Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Two: Illustration

originally posted 6/2/2010

Sooo….you’ve read where I’ve called some people “Godless heathens,” and where I’ve admitted to having been just like them, not so long ago. I’ve also alluded to three remarkable dreams I had - dreams that forever changed my outlook and my life. I promised to tell you about them; here, then, is that promise – kept.

It was the year 1999, and I was working as a technical writer for MCI, which at the time was the city’s largest employer. The building was huge – a full mile from end to end, with a capacity for 8,000 people - and very beautiful...seemingly carved right out of the red rocks of the foothills, and trimmed in glass and stainless steel. The building had every amenity, including a five-station cafeteria, enormous dining room, a bakery, several mobile coffee kiosks, a gift shop, and fitness facility.

I’d worked for the company off and on for about ten years…and you know how it is when you’re a long-timer; there’s a certain amount of recognition, respect and tolerance that comes along with tenure. Every employee has his or her short-coming: some are loud talkers, some are gossips, some are always taking personal calls, some spend an inordinate amount of time instant messaging, emailing, and internet surfing. My problem was always time; I’d often arrive ten minutes late, and take long coffee breaks and lunches – but I’d stay late, take work home, and come in on weekends to git ‘er done if necessary.

Both my husband and I were in our early 30’s, and together we earned $100,000 annually. We owned our own home and each had our own car; heck, we basically had everything we needed and/or wanted. For him, that meant Playstation and sports trading cards; for me, that meant a cell phone, business suits, weekly manicures, biweekly pedicures, and my hair done monthly - I was very “fly”…and for the longest time, my biggest stressor was deciding what to wear to work that day.

One day, in early October 1999, I received an odd email. “You look nice today,” was all it said, and was signed “C. Curtis.” At first, I was flattered; after all, I did look very nice that day. But I was unable to find a “C. Curtis” on any of the employee registers. Curiosity and vanity getting the best of me, I asked tech support to trace the email so as to determine my secret admirer’s true identity.

Certainly, it came as an unpleasant surprise to learn the email had been sent from outside the building – how, then, had C. Curtis known that I looked especially nice that day? Whoever C. Curtis was, he/she was certainly expending considerable effort to remain anonymous - effort which required the help of one or more people inside the building. It could have been anyone...and I suddenly felt very small.

The Friday before Halloween came another email – a electronic greeting card from C. Curtis. My chest tightened with sudden fear when I saw the name, and I had to force myself to open it. There, I found Mad Mel’s Mini Monster Maker.

(I’ve struggled with how much of this story to share with you, and the answer came to me just now; this story will not be as convincing or powerful if I am anything less than brutally honest…so here it goes.)

 For many reasons, I found myself literally terrified: for you see, my real name begins with MEL; my best friend at the time was a girl named Tobi; and I’d had an ill-fated affair with one of MCI’s webmasters -- a terrible mistake that left me both heart- and morning-sick. He impregnated me on April Fool’s Day, and never spoke to me again; in one of my final emails to him, I urged him to R.I.P. Under the weight of his silence and disregard, and in the looming shadow of my marriage, I saw no other choice but to terminate our mini-monster (a procedure that was carried out by a Dr. Sophocles, ironically).

There was simply no doubt in my mind that my April Fool was behind the two emails; I again called tech support, this time more heatedly: demanding to know the results of the last trace, demanding them to trace this one now…unable to understand how a telecommunications giant could have difficulty tracing email within its own confines. Patiently, they tried to explain that the email had originated from a different company located a considerable distance away, and moreover, in speaking with that company’s tech support, the only determination that could be made was that the sender had managed to spoof the originating i.p. address.

I’ll admit, I was spooked; I became harried, paranoid, and withdrawn. But the Halloween greeting was the last contact I ever got from C. Curtis; by the time Christmas rolled around, the acute terror had eased up considerably…and I decided to leave well enough alone. But certainly, my days as a carefree latenik had come to an end. I was never again comfortable in the building, and at one point or another, suspected everyone…darting eyes, full of suspicion.

Running everyone through the gauntlet eventually took its toll; distraction led me to make all sorts of computer errors, and my work product began to suffer. As time went on, I became ever more frazzled, and my computers, seemingly ever more fickle. I stayed later and later at work, often until well after 10:00 pm; in the morning there’d be dark circles under my eyes, and I looked nice only rarely those days. Waves of panic would wash over me as I drove to work and searched for a parking space, and I’d have to psych myself up just to walk through the doors and “badge in” at security. The eye-rolling and deep sighing of my co-workers made me uneasy, and I began to doubt myself. The job I had adored for all its privilege and high-paid nonchalance had morphed into a mega-monster. I became more introspective, uncertain, and troubled…and in that enormous building, I felt microscopic.

