BASED ON A TRUE STORY
(Written in Paris, 1986. On a series of park benches. While my Gwumbldy looked at the trees and pigeons. And probably admired the French guys walking by. Fucking repugnant French people. I never had the guts to send these psycho letters to the actress Julie Delpy. Wonder what would have happened, if I had, I had, I had, I had? You read about wackos obsessed with movie stars. But at least I'm not violent. I might actually be disappointed if I met her. Could she possibly live up to my expectations? No, no, I wouldn't be disappointed. I expect her to be human, all too human. And what I have seen in her face, in her gestures, is not entirely illusion. My demented state inflamed me with insight. Even an actress reveals herself in the way she impersonates others. Someday, Julie, someday!)
Today I mailed a million missives, O but one glowed a dance of spark, increased its effervescent graniteness of real. This phosporescent speark, I feel, will geyser-levitate me gently
on the evertrembling membrane of its spout, up from the darkness
of the day spastically shimmering luminous-dartness night to other worlds where the opposing sides of contradictions plunge into eachother like cunt surrounding cock, where thirty-seven different flavors of ambrosia ooze so loosely from the smacks and spurts and squalls --
Dear Julie [so read my letter] --
I write though you're a celebration and I'm just a slowly-rotting stump stuck in the middle of the forest of desolation that we call creation. I write in spite that -- and because -- you are a free flow, an explosion of raw courage, a softling song of raw delights and infinite knowledge, a frisky fluttering and the most harmonious pure symphonic smile, whereas I am a wandering subterranean realm, occasionally a bright poke here and there, occasionally a wistful while awakened, but by and large underneath bound. Is it your soul that's sending sparks into the underworlds which tyrannize my mind? How you enchant me! O how I worship you, and our love! My love, O please, in every name of all that is holy, in other words everything and none, please let it be no one but you, let your answer be kisses delivered parcel express, let --
-- Absurdly ecstatic, I know it; what chance she'll understand the effusive let-loosive negapositively gleaming, the screaming through all pores of meaning and the mating calls of hazardozing life, the inside-outiness of gleaminess and outing gleeful dreams of absolution? What chance is there, really, of anything? That's why I live among the shadows -- every thing's a random variable, a probability density wave, potentiality, preality, inspiration-dizzy meme of dissolution-heavy waves of dizzy waviness. Nothing isdefinite but still there is fact. I sent it later:
Dear Julie [I scrawled too hastily, anxious to make the 5:00 mail] --
I love, love, love you! I'm writing once again to tell you I'm not really as crazy as my first letter might make me seem -- sometimes when I put pen to paper, alien beasts and zany winds gush out! The circumstances are as follows: I am a scientificaly trained individual, and I've been receiving what seem like telepathic messages. The most logical, scientific way of looking at it that I could conceive was to try to match the subjective "tone" of the messages with the feelings I picked up from people's presence. This led immediately to you, my dear! The easy flowing of your acting from one extreme to another, joy to grief to tension of anticipation with all the gentlysweet caressiness of ice-to-water-to-steam ... Enough! Enough! Enough!
-- Falsely Truly,
So awkward, such as a stumbling mess, I know, I know. Almost a normalcy however, that was the primary point. My God, I'm not even sure what a "point" is anymore -- I'm a spilling sink and the furniture is floating out of the house; I'm the sticky membrane of plastic ickk at the top of an old bowl of jello; I don't know what I am; I think I'm about to dissipate. I don't think I'm a thing quite yet again. I think I'm sheer legerdemain -- a sleight-of-conceptual-cohesion sprinkle of dust, a grove of fossilized red poplars spreading visions of austerity through the cock-shaft mirror barrel of the cosmic gun --
THE ZEN TEACHINGS OF HUANG PO
"Huang Po said seven hundred years ago: 'Your true nature is something never lost to you even in moments of delusion, nor is it gained at the moment of Enlightenment. In it is neither delusion nor right understanding. It fills the void everywhere and is intrinsically of the substance of the One Mind. How, then, can your mind-created objects exist outside the Void? The Void is fundamentally without spatial dimensions, passions, activities, delusions or right understanding. You must clearly understand that in it there are no things, no men and no Buddhas; for this void contains not the smallest hairsbreadth of anything that can be viewed spatially; it depends on nothing and is attatched to nothing. It is all-pervading, spotless beauty; it is the self-existent and uncreated Absolute. Then how can it even be a matter for discussion that the REAL Buddha has no mouth and preaches no doctrine, or that REAL hearing requires no ears, for who could hear it? Ah, it is a jewel beyond all price!'"
"Religion is the opium of the people," retorts Carl lamely; even he was hypnotized by the crystalline raptness, the rich cherry glow of Joe's voice as it navigated the infinite, elegant simplicity of the ancient Chinese.
"Don't talk to me about opium," laughs Juanita.
"Zen isn't a religion," quips Joe -- "in fact, one might sayit just isn't."
"But what was that about the most important truth of all history?" probes Marcella. "How come I've never heard about this
"It's very hard to talk about," replies Joe seriously. "Anything fundamentally new is. But in any case I've given a name to my new truth ... I've christened it the Cosmic Contradictionary."
"What the hell's that supposed to mean?" Carl scowls.
"It's best understood in historical context," begins Joe hesitantly. "The first big breakthrough for humanity was the tool. This allowed us to shape external reality into formswhich
appeared to our minds. Certainly there were limitations, but what's important is the link -- the flow of pattern from in to out.
"Then came language. Language is a medium for expressing ideas, but it's a far more flexible medium than wood or clay or stone; it essentially permits the representation of any internally occurring form. So it transcends the limitations of the tool, you see ... now, some things may take longer to express than others, but there is a total flexibility in the essential core of language.
"The interconnection of numerous tools -- numerous tools working on eachother to yield a bigger tool -- is called a machine. The interconnection of different linguistic statements -- numerous statements working on eachother, transforming eachother -- is called...."
"Mathematics," Carl cuts in. "You know, that's actually a good analogy: tools are to machines as language is to mathematics."
"Except that mathematics doesn't really deal with language," protests Marcella -- "it is a language, maybe, but...."
"And machines don't deal with flint axes," points out Carl. "They tend to use certain kinds of tools. I mean, any part of language could be integrated into mathematics; it's just a matter of efficacy."
"But what's the Cosmic Contradictionary?" asks Juanita petulantly.
"The next stage. When enough tools are integrated into machinery, language integrated into mathematics, the very concept of independent existence will fade away. What will be left will be precisely the intertransformation, the working on eachother, interreference. Look at one thing, see the entities which define it; the entities among which it's a pattern. And in these see what they're connected to. And so on, into loops -- X is defined in terms of Y which is defined in terms of Z which is defined in terms of X. The loops are the contradictions of the...."
