09 June 2011

My Literary Dreams

My whole family was sitting down to dinner one evening in my Grandma’s dining room. Just for your information, my Grandma is an amazing cook, and every dinner that she prepares is both elaborate and delicious. But this family dinner turned out to be a little more exciting than usual. Right after my Grandpa had prayed over the food and we had begun to eat, two giant rats came out from under the table. And when I say giant rats, what I mean is that these rats were larger than any house cat I’ve ever seen! They began running in circles around the room. My family has had some past experiences with rats, and we responded to these particular rats in a rather calm manner. No one screamed, although I seem to remember that I swiftly moved from my chair and sat on the table instead. In spite of the fact that none of us were too terrified by the giant rats, all of the adults were unwilling to get up from the table and get rid of them, so two of my younger sisters, both pre-teens, were assigned to chase and catch the rats. The others of us, both adults and semi-adults, continued to sit at the table and discuss the rats. As soon as I had seen the rats, I was sure of their origin.
“Mom,” I said, “These are the same rats from The Wednesday Wars by Gary Schmidt.”
My sister Lizzy immediately spoke up. “Yeah, I read that book too, last year. These are definitely the same rats.”
My grandparents and parents, however, had not read the book and asked us for an explanation of how we knew that these were the very rats from The Wednesday Wars. So Lizzy and I explained how, in the book, these two rats are classroom pets, until they escape one day and grow enormously large and fat through feeding on whatever garbage they could find in the school. In the book, these two rats were supposedly killed by being run over by a bus, but clearly that could not have been accurate, since here were the two rats, still running around the dining room, with my small sisters at their heels.
Lizzy said, “Rachel, those rats had names from Shakespeare, didn’t they? What were their names?”
For the life of me, I couldn’t remember what the rats’ names were, but I knew Lizzy was right. Our parents and grandparents tried to help us figure out the names by suggesting random names from Shakespeare’s plays.
“Romeo? Juliet?”
“Julius Caesar? Marcus Brutus?”
“Macbeth? Lady Macbeth?”
“Hamlet? Polonius?”
None of these names sounded right, and as it turned out, we didn’t have time to figure out the rats’ names, because my sisters caught them. They came back to the table, each holding a rat by the tail.
“What should we do with them?” they asked my parents.
My Dad said to my brother, “Isaac, go get the gun. You girls take the rats outside and have Isaac shoot them. We can’t have rats of that size running around in here.”
As my brother went to go find a gun, my sisters went outside with their rats and I woke up.
When I told my husband about this dream, he said, “You know, you’re the only person that I’ve ever heard of who has dreams like this.”
Now, I’m pretty sure that he was unintentionally exaggerating quite a bit. But it is true that it isn’t uncommon for my dreams to be filled with literary references. However, my dreams are more likely to include characters such as Sherlock Holmes, or Hercule Poirot, or else the plot lines of books I have recently read. I was surprised to dream about a couple of rats that existed in a book I haven’t read in years. I’m pretty sure that dreams characterized by literary references are not uncommon, though probably they are more common in the nighttime fancies of those who have an undying habit of reading, just like I do.
This particular dream bothered me, however, because in the dream, I had not been able to remember the Shakespearian names of the rats, and when I woke up, I was still unable to remember their names. I had to resort to the internet to find out that the two rats were named Sycorax and Caliban. In the dream, we hadn’t even come close to guessing their real names!
YinZ said...

Great piece. Love it!!!! :)

Anonymous said...

I believe that you are the only one with dreams like these.

Mrs. Bennett Has Class said...

Wow! Maybe I should read more. I wish I had dreams as real as yours! Amazing.

Ivy, Phyllis and Me! said...

Good Morning Rachel, I am an avid reader, but I have to say, I have never had a dream like yours and certainly not one where I have to remember names.....your mind is "full of busy" as my mother-in-law says. When I visited India, I saw huge rats, but none bigger than a cat.....thank heavens as I would not have remained calm...I would have ran a mile. Lovely story. Enjoy your day. Best Wishes Daphne

Kate@StillRoomToGrow said...

What a wonderful descriptive write you are!