WHEN YOU LOOK LONG INTO AN ABYSS,...
Freed from the immediate threat, they fuck like crazy. Tragedy or no tragedy, they're here! They're in another star system! Mondo cool, man! The orgy flows so naturally several of them wonder if alien chemicals are at work.
Abdullah breaks the silence of afterglow. "Best alien sex I ever had!"
"That's the truth," agrees Maria, resting her head on Jake's arm.
"Truth!" scowls Abdullah. Truth does not exist. Neither does falsehood. It's the only philosophy befitting an alien."
"Hey, Abdullah," interjects Jake, "what kind of particle physicist doesn't believe in truth?!"
"Ach, my friend, you have it all wrong. You have it backwards! I did believe in truth, in the Age of Reason and all that bullshit -- until about my second year in graduate school, when I realized that before each experiment each research team had about ten papers all printed up, so that no matter what came up they could explain it."
"I don't see what that has to do with the fundamental nature of truth.... Just with the way some of us go about looking for it. Not that I have any tiniest shred of belief in truth, or anything else, you understand. Nor in the ten trillion axioms of unconscious reason which underlie these statements. But...."
"No, that one factor didn't exactly convince me -- or, rather, deconvince me. No one thing can convince you of any philosophy. But it set me thinking: do we discover truth or do we create it? And once you've got a good firm doubt of that set in your mind, you start doubting truths about the existence of things like 'we' -- and then the question's doubted, you've got 'this sentence is false' and the whole world's gone!"
"The thing is though, that intellectual realization of it, of the absolute impotence of all realization, is far from moment- by-moment internalization of...."
"And this distinction, too, is just a truth and hence a false truth -- "
"It's just nonsense -- but it's not. Because it's second- order; what we're talking about is interpretation of the realization that it's nonsense, that it's all nonsense."
"But also realization that second-order and every other category is bull."
"Right -- we're a dangerous team! We could go around in circles forever like this!"
"We could drive ourselves crazy!"
"As if we already aren't!"
"As if that weren't just another bullshit category!"
"As if 'another bullshit category' weren't just another bullshit category!"
"As if clever self-references were worth anything more thaneveryday moronic statements."
"As if any statement whatsoever, no matter how perversely self-referential, could bring this intercontradictory counterpoint to a logical, well-balanced close."
"As if out-of-place poetic phrasing could hide the fact that the concept expressed, namely that of termination, is but a disguised form of penis envy envy, that is, the desire not to have a penis so one could wish one had one."
"As if even a non sequitur could escape the web of subtle implication by which every statement is a statement about the universe and hence drawn into this cockamamie dialogue!"
"Will you two cut it out!" screams Katrina -- and, just in case they weren't planning on listening, she clamps Jake's mouth into a kiss.
So this is how it's going to be now, growls Maria under her breath. I've got to compete with this big-boobed Brazilian bimbo, Katrina! Well, even on earth it was the Age of Free Love -- right? -- and anyway I dragged him into that apocalyptic triangle with that damn Mexican drunk, so I guess I deserve whatever I get... better learn to like it....
"But," Jake continues, while stroking
Katrina's tiny, calloused hand, "speaking from the point of view of physical reality, I believe the way skepticism has so totally permeated my mind has had certain unusual consequences."
"Like what?" Abdullah grins maliciously -- "Ship-eating sky amoebas, maybe?"
"Something just about as weird," chips in Maria.
"I've been receiving ... messages," Jake explains shyly. "From one entity in particular, I think she's female. From a race of telepaths. Somehow their race is as mystical as ours is materialistic, by nature ... I don't know, something like that. And myself being so permeated with mysticism, herself being a maverick materialist from her culture's perspective ... somehow we were brought close enough...."
"And you believe this??"
"Believe it as much as I believe anything. More than I believe a lot of things I'm told to believe -- at least I feel this directly."
"Which means nothing."
"Look, I told you, I'm not talking on an abstract metaphysical plane. I'm saying I actually hear these voices -- and what's weirder, when Maria and I were in a holo together, we both heard the narrator of the thing say our names -- at the end of some long incomprehensible surrealistic speech...."
"Did any of you see 'A Heard of Paradoxen'?" injects Maria. "Weirdest flick I ever saw! This little girl masturbating, spraying a hose up her cunt, and then inside it appear all these multiple personalities arguing, yabbering on forever, well not quite I guess but then...."
"But what does that have to do with these voices," interrupts Abdullah. Maria is hurt; she feels ridiculous as a tear crawls down her cheek. And Jake doesn't even notice it.
"Well, the thing is," Maria continues insistently, "okay, voices in his head are one thing, but these signs in external reality are a little stranger."
"It was the same voice in the movie and my head," Jake emphasizes slowly. "In my head first... just the night before the final interview."
The inevitable question -- Li: "But didn't they ask you about such experiences, I mean, under the mist."