"You lost me," says Juanita.
"Of course I did," he smiles. "I lost myself years ago. Now if you, too, can lose such archaic trappings as identity -- if you can lost your self as well -- then perhaps you -- or should I say you/not-you -- will be able to integrate yourself into the coming totality of the Cosmic Cuntradictionary!"
THE MADMAN UNDULATES VITUPEROUSLY
The whips of darkness kiss these lips of all-resounding never-nameable destruction-tamed delight. The gentle reign of dreams abreeze a million miles from home. I can't imagine I'm surviving all the agonies injective and adjectionable exploding shards of venomous derision through every cranny of my cranium -- I am an open sore, a giant gaping wound, an empty-ocean basin roar of stinging flailing hatred-wailing flames too-bright-for- sight that twist reality and thought like limbs around and around the bones all creak and if ever a word is spoken it's a mote amongst the haze of vaporized blood gone from its steady course, its regular soar toward dreams or at least placidness flung out with war into the reason-ravaged atmosphere with winding splats of organs blown away, membranous excretion-smeary livers, pancrea, testicle-insides blue and bubbly, those long mysterious now-deliriously-wriggling tubes, flayed bodies hung by their
intestines, seams aslipping leaving smacks of oozing mucus- textural inside-outish flesh like red skin off a sunburned back. Of rectums not had time to empty squashed across the screaming faces, shoved deep into the palpitating throat as its empty dying retch bursts tremulous out, squirting out the holes with which the cheeks, the lips, the neck, are riddled. How very balloonish does the human body seem at times like this! How all these images flood my trembling nerves as the feeling of not having you sinks o'er me! Merely psychological, you hiss and spit -- but mere never the mind is! The throbbing canyons of unconsciousness, my jailers and the sailors of my ships upon their seas that rage tsunami in their midst. O God the circle and the wave that is the circle stretched through time become the noose and whip so rapidly, my underworlds dungeons seem, my God, unspeakably lamenting, vulgar, shrieks of unspilled anguish o'erspilling out like rusty forks creak-digging ever-deeper into me, scooping out my very nary soul, to pieces screeching the remains of my undeath -- O death, come into me!
Sometimes I get the feeling I'm a deep slime-spurting gash and you're a penis plunging in and out and savoring the crash, the smack of fast-dissolving life, tendrils unwinding toward ablution with a rich agonious infinitely hollow parody of a laugh --
Something about Brooklyn lifts my spirits, suffuses me with a subtle, meaningless, all-pervading glow. It's not as beautiful as the suburbs where we used to live; no trees, and the air here gives you black snot. But nonetheless, we've only been here two days and -- maybe it's just that it doesn't remind me of Vlad. But there's just so much going on here -- so many neighborhoods, so many art galleries, so many nightclubs (some of which I can't get into for four years, but what the hell), so many museums ... maybe in a year I'll decide it's all shallow and pointless but what the hell, might as well savor the novelty now. Right now I'm Alice in Wonderland. In search of the Cheshire cat. Jabberwocky. Fifteen million mice nibbling at the unseen cheese. Yeah. Okay. Fifteen minutes early -- my God, the school's ugly! Wonder if I can start classes today? Where to first, the principal's office? Should Ihave brought Mom with me? I've got all the papers ... I'm a big girl now, remember? No, I forgot. Oh, shut up, will you? Speaking of shallow and pointless....
"Hello," intones the principal. "May I help you?"
"Hi, my name is Melissa. My family just moved into the area. I'm a senior. I've got my academic and medical records here." She thrusts a folder at him. "I'd like to start classes today, if possible. Should I go to the guidance office now?"
"Well, I can see you've got things under control. But what's the hurry? Sit down and talk a while. Where did you live before?"
"South Jersey. Haddonfield. Just outside Philadelphia. My father's a computer consultant; he was transferred up here to work for some actuarial firm, I forget the name. There are so many of them."
His phone rings. He answers it, then puts his hand over the receiver and says "Well, there's no need for me to keep you here. Just run along to the guidance office, uh, and it'll be a pleasure having you here....."
"Nice meeting you," I reply as I exit. The guidance office, the secretary explains, is just around the corner. They're quite cooperative; I get mostly the same classes I had at
my old school: AP Calc, AP Physics, Honors English, Gym, Genetics, Creative Writing ... only six classes out of eight
periods, so I get to leave an hour and forty minutes early.
Thank God! I get to my first class, Calc, about halfway through. They're doing stuff I did last week, so I just fix my gaze out the window. Once I notice the teacher making a mistake and I point it out. She says "Very good," but my attention has already faded. The next class is English; at the end of Calc I ask the girl next to me where room 102 is. "You have class there next period?" she asks in response.
"So do I. Just follow me. I've got to go to my locker first, but that's right across the hall."
"I haven't even found my locker yet," I giggle, getting up
to follow her. "I've got the combination though."
"What's the locker number?"
"Another coincidence," she laughs -- "that's my locker too."
"You share lockers here?"
"That's right. Only I was the odd one out. My name's Juanita."
"Where did you go to school before?"
"Haddonfield, New Jersey. It's near Philly."
"Hmmmmm. I've lived here all my life."
"Do you like it?" Since Juanita appears to have no ready answer, I continue, berating myself for my awkwardness. "I was getting really bored in New Jersey; I was hoping it'd be more exciting here."
"Well, I was really bored here until a couple weeks ago...."
"You met a guy?"
We reach the locker. "How'd you guess?"
"Well ... a couple weeks ago I met this guy ... he was reallystrange, but I liked him a lot. I only knew him for a couple days, but our relationship got really intense. He really was weird though ... he converted his car to wood-burning power; he had this painting made of shit hanging in an art gallery in Philly. He was great. And then he just disappeared ... they haven't found him yet. Before I met him I was bored stiff...."
"You sound like you really fell for him."
"Yeah, I did. Even though I hardly knew him, I guess. But what about you?"
"Oh..." she blushes. "I feel funny talking about it."
"What do you mean?"
"Oh, never mind. Here, let me introduce you to Carl." A
short, slim, hardy-looking Eastern European type approaches us as we sit down in the classroom. "This is Melissa."
"You stole my seat," Carl says to me.
"She's my new locker partner," Juanita continues.
"I saw her in Calc answering all the questions," Carl adds lightly.
"We did that stuff last week at my old school," I explain apologetically. He takes the seat in front of me. "So anyway, I was just asking Juanita about what exciting things there are to do in New York."
