Who among you frets over dreams that loom in the dead of night?
Who latches onto any significance to the dormant shadows that flutter across the brain?
Who seriously relates to her/his dreams, or willingly concedes that the vapors of the night disappear not from their imagination at the crowing of the rooster?
Ay, yay, yay, Ah Kong, it’s in vain to ask such questions, much less reply to them. Things and places in outer nature, strange and striking in their localities, have been acknowledged to concur in an extraordinary manner with prefiguration of the night, and to impart a touching and visible evidence with respect to the prediction of slumber, which we cannot choose but recognize.
There definitely are many things in earth and heaven than are understood – ay, or dreamt of, in the seemliness of our philosophy.
Yet, despite jeers of skeptics, circumstances have actually occurred with reference to dreams, which are, indeed, out of the ordinary roll of events, yet not the less true, make what use of them we will.
So Ah shall tell a story concerning dreams – ahem, a true story?
Aah! Sleep! Indeed, thou hast the pleasures, but thou also hast thy horrors, that we can no more explain for the one than the other.
Ah’s friends (17 of them) were on their usual early morning walk along Kisad Road, Baguio City, Saturday, last week. They paused for a breather, resting near the City’s Orchidarium when, Ah said, “Gather round, chaps, I’ll relate a dream that happened to me last night.”
Ah had been visited by a strange dream, that, from the superstition natural to a Cordillera mountaineer like him, had powerfully impressed and haunted his imagination, and which, as he was now astonished to find, seemed to have vividly represented with peculiarly horrible association, this very dream on which he had thus involuntarily stumbled.
Such a dream had never happened to Ah before.
True that it had been said St. Peter is the Gatekeeper of the Pearly Gates of Heaven, judging who’s to enter or not.
Ah dreamt that St. Peter, the wise bespectacled sage, wiping his spectacles again and again, and wetting his fingers with his saliva, turned the pages of his Register and carefully ran his eyes over each page but couldn’t spot it.
In irritation, St. Peter banged shut the Register and informed the messenger of death (grim reaper who’s hooded and holds a scythe) who stood before him, “That’s it. My record is correct in every detail. Ah’s soul left his body a week ago and is supposed to report in front of the Pearly Gates for judgement. But he isn’t here yet. There’s no trace of him anywhere.”
Grim reaper looked distraught, fearful, and fatigued in front of St. Peter. He was dispatched to earth to accompany Ah’s soul upwards. Somehow, Ah’s soul gave him the slip.
“Merciful St. Peter. Can’t explain how? Until today, I’ve never been caught napping. How Ah’s soul slipped away from me. As we rode an air current and set out for our world, he disappeared. I don’t know how. I spent days ransacking the universe, but failed to track him down,” the grim reaper feebly explained.
It annoyed St. Peter, hearing the grim reaper. He boomed, “Idiot, how can you be fooled by the soul of an ordinary old man? If things start happening in this manner, distinction between evil and good will vanish!”
Morosely, the grim reaper whined, “Merciful St. Peter, but I was exceedingly careful, leaving nothing to chance. Even hardened criminals haven’t been able to hoodwink me. But this time, in the case of Ah’s soul, it’s a miracle it took place.”
All the more making St. Peter see red. “Your brain is addled. It’s time you retired. Tell me, could anybody stand to gain anything from a down-and-out man like Ah?”
“Merciful St. Peter,” the grim reaper explained, “there’s a lot of racket on earth these days. People working far away send packages to their families only for these to be lost mysteriously or opened and its contents rifled. Other people refuse to work, would rather steal purses of the hard-working. They’re called mandurukot.”
“Other people fleece money from honest people or hoodwink others with get-rich schemes. They’re called estapador. Political parties accuse rival parties. Crimes an everyday occurrence, unsolved killings on the streets, drugs and mayhem, etc. Could it be that somebody spirited Ah’s soul for some racket?”
St. Peter brooded onto what the grim reaper revealed. “Did Ah have arrears in income tax? Just possible the income tax people may have detained his soul,” St. Peter lamented.
But the grim reaper answered, “Ah can only pay income tax if he had income. He was starving.”
“Eh?” St. Peter expressed surprise at such revelation. “An interesting case. This, I gotta investigate,” he said. In likeness of an ordinary mortal, he changed himself and came down to earth.
On earth, St Peter learned that Ah sent letters of inquiry about his insurance claim benefit not receiving due attention. To that insurance, he went.
Well, a person listened yawningly to St. Peter and nonchalantly murmured, “Ah did send inquiries but didn’t put any weight on it so these got misplaced somewhere.”
St. Peter said, “Ading, I see so many paper weights on your table. You could have used one of these so Ah’s letters couldn’t have been misplaced?”
Well, the person smiled cunningly, saying, “Ahem, old man, you don’t know the ways of the world. Letters of inquiry aren’t made secure alone by paperweights.”
“These inquiries being a matter of monetary consideration,” the clerk paused – rubbing his palms like he was anticipating to receive something and bringing out his tongue like he was anticipating of something special to feast on – then continued, “inquiries travel to scores of offices.
The same has to be recorded many times in many places. Delay is inevitable. The matter of course can be expedited but…” the person paused.
“But what?” St. Peter inquired.
The person produced a cunning grin, “But we must have the proper weight. Such a simple thing to understand, No?”
Fearing he might lose the trail of Ah’s soul like what happened to the grim reaper, St. Peter brought out his purse and shelled many pesetas from it, laying them on the person’s table.
In glee, the person sprang up, took a thick file from a cabinet, rubbed his palms together again and said “Now what did you say his name was?”
St. Peter thought the person was a bit hard of hearing and he said loudly, “Ah!”
Suddenly, a voice rose from within the files, “Who’s calling me? Is it the tax people? Has my inquiry been acted upon?”
The person fell off his chair in fright. But that instant, St. Peter got the hang of the affair.
St. Peter said, “Ah, Are you Ah’s soul in the files?”
“Yes,” the voice replied within the files.
“I’ve come to fetch you. Come. They’re waiting for you at the pearly Gates.”
“No, I’m not leaving here,” the voice said. “I’m entangled in this mess of inquiry. I’m busy right now and just can’t leave my inquiries. Gotta finish this problem, this December.”