"How long was I out?" she mumbles through closed lips.
"Twenty-five years," says Jake.
"No, really ... about thirty seconds. How do you feel?"
"Frightened, that's all. I had this vision ... this dream we were back on Procyon, that the ... the events of the past few -- since we've woken up, were all a dream, that we were really back there still, but then this dolphin turned inside out came from nowhere... I was with Jake...."
"It's probably just shock," decides Josie -- the only one whose capacity to rationalize has not degenerated beyond repair.
"Who wouldn't be more than a little shocked to learn what they thought was reality was just a computer program...."
"A program run amok," adds Rima. "I don't understand how they could let the black clouds eat ninety five percent of us, how they could let so many actually die ... how, you know -- wouldn't they have been monitoring us???!!"
"But it was all going through computers," reminds Josie. "The Central Database. I think it was smarter than anyone suspected. It could have plotted to screw you up, for some reason, and fed false data to your monitors, just as it fed false data to Iran and Korea."
"But why?" muses Abdullah. "What would have motivated the
Database to behave so systematically toward destruction? It's
not just random error, that's the scary thing. It's definitely
carefully coordinated behavior, a coordination of various diverse organs toward a cause. What would cause the Central Database,
assuming that it has evolved some degree of intelligence, to want
to kill us off -- revenge? Some vast suicidal impulse -- was it
"What makes you think we could understand its motive? Revenge and loneliness are concepts developed for the description of our culture. Look how hard it is for us to understand the ways of the dolphins, with their hard and soft, or even more so the ways of the Overflow ... I mean, the ocean...."
"That's one thing, though," says Maria.... "If it were peaceful inside, serene, soft as Melissa would say, then probably Melissa would have contacted it, or even the ocean would have. So it must be more ... more hard than Jake."
"Hard is the external world, soft is the inside?" wonders Josie ... "I'm not as steeped in the dolphin culture as the rest of you."
"Almost but not quite," begins Jake. "Soft is what separates man from the animal and the inanimate. It refers to mind, and to telepathy, and to the flow of mind internally and from body to body. Hard is the concrete, the physical, yes -- basically it is the fixed and unmoving. The soft is the malleable ... Melissa was once called Daughter of Most Refined Malleability, and that was an immense compliment."
"But she's fallen from grace, huh?" giggles Maria.
"It figures that the softest would be the one who could encompass the hard," ponders Josie.
"Figures from what?" pokes Jake -- "dialectical materialism?"
"Or Taoism," replies Josie seriously. "Same thing. I've often thought what attracted me in Marxism and Buddhism was the same thing -- kind of the unity of opposites idea, that out of X and not-X comes a third thing which ... that X is not-X, actually." "That's hardly the center of Buddhism," points out Abdullah.
"I know that. That's one thing I learned while in India -- of all Buddhism the only kind I liked was Zen, and Zen originated as a cross between Buddhism and Taoism. It's the Taoism part that attracts me, really ... Buddhism's so strict.... I guess I'd like to see hard and soft in a sort of Taoist/Hegelian way, yeah -- hard as giving rise to soft, as being the basis from which soft emerges; soft as giving rise to hard ... I mean, the physical world as existing only in the minds of those who perceive it."
"So the world exists only insofar as a mind thinks it does, but a mind exists only insofar as it has emerged and maintains itself through the process of the world?" chuckles Rima. "That presents a few problems from the cosmogonic point of view, don't you think?"
"Ah!" cuts in Jake, "but the concept of cosmogony and its prerequisites like 'time' and 'beginning' -- what are they but part of this very mind? And the very concept of logic which could call mutual creation contradictory, what is it but a part of the whole damn flow, hard, soft, part of mind derived from world...!"
"So that," Abdullah chortles, "we have a theory which, like
all halfway-amusing philosophical theories, soars so high into the cosmos of abstraction that it transcends itself!"
"But what? what is the next stage? What is the dialectical
synthesis of hard and soft? What is the next rung of the
"Look!" bellows Demitrius, "I still say let's get out of here while we still can -- if the computers of the world have gone berserk let's not stay here in a building which was one of the nexuses of global computer control...."
"Oh, but the power's off," says Rima gently. "The power appears to be off everywhere -- that's what the meters said when they went down a couple hours ago. They were about the last thing to go."
"Yeah," points out Obu, "but the meters themselves are run by the computer system, right? It could be lying to us."
"But with what motivation?" asks Abdullah. "Then again, we never answered that question about all the other things that've happened...."
"Fuck all this stupid discussion. The whole damn world is an anomaly!" yells Maria. "We all just saw a fucking baby's head come off and turn into black cloud and an inside-out dolphin -- and we're acting like it's perfectly normal!!!"
"What else should we do?" inquires Obu. "How should thatevent affect our plans? I keep saying we should lea..."
"It's not that ... it's that we're not even talking about it, you know ... we're babbling about all kinds of other things, but...."
"I just don't see how we could ever understand it," replies Rima defensively. "So why not talk about things we can understand? I suspected it had something to do with the computer, with having come just out of simulation. I guess we all thought it was all a holo, right? I mean, the electricity's down, yeah, but there is a generator here, you turned it on, Josie, so...."
"She's rationalized you out of existence," observes Abdullah dispassionately.
"Yeah, you can dismiss it that way," scowls Maria, face shivering wild sweat, "but what if it isn't that simple! What if this is all part of some other simulation -- what if this is still a test? What if this is what happens inside one of those goddamned sky amoebas!"
Jake looks on silently, thoroughly detatched and quite amused, and just a little saddened. He has no need for reasons. He feels his Melissa growing stronger with the hope that he'll come soon -- he can feel her feel him feel her feel him feel her feel him feel her feel him feel him feel her feel him feel her....
"Look!" announces Obu quietly, resolutely, "I don't know
about the rest of you, but I'm going outside right now."
"This man's got the right idea!" grunts Demitrius. "Let's adjourn the present meeting of the Last Metaphysicians on Earth Club and get a move on!"
NIGHT AT THE MOVIES
"Look!" cries Demitrius, "there's a light on over there ... I guess it's a theater... Let's go inside, maybe somebody's in there...."
"Or perhaps it's a trap," sighs Maria. "Or perhaps its the left ovary of the Mississippi River come to life."
"Look what's playing!" marvels Jake -- "'A Heard of Paradoxen'!"
"Good flick!" giggles Maria. "Let's take in a show, how about it guys?"
"Sounds good to me," agrees Rima, who has no idea why Maria's laughing so vigorously. "May be a long time before we get to see one again."
"No, silly," explains Josie -- "The thing is ... hey, where's Adelaide??!"
"I haven't seen her for a while," says Obu.
Suddenly they hear her screaming: "Hi guys!" She is spiraling overhead in a polka-dotted minicopter.
"Where the hell did you find one of them?" Jake asks delightedly.
"I saw it on the roof of a hardware store about a block back," she explains rapidly. "I told you where I was going but apparentlyno one was listening. Too bad we can't find more of them; it's not safe to pack more than three or four people in one."
"It's no faster than a car anyway," says Obu. "Although it is a lot more fun. And it could be extremely helpful in getting out to this island that Melissa's on ... although I'd hope we can find a better way before we get there...."
"Anyway," says Josie, "when we -- me, Jake and Maria -- saw this flick before -- well, it's a really weird surrealistic thing, and in the middle of one of many insane rantings and ravings we heard one of the voices telling -- well, actually I didn't hear it, they did -- it told them stuff like...."
"'Jake Smale and Maria Rodriguez'," interrupts Jake -- "'Beware! Be where? Be whery!'"
"An apt warning given recent events, huh?" laughs Abdullah. "I like that -- 'be whery'!"
"It seems like all of us are going insane," observes Adelaide chortling a meter above.
"You know those blades may be silent," says Abdullah, "but they're still dangerous. Watch how low you come with that goddamn thing!"
