The King Cobra In Dreamland
So I had this dream last night. It was charming, really. Super restful. It involved a nine-foot-long king cobra. In my house.
Almost makes me want to sleep again. Never.
In the dream, I was in our house, which actually wasn’t our house; it was my folks’ house. But it wasn’t the house where they’ve lived for more than twenty years, at least not as it actually looks. It was that house mixed with the one where I grew up … as in, it was the layout and flow of the house where they live now, but with all the glories of late 1970s decor. (I can’t imagine why muted mustard and muddy avocado aren’t making a HUGE comeback. Such cheery and inspiring hues!)
We’re in the house, and Brian notices a nine-foot-long king cobra slithering around out of nowhere. I don’t see it until he has already killed it and then tells me that he’s taken care of it. Then, for reasons that No One Will Ever Understand – especially because Brian in real life is an imminently rational human being – he coiled up the presumed dead king cobra ON THE KITCHEN TABLE. And then he left for work. Naturally!
In the dream, my evidently insane nocturnal alter ego thought that was perfectly normal and acceptable! Of course! It didn’t seem to bother the dream version of me that there was a Goliath-length Creature Of Death coiled up where we share meals and stories and dreams and visions and fondue. No worries, either, that Brian had artfully arranged said beast in such a way that the top third of its body – with the mouth open and the 2-inch-long dagger-fangs on full display – was up in an attack position. Charming! And how restful and fun!
I go on about my day, working to get things done. In the vein of dreams mimicking reality, there were piles of papers and clothes on the ends of the kitchen table. So I decide to go handle those and turn to walk toward the kitchen, only to see that …
THE NOT-SO-DEAD KING COBRA IS GONE!!! He has come back to life and slithered off the kitchen table to who knows where? And then, in the way that truth can hit you only in the warped reality marshland of dreams, I realize that he was never. really. dead. at. all. He just played dead when Brian ‘killed’ him so that Brian would leave him alone and he would be able to Wreak Havoc On All That Is Good And Holy. [insert scary music here]
Now I grew up in the big city in Texas. We don’t tend to see or be around snakes unless we go into the country or to the lake (love knowing that water moccasins are there! And thanks so much, Lonesome Dove, for bringing that nightmare to life!). So I didn’t grow up fearing them or really knowing that much about them. (Bring Texas-sized cockroaches in the picture, though, and I am finished. There are plenty of those around in the country and the city – enough to make Stephen King novels look like nursery rhymes.)
Even still, even without a pathological fear of snakes in real life, that king cobra in my dreams was enough to awaken every primal Get Me Out Of Here This Instant!!! sentiment imaginable. King cobra venom is not considered the most potent, but king cobras can deliver more neurotoxins in one bite than any other venomous snake, enough to kill 2o people or one full-size elephant. (Yes, I looked up those facts this morning, just to confirm how terrifying those Prepare To Meet Your Maker creatures really are.)
So for the rest of the next considerable part of my dream – and this part was like a GEICO commercial – I chose. not. to. leave. my. house. and. call. a. herpetologist. to. come. find. Mr. Lovely. but instead stuck around, trying to find my new ‘friend’ myself, before being plunged into Paralyzing Fits Of Nerve Death by a surprise attack from a creature that is classified, I kid you not, as something called an elapid. (Silly me! I thought snakes were called reptiles!)
Eventually, after prancing ungracefully around my house on the tips of my toes like a mutant ballerina, I finally left my house and somehow ended up in the home that my great-grandfather built, one where my mother and her siblings lived for many years, one that, in my dream, my in-laws had just bought and were renovating. Somewhere in there, we found the snake. It was still alive, slithering around, dropping Nightmare Dust in the heads of the 40 or 50 people who were touring the new construction at that old beloved family home – don’t you love the logic of dreams?! – and eventually, it was gone. Not sure where or how. 100% sure that my dream self didn’t care and was just glad to be able to walk around full-footed again.
When I awoke from The Nightmare On My Street, I thought: (1) boy am I glad to be awake and to know for certain that that was just a dream and we don’t actually have Señor Elapid slithering around our house (2) I’m sure there’s some deep and meaty meaning there about how if we don’t address our sin or our faults at the foot of our Father, it will come back to torment (and possibly fang!) us … but I’ll have to go deep on accessing all those Life Lessons From Dreamland another time. I’m a little tired from Fleeing The Killer Reptile.
Maybe I’ll access The Moral Of The Story tonight in my dreams. Unless tonight’s feature is: The Attack of the Killer Ferret. Then all bets are off.