Last year 350 people called the emergency services to check if they were dreaming or not. Checking if you’re awake has become big business since a government report dismissed the traditional pinch method as inadequate. Books and DVDs have flooded the market, specialist services assist clients in verifying their reality in any situation. TV ads run all day and billboards ask, ‘Are you awake now? Can you be sure?’
It’s common to see people jumping up and flapping their arms. If they start to fly they know they’re dreaming. I once watched a whole crowd of people take off like a flock of pigeons. I waited for them to wake up until I realised I was the one dreaming and woke myself.
I can’t fly, even in dreams, so I’ve hired a man to come and punch me in the face every hour. He’s a lean man, looks like Frank Sinatra. He wears a red boxing glove on his right hand, keeping the left free to open doors and sign invoices. He’s left-handed but delivers a strong enough punch with his right.
As I wait nervously anticipating the latest blow it occurs to me that hiring a man to punch me in the face is something I’d do in a dream. Maybe I dreamt about him and am now awake. What if I’ve fallen asleep because he forgot to turn up and am now stuck in a dream? I go over to the mirror and attempt to punch myself in the face but my fist instinctively resists a heavy impact. I take a few slugs of whiskey to loosen up, swing my arm round, miss my face and fall backwards. I pick myself up, stagger to the phone and dial 999.
(writing exercise - 'life of the party' from 3AM Epiphany) 21/01/13