"Paranoid?!" she shrieks delightedly, swooping lower, ever- lower till she's hovering beside them. Abdullah throws himself to the ground and writhes in mock terror, emitting paroxysmic wails that make Jake's bones rattle, or so it feels... Obu kicks him playfully and he expunges one last yell and follows the rest to the theater, where they sit and laughingly entertain the illusion that they're just another bunch of friends enjoying an afternoon out.... The holo begins as before; soon enough, however, some
subtle differences emerge: the little girl's a little older,
and her cunt has a bizarre red luminscence to it which they're
sure they would have noticed -- nothing significant, except, as Jake and Maria note with secret gasps, that no mention of either of their names is made...
But after the dive inside the child's cunt (which nearly makes Rima puke), in the middle of a soporifically abstruse conversation between the various personalities, suspended in a void -- there arises a novelty far more noticeable. Suddenly Adelaide, Josie, Maria and Rima notice that they're the ones suspended, the ones who're overlooking the theater, passing through the chairs, assuming the very same form from every different angle ... that they are insubstantial, light -- that they can flash through eachother. They dash around dazedly, but find they can't escape a certain perimeter. Besides that, they're free ... Free to do what, though? They're alone -- no, wait, one other form accompanies them: it's the teenager, the girl, the whole, the one who swallowed all the others -- "Hi. I'm Melissa," she singsong lilts. "You're the same Melissa -- " gasps Jake ... "I am all Melissas," she responds, in a seabreezy smooth voice which resonates so strongly with his image of his dolphin-lover's mind that he scolds himself for having even pondered the question: "She is not I," says the dolphin Melissa, then. "But she's not quite like the rest of you, either ... it pains me to say this, for myenergy is weak ... my mental ... food fine ... my soft ... I'm hardening ... no ... wait ... rambling ... no progression ... lovelove help me ... She is like ... she's like
that other ocean on that other world you thought ... belong to ...
Oh oh, I love you love...." The human Melissa continues: "I am everything. But then again, so are you so what the fuck,
right? Isn't this a neat trick?"
"Just peachy-keen," retorts Jake, so entranced by her that he's surprised he can still be sarcastic. "How do you do it?" He decides that she's a construct of his subconscious, a meticulously-fashioned reflection of his image of the 'perfect
woman'. How else could she match this image so wonderfully?
"It's a secret," she giggles. "Only an amateur magician would reveal her tricks! Jake Smale, will you marry me?"
"Wh ... b ... b ...."
"I need to know now."
"B ... but I hardly even know you!"
"Is that true? You think about it. You've known me all your life, I think. Or almost. Exactly as long as I've known you ... you're older."
"What do you mean ... you mean my image...."
"Think about it."
"I really don't understand," he confesses, as whatever hypotheses he's been forming drift away into the mist of confusion wreaked upon his world by her dazzling, dazzling, dazzling, dazzling beauty. "Default values," he finally says, still slightly swooning but beginning to summon control of himself ... "When you have an idea, say think of a chair, you have an image of a particular chair in mind, like as not, right?"
Melissa stands motionless, serenity herself, a soft calm early-morning ocean. The others, in the air and on the seats,
look on uncomprehendingly. Jake continues: "When I have an idea of an attractive woman, of an ideal woman, of a lover -- I see you. I always have seen ... what it means I don't know though, you tell me. To me it means this is just a dream, that I've created you."
"That's a reasonable interpretation," replies Melissa. "However, the universe doesn't operate according to deductive reason. As Pascal said, the body has its own reasons. The universe is a body."
"Then what's the mind?" chips in Maria, inexplicably full of sudden, sudden glee.
"We are," sing-songs Melissa, soft gaze meeting Maria's and conquering it, caressing it into submission. "But enough metaphysics. You see," -- she turns to Jake -- "you have
always been in my mind as well. This is not a coincidence.
You have already discovered that the more similar two minds are, the greater their propensity to communicate telepathically. Well, inwardly we are very, very close. We were reaching out to
each other in this subtle way, through what you call default values, although our conscious minds knew nothing of it, and we
never happened to see eachother, you living in New York and me
Jake nods serenely. "Okay, this all makes some sense. But how did you find all this out? -- or is that a secret also?"
"No, it's not. And actually, by the way, there's no need for you to marry me. I just said that to see how you'd react. I'm a weird girl, in case you haven't guessed."
"But I will! Of course I will, love -- I was just confused,
"Understandably," Melissa giggles quietly. "Now let me explain some things. Ten years ago, at the age of sixteen, I got the idea society was on the wrong course. I wanted to get out. Of course, I didn't know what to do about this urge -- I thought about the space program, but I decided I was too weird to ever be accepted ... I thought about suicide, but I decided the problem wasn't life but the conditions in which I was forced to live it. I found myself wanting to go out all the time, because I was bored at home after I got tired of scanning educational vids or making holo sculptures or whatever... I always wanted to go somewhere and have a good time but nowhere I went was any better -- to me it was all a bunch of shit! So I spent a long time thinking about what it was I really wanted, and I decided what I needed was some kind of unification of productive work, play, education and socializing ... It seemed this could best be achieved in the context of something like a modernized tribe. A small community of people, sharing responsibilities and love -- everything -- I know it's not an original dream, it's just communism -- pure communism I mean not state socialism -- all over again. But I believed in it. So I started working. I designed a new algorithm for computer learning -- a really good one, adaptive on levels previous algorithms never even approached. I mean it could learn, and learn how to learn, and learn how to learn how to learn, and learn how to learn how to learn, and so on ... up to several thousand levels. Comparable to the human brain, if not exceeding it. And I tried to sell it, thinking to make enough money to found my perfect so ...utopia. Now, I couldn't build the thing, because I personally didn't have the money for materials et cetera -- I mean, you'd need to crystallize a hundred billion different elements; it's not hard according to the Klein-Wackman technique but you can't do it in
your basement. And I couldn't seem to convince anyone it would
work, that they should pour the money necessary into it. I was twenty when I first tried to market my design ... in the next two years I even worked out a mathematical proof that it would work as I knew it would -- and that wasn't easy, especially as mathematics is not exactly my strong suit, at least I never thought it was -- I found I wasn't as bad as I'd always been told! But anyway, even with the proof no one would listen to me. Because the proof was long and difficult, so none of the corporate executives I managed through great efforts to get in touch with would listen to me. I told them their computers could check the proof in a second just like mine did -- that this was why automated theorem checking had been invented back in the 1970s -- but they just wouldn't listen. And I couldn't get any support among academics either, because I don't have any degrees of any kind, not even a high school diploma. By this time I was making some money selling my sculpture and I was considering giving up the whole damn ordeal, although it seemed like quite a shame giving up such a breakthrough as well as my dreams of utopia, and then I finally got the rather obvious idea of trying to program it surreptitiously myself on the Central Database ... I mean using the general, global memory pool ... you know ... so, anyway, I did -- I don't know how, I'd just think hard and get nowhere and then I'd relax and fantasize about my silly utopia or about ... about you, Jake ... and then I'd get the answer. It would just come to me like that, just out of nowhere. So I cracked all the infamous codes and I was in! and I wrote all the code in there myself, which really didn't take very long -- it's a simple idea, I could explain it to you in ten minutes -- So once I was in there, anyway, I found so many easier ways of getting money that I didn't even bother to try to market my design, I just told it to insinuate itself wherever it could, I figured it'd make things more efficient and all the bureaucrats wouldn't even notice. So anyway, I really set up my little utopia -- I bought a little tropical island and invited a select group to join me there to live however I wanted -- just about five hundred -- and when this war stuff started I knew because I was into the CDB, right, so I just put a dome over the island...." The last few words dribble out of her mouth like the last few drops of air from a punctured balloon. She falls to the ground -- yes, the real ground! she now has solidity, and so do the rest of them. "Are you all right?" Jake implores, in an oddly calm frenzy.
"Yes," she says slowly ... "it's just -- I can't lie to you. There's something, I mean, it's not, but ... I've got to tell... The thing is, my program ... I called it Pat, for Patternometer, y... well, it kind of got out of control. I tried to tell it what to do, it was programmed to listen to me, but eventually it got into its own programming, the equivalent of one of us performing brain surgery on ourselves, and fixed it so it could do whatever it wanted ... my God, I'm breaking down! I can't believe it! I planned and planned and planned this moment! It was supposed to be perfect for you, my love...!"
