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Monday, November 30, 2015

Sandman: Love Is A Dream - Chapter 3

This is Chapter 3 of my Sandman fan fiction epic, Love is a Dream.

Dream, aka Morpheus (and Oneiros, the Shaper, the Shaper of Form, Lord of the Dreaming, the Dream King, Dream-Sneak, the Cat of Dreams, Murphy, Kai'ckul and Lord L'Zoril,) rules over the world of dreams. He is one of the seven Endless: Dream, Destiny, Death, Desire, Delirium (formerly Delight, but is now two in one), and Destruction.

After being captured and held prisoner for 70 years, Dream is now back in business, rebuilding his kingdom... but there is still much he doesn't know about the power vacuum that occurred in his absence. He has been around for billions of years, but still does not know all that much about humans, as he has, in the past merely acted as King... a king unaware of what his subjects and realm requires outside of the basics.
Introductory music is by The Doors from their song The End. It's popular enough that I'm sure you can easily Google a video of it.

I apologize ahead of time for my inability to then to recreate a stereotypical German accent. 

Previously, we have seen the introduction of a false Dreaming ( the realm where dreamers go to find their dream, of course) by nefarious elements... but for what purpose?    

by andrew joseph

"Lost in a romance
Wilderness of pain.
And all the children are insane."

The fetid stench of the minor demons adds a ripple of momentary pleasure to Satan. His long blonde hair is neat and trim adding to his air of power. His flashing red eyes are in direct contrast to the whiteness of his pleated tunic. Kneeling before him is Morpheus.

With his head bowed to the ground, he cants, "Our Father who aren't in Heaven. Hallowed be thy name -"

"Enough!!" booms Satan bidding him to stand. He places a robust arm about his minion's gaunt bony shoulders. Morpheus' face breaks into a wide crooked smile.

"It's working, Master! I've done it!" croaks Morpheus.

"You've done nothing, Urkel! I have granted you the power to do my bidding! Still, you have performed admirably. I want you to break as many people as is inhumanly possible. Each that you do becomes my property... and I do so love my property," giggles Satan. "Take special care with that flame-haired one! You may do with her as you please, wurm, but I want her spirit broken slowly. Ha-ha-ha! I want to feel her pain. It will double my pleasure for I know that every instant of her discomfort causes that insolent pup, Morpheus, to weaken!! Bah!" screams Satan as he unleashes a hard backhand to Urkel's mouth. "Even that accursed face you now wear vexes me!"

Quick as thought, the snarl is replaced with a pious smile. He picks the unfortunate Urkel up by the neck and dusts him off gently. Satan's momentary anger has caused Urkel to revert back to his previous misshapen form. He cowers in terror before the Prince of Lies.

"Soon my armies will be able to totally vanquish his realm," grins Satan. "Come my pet. Let's see whom else our birds have brought with them."

Crystal Blue. A slight chill is felt in Greece, despite the fullness of the sun. Winds from the northwest blow sharply through the open doors onto Meridia's face. Some of her tresses whip up into her face stinging her cheeks a rosy colour.

Despite a full night's sleep and a visit to Oneiro's lazy world, she is exhausted. Mentally, physically and emotionally drained, she sits expressionless at her kitchen table. Her hair is tied carelessly in a bun. Her faded, blue dressing gown flows uncomplimentary about her body. A cooling cup of black coffee sits beside a slice of orange marmalade toast that has a single bite taken from it. An open bottle of brandy towers innocuously over the breakfast. A newspaper lies spread out over the rest of the table. She reads about the childless wife who killed her spouse - ranting to the police about how he killed her babies. An unrelated story in the same column details how an eleven-year-old boy shot his recently divorced father who was sleeping with his former sister-in-law. Meridia pushes away the paper, grunts, "America", and slowly marches up the stairs to the shower. Half-way up the stairs, she stops and walks back down, takes the bottle of brandy and a cup, turns on the television and sits down on the living room couch. Waves of sleep begin to over-power her.

Crimson bands of both shadow and light fall upon the sluggard form of the King of Dreams. Though not physically tired, he does feel lost.

"Why did she not come to me last night?" asks the Sandman. "Have I done something wrong, Matthew?"

Matthew's black feathers sheen purple in the fluctuating light. Matthew was once a human who died accidentally in the Dream. He now serves Morpheus dutifully.

"I'm not sure, Boss. Although I know you were -CAW- happy playing with her in your reveries, still... did you not spend too much time with her? You know -CAW- a mortal may not love an Endless one."

Morpheus looks at Matthew and sighs. "Perhaps you are correct, my friend. Still, I wonder where she is. I can not sense her presence anywhere in the Dream or on Earth. It is not right." He muses to himself whether it is possible for an Endless one to love a mortal.

Elsewhere, a lyre-tailed swallow guides Alexi Mogilnakov into the restaurant. She sits smiling at him. Her long beautiful brown hair falls delicately over her shoulders. Her tanned, firm legs are unfettered by nylons. The checkered black and white skirt sits seven inches above her crossed knees. Her excited nipples poke through the thin material. Alexi feels his manhood rise.

He sits down quickly beside Rowena. Too quickly, as he jars the table upsetting a glass of water onto his date.

Rowena jumps up and curses his mother. Alexi grins sheepishly and stammers an apology. She sits down and begins to eat the steak before her. Alexi raises a glass of imported red French wine and toasts her health. As the glasses knock together, they shatter. Droplets of red wine fall slowly through the air and splatter upon the white sections of her dress, miraculously missing the black squares.

Alexi cries in shock and dismay and stands up, dislodging the entire eight-course meal atop Rowena.

She curses his stupidity and says she never wants to see him again. Alexi, crushed, hangs his head in shame. His perfect girl hates him. He lifts his head to the sky and screams in rage at the gods for his clumsiness. He wakes up trembling.

After two weeks of continuous, unrelenting fitful sleep, Meridia is worn. She stands at her front door with her stained bathrobe open paying a neighbour child for a bottle of ouzo. She is oblivious to his stares.

The youth, realizing her carelessness, reaches a hand up and squeezes her left breast and runs away in adolescent delight.

Meridia's sunken eyes don't even react. She pushes the door closed and steps over the remnants of last week's fish dinner and lies down on the couch. She twists off the cap and pours the sour liquid into her maw. Some of it trickles down the side of her neck.

Sleep comes easily to her. As do the clockwork-like rapes to her body and mind.

"Morpheus... you're a bastard," she mumbles as his naked form advances once more upon her spread-eagled body. A dripping candle is held above her tightly bonded form. A strange black bird pecks its beak at her crotch. There are no more tears.

In the dank confines of his antechamber, the rantings of a madman are heard. Morpheus paces the floor and talks at Matthew. "It's been two weeks, Matthew... where is she? Why can't I detect her? Sister Death swears she has not taken her. Has she changed her scent? How can she do that? Why would she do that? How can she treat me this way after all I have done for her?"

Matthew clucks his tongue and says nothing.

Morpheus continues his tirade. "She needs to come back into the Dream. Foolish mortals! They need me! She needs me! Without the soothing affects of the Dream, they would all go mad! Ha-ha-ha-ha!"

The raven flaps his wings in alarm, scattering a few pinfeathers in the process.

In his own private hell, Brandon Koufax walks in a wavery Toronto subway station. He's been searching for hours but can't find the way out onto the street. Spying two elderly ticket collectors, he asks how to leave. The white mustached men answer together in thick German accents...

"To get out, go zutraight along zis tunnel. Zoon you vill see many stairs. Take either A, B, C or K if you like, but undah no circumstances take D, E, F, G, H, I or L. Those lead elsewhere. Und you vouldn't like it," they giggle.

Saying "danke schon" he walks through a turnstile and heads in the direction they have pointed.

He passes a candy shop, where clothing is hanging to dry behind the chocolate bars. A bubbling pot of something thick sits unattended on a small gas burner. He walks up the "A-stairs" as advised. He suddenly realizes his heels no longer "clack" on the hard marble floor. He looks down and sees red carpeting. Proceeding upwards, he slows his pace as he notices the wallpaper on the walls.

The images are of big, muscular men engaged in various forms of sexual pleasure with each other. The picture of one man lying atop another man sucking his right nipple seems to stand out more predominantly.

Brandon sees a small green door ahead, but decides it would be safer not to proceed any further.

He turns and begins to quietly walk back down the stairs. Suddenly a blonde, beefy, well-oiled man wearing only azure blue bikini briefs steps out from within the shadows.

Before Brandon can stop, he has walked into his muscular arms.

Large meaty fingers grasp his shoulders... a tongue enters his mouth... a rough hand massages his crotch... Brandon wakes up. With a hard-on.

The hashish and PCP helps only a little. Meridia crushes the phencylidine pill and sprinkles it atop her joint. Sucking deeply from the lit stick, the Sherman Tank explodes her synapses.

Four weeks of sexual rampage have left her a broken, empty shell of a woman. There is no escape in either sleep or delirium. His onslaught continues unabated.

Lately, beside pleasuring himself, he also wants her to consort with a myriad manner of animals and demons. She wants it to stop, but can not refuse. Deep down, a small part of her is now thoroughly enjoying the dehumanizing acts she has performed. The constant alcohol and drug abuse helps stem the guilt she feels during her waking moments.

The Sherman Tank begins to roll over her brain, and brings her unconsciousness. The bird drags her screaming to the Purple Castle.

Something sharp enter her anus.

Lying on the moist, green couch, she screams in her sleep.

