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“Perchance to Dream” by David Morrell
(Originally published in Flights: Extreme Visions of Fantasy.)
He came to my office on a Friday afternoon. Tall, slender, and sandy-haired, he had a thin, aristocratic face that might have been handsome if it weren’t so haggard. His eyes looked puffy. Red streaked their whites. I was surprised when I later learned that he was forty. He appeared at least ten years older.
He said his name was Jody Cooke – he spelled his last name, emphasizing the final “e” – and when I introduced myself as Dr. Gerald Baker, he frowned. “Baker. We’re both in that nursery rhyme.”
“The baker, the cook, and the candlestick maker.”
“You’ve got it slightly wrong,” I said.
“In the nursery rhyme, it’s the butcher, the baker, and the candlestick maker.”
“Ah, yes, the butcher,” Jody said, his raw eyes looking pained.
David Morrell is the author of First Blood, the award-winning novel in which John Rambo was created. He holds a Ph.D. in American literature from Penn State and was a professor in the English department at the University of Iowa. His numerous best-selling novels include the classic espionage novel The Brotherhood of the Rose, the basis for the only television mini-series to be broadcast after a Super Bowl. An Edgar and Anthony finalist, and an Inkpot, Macavity and Nero recipient, Morrell has three Bram Stoker awards and ITW’s prestigious Thriller Master award. Bouchercon, the world’s largest conference for crime-fiction readers and authors, gave him its Lifetime Achievement award. His work has been translated into 30 languages. Please visit him at davidmorrell.net.
About the Narrator:
Rish Outfield is a writer, voice actor, and audiobook narrator. He can be heard co-hosting the Dunesteef Audio Fiction Magazine and That Gets My Goat podcasts, where he and Bigg Anklevich entertainingly waste much of their time. He also features his own stories on the Rish Outcast podcast. He once got a job because of his Sean Connery impersonation… but has lost two due to his Samuel L. Jackson impression.