"Yes," replies Jake steadily, suddenly swept by a spicy blend of fear and pride, "I consciously lied."
"I thought that wasn't possible," says Jacob.
"Well, it is," retorts Maria. "Shows what years of meditation will do for you. And they always said it was useless!"
"Oh-ho, so we've got a lunatic in our midst," says an unfamiliar high-pitched trembling voice. It turns out to come from Adelaide. They rush to help her, spewing questions and words of comfort.
"Are you alright? okay? blebublle? wha heppa? areya? ksshksshksshkssh!" she hears diffusedly.
"Clam down, all wight," she mumbles dazedly. "I'm still a liddoow bleewy."
"Okey bwokey," grins Abdullah.
"You're such a sarcastic little twit!" squeals Maria.
"You must find that attractive," grins Jacob.
Maria turns to the man she resolutely continues to conceive as her lover: "Actually, honey, you've been pretty serious lately."
Jake tries hard to come up with a humorous rebuttal. Finally
he just burps -- a long and juicy one, with the sound of a defective garbage disposal trying to digest a fork.
"Sounds tasty," grins Katrina.
"I'll bet you'd like to taste it," Maria snaps ... regretting each word as she says it, but still letting the next out....
"Actually not," says Katrina. "I prefer to digest my own food, don't you?"
"I guess it's time to get to work," says Jake. "Does everyone remember what the precipitation situation is around here?"
"Ja," replies He immediately. While the giddy "inner sanctum" has been spinning crazed metaphysical dialogues, Jake observes wryly, He's been memorizing the maps, Obu's been slowly taking inventory, Nadia's been getting biochemical rundowns on the earth on which we sit. "It's rare, but when it comes it's warm and powerful, enough to maybe bruise the skin. Maybe once a month for a couple hours. Apparently actual visibly life forms come down in the rain too ... ah, how you say it ... encased ... encased in the drops.... I think there no big need for shelters. No large land animals. Sea other story."
"Exactly," Jake continues. "We hopefully all know this by heart. Now, how many of you believe it? How many of you believe anything we were told? How many of you believe all the dangers of the planet are restricted to that hill over there?"
"What's the point of this inquisition?" inquires Katrina.
"Well, just that there are two things we can do. We cansettle down here, fortifying ourselves as much as we can based upon our obviously inapplicable earth knowledge, or maybe fortifying ourselves not at all, just chancing it and eating and drinking and fucking like happy campers, happy savages,...."
"Or we can wander to the ends of the earth? Is that it?" interrupts Katrina -- darkly? brightly? even she doesn't know.
"You see," says He, "the thing is all our mining equipment is gone. So we can go look for it, assuming that cloud didn't actually digest our ship but just excreted it somewhere. We have no reason to stay here. The only reason we picked this island was because of its proximity to numerous mineral reserves, with the help of which it would have been easy to maintain the technological civilization promised by the technology of the ship...."
"So you're saying we should look for the ship?" asks Maria confusedly.
"I don't know what we should do," says He, "but without the ship no high technology society, right? We'll be savages."
"No, no," counters Jake cautiously. "We could have a low- level industrial society of sorts, water wheels and so on and maybe even steam engines -- we all know that. We all know how to build those things; it was in our training. We were trained for this eventuality, among others. Let's not call it savager...." The sea erupts. From all sides giant tidal waves kiss the sky and threaten to surround them. Then surround them. The sky is still visible, but it's a quickly fading square between four humongous walls of water, closing down.... The four walls meet. All this so fast that no one says a word about it. Abdullah laughs diabolically and Maria and Katrina cling to Jake. Jake clings to nobody, but wishes he had somebody to cling to. He has a vision that Abdullah is the devil, and his penis has one huge bloodshot eye, which weeps. "Fear not the Overflow," says the voice to Jake. "Fear not the Overflow. The Overflow is all softness. I know you love the hard. But hard is Overflow also. The Overflow isn't everything, there is an overhard around it, but yet the Overflow is everything, for what could there possibly be but softling soft ... what's there but Overflow? All things are so entwined, interdefined, all things in love -- hence all things Overflow. Overflow is love."
"This is the Overflow!?" Jake replies tremblingly to the soft sweet voice inside him. "It's just the ocean?"
"Yes, it is what you call the sea. And it's all other things as well. It is...."
"But, I mean, primarily...."
"Yes. In the sense of hard, it is the sea, my love!" The voice flows in a hurried tone. "But we must think in the sense of soft, no? I feel what you feel now. I feel you growing peacefuler. But that is not enough. The softest too may die, yes? I am not focusing sufficiently. Listen: there is a trick I know. Do you know that you don't need to breathe? If you are in a state of sufficient peace you can control your lungs. Can you feel them there? There they are, yes... your lungs, those big red pillows...."
"My image of my lungs."
