I am having strange, recurring dreams, and I suspect that they were planted in me when I was on board the spacecraft. It isn't the same dream every night, but it is the same shameful theme again and again. In the dream, I go back into the past and I visit my younger self. Then I seduce and have sex with him. The dream always ends shortly after I come, but although I always come in the dream, I don't have a wet dream in real life. In fact, despite the expectations raised by sex education films and lectures, which led me to believe that wet dreams would be a frequent, perplexing, and often embarrassing part of puberty, I still have not had one.
My most recent of these dreams was perhaps the most disturbing of those I have experienced so far, because the younger me whom I visited was so much younger. I'm not good with ages, and I didn't ask how old he was, but I estimate after the fact that he was probably ten or eleven at most.
The dreams start very normally -- for dreams, that is. I am doing some unusual dream event, engaged in one surreal plotline or another, and I turn the corner and come face to face with my younger self. And then the plot of the dream changes entirely over to this new plot of greetings, verification, reminiscence, and then, ultimately, seduction of the most incestuous type imaginable.
This time I had been having a dream based on a computer wargame I had played earlier in the week. I was in a stone castle, conferring with my generals (I think we were trying to decide what kind of pizza to order), when I excused myself from the table to go to the restroom. When I rounded the corner, I entered a courtyard which transformed into the playground of my old elementary school. I walked through the playground and up one of the empty short- ceilinged corridors of classrooms, when one of the doors opened, and I walked out, or rather a child version of myself walked out.
He sized me up, and I said, "Hey, El."
He stopped. "Hello," he said in two very distinct syllables. His hair was strikingly blond, but his face was the one from old pictures and mirrored memories. He was wearing Nike "Wally Waffle" shoes, purplish toughskin jeans, and a greenish polyester shirt composed of a collage of pictures of motorcycles. The embarrassment which I should have felt at the time over this choice of outfit, I felt instead now as an adult, coming uninvited from his future to judge.
He very obviously didn't recognize me at all. Still, I asked, "Do you recognize me?"
He looked at me even closer, as if I were a distant relative he might be asked to hug, and started to sway from side to side in his Wally Waffles. "No." (two syllables again -- "No-oh")
So I told him, "I'm you as a grown-up, I've come from the future to talk to you."
"No way." he said, but remarkably, he seemed willing to entertain the possibility that it was true. "What's my name?" he asked, to test me.
"El Little," I said, although I call myself Ishmael now.
"What's my middle name?"
"How do you spell it?"
At first I was puzzled by this question. Then I remembered that when I was very young, I thought that my middle name was spelled "Hue" (having seen that word on a color chart at school or in a book). When I was corrected, I for a long time had the mistaken impression that the real spelling of my middle name was a rare and strange variant of how most people spell the name Hugh. "H-U-G-H," I said.
This impressed him. He had never seen me before, and yet I could spell Hugh correctly. This gave an air of authenticity to my strange story. He then quizzed me about my parents' names, and their birthdates (I think he was bluffing there. I don't think I knew their birthdays by heart until I was half-way through college). Then he told me that if I was him from the future, I should know everything about him, and if so I should be able to tell him what he had in his backpack. I did some bluffing of my own and said that he had some homework and books, but that was clearly not specific enough for him.
"What book?" he asked.
"Alan and Naomi," I guessed.
"Wrong," he said, with two syllables, but by this time he really wanted to believe me.
"I don't remember very well," I confessed, and then tried to change the subject. It was time to start the seduction part -- a part of the dream I don't enter through an act of will so much as through the will of the mysterious dream playwright whose directions I am taking. The interpretation of the role, and even the dialog, is under my control; but the general outlines of the plot are tragically unalterable. "When do you get out of school?" I asked.
"I am out. I hadta stay after school today. Mrs. C----- said I was talking."
I sympathized. "Why don't you take me down to where you and B----- sometimes go." B----- was a boy I played I'll-show-you-mine-if-you-show-me-yours with for a while in elementary school. I wasn't sure if it was before or after I was the age of little El, so this was a risky question.
