On The Sandman's Couch

By Matthew Kerber

sfgenreFive blocks from here is the street where Don was shot in the back by a cop, while he was sprinting away with a pint of dream. They saw him tweaking, looking up at the tops of the skyscrapers, lingering a bit too long on things, really considering them. You have not to do that, Don. You knew better than that, and you probably realised you knew better than that as the dream spilled, poured into your bloodstream which was pouring out of you and into the gutter.

This is the apartment building where Don got the dream. Our dealer lives here, I guess now just my dealer. He welcomes me. He’s just woken up. There’s a fresh metallic and honey smell of cooked dope hanging in the air. And he’s a bit hazy, but he smiles.

“I was in the middle of this huge park, Cam,” he says, big wide gestures with his hands. “You ever seen a tiger in a dream?”

I shake my head no. “So like a zoo?”

“Nah. It was just this big open field, and the only thing in it, the only thing, besides the grass, was this huge tiger,” he says.

“Never seen a tiger,” I say.

He whistles. “Meditate on it, man. I felt terrified, like anxious, just at first. But the tiger was calm, so I sat down across from it and we just watched each other for a long time. Hours. And then it rolled over and showed its belly and I woke up. Made me feel something.” He is shirtless. The track marks just beneath his right bicep are a red field of pinpricks from before you could smoke dream. My dealer has a good two decades on me. He was around before dream even existed. Smoked weed and did cocaine and occasionally heroin (occasionally). “But there ain’t no going back once you try this stuff,” he always says to soon-to-be druggies knocking on his door. Those were the words he dropped in my lap when I first met him. And he wasn’t lying a bit.

I’m addicted. We sit down on his new sofa, an air cushion that almost feels like levitating. He’s got more money than he knows what to do with, but he’s stuck in this dump of an apartment so he just drops it on fancy furniture and VR machines and glassware. He unrolls a package with ten vials from red to green to purple. “Clear for a deep sleep,” he says. He eyedroppers three drips out of a yellowish vial into a bowl on a slide attached to an intricate green glass Buddha. “Green for a path.” One drop. “Blue for elevation.” Two drops. He smiles at me, “And orange for intensity. And maybe a tiger.” Two drops.

He warms the bowl with a lighter carved out of fake ivory. “It’s a real shame what happened to Don,” he says. “Real shame. Sorry to hear it.”

I nod or say thank you or yeah, and watch him cook the brownish blue mixture of dope, near salivating, it’s really all I’m concerned with and I wish he would stop talking about Don and tigers and just shove the Buddha into my hands so I can filter him out and fall asleep and dream. He hands it to me, the Buddha face staring back. “Greens,” my dealer says and I inhale deeply. As deep as I can, I fill my lungs with the sticky sweet resin of sleep. I lean back and close my eyes. I think my dealer does the same, I can feel some sort of shift in the couch as he inhales and sets the glass down and leans back with me. Our eyes are closed. We relax and wait for sleep to come.

There is a great field. I meditate on it. There is a vast field. I walk out into the grass. I am barefoot. There is no treeline visible, just endless plain. There is no tiger in the middle of the field. But I see Don. He is naked. And I am naked. We meet each other and embrace. We lay down on the field and hold one another and watch the rolling clouds above us and somewhere else, on another vast plane perhaps, my dealer is finding himself with his tiger, but here in the middle of my grassland, I am addicted, and I am dreaming, but I am with my lover, and that is all that matters.

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About The Author

Matthew Kerber

Matthew Kerber is a 2016 graduate of the UNC Chapel Hill honors creative writing program. He currently resides in Durham, NC working as a support analyst and a bit-time writer. His fiction has appeared in Cellar Door and Rum Punch Press, and he is a recipient of the Bland Simpson Prize in Creative Writing.

Twitter: @mattkerber

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In The Next Issue...

Coming In Issue 236

Australia, A Story
by Ovidiu Bufnila

Castle Bridegroom Bear
by Michael Richards

Decrypted Message Thread
by Theodore Irvin Silar

Non-Event Horizon
by Kevin J. Phyland

by Nicholas Sheppard

The Traveller
by Robert David

The Twelve Moments
by Eugen Samolin

by David Scholes

You Can Always Change The Past
by George Nikolopoulos

You Can't Always Get What You Want
by Wes Parish

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AntipodeanSF February 2018


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AntiSF Narration Team


pixie willo 100Pixie is a voice actor, cabaret performer & slam poet From the Blue Mountains in NSW.

She enjoys writing short fiction, plays for radio and stage as well as her own brand of weird poetry.

She hosts the 'Off-Beet Poetry Slam' held bi-monthly in Katoomba,

And is a theatre reviewer for 2SER FM in Sydney.

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mark english 100Mark is an astrophysicist and space scientist who worked on the Cassini/Huygens mission to Saturn. Following this he worked in computer consultancy, engineering, and high energy research (with a stint at the JET Fusion Torus).