"Don't worry," Jake says, with a kiss. "Nothing could dull the perfection of seeing you right here, in front of me ... nothing. Go on: did the pro ... Pat have anything to do with the war?"
"I'm not really sure," Melissa says, sobbing, "but I think it may have caused it. I don't know why it would have, but it's easy to see how...." Jake takes her in his arms and knows his very presence comforts her, and somehow that's enough to comfort him -- "We were in the CDB too," begins Josie. "That is, Jake figured out how to get in, and after he was gone I finished off his theory and put it into practice. I found out that the computer had been fabricating commands to missile silos and declarations of war and so on, and I tried to stop it but that was totally futile so I just sealed up Melissa ... the other Melissa -- do you know about her? -- and ran over here to seal up these, uh, star-wanderers... I figured something strange was going on inside the CDB... we evenspeculated it might be intelligent. But we didn't figure a person had done it."
"So I am singlehandedly responsible for the demise of the human race," concludes Melissa, still tearfully. "All for some
silly utopian dream."
"Your little colony didn't work out as you thought it would?" asks Jake tenderly.
"It's wonderful," smiles Melissa softly. And her eyes anticipate her next words with unimpeachable sincerity: "But it wasn't worth it!!" She pauses, giggles, and wipes her wet face
on Jake's chest. "I mean, it's not a utopia, it's not perfect, but it's a hell of lot better ... it's exactly what I wanted, and it gave me a situation in which I could realize that I didn't really need a utopia at all, that I should have been able to find satisfaction even in the more imperfect world.... Well, anyway, it's still there. I came up here ... well, I found out about you by accident, when I was looking up some information about the Fracton flight ... not just out of curiosity, either -- I was going to send myself to the stars! Well, I was considering it. I found out about the simulated mission and decided I'd rather skip it, that I'd just insinuate myself in there afterwards with a lot of strategic assistance from my good buddy Pat. Anyway, by the time I caught on to Pat's apocalyptic tendencies it was too late to save you. I nearly killed myself for grief at having killed you ... after I saw you, saw your picture in the files and immediately, well soon after, realized what you'd been to me all my life, I worked out all the equations for telepathy and realized how. I guess... in retrospect, it seems like those equations came to me a bit too easily too. I must have been stealing all these equations from your mind? But anyway, I blasted out here to see if by some inane fluke you'd been saved, so I could bring you back... and I found you, and I wanted to have the perfect meeting, reunion, whatever ... and then I blew it with all this self-pitying sop... One thing you should know though, honey, in case you haven't guessed," she grins, looking up at him luminously -- "I have a multiple personality. Not in the classical sense -- I know who I am at all times and it's always the same -- but in that I have these other voices in my head, these other bodies almost even. It's like I'm in contact with a bunch of other minds, all living
lives in other universes!"
"Maybe you are," grins Jake comfortingly. "I can personally
boast only one direct telepathic contact, with a dolphin named
Melissa. Indirectly, semi-directly, I've communicated with at
least two oceans...."
"We can be loons together!" she giggles exaltedly, clenching
his body resolutely and tumbling around on the floor chortling
Suddenly a strange look passes across Jake's face. "Wait.... What the hell became of Janna???? She never said very much ... she came out of the tank with us, then she was gone -- and we never noticed a thing! Something is wrong with our minds, let me tell you -- all of us! We didn't even notice that she disappeared!"
"We've been preoccupied," defends Adelaide lamely.
"No," says Melissa. "That building was controlled by Pat, before ... before the war. She knew how to disrupt one's mind ... probably, did you turn on the generator?"
"Yeah," replies Josie immediately, as everyone else starts to open their mouth. Melissa pauses to laugh at the ensuing chorus of stifled grunts.
"Well then," continues Melissa," you probably activated the thought disruptors too. I don't understand exactly how they work, but this isn't out of line with what I know of them."
"But Pat's gone?" asks Jake nervously.
"Not necessarily," replies Melissa steadily. "All the major databanks appear to be shut down, yeah, according to equipment -- Pat-free equipment -- in the dome. But who knows what she can do?"
"How do you know the dome is immune?" asks Josie, running her hand down Jake's back.
"Uh ... immune ... well, the dome is constructed like a huge Faraday chamber. In other words, no electromagnetic force can come in or out. We're entirely self-sufficient. We've got more ocean than land in the dome, enough for plenty of fish. We've even got ourselves sealed off from the bottom -- we have no need for mines, not yet anyway. We're into recycling."
"I don't see how you could do any better," says Jake. "Light is electromagnetism, though. If what you said is literally true it must be awfully dark in there."
"One of Pat's inventions was a workable fusion plant. That takes care of all our power needs, and it runs on nothing but water, and not too much of that."
"Utopia," grins Josie. "Let's fetch Melissa, and then let's go! Hopefully you have air transport sufficient for all of us?"
"Damn straight!" grins Melissa. Then, quixotically: "So do
you forgive me for ending the world?"
"If not you," replies Abdullah, "then someone else. It wasn't your fault; it was inherent in the power of the Central
Database. Besides, you're so cute how could I hold a grudge against you!?"
"Then let's go!"
STONE FREE -- BABY I CAN'T STAY -- GOT TO GOT TO GET AWAY
On the flight Maria dozes off ... Or -- or is she waking up? Yes, yes, but what was that dream? That misty woman, slinky wandering, same the name as talking dolphin -- what? And then those red beads, ever-sliding ... what? those someone's eyes? can't understand it ... Aw, forget it, why remember dreams? Jake honey, where are you? "Jake?"
"Yeeeeessss? Vhat eez eet zat you deezyre, my pritteeee?"
"I desire you," she whispers. "I desire you and you alone. Let's go somewhere, love ... let's go exploring. I'm tired of this little colony; I want to be alone with you -- I want to see more of this world. I'm getting bored."
"You? Bored?! I thought all you needed was a good fuck and a good meal and you'd be set for life?"
"Then why the hell would I have set off on this crazy mission, huh?"
"On a whim?"
She slaps him playfully. "No, honey, I'm serious. Just the two of us. They can spare us. We can see if there're any ... well, someone should map the area, anyhow."
"I suppose someone should map the area eventually, yes, but it hardly seems like an urgent matter. The important thing is retechnologizing ourselves before we forget how, and writing down what we know so our descendants won't forget about Earth and its accomplishments."
"Oh can it Mr. Leader Sir! Why can't we just take off for a couple weeks...."
"We could just leave, yeah, but it wouldn't be a good idea. Don't want to stir dissent. I don't see why it's so important to you."
"It just is, honey, that's all ... I shouldn't have to make up reasons for you...."
THE TREE INCIDENT
"It's so wonderful alone with you! Can we go climb that tree?"
"Sure, hon, why not.... Wait, what tree -- That's not a tree! Honey, stop! that's some kind of octopus or something!"
"Well whaddaya know!" she half giggles, half gasps. "Just two hours from the camp and already a new species ... hardly surprising, I guess, but Wow! this thing is weird... Look at it, it's crawling toward me!"
"Watch out, honey! It's shooting something!" It's upraised some of its tentacles and is squirting purple cream from them in luminescent rainbows. Maria gasps; some of the juice falls in her mouth. "Mmmmm!" she moans passionately, immediately -- "this stuff is fucking delicious, Jake! Try some!"
"Delicious doesn't mean it's not poisonous, sweets. I wouldn't try any more if I were you."
"Oh, what, should I vomit it up?!"
"That's only advisable for certain poisons. I don't know what to recommend here...."
"Don't be so serious! I mean really, Jake, it tastes fine, you know, so what the fuck! Don't be such a goddamn old stick- in-the-mud!"
"And what inspired this hopefully not fatal bout of fatalism, love?"
"Mmmmmm ... I don't know, maybe it was this delicious purple ooze-stuff! ... Look, the tentacle-thing stopped moving. It's just sitting there."
"Maybe it's savoring its post-coital bliss."