"Exciting?" he grins demonically. "You want exciting? Hey, listen, are you busy after school? Come with us, we'll show you some excitement!"
"Carl, no!" insists Juanita, a sharp and startling note
of urgency in her voice.
"Why not?" he retorts savagely, whipping his gaze around to meet hers. "Huh? Remember, I have the upper hand on you guys -- I can always go to the authorities."
"You don't know what's what any better than I do," she snaps back in a hushed tone. "We all know who has the upper hand!"
"You've got me there," he admits with a wide grin.
"I didn't mean to cause any trouble," I protest lamely.
"Don't worry about it," assures Juanita worriedly. "He just wants to take you to visit a friend of ours over in Manhattan, maybe go out to a club tonight or something. The thing is our friend is a very strange guy ... always got all kinds of weird things going on."
"I hear it runs in his family," chips in Carl inscrutably.
"I can handle strange people," I reply nervously.
Carl mutters something which I can't quite make out; it sounds a little like "And I bet you'll be handling him before the night is done." ... "What time do you get off? After sixth period?"
"We can go over to Manhattan right after class, then. We don't have to visit Joe if Juanita really doesn't want to. We can just hang around, show you the sights, you know."
"Sounds great," I reply, although my intuition shivers with apprehension.
"Here comes Miss Lewis," says Juanita. "She's a really good teacher, you'll like her."
The rest of the school day is uneventful, and so is the
subway ride to Manhattan after school. Inside the numerous gaps of the predominantly trivial conversation, I scrutinize their faces, trying to decide whether they're romantically involved, and trying to determine what exactly is so ominous about their friend Joe. "Where are we going?" I ask them at one point. "To Joe's place?"
"Yes," replies Juanita, stone-faced. Shortly thereafter we exit the subway and walk about three blocks, through an incredible seething mass of people, to an anonymously tall and modern building. Juanita buzzes a doorbell; a female voice replies. "It's me," she says quietly.
"Sorry, don't know anybody by that name," replies the voice, which sounds vaguely familiar, but the door buzzes and she pulls it open. We take the elevator up seven flights; across the hall from the opening elevator doors, then, I see an astonishingly beautiful woman opening the door to an apartment. "Who's your friend?" she asks brightly.
"Marcella!" I exclaim blushingly.
"Oh, really? That's my name too!"
"No, no ... I mean, yes, I know. My name's Melissa. Your name's Marcella. I kn...."
"Good, then," Marcella interrupts, "now that we have that established, why don't you come on in?"
"I have your album," I explain, embarrassed.
"Me too," replies Marcella. "Can I get you guys anything to drink? A snack? Anything.... Joe's out on business; I don't know when he'll be coming back."
"How about some tea?" requests Carl in a bizarre tone.
"Sure. What kind?"
"That special kind Joe made up," says Carl flatly.
"I don't think there's any of that left," replies Marcella. "We do have mint, chamomile and regular, however."
"I'd love some mint tea," says I.
"I'll get it," insists Carl, hurrying toward the kitchen.
"What's the matter with him?" asks Marcella quietly.
"I don't know," replies Juanita, and I start laughing.
"What's so funny?" asks Marcella.
"Oh, nothing ... just that it's my third day in New York and already I've met a rock star, that's all."
"Really I'm an actress," replies Marcella. "I'm going to be playing Anais Nin in a movie biography of Antonin Artaud; I'm really excited about that."
Juanita and Marcella stare strangely at Carl as he serves us all tea. I get the feeling that something bizarre is transpiring between them all, excluding me. The tea is vaguely minty, but it has another taste as well ... or, no, it's more of a feeling. It sort of numbs the mouth. A taste or a feeling?
WAITING FOR GODOT
OUT ... 1:in a direction away from the inside or center 2: beyond control 3: to extinction, exhaustion or completion 4: in or into the open ...
OUT ... 1: situated outside or at a distance 2: not in: absent; also: not being in power
OUTSIDE ... 1: in a place or region beyond an enclosure or boundary 2: exterior 3: the utmost limit or extent
OPEN ... 1: not shut or shut up [an -- door] 2:not secret or hidden; also: frank 3:not enclosed or covered [an -- fire]; also: not protected 4: free to be entered or used 5: easy to get through or see 6: spread out: extended 7: readily accessible and cooperative 8: not decided 9:ready to operate
INSIDE ... 1: inner side or surface...
FROM THE MADMAN'S SECRET NOTEBOOKS
The world as only power, quanta of power -- a mad dance, dance to exceed itself -- eachother -- ... -- Schopenhauer had The World as Will and Representation. Nietszche, however, analyzed "free will" as an illusion invented by men in order to give themselves the feeling of more power, and "representation" as perhaps the fundamental veil of power: the will to simplify as the will to concentrate power -- . Everything as power; his own arguments, as well -- his whole philosophy, just concocted by his mind as an illusion to give it the feeling of power: and therefore better than philosophies which give off less power? But how to measure power? Any theory of such measurement is, as well, a construct in the name of power -- is not exempted from the boundless flux of quanta -- dancing, and without a name -- . This is transnihilism -- a particular form. What I am doing right now is only what Nietszche's theory finally affirms can be done: explaining his philosophy as a phenomenon of the structure of his life and his surroundings, as well as chance. I am eliminating the person -- and I affirm that I am finding him herein. No "free will" -- just a set of patterns, conveniently labeled "Friedrich Nietszche". Not "intrinsically" any better, any different than the set of patterns labeled "horse shit." Distinguished only as an aesthetic phenomenon: this set of patterns pleases me. It pleases me more naked of pretensions: for what it is. And isn't.
Nietszche was a man at war -- with himself. And he liked it that way; at least a part of him did -- "Delight in the opposing point of view. Refusal to be deprived of the stimulus of the enigmatic." I contend that the main arena of this war was the border of consciousness and unconsciousness: the quest of Nietzsche to control his natural impulses, to counteract them --. At the end of his sane life, what happened was that this urge had been repeated so often that it became unconscious: so it was battling against itself. Thus came the contradictions of his philosophy.
He strove with tremendous dedication to lift his consciousness above his instinctual impulses -- and one of these impulses was toward sanctification of consciousness.
I do not claim that this engendered his insanity. However, a mind so fraught with contradictions was certainly ready for insanity -- whatever the "cause." It is generally assumed that his insanity was syphilitic: this may well be, but even definitive proof should not induce us to believe that his philosophy (his psychology) played no part.
THE DANCE OF DISSOLUTION
Cluster around me all your harmonies of innocence. And cast far from me all your parodies of pain.