"Stop making these distinctions, love, just flow.... Just feel your lungs relax, feel them slow down ... when you live in the ... the sea you need such maneuvers. This is why we become softer and softer -- we can modify the hardness of our bodies to flow with our softliness. Actually only I see it that way. But don't worry about it. I'm digressing like you. That's the danger of the link. I'm frozen now; if a dangerous animal comes near me then we're both dead. Listen: remember your time of greatest peace. Remember when I first came to you, or just before that. Remember the softness of the flow."
"Yes," smiles Jake driftingly. "Yes, I remember." Slowly, frighteningly slowly, the roof falls down. The room of water shrinks to their size. Now it encroaches the vague boundary of the island, broadening their eyes. No one runs around futilely. No one panics. The immediate prospect of death tranquilizes them, makes them somber. Life assumes a sort of dull black point, a sort of pencil-lead undefined blurry ending, too definite, too indefinite, too... The voice continues: "Jake, you can survive underwater, if you slow your lungs. Not for very long; maybe for half an hour. Your lungs are weaker, far more weak than mine. But probably long enough. I must admit I've never seen the Overflow flow like it does now around you; I've never felt in all the Field of such a thing. But I feel it cannot last too long once it thunders. I think you should take refuge in a cave, to avoid the impact when it hits. It's all right if the water flows in, as long as your lungs are in flow...."
"You sound so much like a human now, not like yourself at
"I'm straining terribly to make contact. In such cases it's hard to maintain identity sometimes. Sometimes not. Don't worry about it. Just flow. Feel those red balloons sagging, then blow up ... slowly, slowly, slowly -- feel them flow...."
And Jake can't contradict the voice's shimmering, glimmering beauty, the soft perfection of its soothing tone, the way it
massages the deepest tendrils of his memory, reforming his past,
present and future into a timeless mode of overflow and loving -- flow, flow, Overflow.... "That's gonna hit hard!" he
yells -- peacefully. "I'm gonna run for a cave."
"Where, Jake? All the way back?" asks Maria -- getting desperate, wondering if Jake'll lose his cool....
"Back there," he points. "You see them?" His arm points
away from the hill, in the direction in which they'd been walking. "Why?" says Jacob. "What's the point? Accept your fate peacefully."
"I will," says Jake calmly, focusing on the red balloons and the lover-voice, the soft, "but please don't act as if you know what that fate will be. There's no real need to stick together, though -- if we go different places that might increase the chance of some of us surviving, right? See you later!"
"See you in hell," cackles Abdullah madly. But he follows Katrina and Maria, who follow Jake, and all of them move with a strange sense of hopefulness....
"Listen," says Jake quietly, so that they have to strain to hear him over the crashing, thrashing splashing of the seas. "I've been hearing that voice again. And it's been telling me that we can breathe underwater for up to thirty minutes. We just have to slow down our lungs... we have to feel our lungs beating, pulsing in and out... "Feel them," reiterates the voice -- to all of them -- "feel them flow." "You mean telepathy is transitive!" screams Jake -- no one else understands, but he doesn't give a shit. "The important thing is peace of mind," says Jake quietly. "You have to be at one with the ocean before you can stop your breath in it." They hear footsteps, muted thumpings in the sand. It's Adelaide, with a bulging bag and saggy breasts jiggling so wildly it seems to Jake it must be intentional. "I have a feeling we'll be the only ones alive after this," she sputters exhaustedly. "So I brought some maps, and the genetic randomizing pills, and some medications and you know anything else I could find."
"Good idea. This is an insane chance we're about to take."
"They say," pants Adelaide, "that it'll only be more painful in a cave, that you'll be dashed along the rocks."
"It's possible," says Maria, as they apply the 6 A.M.
sprinting practice they've been subjected to for the past month. "But we should be able to leave the cave after the ceiling hits, before it rushes in."
"It all depends on how thick it is," adds Katrina as she stumbles and picks herself up without even looking at the blood on her shin. The shell is still lodged in her leg.
"It seems to me it can't be that thick at all," muses Jake.
"Ah, yes," laughs Maria -- "we do happen to have the world's greatest expert on turbulent flow among us!"
"Not a very auspicious title," retorts Jake.
"You know what I mean...."
"Well, I never heard of anything like this ... not even theoretically," admits Jake. "But I did study those tunnels that form off the coast of Hawaii sometimes, the ones people surf through."
"Crazy people," grunts Adelaide.
"Think about how much transverse force there must be to offset gravity," says Abdullah. "I mean, it's not even sinking in at the center hardly at all. It's just a wall. It's like something straight out of a fairy tale!"
"Something to write home about?" grimaces Adelaide. "I don't think I was cut out to be an athlete."
"Remember," says Maria, "millions of people competed for the privilege of doing this."
"Of dying exotically," adds Abdullah. "By the way, did anyone ever get around to radioing Earth and telling them what happened?"
"Who cares? How much urgency is there to send message that'll take a generation to be returned?"