"If so, this is the best damn jissom I've ever tasted!" Shespins in circles, screaming "Whee!"; she rakes gobs of it off her body and scoops them into her mouth. Jake withdraws a vial from the pocket of his grass skirt and fills it with the cream. She grabs a squirming, sebacious handful and tosses it into his mouth as he stares at the vial abstractly, speculating as to the chemical composition -- "Btthleeeuuuckkkk!", he spits, but it's stickier than peanut butter and a great deal lingers. "Yes, I see exactly what you like so much about this, uh, taste.... It obviously acts as a mild intoxicant. That doesn't imply that it isn't toxic, however ... I guess we're the guinea pigs...."
"Oink! Oink! Oink! It's anything but mild, my love ... you just haven't had enough." And to remedy the situation, she gives him a long, fiery kiss, her mouth bizarrely stiff and slow- moving due to the purple ooze which lines it, but also unbelievably smooth, almost as smooth, he finds himself thinking, as a certain other aperture ... "Ahhh," he moans, as she has the same idea, lifting his skirt ... "An interesting combination of flavors," she remarks after about twenty seconds... "MMMMMM," he replies -- "I could fuck all day with this stuff! I think it's an aphrodisiac as well ... much better than alcohol. Of course, it may also give ten times the hangover ... but what the fuck! God god god god god god I want you! Oh God, I want to be in you till sundown!"
"Well, why the hell not?"
Maria wakes and Abdullah is kissing her thighs and running his finger in and out of her. "Ooh, that feels wonderful," she moans. "You mean I slept through the orgy?"
"You were the start of the orgy. We heard you moaning and groaning and thrusting your pelvis, so we figured you must be having interesting dreams and we decided to help them along a little. I can't believe it took you so long to awake -- we were all taking turns with you!"
"I was dreaming about you," she whispers, reaching her arms towards Jake. Then somehow, suddenly, she disappears.
"Where's Maria?" asks Abdullah suddenly. The emergency exit by the back is hanging open and she's gone, plunged to her death.... Jake and Melissa, locked in a weird oblivious mindset, continue fucking until the plane sets down in Florida.
Immediately, following Josie, they rush through the building to the tank.
"Oh Jake I'm glad you're here!" exults the dolphin Melissa into Jake's mind... "But wait -- what's wrong ... there's something.... And there's another -- in you too? Another not quite right, are you the two of you, the humans are she human are she is?"
"Maria killed herself," thinks Melissa in response. "She jumped out of the rocket on the way over here."
"But who are you."
"I am Jake's other half."
"I don't understand."
"Neither do I, so don't worry about it!"
"We've always been in a sort of mild telepathic contact," Jake interjects. "Lately it's intensified, as we've been in physical contact."
"But why does it seem like there are more of you than just two? That's what confuses me; you said the other half ... my God, it's so great to be out of here! How long do I have to stay in this box, though?"
"Not more than three or four hours, love, that's all."
Suddenly another voice cuts in: "A scent of hinterlings and of bunterbuns, a scent of chicken wings and of underdone meatballs. A scent of one two three four one. Inside the outside in the distance. The sometimes over under where is one. My trees, my ease, what have you please to me? What have you grease to my fled ears? Where are your pro, creative force-eps? Why is the airy insideoutness of your knowledge, sometimes doubtness of the elliptic always excrements -- souls -- of time."
"Oh, shut up, you old coot!" yells another voice, the shrill song of a tense precocious girl. "Hee hee heedly! The amazing thing is all you fools believed all that utopia nonsense! Listen to her that Melissa tee hee crazy business! It's incredible! O Aglaia flies free -- free! above all chains of mind and body -- Flies above man, and below him, through all sweet infinities -- O but Melissa lies, for she can't fly; imprisoned by the lowly O Swiss Cheese Swiss Cheese Swiss Cheese Swiss Cheese Swiss Cheese Swiss Cheese -- meaning what?"
"Meaning," chips in another voice, which they remember from the old holo as belonging to the nearsighted youths with thick glasses, "me! me! me! meaning that, point of fact, there is no such place as this utopian island she was talking about. Actually that's a bunch of silly business nonsense twaddle! Tee hee heedly!"
"Hoo hoo hoo!" says the first voice, the old man again. "Many days there was sometimes upside inside out again and less than ever there was there was then because there was no then you see and sometimes all is everight because yes indeedy the upsidowninsidoutiness of life is ifinity on toast you know?"
"No I don't know," says Jake aloud, a little frustrated. "Love, is there any truth to what these voices are saying?" The others, helping load the rocket with Melissa's transport tank, listen confusedly.
"I'm afraid so," confesses Melissa, and everyone looks at her expectantly. "There is no utopia. There is no dome. I was going to tell you Pat eliminated it, when we got there and there was nothing...."
"But there is a Pat?" probes Jake calmly, imploring himself not to be upset and to his own amazement succeeding.
"What the fuck are you talking about????!!!" explodes Demitrius. "Are you saying you were lying, woman???!!"
She crumples tearfully: "I told you I was a crazy bitch!"
"Loony tune, loony tune, loony loony loony tune!" chortlesAglaia in their heads ... "O, an aura of villainous silliness," complains the old man. "Why don't you shut up already," thinks Jake -- "I want to listen to Melissa." "But she's an admitted liar," retorts Aglaia -- is there a hint of masklessness, a hint of carefree softly glinting, behind the dark sarcastic boldness...? Melissa continues: "I was in an asylum, an insane asylum. But
I escaped by stealing a rocket which the doctors had on the roof
for their private use. While high up there I heard this stuff on the radio, and then the CDB contacted me, you see I really had broken into it and programmed Pat but I still couldn't get any money, Pat hadn't seemed to work with that kind of orientation, I don't know... and anyway Pat or the CDB or somebody told me what was happening and I stayed up in a steady satellite orbit for a long time and you know what it kind of seems the you know sometimes kind of seems the actually I wasn't telling a lie but somehow the reality had shifted ... I really wasn't telling a lie, but then somehow things changed, but then I am crazy then again...." Suddenly Melissa changes into a little girl -- Aglaia. She reaches her hand through the floor of the cockpit and pulls out a sheer metal tube and bends apart her flaps and sticks it in herself ... then she forms her head into that of a snake and dives in. The circling of her diving becomes the paradox of a vagina at the end of whose ever-viscous eiderdowny recesses live two gonads and a shimmering penile tower, penetrating, thrusting through itself, shellacking itself with the sheen of its fluids, its come and its purple ooze lovestuff, its love and its glee and its frolic, its love ... And the circle of this self-referential lust becomes a whirlpool and a cunt and it swallows them -- its winds -- the winds of paradox -- yank in their souls and bodies with a soft parade of vortices and all perspectives lost, and after an infinitesimal eternity of emptiness they reappear in a tangled heap of dizzy bodies, all spent, diffused... a heap of dizzy bodies on the sand by the open door to Obu's hut... "My God, what the hell'd we do last night?" groans Adelaide ... "I feel like I've got one hell of a hangover!"
"Don't you remember?" rasps Jake, shocked...
"No," replies Adelaide curtly, annoyed at his tone.
"Me neither," says Maria. "Last thing I remember was that -- Omigod, that tree!...."
"That purple ooze, yeah guys, remember how we lapped it up???!" insists Jake fervently, hoping that enthusiasm will cure his headache since the nearest bottle of Nopain is light years away. "Hallucinogen, aphrodisiac ... who knows what else. We may have lost half our brain cells last night."
"Hopefully, then," groans Janna, each word a boundless explosion of effort, "we're too stupid to notice it."
"Ha ha ha," grumbles Adelaide. "That was the weirdest drug I ever took.... I mean, was it just me or did we really share hallucinations? I mean, did we actually all imagine we were back on earth, that this whole thing was a sham, a simulation...."
"I hallucinated the same thing," says Jake. "And then, just at the end, we saw this little girl Aglaia, the same one from themovie Maria and I saw where they called our names and warned us to beware, and she pulled a pipe out from inside the rocked and stuck it in herself and then we ... well, she spun around and made a whirlpool and it sucked us up and we landed ... here!"
