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Kitchenalia

 

       I'm standing in a kitchen ‒ not my own ‒ facing the wall cupboards, looking at the counter-top, which is empty: pristine, like one of those mock‒up kitchens in a DIY store.  But this is not a DIY store.  It's someone's house.

 

       From my left ‒ out of shot, as it were ‒ an anonymous hand reaches across in front of me and places on the work surface a large mug of coffee. The identity of the giver is not important; I do not thank them. I pick up the mug of coffee and make to drink from it.

 

       At this point I must pause the narrative to tell you that in my waking life I am not, by and large, a coffee drinker. It's not that I don't like coffee ‒ I do ‒ but for me it's an occasional pleasure: something to have on a long journey perhaps, or as a fortifying treat, preferably with cake, in the middle of a tiring shopping day.  But not at home. Likewise, if I am at a friend's house and they offer me coffee ‒ even if they've got one of those fancy machines ‒ I'll opt for tea instead. I am, at heart, a tea person.

 

       I have ground coffee in the house and a cafetière, but only so that I may offer coffee to guests. I never use them for myself. They've barely seen any use since my other half died. Now there was a coffee fiend: six or seven cups a day, black and strong. Back then, our kitchen smelled like a coffee shop.

 

       So I'm raising the mug to my lips when I notice something unusual. Hairs. In the coffee. Not floating on the surface but sticking out from under the liquid.

 

       "Hmmm..." I think. "Hairy coffee. That's a new one." ‒ and it's now I realise it's not the coffee itself that's hairy, no: there's a hairy object in the coffee. So ‒ as you do ‒ I reach into the mug, grasp hold of several of the hairs and draw the object out. This being a dream, it emerges not hot and dripping as one might imagine, but cool, intact: unaffected by its immersion.

 

       I stand, cradling it in my hand, and look at it; feel its gentle weight, its texture, and at once recognise it for what it is. It's my scrotum. Although I am at a loss to explain how it has become detached from the rest of me, I am not at all disconcerted. Indeed, if I can own to any emotion at all, it is a pleasant sense of relief that my old pal has not been mislaid completely: is not, for instance, lying in some stranger's under‒stair cupboard among old paint tins, gathering dust (these things happen so easily). No: it is here, safe and sound, in the charge of its fond and rightful owner. Hello scroty.

 

       It is resting in a position I can best describe as "the right way up" ‒ you'll know what I mean ‒ and, understandably, given that it has been severed from its usual mooring, it is open at the top, rather like a bag of sweets. Driven by that inexorable yet peculiarly dispassionate brand of curiosity that is the privilege of the dreamer, I peer inside. What I find leaves me perplexed.

 

       Not having been medically trained and thus never having been required to dissect the generative organs of a human male, I have no idea, beyond the sketchily-remembered evidence of a few very dry and analytical textbook illustrations, what a pair of naked testicles should look like, but it's obvious even to me that what I'm seeing isn't right.

 

       Eyes. Well, eyeballs to be precise ‒ a host of them: sentient, focussed and staring back at me.  Not threateningly, but with a sense of keen attentiveness and expectation that, as one who performs regularly to rooms full of people, I know very well. And immediately my next course of action becomes obvious. It's the only logical thing to do.

 

       Having by now long since served its purpose in the dream narrative, the mug of coffee has politely ceased to exist, so with my unencumbered hand I reach into the scrotal sac, lift out a glistening orb and pop it gently into my mouth, where it holds firm for only a moment before dissolving pleasingly on my tongue. One by one, methodical and purposed, I do the same with the rest. It feels good.

 

       I am midway through this process when I wake up, laughing at the crude visual pun of what I recognise as a textbook performance anxiety dream. The mood lingers into breakfast: I am still smiling, recalling the details as I stand at the counter making tea. From the left ‒ out of shot, as it were ‒ a familiar hand reaches round, coming to rest upon the front of me. And the kitchen smells like a coffee shop.