"I've got the radio," says Adelaide. "Right here by the top of the bag. Shall I turn it on?"
"Sure," grins Jake. "And why don't you let me carry that? No wonder you're so tired."
"Yo! Home boys!" yaps Abdullah into the radio. "Let me tell you a little story. This black cloud ate our ship and ninety nine percent of our supplies and ninety five percent of us. And then these five walls of water surrounded us and the only reason we might survive is some voice in the head of Jake Smale here who slipped by your truth mist even though he's a lunatic. Oh, and one last thing -- FUCK YOUUUUU!!"
"His sentiments do not necessarily represent those of the rest of us," adds Jake loudly, into the mike. "Unfortunately, however, what he says is true. Now let's turn the damn thing off, come on." Adelaide does so. "The thing is to concentrate."
"Feel the flow," whispers the mystery voice, deliriously. "In and out, in and out, in and out ... relax with it slow down almost stop it almost stop the hard is hard and the soft is soft but the hard of soft and the soft is hard but mostly soft...." And the ceiling descends faster, faster, and as they meditate resolutely, attuning themselves to the voice's repetitive mantric lull, they barely notice that the water seems to be intentionally avoiding them. There is a hole above their heads. And they hear another voice: "Excuse me. I did not realize you were soft too." The voice feels like an ocean -- it playfully washes up over them, laps at them gleefully, largely, profoundly. "We are soft and hard," reply Jake and the original, female voice in unison. The new voice is sexless, and -- infinitely soft? Even more smoothly melodic than the voice which Jake has heard and loved for what seems like so very long -- The new voice thunders like that of a god, Jake muses lightly and yet ponderously: who was it that said 'Speak softly and carry a big stick'? "We are not like you," thinks Jake steadily, realizing words are useless. "We are soft like you, but we are focused on the hard. We cannot communicate through a field. So we communicate through the hard. Therefore our emphasis is on hardness."
"Why have I never encountered you before?" Gently, gently it passes over them.
"Because we just came ... WAIT! There are others of us not far from here" -- he mentally indicates the direction -- "who are not quite as soft as us, perhaps, but must be saved... I know there're many questions, we'll be glad to answer them...."
"I feel no one else."
"Can't you just... you can't see them, I suppose...."
"I'm not sure what that means. We are more different than you realize. But through one of you, who is not very close to me except through another, I am feeling another who is much like me, although not as well developed perhaps... smaller."
"Listen! You're about to destroy thirteen of our people! Can't you just ... make an emptiness in a large area around us?"
"Can't you try???!" urges Jake, losing his calmness....
"But can you perhaps slow the rate at which you fall in the area around us?" asks Katrina.
The voice resounds: "It is accomplished."
It comes down over them, and following Jake's lead they climbup the wall of the hole which surrounds them and walk along the top. "Do you think Moses was in communication with an intelligent ocean when he crossed the Red Sea?" asks Maria.
"Or maybe God was!" points out Abdullah. "Maybe God was
the Red Sea! I guess that would explain some things...." "It should be about here," says Jake after about five minutes of walking. He thinks his words with an odd intenseness as he speaks them, urging his lover-voice to amplify them toward the ocean: "I don't see how we could go down after them, but I really have to try to get the others...."
Miles and miles and miles of raging sea, nothing but ocean, lashing, whorling, dancing, controlling itself and releasing itself from control; insanity and the ultimate steadiness of sanity; on all levels outside bounds yet within bounds. The land is horizon. "It can feel you no more than you can feel your internal organs," explains his lover-voice -- only to him this time. The moment of communion is lost. But the communion between the two of them, they both feel, has been irrevocably strengthened.... "But if I can control my lungs in an emergency," insists Jake, "then why can't it control the severity of its flow???!!"
"Your lungs are a much bigger part of you than its flow right here is of it. It can barely feel you, physically. It's a miracle any communication has occurred at all. You're really pushing your luck!"
"My God, you sound so human lately!"
"So do you," retorts the voice. "Wait ... wait darling, something's happening! I've been lost in this communion ... now I'm paying for it! A net has got me! Wait ... I must escape ... I must break contact!"
All but nine of them survive, carried out by the conscious sea.