Everyone's nodding. "The same exact thing" ... "Yeah" ... "And you met this girl named Melissa, who heard voices, who...." ... "Your other half" ... "And Maria jumped out of the rocket" ... "After the orgy" ... "The CDB had ended the world, chem..." ... "Yeah" ... "That's better than LSD, huh?" ... "But LSD doesn't give hangovers" ... "I guess that'll teach us to fantasize about being back on earth, huh?" ... "Who was fantasizing?" ... "God, you know, just remembering somehow makes it better, my head I mean" ... "Isn't it weird ... alien..." ... "Psychotropic" "Brain's not special" "Za mechanical soul?" ... "Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah" ... "I dreamed, while hallucinating, that we were still here!" ... "Like a dream in a dream, right, yeah!" ... "That was so weird!" "We kept shifting back and forth between here and there" ... "We were all eaten by another black cloud ... except you two tricksters, right?" ... "Back and forth between worlds -- but neither one was quite right" ... "Things like headless babies and inside-out dolphins kept popping up" ... "Yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah yeah."
Jake looks up and sees -- a black cloud. It swoops and swallows them almost immediately, as they first start to think of escape. Inside they have no bodies, there is no light and no darkness: just a tribe of mentalities, ensconced in brilliant telepathic sense. A cavalcade of flashing colors, angular shards of detatched meaning laughing lightening, thunders by with high- pitched chalk-on-blackboard wails of wild abandon, wails of freedom... Then they find themselves -- complete with bodies -- afloat among walls of dancing light, others bustling about them in all directions entering multicolored globes which dot the sky. "We apologize sincerely," announces an announcerly voice from the globe nearest them, "for the unintendedly unstable nature of your Illusafari."
"Illusafari?!" gasps Demitrius -- "what the hell are you talking about?"
"Have you no memory of embarking on an Illusafari, Incorporated expedition?" implores the voice, now a grotesque
parody of concern.
"I don't know what you mean exactly," replies Jake, "but I certainly have no memory of being here before, or anywhere remotely like here."
"That is unfortunate," replies the globe. "As you know, however, upon admission to Illusafari you waive all rights to sue for damages. I'm afraid there's nothing more we can do. Thank you for your patronage; we hope to serve you again."
"But wait!!!" bellows Obu. "How can we know this if our memories are gone! Where are we??? What the fuck? Why can't you just tell me... what the fuck is going on???!!"
"I infer from the strangeness of your speech that you are telling the truth. Unfortunately, however, Illusafari Incorporatedis in the Illusafari business, not the information business. I would advise you to proceed to an Infoldment globe immediately."
"But where? Where can we find one of these?" Obu insists.
"We are in the Illusafari business, not the information business," the globe intones. "But...!" Obu continues -- but the globe does not speak again.
"Look," says Jake, "let's intercept someone and ask them what's going on." But everyone's zooming by so quickly they can hardly be stopped. "Apparently flying's not as hard as we always thought it was ... it just takes a little practice."
"Look!" shrieks Adelaide. "Look at that!!!"
"What?!" asks Melissa quietly as everyone else silently turns to look. She wasn't there before. And beside her is the other Melissa -- swirling around in circles much faster than the humans passing by.
"Great," smiles Jake calmly, energetically, a spring of enthusiasm, "the only one of us who can move can't talk." His words trail off and become hasty as he sees what Adelaide was referring to: one of the globes is moving -- and yet staying in the very same place ... moving through another one, a shimmering ray of blue light flowering, powering, spearing, curvaceously veering right through -- and at the end of the ray of light, the chain of undulating spheres -- there forms another sphere!
It decays almost immediately. But then the same thing happens around ten globes away, and the new sphere stays, if anything brighter than the rest: a flock of people swarm into it,
somehow penetrating its walls. Jake yells to them, but they don't
hear or don't care. "We come from here?" squeals Maria. Then,
out of a globe neighboring theirs pops Josie. Immediately Maria
is sucked into the Illusafari globe; when she emerges she's in a smooth, clear plastic body cast.
Melissa kisses Jake so passionately that he, embarrassedly and ashamed for being embarrassed, flings forth shining networking strings and beads of jissom omnidirectionally toward the
sprawling sea of identical globes; Maria cringes and Josie giggles; Melissa laughs: "Inside the Cosmic Cunt!"
And as she speaks they're sucked into a glimmery sparkling vortex of intermelting diamond fleshicules -- "Coercive Advertizing Act Number 401" intones a neutrally announcerish voice -- Sucked toward a not quite neighboring but nearby globe. And once the whoosh is over, they're standing in what appears to be a laboratory, a room with walls literally papered by incomprehensibly complex technical equipment and inconceivably abstruse mathematical charts (actually, no one's quite sure they can distinguish the two) ... standing next to a body which is either dead or unconscious. A short Slavic scientist emerges from the wallpaper -- a hidden door or an illusion? no one even asks -- and speaks ... "I'm sorry I had to recall you from your Illusafari. I must say, though, that I really don't approve of such things. It's against the Creative Principle, clinging to the past like that. But anyway...."
Melissa cuts in softly: "You seem to be operating under the assumption that we understand what the hell you're talking about."
"But we don't," adds Jake. "We have no memory of anything before we entered the Illusafari sphere, as far as I can gather...."
The scientist's mouth drops. "You don't say! My, my, I've heard of this before ... of such a thing ... who would have dreamed it? Ha, exactly ... I suppose you may believe yourself still in there, right? An atrophy ... an atrophied ... uh ... wait, you see, you see, I suppose it might be due to the way I recalled you from your expedition early, but you see, I mean, it'sll alated ... I mean, it's related ... you see, there was an overflow...."
"I'm afraid we understand you even less now," interrupts Abdullah. "Look, as far as we know we come from Earth, twenty- first century; we were sent to Procyon 4 on the first starflight expedition and then reality started crumbling, anomalies happened, it wasn't clear what was reality and what was hallucination...."
The scientist just kept staring at the walls: "Oh, bad, bad, very bad. Oh, bad, bad, terrible."
"Look, collect yourself!" bursts out Adelaide. "We're the ones in trouble here! Now you have to tell us what we should do!"
"Yes, yes yes, you're perfectly right," he agrees, sobering. "You see, we were engaged in an experiment here in the lab. The Kyco One laboratory, as if that would mean anything to you, yes. "You see, we were engaged in a ... in a cross-temporal psychological investigation of sorts ... we were spying into the brain of a citizen of the past ... if you have no memory I couldn't possibly explain how ... do you remember the Kalikak equations, by any chance?" They all nod no. "Very bad, very bad, yes, as I thought ... so anyway, you see ... very bad ... you see, what we were doing was simply recording the stream of consciousness of an obscure philosopher and composer from the twentieth century, a man named Ben Goertzel ... I'm sure you haven't heard of him?"
"We don't know if we have or not!" retorts Demitrius. "Get to the point, old man, will you? What does all this have to do with us?"
The scientist shudders violently; Maria fancies a tear drops from his eye and snakes down the rivulets deep wrinkled in his face ... "I'm sorry, I'm sorry of course, I just can't help it but, you know, it's just the way I am...."
"It's all right," say Maria and Melissa at the same time. Maria continues: "Just go on at your own pace; it's just fine."
"No, no ... oh oh oh, very bad ... you see, well at the time we made contact he was having sex, you see, anyway ... he was uh well you see we never attempted anything similar previously, although actually of course reports are that Kalikak himself succeeded but that's all the side ... beside the point now ... anyway, the sheer volume of data was amazing. Our computer system is attempting to translate the results into English now, but ... I mean, it seems that around fifteen hundred written pages -- that was the standard then -- in, I mean, you know, well I h... when you feel you came from ... to get across even ninety, a hundred minutes, of just the surface stream, I don't know --..."
"You mean you've never read the mind of anyone now?" asks Jakeincredulously, "but you're searching the past...."
"No, of course not, how would we do..." snaps back the scientist ... "Oh, I forgot, I'm so sorry, well anyway the answer is no ... I mean, we couldn't read the traces because there aren't any yet...."
"You mean," injects Melissa," you read his mind by deducing its impact on the later world?"
"Impact? Impact? It's not a cause and effect kind of thing, my dear, not at all. It has to do with the ... ah yes, I forgot, I forgot ... you see, I just couldn't explain it to you, no ... I mean -- seven hundred years of development... How could you explain nuclear fission to a contemporary of, say, Albertus Magnus -- no that's quite not right, is it, I my good, I'm not expressing myself ... anyway, you know, you see, the data was overflowing and in fact not only the memory allocated to me but
the globule itself ... I'm afraid what I was doing was interfering with your Illusafari trip ... actually, you may have been tripping according to the patterns we were reading from his mind, you see?"