For years my husband and I were one half of a rabid, wayward, and hilarious card-playing foursome, and I loved to unwind in that manner. We’d play for hours, whenever we could, the best of three…slappin’ ‘em down, talking smack and drinking…the tv playing softly in the background. Often, the games went right down to the wire, and sometimes we’d put money down.  We all remember with much mirth how I once won the losers' left shoes...and another how I lost our computer -- which was returned with much gallantry.  I’m a little ashamed to admit there were times when I wept over losses...but understand, we stood to lose more than just money: our pride was on the line. 

Late-night free tv at the time was hilarious, most notably Blind Date, The Fifth Wheel, and House of David. The first two were dating games, and the latter, a black church show – I don’t know what kind of black church it was…Pentecostal, or charismatic, or whatever labels they put on that kind of thing – all I can tell you is that it was a church filled with a bunch of black folks dancin’ and prayin’…whoopin’ and hollerin’…layin’ hands and fallin’ out.

One particular Sunday-going-into-Monday in April 2000, we’d just won the game, and I was exuberant. Wide awake, I sat down at the computer and opened up Word, ready to finish up some edits on the user manual chapter that was due in the morning. Busily I worked, and steadily…the three hyenas off to my left laughing as they watched the mayhem of whooping and hollering before them. It was nearly three in the morning when my computer hiccupped.

“Shit,” said I, clicking the mouse furtively. For several weeks, my three computers (a desktop at work and at home, as well as a laptop I shuttled between the two) had performed erratically, and always at exactly the worst times - scant hours before a deadline, for instance; indeed, I scolded myself, why hadn’t I saved my work sooner? But annoyance turned to dismay turned to anger turned to what-I-say-what-in-tarnation as my attempts to extricate myself from the computer goo continued to be frustrated. What in the Sam Hell is going on here?!

The roaring in my head reached the same fever pitch as that of the sweating and seemingly hysterical black preacher man on the tv…and in an instant, a thought flashed through my mind - wouldn’t it be funny if… Putting on my best poker face, I suddenly stood up and shouted – dramatically, using a heavily-affected, derisive black drawl – startling the hyenas, who jumped.

“LAWDY, LAWDY…” I bellowed, “if Thou, will REVEEAL to me, what the fuck is Wrong with All Three of my Computers…I SWEAR: I’ll spend the Rest Of My Life, glorifyin’ Yo’ Name in Writin’, instead of writing this tripe!!!”

The hyenas guffawed and applauded my performance, and I was absently pleased; I sat back down to re-launch Word…but, moving the mouse this way and that, nothing happened – the arrow was frozen in place, the entire system locked up to the point where even ctrl-alt-del couldn’t snap it out of standstill mode – this was quickly followed by blue screen…I could either hard reboot the machine, unplug the damned thing from the wall socket, or hit the sack and try again in the morning…but no matter what, my edits were lost. I groaned; the high from our win was worn off and far away; I was finally tired…and stumbled off to bed.

Monday’s morning meeting certainly could have gone better. I consoled myself with coffee…absently studying the melting whipped cream of my double mocha latte…made up for lost time by working through lunch and staying late; picked the kids up from daycare …made dinner…watched t.v….went to bed.

That night, I had the first of the three dreams. In the dream, my dead great aunt appeared to me. I saw her face; I heard her voice. She said, “If you ever find yourself in a place of financial difficulty, and don’t know what to do, don’t worry about what to take with you…just take the plate.” And then all I saw was darkness, in the center of which floated a plate she'd bequeathed to me ten years earlier. I opened my eyes with a start, sharing the details of that vivid dream with my husband before stepping even a foot out of bed.

For a decade, I’d not really thought about that plate – tried not to, actually…always thought the dragon was scary. Certainly, the plate was a far cry from the traditional blue-and-white trinkets that are staples of my mother’s native land of the Netherlands; a harmless cat, wooden shoe, or windmill figurine it decidedly was not.

I pulled it from where it was stored and looked at it again for the first time. I thought about the plate all that day; instead of formatting chapter umpteen, I researched online…discovering the plate was more likely from China than Holland, and much older than I’d ever imagined; that day, I hurried home half an hour early.

I remained unsettled all that Wednesday; and that night, had the second of the three dreams. In the dream, I was seated before a computer screen, watching as a list of filenames scrolled past in a blur; every so often, a filename would float up and off of the list, three-dimensionally. Truly remarkable was that I myself exercised no control over the computer whatsoever – I was just sitting there, watching the list of files go by. Alongside my right, controlling the computer, was an entity: he spoke not a word, neither did he seem to touch the computer; I sensed he was male, though I could not see his face.