Cluster around me all your vivisecting sighs and cries of thick silence, the agonies of passion in a universe insane.
And cast far from me all your monodies to deities deranged.
Cluster around me all you want, but be not frightened if I squat upon your sacraments and monuments and let my bowels drain.
O, cast far from me all your pleas, your moral moans and tranquil seas devoid of storm and therefore meaning -- your platitudinous terrain
I have long wandered;
there I found but adumbrations of more pain.
Cluster around me all your surreptitious sexiness and smiles of dusk and strange portents of supple senses slain.
And cast far from me all your suppositious certainties (I parry them in vain; I feel their blades burst through my veins; I feel me blood rush from my brain).
O, when escape become mythology; biology, psychology; and nothing, love. Pure passion clustered all around me could inoculate against what I am dreaming of. But what's the chance that light should dance into the million-year-long night that my sun reigns above? Not in this world where fickle fate won't masturbate you without first putting on rubber gloves!
Words, words, word
My words flee from their flaming hive,
but does that prove that I'm alive?
Or am I just charred crust that their life has abandoned?
Demons or saints spill through my head
and welcome me to silk-sheet beds
There come inflates me larger than my muddled mind
could have imagined.
And when I laugh, my tongue sweeps fire
Possessed by rage, I am a dragon
Within the vortex of a cage older than age or a whirlwind ofscreaming lashes gleaming crashes or abandon all in spin and deafening moons that pelt my fragment-flesh with what it once has been, claws, teeth and deathly breath of spite yowling like lions alien
can, now that I'm bereft, begin
to bring me past the stage of minor dissolution
and merely perilously strife-rife pain and fear
Into that maelstrom through which naught can persevere
Some call it death.
I call it emptiness, and knowledge.
It calls my fear, and I can hear my fear responding,
all my tenderest credentials into promiscuous view
And then I ask my fear:
Is this thing honestly what I must do?
And then it sticks its penis like a spear
straight through the warped brain of my pain
And I scream "I'm no longer here!"
And as the skies begin to rain
I softly, softly ponder
What it could be that led me to so violently
shriek and squander
that warm, warm beauty of those sweet delicious days
before the whorled barrage of emptiness and hate
unveiled its gaze twisted, torrential
and its sick tremendous spate
and cast the balance of my dizzy dreams asunder
O, as my self and skin are torn
and from them randomness is born,
I somehow wonder
Cluster around me all your tender tongues of laughingdance! And cast far from me all your yearnings to be grave. There is no crime so cruel and callous as to break my perilous balance with empty chanting of absurd, familiar names.
Cluster around me all your gratings, thrusts and groans of perfect love and lust, the innocence of beauty, trust, and sweet implicit knowledge. And cast far from me all your reason and your sane. I have no need for you whose purpose is to train. My unclear ways are what I am, and as I feel the hatred ram its blood-drunk chaos on the borders of my soul, I know I'm whole, and this, to me, is more important than your logic's murky portent, than your recital of roles, O than your law is.
Cluster around me all your harmonies of innocence. And cast far from me all your parodies of pain.
Cluster around me all your vivisecting sighs and cries of thick silence, the agonies of passion in a universe insane.
And cast far from me all your monodies to deities deranged.
Yes, cast far from me all the ready cures and wars you havearranged.
For I am always born again,
passed through the void alive though changed.
IF I CRIED OUT, WHO WOULD HEAR ME UP THERE IN THE ANGELIC ORDERS?
I recall all this because it was at the top of my mind on March 26, 1985, when I took LSD for the second time. Tripping with me were Holly and Mike Sullivan -- both eager virgins to pscyhedelia. The acid hit Mike first -- much to the amusement of all present, he leaped on Holly and spent about fifteen minutes slurping her bellybutton. I can't remember what happened before the peak. At the end of my first trip, in Gilda's bed while she slept, I saw society as a web of interdefinition: I defined myself by reference to Gilda and a few others, she defined herself by reference to Leslie and Chris and et cetera, they defined themselves by reference to their friends ... I saw humanity as a vast system of simultaneous nonlinear equations: one which, however, could never be solved due to the fact that even the concept of solution was a human artifact and hence fit into the equation.... This trip picked up where that one left off, in that incredible interaction with music/ visual music/ intricate infinitely enchanting spyderwebs throughout air and space/ spin silver castles full of pomengranate dusk/ I sank into every tiniest chamber of the music, every rhythm-within-rhythm, every counter-counterpoint ... music was my only tie with time. Time didn't pass so every note was a whole symphony. And through the phantasmagoric mayhem of shimmering sinusoidal bliss I sought to concentrate ... my first persistent impression was similar to part of my first trip: every time I make a definite statement to myself, erected a plot of conceptual ground for my conscious to stand on -- the very process of standing seemed to flip the plot out from beneath my feet. Assertion of X was impossible since the process of assertion invariably seemed to contain not-X ... and no less when the assertion was this sentence. This difficulty plagued the whole trip -- and yet I managed a few thoughts...
First, there was Mind as Stack ... I saw my mind as a vast tree of programs, a hierarchical control system in which each program controlled the programs immediately below it, which in turn controlled their subsidiaries, et cetera ... And at the top of this hierarchy -- stood the Self! At least, normally ... during a trip, I hypothesized self-referentially, different programs assumed top-level control -- the self churned downward. Identity abdicated to sensation. I felt this programming shifting as I moved. As I rose to flip an album I felt the Self resume control ... then I fell into the album's blackness: a boundless void, an endless ocean in which I could swim as a fish -- the metaphysical equivalent of quicksand...