Morpheus sits on a roughly hewn stone chair absently kicking his right foot back and forth. His head is bowed heavily with despair. In his left hand, the Bag of Purple Sands dangles upside down. Streams of never-ending sand fall down and disappear into the dreamscape. He sighs an ageless sigh, and waits for a mortal who will not come.

An armed guard in America's Boston goes crazy and shoots everyone in the bank where he has worked for the last 21 years. He does it because a little bird told him they were all evil zombies who mimic the living flesh. He manages to kill all 14 customers and four employees with his revolver and 9mm Beretta before throwing himself through the bank's plate glass window. He runs in front of a passing semi-truck that jack-knifes after running him over. The gasoline truck explodes killing 212 people in the blazing fireball that engulfs both street and work complexes.

Satan laughs with delight at his work. A Russian serial killer; a homophobe who now gleefully kills everyone who refuses his sexual advances; a Somalian warlord who lets another million people starve while his dogs grow fat; a United Nations Peacekeeper from France who kills a hospital full of children in former-Yugoslavia. The list grows longer and longer. "He and She are next," he chortles. His eyes crackle in rapture. His fingers caress a small silver trophy covered in grime and filth.

What was - is no more.

Meridia, once an effervescent woman of life, lies with the right side of her face in a puddle of her own vomit. Flecks of red permeate the frothy bile. Lacking the energy or the will to move away, she nonetheless manages to light another Sherman Tank.

Her once beautiful alabaster skin is now thin, flaky and pallid. Narrow, blue-green veins throb lightly with her laboured breathing. Scores of self-inflicted festering cuts cover her face, arms, legs and body. A layer of brown and deep orange run down her legs.

The drug once more begins to work inside the fragile remnants of her egg-shell mind. Meridia can't feel it. "Alice doesn't live here anymore," intones the blaring television in her house. The laugh track's hollow sound reverberates throughout the structure.

A small red-eyed, lyre-tailed swallow flies up to Meridia in the ether. It circles her a few times in confusion, and then flies off in search of its bidden task.

Meridia travels on by herself, eventually coming upon a wrought-iron fence.

"Boss! Boss! She's back!" caws Matthew excitedly.

"Where, my friend? I don't sense her," asks Morpheus hurriedly.

"There! By the gate! Use your eyes -CAW!CAW!- not your powers, you fool!"

Matthew is aware that had he used that tone of language with the Master before, he would have been sent out as a plaything for the idiot brothers, Cain and Abel. 'But,' he thinks, 'the Boss is not himself lately.'

Matthew flies out toward the gate. Corban has already opened the gate, but she does not enter. Matthew circles above her and then flies back to Morpheus.

"It's her alright! CAW!" screams Matthew.

"Quiet fool! I hear you! She has changed... her scent is different. Hideous. Perverted," sniffs Morpheus "I can only wonder, though, what has driven the woman to madness? To avoid the healing affects of the dream...? No wonder her scent is different. Bade her to enter, Matthew. I must attend to matters elsewhere."

But, CAW, but... don't you want to -CAW-... see her?"

"I said I AM BUSY!!! Now go!" bellows the Sandman.

Matthew flies out towards the outer part of the gate where Meridia still stands. He turns his head to look at his Master and sees him slump down onto his chair with his head in his hands. "Suck," mutters Matthew.

Matthew once more circles Meridia. She stares dishearteningly at the bird and slowly shuffles in.

As she does, she feels some strength return to her. The further she walks, the stronger she becomes. Deciding not to be a plaything any longer for Him, she runs. Runs for the house. To his house, though not for him. She makes for the doorway that leads to the basement.

From his room, he watches through a misty mirror. "I should not interfere, though too often in my pride I have done so. The Master Spectre has warned me repeatedly. This time I shall watch with naught but a brooding interest from my ebony throne." The purple mists swirl faster in time to his urgency.

"Though this is my realm, and I am the Lord, still must I obey their needs. Meridia seeks a Nightmare... one most foul. And she shall have it, but as with all chimera's, she must find her own path."

With his face pressed closer to the window, he watches.

Her breath is heavy and strained. Her flaccid breasts heave up and down as if in the throes of impending doom. Tiny beads of sweat congeal on her upper lip.

Her hands caress the cold brass handle of the basement. She feels the terror beyond it. She pulls hard, and surprisingly, finds no resistance. Why should there be? Misery LOVES company. The darkness is released.

Meridia walks through the doorway. It melts away into a mist that envelopes her completely. She walks on down a hall that appears only via the Waves of Reverie.

Morpheus hears Kr'thal cackle in delight, and winces. The hags open running sores seep down her throat occasionally garbling her cacophonous screams.

A period of time passes. A page at the end of eternity is turned.

"I can not let her do this. I love her!" says Morpheus standing up. With a thought he stands before the basement of infinite terror. He wisps through the door and enters the hallway. He sniffs for her new scent. He follows, running into a fog-heavy garden. He spies her form just up ahead and stops. His dark vapid eyes take in the scene before him. There, hanging from the limb of an Ash tree, Meridia swings back and forth. Her tongue has spilt out from her lolling head as her limp body slowly loses its motion.

Morpheus drops to his knees. His eyes never leaving her floating form. The moan that escapes Morpheus' lips causes dream lovers to quarrel, children to shiver and the aged to whimper.

Elsewhere, a handsome fellow with blazing red eyes laughs and laughs and laughs.


There's something moving under the bed,
Andrew "Afraid of the Dark" Joseph
PS: Image above taken from Relax, the kid isn't the real Satan... 

Sunday, November 29, 2015

Sandman: Love Is A Dream - Chapter 2

This is the next step beyond in my fan fiction featuring the Sandman, the King of Dreams for DC Comics.

For timing's sake, girlpal Alice sent me a link about the reemergence of Sandman in comic book form by its creator Neil Gailman - HERE. Thanks, Dreamy!

Because writer/reader Renae suggested it, here's a bit of background on the Sandman - because me being a fan doesn't mean everyone else knows what the heck one is talking or writing about:

Dream, aka Morpheus (and Oneiros, the Shaper, the Shaper of Form, Lord of the Dreaming, the Dream King, Dream-Sneak, the Cat of Dreams, Murphy, Kai'ckul and Lord L'Zoril,) rules over the world of dreams. He is one of the seven Endless: Dream, Destiny, Death, Desire, Delirium (formerly Delight, but is now two in one), and Destruction.

After being captured and held prisoner for 70 years, Dream is now back in business, rebuilding his kingdom... but there is still much he doesn't know about the power vacuum that occurred in his absence. He has been around for billions of years, but still does not know all that much about humans, as he has, in the past merely acted as King... a king unaware of what his subjects and realm requires outside of the basics.
 The bit of song at the front of the story is by The Monkees - "I'm A Believer". The song that is written in CAPS throughout the story, line by line is "I Had Too Much to Dream (Last Night)" as performed by The Electric Prunes. No, really. Awesome song. 

This is a short chapter - perhaps the shortest of the bunch... but then again, not all dreams are created equally.

The images within... real dreams... daydreams, actually... as I suffered from a lack of sleep during the night, thanks to the ravings of my girlfriend Junko who wanted to prove her love for me endlessly through the night... after night... after night.  I was mentally exhausted. I had no idea, half the time, whether I was awake or in Japan.

The experience was almost enough to make me want to swear off having sex for a day or so. What? This IS me, after all.  

by andrew joseph

"... I thought love was only true in fairy tales..."
"Love was out to get me.
That's the way it seemed.
Disappointment haunted all of my Dreams..."

The sleep of the damned is a much misused expression. The damned don't sleep. For that matter, neither does Morpheus. He awaits a mortal woman who makes him feel... alive?


Meridia is tense with excitement. The knowledge of intense physical and emotional pleasure that the night always brings is almost enough to consider never waking up again. Of course, that would be crazy. Meridia never thought of herself as insane - just in love. Some pundits would ask, "What's the difference?"

As usual, sleep comes quickly and easily. Within minutes, her breathing becomes more relaxed. Heavier and heavier. Deeper down. Her eyes begin to flit around as she begins to achieve R.E.M. (Rapid Eye Movement). She begins to move through the ether surrounding the Material Plane.

A curious bird circles quickly in front of her. Some compelling force draws her toward it. She follows.

Scant moments later, she stands before the familiar gates of Dream. The gates swing open.


She walks toward the shimmering reverie towards her and plunges into a sweltering jungle. Vines and over-sized leaves swarm atop her. "Where is he?" she thinks. "This isn't like him."


As if sensing her displeasure, he moves around her. Engulfing her aura. She shudders slightly from the coldness.

Her pupils shrink to mere dots on a sea of white, as her hand is raised to her mouth to stifle a scream. It fails. "Aaaaaiiiiii..."


Elsewhere in another part of the universe... the smell of the Louisiana bayou permeates the air. A slight drizzle has just begun to spit upon the myriad number of people before Elsa DuBois' eyes.

"What've ya got there, Ben?"

Her husband of 10 years, grins and pulls a sopping wet bag out from behind his back and tosses it to his wife. Elsa, moving in slow-motion, bends down and opens the draw-string around the canvas sack. She reaches in and pulls out her missing twin babies. Elsa sees the pale white skin... the limbs enlarged grotesquely by the dampness of the fetid swamp... the heavily-lidded, unblinking eyes... the greenness stares at her in confused terror... the curly reddish-blonde hair... the dirty brown water flows freely from their open mouths. Elsa begins to scream. Her friends and relatives around her tell her to let go of the children. But HE won't let her. The scream continues unabated.

