birds in a barrel's mission is to release creative nonfiction into the wild.

40 Days & 40 Writes is its first project.

 Double Down

If you're going to have a Las Vegas anxiety dream, shouldn't it at least have SOMETHING to do with gambling?

Odds are (you see what I did there? Yeah, not pretty. But it's out of the way early now), most Vegas nightmares center on letting it ride only to lose it all, or maybe being accused of cheating and then getting the talking-to by an old-school casino boss. Heck, I'd even understand if folks suffered Vegas-style wedding anxiety dreams — maybe missing the big day, or being left at the Elvis-themed altar.

Not me. My Vegas nightmare — and it is a recurring one — is so lackluster it might as well be set at a suburban mall.

I don't wake up remembering my nightmares (or dreams) very often, but if I do, the house favorite is the one where I'm pressed to get from one side of a casino to another, through those endless, nondescript corridors that may, on one hand, lead to the gelato bar on the far southeast side of the property or, on the other, to the man-eating Peruvian tortoise exhibit ($39.95 with souvenir mug and photo) that is house in the northwest corner of the 17-acre property.

In the dream I'm often going against the flow of the crowds, usually starting from some nondescript back or side garage entrance. I'm on deadline to meet somenene or attend an event. And half the time I'm dressed like Jon Favreau in "Swingers."

In most occurrences, I'm either WITH my parents, a septuagenarian couple from Chicago mostly interested in playing the quarter slots and seeing a Cirque show when they do go to Las Vegas, or trying to get TO my parents.

On a trip there back in 2008 or so, I'm pretty sure my dad, aka the Silver Fox (owing to his silver-gray hair), was propositioned in front of me and my mom by a hooker on the way to the elevators. (He didn't even seem to notice.)

The amateur psychoanalysts among you may be now be honing your case for some sort of childhood separation anxiety as underlying theme to these dreams. I assure you, that's not the case. Both the Silver Fox and my lucky Polish mom are perfectly fine on their own. They never seem to miss me when we're separated at a casino. At leastuntil dinner and they need me to check in on our reservations.

As for me, if I could just stay in the dream long enough, I'm confident I'd get through those endless corridors and to what I think is my destination: the pool.


I  Don't Dream I Sleep