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The stuff of nightmares: A man in pursuit, and an impotent firearm

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Justice

In the abyss of the VIP room, in the blackness of a small space inside the bowels of a strip club somewhere in an industrial part of Vegas, you’re naked and one-on-one with a man you just met. His brain is operating in primal mode and you need to be completely in control, both physically and psychologically, to keep him on his best behavior.

Sometimes it feels like they must have eight hands, like some kind of horny, unbridled octopus just repeatedly trying to cling to you. You’re on top but you’re still so vulnerable. Within screaming distance, there is a bouncer the size of an ox whose mere presence should make a customer behave. But what if they don’t? They’ve had a few drinks. They see a pretty lady in front of them. Things could get ugly.

They basically never get out of hand, but I’m expressing my fear of the situation. I get so scared sometimes. I have so many nightmares. Maybe it’s all the caffeine I take but I recently woke up in the middle of the night (what you might call afternoon) from a nightmare with my heart beating so hard, I truly believed I was experiencing a medical emergency. I could hear it beating in my chest like it was trying to escape and I was sweating profusely. It was so loud, I feel like anyone next to me would have been able to hear it too.

The nightmare is always the same. It’s always a variation of being attacked or chased by a man. In the dream, I also have a gun that doesn’t work. It’s completely impotent, my gun. I aim it at my attacker and pull the trigger and it may as well be made of neon-pink plastic and filled with water. It jams, or doesn’t fire at all. Sometimes it dribbles out pellets with the same projectile force as the poop coming out of a goat. More often, the nightmare is becoming associated with work situations. My attacker is blocking the exit to the VIP room. I can clearly see his faceless silhouette like a paper cutout looming in the doorway. The pointed edge of something sharp is in his hand.

I know that the root of this nightmare is an unsettling real world life encounter. I was once at home when someone broke into my house. I never felt so cornered or violated and though it happened years ago it clearly is still on my mind. Sometimes I think I see him at work, sneaking up on me. A similar facial feature will send me into a panic. I’ll seize up mid-sentence and become completely focused on the uncomfortably familiar person. I’m safe, I know. I have security personnel on my side. However, knowing something and feeling something are two very different things. I remain unsettled. Maybe it’s just the caffeine.

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