Sleeper THX 1138 Dream

Last night I had a vivid dream which has stayed with me. These are the details.

There is a long stretch of a one-lane road alongside a towering cliff. Beyond the cliff is a churning sea as blue as ink. The sky above is overcast and quickly descending into night. It is dusk, and the night shift will be starting soon. At first, the POV (Point of View) is from something hovering high above this road and looking downward. Then, the POV focuses in on a solitary vehicle driving fast on this road. The POV zooms in to a close-up of what is there. We see that LUH from “THX 1138” is driving an egg shaped vehicle like from the movie, “Sleeper.” LUH looks like Maggie McOmie’s version of the character except that her hair is starting to grow back. For now, her hair is a white fuzz over her scalp. Also, she is not as pensive as the original version of the character. She has a more lighthearted expression that is a beat removed from mischief. The road winds alongside the cliff for awhile, and then it is a straight line along the side of a behemoth, windowless, white structure comprised of a number of cubes constructed on top of or inside one another. LUH’s vehicle passes by a few thin, rectangular signs with red block letters against a white surface. The words are long gobbledygook combining Roman and Russian alphabetic letters. On the right side is the cube city constructed on and over the side of the cliff. On the left side and further up the road is a vast service station. There are hundreds of egg shaped vehicles parked by gas pumps, and there is a McDonald’s serving up fast food to hundreds of women who look and dress like LUH and who are presumably about to start the night shift. All of this is now lit by tall, rectangular, concert light panels that are constantly switching on and off light bulbs to create different geometric patterns. In total, the geometric patterns seem to be a comprehensible code that makes sense subconsciously to the women sitting in their egg shaped vehicles at the gas pumps or dining in the McDonald’s.

LUH is in her workstation somewhere inside the cube city. The POV is the same as when she is manipulating the buttons and the dials on a vast computer platform in the movie, “THX 1138.” Indeed, many of the medium and close-up shots that we see going forward are the same as from the original. In essence, we do not see her directly so much as we see her image on a rectangular, closed circuit, television screen. We are inside the cube city surveillance room and checking in on a myriad of television screens indiscriminately. The result is a kind of montage view of reality where what is being observed in itself has no comprehensible continuity and, therefore, makes no sense. Instead, what does make sense is whatever conscious order the observer is imposing on the montage of televised images in an effort to find an infraction somewhere that he can fine. The observer is able to connect together what seems like disparate television images in order then to cobble together “clues” of an “infraction.” When he sees an “infraction,” he presses a red button that freezes momentarily the disparate television images that, when cobbled together, indicate the “infraction.” The frozen images are stored by the computer for a prosecutor to be able to justify the fine, if ever the fine is contested, and then the television images go back to normal. The televised people are totally unaware that they have been swept up together into an “infraction,” until a fine is automatically deducted from their pay, or they receive a subpoena to be a witness to a contested fine. The reality is that no fine is ever contested, though. Everyone understands that they will be “terminated,” if ever the fine is overturned, since an overturned fine depletes from the revenue stream that goes to the government of the cube city. As if to hit home that point, there are loudspeakers all over the cube city that remind people periodically that “slavery is the gold standard” and “revenue is sacred.” When these civic messages are not being repeated over those loudspeakers, we hear the menacing choral soundtrack from the original movie played.

THX is standing in his work station. He looks like a middle aged version of Robert Duvall, instead of the younger version of the same actor from the original movie. He is sporting a mustache similar to Robert Duvall’s from “The Great Santini.” He is also wearing a black outfit that contrasts sharply with the all white backdrop. What is most different from the original movie, though, is THX’s behavior. He is giddy in there almost to be point of being unhinged. He claps his hands and dances in place. He is excited, because he has found or put together a device that will handle the robotic arm in his workstation better than he is capable of doing himself. This means he will never again be fined for manipulating the robotic arm with any imprecision. The device looks like a metallic box with little robotic fingers. He attaches the metallic box to the lever he used to handle, and then watches with increased fascination as the robotic fingers protrude further out from the box and wrap around the lever. We see the lever slide side to side or up and down with slow and steady precision. We follow the long robotic arm that juts out from the lever through a wall that separates THX’s workstation from a secure area. Inside the secure area is an assortment of devices that in close-up look like cake mixers. THX’s robotic arm turns on a 1950s red cake mixer. The mixer dips into a bowl already full of the ingredients which are needed to make cake batter. The robotic arm slightly moves the mixer so that it can mix the ingredients at different parts of the bowl rather than mixing everything together at the center of the bowl. While this is happening, a hose manipulated by another robotic arm slides over to the bowl and drops chocolate chips into the cake mix. THX does a fist pump when he sees the cake mix in the bowl take on the darker color of milk chocolate.

LUH sees on her own television screen what THX has done. She smiles, for she is proud of what he has accomplished. She catches herself, and looks down at her control panel as if concerned with something else. The surveillance team catches her odd expression, though, and a gloved hand in the surveillance room types something onto a keyboard in response.

THX has left his workstation. He is walking in a crowd of workmen. He stands out as the only one in black, while the others are in their white work uniforms. He also has a cocky look on his face, and looks around for a sign of approval, while everyone looks downward and shuffles forward with apprehension. He steps away from the mass and onto a train track several feet below the level of where the workmen are walking. Apparently, this is a more direct route to his living space, and the concert lights above that would indicate an arriving or departing train have not been switched on in ages. He does not think that a train is operating on this track any longer, and so he has no idea that a train is moving in silence and without vibrating the tracks beneath his feet. When the train gets closer, we can see that it looks like a cake mixer – a bowl on train wheels, and a rotating mixer that is positioned parallel to the tracks and protruding above and beyond the bowl. The mixer smashes THX from behind and eviscerates him into a bloody goo that splashes back into the bowl. The mixer turns so that it is now perpendicular to the tracks and pulls back so that it is now facing into the bowl. It descends into the bowl and continues to mix what is left of THX into the cake batter that is already there.

As the cake mixer train enters into a tunnel, we see a deranged hobo sitting against the wall to the right of the tunnel entrance. He is on the same level as the workmen, and so he is several feet above the train tracks. He slaps his own face erratically and screams like a man possessed, and then he settles down when the train has passed. As the POV moves in toward his face we see that he is SEN as played by Donald Pleasance. He is on one of the television screens in the surveillance room. A gloved hand types onto the keyboard. The implication is that this SEN can be apprehended, cleaned up, examined, and given a trade and a living space appropriate to his mental acuity. He will be THX’s replacement. The surveillance room watches and a gloved hand types in further notes as two helmeted android cops in black walk up to the deranged hobo and apprehend him without fuss.

Published by Michael Sean Erickson

I write, act, and produce films in Los Angeles. Everything else is conjecture.

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