I opened the door and there were two men in 40s-style lived-in raincoats, hats and suits. They were in the their fifties. They carried on ringing the bell after I’d opened the door, as though they planned to hold out for someone better. I asked them what they wanted and they said that I should buy a subscription to the NESR. I had to ask them several times what it stood for before the leader of the two, the man with whiter hair and a lighter raincoat, said ‘Novy Ekonomskaya Sozialskaya Revodna’.
‘The New Economic and Social Review’, I said, translating. He nodded.
They were inside by now, though I hadn’t invited them in. They produced a big old black-leather book full of NESR articles, and then the two men suddenly turned into those little polystyrene WWII planes you used to be able to get from newsagents when I was a kid. The planes trailed very thin threads and they flew about while I had a look at the book of articles, which said that they had predicted lots of major events, such as the fall of the Berlin wall.
I looked the company up on the internet. Apparently, they also advised businesses on how to improve, but there were lots of horror stories about how their consultants had forced businesses to get rid of all their desks, or work while standing up to their shoulders in mud or in a tiny, constantly moving caravan, and how it was impossible to get them to leave.
That was when I ran out of patience. I grabbed the gossamer threads being trailed by the model planes and yanked them down to the ground. They turned into the men again. I coldly showed them out and they grudgingly left.
After they had gone, I noticed that there were threads covering one corner of the ceiling, with little black and brown casings in them. At that moment, one of the men knocked at the door again, asking for his book back.
‘Have you pupated in the corner of the room?’ I asked him angrily.
‘Yes. You left us waiting around for long enough, and you didn’t tell us not to. That’s what we do.’
‘Well, for your lack of decency and basic politeness today, I’m not going to subscribe to NESR. It looks like a good magazine, but you’ve let it down.’
I threw the book at him and slammed the door. Then I swept the fibres and pupae into a bag and threw that out of the door too.
A few moments later, I suddenly became afraid of what they might do with the bag – that they could use it in magic spells to influence me, or just nick it, and it’s my laptop bag, which I need – so I went outside, shook it empty and came back in.
Although I was standing up to the men throughout the dream, I felt that there was a huge and uncanny power behind them. There was a sort of lingering horror that I felt most acutely at the end. I wonder what it all means.