I may never go back to sleep again. Do people who have been traumatized in dreams, but not in real life, find their dream lives permanently changed? And isn’t the point of dreams to let your subconsciousness sort out your real life, instead of introducing bizarre hostage situations in there?

All I remember is that there were three of us. Two men and one women, including me, but not always the same man and women. Sometimes the characters in a dream can change from one person to another, like how Dick Sargent took over the role of Darrin on “Bewitched” from Dick York. Was Dick Sargent the male hostage in my dream? Probably not. The three of us knew each other previously because we were extremely effective as a hostage group. No dissension in our ranks! Maybe my next dream will be the three of us hitting the corporate lecture circuit, talking about the importance of teamwork and how if the three of us can work together in a hostage situation, surely those of you at GPITechConModTage International, San Antonio Facility Human Resources, can work together too.

The hostage taker was a woman of somewhat small size with dark brown hair – fairly intense, but I guess that’s to be expected. Did she even have a weapon when she took us hostage? It fades away now that I’m awake, but somehow she corralled the three of us into her sumptous apartment and/or hotel room. Sumptuous, or at least spacious – it was the same tan and light coral color scheme that I associated with sumptuousness in hotel rooms in movies or on television. The room went on forever and was L-shaped – we were in the boot of the L, which becomes important later.

She called herself “Audrey Meadows Jr.” although I think, in the dream, she got the names wrong and that Jayne Meadows was her mother. One of the other hostages recalled hearing something about how this person’s mother didn’t pay her much mind as a child – but, then, Junior could have been lying: the real Jayne Meadows had a son, not a daughter, after all.

She treated us relatively well, though for someone with such sumptuous tan and coral living quarters she didn’t even offer us a drink or some fine cheese or something. We got nothing but a work table and a set of three whiteboards on the nearby wall. It was here that Junior ordered us to do an assignment: “choose a person in your life who you care about and describe six of their characteristics.” That’s something that doesn’t happen much in hostage situations, does it? Vocabulary building exercises?

I obviously chose toddler Owen and started describing his extensive vocabulary (“he learns new words quickly and finds interesting ways to use them”) – the other male hostage chose to write about the wrestler Owen Hart (“he won innumerable Intercontinental and tag team titles”). Our hostage taker apparently wanted to give us plenty of time for this assignment so she wandered back toward the kitchen, toward the top of the L shape of the room. Since we were in the boot of the L, we were temporarily out of sight. The female hostage said “let’s call for help!” I whispered to the 911 operator on my cellphone “we’ve been kidnapped – we don’t know where, but it’s really sumptuous – can you trace us?” They could. “Help is on the way,” the woman said. All we had to do was keep up the vocabulary building until they showed up.

“Audrey Meadows Junior” was pacing back and forth, clearly troubled about something, though she didn’t say what. Nonetheless she carried on with our exercises; she wanted us to present our work to the rest of the group. Since we had all helped each other with the work (and come on, who hasn’t done this while the teacher wasn’t looking) we had to pretend that we were all surprised at each other’s vocabulary choices. I was about to begin my presentation when Junior heard something outside the door.

The door she opened swung to the left. Because of this she couldn’t see what I, standing further back and to the right, could: two agents of some kind hiding just off to the side of the door ready to put this hostage situation to bed. Junior turned back to us – “there’s nothing out there.” The agents pulled their weapons and said “freeze!” or something to that effect, but didn’t actually apprehend Junior, they just sort of stood there. Audrey Meadows Junior pulled out some kind of needle/pea shooter/poison thing, and, having figured out the game was up, aimed it at me and shot.

She hit me in the right hand, which caused the affected area to feel a little numb. The agents rushed over with an antidote, reassuring me that I would be fine, but then Junior, who was still completely unencumbered, kept shooting. The agents referred to my injury as a “paw stick,” to which I yelled “my paw! my paw!” The three hostages had to convince the agents that they couldn’t really close the book on this case until, y’know, they’d actually arrested the suspect. Our logic was as unassailable as our teamwork, and they finally arrested Audrey Meadows Junior, at which point, I woke up.

And that’s why I may not going back to sleep again. When I’m awake, my life is perfectly happy – family, work, home, all good. In the dream world, crime is rampant, even in the most sumptuous hotels and apartment buildings. Who needs the headache of being taken hostage by “Audrey Meadows Junior”? I’ll just stay up and watch reruns or something.

Maybe The Honeymooners is on.