Dreams I May or May Not Have Just Had About The Tangential Staff

Dreams I May or May Not Have Just Had About The Tangential Staff

Becky Lang: I’m over at her house for tea. Becky has just poured me a cup, flicked me on the nose, and now she’s introducing me to the other guests: a few stuffed animals with their eyes poked out, a panda wearing an ostentatious top hat, and a chain-smoking baby angel. “Okay, fuckers, no funny business. Now drink this tea,” she says very sweetly, gives me a wink, and then pulls out a water pistol, setting it on the table for all to see. Then the vision fades.

Jay Gabler: Jay and I are both on an African safari. He is driving. As we fly across the Serengeti or whatever, Jay keeps on pointing out the animals to me. But as I look closer I realize instead of lions and wildebeest, the animals are all leading western intellectuals: Nietzsche, Louis Menard, and Kafka. “Shoot ’em, Dunstan, shoot ’em, you stupid bastard!” I don’t know what to do, and then Jay plunges the jeep into a stream, only moments after he himself has jumped out the back, laughing, saying, “Ain’t no party like a West Coast party, Dunstan.”

Sarah Heuer: It’s some sort of summer picnic with watermelon and everyone is dressed like a member of a 1980s sitcom. As I walk up, I wave to the group, and Sarah beckons me closer. I bend down to say hello and, to my surprise, she kisses me on the lips. Jay gets mad, asking “What’s that all about?” I respond, defensively, “Oh she doesn’t mean it.” And Sarah serenely says, “That’s not it. It’s just that we have no way but being honest with each other.” Then she lights a cigarette. Again. Fade to black.

Katie Sisneros: It’s some seedy bar in the middle of Nebraska and all I know is we got here on burros. That’s right. Mutha-fucking donkeys. We’re downing mini corn dogs like the state just put out a rationing order on flour and tiny, wee-wee-sized sausage. Suddenly we’re knocking over glasses because a giant Risk board has descended from the ceiling. “You gonna make it happen?” Katie says seriously. “Cuz momma don’t allow bitch-ass losers to hang witz her.” To reassure her that I mean business, I tell her all I know about John Milton.

Jason Zabel: Jason and I are flying through the air, and neither of us know how or why we’re here. It’s not a bad day—I’m having a good time, but soon enough Jason gets bored. “I don’t know, I mean, don’t get me wrong, I like flying, but I’m just sick of getting blown in the face and not smoking.” The next thing I know we’re sitting at a 1950s hamburger café, with pink milkshakes in front of us. “You’ve got some weird dreams, Dunstan,” he laughs. “Usually I just dream about clowns and Mexican drug lords.” “Should we change?!” I ask. “No, I’ll be fine. Let’s just drink our milkshakes.” And we do. Suddenly the whole gang shows up. Becky with her stuffed animals, Jay in a safari hat, Sarah with a knowing smile, and Katie on a burro. It’s all so brilliant. For a moment. But then I wake up. Alone. Panting. Holding my laptop.

Dunstan McGill