Because he was so tall.

How tall was he?

Well, at the time, I described him as “Empire State Building” tall. So…like a skyscraper-sized giant.

The dream was so vivid that I easily recalled the file names that floated by; circumstances afforded me with a nearby pen and pad of paper, and I and wrote them down while they were still fresh in my mind.

I went to work that Thursday strangely shaken, clutching my paper with the filenames from the dream; and as the day progressed, it became clear that I had good reason to feel a bit weak in the knees…for the files were all processes that would run on a PC if it was being hacked and remote-controlled.

As you will recall, I had asked God to reveal what was wrong with my computers – and He obliged. Of course, I knew who had to be the perpetrator; the villain had controlled my computer ever since I first opened the “You look nice today” email -- about nine months…and had it not been for the dream revealing to me what was actually wrong with my computer, I would have never known.

 On Friday, I dreamed the third dream.

The same tall individual was in the dream…only this time, I described him as being “Pikes Peak tall.” Be that as it may, and though I must have only been about as big as this entity’s toenail, he reached out his hand; I put my hand into his hand, and we turned and began to walk. The ground beneath my feet transformed into sand dunes, and I knew without even questioning that we were walking through the desert sands of Egypt.

The being spoke: “At one time, Egypt was a fertile valley…but the people of that time did something that God found so abhorrent, He saw fit to destroy their entire civilization.” And I looked and saw an ocean-front city; its skyline was silver and metallic and modern-looking…but I could not tell whether it was in the past, present or future.

You know those squiggly heat-waves that rise up from the pavement in the heat of summertime? Well, I saw something like that come out of the sky and onto the city; I saw the city rock – and then I saw the city collapse and sink under the ocean waves.

I was underwater now, but only as a witness; what I saw was nothing short of pandemonium…buildings crumbling and sinking, people screaming and thrashing and drowning…I saw smoke under the water…I saw squid…I saw the bubbles that come from submerged commotion… Then the roiling of the water slowed; the bubbles popped…the water cleared and became calm…and I looked to see that I was in the kitchen of our house, looking out into the front room.

In the front room sat my son, Indian-style, in front of our television, playing Playstation. The light from the tv shone in a colorful, triangular shape, with the apex directly between my son’s eyebrows; he wore a glazed look on his face, and it appeared that he was somehow spell-bound.

 So, let’s think about this: In these three strange dreams, I encountered a ghost and a giant, and witnessed the destruction of some civilization; but the only fearful moment came when I saw that triangle of rainbow-light directed at my transfixed son’s forehead…and I was TERRIFIED for his safety…

I awoke in a cold sweat, sitting up straight and breathlessly repeating “Code of Hammurabi, Code of Hammurabi…”

My husband regarded me quizzically as relayed the details of the final dream, then patiently as I grabbed first this encyclopedia then the other, looking up Hammurabi, and then Egypt and Babylon. I mused out loud: “Doesn’t the Bible mention a dragon somewhere? And wasn’t that whore from Babylon? I wonder if the Bible talks about Egypt?”  I tell you these things to illustrate how utterly unfamiliar I was with the Bible, which I only used to help me solve biblically-themed crossword puzzle clues.

And what happened next?

Well, I told my boss what I suspected was happening to my computer, but I couldn’t prove it, or even really communicate it effectively. My boss was a great man by the name of John Vargas, and though I know not the cause, I do know he was too young, and too handsome; too disciplined and too together when he died. He considered me soberly; and he told me that while he believed someone had succeeded in scaring the hell out of me, he cautioned me that I needed to put it from my mind and get my work done. When I showed him my computer was being accessed by a server called “Anubis”, he gave me a verbal warning.

I began to believe there was a camera in my cubicle, televising my reactions to the computer chicanery; sometimes, I would run to my destinations, certain that people were following me. My boss recommended that I take some time off of work, and I went out on short-term disability, never again to return.

I begged my computer-savvy husband to investigate, but he seemed non-plussed: “Why would anyone do all of this stuff to screw with your mind?” His doubt and disbelief led a frantic me to confess my infidelity.

I stopped listening to the radio, watching television and talking on the phone, convinced that I could be seen and/or heard through those devices; stopped driving, certain that government vehicles and helicopters were following me. I lost my job, and nearly lost my marriage and my mind.

And here I am, still broke as hell, but rich in spirit; I would never trade the enlightenment and relationship with God that I have now for any amount of money. I can never communicate to you the sloppy, slutty sodden sinner I once was; I will never cease being astonished that God nevertheless proved His existence to inconsequential, unworthy me. God answered my heckling, and humbled me in the process. I mocked and blasphemed Him when I made my deal with Him, but He kept His end of the bargain…and now, so must I.