He looked at me more seriously this time, cocking his head to one side, and balancing all of his weight on one Wally Waffle. A part of me that was detached from the dream was hoping he'd have the good sense to say no, but I knew that he wouldn't. Finally, he stuffed his hands in his pockets and said "okay. Let me get my bicycle" ("Bike," the word that would have been more slangishly natural, was taboo because there was a playground joke which depended for its punch-line on the fact that "Bike" was the name of a brand of underwear. Saying that you were going to "ride" youe "bike" was always worth a couple of good digs in your direction).
We walked toward the bike racks, me keeping my distance from young El, who was swinging his backpack around recklessly. He unlocked his bicycle and slung the chain around his shoulder, then we started back the way we came, he riding circles around me as I walked back through the playground to where I half-remembered was mine and B-----'s secret hideout.
Because I have lived for most of my life in the town I grew up in, my cartographic memories of it have become supplanted daily by new ones. In my dream, then, I was surprised to find many familiar parts of the town, even among those few visible from the school, that were different or missing entirely. The barely-remembered hideout to which we were headed was in a collection of large mounds of dirt and fields of wild bamboo that today is a very flat softball field.
"Are you a scientist," El asked me, now apparently convinced of my identity.
"I'm a computer scientist," I said, hoping this was good enough. My elementary school vision of scientist (a role I hoped one day to occupy) was very much of the white lab-coat and test-tube variety.
His eyes lit up -- this apparently was fine with him. He continued to whirl around me on the bicycle. "Are you married?"
"I haven't met anyone I want to marry yet."
When we got to the mounds and bamboo, El got off of the bicycle and started to push it by the handlebars among the maze-like hills of dirt. I followed him in. "Do you like school?" I asked.
"What's your favorite subject?"
"Science." Of course.
"What did you do in science today?"
"We drew the solar system."
"That sounds interesting."
"But the Sun was too big, so we left it out. I made the side of the paper all yellow."
We arrived at the hiding-place. It was a hollow where some of the bamboo had been cut away to make an uncomfortable seat. I remembered that B---- and I had played a truth-or-dare kind of game where the winner sat in the "throne" and the loser had to do what the winner said. By convention, the winner couldn't ask for anything too outrageous, because the loser would eventually have his turn to make demands.
"Could you teach me how to play the game you and B----- play? I forget how to play it."
"You put your fist out like this," he said and demonstrated.
I interrupted, suddenly remembering it all. "Rock scissors paper," I said.
"Right! And then the winner gets to tell the loser what to do. But you can't do anything to make us get caught, or else... you lose really bad."
I remember the or else part as it originally went: "or else you have to hump D----- D-----." But that was something we wouldn't say around grown-ups, of course, and young El didn't want to say it to me.
I put my fist out, and so did he. Three times our fists rose and fell. I was paper, he was scissors. He went over to sit in the throne. "You have to pull down your pants and turn around three times."
I unbuttoned and unzipped my pants, and then exhaled and pulled my pants and my underwear down to my knees. I stood there briefly, and then clumsily rotated in place three times. I felt as silly as I have ever felt in my life. I pulled my pants back up.
Seemingly unmoved by the spectacle (although I saw his eyes on my penis each time I faced him and wondered what he thought of its size and bushiness), he offered his fist again, eager to move on. This time, I won (paper against rock) and, out of courtesy, gave him the same punishment.
He eagerly dropped his pants and started to turn, holding his shirt up over his white belly which was swollen out over his tiny, bald scrotum and erect penis. I was very ashamed, but I hadn't totally forgotten the excitement this game caused in me when I was younger. I tried to remember some of the punishments we designed, so that I wouldn't accidentally come up with something completely out of left field. I remembered that once B----- and I had commanded each other to tie a blade of grass around our penises right about at the circumcision scar. By the time we got home, our tender skins were swollen red and itching from allergy. An embarrassing and uncomfortable experience -- we vowed the next day to be more careful from then on.
