Apr. 29th, 2016

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The secret is to take the blue and red pills both and chase them down with whatever's in the next bottle you see, till the floor slants and drops you through a weak wall and a few banks of clouds and into the great river twisting in darkness (this you avoid drinking). At the delta the real Morpheus' house is built on a vast shining mud flat. There are some fallen fences and gates nearby that no one's cared about for a while, tragedy and comedy having become one even in dream. But this house is only dream in the sense that the Pentagon's America: heads are limbs of bodies but they're also something more. He's a meetable man, has plenty of time, infinite patience with interlopers. Which is good because no one making the journey has done so with any object but to complain for many hours about their troubles sleeping.

"Did you try warm milk?" "I'm too tired to warm milk." "But not tired enough to go to sleep?" "No, it isn't like that. I told you." "Tell me again." "Can't you just sprinkle me with something?" "Yes, but that can be dangerous after a week or two. Longer term solutions involve lifestyle changes." "My lifestyle doesn't involve lifestyle changes." "Then you'll need to - oh. Well, get a new one." "I could if I were better rested." "Perhaps a vacation?" "What do you do here, exactly?" "I listen to sleeping people complain about sleep." "So you're not actually in charge." "No one is." "If they were I would kill them." "I was wondering what that length of chain was for." "I would kill them and then envy how much sleep that meant they'd get." "Would it kill YOU to go to bed before 10 with an audiobook? Try non-fiction. There's less suspense, and even if you fall asleep with it on you'll probably learn some things. Hey, why not a book about sleep hygiene?" "When you tell people who you are do they think you're saying 'I'm Orpheus,' and then when they find out the truth are they extremely disappointed?" "I won't lie and say that hasn't happened." "Where is Orpheus anyway?" "Didn't you see him in the river?" "What does he look like?" "No one remembers because we all drink the river water. But he's probably in there." "I wonder if he could sing me a lullaby." "You'd start to fall asleep but then open your eyes to look back just once on the waking world and be stranded there." "How is that helpful for me to hear? You're supposed to be listening." "It's only the truth, and only the truth will help you." "How can I kill myself with this chain? It loops up wider than my neck." "If you die in dream you just wake up." "How about in reality?" "The dead neither wake nor sleep." "I can't tell if that's preferable." "No one can." "Wait, what about Orpheus?" "He's not dead. He sang himself to sleep while being dismembered, so when he died he just woke up." "And since the dead neither wake nor sleep..." "Precisely." "Head of Orpheus, limb of no body, hear my entreaty! A stranger who honors you asks for the sight of your voice!" "I'm Morpheus." "Jokes really must be like dreams, since all my dreams are bad." "I thought you said comedy and tragedy were one now." "So you're going to nail me to everything I've said? Anyway, maybe tragedy swallowed comedy and they became one that way." "That's not how identity works. All we have is rules here. Just how things must go, since the things themslves are away. Which brings us back to the rules of - " "Sleep hygiene." "You must change your lifestyle." "What's the point in trying yet again?" "You'll remember when you're better rested." "I'll never go back. I'll retile my life and drink from the first river I see and forget you forever." "You'll be sleeping much more then. Won't you see me often?" "I'll take you for Orpheus." "Him? He's just a head." "But when I called to him you answered. You are he who listens to those who complain about sleep. I complained about sleep." "But I was saying I'm not him." "But you said you were. And you always speak the truth, I take it?" "I speak nothing but lies. Oops! Damn it." "So you're stuck now. You're Orpheus." "I'm Orpheus." "Sing me my song." "Here it is:"


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