. Then she said that she probably just missed it, period. She said that she was curious and asked me to join her to the pharmacy to get a pregnancy test. Later, I heard her screaming in the bathroom.

“Positive? Positive! Positive?! It can’t be. Something’s wrong; somebody is playing a joke on me. No way. I’m a virgin! I have never even seen an erected penis in my life! Randy! You have to believe me. You know what; I don’t care if you don’t believe me. I need to get another pregnancy test, this was probably defective, Randy, let’s go get another one.”

On the way to the pharmacy, she kept going at it. I didn't know whether she was mad at me for not believing or for believing. I never said a word. Gretchen, the always composed and undisturbed Gretchen was mad at me, at God, at the entire world. The second test was positive again. Then she took a different approach.

“The Divine Providence, Randy, that’s it, a divine mandate! God chose me!" she said with a sarcastic smile. “What are we going to do, Randy?  Well, not you, obviously it’s not your fault. What am I going to do? I can’t tell my dad, it can’t be possible, help me, Randy!”

“Well, if you are pregnant, and that is beyond farfetched, would you have the baby? Would you keep it? Would you have an abortion?” I asked her, considering I was the only accusable prospect. After all, I did do it in my dream.

Then I thought about Miles’ scraped knees, did that happen in my dream or his dream? Was it possible for things to materialize from a dream to real life, with the helmet?

“It makes no sense, why would I need an abortion if nobody has impregnated me? It's impossible. But if I claim I'm innocent, I'll be ridiculed. I need you to believe in me Randy, if I ever get pregnant it would be only by you.”

“Yes Gretchen, I believe you. But if you want, we can make it real.”

“Oh, Randy, don’t joke about it, not now.”

“Sorry, sorry. I tell you what Gretchen, let’s wait a week, and then take the test again. Then, you’ll decide what to do, and of course, if it’s negative we’ll do nothing, or we'll celebrate and . . .  oh, never mind.”

That night, I elaborated an alternate plan.

Let’s suppose I impregnated her in my dreams, (I can’t believe I’m saying this) if I did it in my dreams, perhaps I can undo it in my dreams too. It sounds so absurd, but I won’t lose anything by trying.

After I gathered all the stuff I needed to provoke the required dream, a picture of a hospital with a doctor included, an operating room, and of course, Gretchen's photo. Then, I focused on my intentions and put the helmet on. And after performing my relaxing ritual, I fell asleep. In my dreams, abortions are legal.


A week later we got another test. When Gretchen came out of the bathroom she said with a sigh of relief, “false alarm”. Of course, I was ready to show a false expression of surprise.

The instructions claimed ninety-nine percent accuracy on those home tests. But it could be misleading. It could be less accurate if it’s done within the first days of a missed period. Anyway, I was glad for both of us. But I’ll never know if I got her pregnant in my dreams, or if the abortion in my dream was a success. Or if it was all just a fluke, and nothing ever happened at all.

I might try later to impregnate her again in my dreams. Or maybe, I’ll just marry her instead.

A few weeks later, a sad event happened.

Miles disappeared into thin air and nobody ever saw him again. His dad filed a police report and they looked everywhere. The city offered a large reward. They're still looking for him.

A day after his disappearance, I saw him in my dreams. He finally decided not to come back. He said he was happier there, with his grandpa.

I told Gretchen exactly what had happened to Miles, but it was too hard to convince her. She would not believe it until I gave her instructions on how to use the helmet.

The following day, she grabbed a hammer and broke the helmet into a million fragments.

Edmundo Barraza

Visalia, Ca. Aug-22-2011