In my dreams last night, Prince sang a duet with Karen Carpenter …

I have these weird dreams, about a parallel Earth from time to time. Things in that place are basically the same, except that for some reason, musicians always live out their natural lifespans. They die of old age there, never of drugs, or by murder, or by suicide. Whenever I see famous people on Earth-2, they look slightly different.

Earth 2 is the place where musicians always live to ripe old ages …

I’ve had multiple dreams where I’ve been to Tupac concerts, featuring a 40+ year old Tupac. I’ve heard new Tupac songs, too, although the melodies and lyrics fade away the moment I wake up. On Earth-2, older Tupac ends his shows with, “Be Well my Mashed Potatoes,” which is a reference to some album he released in the early 2000s. I always forget the name of the album by the time I wake up. When I’m at these shows, I’m usually backstage, or near the stage. I think I may be a tour manager or promoter of some kind on Earth-2. I usually have a notebook with me whenever I see these shows.

I’ve had other dreams Earth-2 dreams, about different artists. There was a really strange one; I’m at the Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon. He’s got bleached white hair, and a dark goatee. He’s dressed in dark jeans and a sports coat. Ahmir Khalib Thompson (aka Questlove) is also there, but he looks VERY different. He’s wearing bright red glasses, and his hair is cut into a kind of high-top fade. But he’s still Questlove, and he’s still a genius drummer. The whole tonight show band is like that, basically the same people, but dressed or accented differently than they typically would be.

The First Time I dreamed of a Karen Carpenter who survived …

Jimmy Fallon then introduces his musical guest, “She needs no introduction, but I’m introducing her anyway. Karen Carpenter!” Questlove and the Roots are the backing band, and they beam at her as she walks onstage. She’s in her 50s, but she looks great. She’s not so thin. She’s got shape to her, and grey streaks and crows feat. And she just OWNS what’s she’s wearing. She’s not fidgeting with her flowing black clothes, or worries that they’re too tight. She’s clearly a person at peace and in command of herself. Everyone here knows what she went through, what she got through. She lived through it, and found herself. Everyone already knows this, it’s ancient history, so nobody has to talk about it. Somehow, I know it, too, because I’m on Earth-2, and everyone here already knows these things. Karen Carpenter gets on the microphone and says,

“I’ve been playing a show at Radio City Music Hall, a tribute show to my good friend Prince …” the crowd goes nuts again. She laughs, “Yeah, I like him too. This is Darling Nikki …”

And then she goes into this absolutely brilliant cover of Darling Nikki. It’s just like chocolate sauce … up until the big crescendo. And she just SCREAMS, “CRY CRY CRY!” and then she starts dancing. Questlove and the Roots are just killing the backing here. Karen Carpenter keeps looking back at Questlove and the Roots and they are just dropping it, beat after beat, and clearly having a good time. The song ends, the crowd goes nuts, and Blonde Jimmy Fallon comes out, “A Tribute to Prince is at Radio City Music Hall, ladies and gentleman, Karen Carpenter! We’ll be back!” and it’s just pandemonium.

I woke up. I can still hear how she sang the song. If you could see into my memories, listen to what my brain remembered from that Earth-2 visit, you would see the show. It was amazing.

Prince and Karen Carpenter Sing a Duet …

So, yesterday, Prince died. And in my dreams, I visited Earth-2 again. This time, I was backstage at the Arsenio Hall Show, which on Earth-2 is apparently still on the air. And this time, it was Prince and the New Power Generation … and Karen Carpenter. Now, the New Power Generation, they all look different again. They’re kind of … well, they look more like Parliament Funkadelic than they’re typical look. Karen Carpenter is dressed all in white, and she’s grinning at Prince, trying to get him to break. He gives her this sly smile and side-eye, eventually.

The strange part is that Prince, he just looked like Prince. I mean, the way he looked when he passed on. There wasn’t anything different about him. I couldn’t look at him and say, “Yeah, Prince is different.” He was just Prince.

Arsenio is waiting for his cue, and then the cameras come on. “Ladies and Gentleman, supporting his latest tour, we are BLESSED that our good friend could take the time to drop by, Ladies and Gentleman, give it up, for Prince and special guest Karen Carpenter!” And just thunderous applause. The audience has clearly been waiting to cheer for these guys the moment they’re on stage.

Prince just looks up and says, “I hear you guys like cover songs.” And he smiles at Karen Carpenter. And then they sing Superstar together. An amazing, funky, beautiful version of Superstar. And then that turns into ‘Baby, I’m a Star.’

In the middle of it, I woke up. Usually I wake up from dreams naturally, but this one, I woke right out of it. I had a headache and was disoriented, before I realized, no, it was a dream. I’m here, I’m on the world where Prince died yesterday.

I know that logically, I’m just dreaming. These are just figments of an active imagination, that plays music and remixes songs in my sleep.

But still, it’s nice to imagine, that I am tuning into another world, one where all of our musical greats live to ripe old ages, free of the demons that haunted them. And it’s kind of comforting to imagine Prince, our beloved Prince, as this kind of avatar among the musicians in the parallel worlds, always who he is. Somewhere, out in the multiverse, Prince plays on.

All in all, it was a nice dream.  


Also published on Medium.

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