Second vision: self-similarity ... My dorm room had become my only true home; the experiences of the past few hours towered with such intensity that all else swayed to pale. Nonetheless, I didn't want to piss on my floor or in my trash can. The air seemedunreasonably viscous as I stumbled toward the door and flew through the bone-shakingly bright infinity of the hall. In a flash I slid into the bathroom: the toilet stall became a universe, my urination the process of being, connection with world. There was naught but urination and the sterile/forbidden- grime smell of the bathroom. As I finished my piss the walls hiccoughed and screamingly shuddered -- dead quakes erupted through my ears ... The universe farted. And I was born again!!! Emerging from the toilet stall, I felt life as if 'twere something never felt before ... such subtle electricity: and then I looked at the mirror, saw myself and tumbled through abyss ... Mirrors have always been anathema to me; months have passed in which I've not shed glance upon one. Revulsion at my image (luckily no longer plagues me) ... I saw a ghost, a heap of wafers barely cohered by some obstinate farce- face toward form. White wispy wafers, sebaceously shivering -- oozing repulsively, all apulse to the beat of invisible drummingallujah ... I bent to drink. I bent to drink and a thousand veils lifted. All of a sudden I saw all the unconscious rooms of my mind, all in action ... I felt my intuition calculate the angles at which to bend various parts of my body in order to successfully execute the act of drinking. Waist: just so much. No -- that, like before ... divided by walking. I felt my body think by analogy, proceeding on the basis of a weighted average of its actions in previous similar situations (weighted by mount of similarity). Head: so far just like look at ground, minus scratch plus half of waterfountain ... Lips: shrink on contact, make roundyroundroundy; torso: twist. "The body has its reasons" -- Yes indeed, and it shares them with the rest of the mind, not to mention the universe! I felt my body think, using the precise process I had previously identified with "higher mind" ... self- similarity;;; identity of process across scale -- functional equipment, logical level as argument, arf arf cetera ... I felt, specifically, that the ways of weighting averages were the same in body and mind, that the subtle patterns of reasoning, not just the general processes of analogy, were the same ... I returned to the room hoping desperately not to forget it, and also not to
come down from the trip remembering but realizing what bullshit
it was ... I'd read too many stories of meaningless LSD "discoveries" not to be skeptical, even in my twisted state ... I put Axis, Bold as Love on the turntable, side two, Jimi Hendrix. Warm, warm comfort of the room -- or is that womb? Oh, oh yes, struggle once again -- pulling the rug out from under my feet; eternal contradiction; eternal moment/ death/death/life. I tried to reason as follows: no matter what I think, it ends in cntradiction. Therefore everything is paradox. Why? Because nothing can be solid: there can be absolutely no thing. To draw a boundary is to separate X from X -- which is absurdity. You say the inside and outside are different? But to identify the difference is merely to draw another boundary: victim to the same flow. I realized that my logic contained a million holes. But to the extent that I was convinced by it, I didn't believe in logic or holes. Reasoning about self-contradiction, I contradicted myself continuously... Perfect skepticism: that which will not even permit itself to be formulated.
The final song arrived: Axis, Bold as Love. I dove through the music. The onset of the song is slow, as smooth as void: the music flowed along slopes of invisible angel-down which tickled the cracks in my chapped lips, which made me sing silently and laugh, while the lyrics told fantasies of bright spiraling colors. Image arrested me. The song chased the Skeptic's Tumble from mind, brought out beauty instead, wild-webbed gold-flowing intricacy:
"Anger, he smiles, towering in
shiny metallic purple armor
Queen Jealousy, Envy, waits behind him
Her fiery green gown sneers at the grassy ground
Blue are the life-giving waters -- taken for granted,
they quietly understand
Once-happy turquoise armies lay opposite ready
But wonder why the fight is on
But they're all bold as love
They're all bold as love
They're all bold as love
Just ask the Axis ...
"My Red is so confident he flashes
trophies of war
and ribbons of euphoria
Orange is young, full of daring,
but very unsteady for the first go-round
My yellow in this case is not so mellow
In fact, I'm trying to say it's frightened like me
And all these emotions of mine keep on holding me
from giving my life
to a rainbow like you
But I'm ... I'm bold as love
But I'm bold as love
But I'm bold as love
Just ask the Axis, he knows everything...."
As the lyrics dim, the music unravels inexorably -- pattern on pattern of fresh flawless flow so-miraculously yielding soft end, a symphony of delicate balance, a crash-kiss of afterplay, tying up every tremor left hanging in a bouquet of melodramaless love ... and then silence roars ... Then: explosion -- silence calls a herd of thundering drumclouds; beats spiral out and in and out, orbits too intense for eyeing -- in complexity self was lost, in intensity self regained. Stark solidity....
THE MADMAN EXPOSTULATES
"Isaac Newton, who invented calculus and used it to formulate classical mechanics -- the first scientific theory to unite apparently disparate phenomena (e.g. planetary and projectile
motion, reflection and refraction, etc.) under one philosophico- mathematical framework -- was a devout Christian who wrote a million words of hyper-religious trash. Leibniz, who besidesindependently inventing calculus also conceived the initial philosophical and formal rudiments of mathematical logic -- attempted to use the latter to prove the existence of God. Newton never considered his theory complete; there were many phenomena -- for example, electricity -- of which he was aware yet made no attempt to understand. Leibniz, on the other hand, believed his combinatorial logic to underly not only calculus and physics but everything else as well. He envisioned a Universal Calculus by means of which, given any question, the educated man could just say 'Let us calculate!'
"Two hundred years later Leibniz's optimism was all the rage among scientists. Maxwell's equations for the electromagnetic field had unified electricity with classical mechanics and optics -- everything seemed to be understood perfectly, if not in detail, then at least in theory. What remained, it seemed, was not science but mathematics -- the equations were known, the question was now how to solve them. Master physicist Laplace epitomized this attitude with his famous brag that, given sufficiently detailed information as to the conditions at any one time, he could predict the precise state of the universe at any time thereafter -- including, for instance, what you will be thinking at four o'clock on the day before your death. A minor physicist named Michelson proclaimed in a university catalogue that it might not be a good idea to go into physics, seeing as all that was left of the field was the task of putting a few more decimal places on some constants ... this is particularly ironic since Michelson's sole claim to fame is the Michelson-Morley experiment, an innocuous attempt to collect data on the speed of the ether which yielded the unexpected conclusion that there is no ether and thus paved the way for special relativity.
"And it was not only scientists who felt the rising tide of mechanism. Nietszche's maxim "God is dead!" summarizes the tone of the late nineteenth century to a tee. For the development of science was, of course, not exclusively abstract -- it was a
primary cause of the Industrial Revolution which surrounded
everyone with machinery,i.e. with testimony to the broad
applicability of the Newtonian/Leibnizian logic of cause and effect, of universal determinability. No longer ruled by "acts of God", no longer surrounded by phenomena which could apparently only be explained by reference to God -- most people felt little
motivation to vigorously believe in Him. Although the majority still payed (and still pays) lip service to religion, no longer
was it the basis for their lives."
"Science is in the process of negating the very concept of science. Just as Christianity gave rise to a tradition which rendered it impotent, so is this tradition spawning powerful subcurrents which are busy curling back against the very foundations of its being. And this should not be surprising seeing how much of the structure of Christianity has been carried over into science.
"I contend that science negating science abstractly -- and this is the crucial step -- will lead to science negating science technologically, and in the popular mind. And the psychological consequences will be stunning."
