The scariest nightmare I've ever had was about Michael Jackson.
I don't mean that disrespectfully, now that the King of Pop's heart has given out, and he lies, getting colder, on a slab at the UCLA mortuary. But it's the strongest personal memory I can grasp of the man right now.
The very first Compact Disc my mother bought my brother and I was Michael Jackson's 1992 epic Dangerous. I still know all the words to "Black Or White" and "Who Is It?". After Madonna's Erotica, it was the defining album of my pre-teen music experience, and my brother and I would rock out in the rumpus room for hours on end listening to it.
I don't remember when Michael Jackson became scary, exactly. But by the time of my nightmare, which occured in the early 2000s, he was a frightening wreck of a shadow of his former self.
In my nightmare, my parents were forcing me to marry Michael Jackon in - of all places - the Imax Theatre at Dreamworld (a Gold Coast themepark). Now I hate Imax theatres - I get motion sickness - and there I was, dressed in some sort of giant poufy peach dress, with a massive veil, up at the back, facing Jacko, in a full HIStory-era spangled faux-military outfit, down the front.
I remember turning, and sobbing at my parents, saying "Please don't make me marry Michael Jackson!" And that's when I woke up, in a sweat, with tears in my eyes. It took me ages to calm down enough to risk sleeping again.
(Of course my dear parents would never have forced me to marry Michael Jackson. My mum enjoyed his music well enough, but my Dad just thought he was weird.)
His death brings to a close a brilliant yet bizarre career. His musical genius and extraordinary performance skills will be remembered; but his legacy will be dogged by the plastic surgery rumours and startling image makeovers, and of course, the Never Never Ranch and his acquittal on child molestation charges.
Hopefully his children will have time to grieve and recover in privacy; I hope even more they avoid some of the terrors their father faced.
Dangerous may have been the Michael Jackson solo album I listened to most, but in these hours after his death, I choose to remember the young, energetic, bright Michael of the Jackson Five - in one of my all-time favourite songs.