THE MADMAN SPITS OVARIAN LAMENT
"Why do I lie? I am a pathological liar, and my pathology is most interesting insofar as it causes me to lie to myself. You see, I'm skeptical about everything; I don't believe in truth. Or at least, this is always the excuse I use to justify myself in lying. Okay, not always. But the point is, I tell myself quite often: These lies that you tell, George, are really no worse than the so-called truths spewed forth by others. For example, every so-called truth which presupposes the existence of reality apart from any observer -- contradicts science, all skepticism aside. And any truth which presupposes the existence of a "thing" is but founded on a psychological fiction: -- Things we construct in our minds; they are not out there. Any "truth" which assumes that what I see is what you see, even when looking at the same nonexistent "thing" -- is utter nonsense. So truths are hidden lies. But the amazing thing is when the converse is true -- and this is what happens with me. Someone will ask me a question, and I'll fling them an answer off the top of my head, thinking "This is bullshit;it'll be fun" -- thinking this implicitly ... or else thinking "Why should I bother to give them the real reason when this comes more naturally, or is less embarrassing, or is less likely to lead to more trouble" -- or some such. If the question is as to physical "fact", that's one case in which I've never seen my lies come true, not as far as I can recall. But when I lie about my own motivations, my own ideas, my own mind-state ... For instance, my Shadow-Lover started out as a lie; I don't remember why, perhaps just boredom ... or maybe I was thinking about something so complicated that when Michelle asked me what it was I didn't want to take the time to tell her -- In any case, I just threw it at her -- Out of nowhere, so it seemed ... it was a regular topic of conversation for a while, and it was utter bullshit. And then it started happening. What was going on in my mind? Did talking about it convince me that it was true, subconsciously? Or was I actually receiving messages before I noticed it, and simply consciously denying them? Who knows?!
"Another instance is as follows: I feign anger, but eventually the game gets me genuinely mad. Well, am I really feigning to begin with? I can't tell. I cannot tell when I am truthful or am lying anymore: -- This is the consequence of lying to myself so often. "Lying to myself"? -- why did that come out? I never lie to myself about "facts", only about things like whether I really know what's going on in a given course, or whether I really love Michelle or not, and so on. Things for which there is no solid answer -- even according to my logical mind. So I don't really lie to myself; I don't think so -- Not unless I lie to myself about this too, right? ha ha ha. That's the way you do it; -- That's the way to go! That's the way you do it baby -- Blow! Blow! Blow!
"What the hell was that funny business? (as Michelle and I often say). I think what happens is that when I lie to others about my mental state -- or even when I make a dubious proposition (as all are to me sometimes), one with which I can sympathize with both sides ... in these cases, the fact that the lie or one side exists in my mind while I'm expounding it -- gives it permanence. For my mind is reasoning with it as basis: -- my mind is assuming it as all induction machines assume things: -- implicitly, because they're there. My mind is drawing its conclusions, and only partly on the conscious level: -- And after the original pose has gone away, these chains of reasoning remain, locked deep inside me, ready to come out on some unpredictable occasion (all occasions are unpredictable, so -- ). This is why Nietzsche warned: Watch out what you pretend -- For you may become it! "Are you genuine? or only an actor? A representative? or that itself which is represented? -- Finally you are no more than an imitation of an actor" -- A frightening thought from a man who wore so many masks. In the dead world of physical reality, one can put on a mask and rest assured it will remain a separate entity. But within pattern space -- nothing is that clear. When one dons clothes -- one sacrifices skin. This by the cardinal rule that that which is not seen, is not. And once you've vanished something, there's no spell to bring it back -- Not that I know of. Am I a pathological liar?Maybe ... perhaps I am; as far as lies about myself extend, however, this very principle of observer-determination solves the riddle. Everyone's mind is full of contradictions; usually, however, only one half is conscious, particularly in extremely logical minds like my own. When logic meets mysticism, excessive introspection, the raising toward consciousness of one's unconscious flow -- something's gotta give! In me the logic became several logics, each one reasoning toward one of the numerous conclusions present; often contradicting eachother, and then another logic rising to encapsule that contradiction. I dare propose that most logically-minded people do not have the strength or flexibility of mind required to handle such a feat as this -- as I have inadvertently achieved. Whether it would have been better to abandon logic altogether, I don't know. Perhaps my unbounded flexibility is not an asset. But it permits me to be like Michelle -- to see all sides of every argument at once -- and still to reason. Michelle has a far-above-average logical capacity -- still, though, I don't believe it's large enough to support this multiplicity of reasoning machines which I have found necessary to support my dual habit: -- (visioning) mysticism and reason. (And, on the other hand, none of the logical dynamos whom I know is anything of a skeptic. There are some people -- Mike Smith comes to mind -- who are unusually clever and unusually skeptical: -- But not quite enough of either one to do what I have done. Not that they'd want to, anyway; sometimes