THE MADMAN BURIES HIMSELF IN VAGINAL EUPHORIA
"I'm feeling a little funny," I say, after maybe ten minutes have passed. Marcella's been answering some questions I asked about the record business, or the movies, I don't remember what -- I don't remember much of anything, come to think of it. What exactly does it feel like to remember?
"Me too," says Carl. "I think it's getting kind of stuffy in here -- I'll open the window."
"That's not it," I whisper nervously. "I think ... you ... know ... what's going on."
Juanita and Marcella start to say something; each, hearing the other, abruptly stops. And then they both are interrupted from a voice in the direction of the apartment door: " I know what's going on. In fact, not only that but I know what's going to go on, what went on, and what was going to go on but didn't! Do you know why?"
"Joe?" asks Marcella uneasily.
"And you, and Juanita, and Melissa, and Carl, and the table you sit at -- and everything else in your universe," the voice replies steadily. Into the kitchen comes a naked young man -- skinny, wild brown hair dangling in ringlets, large lower lip and bulging eyes. "I am your Creator!" he continues enthusiastically. "Look -- I can perform miracles!" As the last two words emerge from his mouth, a billowing genie spurts out from the tip of his dick, rapidly flowering it to erection. Dressed in a turban, the genie rubs a golden lamp.
"The tea was drugged," I proclaim quietly.
"What tea?" asks the Creator grinningly -- and as he speaks, the cups disappear from the table. "The fact is, sweetie, none of this is real. This is all my sexual fantasy. Or, perhaps, my metaphysical fantasy -- it is a world in which the metaphysics I imagine to be the case actually hold true. The key axiom of which is that, as matter molds mind, mind controls matter. I seek to manipulate this feedback between In and Out with the control, decontrol and passion that my body gives to the In and Out of sex. I want to fuck the Cosmic Cunt, in other words.... As you can see, I'm totally crazy. But then, that's virtually a prerequisite for quality in a writer. Yes, that's right; in case you haven't guessed -- you all are characters in a book I'm writing. Which is called WARGASM. It's a completely crazy book, I assure you. Tomatoes are fruits, not vegetables. My God, I think I'd die without a vessel in which to excrete all the conceptual waste society forces into me. In which to discharge all the the trivial, the painful, and the congenitally disunited. Oooh oh oh Oothldy! But really now, I've got to go. One thing I should tell you, though: the logic of WARGASM is decidedly nonclassical. The tone of the narrator is as much the story as the actual surface plot. Every character is me or a piece of me or Gwen -- that's my wife. Oh, by the way, she's pregnant. I believe it is a girl -- Zarathustra Aglaia Goertzel, now there's a whopper of a nomenclature, eh? The other day, inside a fortune cookie, I got a fortune saying 'Your deepest dream will soon come true'. I'm still waiting. Bye bye."
The man disappeared, but the wisp with the lamp remained. "You will get three wishes," he said. "You may have a few minutes to consider all the possibilities."
"I guess we should try 'I wish for a million wishes'?!" giggles Carl. "Ever since I was three I've been waiting to spring that on you."
"No, no," says a man whom I take to be Joe (appeared from nowhere), "that's not nearly clever enough! How about -- I wish this wish would not come true!"
"No wish may refer to itself or other wishes," admonishes the genie gently. "However, wishes are not restrained to the physical plane; metaphysical desires are also permitted."
"What we have to be careful of," says Joe, "is making wishes which are included within other wishes. We have to choose maximally inclusive wishes, see what I mean?" I am a little confused for a second: if the genie is an hallucination then why does Joe, who wasn't here when the drugged tea was taken, see it too? But the thought swiftly vanishes: I want Vlad back! I almost say, but then it seems that Joe's admonishment was meant for me. "I wish," says Joe, "that from this point onward I shall perceive the universe as it truly is, devoid of all illusion."
"Okay," says the genie. I suddenly realize that there are four of us and only three wishes. Marcella speaks out: "I wish that Joe's plans for humanity will someday be implemented," she whispers.
"Okay," says the genie. "Fucking shit!" groans Marcella -- "why didn't I say now!!!???" Carl starts to say something; I raise my voice and cut him off: "I wish that within the next month I'll fall hopelessly in love with the most perfect man for me imaginable, and he'll at the same time fall in love with me...."
"Okay," says the genie. Poorly phrased, I remonstrate -- 'for me imaginable' could be interpreted as limiting the choices to my realm of imagination. Still, that's not so bad. I hope Carl isn't mad at me. Imagine Juanita, making a wish for Joe's ideas while Joe makes a selfish one ... oh no, that was Marcella, you stupid little twit! And the genie dives into the lamp, which turns out to be the teapot in the middle of the table, the one the so-called mint tea was poured out of. "I think the tea was spiked," I venture, only half-jokingly. Some sense of reality reluctantly returns. "Is this why you were afraid of bringing me here?" I ask Juanita haltingly.
"I didn't anticipate this specific experience," she answers quietly, "but I was afraid sex or drugs or both would get involved, yes. They usually do. By the way, meet Joe Savage, my father and lover, and the creator of the hallucinogenic drug under the influence of which we now ... exist. At least, I think we do exist...."
"More interesting than Haddonfield," I chuckle.
"You can call it a drug if you wish," Joe injects, "but if you accept the hypothesis that mind influences reality, then an agent which frees the mind to act more powerfully may have powerful effect upon reality."
"Are you saying the genie was real?" Marcella wonders.
"If you truly believed that your wishes would come true, Iwouldn't be surprised if they do," says Joe confidently.
"Ah," I reply skeptically, "but the question is would you be surprised if they didn't?"
"Ya got me!" Joe chuckles. "Who is this little cutie anyway -- she's got potential! As a matter of fact, I wouldn't be surprised at all. But, on the other hand, I really do believe the probabilities of the eventualities wished for are significantly higher now than they were before the trip. How much higher I can't quite say, lacking an exact mathematical theory of the mind. I don't have the patience for mathematics."
"Why don't you ask Enriqueta to help you out?" suggests Carl acidly.
"Now don't you be having a bad trip on us," scolds Marcella. "I think you may be in need of some sexual therapy." With that she drops her dress.
"You too," chuckles Vlad, approaching Melissa with a tiny, flickering smile.
"Vlad??!" she shrieks instinctively, forgetting she is drugged. "I thought you were dead!"
"Only temporarily," he responds coolly. "As they say, the reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated. I was just laying low for a while ... CIA difficulties, you know." He relays Joe a knowing look. "I was a little surprised to find you here in my hideout!"
"Is this the guy you were telling me about?" asks Juanita, to her surprise surprised (she'd thought nothing could shock her anymore, but there it was...).
