I want to tell you about a recurring nightmare I had when I was a kid, and the honestly kinda disturbing way I responded to these nightmares. This is a 100% true story.
For years, I had recurring nightmares about Sonny, the chaotic, mentally-disturbed, manic Cocoa Puffs shill.
I had these dreams from the early to the late 1980s. I was probably three or four when they started.
Here’s the thing. When I was a kid, I hated being tickled. Especially when I wasn’t expecting it. People would tickle me now and then, as they do all kids. Ribs were the worst.
In my dreams, instead of being the homicidal maniac of a more traditional nightmare, Sonny was a relentless tickling maniac. He would find me, he would chase me, he would capture me, and he was cuckoo for tickling me.
I would actually feel it, and I couldn’t wake up.
Don’t misunderstand me: I readily admit this nightmare is hilarious. Besides my hatred of being tickled, I don’t know where in my conscious mind it could’ve come from.
I really don’t understand the connection to Sonny, or cereal at all. He just had a malevolent energy, I guess?
I had this dream dozens of times. Every month or two, for about 7 years. It would happen in different locations. It would start differently, every time. Sometimes I wouldn’t know when it was “one of those”, and then suddenly, Sonny was there, he was laughing, and I was running.
Let me tell you, young Josh got really tired of it. I tried to train myself to fly away in my dreams (ironically, Sonny could never fly?) and I would occasionally escape him that way. Sometimes I could outrun him, but not usually.
Then, when I was 8 or 9 years of age, I awoke from what must have been a particularly severe session with my cuckoo nemesis, and I decided enough was enough. I had been backed into a corner. I had no choice. I was going to end this once and for all.
I was going to murder Sonny.
I figured that since “my” Sonny was a dream creature, he could only be affected by dream logic and dream things. I couldn’t kill him in the real world. I had to go where he lived, in my head. I would only be able to kill him while sleeping, with a weapon I chose while awake.
That evening, as I went to bed, I intentionally thought about Sonny. I focused my little kid mind on him, and I laid in my bed, on my stomach. I put my hand under my pillow, and I imagined a large knife forming, handle in my palm. My weapon of choice. My ticket out.
The handle of the blade gained weight as I focused on it, and I knew Sonny couldn’t see it because it was under my pillow. I knew he would arrive soon.
Then, I felt his presence. He sat on my back. He was more controlled, more serious this time. He knew something was different.
Before he had a chance to make the first move, I rolled over and swung the knife at his torso with all my kid strength!
In the real world, I literally physically fell out of bed and onto the floor, and woke up.
I never dreamed of Sonny again.