Far worse, of course is kissing a clown. Okay, maybe something even worse than all that (and more) was the recurring dream I had through my early teens. And the tragedy, the catalyst? In the waking world, all it took was a kiss.
I was an eighth-grader, roiling and seething with hormonal urges, floundering in a body closer to that of most college boys but without any clue how to drive it. She was a senior with no clue of my age -- a deceptive savant handed down to me from my grandfather.
We kissed in a place on the lower level of school near the locker rooms called Dark Hall. That's where you went to make out and where most of the smaller school kids and geeks did their best to avoid pummeling by the jerky jocks and non-sport specific douchebags whose identities and egos were stacked precipitously on the corpses of the weak. She kissed me is more like it.
I don't know if it was my first open mouthed kiss or not, but it was my first amazing open mouth kiss. I remember in the middle of it thinking, this is it -- this is why we kiss, this is what everyone talks about when they say 'making out'.
Then I opened my eyes and that's when my guts liquefied. Her eyes were giant saucers, open wide and locked on mine. I think I actually said, "EEEEK!" in girlish fashion and fell backward onto a handrail then slid, off balance, to the floor.
"What?" She asked, helping me up.
"Wh-wh-why were you staring at me?"
"C'mere." She hugged me and together we walked to her car.
That night it happened. The dream to end all dreams. No. The nightmare happened that night, sometime around midnight.
We're in the same hall, in the same embrace, dressed in the same clothes, kissing hard on open mouths, our teeth finding ways to work opposite without clattering. I can even smell her, but instead of the way she smelled -- vaguely of Jean Nate and ambient locker sweat -- all I could smell during the first portion of our kiss was cotton candy and grease paint.
In the dream, where I open my eyes and the horror in real life earlier that day seeing her staring at me -- that horror is wildly doubled.
Dream Me cracks open my eyes and sees bright white and blue and a bulbous red, the colors and face of a pie-eyed clown smearing its filthy lips against mine. I pull hard at the hair in my hand and away tears a wig of nylon rainbow, something used to stoke the fires in Hell.
I look at the wig and back at the clown that has since clamped down onto my mouth with suction force something on the order of ten to the minus ten torr and I am shocked to see another wig has taken its place. I tear the new wig off and another appears, and then another and another, each time I pull my hand away.
The clown/girlfriend/horror grows bigger and I am dangling from its lips, lacing my fingers into it's curly hair; its foul stink burning my nose as I peel and yank wig after wig from its head, my legs and arms flailing like wet noodles on a fork. I look down and mats and mats of wigs surround us, clinging to pearlized sequins and nappy felt on the clown's outfit.
I scream "Fuck Me!" only it comes out "BRrurb Bree!" and I wake up, dripping sweat.
When I was a boy, I was afraid of clowns. As a man, I know to fear them.