Les cymbales du soleil.

A recent dream:

I am driving through verdant French hills and the sky is bright. MQ is sitting in the passenger seat, navigating with a real live ink-and-paper map. We are running low on gas, so we look for the nearest town big enough to show up on the map.

We find a gas station. Pull up to the pump, get out of the car– turns out we’re in a blue mid-80s European hatchback. A box on wheels. Probably a Volvo.

I check my wallet. Nothing but American currency. MQ points out a machine that makes change. I slide a few bills in. It returns Euro coins, but unlike any I’ve seen. Each coin looks like a shattered shard of some larger shape made of all varying denominations. I spend a few minutes sorting through the coins, and try to decide whether the odd shapes are brilliant or stupid.

MQ stares at something behind me. I turn to look. Off in the distance stands a man wearing some dark clothing and sort of head covering. Might be a turban or keffiyeh.

He walks toward us.

I say he probably needs gas. Maybe a jump.

He speeds up to a light jog. A scabbard hangs from his side and jostles with each step.

As he draws nearer, I hear a woman yelling in a heavy local accent, “Don’t do it. Don’t do it.” I’m fixated on the man with the sword, so the woman may as well have been disembodied.

The man draws a saber from his scabbard and charges towards us.

For reasons unknown, we don’t run or get in the car.

MQ screams.

I back away from her and flail my arms to make myself the target. It works. He swings at my abdomen. I step back enough that the saber barely touches me. No blood, just a slice in my shirt. He freezes.

I grab his saber. He doesn’t resist. I swing the saber towards him. He doesn’t throw up his arms, or scream, or even flinch.

I swing the saber into his gut several times as hard as I possibly can. It does nothing. It doesn’t even cut his shirt, never mind his body.

He waits for me to stop, then smiles broadly and makes the ta-da pose. He pulls up his shirt and reveals a saber-proof vest. He laughs.

Then I slice his face off.

After I told her this story, MQ asked if it was sunny in my dream. It was. Good catch.