I had a dream that my family was part of one of those extended families that is composed of many different families. Is this a “clan”? Anyway, we were in one of those.

Also in this dream, I had a little brother of some nine years old.

We were at a big clan get-together, and there was this one family that was, like, the head of the clan. Like, their patriarch was the patriarch of the entire clan.

At the big dinner, my family was seated next at a table near the Head Family. Specifically, the nearest guy to us was, like, the nephew of the patriarch or something. Not someone who would ever expect to become the next patriarch, but someone who was considered to be more important than most of the people at the dinner.

(side note: I don’t think it was a strict inheritence thing. I think the patriarch would choose his successor. It was expected to be close family, but not necessarily his firstborn son or anything. It would be unprecedented for the successor to not be close family - like, it might start a feud with someone who claimed to be the rightful successor. The successor was expected to be male, but it was not unprecedented for it to be female, and this would be accepted.)

Anyway, so this important guy was sitting there. And he was super drunk and being a huge asshole. He was sitting right near my little brother, and my little brother did something, like swore at him or threw something at him or some small little thing like that. Whatever the slight was, this guy decided to make a Huge Deal out of it. He said that, for this kind of insult, that he was to be put to death. Indeed, clan traditions permitted this, but it was rare for it to be invoked. But nobody could argue, due to the Importantness of this guy.

So my family went home, with this death sentence hanging over us. We didn’t know when it was that my little brother was to be executed, but we kept thinking that at any time, some guys working for Mr. Importantpants would show up and execute the sentence.

I talked to my mom, and I convinced her that it would be more honorable (in the eyes of the clan) if we carried out the sentence ourselves. We could make sure that he got a comfortable death, and we would not lose face in the eyes of the clan.

My mother reluctantly agreed.

There was this cannon that my brother always thought was super cool. It was, like, used to signal noon or something. We took him to see the cannon. We even explained that we were going to kill him, and that this was the best way for everybody. He agreed to it because he was excited to see the cannon. He did not understand the full import of what was going on. The cannon was usually fired with powder alone, but we told my little brother to stand in front of it and we loaded a ball. He died with a big grin on his face.

When my dad got home from work, he was quite upset at what had transpired. Like, intellectually, I think he understood why we had done what we had done, but he especially felt bad for being left out of the decision-making process. He claimed that he would not have done it, and he blamed us. I think that if he had been there, he would’ve agreed with us. But I felt especially bad because I was the one that brought up the idea. I was the one that had argued for it. It had seemed like a mutual agreement between me and my mom at the time, but the more I thought about it, the more I felt like I had pushed her to do something she didn’t want to do. And the more I thought that I had talked us into doing something that shouldn’t have been done at all.

One day, the Head Family was coming around to our neck of the woods for some reason, and we had the opportunity (obligation) to host them and put them up during their stay.

Mr. Important was there with them. We brought up the death of my brother in some way. I forget exactly how. I think in a sort of “aren’t you pleased that we carried out the sentence ourselves?” kind of a way, trying to get some reassurance that I had done the right thing. Instead, he was all “What?”

I reminded him that he had sentenced my brother to death for that trivial slight. He was like “Oh, I wouldn’t have done that. I must’ve been really drunk. You should’ve just ignored me.”

What the fuck, my subconscious??