and now the pallets are literally crawling with other babies

february 11, 2019

A very prolonged anxiety dream. I'm with two friends from highschool, M. and A., and we're attending some kind of massive gaming tournament held inside of an equally massive Home Depot garden center. My current friend T. is also here and we have his baby with us. The baby is hanging out in a shopping cart.

We decide last-minute that we're all going to join the tournament for a team video game that we play together, but first we have to prep some IRL potions that we will use strategically. We collect our ingredients from the various food vendors in the giant garden center.

I begin making these potions with a huge syringe, basically sucking juice out of fruit and transferring to a container. We all test the efficacy of the potions together (the dream logic shifts: but what are they for? We won't actually be using them on ourselves; they're for the game, some kind of symbolic stand-in). We look back down and the baby is missing from the shopping cart. We look around and the baby is nowhere to be seen.

We split up and begin a frantic search across this massive garden center. Initially I'm scanning at eye-level, and towards the end I'm on my hands and knees looking underneath every row of pallets, which stretch on forever. And now the pallets are literally crawling with other babies. Apparently tens of other people have lost their babies as well? I'm visually inspecting each one to see if they belong to my friend, and then I just leave them there.

A nice lesbian couple asks what's going on and I provide a description of the baby and they pass the info along to a bunch of other people. Under the pallets I notice occasional critters, like squirrels. At one point I see a cat in the metal shelving and I'm like, "oh a cat." But then I notice that it's a big cat. And then I realize that it's straight-up some kind of leopard or tiger, and it's staring directly into my eyes. I sorta back away and just start screaming and growling at it in an attempt to frighten it, and it loses interest. But now there's a big cat in here with the lost baby!

After much repetitive and frantic searching, I receive a call from one of my search party friends on a flip phone from 2006. I immediately answer with, "did you find him??" and he responds with, "hey Jaron, this is A., how've you been?"

"Where are you??"

"What? I'm still living off of Palo Verdeā€¦"

And then the friend that I'm talking to on the phone comes up next to me in the garden center and says, very quietly and almost dejectedly, "hey, we found him."

My reaction is an anxiety-ridden, "Wha?? Noo, I'm on the phone with you right now!"

"Let me see?" He takes the phone from me, listens to the other end, and hangs up. "Yeah you were talking to a spam call."

He explains: "You remember the potions we had to make? Uh, we've all been having a shared hallucination. T. and I just started coming down."

"Where did you find the baby??"

"He's been in the shopping cart this whole time."

He continues, "At one point T. found a silver dog toy hanging on a shelf and thought he'd found his son. I pointed out that it was silver and he said, lovingly, 'yeah. he's been all spruced up.'"

I went back to the baby and he was with his mom. I talked about the tank controls in the original Tomb Raider.

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