I won the next round (paper against rock again), and commanded him to pull down his pants, get on his bicycle and ride back and forth over an approximately eight-foot stretch of ground in front of me. He complied, although this entailed pulling his pants completely off of one leg (which he did without removing his Wally Waffle), something that was normally not done in the course of the game (it involved the danger of not being able to pull one's pants up quickly enough in case someone discovered us -- the added danger also meant added excitement, but was rarely indulged in nonetheless.)
By now, in spite of my best intentions, I was becoming erect and excited. I won the next round (rock against scissors) and made him pull down his pants, turn around, touch his toes and count to fifty. He clearly enjoyed this (although he counted so fast it was hard to distinguish one number from the next), but it looked like he hadn't wiped in a month, so any added pleasure I had expected from his fulfilling my command was not forthcoming.
I finally lost (scissors against rock), and he wanted to subject me to the bicycle. I did so, feeling and enjoying (to my surprise) the danger factor of having one leg fully bare. My erection was by this time at its peak, and the pressure on my perineum from his banana seat was exquisite (even knowing what I remembered about my boyhood wiping habits). When I pulled my pants up I made sure I was close to him, and I did it slowly so he could watch for a long time.
He won again (paper against scissors) and wanted me to take off my shirt and twist it up lengthwise and then wrap it around my erection (my "wiener," he said). I did this, but I could tell that it didn't have the effect that he hoped it would. He shifted back and forth in his toughskins, holding on to a bamboo pole and waiting eagerly for me to unwrap myself so we could play another round.
I thought for a moment, deciding finally on rock. After two ties, he switched to scissors and I took a chance, sitting down on the ground below the throne and ordering him to take off his pants and put his "wiener" in my mouth. This was a true break from convention, as usually the commands were about display and self-manipulation. B----- and I had almost never touched each other.
But El was a sport about it, dropping his pants, and standing between my outstretched legs. I moved forward, to sit gently on his toes, casting an uncomfortable glance toward the stain on his white underpants. Then, quickly, I put my hands on his bottom and put my mouth around his penis and scrotum. I couldn't see his face, so I don't know how he reacted. I genuinely enjoyed myself, gently caressing the incredibly smooth hemispheres of his bottom, and pulling back slightly to suck slowly on his small salty warm penis.
It was really an unexpected treat, and I lingered far longer than game tradition called for. I was worried at one point that the wetness of my mouth might trigger urination in my boy self (A worry I felt as a youngster as I slowly absorbed the facts of life was that I might urinate when ejaculation was called for. I knew there was a difference, but I could not even guess at what the mode of conscious differentiation might be. I knew that I wasn't presently capable of summoning up fluid from different organs at will, and I was very worried that when the time came I might mistakenly produce the wrong type. It was not until my sixth-grade sex education classes that that worry -- and another one about whether the vulva was fore or aft of the anus -- was finally resolved), but this fear was unfounded.
This oral experience may not have been the sexual crescendo for El that it could have been were he a little older, but it certainly expanded his visions of what his game could be like. As I broke away from his body, he hesitated to pull up his pants, and I guessed that rock scissors paper, once a vital ritual, would no longer be necessary. "Do you want to see what I taste like?" I asked.
"No fair," he said (but ignoring that I hadn't gone through the formality of winning a round before I asked), "you're bigger." His pants were still around his ankles. I pulled myself up and dropped my pants down, pulling them off one leg to demostrate my willingness to become vulnerable. "You don't have to put all of it in," I told him.
He moved his face slowly toward my erection, then pulled back, puzzled at how to get his mouth around it. He reached out his hand slowly and small, tentative fingers reached around the back of my penis and pulled it forward. When he put his lips to the tip, I reached out and grabbed the bamboo. He was heavy on the teeth, and he didn't go down very far at all, but it was heavenly.
"That was very nice," I told him when he pulled his face away. "Let me show you something." I started to masturbate, fast, furiously, probably scaring him half to death. He stared, open-eyed and slack-jawed, probably barely breathing. When I came, he was astonished to see me ejaculate, and backed up so quickly that he tripped over his pants and dropped right on his bare behind. That was the last thing I saw before I woke up, ashamed, and wishing, as I always do after these dreams, that I had asked all the questions I should have asked, and not done the shameful sexual things.