This poem came out of the June 4, 2013 Poetry Fishbowl. It was inspired and sponsored by technoshaman. It also fills the #6 Enigma slot in the Rainbowfic Moonlight list. This poem belongs to the Schrodinger's Heroes project.
Tim the Tentacle monster
is and always has been
something of an enigma --
transported between dimensions
to land like a fish out of water
within the Teflon Tesseract.
His body is a strange pile
of writhing tentacles
in gracefully changing colors,
his eyes wise and kind --
but it is his mind
which is more alien
because he rarely sleeps
but frequently dreams.
"It is," he tries to explain,
"a little like your autosave,
if you consider memory a manipulable function
and if you could imagine defragging
as something that could be done while
a computer is also running ordinary programs,
so that it could be automated to activate as needed
instead of requiring a great deal of downtime
and empty space."
Pat simply throws up his hands
and asks Tim not to do it in the kitchen
because it tends to make him pause in place
and become a traffic hazard.
Ash regards Tim with a speculative look
and hums a little under her breath,
then asks if he has noticed
that he's wandering into other people's dreams.
Tim frills his tentacles in a complicated shrug
and replies, "Why wouldn't I still be talking to you
within the dimension of your dreams?
You might as well ask if I talk to you
in the toolshed as well as the kitchen."
Suddenly everyone else is staring at both of them.
Ash just chuckles and shakes her head.
She explains to Tim that many humans
do not practice dreamsharing
and may take some time to get used to it.
She explains to everyone else
that this is something she grew up doing,
something that many native families do,
telling their dreams each morning
until they begin running together.
"Someday," Ash says to Tim,
"I should take you to a Kachina dance.
Kachina dancers are strong dreamers.
I think you would like them.
I have some cousins-of-cousins
among the Acoma Pueblo
who would welcome us there."
"Are you sure that's safe?"
asks Kay, because security is her job
and she is careful of everyone's safety.
"I'm sure," says Ash.
"Nobody would dare offend a Star Dancer,
especially not one who can dream while awake!"
"They will not mind my appearance?"
Tim inquired, because humans were not always
as tolerant as might be desired.
"Well, you could wear regalia
and be completely covered,
if you want to try passing for human,
but I think people will be more impressed
by your iridophores and tentacles," Ash said.
"Kachina dancers aren't meant to look human."
"Thank you for the offer," Tim said.
"I will contemplate it further."
It took time, but everyone
gradually got used to Tim drifting through their dreams
or defragging his wetdrive in public space.
They cuddled with him, or stepped around him,
as the circumstances seemed require
and went on with their lives.
* * *
Autosave is a computer function that periodically records the current version of a project in case of power failure.
Defragmentation is a basic computer maintenance task that reorganizes data storage more efficiently.
Kachina spans a wide variety of spirits/deities in Pueblo cultures.
Iridophores are cells that reflect or refract light, creating a mirrored or opalescent effect. Some types of regalia have silver conches, shell buttons, sequins, mirrors, tin cones, or other reflective components.