I dream a lot, as most people do, but I like to think my dreams are different than many people’s and I tend to remember my dreams pretty well. In the spring, my dreams can be even more elaborate, and very dialogue intensive. It’s 5:31 as I write this post, and I just awoke from an interesting dream, inspire by the single line of dialogue; Hitler died a happy man.
The setting is this. I was in English class, sitting next to Jeff Cruze. He and I got along, and were having several conversations throughout the dream. The class had just learned his secret, which was that we was in fact Tom Cuises’ half brother, and he’d been sent to public school while his brother got all the riches of private school because he was born out of wedlock during an affair, and Tom had done a movie. Although the class was surprised by this, I wasn’t, because Jeff Cruze looked pretty much like an older version of Tom to me. As he told his life story, he mentioned; “Hitler died a happy man”.
This quote peaked my interests and I asked him where it was from. “Did you just make that up now?” I asked.
“huh?” was his reply?
“Did you just make that up, off the top of your head, or did you quote it from something? It sounds too profound to just be a throw away line you made up” I continued.
Before he could answer, I opened my flip top desk, and pulled out my foolscap paper and began to write this down.
In my mind, the scenario of the classroom played on, and I remembered a background story for myself in that setting. I was actually my own age, a 50 year old version of me in that class too, and I was not a good student. I was there, merely as a muse to my writing. I had paid tuition to be there, not for the class itself, but for the inspiration to write. For exactly this reason, to be in the right place at the right time for somebody sitting next to me to utter something inspiring, and then for me to begin writing.
I ignored the actual classwork. Jeff Cruze next to me, had even asked me about which project topic I was writing about.
“What topic did you choose? Are you in Miss Wilson’s group?”
“Oh”, I replied. “No. I don’t do the assignments. I’m just here to write my own stuff”.
And I picked up my pen, and started to write; “Hitler died a happy man”
The pen I grabbed was a part of the dream too. It was a classic Bic 4 colour ink pen. One with black, blue, green and red switches at the top you pushed downward and that ink tube came out the single whole. It was a popular invention back when I was a kid, and I happened to have seen they’ve come back into style this week while I was shopping at Staples for office supplies. I remembered this face in the dream, and incorporated it into the story. The pen was clearly not mine. It was in my desk, and I was about to start writing with it, when I thought to myself, this pen is somebody else’s and I am about to use it. They may see it, and notice it because it’s so clearly a special thing, there might be some question as to whether I stole it.
I decided to pre-empt any possible situation, and so I turned to the class and made it a show. “Hey, did you guys see they brought the Bic 4 colour pens back?”. I showed it off proudly as if it was my own recent discover, which of course it was, but this display made it appear as if I’d found, and bought this pen myself. Surely this would trick anyone else missing their pen into believing this one was indeed mine.
“yeah. I just saw this one at Staples yesterday. They have two models. The original like this, and a new one with four different colours. It’s not exactly the same as the original, but it’s clear they’re trying to revive a nostalgic memory”.
That was my show. I then went back to writing my journal, with the idea that it was settled. This was now my pen, and nobody would try to dispute that.
As I touched the pen to the paper to begin, I realized that the plastic tip that held the ink into position had ben broken and was missing. No doubt this was why the original owner had abandoned such a cool pen. BUSTED. I was now trying to write with a pen that was clearly, not only identifiable, but useless. If anyone inquired, I would have to explain why I was using an old style other pen now… and now the pen I had just proudly shown off. What more, I would have to admit to the original owner, if they showed up – that I had just lied to everyone and tried to pass their pen off as one I’d just discovered and bought as my own.
Luckily, that guilt was too much for me, and I awoke from the dream.
Ironically, this was in fact, the premise of the entire concept. Sometimes, in a bad situation, running away is the answer. Death can bring happiness. Hitler died a happy man. He avoided the awfulness that was around him. When I heard (dreamt) that single line, the vision of a man killing himself to avoid something worse seemed profound. It cheated the end game, and he escaped punishment for his sins. I know very little of Hitler the man of course, and I didn’t want my story to be about him. As a unified earth, we are all taught to hate the man, and despite any qualities he may have had as a leader or artist, or writer, we are taught by history he was a bad man who did very bad things. All people with the name Hitler changed theirs, and all the towns cities with German names changed theirs, except I think for the little Canadian town of Swastika Ontario, that decided not to, because they were Swastika first, an they liked it.
Anything that ever happens in our world that is in any way evil is compared to him and his team of Nazi solders. Hitler is the only real superhero style arch villain of our time. An everlasting symbol and logo of all that is bad. We are told we must never forget, although logically, forgetting could actually be the best thing to do.
I don’t really think Hitler died a happy man, and this story isn’t even really about him. It is about the dream.
The vivid memory that I did use high school as a muse to my writing. I did exactly as pictured here in my vision. I would hear something a student or teacher said, and I would pick up my foolscap white paper and my Bic 4 colour pen, set to blue 99% of the time, and start writing. I wrote a lot back then. Almost all of the content for my first series of books was written in high school when I was supposed to be doing work. In science class, I wrote a detective series about a man named Warren Peace, and I wrote my first book of one page monologue adventures called “BOOK, a no name product”., which is self published and still available online.
They all started the same way, with a single thought or a title. I put pen to page and wrote. It was neat to re-live that for a moment this morning at 5:30am. I woke up with a single thought in my head, and started typing. It was a happy memory. Oddly, about a mass murdering horrific massacre… but with a happy ending.
[EDIT: I looked it up. It wasn't a quote. My dreaming head did just make up the line in that moment in this dream, and Tom Cruise does not have a bastard 50 year old half brother, that we know of.]