Something inside Elsa DuBois snaps as she wakes up. Looking at the sleeping form of her husband beside her, she hisses audibly.

Fearing for the safety of her babies, she reaches for the brass table lamp beside her and brings it down repeatedly upon his head.


In another place, Tim Blackson's scream is cut off in his throat. The floor is alive. He watches in terror as the spiders pour out unabated through a hole in the ground. They swarm all over forming a fluid, shaggy carpet. The thick, rich over-powering smell of coconuts smothers his senses.

Timmy can't move. He is shackled to a chair. His bastard alcoholic father did it. He can spy him from the corner of his eye - watching... watching from another room separating by a plate of glass. He sees, but can't hear his father throw his head back in a throaty laugh.

The spiders begin to crawl up his legs. Drops of salty tears well up in his glistening brown eyes. The scream still won't come for him.


Timmy sits bolt upright in his Batman-clad bed, clutching his wet pillow. His eyes dart furtively about the room looking for movement. His new-found sight sees the shadows come alive.

Leaping out of bed, and running to the closet, he picks up the Daisy B.B. Gun his father had bought him. Ripping open the box of ammunition with his teeth, he loads the chambers. He opens up the door to his room and walks on down the hall. "He's gonna kill hisself a nightmare," giggles a voice from the void.


He steps into the room where his father sleeps, glances momentarily at the pulsating walls. It throbs in rhythmic agony in time to his lethargic heartbeat. Timmy places the rifle barrel to his father's forehead.

The coldness snaps his father's eyes open. He doesn't even have time to feel the warmth of the crimson tide as it rushes down his face.


".....iiiiiiiiieeeeeee!!!" screams Meridia, as the harsh foliage of the jungle wavers out of sight. Meridia looks at the shimmering purple walls about her. She quickly relaxes as she realizes she is safe in His confines.

The darkness does not scare her now... even when it moves. As she blinks, the room is transformed into a bedroom. Her bedroom.


Sitting on her rocking chair, slowly rocking is Morpheus. Light. Dark. Light. Dark. Back and forth he moves. In and out of a patch of moonlight floating in a corner of the room. His right leg lies crossed over his left. He is slouched down into the chair. His left arm is stretched out to lie on her nearby desk. Long fingers play absently with an ink blotter. He is staring at her. A small wry smile is visible on his face.


Meridia, lying in bed with only her hair and fingers above the covers, sits up in shock. As always, in her dreams, she is naked. Her heavy breasts heave rapidly in excitement. She stands up. The milkiness of her skin amplifies the redness of her hair. Her freckles dance like tiny flames upon her body.

Meridia walks slowly toward him. It seems to take forever. She giggles as she watches Morpheus purse his lips and blow a low wolf whistle. Dark. Light. Dark.


Standing up, he grasps her in his strong arms and holds her tight to him. Meridia's fingers probe underneath his overcoat. Finding the drawstring to his musky jerkin, she pulls it open. She slips a warm hand inside his shirt, feeling his smoothness. Morpheus grunts and holds her tighter. She can feel him.


His tongue entered her mouth. Probing the wetness of her throat. Meridia's eyes widen at his forcefulness. He pushes her backwards onto her bed. In the blink of an eye, he is naked. He plunges into her with bestial fierceness. She screams in time to his thrusts. Not in pleasure, but in pain.


Meridia lies on the sullied, stained sheets curled in a fetal position. Crying. Dark rings lie under her dull, green eyes. Dank sweat mats her hair in clumps to her forehead and shoulders. She mumbles his name, "Morpheus," and begins a new fit of tears and wailing.

It's been a poor nights sleep.

In the purple confines of the Dream, the Sandman stands slumped against a large closet of anxieties and wonders what went wrong.


- 30 -

Andrew Joseph

Saturday, November 28, 2015

Sandman: Love Is A Dream - Chapter 1

I'm taking a break from the regular Japan stuff I do in order to present a novella I wrote - fan fiction, if you will, featuring DC Comic's Sandman... the king of dreams... in a tale I penned and then typed out between 1991 and 1993 while I was in Japan.

I had only read a half dozen tales featuring the Sandman, but I was enthralled.

I had stopped writing the story following the prologue in 1991, and did not return to it until all of the woman troubles I was having in 1992.

I always finish what I start. Let's start.

Dream, aka Morpheus (and Oneiros, the Shaper, the Shaper of Form, Lord of the Dreaming, the Dream King, Dream-Sneak, the Cat of Dreams, Murphy, Kai'ckul and Lord L'Zoril,) rules over the world of dreams. He is one of the seven Endless: Dream, Destiny, Death, Desire, Delirium (formerly Delight, but is now two in one), and Destruction.

After being captured and held prisoner for 70 years, Dream is now back in business, rebuilding his kingdom... but there is still much he doesn't know about the power vacuum that occurred in his absence. He has been around for billions of years, but still does not know all that much about humans, as he has, in the past merely acted as King... a king unaware of what his subjects and realm requires outside of the basics.
The introductory song is Love Me Tender, of course, as sung by Elvis Presley - at least it is in my head. 

by andrew joseph
"Love me tender.
Love me do.
All my dreams fulfilled..."

"She has aged well through the years, has she not, Matthew?" muses Morpheus as the long, pale fingers of his right hand stroke his hairless chin in such a mortal way. His other hand paws clumsily at his Bag of Purple Sands.

Matthew caws energetically in agreement and races to let her into the Dream World. Matthew was twice a man. The last time, he died in the Dream and now holds the exalted form of a Raven.

Alighting upon a corner of the Gateway, the material imaginary fence rolls open noiselessly.

"Show her into Fiddler's Green," commands Morpheus as his voice pierces Matthew's self. "I shall be there shortly after I sprinkle my dust throughout the realm for the surf riders of fantasy."

Matthew obeys silently. Flying above in the shape of an eagle, he guides the flame-haired beauty through a maze of forests and gardens till she stands before a great oak. A door wavers its image onto the tree.

Meridia smiles at the raven while following. She sees his true shape. As she also sees him lead her down through a plethora of hallways and doors. They stop in front of a red silk drape hung delicately in front of a doorway.

She grasps the handle on the tree/pushes the curtain aside, and enters.

On the air of thought, the handsome bird flies back towards Morpheus' antechamber. Though he has only served the Master for a few decades, he has never seen him act so "human". The Master would have him plucked if he heard these thoughts. "No," he half-reasoned. "Maybe that's not right. He is absorbed with trivialities. Better safe than sorry. I'm not sure if the Boss can read thoughts..."

In the safe confines of Fiddler's Green, a million visitors play. Sometimes with their dream friends, but always alone. Except for Meridia. Unknown to her she has been chosen by the King of Dreams to receive the full benefit of his charm.

Elsewhere and elsewhen, a grossly misshapen form dances wildly amid the biting red sands. Shiny, burning eyes watch the ritual from afar. The dancer pauses for an instant. The watcher's eyes flash in brilliance. The troglodyte howls in agony and begins the oscillation anew with frantic vigor.

A familiar-looking gate begins to waver into existence. It just as quickly blinks out.

The eyes glimmer in approval. "It has begun," it utters in a throaty whisper.

In the dream, Morpheus hides himself in a daisy chain perched atop her full, feathered hair. She is without clothes as is the norm in her dreams. She sits atop a winged hippogriff as they soar betwixt the colours of a rainbow. Never before has she felt such pleasure. Each colour exuding a taste, scent and vista far beyond the ken of mortal men.

Morpheus and Meridia plunge repeatedly through the bands of light aboard the flying creature. She shouts in pleasure. The hippogriff too, screams in intense rapture - achieving orgasm with every submersion in the variegated spectrum. Morpheus, smiling to himself, says nothing.

After awhile Meridia grows weary and restless. It is time for her to go back. Morpheus withdraws from her and watches from everywhere. Her face is aglow with sexual energy. A charm he fails to understand but notices nonetheless.

He waves his hand and sends the hippogriff back to his paisley pastures. With a deep bow to his Master, he gallops off.

She falls slowly through the air. Somersaulting past clouds and trees. Quickly the images fall away and are replaced by oil paintings and bookcases. She snaps awake as she lands softly upon her bed. A smile breaks her moist lips.


Fashioned from the limb of a diseased ash tree, the wand glows red hot.

"Concentrate wurm!" barks a voice from beyond. "Concentrate!"

The pock-marked demon groans in displeasure as a bolt of electric-blue snaps from the cloudless atmosphere and strikes him between the shoulder blades. Tiny beads of sweat collect on its mottled, lumpy forehead. Even by the Triumvirate's ghoulish standards, it's a pathetic-looking wretch.

A doorway materializes in the middle of the thickly fenced area.

Urkel shuffles forward and places a bony hand upon it. "Solid," it grunts. "Master! I've done it!"

In the cool sunshine, Meridia walks blissfully toward the market. For the last two months she has had a recurring dream of sexual delight. Her nipples poke through her blouse in affectionate remembrance. She can't remember a time when she has been so happy.

In the moody confines of Dream's "room", an arc of variegated light splits the ether. Matthew, knowing that all existing elements in the Dream are His creation, wonders what his master is doing. Fragments of music slip from the King of Dream's earphones. "Break on... ough to... other side.."

