Being Eaten

You ever have a dream where you were chased by something that wanted to eat you? It could be a panther, a giant spider, or Grimace (that purple hash brown from McDonald's rogues gallery). Did you ever give up? Succumb to the creature's wildness? I used to. Call it a repressed urge, a desire to return to the womb, a cosmic leak in the Collective Unconscious. I had dreams about being eaten, and they weren't totally involuntary.

Imagine the experience of being swallowed. Imagine. Soft, powerful muscles envelope you. Saliva excrete lubricates your skin. Imagine the disorientation of being tossed about like a kitten in a washing machine. If you can avoid the teeth, you might still be conscious as you're pushed through a pink passage into the core of this beast that's taken you. Imagine being brought into its acidic lair below, knowing soon you'll be melted into giblets of fats, proteins, and carbs, any leftovers converted into stinking paste.

In my dreams, that wasn't the ending I imagined. Being eaten involved a strange concordant between myself and the nightmarish creatures that hunted me. I was not to be digested - that was the agreement. Instead, these creatures would transmit my safety down to the molecular level, bypassing the natural processes of saliva and gastric acids. There was an enormous trust, my fictional monsters and me. Being consumed became intimate, something unifying and protective.

I would live in a T-Rex and peer out from the gaps in its teeth. I would be swallowed by orcas to be transported across oceans in a chamber of pink vellum. Once I hid inside my fat principal's mouth from a vampire and watched from the darkness as she said I'd gone that way. Carl Jung had dreams about being eaten by Jesus. I had dreams about being eaten by everyone else.

I remember there was this Bull Tyrannosaurus Rex toy from the merchandisers of Jurassic Park: Lost World. Its skin was a softer plastic that replicated the texture of a real dinosaur, setting it apart from the plastic dinosaurs you might see in the cockpit of Serenity. This T-Rex also had a throat cavity and a fissure in its stomach, allowing a kid to put an action figure into its mouth, push it down the secret corridor, and pull the hapless victim out through the toy's belly.

For a long time, I thought that the manufacturers understood my desires, because the set included a 'survival pod,' or a metal cage (cough coffin cough) into which a person could supposedly hide from the T-Rex and survive its assault. Unfortunately for the red-shirted victim within, the T-Rex could swallow the cage in its entirety, thereby negating its usefulness.

From my nascent point of view, however, the cage was intentionally devised so that it could be devoured by the T-Rex and yet keep its occupant alive (perhaps relying on the T-Rex's strange biology and tummy slit). Instead of being an escape mechanism, I associated it with miniaturized submarines placed into bloodstreams. The operation was for curiosity's sake, or maybe some scientific purpose. For the life of me, I couldn't understand why the nondescript action figure included in the set seemed to be letting out a bloodcurdling scream, why his body was so tense, except that maybe he had a wimpy demeanor, similar to Hudson from Aliens.

For a long time, I forgot about these dreams. What have I avoided all these years? I should have been more vigilant in exploring these strange themes in my life.