it's difficult to remember that people want their sanity. SANITY IS THE DUNG OF THE PSYCHOLOGICAL ORGANISM, remember? I'D RATHER PISS GRAPEFRUITS AND BALLYHOO THE BURPLE DONGS OF SPACE TIME. But that's just a personal preference, and I must recall at all times that to most people the above ecstatic aphorism means nothing. They cannot understand that sanity is merely a response to fear, to the fear of facing contradiction -- that nonsense is preferable, even divine. And I can't explain it to them -- it's simply not the sort of thing that can be defined. All I can do is output books like this, and maybe paintings if I get good enough, and certainly music, when I get the money to record -- spit works of art which show the nature of reality as experienced by one who realizes he is living in pattern space as well as physical reality -- By one with one foot in Nirvana, so to speak (Aren't I a modest one! Oh, what good is modesty though -- Let's just piss grapefruits). Show my insanity to the world. And why? In the hopes that someone will get a piece of it all, that someone will perceive a piece of themselves in me, in my work, and will seek to develop that piece as a consequence. That someone will thus plunge o'er the edge to insanity! That's all I care about! This is so appropriate -- I can almost feel all the wheels turning in the back rooms of my mind! I can hear them creaking -- Yes! the sad creak of the universe! Such sad gladness! This is the first time, in this notebook, that I have written something which I did not believe -- as absolutely as I can place faith in anything. Right now, when I was discussing the purpose of my art. Or was I? I am seriously doubting this! Half a minute ago -- three, four, five lines ago -- I seriously believed -- etc.etc. -- that I had been lying when describing the my art as intended to drive people insane. But now it seems so dubious to me! It seems that when I started, it was serious -- but as it went on I started to feel that I was lying, that really my purpose was purely personal; -- then I started to wonder if these personal and "altruistic" purposes weren't quite highly interconnected, as in most "altruism": -- Then I stopped and started this tirade about my lying. You see -- it turned back on itself! What I had been writing about lying was at play around the borders of my active consciousness (there is no inactive -- ), and it influenced what I was thinking about the purpose of my art. And now (this may or may not be what I was thinking about four and five lines ago; maybe I am lying now; maybe this was only at the fringes then or maybe I'm just filling it in now because it seems so neat): -- Now I'm beginning to doubt the bit about lying ... -- Just a little bit; I guess because of my experience with doubting my statement of purpose, which I'm now sure was sincere ... now I'm thinking that my lying was not lying but just latent doubt; that I felt guilty for thinking X, felt I was a lousy skeptic for it and hence said -- "But I really feel not-X". Do you see? That is a perfectly good explanation! And now I see it, yes, this was playing about my mind before. Wait -- when was that? When was before? No, no, those last two lines were posturing; I felt them a few seconds before I wrote them, but when my fingers got around to getting them out, I thought that they were total balderdash and that I'd never thought them. It always fluctuates so fast, I can never catch it ... I mean that I'm not catching it now: it always moves so fast -- What? Just a little faster, that's how fast.
"Our Hero hurtles into the abyss of contradiction. How 'bout that?!"
COUNTDOWN TO ECSTASY
"Remaining," scrawls Adelaide woozily in the old-fashioned paper diary she's decided to keep: "Obu Ituzi, Rima Calder, Demitrius Popadopolous, Janna Mark, He Chang, Jake Smale, Maria Rodriguez, Krissie Cake, Abdullah What's-his-name, Shree Ghosh, Melanie Goldbrick, Adelaide, Adelaide, Adelaide, lunatic, nutcase, psycho, bleephead, fainted up on the hill of unleashed dreams wanted to fuck huge blackclouds and do crazybusiness with the undeadhead insideout upsidowness, sometimes you know baby things get free and I can't see what ever we or we maybe can't can we it you know sometimes a little confyousing it gets and we can't make an of it, it just kind of floats away on the upsidedown trails of the donkey, really you know withering away and shreds of flesh riddled with shrapnel on the landscape of your dreams on that hill ON THAT HILL ONTHATHILLONTHATHILLYYYYY WHAT happens is that everything gets free g3ets free free three and then what happens to be used to be something like whole, like like definite, kind of goes to shadow, kind of wanes like trains of pain and dissipates like number eights of the balls of pool tables inside the yellowbrick toad and ever-everland what is the meaning of sometimes it fades away craziness JAKE IF YOU'RE READING THIS I AM OK WAS NOT KILLING HARD BUT PRISON IN TINY PART OF OVERFLOW SEA SURROUND HARD TRY TO TALK ME WITH FUNNY BOX HARD FUNNY HARD NOISES CANNOT WORK NEED HELP CAN'T REACH YOU STOP WORRYING PEACEFUL STOP WORRYING PLEASE NEED YOU LOVE YOU LOVE PLEASE."
Adelaide screams like murderess and murderee in one, then passes swiftly out again. Jake runs to help her and sees his name scrawled on the piece of paper on her lap -- he reads the
message to himself first then, chuckling, the whole thing. "Maria! Look at this!" he yells excitedly. "Do you have the same theory I have???!!"
"She's a dolphin!!!" Maria screams at the top of her lungs. "The one who talks to you is a dolphin, or a whale!"
"A race of telepaths," muses Abdullah, "communing with the sea. A race centered around softness ... I don't know what that is, but from earlier I can sort of feel it. Sort of like soul I guess. Still, it doesn't explain everything. Wouldn't she have recognized it if the concept were in your mind?"
"They can't tap eachothers memories. They can just talk a little more directly."