"Indeed it is," giggles Melissa.
"He just showed up this morning," adds Marcella. "With four friends. All of them saying their bosses sent them here for shelter. As if this is a safe location, after what happened yesterday."
"That was an in-house squabble," Joe reminds her, but the distinction soothes her not one bit.
"I don't believe you can tell inside from out anymore, not since 1967 or so," Marcella giggles seriously. "But where are your friends, anyway? Didn't they consider it prudent to expose themselves to mere civilians?"
"Actually it isn't very prudent," Vlad admits, "but if I were prudent I wouldnt've involved myself in such a racket as this."
"Not that any of us have any idea what this racket involves," points out Carl. "We've heard nothing but lies and contradictions from Agent Kipplestein here."
"Lies and false truths," Joe agrees heartily. "But what else is there?"
"Especially in this racket," points out Vlad noddingly.
"You don't seriously expect us to believe that a couple of freaks like you two occupy high echelons of the Central Intelligence Agency," Carl persists.
"Who said anything about the Central Intelligence Agency?" asks Joe sarcastically. "The agency we're involved with is the Communist Insurgency Association."
"All right, I'll drop it," sighs Carl. "But that doesn't mean I'm satisfied."
"I'd be glad to satisfy you," coos Marcella. She sings: "I don't know what it is I like about you, but I like it lot."
"Led Zeppelin, first album, ah ... what was the song -- Communication Breakdown, that's it!" Vlad grins mischievously.
"I freely admit I've never had an original sentiment," retorts Marcella. "Besides, everything involving sex is extremely repetitive. You know, In and Out, In and Out, In and Out, In and Out -- sounds awfully boring, doesn't it?"
Four others enter the kitchen: one woman in her mid- twenties, three teenagers, a little girl and a very, very old man. Vlad introduces them: "Andrea, Kristina, Mark, Marya, Aglaia and, ah, a recent addition." He gestures strangely to the old man. "He goes by the name of Friedrich, or Zarathustra, depending on his mood. He tends not to talk a lot. He came in while you folks were, ah, appreciating Joe's home- brewed tea."
"Friedrich Nietszche?" Joe grins, an indescribable glow in his eye. "You folks should have come out here sooner; you missed our Creator and his magic lamp."
"What did you wish?" Mark asks.
"I wished that the universe would disappear, that around me I would perceive only nothingness."
"And you discovered that nothing changed!" laughs Kristina.
"Actually," interrupts Juanita," he asked to perceive reality as it truly is, devoid of all illusion. Perhaps now he fancies the two are equivalent, but...."
"Everything happens," says Joe placidly. "All possible universes are happening at once."
"But then why do I perceive only one?" I ask eagerly, instinctively believing his words.
"Because, you see, some universes cancel out with others," Joe explains. "What you see is the sum of all possible universes. But it's not like a sum of numbers -- it's like a sum of vectors. Each universe has a certain probability -- that's the length of the vector -- and a certain set of properties -- that's the direction of the vector. For X and Y of given length, the closer X is to Y, in terms of direction, the bigger X+Y is. So clusters of similar universes, all with high probability, contribute a great deal to the sum total. But they're all there, as components, if you look at things the right way."
"Not that I completely understood that," I persist curiously, "but what's the right way?"
"To see in X those things which define X, and in those things those things which define them, and so on ... until you get dizzy from X defining X and spin around the circles of definition and throw up all your Insides into the Outside, and then, finally, In and Out are one and the perfect universe presents itself to you. That's what I see at this moment." He scribbles some diagrams on the tablecloth; I follow him only vaguely. As I get more and more confused Vlad rescues me; he takes me in his arms and kisses me so deeply I'm no longer aware of anything but his wriggling tongue, his erect cock against my belly, the exuberant flow of liquid love and liquid life between us, the softly shimmering songs of love composed, orchestrated and performed by the pores of my skin -- a different song for each pore, and yet the sum total not cacaphonousbut mysteriously illuminating, the cancellations, adumbrations, and the infinite rising-sun orgasmic canyon of the overture of the pant of mind/not-mind -- as it surges through me, I am hardly aware that the rags of cloth around my body have flown off; it seems like someone's mouth is nibbling every orifice -- My God, the pain as somebody bursts through, and the sweet and silky slippering of the jissom down my throat, the oozy tart taste of vagina and the Christ! what the hell is happening and the oh, I think I'm fading out but perhaps I'm coming in what was the difference anyway and what my oh why so reluctant moral gibberings now hear me gibbering love and lust or mental snake-swallowing-its-own-tail wandering will-to-power inhalation exhalation bleary saintedly Satanic did I just fart in someone's mouth it seems the what's that in my underarm oh! stop thinking you don't it right anyway with this drugdrug tea oh shiddlyshit stop thinking let it float away only feel the vibrating tenderness soft explosion universe- kissing of the throbbing juicy wombness of the evilgood- transcending all-trancending woozy oneness of it all....
I awaken to Juanita softly shaking me. "Melissa? Melissa? It's half-past nine!"
"It's half past nine."
"It's half past nine."
"It's half past nine, don't you think your parents might be getting worried."
"Really, I'm sure they will be -- your first day at school and all."
"Yeah. You're right. Where's the phone?"
"Why don't you wait until you're a little more awake."
"Yeah, you're right. My throat feels a little dry. Do you think you could get me something to drink. Anything but tea!"
Juanita giggles nervously. "Right. Milk all right?"
"Listen, uh, Juanita ... what exactly happened on ... uh, whatever it was that tea was laced with."
A viscous silence.
"Did you know?"
"I knew it was laced. I didn't plan on giving you any; that was Carl's idea."
I look around. "Where is he?"
"He went home awhile ago. His dad gets mad when he misses dinner."
"How about everyone else?"
"What, you mean Joe and Marcella? They're in the other room, in the studio, working on some songs. Joe plays the guitar, you know."
"But what about...."
"Vlad and Mark and Kristina and the others?"
"They were, uh, illusions. None of them are here now."
"Manifestations of the drug."
"That's a powerful drug."
"Yeah, it is. Not very well understood, either."
"But you've taken it before, and it's had no visible ill effects."
"I've taken it once before. I only met Joe ... well, you see, my parents split when I was a baby. I just found my father a couple days ago."
"You two don't seem very similar."
"I'm a lot more like mom I guess. Which makes sense, I mean she's the one who raised me."
"Right. God, this is quite an introduction to New York."
"You've probably met the craziest man in New York, at any rate."
"Who, Joe, you mean? I hardly got any impression of him, really. Carl seems a little hostile towards him, though."