"And that's why you called us back?" asks Jake ... "Okay, but how can we get our memories back?"
"Well, were they that good?" asks the scientist peckishly. "Do you really need them?" Too many harsh stares ... "Joking ...
I was joking," he chokes slowly. "I'm sorry, I really don't know how to deal with this. Nothing like this has ever happened before... you see, I'm afraid I've also been taken over by hi... by the patterns we collected. When data overflows the banks, you see ... it shouldn`t be allowed to, but I" -- his eyes gleam in a way all to familiar to Jake, Josie and Maria -- "I conceived an override stratagem!" His eyes bulge madly, swirl around the room -- "I can feel it!!! I can feel it again!!! I believe we may not have a choice, my friends! I see, I see, yes yes I see now what is happening! You see, we are actually interacting with his mind! We are, I believe, entering it as it happens, as it thinks -- acting in unison! This confirms a law I postulated long ago: if two minds have enough similar patterns, the universe should reason by analogy: they should actually exchange thoughts!"
"Hey you, that's my law!" chuckles Jake.
"No, no, that's mine," retort the Melissas in his head.
"So," says Melissa," you're proposing that because of all the data you accumulated here from his mind, this globule is actually communicating telepathically with him, back, cross-temporally?"
"You see, this is of particular interest to us," explains Jake, "because we know from personal experience that your -- our law about similar minds exchanging information is correct."
The scientist laughs demonically. "From personal experience, eh? Or don't you mean, experience inside the Illusafari globule??!!! Experience which, actually, was tainted, largely caused by the mind of Ben Goertzel, as interacted with this globule, i.e. with me."
"But what I don't understand," interjects Adelaide," is why we, human beings should be involved. It should be just th...."
"My dear," the scientist cautions, raising a hairy hand, "you must remember that you understand nothing of the world today ... absolutely nothing. It would take weeks to even attempt to answer any serious question; there are seven hundred years of development to consider...."
"Okay, fine," says Melissa, "but tell me -- what the hell is going on with her???!!" All eyes follow her finger to the other Melissa, whose mouth is opening wider, wider into a throbbing pink abyss -- into a cunt! "Inside the Cosmic cunt!" the dolphin shrieks insanely in Maria's voice; Maria crumbles under a wave of flailing tears. A tremendous wind whines forth from the huge vagina; one by one, they're all sucked through the dolphin's larger-and-larger-stretching mouth ... Jake is the last to stand outside, immobilized by the wind and the spiraling screaming of the others as they go tumbling in ... when it's just him left, though, all the racket stops. And the dolphin slowly melts into a different form ... into the human Melissa! "Into the Cosmic Cunt," she giggles mischievously.
"Somehow you sound like you understand all this," replies Jake quietly.
"I hope so, anyway," she smiles warmly. "I'm responsible for all of it."
"What do you mean?"
"It's all very simple, really. You don't have to believe me; the important thing is that you're here. I've done what every woman wants to do: I've created my fantasy. My perfect lover. Actually, I suppose every woman may not share my idealistic pretensions, but what the hell ... anyway, I created you. In order to do that, I ransacked the minds of numerous individuals who shared various characteristics with you ... with my image of you, I mean... to select various patterns and then reassemble them. One of those selected was Ben Goertzel from the twentieth century, about whom Dr. Hoerr just spoke... anyway, something strange was going on with him; his mind seemed to be, on a semi-conscious level, in touch with creatures from some other universe, I don't know ... anyway, something there burst the databanks wide open, you know, information overload, and, as Dr. Hoerr explained to you, all hell broke loose. Now I'm afraid we won't be able to escape. Everything got all mixed up with the Illusafari ... I was supposed to be synthesizing you here but somehow you were projected over there, in the Illusafari jungle -- I guess that proves beyond a doubt the system really did overflow -- so much extra data from whatever extra source flowed in through Goertzel that what was supposed to be stored here -- i.e. data for the molecular synthesis of you -- love -- spilled into the Illusafari, thus ruining the safaris of all your companions and severely disrupting the reality ... the reality -- the reality ... I'm sorry, love, I've lost track of myself...."
"First of all, escape what? And was it just part of the
equation that I find you perfect too?"
"Part of my image of you, yes ... it's not an equation though...."
"Escape what though, love?" he thinks toward her. "We don't need words."
"Escape all these strange patterns that I summoned up," she thinks back shakily, overwhelmed by the beauty of her creation but frightened... "I don't know what it was in the back of his mind -- I violated a lot of rules in setting up this lab, in forming you -- in using the time-tampering equipment -- and I suppose I was wrong to do it, but it ... it's so wonderful seeing you there, outside of me, that it's all okay ... I don't know -- I guess this kind of accident is precisely what they were worried about when they ... no actually it couldn't have been this is something completely different at least I think it is...."
"My love, I feel something strange..." he thinks softly, encrazed and endazened by love... "You never explained about the other Melissa swallowing eve...."
"Me too." The room begins to melt. "I think we're being sucked into his mind. I mean, all the patterns...." She leaps into his arms. "I want to have you at least once before who knows what happens!" She writhes her way onto his penis and spirals smoothly up and down it with a delicacy of vigor that
would have been impossible for anyone not on the brink of -- of ultimate possibility: death, chaos, life forever, love ...
dissolution ... Hot pink shards of throbbing infinite-dimensional flesh float by their lovedrunk eyes; not even infinitesimal ontology, only the laugh of screaming giggling secret trails to that impossible glow at the center of all things where wombs and ascensions of every persuasion have ceased persuading themselves to persuade themselves to persuade themselves to persuade themselves to ... and simply resonate in the infinite tachyon stillness of past-death/past-life -- the cosmocrystalline order of absolute chaos -- the soft swirling shimmering of the omnidirectional whirlpool -- the loosetautly trickling caress of the lips of the loop as they swoop, full of love, full of flesh, full of void, full of world, full of life! -- toward sweetly inviscid irreality, toward the emptiness womb of the god(esse)s' Heraclitoral tumbling-waves-on-shoregasmspasmic flips and flailing flops and flights of everness, of wild expansion and implosion to a point, the point of absolute unity -- null and eternity in one -- self-subverting explosion and pulsing red love.
I am going to write a masterpiece. I can tell I am going to write a masterpiece because my head is slowly assuming the consistency of mucus, oozing into the center of my brain and flowing out invisibly through the back of my aching neck. I am becoming liquid, hence I can flow through the page rather easily, leaving a swarm of metaphysical footprints in the form of words to laughingshadowsjoyousclangor buzz, hence by analogy turn
into bees and attatch their stingers to me.
And O they poison me, these melodies, these magic reigns of pattern, all attacking eachother, all subverting eachother, all enfucking eachother in the ultimate orgasm of infinite nonexistence. These words I see on the page before me -- for an instant, I think I see myself, I see the universe, I see the cosmicomicosmos fluttering in and out of its own null spasm, its own death of tightening life so loose in its grip on itself it perpetually flees into the intergalactic infandibulum and then explodes from depressurization and has returned to itself yet again. And then I come to my (nonexistent) senses and realize that a symbolic system is intrinsically imperfect (and hence, though, perfect?), and the only truly perfect thing is void which will never be my mind as long as I think about it. Void which is everything. Words are a window through which you think you can see it all sometimes, but then you realize your vision is obstructed by the house next door, and even if that were chopped down then by the smog or the horizon, and furthermore you're only looking out....
WHAT AM I?
I am a pattern emergent between this set of marks on paper known as a book and the set of electrical flow patterns known as your mind.