"I see." Abdullah stretches out his words inanely. "Or at least, that's what they want you to think.... But how about those other signs, the external ones ... psychic leakage?!"
"Look," says Obu, "I don't know what the fuck you guys are talking about, but I'm feeling fine and I think we should build a raft. Get the fuck away from this weird-ass ocean!"
"Good idea," say Jake, Maria and Katrina....
Abdullah: "Hoo hoo hooo!"
"Don't you get the feeling some kind of cosmic joke is being played on us?" asks Rima.
"I've had that feeling all my life..." says Jake.
"Me too," says Abdullah.
"But as far as our present situation goes," Jake continues, "it seems to me we shouldn't be surprised that the course of events is fundamentally different on a different planet. We assumed the differences would be trivial ... biology, zoology, geology, et cetera. But maybe all these things are just organized somehow differently, you know. A whole different system... sort of as if the world thinks about us differently."
"You mean maybe the world is a mind?" asks Katrina.
"Like the ocean?" asks Maria.
"I don't know," says Jake quietly. "It's a definite possibility as far as I'm concerned. In any event it seems clear that the organization is different on a high level; whether this level is sufficiently high to merit the label...."
"Oh, shut up!" bellows Demitrius. "Enough philosophy out of all of you, goddamnit! Now let's build the goddamn raft and get on going! You can explain me all your theories on dry land over a good meal cooked by me! I just don't want to drown no more, you got me??!!"
"Whether or not we want you," cracks Abdullah, "we got you!"
They build the raft.
SOFT APHRODISIAL THUMMERINGS
"So," says Andrea gently, " tell me about your writing."
"Do I have to?"
"Yes. Or, rather, no, of course you don't have to, but if you don't I'll take it as a lack of trust in me. Or possibly I'll understand that it's too painful. But I want you to tell me, so I refuse to tell you which."
"I see.... Well, I started out in ninth grade, writing seriously ... that is, I had written poetry and a little prose before, but ninth grade was the first time I took myself seriously as an adult writer. I was thirteen at the time. What I cranked out -- every day in science class, occasionally at other times -- was a sci-fi fantasy novel ... the main character was destroyed in a lab explosion but his mind was somehow transported to another universe where it shared a body with another mind. I thought this was an original premise at the time; I've since seen several prior treatments of the same basic theme."
"You didn't try to publish it?"
"No; the strange thing was, I didn't really think in terms of quality at the time. I didn't think 'Well, that's no good, better rewrite it' ... I didn't judge myself; I was incapable of it, in a way. Perhaps that came partly from having read so much lousy science fiction -- literature considered as a mass market item. I knew it was as good as plenty of other things out there; if asked I probably wouldn't have called it my favorite -- but I just didn't think of these things. The next serious effort was in December or November 19 ... 86; that time it was what became in essence the second part of Kristina, the story of contacting conscious society. That was a very good book, now that I think of it ... in some ways better in that early version than the other version that I wrote in August 1987. And then I started writing in earnest, around March or April 1987 ... I started pouring things out at an incredible velocity."
"So why'd you give it up? I know you told me before, but you were kind of cryptic."
"Such things don't fit well into language; it's anything but cryptic to me." I am a little annoyed because she managed to insult me and appear so alluring doing it. But was it really an insult? "But never mind about that. You see, the point of it is, I once identified with my writing ... so deeply that I felt my life would die without it, that I would cease to exist. Not a rational deduction, you understand, but intuition -- that's all there really can be anyway. Especially when I was writing Beyond Insanity -- that autobiographical rambling which was essentially a precursor to this book in which I'm speaking."
"What are you talking about -- this book in which you're speaking?"
"I've just been given the gift of translocality. I see, now, that we are characters in a book, a book by me, but in a different universe, an alternate incarnation of myself."
She laughs, sarcastically and warmly -- "Now you're really going crazy" -- and listens to the voice inside her head: "perhaps he is perhaps he is insanely wandering lamely squandering what is life why is this innertuble of existence sqchwerzing twerzing lerzing umpxide empedoculean herculease I cannot live inside a dream inside a dream what does that mean why is this silliness a boat why can't I live inside a moat I am my moat I am my self self as a moat the self is liquid I a castle yes why not for I am everything else as well oh what the hell oh dingdongbell oh yes you smell which one of us is flipping our lids now oh no i just don't understand it no no no it makes no sense but what does why should we be machines for the production of some quantity called sense what is the meaning of it all and why do you infrangibly suck at donkey dung the cosmic meaning of apocalyptic dingdong is encroaching on my lips I kiss it but unfortunately nothing ever eats my earlobe only the potentiality of goo Goo goo goo goo goo goo goo ga ga now I'm really regressing or is that progressing or maybe enlightenment is actually the insamity -- hey, that's a typo but I actually like it: Insanity is insamity -- in other words, not being the same Ha ha ha ha Aren't I a funny one? Maybe I are maybe I aren't wutzit tuya bub? What is the meaning of this intergalactic nonsense? Where goes the intergalactic infandibulum and its cosmococcic cursing owls -- Where cries the sky???! I just can't say a thing about it, what I want to say -- It's only tumbling, mumbling, grumbling, bumbling, zumbling, crumbling all around -- He is insane! he is insane! but in an awkward sort of way; in a way which means e.g. that he will never be institutionalized ... in a way which implies that he can never truly lose his sanity...."
