Lee had a nightmare last night. Of course
he joked that it was due to an upcoming mission with Jiggs Starke along. And
Kowalski might have been exaggerating as well when he pounded on my door to tell me. Still, when the Captain groans and moans
in his sleep loud enough to wake the dead, according to the Chief ( I had earphones on listening to a tape of a seminar I’d
missed ) the crew can get on edge. I had to do something.
I dismissed them both telling them I’d
take care of it, and headed to Lee’s cabin. Doc was already there, being fussed at
by his indignant Captain as he tried
to take Lee’s blood pressure, and Chip was patting his apparently fevered
brow dry with his handkerchief.
I sat down on the edge of the bunk as soon
as Doc said his BP was a bit elevated, but otherwise he seemed okay, and I asked
Lee to tell me about it. I think he might have yelled at me too but he sighed and told me he was fine, that it was just a
bad dream and he’d already forgotten all the details. Yeah, sure, Crane.
then Cookie appeared with a huge mug of hot chocolate heaped with toasted marshmallows. Said it was just the thing to bring
on a dreamless sleep. For a moment I thought Lee just might fling it out of Cookie’s
hand, he was so angry. But seeing that Chip
positively drooling at the sight of it, he took the offered mug and sipped at it. With great relish and noise. To taunt him, no doubt. Then he turned to everyone and
said if they didn’t mind, he’d like to be alone.
I stood or rather sat my ground as everyone
left, and demanded Lee tell me all the sordid details of his nightmare, though
I didn’t exactly use those words.
Lee shivered, I thought more from his dream,
than from his sweat soaked pj’s. Still, I told him to go shower and change
and I’d keep his cocoa warm. It certainly was good (I was sure he wouldn’t
mind if I had a few swallows) and I wondered how much would be left by the time he returned from the head, so , with regret,
I forced myself to put the mug on his desk, and began to strip the bunk and change the
sheets. When Lee sweats, he sweats hard. I was surprised Doc hadn’t
ordered that done at once.
My task finished, I took another satisfying
slurp of the frothy brew wondering why it tasted so much better than normal. This was not your ordinary packaged cocoa in
the little envelopes you just added water to that we had in great supply aboard. Surely Cookie hadn’t had enough time to make it from scratch, had he? Still, when the
Captain has bad dreams, his crew takes it as a personal insult to their commander
and will do just about anything for him.
Finally Lee emerged from the steamy head.
He’d even washed his hair. He was going to sit at the desk, but I motioned the bunk and was surprised that when he removed
his robe to get into it, he revealed that he was wearing soft white flannel pj’s with little red kisses on them. His
glare dared me to say anything at my own risk. As he crawled back into the bunk
he mumbled something about his spare pj’s being Lola’s gift for ‘those
long cold Arctic nights’.
him what was left of his cocoa,( and hoped he didn’t notice the marshmallows were almost gone), resumed my seat on the edge of his bunk and waited. Finally, he could stand my silence no more and
began to tell me his dream in between guzzling the rest of the hot chocolate down.
Apparently his dream had been triggered
by an appearance on TV by Angela Madison, one of Dr.’s Winslow and Jenkins’
amphibian conversions. She (and three other kidnap victims) never did regain
much of their cognitive abilities after being returned to civilization and I’m sure Lee was just as affected as I seeing
the girl who’s life had been turned upside down.
In Lee’s dream, he said, I had chosen
to have the same series of drugs and the operation giving me artificial gills
and that I delighted in finally
being able to go ‘outside’ and play with my fishes and other creatures.
At first, he said, it was amusing. I had acted like an excited child. And then I changed. Every bit as much as Winslow
and Jenkins, I became egocentric, opinionated, and spent less and less time aboard Seaview, less time with the crew ,and less
time with him. He said he was so jealous that something he sometimes ate for dinner meant more to me than our friendship. But what caused him to lose it, (groaning, moaning, and yes, even screaming if Ski
was to be believed) was when I began to grow scales, webbed fingers and toes,
and my eyes began to bulge.
That of course, was taking things really
too far. At no time did Winslow, Jenkins or their prisoners ever grow scales!
By now, he was almost finished with his
mug and seemed to be snuggling down a bit into his pillow, so I took the hint, relieved him of what was left of his mug, finished
it myself, said goodnight, and told him to have sweet dreams.
‘Don’t count on it, ’
trying to think of some psychobabble to say to help put him into more of a restful mood, but there was no need as he’d quickly succumbed into
the arms of Morpheus.
But even so, I was concerned. He did not
need another nightmare. Perhaps I should sit with him awhile to assure myself none were in the offing. I guess I was more tired than I thought as the next thing I knew Doc was at my bedside chair, with an arm
on my shoulder, whispering that the cocoa had been for Lee, not me. So it had been
And so I was half steered half pulled to
my own cabin for the rest of the evening, Doc informing me it wasn’t a strong sedative, just enough to insure Lee sleep
without dreaming and I had probably only had enough to make me drowsy.
wish I could say I slept like a log, but instead I found myself dreaming of swimming underwater without benefit of aqua lung
and for a moment in betwixt this world and the realm of sleep I was afraid I too was having the same dream. But I needn’t
have worried. As I swam around playing with my fish, it was with relief that I
didn’t have fins, scales, or bulging eyeballs.