I will be utterly emptied of all of my dreams

down and out in Austin
wandering around the drag
working to gather enough money
for a cup of coffee
see an ad
we will pay
you for your dreams
similar to those ads
for blood or sperm
or to participate in a medical study
I figure
why not
head over to the place
near I35 and 29th
area around Star Seeds
the woman in front
has me fill out forms
tells me
we can only pay
for real dreams
deep sleep dreams
if you are unable
to go into a deep sleep state
then you will not be paid
takes me into a large dim room
low blue light
smell of tech
huge sound studio baffles
hang from the ceiling and walls
cool temp
there are about 50 beds
arranged in a circle
around a center of sophisticated computers
bundles of wires
run from the center
to each bed
IV bags hang over the beds
she takes me to an empty bed
tells me to lie down
places a crown of wet recptors
on my head
hooks up an IV
a light sedative
we cannot interfere with deep sleep
we need you to descend
into the deepest sleep
I lay down
than I am awake
I remember nothing
of my dreams
I feel as if I haven't slept at all
she tells me
that is normal
they have collected
my deep sleep dreams
and therefore
my brain believes
it never went to sleep
and gained none of the benefits
from deep sleep
she gives me some money
says I can come back in three days
but not sooner
I am very tired
wandering around town
in a daze
try to sleep
in the library
but it is as if
all my "sleep juice"
is gone
I return to the lab
after three restless days
go through the process again
again they collect all my dreams
I am more tired than before
I tell this to the woman
she recommends
I wait a while longer
to let my body
"regenerate the fluids
necessary for sleep"
it is similar to giving blood
she tells me
it takes a while
to rebuild your reserves
I feel so sleep depreived
I am hallucinating
dreaming while awake
but not the deep sleep dreams
I can lay down
close my eyes
but I can only rest
not truly sleep
I find out the company
sells my dreams
to wealthy clients
it is part of a new health regimine
the more deep sleep dreams
you have
the less likely it is
you will suffer from any
forms of dementia
and your own memory
will be strengthened
it is highly addictive however
more and more
wealthy clients pay
large sums of money
for the finest deep sleep dreams
it turns out my dreams
are excellent and the clients
are asking for more
when I return to the lab
the woman takes me into a private room
and tells me they can pay me more
for my dreams
there's a machine
similar to a high level
floatation tank
she tells me
this is a much finer
collection device
I am so tired
from not having had any dreams
that I agree
she helps me into the tank
I am aware
I will be utterly emptied
of all of my dreams
and wonder
if it is all worth it