Alongside the temporal gateway, a freshly created wrought-iron fence stands. Another bolt of electric blue strikes the pathetic Urkel, sending him flying into the rusted bars of iron. As long lean fingers clasp together in contemplation a voice chuckles, "Keep up the good work, my pet." To no being in particular, it mutters, "I don't want the little darlings to become complacent. Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha." Peals of laughter roll across the terrain. The inhabitants hear the thunder and shudder. It's going to be a long eternity.

Humming a melody she hasn't heard in years, she buys a basket of golden apples and walks along the beach. Have you ever wondered why people suddenly have a song haunt them for days at a time? Meridia knows why. She parts her lips and begins to sing softly. "Love me tender, Love me do. All my dreams fulfilled..." A smile breaks her lips. She always did love The King.

In his antechamber, Morpheus holds counsel with the more shadowy denizens of his worlds.

"Master, why are we no longer being used? Have we done something to put us out of your favour?" asks the nasal voice of a large shark-faced creature. Opening his feathered arms he beseeches, "What may we do to right our wrong?"

With a smile and a light laugh, Morpheus says, "I am sorry for my slight. You have done nothing wrong. You have all performed your duties admirably."

The myriad shaped creatures shuffle their taloned claws/paws/tentacles in relief.

"In fact, I have felt as though you have been over-worked these past few centuries. Don't worry. Some of the real louses still call upon you, do they not? Take out your anger on them. Leave the rest to me."

An ugly flame-scorched tenement stands tall and dreary amid the rag-tag weed-infested confines of the fence Urkel has constructed.

His Master's voice smashes through the underworld. "Congratulations."

With a twinkle of his omnipotent eyes, the jumble of newly created forms reassembles itself into an exact reproduction of Morpheus' home.

Ringed atop the fence are a solid black line of swallows... lyre-tailed swallows.

"Send them out, Urkel. Send them out and let it begin," growls Satan.

With a wave of his ashen wand, Urkel sends the messengers off through the ether. They dip and rise flying straight for the Master's abode. Then suddenly, the black mass veers crazily at an impossible angle and disappears in a flash. A strong fragrance of banana and lemon permeates the air.

"Ah. A scent reminiscent of truly good cocaine," sighs the Evil One. Long, slim fingers draw open a purple pouch hung around the waist of a beheaded thrall. He dips his fingers and pulls forth a long trailing mound of white powder and inhales deeply. He laughs hideously. "Ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha-ha."


Don't let the bed bugs bite,
Andrew Joseph

Friday, November 27, 2015

Sandman: Love Is A Dream - Prologue

This is the multi-parter (a novella, if you will) I created featuring Sandman, the King of Dreams, a comic book character created by Neil Gaiman whose stories were published by the Vertigo imprint under DC Comics.

Dream, aka Morpheus (and Oneiros, the Shaper, the Shaper of Form, Lord of the Dreaming, the Dream King, Dream-Sneak, the Cat of Dreams, Murphy, Kai'ckul and Lord L'Zoril,) rules over the world of dreams. He is one of the seven Endless: Dream, Destiny, Death, Desire, Delirium (formerly Delight, but is now two in one), and Destruction.

After being captured and held prisoner for 70 years, Dream is now back in business, rebuilding his kingdom... but there is still much he doesn't know about the power vacuum that occurred in his absence. He has been around for billions of years, but still does not know all that much about humans, as he has, in the past merely acted as King... a king unaware of what his subjects and realm requires outside of the basics.

I wrote this chapter in 1991 sitting in the teacher's lounge at Ohtawara Chu Gakko (Ohtawara Junior High School), and then never wrote another story (and concluding chapters) on the character for another year.

I will say that Sandman was a very inspirational comic book... I had only read about six issues back in Toronto before I left for Japan... but they were very, very good issues. I recall purchasing eight copies of the first issue - all the store had, because I felt it was going to be the best comic book series ever. It was.

Introduction song is by the Everly Brothers, entitled All I Have To Do Is Dream. I liked to weave music into my stories... in fact you could listen to each song as you read it to help get the juices flowing.

As for my tale... it's long, but I think it's very good, too. Pleasant dreams...

by andrew joseph

"...Dream, dream, dream, dream.
Whenever I want you... in my arms,
Whenever I want you... and all your charms,
Whenever I want you, all I have to do is dream.
Dream, dream, dream... Dream."

"It was on just such a sunny afternoon as this when sister Death had dragged me out from one of my more sombre closet's onto the lively sphere known as Earth. We watched the children play soccer on a stretch of grass near a roadway. With cat-like suddenness, she got up and moved towards the road. Scant eons later, a young dreamer quickly discovered he would never sit in the shade of Fiddler's Green again, as a truck took his young life as he ran out onto the road to retrieve his ball.

While I do not understand how she can dispense with her duties so easily, I am aware that she too wonders why I am so moody about doing my own. I often wish I had her attitude, but I do not. I was not made that way.


Death gave me a curious gift that day. A Walkman, the locals call it. It plays musical tapes. I do not care much for it, but the poetry is soothing. I like this poet. He seems to know all about me and my world. Maybe he learned these verses in my land and brought them out with him. The attuned can. I wonder where he heard these wondrous words? They make me think. Break on through to the other side.


Has it been 10,000 years? What matters time, though? Yet, I feel the momentary loss. True, I am not in love, though I do care for her. An Endless one may never love a mortal. Or so past experience has thought me. But now... Meridia... my fair child. I remember when I first encountered you.


When I first noticed her, I had only just arrived back in my world after decades of supernatural imprisonment at the hands of that thrice accursed human and his foul offspring. I was only just beginning to put my affairs in order when she came to me.


Ah. A Persian dream of attar flooded my perceptions as she knocked on my gates. Matthew was busy elsewhere searching for the whereabouts of the dread Corinthian, but Corban was nearby. For a dodo bird, he is fleet of foot. I bade him to let her in with great haste. I followed the sweet smell of her perfume. So pungent. So aromatic... even in the nether void outside my domain. As she stepped through my portal, I commanded my winds to blow a warm gentle breeze about her.


My passion had become aroused. Not by her nakedness, for that is not MY way, but rather because of... a scent. A taste of promised fruit?


I called forth a world of purest enchantment for her pleasure. She gleefully slipped into the dreamscape.

I sat beyond her perceptions, in my den, and watched.


She ran along the white beach towards the pulsating waves. The water broke in unending sighs in rhythm with the breath of her physical form. Rolling in. Crashing out. Calm excitement. Anticipation. Meridia dove into the waters of bluest blue with carefree abandon. She "knows" no harm will befall her in this place.

Deep below, a volcanic fissure opened up slightly to release its warmth in conjunction with the needs of her thoughts.

She laughed gleefully as a giant sea turtle glided effortlessly beneath her. Its grace belying its mass... as it does in the protoplasmic regions.


Pausing for an unrequired breath, she moved toward it. Her alabaster skin glowed as though surrounded by an aurora. It was, in fact, me. My own curiosity for this wonderful creature caused me to dismiss my sense of station to monitor her closer.

I enveloped her body. She noticed not my presence.


Thin arms reached out to caress the long neck of the creature. It swam away to her dismay, but returned quickly after performing a figure eight in the liquid sky. Next she/we grasped the magnificent beast about the neck. The three of us floated along the underside of the waves. Together. Alone. Timeless. Mute.

Overhead, the waves quickened their rolling and crashing upon the pristine sand of the Green.

It was over far too soon for her. She was called back to her own realm of the Material by a hidden inner mechanism within her mind.

I removed myself from about her, and sat contemplatively in my chair. Meridia grimaced from the anguish of lost delight, and moved between the red-bottom quark field to find herself at the borders of the Dream.

I remember the look of awe and pleasure as she turned back to glimpse once more the fullness of her fantasy. Her flaming red hair waved majestically in my winds. She smiled, turned and skipped merrily through the gates Corban had opened in anticipation. In the eon of a heartbeat, she snapped instantly back to the land of the walking dead.

Meridia has come back to visit me every sleep sequence. Or rather, she comes to play in my shadow... unaware of my presence... oblivious to my care.

It seems to be a brief moment of celebration for me when she comes. We have tripped the light fantastic. Danced the fandango with the pastoral Fire Pixies. Walked to the farthest stars. Sat 'neath the tallest elm tree and watched as rabbits picked wild hyacinth's in baskets made of purest sunshine for her. We have soared with the ancient Wyverns of Blyth IV and soared as them.


We have played together as one for the past six years of her brief mortal life. My elder sister says I now act as though one in love. Nonsense, of course. What would Death know about love? She does not understand the feelings of camaraderie I seek. And only that, of myself, do I give up to her. The people of Earth are curious facets to me and Meridia is a gem of purest quality.

I part company with my sister and enter my realm via Destiny's doorway. Even in my home, I feel "bothered" by Teleute's comments.

I do wish I could reveal my presence to her... but no! No more! I am Morpheus! I am the Dream King. For what possible reason do I need love? I am no puny mortal! My duty is all. It's who I am! It's what I am."

Matthew, having just arrived back from Earth's material plane, wisely hides behind a reverie while his master rants.

In the background, strains of forgotten poetry and music resonate blissfully throughout the Dream.

"Hmmm," thinks Matthew as he flaps his black wings. "There shall be no nightmares tonight, except, perhaps, in this chamber."

...HURT THEMSELVES. Destiny turns another page in his great book.


The CAP-locked lines... those are words from the Book of Destiny. Destiny is Dream's brother, but won't play a role in the story after this except for... you know, destiny.

