Our minds are amazing places. For all of the knowledge we have about the world around us, we have startling little about what goes on in one square foot of real estate in our heads. There’s an irony in that. The mind cannot adequately define the mind. Never am I more mystified by the abilities of the mind than in dreams. Some dreams are just an obvious effort of your subconscious to blow off steam. dreams featuring a bunch of people and things from the last week that had been on your mind are the most common type that I experience. It’s like my mind telling me “this is a little bit too much information to hold onto right now, I need to purge” and it releases this torrent of thoughts in an incongruous blob at us overnight. But sometimes we have dreams that seemingly come out of nowhere. These dreams that come up with startling narratives and characters. They stick with us, or at least we want them too, since they are so interesting or funny. We feel the need to share them, like some interesting rock we find on the beach. They don’t mean anything, or at least I don’t think they do. But we love them anyway, like a weird movie only we got invited to see.
This is the story of one such dream that I had almost 20 years ago. I swear to you, this is an actual dream. I present it to you as it was presented to me, with no filler or assumptions. I give you only that which I remember upon waking and was able to convey to my friends at the time. I haven’t told this particular story in a while, so I’m hoping I can do it justice.
I present to you: The Muppet Revolution
Cobra (the ages old villain to G.I. Joe) has finally achieved its goals of world domination. I don’t know if G.I. Joe failed, or if they simply didn’t exist. I don’t know if there was a war, or a slow takeover of governments, or some grand scheme that ultimately brought them to power. All I know is that Cobra Commander has won, and the world is under his control.
No one is actually upset by this, though. For all intents and purposes, the world keeps going much as it was before the legions of Cobra swept across the globe and assimilated everything. They didn’t start funneling the world’s money and resources into some even more nefarious plot. They didn’t enact some evil genocide upon an entire people. They’re just in charge, and that’s how it is.
The one thing they are opposed to, however, is live entertainment. All movies and TV shows are now entirely CGI. There are no more performers. The thing is, no one notices, because Cobra’s technology is so advanced that they can realistically create people and voices from computers that are convincingly real. This is how it starts, but it soon moves on to other live entertainment, like theater, concerts and sporting events. Performers are replaced by high-quality holograms in many cases, such as live concerts. Live theater like musicals and plays are replaced entirely with 3D movies, without anyone being able to tell the difference. Sporting events were trickier, since so many people loved to go to them. When going into the stadium or arena, fans are given special glasses. They put the glasses on, sit in the stands, and watch the game. The only thing is, there actually isn’t anything happening on the field. They see the recreation of players and the whole thing is staged. But no one says anything. They all accept it. No one complains. They still have the comforts of entertainment, but without the burdensome troubles of actual athletes or entertainers to deal with.
I work for Jim Henson (who is still alive in my dream). I’m his personal assistant. He, as a performer, takes great offense to this policy. He thinks it is all fake, and he refuses to stop performing his puppetry. It seems many actors and athletes and musicians just went along with it and found new jobs. But Jim Henson refuses. He continues to schedule performances and work on movie projects. He is warned to stop, he ignores it. He is warned more forcefully, and he ignores it again. That’s when a group of Cobra troopers, these guys:
break into the office. The subdue us all easily, and then they pin down Jim Henson’s right arm to a drawing table. Hi Kermit the Frog puppet is still on the arm. They proceed to fill Kermit and the arm beneath it with machine gun fire, making both unrecognizable.
“Let’s see you do your fancy puppet shows now!” they sneer as they leave the office. I rush over to Jim to see if he needs help. He has slumped to the floor, and he’s cradling the bloody mass that was his right arm and the bloody green felt that used to be a lovable icon. On his face, I see a look of hatred and resolve that I have never seen on the man. I mean, look at this guy, can you even picture him as angry?
We fast forward from here. I am now part of the underground resistance to Cobra, led by Jim Henson. I work on one of the extraction teams. We are tasked with getting other performers out of situations. Many actors and athletes have taken basic desk jobs now that they are no longer needed, but the rumors of our resistance are growing, and some of them want to join. Some can simply slip away, but some of the more high profile people require a more…aggressive approach. I’m on one of these missions right now. I’m in a helicopter piloted by William H. Macy (you may know him from the movie Pleasantville or the show Shameless) who has a puppet of a giraffe sitting on his shoulder. He operates it using a complex rig, so that when he turns his head, the giraffe does, too. He lands us on the roof of an office building in a city (never determined what city, though I assume Los Angeles). My squad and I infiltrate the building in a mix of stealth and cunning, but it all goes to hell when we find our quarry. We’re there to rescue Richard Kind (he was the voice of Bing Bong in Inside Out), and we’re expected. We arrive at his office to find him at gunpoint, and we have to make a daring rescue of him and his puppet, and elephant that looks like it was made from patchwork Starter jackets from the early Nineties. It’s green and pink, with purple accents. After a tense gunfight, I am able to get Richard to the roof and onto the chopper. We escape, but we lost some good men in the process.
Back at headquarters, things are coming to a head. We have the numbers, and it’s time to strike. We plan to make our move at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
The parade is a farcical site. Thousands of people line the parade route, cheering at floats and balloons and performers that aren’t there. All the people have the special glasses on, though, so they think that they’re seeing the parade. I’m flying the helicopter with Jim Henson. He still has ruined Kermit on his ruined right arm, and in his right hand (Kermit’s mouth) he’s holding a megaphone. The only real part of the parade, a legion of Cobra soldiers marching, is directly below us. I tap my headset and say “kill it” to someone on the other end. I’m telling them to disable the signal to the glasses. They do, and we bank left and head towards the crowd. The people down below are confused. There is no parade, and they don’t quite understand why. Jim Henson uses his good arm to hold on to a handle on the roof of the helicopter and leans out and starts speaking into the megaphone.
“You’ve all been deceived, and you all need to wake up! The world you know is a lie, and we’re here to expose it! THE MUPPET REVOLUTION HAS BEGUN!”
The Cobra soldiers, either realizing what is going or receiving orders from an unseen commander, start to gather and take aim at us. Just then, and M-1 Abrams battle tank rounds the corner on the far end of the street, driven by Bert and Ernie.
And that’s when I woke up.