"For obvious reasons -- we were just starting to go out, you know, making all the timid motions, and then my father comes along and seduces me. He didn't know who I was, I guess that absolves him of something; I knew who he was though."
"Why did you do it, then? I don't think I could fuck my own father!"
"It's just an arbitrary social custom. I never really related to him as a father, anyway ... oh, I don't know. It just sort of happened -- I was drugged on opium at the time, anyway. Hash laced with opium. Call your parents."
"Right." I do so. They're only minorly annoyed; I tell them I tried several times to call, but every time the phone was busy. I tell them I'll be back by eleven, probably sooner.
"This is crazy," says Juanita faintly. "All the plans I had for my life somehow don't make any sense anymore."
"I don't have any plans, really. Well, none that I'm too attatched to. I guess I plan to go to college, and see what happens there. I don't know."
"Yeah, I don't really know what I'd want to major in in college, you know, but I don't feel at all ready to enter the real world, right! To choose a career! Hah!"
"Exactly," I laugh, knocking my body against hers.
"But Joe has so much purpose," she says solemnly. "Marcella was like us I guess, and now she's devoted herself to his goals."
"Lacking her own."
"Right.... The funny thing is, though, she seems to accept the goals as a part of him, you know ... whereas Carl embraces his goals but has a lot of skepticism about his personality."
"I guess his goals make a lot of sense ... a lot more than anything else I've ever heard of. But, you know... it's not something I place absolute faith in. I don't think even he can consider every possible objection. There could be something crucial that he overlooked -- something more to the universe than even he has imagined. Or... well, about his personality, too. I mean, he's got so many ideas, so much enthusiasm -- but who's to say he doesn't embrace the bad ideas he'll inevitably come up withjust as vigorously as the brilliant ones? Of course, Marcella realizes that too, and she accepts it as a risk of total faith. I guess I ... oh, I don't know. I guess I just don't know."
"Most astute," says Joe approvingly. "I couldn't have said it better myself." Juanita blushes, nervously gazes at the floor. "Now, don't be shy, my daughter! Skepticism is nothing to be ashamed of, not in the least. But you should at least know what you're being skeptical of. Let me give you a tape I made the other day, when I was trying to explain my political views to Marcella. It's incomplete, of course, and it leaves out the most important part, which is the way it ties in with my theory of mind and my theory of the universe, but you've got to start somewhere."
"I'd like one too, if you have one," venture I, surprising myself with my forwardness. "More importantly, though, I'd like to see any information you have on the drug you fed me last night."
He raises a finger mockingly. "Took took tookums! I had nothing to do with that; I just walked in in the middle of it. But, ah, I don't have anything but a bunch of scribbled notes on that matter, and I suppose even if you had a good background in biochemistry you couldn't make sense of them."
"That's what I want to major in," I cut in, "biochemistry. Biochemical engineering, actually. I want to create organisms from scratch."
"That's interesting all right," he nods approvingly. "But I have another project you might be interested. You might call it -- biochemistry from the cell's point of view."
"What do you mean by that?"
"We've got to get going," interrupts Juanita.
Joe ignores her. "I mean that just as an organization of cells makes a body and a mind, perhaps an organization of people does the same. There are fewer humans on earth than cells in each body, but we are far more complex; much more order inheres in our interactions. And if you include all other organisms as well, if you consider the ecosystem as one big organism, then perhaps the number rivals the number of cells in the body. I propose, in other words, that society is a mind. And I plan to communicate with it."
"Assuming that your hypothesis were correct, how would we communicate with it?"
"I've developed an apparatus for reading, very roughly but far more sensitively than the hoax known as electroencepalography in our hospitals, the internal fluxions of the human brain. For the analysis of one mind, it's only marginally useful. For the analysis of the entire society, however, a slight perception of each individual is enough, you see! Installed in satellites around the globe, we could read the mind of society!"
"But communication requires a cycle; how could we complete it?"
"One would have to alter the patterns in its mind in a significant way. We'll have to understand its mind first, of course ... but you see what I mean. It would be, from its point of view, like receiving a telepathic mess..."
"We've got to go," I say, rising. "Get back to me when you've got the satellites built." I'd like to believe him, but what he says sounds too much like science fiction. I want some proof, orat least some evidence in favor of one small part of his conjecture. I am not confident that he can distinguish between dreaming and reality. But in truest reality, is there really any difference?
"The satellites," he continues, following us to the door, "are already in orbit. It remains only to reprogram them for our uses."
"And how do you propose to do that?" I hear Marcella singing beautifully from the other room, and her voice shoots through me like a suddenly pinched nerve ending: the unreality of the situation makes me bleary, woozy, dizzy. I have to tell myself: don't faint, don't faint, don't faint.
"Hijack the space shuttle," he answers quickly, shutting the door behind us.
"I see what you mean," I sigh to Juanita on the elevator. "If you believe him, there's nothing to do but devote yourself to his logic. But if he's crazy -- to follow him could be suicidal."
"And he's had some obvious successes -- like the drug we were on. He's got a number of patents for technical things -- Carl went to a patent lawyer he knows and found out for sure."
On the subway: "By the way," she says, "how much of the trip do you remember? You remember the genie, and Vlad and all those other people appearing...."
"Yeah -- supposedly appearing!"
"Do you remember what happened afterwards?"
"Yeah ... well, sort of. Not in too much detail."
"That was real."
"You lost your virginity."
"In several holes, if I recall correctly."
"You do," says she, with a giggle. "Thank God you're not upset!"
"It was important to me before. Maybe it will be once the drug entirely wears off." I shrug, as if that buries the point for good. "With both sexes too!"
"Right.... I mean, it's strange for me too, you know. I've only done it with one other woman, and that was Marcella."
"She's a weird one. I mean, she seems so simple, such an ordinary girl -- and yet she's the one who's famous, not...."
"But I don't know if he'd have it otherwise. All this crap about the CIA, you know."
"Yeah, I know what you mean," says a slender, middle-aged Hispanic woman standing in front of us.
"Mom!!" Juanita shrieks. "What are you doing here?"
Her mother laughs. "You're asking me! I had a meeting uptown. I got on the same stop as you; I saw you down the platform but it would've been futile to try to yell over the sound of the trains. It took me several stations to run from car to car down here."
"The doors inbetween weren't open?" Juanita says distantly.
"No. Each stop I had to run from one car to the other."
"And all for the privilege of eavesdropping on us," laughs Juanita. "This is Melissa; she just started at our school today. She's from South Jersey."
"Oh! Hi!" says Enriqueta.
"Hi," I reply.
Converted by Andrew Scriven