Born Dreams And Unplanned Time


My day starts when the alarm goes off at 5:30 AM.

I know it’s 5:30 because a sexy voice is coming out of the device telling me so, instead of some bell clanging. A soft, sexy voice at 5:30 AM is now a very confusing thing for me. The bed feels really comfortable and I’m not anxious to find out what’s coming.

Yeow! I wake up next to the woman who was once my human wife! I never thought I’d see her again! I leap on her, bouncing her awake with joy! “Babe! I’m back! Babe! It’s me!”

Her reaction isn’t what I was going for.

Startled, then angry, she beats me furiously with her pillow demanding to know what the fuck is wrong with me, waking her up like that and sounding drunk!

I apologize with the explanation that I’m coming out of a nightmare. She buys it.

God it’s so great to be with her again. She’s so cute when she’s annoyed.

As she sinks back under the covers I snuggle up to spoon her.

“Hadn’t you better get ready for court?” she inquires from under a pillow, pulling away to hunker down. “Come on, I’ve got two more hours!” she pleads.

Court? Great.

Out of the gunfire from yesterday and into the legal frying pan.

I’m a victim of eternal prosecution. Happiness has filed a restraining order against me. Hopefully they can’t convict me and execute me on the same day. At least in court I’ll find out what I did.

Then my wife pops up to tell me, “Oh, I finished my notes on the depositions for you, they’re on your desk in the study. Good luck today, babe. Knock ’em dead, ha ha ha.” She blows me a kiss and buries her head again.

Turns out I’m a defense attorney in this reality.

Today I’m defending Homeless Helen, accused of killing a family of four.

Her method of murder?


She’s accused of killing Mario Dunlingie, 46, Julia Dunlingie, 46, Marian Dunlingie, 16, and Jude Dunlingie, 5 months, with a powerful “manifestation” under her control.

The prosecutor lays out the case with four relevant points.

First, witnesses identify homeless Helen Trufer as the person sleeping on a bench in the park across the street from the Dunlingie residence as the apparition appeared and destroyed the home.

Next, they describe Trufer’s eyes as rolling strangely, her state “trance-like,” and her muscle spasms corresponding to the violent extraction of the roof, the collapse of the walls, and the noise emitted from the smoking rubble described as “unbearable.”

Third, the manifestation vanished with her awakening. Many people had heard Trufer claiming to have communication with ghosts. It is also widely known that earlier in the day the entire family had mocked Trufer’s efforts at playing her fiddle for money in the park.

Finally, the prosecutor comes forth with an art pad. “We present as evidence these drawings done by the defendant two years prior to the murder of the Dunlingie family. The depiction is clearly that of the perpetrator witnessed that night by six neighbors who saw the Dunlingie residence disintegrate around the family.”

Knowing that local gossip had Homeless Helen always telling ghost stories to avid listeners, I wonder why the prosecutor doesn’t mention that. Then I catch on that it’s hearsay. No witnesses to the ghost stories could be rounded up.

Nevertheless, I hope a logical explanation of my client’s interest in the supernatural would convince the jury that she wasn’t some modern day witch. “Miss Trufer, please describe how you became interested in the topic of ghosts?”

“When I was a child,” Helen Trufer testifies, “I was visited by the ghost of my recently deceased grandmother. It was a brief visit, alone in the night, and when it happened I simply thought it had all been a mistake and that Nana was very much alive. I hugged my beloved Nana and watched the light sparkle on her ring. Her ring was one of my favorite things to look at. As I danced merrily about the room celebrating, Nana somehow vanished. I noticed that Nana’s ring was still in a box in the drawer where it had been since she passed and left it to me. How could the ring be two places at once, both in the drawer and on her finger? There had been no time to put it back.”

“So you were quite young when you believed that your grandmother’s ghost visited you,” I reiterate, “yet certain aspects of that encounter didn’t occur to you until much later?”

“As I got older, more things about the incident intrigued me,” Helen testifies. “The clothing Nana appeared in was still in boxes on the way to charity when Nana showed up that night. I couldn’t grasp the spiritual connection between Nana and those clothes. If a ghost was the spirit or form of a person, did the clothing have spirit ghosts as well? Why would Nana have any clothes on whatsoever? Shouldn’t all ghosts be naked?”

“So,” I prompt her, “what did you do about it? How did you pursue this curiosity?”

“I studied ghost stories on the side no matter what else was going on. More questions emerged. With all the horrific, terrifying, regret-filled deaths happening now and since humanity first stood on hind legs, shouldn’t the world be overpopulated with ghosts? Why was it so hard to find one? Was there any reason that humans would be the only ghosts? If not, that made the previous question even more puzzling. Listen, I knew that I had encountered something that night, and I was convinced in certain cases that others had also crossed paths with the inexplicable.”

Confronted with the drawings she’d made, she testifies, “That’s… it’s Imaginary Man! Sometimes he creeps into my thoughts at weird moments, and sometimes –if circumstances are right –he suddenly becomes real, for just a few minutes. I know it sounds weird, but… I call him Imaginary Man because it’s like I’ve invented him. But I can’t control him!”

Despite Helen’s own belief that Imaginary Man is her actual creation, I challenge the prosecution’s premise of a “manifestation.” 

How exactly can the creation of such photon-based projections be triggered? Why doesn’t everyone possess the ability to manifest Golems? What proof is there that there is any control over such a hypothetical manifestation? Or that such a thing exists except in the imaginations of agitated witnesses?

The jury finds the defendant not guilty.

…And suspects that she’s responsible.