All this science hasn't damped his love of fantasy and science fiction. It has, however, ruined his enjoyment of rainbows, colourful flames on romantic log fires, and rings around the moon. He has previously been published in Stupefying Stories Showcase, Everyday Fiction, Escape Pod, Perihelion and also on AntipodeanSF where he is part of the narration team.

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timonthy gwyn 100Timothy Gwyn is a professional pilot in Canada, where he flies to remote communities. During a lull in his flying career, he was a radio announcer for three years, and he is also an author.

In addition to short stories at AntipodeanSF and NewMyths.com, his SF novel is available internationally in print and ebook formats. "Avians" draws on his love of alternative aviation to tell the tale of a girl who runs away from home to join a cadre of glider pilots on a world without metal or fossil fuels.

On Twitter, he is @timothygwyn, and his blogs are at <timothygwyn.com>.

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david whitaker 200David Whitaker is originally from the UK though has travelled around a bit and now resides in India. He has a degree in Journalism, however decided that as he’s always preferred making things up it should ultimately become a resource rather than a profession.

His stories, covering everything from sci-fi to philosophy, have been published across the globe and links to each can be found at <wordsbydavid.com>

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laurie bell 150Laurie Bell lives in Melbourne, Australia. She spent years writing and making audio plays with her sister using an old tape player. Life is a performance! She is a singer and has performed on stage once for her local theatre company. Now she helps out as a volunteer. She loves to read her stories out loud to anyone who will listen. She has recorded several audio readings of her own short stories here at Antipodean SF and is now a member of the audio team.

You can read more of her work on her blog Look for her on Facebook <www.facebook.com/WriterLaurieBell/?fref=ts> or Twitter: <@LaurienotLori>

Laurie's debut book The Butterfly Stone will be published in Autumn (Aus) 2018 and another titled Blood Fever will be published in Winter (Aus) 2018.

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marg essex 200Margaret lives the good life on a small piece of rural New South Wales Australia, with an amazing man, a couple of pets, and several rambunctious wombats.

She feels so lucky to be a part of the AntiSF team.

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garry dean narratorGarry Dean lives on the Mid Coast of New South Wales Australia, and has been a fan of SF for most of his natural life. Being vision impaired, he makes good use of voice recognition and text to speech in order to write. Many of his stories have appeared in AntipodeanSF over the years, and his love of all things audio led him to join the narration team in 2017.

You can read examples of Garry's fiction on his website <https://garrydean.wordpress.com>

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SF News

SF News

AntiSF Author Eugen M. Bacon Publishes Two New Anthologies

Antipodean SF author Eugen Bacon has published two new speculative fiction anthologies:

Dying & Other Stories, <http://www.fiction4all.com/books/b13195-dying-and-other-stories.htm>. Literary speculative fiction that offers up death. Dirges that cross genre.

Thirteen Wicked Tales, <http://www.fiction4all.com/books/b13148-thirteen-wicked-tales.htm>. A collection of literary speculative fiction by Fiction4All

Congrats AntiSF Author Laurie Bell...

Laurie Bell is set to have two new novels published in 2018. One is an adult sci-fi noir thriller novel "Blood Fever" through Incendia Books, and the other is a young adult urban fantasy "The Butterfly Stone" from Wyvern's Peak Publishing.

ASFF Supports The Swancon Short Story Competition 2018 - Entries Now Open

Swancon 2018, the 57th Australian National Science Fiction Convention, is running a short story competition with the support of the Australian Science Fiction Foundation. More information at the Swancon website. Theme: Transformation

For more SF news why not join the ASFF and get the ASFF newsletter “The Instrumentality” delivered straight to your inbox!

Upcoming Aussie Cons

Walker Stalker Convention: Walking Dead convention The Dome at Sydney Showgrounds. 3-4 February 2018 and 10-11 February 2018 Melbourne Showgrounds. <http://walkerstalkercon.com/sydney/>.

Confurgence 2018: Furry convention 23-25 February 2018. Amora Hotel Riverwalk, Melbourne. <http://ausfancons.com/confurgence/>

Swancon 2018 (Natcon): Pan Pacific Hotel, Perth. This is the 2018 Australian National Convention: “Transmogrification”, (Easter) 29  March to 02 April 2018 . Guests: Kameron Hurley, Ryan Griffen, Barb de la Hunty.  More information: <http://swancon.com.au/>

Continuum XIV: Conjugation. Melbourne’s SF Convention. 8th – 11th June, 2018. More information: <http://www.continuum.org.au/>.

Nullus Anxietas VII: The Australian Discworld Convention – will be held in Melbourne on April 12-14, 2019, and is themed on Going Postal. More information: <https://ausdwcon.org/>

For more up-to-date Aussie SF info join the ASFF: <asff.org.au>

AntiSF will be at the National Convention, Swancon (2018).

The AntipodeanSF Radio Show

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antipod-show-50The AntipodeanSF Radio Show delivers audio from the pages of this magazine.

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