Had it again last night. The nightmare. The one where I work for The Dallas Morning News. Woke up with the sweats. It's always the same. The story meeting.
In my dream the editor leading the meeting is this huge dude named Bob-George in a baggy gray suit and wingtips with pop-bottle glasses and gigantic teeth. I'm standing way in the back. There are like 100 people in there. I keep squiggling around trying to hide behind the canasta news team so Bob-George won't see me.
He starts with the city editor. "What have you got for me today about the Perot Museum being wonderful?"
The city editor is all pasty-faced and shaky-voiced. "Bob-George, we have run a piece every day for the last month with a different reason why the new Perot Museum of Nature and Science downtown is wonderful and people have to go see it ..."
"SILENCE, varlet!" Bob-George roars, his enormous teeth clacking loudly. "I don't want to hear about what you've done for me in the last month! What are you going to do for me today?"
"I ... I ..."
"Silence! I have heard from a lot of people that the museum is a lot more wonderful than your weak-ass stories have said it is."
"That could be a story, Bob-George."
"What could be a story?"
"Insiders complain news coverage so far understates wonderfulness of Perot Museum."
A little video to help you remember what the Morning News thinks about the Perot museum, in case you don't have time to read all the stories.
"Do it!" Bob-George is looking around. "You over there!"
Me? Oh, no, please, please. Oh, thank God. He's looking at the executive committee of the upper house of the editorial page staff.
"WHAT HAVE YOU GOT FOR ME?" he roars with a terrible clacking of those gigantic choppers.
The dean of the editorial executive committee steps forward, shaking in her Uggs. "We have a lead editorial condemning scientists for not coming up with enough new science to meet the display needs of the Perot Museum."
"Hmmm." Bob George works his jaw and rubs his chin. "Lazy egg-head scientists lag behind go-ahead Perot?"
"Exactly that, Bob-George."
He's scanning the room again. I'm trying to ooch in deeper behind the canasta team. He spots the garden editor.
"YOU!" he bellows.
"My chickens like it," she says.
"Even chickens like Perot? Go for it! I want that story."
Wait, what's she doing? She's nodding toward me! She's doing a thing at me with her thumb. She's pointing me out to Bob-George! Stop it! This is the part in the dream where I get the sweats.
"YOU! SCHUTZE! WHAT DO YOU HAVE POSITIVE TO SAY ABOUT THE NEW PEROT MUSEUM OF NATURE AND SCIENCE TODAY?"
Oh, God. My mouth is dry. My knees are quaky. I'm not about to cry, am I? So humiliating. Got to think of something positive to say today about the Perot Museum. Got to think. Got to think.
"NOW," Bob-George roars, the teeth banging together like pots and pans. "POSITIVE ABOUT PEROT! NOW!"
"Bob-George," I say, "if you look at it from the freeway, it looks like it's sort of falling down, but it must not be, because it's been standing there like that for weeks. Months really. So, I could do a piece, 'PEROT MUSEUM NOT REALLY FALLING DOWN.'"
"THAT SUCKS! It's negative! You're always negative! You know my orders. I want something positive about the Perot museum from every single staff member at The Dallas Morning News every single day from now to eternity."
"But, Bob-George ..."
"POSITIVE," he roars. "I said positive!"
The huge teeth are clacking in closer and closer to me. His mouth is suddenly the size of a double-sided refrigerator with both doors open. I can see his soft palate. The teeth are closing around me! I'm soaking wet!
Oh, oh, thank goodness, it's Dorothy, my dog, licking my face. She's waking me up! It was only a dream, only a dream. I don't really work for The Dallas Morning News! I don't really have to come up with a positive story about the new Perot Museum of Nature and Science every day from here to eternity. It was only a terrible nightmare.
But think if it were not. What if I really did have to write all those positive stories about the Perot Museum! Or worse! What if I had to read them? Oh, God, I wish I hadn't even thought of that. Here comes another nightmare, I just know it.
"READ THEM! READ THE POSITIVE STORIES ABOUT THE PEROT MUSEUM! YOU HEARD ME! ALL OF THEM! READ!"