Last night I dreamed I was trapped in a macabre reality show. My task was to make my way from the top to the bottom of a trap-filled skyscraper choosing one of innumerable stairwells with branching corridors and flights of stairs. In my dream I was my younger, fitter self, about twenty-two years old with a full head of hair, a reasonably photogenic personality/victim for the bloodthirsty viewing audience.
I chose a cement stairwell with walls painted white and carefully descended. I made it about halfway down before spotting a young woman out of the corner of my eye, hiding behind a corner. A trap, I realized, and stepped back. But the woman screamed "Go!" and another young woman, this one looking like a young Sarah Silverman, ran at me with a feral cry and put her hand on my shoulder. "You're it!" she yelled.
But I refused. "No way," I said. "I didn't cross the line." I pointed down at a yellow line painted across the narrow floor.
"You did!" said the first woman.
According to the rules of the game, I'd been turned from contestant to hunter, and therefore doomed to die at program's end. But I didn't want to be cheated out of my slim chance of escape, so I stonewalled. Meanwhile, more contestants piled into the corridor.
"You have to tag them! You're the hunter now!" the two women said. But I refused, and nor could the woman who tagged me tag the others.
"What's going on?" one of the other contestants asked. "We're getting backed up here!"
"No one's getting out at this rate!" another said.
"I'm not tagging anyone until an adjudicator sorts this out," I said, crossing my arms over my chest.
Suddenly one of the cement walls exploded inward and Jonathan Winters clambered through the dust and debris, wearing a red and orange jumpsuit and carrying an ugly-looking rifle. Without fanfare, he pointed the rifle at my chest and pulled the trigger. A yellow bolt of energy drove me to the ground, and I could feel myself dying. He shot Sarah Silverman too, and she crumpled atop me.
"I refuse to die," I muttered, and woke up to my alarm - the theme from "The Rockford Files." Sylvia was already in the bathroom, getting ready for work.