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Dream Technology

Dream Technology

Once upon a time Professor Edgar Budgie, lecturer in Dream Technology at the Lethal Magnet School for Wayward Youth, dreamed that he assigned grades arbitrarily. This way! That way! To his own selfish, lazy ends!

Then he woke up and wondered:

“Am I a principled, hard-working teacher who dreamed that I was a bitter, cynical academic, or a bitter, cynical academic dreaming that I now have ideals?”

He rushed to the Realitron. He succumbed to new dreaming. He investigated the question!

But he did not succeed. Dream-worms found him. They chased him. They hunted him, and they continue to hunt him. The Realitron was dismantled.

He never woke up.

That’s why the Professor of Dream Technology isnow. That’s why he’s the one teaching the ins and outs of it at the Shaded House. And that’s why, in a different sense, he’s always trying to warn the students. To advise them that it’s a delicate and dangerous subject, the study of Dream Technology.

He warns them! But they don’t believe.

“This is awesome!” enthuses Victor. “Revolutionary! A class, where I get to sleep! This is the easiest A in my life.”

“You’re getting, like, Bs,” his girlfriend Agnes points out.

“That was just the last pop quiz,” Victor says. “And there was a pop! I woke up! It doesn’t count.”

That is the kind of thing that his students will say.

Many of them have no talent. They are not engineers but they do not recognize that they are not engineers. They think, for whatever reason, that they can become engineers, in their dreams. They do not understand that it is actually more difficult to be an engineer when you are dreaming than when you are awake. When you’re dreaming it is very difficult to hold on to your coffee and people keep moving your stuff.

It’s a nightmare for an engineer!

A few have potential, though.

They’ll get the basics down, which is really all that a high school teacher can expect, professorial title or no. It’s enough, really.

And now and then one of them will get a little further than the basics and wake up, like Bernard did, holding something dredged back from the realm of dream. Some piece. Some element. Some figment, drawn from unreality to become a component for real technology. Some innovation:

A material, a component, a thing that has never been known before.

The coils of the hunger of a dreaming person. The tooth of a chimera recovered from dreams.

The whole place is under an aegis of unreality. The sidewalk is white like a bone. The house is gently shaded but by what? Whatever it is, is not in evidence. The place is not entirely real. And there is an argument that is sometimes made that the entire building, the entire department, exists in dream only: that it is a fantasy, a wish, a desire, that some student like Victor had wished it:

O that there should be a class like that, where I may sleep through the lectures and I may still get Bs!

Sometimes Professor Mattox wonders. It would be weird to just be someone’s dream.

“If you’re worried,” Professor Emeritus Budgie says, this one time, when they’re grabbing coffee in the lounge in their dreamscape, “you can always drop him down to a C. You know. Arbitrarily. ‘Cause if you do that, then it’s real.”

It’d work, too! That’d prove it!

Professor Sean C. Mattox wakes up.



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