Dreamed by
Adam Sass
Simian Dreams
I had a dream in which I was guided by two gorillas on a tour of a labyrinthine compound. The purpose of the tour was never explained, and I'm still not sure one of the animals was even a gorilla, because his features remained hazy throughout the dream. I assume he was one, though, because it was clearly a gorilla compound, and he clearly belonged there.

The other gorilla was the dominant fellow of the two, which may be why I remember him more distinctly. He had a military air about him and I was under the impression that he held the rank of general. To be honest, he was plagiarized almost entirely from the 1968 production of "Planet of the Apes," specifically the
scary gorilla who leads the hunt for feral humans early in the movie. Both gorillas walked upright, as did the ones in the movie, and beyond that, an uncanny Planet of the Apes-like atmosphere permeated the entire dream.

The general led the way around the compound, followed by the other one, who seemed nervous the whole time. I brought up the rear. Along the way my guides pointed out noteworthy artifacts and architectural features of the structure.

While all this was going on, a helpful animated map of the compound was being displayed in one corner of the "screen," which let me see where I was and what was coming up around the corner. This feature was undoubtedly inspired by certain video games in which an onscreen map is provided alongside the action;
this screenshot from Simpsons Road Rage is a good example of the format. And as in Road Rage, the map helped place the experience within a larger context, and gave me a certain clairvoyance as to what would happen next.

The gorilla compound, though vast, was strangely empty. Its long stone hallways led past courtyards overgrown with jungle plants, which were depicted in the dream-map as patches of cartoonish foliage. There were other courtyards that had clearly been better tended, with packed earth floors and scattered tufts of grass. It was in one of these that I was shown the most important things on my tour: gorillas the size of elephants, each of which was confined in a giant metal cage.

The general took great pains to emphasize that these were an ancestral species from which his more advanced kind had descended. He spoke of them with a certain awe, and seemed proud that they'd been captured and caged there. For their part, the giants didn't do much beyond resting heavily on their haunches, perhaps because their enclosures permitted them little room to move.

The curious thing about the encounter with these captive apes was that I had known about them before actually seeing them face-to-face, since I had seen them on my dream-map quite a while beforehand - had already spotted them from the air, as it were. So while the general clearly expected astonishment, I was actually not the least bit surprised when he led me into their brooding presence. He seemed quite disappointed at this, but would doubtless have been more understanding had he known I was following all the action on my own internal map.

After the visit to these ancestral giants, I found myself in need of a bathroom. The hazy nervous ape, who never seemed entirely there, obligingly pointed one out to me just a short distance down the corridor (my map was notably unhelpful on the subject of restrooms). Entering it, I was amazed at its familiarity, for it was laid out identically to the countless public bathrooms I'd patronized in various human institutions. Pulling up to a welcoming urinal, I thought, "Wow, theirs are just like ours."

With that startling insight, I suddenly found myself awake, and surprised that I remembered it all.