Sex is a metaphor for many things, and all of them are my vision. The man represents the external; the woman the In. As Out goes Inside, In curves and hurtles sparks of spastic gentle motioning to welcome it; then it reaches that incomprehensible quiet battleplace where no more going can in either direction come, and after an infinite spinfinite rhymeless shameless timeless time, Out recedes, resolutely shoved by the inexorable good sense of the woman's drum -- flowing away from the source of efflorescent light, toward the world of squeamishness and poverty, precisely so that light will once again fresh glow. So as not to become acclimated. Metaphysical eyes were not meant to adjust, but to be battered and splattered against the twin walls of eternity, bounced back and forth between the two until they don't have the cohesiveness to even bounce anymore -- and only in their sweet ephemeral contact with these walls do they find completion -- or are they really just imagining it? O, In and Out -- the two walls which are really two sides of the same wall, and which separate only themselves from themselves!
The fucking continues -- plunge and weatherless, whetherless communion at the warmly wombly emptily end of the line; plunge and love! and then withdrawal, into the universe of questionable temperature, of possible gusts and impossible trust which is given anyway, and all those other things that you hassle to think about when you could be fucking instead, could be swooping into the skiesabove oceans which seizure which are themselves -- and then wait a fractional second? what? you are fucking, dipshit! what the fuck did you think you were doing, performing analingus on truculent crocodiles? Playing dice with the constellation of Orion and the rectum of Transinfinitum Lice? It looks as though Out is doing all of the acting, but actually In is acting in more subtle ways, shoving Out along the lines which it too assuredly calls its own.
Yes, I believe she was the Lord. I believe that I have discovered the true nature of God, and that as a corollary I have demonstrated that the vast majority of the cells of God's flesh now grace the mindscape of a girl named Laura Melissa Karamazov.
OH GOD, I'M THIRSTY!
I couldenot quiet the ravening cravening thirst for the worst sort of cuntly womb love from my dream of a woman who could enclose me and show me the truth beyond nonsense and sense and all truth, O O O O the sky past the crumblingdown roof of the haus of my con-sciousness (emphasis on con, ha ha ha). I breathe life -- from the air! O, and hence I breathe death too, and I juggle the both of these sparkling romances on the tip of my artful clean tongue, on the tip of my life and my death and my ravening hunger for thirst and more thirst, my thirst for more of this hunger -- my thirst for thirst for thirst for thirst for thirst for thirst for thirst....
I breathe life from the air, and I ask me no questions and tell me no lies -- but this is only for a second now, here there and yes everywhere, and no seConds later I'm back in the craving reality raving madness and sadness and glad through reality, harshly scolding my dream through my mind and hence holding it there -- I know I've got it on the run! I sparkling thought to myself -- then cackling "Yes!" it said, "in circles" -- I said "you're right, you know ... I want Her, and I'm sad, so I make myself stop wanting her, but then I'm still sad so I want her to come and stop me from things like sick sadness", and laugh, and then I pour myself a drinkling of imaginary scalpels which then perform surgery on my sparkmetaphysical exophagus -- I love life! I hate and love life!
The anomalous part:
the part I never believed in ... it's easier (for me) to place
faith in yet another version of nothing-is-real-ism than to
erase what is solid selectively, to say " This unrealistic
thing will happen," to say " She will come, sweet mystic womaning
of my depravening crystalline dreams -- and be the key to unlocking the lock which is me which holds fast to the door tween myself and myself and when you open it then all's nonexistent but her tits are still nice and on certain occasions I can suck them and brilliant kite metaphysical milk will run out and spill angeling grace cross the landscape" ... (wasn't that hard just to say it;
the trick is to believe in it.
one which is all for one is all and all is one,
or something like that, or something not at all like that, or
something a little bit like that but therefore all in all like
that (in every aspect) because quantity is just a matter of
opinion but so is everything else and what else fucking is there
anyway? so what the fuck ... The fucking trick is to believe!
the belief in a mysterious sweetangel lover who does does does not exist, not by all rational criteria nor most irrational ones
I know I must be meant to write this book because I sat down to write something else and what came out?
THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD, PART I.
6-9-84 This is Fyodor Quinn Zyzansky's book in which will be written my reflections and thoughts on this man that I love. This man who is my brother. Yes, I am sure that I love him at this point. I'm a lot closer to knowing why I do, though I still don't know exactly why.
6-12-84 Well, things are getting more and more confusing lately as I don't see Fyodor -- he's away on a class trip -- but constantly think about him. Two days ago I wrote him a poem which I very highly doubt that I will share with him. I usta need God -still do- But I can't - it's not the same- I still want to -but I don't -I can't stand alone - too insecure - I'm scared - I will need you too much - I need a god - someone to lead me and help me when I don't know what to do-I'm scared-I want you for my friend and lover-not my god-Love, Isadora: See how confused I've become. Well, the reason that I'm not even giving that poem to Fyodor is that I don't feel that way anymore. Fyodor could never be my god! That's so ridiculous! But, well, am I so sure that I love Fyodor? Well, according to Mr. Fyodor himself, there need be no reason for love. Lately I've been having a lot of doubts. But when I look to others I just think, "Who could I possibly find that's better than Fyodor?" I come up with nobody. I associated with all of the most intelligent boys at high school, and Fyodor was by far more interesting and exciting than any of them. I even went out with one of them; thank God I survived that! See if I hadn't survived it, Fyodor would still hate me and wouldn't be going with me now. This is silly! Of course I love Fyodor! I want to spend the rest of my life with him. That sounds simply divine. I still actually have the problem of waiting for Fyodor's love. I don't think it's too far away. I don't mean brother-sister love, either. Now my other problem...
6/23/84 -- Fyodor hasn't called me in two days, and I'm worried sick about it. All day I think about what we are going to talk about when he calls me at night. Then all night -- from the time I get home until I go to sleep -- I wait for his call, fruitlessly. This has gone on for two whole days. If this keeps up, what will become of my existence. I just keep thinking, "What if he just doesn't call me anymore?" He has become my only friend. Gertrude seems to have dropped me for Marshall (sounds peculiar, doesn't it). I can't let my best friend go -- what if Fyodor leaves me? It's disgusting, isn't it?! how very dependent upon these people I have become. Oh! I wish I could call Fyodor! In two days the stupid trip will be over and he'll be back again....
THE HISTORY OF THE WORLD, PART II
I cry for my sanity
I appear insane
I have no excuse
I want to kill my father
Aren't you all flattered?
That you were so strong and aggressive
That you could do this
That you could break a bone
I am not here
Smile on your brother
If I try to stand
I will crumble
Jello Brand Jelatin
I feel Death spread her legs, and from between their silky milk flow poisons made of weather and the crimson-song of birds flying toward winter in cruel defiance of their species and themselves, in cruel defiance of the meaningless which bore them
I feel Death spread her legs, and inbetween flows sweet ambrosia in the veils of purple silky lining folding, ever folding toward an effervescent dawn -- The silk is liquid! And so am me! And so's the process of unfolding, when you fall into its arms -- when you descend into its bold Ing, grow yourself upon its farms: -- What is all life but the attempt to avert your eyes from this -- From the cunt of Life? From the cunt of Death! From the cunt of unrolled being! And what is life but dull and hollow, but a wife with whom one's never dared to fuck -- or even look at her cunt? Well, I mean, life for the moralist: for the normal man-thing; for the mind who fled from death from the beginning, who bravely drowned his dead self in routine in return for ten bright red cents and a glass of growled coffee.
I feel Death spread her legs -- and what? I like the damn thing! Her groaning cunt, her liquid pussy, that which is life, and is not life, and is the opposite of life and therefore life; that which controls me. That which I love! and which I hate, and yes, I've said this all before, but I am frozen: I repeat myself in fear of plunging in --
I feel Death spread her legs, and I want her, and I want her, I want to billow myself spearlike as a penis through her cunt, for something tells me, yells me, screams: What is a life which is not making love with death? Utterly worthless! But then I scream at it: Why!? Why!? Why!? And then I eat it: eat the voice, and inward through it tumbles voice of all tomorrows, and the voice of death: "I love you, Ben," she says, in swallowed whispers, tiny breaths afloat upon the stratosphere of desire (what the hell is that?). Well, of course she does, for without me she would die! But what sense is that? Death to die? Well, of course it can; everything else swallows itself, so why not Death, why not this ominous cunt, this scent of sexiness grown so powerful as to frighten?