"I used to identify with my books and poems," I say, not oblivious to the outburst of her mind, not oblivious to the unusual feeling -- that I am merely a character in a book -- which has so suddenly overcome me ... just speaking on, just speaking on, on on on blearily. "I used to feel as though I were slipping away from the world, and they were all that held me down here. That only there did my true self contact the world, that only there did I live, that everywhere else was just charading, posturing."
"But then you realized that everything was charade, including that, and so you stopped."
"I guess so. Except that I continued after that realization -- well, I'd always realized it, but not always accepted it ... after that acceptance, I continued to write; write all kinds of things besides autobiography, with the same kind of passion, fervor for it all."
"So why'd you stop?"
THAT NAMELESS EXULTATION
"So why'd you stop? So why'd you stop? SO WHY'D YOU STOPOPOP?" At this point I realize that she is not at all a woman, but a creation of my subconscious or some other hostile force designed cleverly to ferret out of me the "truth" as regards my decision, my giving up the ghost ... Designed to steal me away from Michelle, seduce me with her perfect body and her perfect understanding.
Now she appears to me as her true self, as a gnarled and puffy essence of monstrosity, an ugly pearl flung from a trans- dimensional oyster with an I.Q. of 397, possibly, but no sense of style. She snarls and grumbles, undulates, like something out of "Return of the Jedi" ... she throws forth glaucous ooze and thrumbles yet again, and calls me: "WHY?"she yells me! "WHY? WHY HAVE YOU GIVEN UP THE GHOST?"
I tell her: "Because, my dear, I don't like oysters, and the frivolous OK of lox is not enough to feed the green spool of my mind; because I love to dance the purple shit of condors out of the spleen pool of my mouth -- because my sores are like a sea, in which I swim, in which I swim and sally forth the cosmic weighting of the ghouls and all the pickle-jars of life and of absurdity. Because there is no life without a thing! and things do not exist -- because there is no thing without a life, and lives do not exist, insofar as they are waiting deaths, insofar as buds do not exist but only flowers -- And if that isn't very far, well fuck you! for it's as far as I can see, and that is far enough for me! that is the universe! Because the dickle par of jells has not been ringing in my ear -- I'm nine below, no make that ninety, and I have not been eating pear juice on the side. Because the tintinnabulation of berating genes has lastly fled from on my beach, because the peach has not been eaten, and for the grating plear of gels has not yet set upon my ear without releasing one big sop-shit for the eating. Because although I talk too much on wombats, still I have never been one, never green one, never spleen one, never tureen one, and never blandergzeen one - I have never eaten one yet either! Because the echo-bells of trancing dancing laughnce upon my chest -- yes, as I scribble this stuff down, down down down down into the subterranean echoes of my splouth! I cannot live like this! I cannot eat him! I cannot give like this! I cannot sphyll 4th from the canyons of my dreams the cosmic nonchalance of creamcum and the indolence of years nonespent upon the cranky cleft of Seems. There is no reason for it all; I'm lonely, that's why: There is no friend upon these rocks from which I fall! There is no asshole for the dung of all my dreams, for which to spill out of -- There is no life! And, above all, why? Because you suck! Because I know you are but what am I! -- How 'bout that? Because I'm totally insane; in any case, I can't stand plastic shoes and leather rain and when it puddles fishes in my neighborhood I get mad. Because the plastic brain of wishes has no claim upon my life! Because I'm screaming! Because my life -- is just a potty bowl, into which I spring my shit! Because I'm blanderschpurdterschkeen! In short, for all reasons and none, and if that's bothering you then you can just insert it in your rectum! Uh huh -- Ah hah! Ah ha - I see! You've got a blanding for me now, now don't you! You're not going to put a noose on me -- interpretation? I won't have it! You're not going to strifle me with your pigeon-"Understanding". And what does "pigeon" mean? It means you're stupid as a pigeon, that's what! It means you're crazy as a bean! And so am I!? And so are all of us! And, well, if you don't understand, you're not supposed to so just fuck yourself! fuck! fuck! fuck! fuck! fuck! fuck! The reason why I've given up the ghost is...
"Having trouble breathing?" asks Maria, a thick exhaustion in her tone.
"Yeah," says Jake. "There's this funny thing dripping in my face."
Starlight slaps him playfully on the cheek.
Converted by Andrew Scriven