Well, it’s official: after 37 years on this planet– 37 years of being chased by homicidal maniacs, trapped in mazes, falling off cliffs, forgetting how to drive stick while the steering wheel comes off in my hands as I navigate particularly treacherous mountain roads, having my teeth fall out when I show up late for school with no pants on only to find my term paper was due the day before, falling into the ocean while clutching my computer which contains the only copy of the book I’m writing, oh and going back to college and finding that somehow I wasn’t assigned a dorm room and have to live on the street oh but I didn’t register anyway and all the classes are full and nobody seems to care about my predicament– um, stop here, sentence too confusing.

I finally had the most fucked-up dream of my life.

If I weren’t listening to Judas Priest right now (Sad Wings of Destiny) I would never have the strength to talk about it. But luckily I am!

So. I had this dream. And in my dream, I was in… Walgreen’s!

Already we are off to a bad start.

But wait, it gets worse! I have to go to the bathroom!

I have a lot of dreams about having to go to the bathroom, which I generally attribute to having to go to the bathroom, as I pretty much subsist on a diet of Diet Coke, Diet Coke with Splenda, and Coke Zero. (Coke Zero tastes best but Diet Coke with Splenda is only linked to rectal bleeding and not cancer, while Diet Coke “normal” is universally available.)

But so. I’m in Walgreen’s, and I have to go to the bathroom. (This is in my dream.) So I’m looking around, and I’m thinking, do they have a bathroom? And I’m kind of doubting that they do, because I don’t even want to think about the kinds of things that people would be doing in the public bathrooms of a Walgreen’s, if they had them, when suddenly I see the sign– BATHROOMS! And please note, it actually says “Bathrooms,” not Restrooms, or man-figure-woman-figure, which is suspicious in and of itself, but I’m asleep and I have to go to the bathroom, so I don’t seem to notice.

So I quickly hurry myself hurriedly over to the Bathroom and barge inside. It’s a pretty normal bathroom, nothing out of place. It’s very quiet, but that’s not strange because bathrooms are always very quiet, unless there’s someone doing something unspeakable there.

And there are the urinals! On the wall! Like always! So I run over there, unbuttoning my zipper (yes) as I go as a time-saving device, and now I am Going To The Bathroom, and it is great– such a relief! I start to get a little of the “oh wait, am I dreaming? Do I have to go to the bathroom?” but then suddenly that fades away because I have suddenly spotted—


There they are! In the urinals! One in each one! Each a round, vibrantly living pinkish-red! So colorful, in fact, they seem to glow.

Truly, they are the most beautiful things I have ever seen.

Ever! In my whole dream!

And right then I know I have to have them.

I have to have them ALL.

All the urinal disinfectant cakes.

All THESE urinal disinfectant cakes. Not, say, some nice, fresh, clean, dry ones that Walgreen’s might have available for purchase somewhere, like in, say, the aisles of the store, but these ones right here, lying in the filthy stinky urine-soaked uriney urinals of the public Bathroom in dreamy Walgreen’s.

I am wearing a navy blue pea coat. Yes, a Pea coat. I only just noticed that right now. My brain is a genius! It knows how to make me look idiotic when I’m looking without me even seeing. I hate my brain! But it is making me wear a navy blue pea coat. Wool, of course, as pea coats always are.

Wool: not a good material with liquids.

The reason I am mentioning my pea coat is because I am now trying to figure out how best to spirit the lovely wet and stinky urine-soaked urinal disinfectant cakes out of the Walgreen’s Bathroom and indeed the Walgreen’s proper. And the best I can think of is to shove them in the pockets of my pea coat.

But, as even I– in my dreamy dream state– know, sopping wet smelly urinal disinfectant cakes are bad for pea coats.

I will have to wrap them in something.

And luckily there is the paper towel dispenser.

So I quickly (extremely slowly because for some reason I am always retarded in my dreams) wrap all the urinal disinfectant cakes in paper towels– all the paper towels in the Bathroom– and shove them down into my pockets. It is like shoving big wet ragged disintegrating softballs into my pockets, but I am Sure It Is Going To Work.

There are about seven or eight urinal disinfectant cakes available, and I take them all.

My pockets are now bulging in a comical manner I do not find amusing. Also, the paper towels are incapable of absorbing all the liquid matter seeping from the beauteous urinal disinfectant cakes, and as a result there are big wet patches spreading from the pocket areas of my pea coat outwards and aboutwards.

But what can I do? A man’s gotta have urinal disinfectant cakes!

So now I am slowly and nonchalantly making my way out of the Bathroom and back into the Walgreen’s proper. My shoes are making a wet squeaking sound on the floor and I am starting to Worry. What if I am caught? What is the punishment for stealing urinal disinfectant cakes? Does it matter that they are not for sale? Does it matter that they are “used”? Does it matter that they generally melt away anyway? I am thinking these things probably don’t matter. And so, I am Worried.

There is a security guard! And he is eyeing me! I know he is, even though he’s not looking my way.

But luckily I remember then, from my days as a childhood Thief, that the best way to steal something is to Buy Something Else, Something Cheaper, While Stealing The More Expensive Thing, Secretly, and so I start looking around for something which would fit the bill.

Forget the fact that there could not possibly be anything in the store worth LESS than Used Urinal Disinfectant Cakes; that didn’t occur to me. I was asleeping.

