The Swallowed Nail

I was in a rural space, standing on one side of a river looking across at a barn on the other side. The barn was strange though, because it was a pale cream color, and the roof resembled the classic style of Japan. The next thing I knew, I was on the other side of the river, standing in a shallow eddy watching a young Japanese girl who had swallowed a nail. Somehow I could tell that she was older than she looked. She appeared uncomfortable, and had her hands on her throat, but wasn’t choking to death. It was more that she was tasting something she didn’t like. Then her obese brother came up, panicking, and attached a small suction pump to her mouth, like the end of a toilet plunger connected to a hose. The other end of the hose he connected to a complex device that resembled a music organ. He began to play the keys, though I don’t recall the sound of the music, and this activated the pump, and steam began to pour out of the pipes at the top. By this point the little girl had fainted, and just lay there connected to the suction machine. But soon she sat up and the nail fell out of the tube and landed in the shallow water at my feet. I stood staring at the square, golden nail for quite a long time, and it gleamed in the sunlit water. Even though the entire event was quite calamatous, and a girl’s life was somehow at risk, the whole time I felt calm and detached, indifferent to the outcome. But at the end I was totally entranced by this strange glowing nail.

(Paul included the text above with the object. It describes the dream he had, which the scrimshaw illustrates. For more details about Paul, these objects, and how they ended up with me, click here!)

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