Yesterday I heard on NPR a person’s reminiscences of his mother’s life as a high-flying stewardess in the glory days of the liberal 1960s. I believe that inspired this dream, which took the form of a story treatment, right down to including some scenes, general backstory, and some characters (though not, unfortunately, a resolution).
In the early 1960s, a British airliner went down in the Kingdom of an unfriendly Middle Eastern country. All passengers and crew of the flight were believed to have died in the catastrophe, so neither American nor British personnel entered the Kingdom to learn the truth: that there was a survivor, a baby girl.
The story begins nearly two decades later, as American forces endeavor to liberate the Kingdom of its oil. In the raiding of the palaces, the obscene hoarding of wealth by the royals is evident, and the revealing of this wealth on television and internet by the American CIA propaganda branches is used effectively to help reinforce the rationale for the invasion.
Perhaps no other piece of propaganda would have more weight in the effort than a videotape found in the main palace of the aged king, a videotape of what appears to be a young Caucasian woman, about 19 years of age, held in servitude among this opulence.
Other artifacts found in that particular palace include a 1960s style British Airways pillbox hat.
How best to exploit this evidence of white slavery by the “heathens” is problematic for the CIA, for the recording is as obscene as could be imagined. No news anchor could air this.
CIA techies reviewing the tapes come to appreciate another problem beyond the pornographic nature of the recordings. As one observes, in between handfuls of potato chips, “It’s like maybe she doesn’t realize she’s being exploited.”
Indeed. It seems that the sexual moments are regarded by the unidentified woman as the sole recreation afforded to her in this palace prison. Her reverie doesn’t fit the mission. Ultimately the CIA decides not to do anything with this unexpected find, which comes as something as a relief to the agent tasked with figuring out how best to exploit it.
But he finds it is already an underground hit in the lower floors of the Pentagon.
Why was the videotape found before the actual woman was? Because earlier in the battle there was some confusion. We return to the desert, a week or so earlier:
As troops storm the castle, the woman is rescued by troops who mistake her for being a captured soldier (being white, and the same age as the average trooper, and having a mostly shaved head – although truth be known that was more in the tradition of old nobles she’d read about, who as history notes had shaved their heads and worn wigs to cut down on hair lice).
However her fluency in Arabic and her complete lack of military training of course reveals her as something curious, and the CIA agent referred to earlier is soon on his way to meet the person whose video has caused such a commotion.
I don’t know the entire story, but I know that by the time she is brought “back” to America (not really her country, but she’s white and it’s the Pentagon’s war, so, she is “returned” to America), her video is on the net a la Abu Grab photos.
(The logic of the dream breaks down a bit at this point. For instance, in my dream she is fluent in English and has an immediate grasp of our culture.)
Various companies on the net are selling the bits of video that have been leaked. Despite the bad quality of the compressed footage, it is a sensation because she is so uniquely satisfied and happy in her sexual acts, as opposed to the dreary, depressed and dehumanized norm that is standard in produced porn. She’s the biggest hit since Ivory Snow’s ad girl Marilyn Chambers went hardcore.
In America, set up with a minor budget as a free person, accompanied by the agent (why? don’t know), she understands immediately the exploitation of her performances that these companies are engaged in, selling her footage (pretty much same as the Paris Hilton tapes).
She plans immediate action to take back control of her image.
In my dream, she was in a camera store buying top shelf camera equipment, and the agent was trying to dissuade her from buying film based cameras, explaining there are now 7, 8, or 9 megapixel cameras with no need for film to be developed. But she seems to know what she wants and he isn’t sure he should question her. Her origin in the 1960s, and her curious isolation in the palace since that time, seem to make her slightly out of time. Similarly her sexual attitude seems to be out of the 1960s, though how that would translate into a person who did not actually grow up in that environment is somewhat dubious. But anyway:
She intends to reclaim her now-exploited sexual identity by being a sexual persona on her own terms, with her own distribution, her own controls.
By the way in this story, the agent does not get the girl. He likes her, but he’s also intimidated by her in a way that I’m sure could be socially relevant without being ponderous.
I know that the dream also included a whole section from the past, from when she was in the Kingdom, doing her thing, doing multiple things, actually. There was another Caucasian person there, who was either a boy from the airline crash (another survivor, a la the Blue Lagoon), or who was a particularly dumb young soldier who was captured at some point (in an earlier skirmish with the Kingdom, not in the war) and kept in the kingdom in a similar fashion as she, except that he was basically kept around solely as a prop, as a tool for her sexual performances on those occasions when the royals and their guests were not the ones having sex with her. In the dream, he was clearly exploited. He was kept alive because he had a big tool and so he made for a good show with her. But he was in perpetual danger of being killed whereas she was not (since she was highly valued but he was expendable). I expect that at some point he was in fact killed by the King or one of the Princes, because in the dream it was only she, not he, who were rescued by the troops that stormed the palace. I suppose his existence gives an opportunity to explore how she was exploited by the royals, even if she did not feel exploited, because she could have as easily been him. But she wasn’t him, and didn’t feel that way.
That about does it for the dream. A pity I am not a fiction writer or maybe I’d be able to turn this into a full story.