Plus, they had Star Wars comic books! Which was delightful because I hadn’t seen any of those in nigh on 25 years! So then there was a little interlude here where I read the comic books for a while. There was this green rabbit that showed up in the Star Wars comic books for a while. It was right after the “real” Star Wars storyline ended. It was like, the Death Star blows up, and then suddenly Luke and Han are on some Old West planet having a shoot-out with a walking, talking, 8-ft. tall green rabbit. Never seemed strange when I was little, and hey, guess what, still doesn’t.

So, back to the dream part of the dream: I turn with the comic books and squeak and squelch my way toward the register, hoping to somehow get through the gauntlet with my Secret Treasure. Long line, guy in front of me is returning library books. They are late, he is being fined $248, they cut the fine in half to $124, then down to $1.35, guy is very relieved, pays fine, and then it is my turn!

Cashier keeps asking me: “Just these? Nothing else? Just these?” as he waves my green rabbit comix at me and makes pointed eye movements toward my wet, bulging, disgusting, guilty pockets. I am pretty sure he knows what I’m doing but I can’t tell if he’s on my side or not. Sometimes the people who work in these places don’t really care much if you steal. Like when I was in high school and worked at The Gap. People’d come in and shove pants in their pants and walk out, and I’d just stand there, cause really, what do I care? I’m making FOUR DOLLARS AN HOUR.

But this guy, no. He is for real my enemy, I can tell now, because he is asking me to give him money– five dollars.

Now, it hadn’t occurred to me to bring money, because I just found myself here in the Walgreen’s Of My Dreams, without any kind of planning or forethought. I’m lucky I’m wearing pants and have teeth. But I have money in my pocket! I can feel it with my fingers! It’s jammed right in there with the urine-soaked paper towel masses! So I pick it out and hold it up– it’s just one crumpled bill– and– and– perfect hit!– it’s a five!

Huge sigh of relief. Cashier looks happy, holds out hand. But then. But then…

I drop it.

It falls on the floor. Slow-motional stylings.

And I bend over to pick it up.

I feel the weight of the urinal disinfectant cakes shift in the pockets of my Pea Coat. Shift, shift. Shift toward the openings of the pockets.

In my head in my dream, I know this is a problem. I know I should do something about it. But… I can’t. I can’t. I am stuck. Half reaching for the five, half-hoping the cakes stay in my pockets.

Cashier bending over the counter, watching.

Security guard stepping closer, watching.

People in line behind me, watching.

People outside the store, looking in through the window, watching.

And me, watching.

As the Urinal.












The smell of pee is everywhere, wet paper towel masses unrolling, splatting everywhere, green rabbit comic books fluttering down a la Jean Vigo, otherworldly beautiful urinal disinfectant cakes spilling to the light like gems…

And at that point I woke up.


I know what would have happened if I hadn’t.

I would have run!

I would have run as fast as I could.

I would have run like the wind.

And no one would have chased me!

No one; not one person.

I would have gotten away Scot-Free!

Cuz urinal disinfectant cakes just ain’t worth shit.

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BEN LOORY's fables and tales have appeared in The New Yorker, on This American Life, at Word Theatre, and on Selected Shorts. His book Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day (Penguin, 2011) was a selection of the Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers Program. He lives in Los Angeles, California.

12 responses to “The Most Fucked-Up Dream I Ever Had”

  1. […] …and a dream he had in which he’s at Walgreen’s… […]

  2. Dana says:

    I had the most ridiculous grin on my face while reading this. You rule Ben Loory.

  3. Emily says:

    I stumbled across this randomly actually and your style of writing kept me glued! I had to know what happened with this urinal disinfectant cake escapade dream!! hahahaha 🙂 made me smile and lol thx!

    • Ben Loory says:

      thanks emily! i’m glad you liked it! i’d also like to know how one “randomly stumbles” across a long-buried post about urinal cakes! 😀

      • Priyankee says:

        Just like I did … googled fucked up dreams … and after a couple of hits, your page showed up. Like your style of writing. Not as bad as the most fucked up dream I had, but nicely narrated 😀

  4. Tim says:

    That was very funny, made me smile and made my day. 🙂

  5. Kylie says:

    Maybe Emily found it the same way I did, by searching “Fucked Up Dreams.”

    Cheers! 😀

  6. pixy says:

    this is the greatest dream ever. i’m glad the priest made you snuggly enough on the inside to relate it.

  7. Tom says:

    I just had a horrifying dream last week. Not just bad, but so real and vivid..sorry to laugh at your misfortune, but this was hilarious!! That was some good story telling lol I’m bookmarking this forever.

  8. Mary says:

    I stumbled across this and could not stop reading it. Hilarious!

  9. zero says:

    I had a fucked up dream as well
    me and some you tubers (not the fucked up part) were tomb raiding when there was a puzzle were we had to pick the right door (still not) when well we picked the wrong door and a quadrillion wasps apeard out of the door literally that amount of wasps I’m not exaderaiting then they all flew to me and all started stinging me at once over and over again so much they started floating me off the ground I begun to beg jacksepticeye (he had the gun) to kill me but he didn’t do it then the wasps disperst and then we picked the right door (which was the door to the far right) and we were in a minecraft paradise public server)

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