As a heads-up... I was never the type of person who remembers his dreams. I must have had them, but I never recalled them. My friend Rob would tell me of his dreams that had him flying in the air like a swimmer... and all I could do was recount maybe five dreams in total that I could recall... and one of them seems to want to predict my death at the age of 87... with me falling through some thin ice as I shoo away some hockey-playing kids because it is dangerous. Sounds like me... It's a recurring dream that I have had since I was four.

While writing this tale, I was suddenly flush with all sorts of gruesome nightmares, adapting them as nightmares and dreams throughout this story. Why was I suddenly rife with sleepy images? Well, more shall be revealed as the story progresses.

Still sleepy?
Andrew Joseph

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Sandman: The Old Ball Game

Here's a Sandman tale (from DC Comics) I wrote thanks to Mrs. Wilson, my neighbour for 20 years, and for whom I was lucky enough to be a pallbearer after her long, and I hope happy life.

Before I traveled to Japan, I had an assignment for a magazine writing class in journalism school that I decided should be about the history of baseball in Toronto.

Mrs. Wilson told me her father was one of the board of governors for the old Toronto Maple Leafs minor league baseball team at the turn of the 20th century, and as a child she would often get to go to games.

The story below uses part of what she told me about that early history, with other elements filled in by her husband, Mr. Wilson (I helped carry him home, as well), and Mr. Knott, who lived in the house on the other side of the Wilson's (I was in Japan when he passed) ... the two boys used to go down to watch games as kids and together as adults.

I used to shovel their driveways and cut all the lawns and listened and remembered all their stories about the past of the neighbourhood, the city, and about life.

I miss them all. This story, one of my all-time favorites, is for you.

 Dream, aka Morpheus (and Oneiros, the Shaper, the Shaper of Form, Lord of the Dreaming, the Dream King, Dream-Sneak, the Cat of Dreams, Murphy, Kai'ckul and Lord L'Zoril,) rules over the world of dreams. He is one of the seven Endless: Dream, Destiny, Death, Desire, Delirium (formerly Delight, but is now two in one), and Destruction.

After being captured and held prisoner for 70 years, Dream is now back in business, rebuilding his kingdom... but there is still much he doesn't know about the power vacuum that occurred in his absence. He has been around for billions of years, but still does not know all that much about humans, as he has, in the past merely acted as King... a king unaware of what his subjects and realm requires outside of the basics.
a ride of reverie by andrew joseph

"Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out to the park.
Buy me some peanuts and Crackerjack,
I don't care if I never come back..."

The smell of hot dogs smothered my senses.

My cola tasted extra cold under the hot touch of the noon day sun. Dad, sitting beside me, had already eaten his bag of peanuts. He told me that though it cost 10 whole cents for the bag, it somehow tasted like cav-e-are when you ate it in a ballpark. I don't know cav-e-are is, but I'm sure it must be grand. The smile Dad had when he said so was as white as the waves on the lake.

This was the first game my Dad ever took me to. He had always thought that girls wouldn't understand it, but I guess he changed his mind.

Mom made us a breakfast of egg and some really thick slabs of bacon. My juice was tasty. Mmmmm, I can still taste it. Dad wolfed down his food and yelled for me to hurry. He said I'd probably be late for my own funeral. When I thought about it, I told him that seemed like a pretty good idea. Dad laughed, kissed my cheek and pulled me along to the taxi carriage.

About a half hour later, we got off at Front Street. A guy named Old Black Joe sat on the ground and played his banjo for money. Dad gave me a big, round penny and told me to put it in the hat on the ground. Then we walked over to the big ferry boats and rode out to the Islands. White seagulls laughed with a big black bird over the waves. Dad said the Islands used to be joined to the rest of Toronto, but a big storm 40 or 50 years ago, separated them. Dad always knows keen bits of stuff like that.

We got off at Hanlon's Point and walked into the stadium. It was bigger and more beautiful than I had ever thought! We sat along the third base line and watched the game. Some guy called Ruth pitched a 3-0 shut-out for the Providence Grey's over my Maple Leafs. He even hit a home run. It was his first ever, they say. I wish I could hit and throw like him.

Even though we lost, it was still the best time me and Dad ever had. I don't ever want to forget it.

Dream grins at Matthew, shooing him out of Martha's thoughts, as he watches her re-live that day. She's asked for the same reverie for the last eight cycles. Sensing its importance, he will keep this dream available for her. The pitfalls of humanity is such that there is much sadness for some people. At least now, if she needs it, Morpheus will be there for her.

The smell of hot dogs smothered with yummy mustard filled my senses...


G'night neighbours.

My Sandman epic begins tomorrow.

Get some shut-eye.
Andrew Joseph

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Sandman: Renewal

Here's the second of three short stories on dreams that I wrote while in Japan... it features Morpheus (Sandman), a chatacrter created by Neil Gaiman for DC Comics (and later its mature line of Vertigo).

Dream, aka Morpheus (and Oneiros, the Shaper, the Shaper of Form, Lord of the Dreaming, the Dream King, Dream-Sneak, the Cat of Dreams, Murphy, Kai'ckul and Lord L'Zoril,) rules over the world of dreams. He is one of the seven Endless: Dream, Destiny, Death, Desire, Delirium (formerly Delight, but is now two in one), and Destruction.

After being captured and held prisoner for 70 years, Dream is now back in business, rebuilding his kingdom... but there is still much he doesn't know about the power vacuum that occurred in his absence. He has been around for billions of years, but still does not know all that much about humans, as he has, in the past merely acted as King... a king unaware of what his subjects and realm requires outside of the basics.
Dispensing here with the classic form of Morpheus, the king of dreams, I wondered if he was the one who held sway of the dreamworld for those all over the universe. Of course he does. Earth is special, but so is life on every other plane of existence throughout known and even unknown space.

mid-wifed by andrew joseph

The colours swirl all around me, wafting their sweet smells to the far reaches of the universe. Congealing, everything is quiet. But only for an instant. The chaos of creation begins anew. Change is ever the rampant issue in the one true domain.

Gases whoosh and jet, expelled from what some mistakenly call the surface. In a gaseous state, there is no surface. Growth has begun. The colours begin to change. A heaviness similar to 100 astronomical units pulls heavily at my sister's cold heart. The death of what was and shall never again be is imminent. Though not for some time. A paradox to be sure.

The clock of the universe runs according to its own time. Though it is ordered, it does acquiesce to its own rules when the need fits.

Quickly, relative to its life, it glows. Sudden flashes of light pierce the cold, quiet darkness and incinerate the life-forms on the fourth planet that have taken scant millennia to develop. Flaring, and changing, its insides convert and subvert the periodic table. New elements are formed and combined. The core has shifted. The colour of the pristine rose rears its ugly face. The orb grows in quiet splendour. Engulfing the floating rocks. One, two, three, four, five. All gone, though in truth they were not alive before that for quite some time.

In mute nostril agony, the middle changes again. The colour of mercury pulses from within. Even still, it's heat diminishes. Planets sigh relief. Those that still can. Their unfelt joy is short-lived, though. It was merely resting for an eon or two.

Fire and gas. Nuclear power uncaged. Mother always did have a temper.

The explosion rips yet another hole in time and space. The solar mass shrinks and yet manages to contain all of its mass. Density warps the continuum. It begins to spin. Very, very quickly. None save my family have noticed the change. None currently upon this plane of reality, anyways.

The whirlpool begins to reach out and suck in sustenance. She needs to feed. She is not hungry, though it is something she must do. Duty. Elsewhere, an equal amount of matter, though in a different form will emerge a universe away. Holes of colour. Holes without.

My job in this solar area is done for the moment. No more dream for the inhabitants of the fourth world. No one mourns for them, save perhaps my sister, Death. It will be many an eon before I have to weave a dream out here again. But soon enough for one of the Endless.

Planets quietly rush about their orbits, like a wet finger upon fine crystal. The new form plays a concert for the gods who care to listen. The melody is stupefying. Truly myriad are the wonders of existence.

- 30 -

Okay, this one was a little different, but I was still experimenting with how to craft a story. It was the birth of a black hole, in case it was too confusing.

Tomorrow's dream will be different, I am told.

Sleep well,
Andrew Joseph

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Sandman: Perchance To Dream

Today's blog has absolutely nothing to do with Japan save that I wrote it while I was there between 1990 and 1993.

No one, save myself, has ever read it.

In the ensuing 25 years, I have indeed spent well over 10,000 hours honing my craft as a writer and continue to do so every single day. The past six years... via this blog, I have written about my past life in Japan, Japanese history and social customs, as well as presented some news and my take on said news.

On a couple of occasions, I have indulged myself, and hopefully a few others, by presenting some of my fictional short stories. Granted this and the others I will present over the next two weeks were written while I was still beginning my craft--and I believe myself to be a far better writer of essays and monographs nowadays--but I think that during my time in Japan, when it came to the short story... I was pretty damn good.

That is self-confidence, by the way... not ego. If it was ego, I wouldn't say the following:

The story features the main character of Morpheus, created by Neil Gaiman and produced as one of the best comic book series ever called Sandman under DC Comics' Vertigo comic book line for mature readers.

I naively believed that as an unknown writer with no experience, that I could write scripts and get them published merely because what I was producing was gold.

I quickly learned that being good and being thought of as good by others, are two entirely different things. But who am I to judge?

I had once upon a time ago purchased copies of the entire Sandman series to present to someone dear to me, but circumstances out of my control dictated that we would never meet again - or at least have not at this point in time. I dislike not being in control... and you'd think I would be used to it by now, but I'm not.