Three is a magic number. The strongest structure known to man is the triangle, with its three sides. I dreamed three dreams. The pattern on the plate happens thrice. According to my Bible studies, if something is stated once, pay attention; if it’s stated twice, then consider yourself reminded, but if the Bible says it three times, then it is absolute.

Of this I am certain: God is real, God is real, God is real.

Why am I moved to write this now? Well, because I have become convinced that time is short, and because I made a promise. I did not believe in God until He revealed Himself to me...and if He hadn't, then I still wouldn't. I am so very lucky.

My next post will be the last of this series proper, and hopefully will make every person in Colorado Springs stop and think. And should these posts have any impact on any of you skeptics and disbelievers...if my testimony helps to open any eyes…open any hearts, minds and souls to accept and have faith in one God, then to God goes all the glory.


  1. Wow, thank you for sharing this, i have some scriptures for you to read! read each of them more than once i always do , i think you will enjoy reading these!
    Daniel 7:8-28
    revalations 16:13-21
    " 12:16,17
    " 20:6,14
    " 21:8-27
    " 12:9-15
    " 20:3-15
    luke 12:10-59
    " 21:8-38
    matthew 10:28
    " 24:4-14
    " 24:24-51
    galatians 6:7-18
    1corinthians 15:33,34
    " 6:9-11
    2 timothy 3:13
    1 john 3:7-12
    all these scriptures talk about the same exact thing you are writing about in all your blogs i enjoy hearing what you have to say!

  2. "and I went out on short-term disability..." You need a diagnosis from a doctor to get disability benefits. What did they diagnose you with? Some kind of paranoid psychotic episode? I feel sad for you, because that is really hard to live with and really hard to treat.

  3. Actually, thanks for pointing out that I forgot to mention the reason I went out on short-term disability: I broke the ulna of my right arm.

    You know what's really hard to treat? ASSHOLISM - you apparently have a very serious case, and I can only imagine that you're a real charmer - how marriages are *YOU* on, you anonymous winner, you?

    Please, read on, read on, read on...and comment away - I love it.

  4. Hahahahahahahaha! LOL, spydra, as if anyone would be stupid enough to believe that!!

    So, the stuff about being "seen" through phones and cameras and broadcasting and etc., are you really too gutless to admit to paranoiac episodes? If that's not paranoia, what would YOU call it?

  5. Quite obviously, the point of this story was lost on your pea brain.

    Desperate for the truth, are ya, asshole? Well, this is how I broke my arm:

    I had taken a week of vacation. My husband worked a 3x12 shift on the weekends, and so was home for the bulk of that vacation time. I was telling him about my computer; he didn't believe me and said something inflammatory; I made to punch him in the head, and he ducked; my fist went into the wooden thing at the top of our sofa, and my arm went *snap*. I was then out for the next six weeks on short-term disability, and never went back to MCI.

    Yes, I was freaked out after my computer was hacked - very. You'd have been too, if anyone had ever found you fascinating enough to do such a thing to you. But no one does, so you needn't worry about it.

    I never would have thought that I had failed to share enough personal information in the re-telling of this 11-year-old true story; hopefully, I've filled in your blank...and your hunger to know more about me has been sated.

    If not, however, please don't hesitate to let me know, and we can set up a time to review my medical history and x-rays. I welcome the opportunity, anonymous coward (though you give yourself away with your pedantic writing style - quite plainly the pussycat communist cheshirecats).

    I give you fair warning, though: I pack a mean right hook.

  6. You didn't answer my question. You are too afraid to admit to your mental illness. You are too afraid to say that everyone around you from your bosses to your family has told you that you are paranoid. Why are you so afraid to say it? You could be a real hero to those who suffer from psychosis in the community if you would just be honest, but you aren't honest, you want us to join you in your fantasy world where you are the wise queen and we will worship you for your wisdom. I give you fair warning, too, that your right hook is completely meaningless in this little world of yours.

  7. And at any rate: how hilarious to be called "gutless" by an anonymous asshole coward! Piss off, 'fraidy cat.

  8. I'm not afraid of anything, pussy, least of all YOU. I told you what happened, and if you can't accept that, that's *your* problem; take your Prozac and go to sleep.

    Why would I want to be a hero amongst *your* psychotic kind? Like I said, if you'd like to go over my medical history, just say the word - we can set up an appointment...though surely, you're too much of an anonymous coward to do such a thing.

    You're on Spydra's Web, pussy; don't visit my blog if you don't like my reign.