The Dream Catcher

This piece appeared in print as part of a Dreamscapes Anthology by Cherry House Press on July 28th 2019 and is available on Amazon. A contraption in a mall serves as the rope in a man’s tug-of-war between fantasy and reality. Enjoy!

By Jon Moray

“Honey, I told you to charge your e-reader.  We planned to go to the mall last night,” snapped Sheila Bartow, housewife and sales stalker, successful again in dragging her husband along on one of her weekend marathon shopping sprees.

“You planned to go to the mall.  I never planned to go to the mall,” barked her husband Nelson, as he resigned to the nearest faux wood, cast iron framed bench so she can get some “exercise”, uninterrupted by his whining and constant budget complaints.  Nelson wouldn’t have minded the mall trip had he had something to occupy his wait time.

“I’ve got my eye on some new blouses and my mom’s birthday is next week,” she said, peering over at the west atrium of the upscale mall situated in a high-income area of town.

“Go on babe, I’ll manage somehow. Don’t worry about me.”

She gave him a kiss on the cheek and he watched her scurry away with schoolgirl enthusiasm.  He was left alone seated in front of a store just opening up for business.  There were people already lined up outside to enter.  A worker was carefully wheeling out a contraption that turned out to be a demonstration tanning bed.  The capsule shaped machine piqued his interest in how space aged it looked.  He mentally spiraled himself into a mesmerized state of wonder, fixed on the seamless contours of the metallic blue colored vessel, unphased by the blur of shoppers passing by.

“The DC-19, state of the art.”


“The Dream Catcher 2019. The model that has revolutionized the power nap while capturing and enhancing dreams,” said a man in his mid-fifties, bald on top, gray on the sides, tacky home sewn red sweater and a content demeanor.

“That’s a tanning bed, isn’t it?”

“That was last month’s tenant.  New month, new tenant.  Dream Catcher is here now and hopefully for a long time.  Have you tried the DC-19 yet?”

“Uh, no…I haven’t,” Nelson answered, attention locked on the capsule.

“My wife is in one of them now.  It’s the best twenty minutes of sleep you will ever get.  I tried it last week.  Did it again this week.  I’m hooked.  Look at the line. It’s by appointment only and those hoping there’s a cancellation.”

“Best sleep?  How does it work?”

“Ah, that’s the beauty of it.  That contraption you are gawking over is equipped with air bubbles that mould the contours of the body once activated.  Wires from a computer are placed in several nerve points on your head that trigger sensory images such as dreams.  Your subconscious thoughts are captured and placed on a junk drive that you provide.  What you experience in your dream is what you see on the drive.  I can’t remember most of my dreams.  That capsule records them for me and when awoken, I feel refreshed and full of life.  All for the cost of twenty dollars for twenty minutes.  Thirty-five if you opt for the dream recollection download.”

“Pretty pricey for a power nap.  Although, of what I can see, the clientele look happy,” Nelson answered in a hypnotized, robotic tone.

“We are in an upscale area.  Besides, there are attributes in that thing that tantalize the senses.  There’s a plethora of soothing soundtracks to relax you.  Rhythmic vibrations in the air bubbles that massage your body.  A bouquet of aromas that allures you to take your next breath and 3-D images circulating the interior that gently lulls you to sleep.”

“Oh what dreams I’ve had in that capsule.  I dreamt of mauve paisley rain kissing me from lavender skies in woods of tall stemmed tulips.  Harps echoed as redbirds chirped in the cool breeze that spun around, lifting me up through the horticulture and into the sky toward twin crescent moons concaved to one another.  My flight took me to a peak with brass rock where I stood looking down at an enchanted land of laughter and colorful beauty.”

The words he spoke entranced Nelson as if he was reliving the man’s dream in his head.  Nelson sat still, slowly nodding his head by instinct.  He was now in his own mental fantasy aided by the man’s tone that drifted through his eardrums.

“Dream Catcher is now working on the DC-20 with dream continuation.  If their scientists succeed, you will be able to summon up any dream saved on the junk drive and continue it in your next session.  But that’s not the best thing they’re coming up with. Wait ‘til I tell you, you are not going to believe this. You’ll love it, everyone will. Brace yourself, because Dream Catcher DC-20 Deluxe will be the first model in the world to….”



“Nelson, were you daydreaming again?  Were you staring at the women going in to get their tans?  C’mon, let’s go.  The Blouse Boutique is on the other end of the mall.”

“But, honey I just had the most… I mean, I dreamt that…oh, never mind.”

Nelson allowed himself to be dragged by his wife, still recovering from the dream funk. They headed towards the boutique when he saw the man in his subconscious, smiling at him as they approached.

“Dream sharing, the DC-20 Deluxe will offer dream sharing that will allow you and your mate to experience a personalized themed dream together,” the man whispered and continued on his way.



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