A young Star Wars fanboy turned on his computer and discovered that he owed his friend 3,000 credits more than the 350,000 credits that he thought he owed him. The debt had been built up playing Star Wars computer games, card games and through exchanges on internet chat rooms in which people assume the identities of Star Wars characters. Although the debt was owed in credits in a fictional universe, it had to be paid to his friend in pounds, according to an established exchange rate, which fluctuates like any other. To guys who are properly into the expanded Star Wars universe, verisimilitude is extremely important.
With jedi-like ingenuity, the debtor came up with a cunning way of handling his problem. He went online and played various Star Wars games and wrote to fan websites dropping hints and circulating misleading financial information in an attempt to cause a stock market crash in the virtual Star Wars universe that would devalue the credit in relation to the pound, thereby rendering his vast debt more manageable.
Hearing of this, I decided that it would make a great short story, then changed my mind and decided that it would be better as a documentary. However, after a little research, I discovered that the two guys were quite unappealing. Obviously, I'd been hoping that they'd be hilariously nave geeks or something -- the kind of poorly socialised but loveable misfits that are ridiculed in every successful indie documentary -- but they turned out to be pretty awful, mean idiots. Finally, I decided that it would be best to base a play on the characters and put it on at next year's Fringe. Before starting to write it, though, I needed to find out whether someone had already produced a show on the same subject, so I went for a walk around Edinburgh, carefully examining the posters that were still plastered everywhere from the Fringe that had just ended. The torn, fading posters for shows that had already closed had a terribly sad feeling and, all alone in the dark and empty streets, I became quite depressed.
Notes for Freudian Interpretation
The day I had the dream, I'd read "Seymour: An Introduction" by JD Salinger, which made me go and re-read the short story in which Seymour shoots himself. I was full of questions about Salinger's Glass family stories. What's the chronology? Which stories count as Glass family stories and which are just tangential? Is the character called Caulfield who pops up in one of them supposed to be Holden Caulfield out of "Catcher in the Rye"? It's at times like that that I find myself reconsidering my brilliant decision not to have the internet at home. Off to work, then, to use my computer there.
It was the evening of the first day after the end of the Fringe, and the Royal Mile, which, just the day before, was bursting with tourists, was quite shockingly empty. There was a small huddle of tourists in the High Street, taking a photograph down Advocate's Close (but there is always a small huddle of tourists taking a photograph down Advocate's Close). A promising group of foreigners at the Tron turned out to be Polish migrant workers, who live here anyway and therefore didn't count. Obviously, this remarkable emptiness, and the fact that I was walking through a slight drizzle, accounts for the depressing tone of the end of the dream.
The internet is brilliant, and has many, many sites about Salinger and the history of the Glass family written by helpful obsessives throughout the world. All my questions were answered, so I'm in the geeks' debt. However, I ended up feeling a little grubby, as if I'd pried too much into someone's private business. The fannish devotion to Salinger's characters and the way in which the websites that I found appeared to be in love with the idea that the stories are interrelated and take place in the same fictional universe seemed a little -- just a little -- unhealthy, in the kind of way that always puts me in mind of Star Wars fans.
Possibly the most interesting thing about the dream is the strange insistence on the sum that was owed being 3,000 credits more than 350,000 credits. Very precise, but wholly inexplicable to me.