Bizarre Druid Flashdance

Last night I was laying in bed getting ready to drift off to Happy Land of the Dodo Birds and Yummy Shaved Lemon Ice. What, don't you have a special name for the part of your brain that gives you pretty dreams? Oh. I see. Me neither.

So there I am, my eyes shut, feeling kind of excited about maybe dreaming about touring with Pearl Jam -- again -- when suddenly unnatural light starts piercing my eyelids. Somewhat startled, because the last time aliens kidnapped and studied me and siphoned all the information from my brain, they'd been so disappointed that all I had in there was a list of the top 8,000 rock albums of all time, multiplication tables, and a few scattered sentence fragments like "a tort is not a pastry" and "mmmmm.... cheese" and "never karate chop a John Deere" and "heh-heh, the operation gave him a hairy hand, heh-heh," that they'd dropped me off at the Plaid Pantry on the corner near my house and asked if, in the future, I'd kindly keep my windows closed and locked so they wouldn't waste their time kidnapping me again, I opened my eyes to see what was going on. Oh wow, that could be a record run-on sentence. So masterful. Anyhow, so I open my eyes to see why light is penetrating my eyelids, and I see strange, orange light rhythmically pulsing through my second-story window. And then I notice a sound, like a flag rippling in a breeze, timed to throb with the flashing orange light.

If you think you know where this is going, I promise you're wrong. I mean, you're usually right. You did really well in 3rd grade and everything. I remember something about the teacher thinking you were a pleasure to have in class. Well done, you know, kudos or whatever. But, really, I'm pretty sure you're wrong on knowing where this is going, because what I saw was easily the most bizarre, unexpected thing I'd seen since, I don't know, somebody throwing shoes at the leader of the free world during a press conference.

So I creep up to the window, and I've got my bow and arrow ready to shoot the dragon in its weak spot, you know, on its left breast (so glad I paid attention while reading The Hobbit as a nerdy, be-pimpled, friendless tween). And I pull the curtains -- and there is my Swiss roommate, dressed in a black tank-top and black cap, standing beneath my window on the lawn in the dark, his back to me, twirling flaming torches.

Truly bizarre.

I sit there and watch, and I consciously double-check to see if I'm dreaming, because this is just the sort of weird thing that your brain might toss out in the middle of the night when it's all out of fun, happy-colored scenes of dodo birds munching on cotton candy and then vomiting it back up to feed their young. What, you've never dreamed about that? Oh. I see. Me neither.

But wait. It gets weirder. So I watch this surreal scene for a couple of minutes. I'm entranced -- mesmerized. Which may have been Swiss-boy's aim: hypnotize the American and then steal his sweet-action Stonehaven Dental shirt that says "Wake up to a brand new smile" on the front. I've seen it all before; everyone's after me lucky Stonehaven Dental shirt. So his flaming torches are arcing through the dark and it's really amazing and I'm thinking "Holy crap this is so weird that it's 11:00 p.m. and Swiss-boy is standing alone in the pitch black yard swinging flaming torches," and then, at the edge of the pulsating light the torches are casting, a face appears, peering over the fence into the yard.

"Hello," the face says in a cheery and lovely and proper English accent. "We're having a party. Would you like to come hang out with us?" Swiss-boy continues twirling his flaming torches as he considers the proposal. The only sound is that of fire whipping through the sultry night air.

"Yes, I think I'd like that very much," Swiss-boy finally responds in his equally lilting English without slowing his twirling. "Which house is it?"

"Oh, yes," the face says politely. "Two houses down, I believe... I see you've a way with fire," the face adds, acknowledging for the first time the fact that the young man with whom he's speaking has two huge flaming balls attached to ropes orbiting at high speeds around his head and body in random, beautiful, terrible patterns.

By this time, several more faces have joined the first and are ogling at the Swiss Fire Master. The squeals of young English women pierce the evening as they watch Swiss-boy defy death by fire and melting flesh. Then, suddenly, one of the faces steps confidently into the circle of fire light and produces a long staff. As I watch, dumbfounded and befuddled, both ends of the staff burst into bright flame and the face, now attached to a body, begins madly spinning the staff above his head, behind his back, like he's Donatello the freaking Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle warding off like 85 of Shredder's stupid henchmen. And Swiss-boy ups his performance, now no longer standing stock still like the bassist from the Who while twirling his flames, but instead spinning and weaving his body to add new loops to the torches' arcs.

I can't believe it. In the yard beneath my window I've got a full-on ritualistic Druid solstice oh-pagan-gods-please-send-us-beautiful-maidens-to-sacrifice-for-no-real-reason-except-to-give-us-something-to-do-in-this-weird-circle-of-tall-pointy-rocks fire flashdance thingy erupting... and it's freaking awesome.

It's like a bizarre dream you could only have in R.E.M. sleep, because the shallower sleep stages produce only weak cheese nocturnal visions, like maybe your pants falling off at school as you try to make your way across the monkey bars. Several times I literally slap myself to be sure that I'm not just mired deeply in one of those dreams where you dream you're wondering if you're dreaming, so you try to wake up, but you don't so you think it's real even though it's still just a dream. But it's not. It's the real deal. Finally, reality intrudes -- one of the young English maidens beholding the spectacle says softly, "Do you think this is legal, then?" No one answers, and the fire's spell regains control.

I don't know how long this went on, because when I came to it was 8 a.m. Dude, I swear it really happened. You can't make this stuff up. When I talk to Swiss-boy today I'm going to ask him if he'll show me his flaming torches, and if he shakes his head slightly and asks me to repeat the question, I'm going to never again eat a block of extra sharp English cheese right before bed.