Since the mountain won't come to Mohammad, Mohammad will come to the mountain.

Over the next couple of weeks, uninterrupted, I am going ti present some stories - not scripts - that I created... first to introduce readers to the comic book character Sandman, aka Morpheus, and then a couple of other single adventures and then one novella.

As was my custom in the past, I, the author always used lower case for my name, realizing the author wasn't as important as the story that somehow found its way into his head.

Dream, aka Morpheus (and Oneiros, the Shaper, the Shaper of Form, Lord of the Dreaming, the Dream King, Dream-Sneak, the Cat of Dreams, Murphy, Kai'ckul and Lord L'Zoril,) rules over the world of dreams. He is one of the seven Endless: Dream, Destiny, Death, Desire, Delirium (formerly Delight, but is now two in one), and Destruction.

After being captured and held prisoner for 70 years, Dream is now back in business, rebuilding his kingdom... but there is still much he doesn't know about the power vacuum that occurred in his absence. He has been around for billions of years, but still does not know all that much about humans, as he has, in the past merely acted as King... a king unaware of what his subjects and realm requires outside of the basics.
The stories were originally conceived for the fan of the series, and stuff is weird and confusing at first, but I dare say that if you continue to read these tales, you'll figure it out. To Renae... thank you for thinking I could be a writer. That's two. Believe it or not, I was actually going to present these stories now BEFORE you and I corresponded. By the way, check out Renae's take on what Japan of the future is like in her book (novella): Tokyo 2060: Welcome to the Future
Here's my attempt at writing fantasy. Hope you like it.


a flight of fancy by andrew joseph
"Row, row, row your boat,
Gently down the stream.
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily,
Life is but a dream."

Standing in a corner of the dreamers, Prince Morpheus smiles contently. Every so often, pale, thin fingers draw open the Bag of Purple Sands, and gently sprinkle its entire contents throughout the dreamscape. As always, the pouch is replete for his use.

Whenever a sleeper seeks admittance to the forbidden pleasures of his palace, he is there to entertain them with his violet goods.

Some might marvel at the sheer enormousness of the never-ending job he must fulfill, but worry not.... time and dimension hold no sway over he and his kindred. They are the Endless ones.

Despite being immortal, it is possible to be afflicted with lassitude. Though he is the Sandman, he is unable to partake of his own gifts. Sleep, and thus the dream, are forever denied him. One of the foibles the old and the timeless must bear.

He allows himself breaks and vacations from eon to eon - don't worry, though. You won't miss out on any nocturnal visions... being Lord of ones own realm means obeying your own laws of Nature. Except for the pre-ordained ritual of his station. He has no choice in that matter. It's why he and his kin were created.

Morpheus can remove himself from his job for decades. Then when he is sufficiently dulled by relaxation, he can slip between his younger brother's Sands of Time, and begin where he left off. Having Destiny as one's sibling can be handy when you exist in perpetuity. Of course all this is moot if he is drawn away from his dimension by someone else's power.

So, what does the second-oldest creation do to amuse himself in his moments of lethargy? Why he travels the timelines of the oblate, Terra, to dabble quietly in the complex mechanisms of the creatures great and small who sometimes come to his Land of Nod.

Perhaps feeling the pinch of little sister/brother Desire, this time Morpheus has a hidden taste for the late 23rd century. Or so that is what the inhabitants of the point in existence call it.

The peregrination begins with a walk through a desert. It's not quite a walk, though. More like a meander through the molecules. He wonders what it must be like to feel the glamour of the solar sphere on his skin. He looks to the North and finds a young 12-year-old girl knocking on his door. Mary Farnsworth wants to play inside his garden with her fox terrier, Rap. He stretches out and with a gentle nudge and a tinkle of Sand, she instead prepares for a walk in the sunshine.

The Dream King closes his eyes to the anticipated wealth of relaxing thoughts. It has been many an epoch since he last tasted the gentle flicker of Sol.

"AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRR," he and she cry out in pain. Never before has he felt such terror! Such pain!

In her misty tower, Despair laughs a hungry cry before allowing a young man to slash his wrists. Through her sensory windows, she salivates at his anguish. He will die slowly.

Dream's ivory hand quickly clutches a handful of the inducer and allows the girl to play in his garden. Apologizing for her pain, she will not remember his intrusion. He then grants her the forever boon of a peaceful sleep. The sleep of innocence.

Morpheus, the King of Dreams, berates himself for his carelessness, and moves along the vista of reverie. He re-enters the physical and begins to travel again. This time, on foot.

He knows not what had caused the child to enter a zone of the Incubus, save only that he was at fault.

On and on, through the sands that are not his own, he journeys. A zephyr begins to pant its hot, fetid breath against the fantasy master. He does not notice.

For a day plus one, he travels forth - pausing for neither rest nor refreshment. He passes no one. There is no one. His forced exile from the Dream confuses him. "Is this what it is to be lonely?" he inquires of himself.

"Perhaps," he answers freely.

The breeze has now become a storm. Tiny beads of silicate and sand pound against his face and form as he continues his march.

To his left he hears the rambling chatter of a human.

Approaching the large outcropping of rock, he sense a man amid a shell of heavy, yet soft, malleable blue-grey metal. The man begins to sleep within.

"What curious creatures, these mortals are. Living their lives in the Plane of the Material, yet constantly seeking admission into my realm whenever they see fit. I wonder if they will ever learn why they need to visit me?" asks Morpheus caught in an oral flight of whimsy. "Mayhaps it's best the key to that House of Secrets remain closed awhile longer."

With the fluid motion of thought, he travels back to his realm. The somnambulist approaches the imagined Gates of Dream. Morpheus watches closely from above as his loyal servant, a human now inhabiting the form of a raven, "caws" open the gates allowing entry to the dreamer.

Though the man (Christopher Arkwright, 33, single Caucasian, a surveyor for Trans-World Geological Foundation - these and more, the Lord learns instantly) has entered the amphitheatre of deep sleep, he has not yet begun to dream. HE dips long fingers into his pouch and sprinkles its contents upon the sleepy head of Christopher Arkwright. He begins to walk towards Fiddler's Green which has just appeared to his left. Morpheus adjusts his dream, to one of the sun. Fiddler's Green wavers back to its room. The outside world appears.

Christopher groans in his sleep. The Night Hag atop her pestilent steed approaches quickly screaming abuses to the Caves of Winds. Open pustules cover both ride and rider. The Dream tenses. Sensing the oncoming affects of the Nightmare, Morpheus intercedes and tells Kr'thal she is dismissed from this dream. Offering a meek bow, she turns her horse around and howls shrilly into the vanishing darkness of the Nether Regions.

Descending from his throne, he takes Christopher by the hand and leads him towards Fiddler's Green. Christopher smiles contentedly as his dreamself plays in the perceived coolness of the lake and trees.

Morpheus leaves his kingdom once more and awaits Christopher's re-emergence in the Material Plane. Minutes later, Christopher awakens refreshed.

It is still dark out, but the sandstorm has ended.

They talk for hours. Human and an Endless one. Dream learns of the hole in the human world's sky. It is poison. None feel the joy of the sun now, at least not without protection. No one dreams of the sun anymore save those who enter the dark closets of Morpheus' home. Few remember the good it used to utter.

Wiser in the ways of Mortals, he leaves Christopher to sleep until dawn. He will not remember his royal visitor.

After a trip to his brother Destiny's Rock of Ages, Morpheus enters his own land and begins to sprinkle the stuff of dreams upon his guests.

 - 30 -

This was my first fictional story attempt that I wrote a few weeks after I began writing It's A Wonderful Rife... a vehicle originally for my comic side, while the fictional stuff was just an outlet for the not-so-funny stuff. At least at first. Then I learned I could write comedy fiction too.

I have maintained the original British/Canadian spelling that I wrote it in. The headline I swiped from Bill Shakespeare. I love Shakespeare but admit I have not read everything. Yet.

So welcome to the realm of Morpheus, the Sandman, who is the king of dreams. We'll meet a few of his Endless brother's and sisters, and his raven, Matthew - but really we'll learn a bit more about dreams and ourselves.

Too melodramatic? Sorry.

Pleasant dreams,
Andrew Joseph

Monday, November 23, 2015

Tokyo 2060: Welcome to the Future - Book Review

I have just had the pleasure of reading a novella by Renae Lucas-Hall, entitled Tokyo 2060: Welcome to the Future from Grosvenor House Publishing - Kindle Edition.

Renae had been kind enough to read a few of my blogs recently and provided the encouraging compliment that she could see me as an author.

What I didn't know at that time, however, was that Renae already was an accomplished author.

Renae at no time pushed herself as an author, nor did she ever as me to review her book. Rather I came across the publishing news of Tokyo 2060: Welcome to the Future via Twitter. I contacted her and asked if she would like a review. She welcomed the suggestion and provided me with an electronic copy via Amazon, that retails for $0.74 Canadian.

Dear Renae - you'll never get rich that way, but dammit, it was still a very fine story!

I'm not sure what I was expecting - but I wasn't expecting polish. Renae and her story are polished. No spellers, no typos, no grammar complaints.

As the book's title suggests, the plot takes place in the Japan of 2060... and pretty much opens with the author admirably describing how the new technology of flying cars would not only work, but how it could be utilized by society.

I had always pictured stupid, irresponsible pilots zig-zagging all over the airways, but Tokyo 2060 does not allow that, providing decent science for why it could not happen.

