I’ll Sleep When You’re Dead

4. Telephoto

Those days were busy, settling in. Dr. Corso had left me a lot of reading about psychology in general and out-of-body travel in particular. I had an “advisor” appointment with him and was supposed to make another for an “exam”. I didn’t like any of the psychology books – they utterly failed to hold my interest. Seems like the opposite of retail – in psychology the customer is always wrong – but out-of-body experiences – (OBE’s as author Cadwallader called them) – turned out to actually be quite exciting. I especially liked the pictures.

Cadwallader’s book had illustrations of swamis floating high above admiring crowds and astral projections evanescing up from operating tables and flying out the window unobserved. Sounds like fun if you could skip the needing an operating table part. Because what if you just lay there like a log while they cut into you?

I’ve been trapped like that before. When I was forced into “therapy” as a child I felt considerable pressure to make stuff up, which I stalwartly resisted. I hope I have a good imagination but I wasn’t going to use it to entertain the frowsty pack of losers called upon by Mom to “heal” me.

That’s when I thought I gave up dreaming. But I was willing to entertain Dr. Corso’s idea that we’re dreaming all along and just don’t know it. I obviously had the equivalent of a three-volume novel going in my brain if I could access it. But what if this research project instead of being fun and free association turned out to be more like those unimaginative psycho-cops trying to hijack my brain. I’d resist, of course, because that’s me. Could I lose my scholarship if I wouldn’t “perform”?

Dr. Corso seemed so helpful. But maybe he just likes Bettie Page, like the Fluffernutter dads. I tried not to worry about it. Mom says “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof” which turns out to be mean worry about today, because you’ll have plenty of time to worry about tomorrow when it finally gets here.

She also says if you’re good for nothing else you can always serve as a bad example, so maybe I could be the “control”. The psychology books told me all about that. You know, the one in the experiment to whom things don’t happen. The only problem with that is, I wanted to fly. I mean, doesn’t everybody?

Then there was Bex, who had never before, as far as I could recall, evinced so much purpose and forcefulness in his slacker existence. Bex was not backing off either voicemail or email. Delete and ignore, delete and ignore. But when I got an email from Annika, with lots of pictures, I clicked on it eagerly. Annika takes the funniest pictures, all proportion skewed.

She definitely should be some kind of artist when she grows up. I hope she doesn’t have to lose her imaginative charm just to make a living. She finds her oddness embarrassing, but to me it’s endearing. What a terrible world it would be if Annika ever achieved her most sincere ambition and became exactly like everybody else.

But those pictures were too strange. And they couldn’t be from Annika, since they were all of me. They had to be from Bex. Bex had hacked effortlessly into her account; not hard to do since she wears her password all over notebooks and backpacks! Curse you “Mrs. Justin Bieber!”
The pictures were of me here. On campus. Me coming out of the library, greeting Dr. Corso on the Quad, me walking to the dining hall with Aleksa. Was Bex, forgetter of birthdays, denier of Christmas, finally giving meagift? Bexhadtohavebeenhere.Andhowdidhegetpicturesofme and Aleksa, standing at the uncurtained window of our eighth floor room? Telephoto lens?

He must have been standing on the roof of the library; it’s the only building close enough in height. I know people can get up there; it’s a favorite smoking spot. But wouldn’t he have to score a library card? Look legit? Or something? I had a horrible feeling Bex wanted me to see him as superman, an “eye in the sky” always watching me. I had to put a stop to it even if it took a visit to campus security.

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