CW: drug dependency, suicide
Tommy LaFontaine had always dreamt of going to other dimensions. No, he literally always dreamt of going to other worlds, and every time he did, he learned something new.
For example, did you know there's a place where books read people? They have libraries instead of homes, and rather than dying they become overdue. The entire world is literal, right off the page... so they find the unpredictability and emotional outbursts of humans, quite entertaining. Their leader's name is Dewey Decimal, and they live a very orderly life.
Tommy always hated when his astrally-projected unconscious self nestled back into the sleeping body that it was tethered to. He didn't like his life here, full of emotional abuse and deadlines. He'd much rather be surfing the icy surface of Europa, or dodging rocky ice chunks in Saturn's rings.
Yet another world had up for down, and down for up, like some bizarro Dr. Seuss story. In that place, the inhabitants were scared of falling into the sky, rather than down from it. Their version of adrenaline pumping thrill-seekers, didn't go to great heights for bungee jumping or base jumping back to earth, but rather they went as high as they could in a free-dive upward, to cheat death and avoid slipping the surly bounds of space.
Back in his real life, nobody would believe Tommy's recalling of his adventures. Even when he tried to tell his closet friends that his dreams indeed took him to other worlds, he was met with criticism and disbelief. No matter though. He got so good at traveling through his dreams, that he started to be able to use his own willpower and experiences to actually create the other dimensions and worlds. He even started designing the portals themselves in his mind's eye. After all, there were an infinite amount of parallel universes in the multiverse.
Once he watched his favorite film; Tim Burton's "Sleepy Hollow". He concentrated as hard as he could manage on the lines and characters before drifting off to sleep. When his R.E.M. awoke him "on the other side", he was shocked to hear greats like Johnny Depp and Christopher Walken say that they really admired his work and acting abilities. "My favorite was 'Tommy tries to make Mac & Cheese and then feeds it to his dog, because it was so bad'", said Christopher Lee. "That performance had so much range, and felt so lifelike and wrought with emotion", continued the BAFTA honoree, who was merely a Burgomaster in his world. The Christina Ricci, his longtime crush, had even asked for Tommy's autograph. Of course in their world the Headless Horseman was real, so as fun as it was for Tommy, he was glad to return home safely, even if he had extremely enjoyed his fifteen minutes in fanboy heaven.
Back in his real life, Tommy would continue to get extremely and perpetually bored. People had utterly no comprehension of the billions upon billions of alternative realities out there. They seemed perfectly content living a meaningless and mundane existence. If they had known, surely they wouldn't be wasting their time arguing over Presidential candidates and other red pill/blue pill stuff. His dream-induced travels quickly became addictive. He soon found himself doing whatever it took to make it to "the other side". It started off innocuously enough, when he had drunk a large dose of NyQuil to stave off a cold.
On that adventure, he went to a universe where whales ruled their version of earth, that was made of three-quarters land. They spoke to each other in sonar and sonic waves and traveled many miles at a time. Their thoughts were telepathic and Tommy remembered them venturing on land to study him as they wore gigantic mobile salt water encased suits. They concluded Tommy's species was the second most intelligent form of primate, and that his kind, 'humans', probably had good memories. A group of them got excited when Tommy came next to their vessel and tried to speak to them. The close encounter with the human was stimulating for the Cetacea group of tourists.
Tommy would find it increasingly difficult to deal with the realities of his humdrum life. The monotony of rules and laws and societal norms weighed heavily on him, the older he got. Soon he found himself completely droning out everything from his literal world, and he constantly longed instead for the sweet release of dreams. Not long after that, he sought out medical professionals to help him induce sleep and to help bridge the gap between his reality and his dreamlike-altered states.
The following trip proved to be his greatest. It was hands down the most magnificent trip Tommy LaFontaine had ever been on in any dimension, earthly or otherwise. He found himself in a world where one could experience any historical event imaginable, without suffering any of the actual consequences of actually being present at that particular time. Want to watch the band play on the sinking Titanic? No problem. Care to hear Churchill or Hitler address crowds from the front row? Ask and you shall receive. It was a time-traveling, historically accurate amusement park for adults. Tommy made the most of it. He walked with Neil Armstrong on the moon, watched Cleopatra make love to Caesar, and bore witness to Queen Elizabeth’s coronation, all in half a day’s time.
“Does this work in the future, like going forward?”, asked Tommy of a fellow passerby.
“Sure, pal. Whatever you can possibly imagine.”, came the answer.
Tommy transported himself to his own home, just 20 years later. He was curious as to how he had turned out, but there were no kids or grandkids there to meet him and sit around a Christmas tree. Instead, just like Ebenezer Scrooge in his third act, Tommy LaFontaine learned that the tediousness and boredom of his day-to-day had proved too much for him to bear. He had taken his own life this very next wake up from the present dream he was currently experiencing in the here and now.
Tommy’s jaw dropped and his tongue grew achingly dry. He needed a drink. Next he found himself backstage at Wembley Stadium sipping on Jack & Cokes as Freddie Mercury warmed up with vocal octaves. He shared a very erudite physics joke with Brian May before the Live Aid concert began. He had finally made up his mind that he was not going home…. Not ever again.
The next day, in our world here on earth, they found the body of Tommy LaFontaine. He was nestled in bed sandwiched between a down comforter and straddling a long pillow. A pleasant smile was permanently plastered across his now cold and pale face.
The coroner would eventually rule that Tommy LaFontaine had died in his sleep of a propofol overdose. Another victim of chasing dreams.