So... the science, though not written in that hard science way that can be difficult to digest, seemed solid to me.

In fact, I think the way Renae writes and presents the science is superb.

My only complaint, is that I think some of the spoken lines were a little stiff. Not as natural as it could have been... but truthfully, that does not take away from the novella at all.

I think that I excel at conversational dialogue, but can't write descriptively to save my life. We each have our strengths, and I think that Renae's lies in her imagination and her ability to create what sounds like legitimate science. Let's put it this way... I felt like the science throughout the book was good.

The actual story revolves around androids, and the main character's - Poppy - feelings towards artificial intelligence... either a distrust of the 'droids', or a lament for the old way of life that appears to be changing and slipping away.

One scene I enjoyed was the fact that Tokyo 2060 mandated that a section of the city only be allowed to sell classical Japanese items - not anything mechanized or 'futuristic'... I guess I'm a romantic, and like the fact the old ways of Japan were still being observed despite the obvious advances in the city's technology.

It's cool... I wouldn't expect Tokyo, or Japan, for that matter to change the way it does things simply because of modern technologies.

The author goes through great pains to ensure we see that the customs of bowing, meishi exchange and wearing of indoor slippers was expected still in 2060AD, even while flying cars and personal androids were soon to become all the rage.

When it comes time to introduce the personal android, Renae does not disappoint, providing the reader (me) with snippets for every conceivable question I could come up with in my head.

If you have ever read any of my blogs, you will know that I tend to ask a heck of a lot of questions about even the simplest things and try to present the reader with as much information as they may or may not desire.

The author does that in a non-overpowering way. Kudos to her.

The novella is one that can be read in an hour or so... three quick chapters full of description... and I admit that I was curious to see where the angst was going to come in and how it was going to be rectified.

While I think the ending left open further stories for Tokyo 2060 to explore - and I hope Renae chooses to do that - I was left satisfied with the ending. It wasn't like those early Stephen King novels where I'd read it, slam my head against the table and moan "Not the Devil, again!" No... this seemed like Renae has something further up her sleeve. Heck, I do!

I'll not spoil the story, but I will suggest that lovers of future science intrigue give purchase to Tokyo 2060: Welcome to the Future.

You can purchase a copy from (direct link to the book included).

Renae... the 'utopian' Tokyo of 2060 raises some interesting points for future stories... with droids and robots taking the place of human jobs, does it create unemployment concerns or are the alleviated by the fact that Japan has a declining birthrate circa 2015? I leave that for you to contemplate, and hope you continue the story even further.

You know you wanna.

Buy a copy of her book. It's easy to download onto your computer or handheld device, plus I also received from Amazon copies of three classic tales: Pride & Prejudice, Aesop's Fables, and Treasure Island.

Renae - loved the book. Keep going - I want more!

Andrew Joseph

Sunday, November 22, 2015

Freedom Of Expression Group Snubbed By Japan

Believe it or not, there are some countries where the freedom of speech or freedom of expression are not inherent values in society. But Japan being one of them?

Case in point is an article my pal Vinnie sent me from the October 11, 2015 edition of the Japan Times—the Japan Constitution won't protect revolting foreigners—a tongue-in-cheek headline to a story written by Colin P.A. Jones who still has one less name than myself, J.A.M.S. Joseph.

Feel free to read the whole article HERE.

I'm going to surmise, because I have a friend and Jones who doesn't like the click-throughs that take him to other websites:

In Jones' article (the writer, not the friend), he points out that just because a foreigner is a foreigner, the foreigner is a G.O.D. (gaijin on display), but is certainly not a God. Okay, I said that, not him.

But he does note that, to wit, expressing oneself at a demonstration could provide Japan with an opportunity to either revoke or deny a work Visa. Owtch. There is no evidence that that is what happened, but there is evidence to suggest it happened. Damn double-speak.

And it all comes down to some very vague writing in Japan's Constitution, rife with political double-speak that makes it seem totally legit while being totally bogus.

Here's a translated line that speaks volumes:

Rights of the Constitution extend to foreign nationals except which by their nature are understood to address Japanese nationals only.

WTF does that mean?

The Japanese Constitution will protect foreigners (with Visas), except when when their actions can negatively impact real Japanese.

It's sooooo vague!

Vinnie says that it means that 'any law can be subject to the above interpretation, because NOTHING is specified.'

Vinnie continues: "There are specific immigration laws aimed at foreigners. Then there are laws that you MIGHT think apply to you, BUT any government official could decide otherwise."

Thanks, Vinnie. You explained that so even an idiot like myself can understand it.

Basically, it seems that when it comes to gaijin, the laws are fluid.

According to Article 21 of the Japanese Constitution, there is a guaranteed freedom of assembly, association, speech, press and all other forms of expression.

The Constitution, however, does not expressly protect the right to receive and impart information, the Japan Supreme Court has decided that the right to information is protected by Article 21 (of the Constitution), which further prohibits censorship and provides that secrecy of communication shall not be violated.

So… the Constitution was vague, but the law provided a proper answer.

But does that apply to foreigners? No…

"Andrew, how do you like being in Japan?"
"Mmmmf, Mmg, Mff! Mmmmm!"

It's probably better to suppress oneself in Japan, anyhow… if you think radicals are feared in, say France, they are double feared in Japan - especially when foreigners are involved.

"WTF did he say?"

There is a London-based group calling itself Article 19, who promote and defend freedom of expression and information globally.

To quote: "Our vision is a world in which all people can speak freely, actively engage in public life and express themselves without fear or discrimination."

It sounds wonderful… except when someone is allowed to spew out hatred.

Recall that in the U.S., with it's freedom of expression that it is perfectly fine for hate groups to speak in public, just as it is perfectly fine for those who hate hate groups to protest against them.

Hey, as long as everyone is talking - no violence will ever occur. Riiiiight.

Still, by allowing everyone the right to express themselves, you avoid government censorship via Big Brother or China or whatever.

Seriously… my blog sometimes does well as China is suddenly allowed to read it, or it does meh, as China suddenly denies access to its curious citizens.

Denying access to the Internet stops people from learning too much about what they could be missing. Like free porn. 

Anyhow, Japan, at the last minute, canceled the visit of United Nations special rapporteur for freedom of expression David Kaye, citing it was unable to schedule meetings with officials.

Probably a smart move on Japan's part, less it be found out.

Article 19 executive director Thomas Hughes states:

“ARTICLE 19 is surprised that the Japanese government has been unwilling to meet the UN’s independent expert during his review of the country’s compliance with international norms around freedom of expression, particularly in the context of the growing criticism leveled at Japan in recent years.”

Apparently members of Article 19 had recently visited Japan and met with a range of officials, academics, journalists, lawyers and members of civil society.

Those people raised numerous concerns about freedom of expression and information in Japan, including the pressure on mainstream media to remain uncritical of government policies.

Article 19 says that threats to freedom of expression and information in Japan appear to be on the increase, including threats to broadcasters of parliamentary investigations and the withdrawal of licenses under the Broadcasting Act; expanding secrecy following the adoption of the 2014 Act on the Protection of Specially Designated Secrets; and proposed revisions to the Constitution which would limit freedom of expression and association.


Sure, the State Secrecy Act from Japanese prime minister Abe Shinzo (surname first) poses threats to news reporting and press freedoms, and while Japanese government officials have intimidated Japanese reporters in the past, the new law provides the politicians more legal power to intimidate.

A muzzle on freedom of the press? Plus Abe wants to change the Japanese Constitution? Plus he wants Japan to have it's own military, a right taken away by the Allied Forces after WWII?

I'm not saying there are parallels to other would-be dictators (CoughCoughHitlerCough), because that would be foolish for me as a neutral blogger to state.

Anyhow, ARTICLE 19 would like to ask the Japanese government to reconsider its cancellation of the David Kaye’s visit and schedule face to face discussions at the earliest opportunity.

I'm not saying anything is imminent, but this could be my last ever Rife blog. If it is, we all know why. If not, it's because those fools in the Japanese government do not see the influence I wield.


I'm kidding of course. They know...

It would be wise for Article 19 to recall, however, that it is Japan's right to meet or not meet with anyone it chooses, and to do so at a date and time that is convenient to both parties. It's Japan's right to freedom of expression.

Owtch! Someone just stepped on my toes!

Now... Japan did NOT state that it would never meet with that UN gentleman, only that it was unable to do so at this time.

Conversely… WTF, Japan!? Like NO ONE could make time to talk to someone from the UN?

What are you afraid of? Oh… riiiiight.

The blogger doth protest too much, methinks,
Andrew Joseph

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Alice In Wonderland - A Japanese Connection

This one is for my gal pal Alice, who is both an Alice In Wonderland fan (as am I), and a former dancer (I can dance - shake ma groove thang - but my only catch with professional dancers is that I have probably had more of an appreciation of the spandex ballet form, rather than the tutu wearing variety).

When she and I first met some five years ago, Alice would send me videos of interpretive dancers (female with male) to share her love of the art form.

I don't pretend to understand the nuances, but I do know what I like, and I liked the emotion both the music and the dance evoked within me. It was… seductive. I guess I was finally growing up.

What we have here in this blog, is a mention of a ballet about Alice In Wonderland, and strangely enough my tiny dancer did not provide the lead to this. Oh well, ya can't have everything.

So… we have Alice, Alice In Wonderland, ballet… and holy cow, how could this possibly have a Japanese angle?

Meet the woman who dances as Alice in the ballet—Onuki Maki (surname first). That's her below and at the very top as the Ace of Hearts. That top photo is by Dean Alexander, produced by Design Army.

