I had the weirdest dream. I don't normally remember my dreams, but this one was a doozy.
I was trapped in a large confined building. It seemed like it was part warehouse, part kitchen. Our very scary masters had commanded us to move large boxes of stuff around.
There were lots of fellow slaves who were terrified. They cried, screamed, ran, but they always were caught by the very scary masters and forced to continue working.
There were also lots of fellow slaves who were dumb, passive and happy. They didn't seem to realize they were being abused. They'd pick up boxes and carry them around with simple little smiles on their faces.
There were a few of us who seemed to know we were trapped, but didn't quite know what to do about it. I was one of those... I was trying to keep from being noticed so I could find a way to escape.
One of the smilers came to me to help with a particularly large box. We moved the box and found 5 little discs on the ground underneath it. The smiler lady-slave was fixated on them. "Oh, aren't these wonderful!", she coo'ed. "Do you think they left them here just for me?"
I had my doubts, but I didn't want to attract attention. "Sure," I said. They looked like very ordinary worthless tiny bottle caps. Surely nobody would care if she snuck them into her pockets. And even if they did care, nobody would think *I* had anything to do with it. No problem.
Except that she got *really* happy about the discs. "Oh, this is so thoughtful of them! Positive reinforcement! They are motivating us!" She happily lost interest in me and the large box and wandered off. Something fell out of her pocket as she pushed the discs in.
Instantly I could feel an evil presence behind me. "WHAT IS SHE DOING?!?", demanded one of the very scary masters. I jumped. So much for not being noticed.
"She's abandoned her work," I confessed. I knew that I would be punished just as severely, because the very scary masters would punish you just for being near an infraction. I was doomed. "She thinks you were trying to motivate her."
"WHAT DID SHE DROP?" I picked up the item. It looked like a broken piece of a child's toy... plastic with an empty space in it for a battery. "It..." I stammered. "It is... was... what she used before... for motivation."
"THIS PROPELLED HER?" Things were getting really out of hand. At this rate, the very scary masters would make a party out of my torture session. "Yes, it was her... uh... her artificial motivation."
The phrase "Artificial Motivation" changed things. Instantly, I was aware of the fact that this was a dream. The scary mood evaporated while the formerly scary master wailed in annoyance. His prize was gone.
It was the first time I've even woken up laughing from a nightmare.