Not in Alice garb, but I like the cut of Onuki's gib in this sexy photo.
Now… this isn't a new ballet… in fact The Washington Ballet's Alice In Wonderland actually debuted back in 2012. Sorry… If I was ahead of the curve, I probably would have missed the curve completely.

Onuki, now 29, was born and grew up in Yokohama, Japan, first twirling on her toes at a ballet school at the age of 4.

By the time she was 12, she knew she wanted to be a professional ballet dancer—a fact perhaps propelled by having an older brother, Masayoshi, who is also a ballet dancer.

I'm going to pull data from the Washington Ballet's website for more on Onuki:

(Onuki) is in her 11th season with The Washington Ballet after one season with TWB’s Studio Company. Before joining TWB, Onuki danced with Goh Ballet in (Vancouver) Canada under Choo Chiat Goh and Lin Yee Goh. She trained at John Cranko Ballet School under the direction of Tadeusz Matacz, and at Mika Sasaki Ballet Academy under Mika Sasaki and Mikio Ikehata. Additionally, she attended Boston Ballet’s summer program on scholarship. Onuki has performed in numerous classical ballets including Serenade, Don Quixote, Le Corsaire, Diana and Acteon, Carnival of Venice, La Sylphide, Romeo + Juliet, the Esmeralda pas des deux, The Sleeping Beauty, Flames of Paris and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Onuki has performed in contemporary works by Christopher Bruce, Edwaard Liang, Karole Armitage, Mark Morris, Christopher Wheeldon, Twyla Tharp and Trey McIntyre. She has received numerous awards including the 2010 bronze medal at the International Ballet Competition in Jackson, Mississippi and a MetroDC Dance Award for Outstanding Individual Performance for Wunderland by Edwaard Liang in 2011.

It's nice that race or color wasn't a huge concern for the Washington Ballet in selecting the talented Onuki to play the lead role. After all, being able to move and entice the audience is truly the key factor.

Here's a three-minute video of Onuki's work as Alice:

Now… despite the ballet having debuted over three years ago, artistic director of the Washington Ballet and choreographer of Alice In Wonderland, Septime Webre and the main cast still seem to have audiences enthralled in 2015.

Says Webre: “She’s this unusual technician who dances with such fearlessness.

“She’s got an amazing world-class technique. … She’s just got this amazing jump that comes out of nowhere and almost looks like she’s completely effortless, and she’s got a lot of moxie too, so it was a real natural fit.”

Moxie? Yeah, see... the gal's got moxie. (You have to say it like you are Edward G. Robinson. Nyahhhh).

They're just a pack of cards! Squish them with those powerful, sexy thighs of yours!
Are they still performing this ballet? No idea. I took a look at the Washington Ballet's calendar which posted events through to June, but I could not find Alice listed.

I did note, however, that along with Onuki, the company had two other dancers of Japanese extraction: Miyazaki Tamako (Tokyo), Kimura Ayano (born in Germany).

Alice… this blog is for you.

Somewhere t'was brillig so am having tea,
Andrew "We're all mad here" Joseph

Friday, November 20, 2015

KFC No Turkey In Japan

When I was in Japan, I didn't have much luck with Thanksgiving.

Fist off, being a Canadian, apparently only Canadians knew that Thanksgiving was celebrated in Canada a whole month earlier than the U.S. (By the way, I realize I am a whole week ahead of the whole Thanksgiving in the U.S. thing, okay?)

We Canadians know that. We also know that Americans celebrate Thanksgiving in November.

We Canadians know more about our neighbors to the south—the south North Americans, or since there is NAFTA, the central North Americans—than they know about the true North Americans - Canadians, or in reality, the Inuit (Don't call them Eskimo!) and the Native Bands.

And no, just because you own Alaska doesn't mean you are more north than Canada. For the record, we probably know more about Alaska than the rest of central North America does.

There are exceptions, of course, and I know many Americans who have a fantastic global awareness.

Perhaps I give too much credit to Canadians, because Buddha knows that there are plenty of truly ignorant Canadians trudging through the snow to get to their sled dogs every morning so that they can get to the Toronto subway line that finally runs on electricity.

Canada, does, after all now have electricity to 60 percent of the country.

Anyhow, while in Japan, I quietly suffered through Thanksgiving when no one—except Matthew—ever wished me a Happy Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving is supposed to be a time of family, food and family arguments, and I missed that in Japan. Sort off. Boo-freaking-hoo. Whatever. I'm over it. No, really.

Knowing that sting, I decided in 1990 in Japan that I would try and do something special for my American girlfriend, Ashley, so that she could celebrate U.S. Thanksgiving in Japan in style.

I decided I would get a hold of a turkey and ensure I was the best boyfriend ever.

Apparently turkey's in Japan are about as common as the dodo, only less so, as I was able to get one thanks to the machinations of my board of education, and the help of one restaurant in a city 10 kilometers south of where I lived that had an oven big enough to cook it for me.

Anyhow, that whole thing blew up in my face - you should read that wonder story of rife and ruin HERE. You might wonder why I didn't decide to swear off women all together. Sometimes I wonder, as well.

Sometimes I think I'm not enough of an A-hole and allow people to walk all over me and jerk me around. Probably. I both hate and like that part of myself, but it still made for a lot of frickin' loneliness. But no one cares about that. Let's talk turkey.

Who says there's no turkey in Japan? I was there.

Turkey is just one of those birds that the Japanese never got into because there simply wasn't much call for them outside the U.S. military bases (which is where I believe the turkey I had was ultimately from).

Anyhow, Americans and Canadians don't eat a lot of turkey throughout the year back home… perhaps only indulging at each other's Thanksgiving, Christmas or maybe whenever there's a Hungry Man TV dinner purchased.

I am not talking about deli meats, by the way, but rather chunks of real meaty bird flesh not polluted as turducken (a chicken stuffed inside a duck which is then stuffed inside a turkey), which I am sure is very good, but that's because it is deep-fried and everything deep-fried is very good. It's why I take an anti-cholesterol pill every day.

So while the Japanese do not celebrate Thanksgiving, they have succumbed to the hallmark holiday of Christmas.

It is guesstimated that there are about three-million Japanese Christians, but it still boils down to less than one percent.

And yet Japan and it's 99 percent Buddhist population likes to also celebrate Christmas.

It's cool. I think they just want a reason to celebrate anything.

While the Japanese have caught onto the commercialism of Christmas with far greater zeal than is healthy—Santa Claus, parties, gift exchanges—but no turkey gobbling.

So what food would the Japanese consume on Christmas? Sushi? Yakitori? Close…

No… they eat Kentucky Fried Chicken.

Not fried chicken… we're talking KFC. See image at very top... finger-licking good!

And it all goes back 41-years ago, when KFC, then known by the long but accurate moniker Kentucky Fried Chicken, ushered in a fanatically successful advertising campaign that grabbed the Japanese by the throat and never let go.

The Kurisumasu ni wa kentakkii! (Kentucky for Christmas!) marketing plan offered foreigners (initially) the opportunity to purchase a Christmas meal for ¥2,920 (then-US$10).

The 2015 KFC Japan is offering a meal for barrel of chicken for ¥4090 (US $33.29). 

The 2015 KFC Christmas Dinner - where the fug are the fries and lumpy gravy?!
Sure it's overpriced compared to what you could get back in the U.S. and U.S. Junior (Canada), but Christmas is a time for giving. These days that means with one's wallet, so fork it over.

You don't have to pre-order your meal, but apparently there are line-ups on Christmas Day that rival what I had to put up with to purchase tickets for The Who's final concert tour back in 1989 or something like that. All I know is that it was an overnight camping trip and there was a lot of funny tobacco being passed around to keep everyone in the line awake and warm... though come to think of it, it didn't keep people as awake as they thought. I wish we had remembered to bring food. KFC would have been good, but then there's have been a need to go to the bathroom, and sine we were outdoors, it wasn't going to fun for anyone.

Who's next? While that could mean which Who member is going to pass away (couldn't the remaining members reform with the surviving Beatles members and create one really great and old group?)

I'm actually exaggerating about the KFC line-ups on Christmas day, but sometimes there was a two-hour line-up.

I once had to wait 30 minutes in Toronto on a Tuesday, non-holiday, because the staff at my local KFC are incompetent boobs.

Anyone who lives in Chicago or the surrounding areas is also keenly aware that unless there's a line-up of at least an hour at any type of non-fastfood restaurant, the food there isn't that good.

Line-ups are all about perspective. Still... two hours is a long time on Christmas, so a pre-order is suggested and recommended.

Of course, you don't have to be like the rest of the sheepeople and have to get KFC because it's the thing that everyone says you should do.

Most of the Jewish folk I know get Chinese food at Christmas. I'm just saying, is all. There are other delicious options.

Anyhow... to my American comrades, Happy Thanksgiving, next week! If you have one, enjoy the turkey. I won't mention it next week... except to a select few with whom I have held personal correspondence. You four know who you are.

As for the rest... if you are in Japan, just know that since the Japanese celebrate Christmas with KFC, you can also do the same for Thanksgiving.

I don't think that chicken is remotely close to a substitute for a turkey dinner, but when in Japan, do as the Japanese do.

Lastly, for some Thanksgiving entertainment, check out this Japanese urban legend involving KFC's Colonel Sanders and the Japanese version of the Chicago Cubs baseball team - HERE.

Andrew Joseph