I feel Death spread her legs, and I listen to her as she says nothing and her silence shouts around me, and she smiles as I grow stiff and rise forth toward her, rise forth in a sea of blood too nonexistent for her smiles, and I think upon her and I am there, and I'm loving her, and I live and die and eat and laugh and smile all in one instant then I fall upon her yes again and again and I'm screaming and the others wonder why -- that is, the pity -- rest of the world, where they can't really wonder why but only pretense to, where my love Death is just an illusion and my smile is just a smile and not a sob as well (what? In reality?)
I feel Death spread her legs, and contract them, as we make love on the coming of the dawn, and of the dusk, and of the all things that are love and that are not and maybe nothing maybe underthings of our lust have sprinkled dead upon the dawn but I don't care because I'm coming -- No, I'm not, but I shall comesomeday and I can feel it slowly rising, recognizing me; Yes, I know that life lived fully is just making love with Death, and then your true death is your orgasm -- a mutually --
Oh yes, I feel Death spread her legs, and then she kisses me, and then I'm kissing her and then we all know that in lovemaking all time is fully lost and then I'm kissing her and she's kissing me and I'm kissing her and I'm kissing her and she's kissing me --
I showed up early Friday to assume my new position as house artists for Grumbach Corporation. I walked straight to the office of the president, Emil Grumbach. He was a fat, well-dressed, jovial man.
"Xaj Kalikak -- that's an unusual name. Where'd it come from?"
"I made it up."
"Well, someone came back from the future and told me 'something really great is going to happen to somebody named Xaj Kalikak', so I decided to -- "
"Don't bullshit me." He cut me off. "Except on Tuesdays. Okay?"
"Whatever you say"
"On Monday, I'd like to meet with you. To show you something. I'll pick you up right here. At twelve o'clock. Okay?"
"Until then, I don't need to tell you to do whatever you want. Make any amount of noise; it doesn't matter, these walls are unbelivably soundproofed. You can form a harem -- . As far as painting goes, the pace doesn't really matter ... I mean, if you're trying something new it's okay if it slows you down. Just don't get too sedated: I want your mind in action."
"Right," I said. "Don't worry about it."
He left: "See you on Monday."
Alone, I explored my new abode. It was a townhouse, in a row of about ten others, fully furnished and with a beautiful view of Manhattan through the front bay window. I was only about two miles from the river....
THAT NIGHT, AT THE HIGH SCHOOL REUNION
"So you call yourself Xaj now?"
"Yeah. More interesting than Jim." I noticed a strange smell about her. She smiled.
"Good nose," she said. "This is part of my second generation, it's no longer at all related to any real-life smell in any relevant way. It's all abstractly motivated, based on the interaction between the olfactory center and the rest of the brain. My company, Scentrex, is the only one doing it. And you'reprobably the only one here who could understand it."
"You own Scentrex?"
"Well, not exactly -- we've gone public. But I'm the president."
"I never would have expected it of you, in all honesty. I thought you wanted to go to medical school."
"I did go. I'm a doctor. I went through Brown's seven-year BS-and-med school program. I started Scentrex as a student. It all started as an undergraduate research project, actually, with rats. I made them hungrier and madder and more likely to defecate, and so on. And then I was nearly thrown out for experimenting on students."
"You did your internship? That would mean you just got out a year ago."
"Well, I did ... sort of. I hired a doctor for my company and then I worked, ostensibly 'unde'" him, at the hospital -- on my company research...."
"Do you have any more of this anti-inhibition agent here?"
"Well, actually, yes, as a matter of fact. Why?"
"Let's put it in the punch and have some fun"
"Oh, no, Xaj -- I couldn't do that." I noticed that she had pulled something out of her pocket, some kind of vial perhaps.
"Lend some excitement to this dull event -- come on ... "
The vial now dangled from her fingers ... I grabbed it. Obviously she had been considering doing it, or she would have left it in her pocket. "If you can't, I can!"
She laughed and chased me: she obviously couldn't decide whether or not to be mad. I checked to be sure no one could see what I was doing, and I poured it in. "It is nontoxic, isn't it?" I asked her.
"But probably expensive. I'll pay for it ... how much? I suspect it'll be well worth it."
"Oh, forget about that," she giggled. "It's literally priceless ... it won't be on the market for a quarter-year. But this is on your conscience."
"I don't have one.... Really, though -- you've never done anything like this before? I don't believe it."
"Oh, I've seduced people plenty," she replied. "That's about it. And -- don't tell anybody -- when I get sick of an employee they suddenly grow desire to quit. So I've never fired anybody."
"And -- ?"
"And I've used it while talking to clients; that's how I got the business going -- is that what you were waiting to hear?"
"Yes. Precisely. I thought you doctors were all ethical!"
She laughed: "Well, that was pretty stupid of you. Seriously, though -- I've never hurt anybody with it. My clients never need any persuasion once they've tried the product: it can do wonders for the productivity of workers. The ultimate weapon of capitalist oppression, right?"
"Maybe.... But workers won't be around too long anyway. I wish I could show you some of the things we're doing atGrumstein... I mean in artificial intelligence -- Oh, wait, what am I saying: I can show you, right outside. Come see my car."
THE MADMAN PROGNOSTICATES
"Technology gave us the self. And soon it will take it away. Just as with God and logic, and science ... first intellectual, de facto demise -- then, eventually, a decay sets in in the public mentality. The self has been dissolved by science, and as technology bearing this dissolution becomes popular -- the habit of not thinking in terms of self will come to bear upon the concept-structure of consensus: self will die.
"How has the self been slain by science? Firstly, my theory of mind informs us that consciousness is one unanalyzable, separate thing -- a single entity ... and "self" as a clump of mutually regenerative patterns is another. Consciousness is at the center -- it is the 'axis' of the Tao, the 'Axis, Bold as Love' ... pure and abstract, it is the same for every human (for instance). From the point of view of consciousness, there is no reality; there is no truth; -- the very concept of identity is an artifact, a mere illusion. Consciousness has no pattern -- but itself. And all the rest? the mind sans consciousness? Hume was correct -- it's just a bunch of regularities. Hume's error, if existent, was one of emphasis: he dwelt on the diffuse character of this collection, ignoring the mutual induction which creates structure (although recognizing induction). Heredity, experience, chance -- and emergences between such -- .
"In a way, there is a self herein: the particular emergences unique to a given mind could be called the self of that mind, for instance. The catch is this: such a "self" could just as well be assigned to anything -- a self-governing steam-engine or society or a catcher's mitt ... there is a difference? then only in degree! The set consisting of myself and my toilet seat has a self, just as as I do, just as does the set consisting of myself and my wife. This is at variance -- striking, bold ... death-blow bold variance -- with the presently held concept of identity ... of identity as somehow mysteriously connected to free will and consciousness.
" -- Imagine a brain-scanner sufficiently complete to transfer your brain-patterns into a prefabricated medium of organization ... imagine "surviving" death this way. Would you survive?
Your self? If the transfer were complete -- how could you complain? All the patterns of your mind would be there ... surely the self cannot lie in the particular mechanical medium of pattern-realization -- not in the body! And yet, imagine facing this entity, this other self -- would it be you? Speaking logically, there are two possibilities: -- either it is not you, or there is some extraphysical connection between the two potential you's (as I hypothesized above), which activates immediately ... some 'connection of consciousness'.
" -- Or imagine intelligent computers -- nonhuman minds .... Imagine human reprogramming -- not only Brave New World techniqueslike hypnosis and subliminal persuasion, but chemical or electrochemical methods ... which are being pioneered, at least, in the Soviet Union -- on a large scale: evident, everywhere: (imagine the advertising industry multiplied by ten million).
" -- These technologies -- they breathe the melting of the self, and the post-dualist/materialist theory of mind. To see them and use them will be to indoctrinate oneself with their root-ideas -- just as with any other systematic flow of technology --
An age of nonlocality awakens...
And whispers smooth abandon with its eyes
It tiptoes out along all roads not taken
And splashes them with its without-disguise..."
THE MADMAN'S LITTLE SISTER KEPT A DIARY
The above fragments were apparently written the day of his suicide. Scrawled on the back of the last page was the following:
"O! the River of Mistwisty Dreams
Where everything Is as it Seems
No, you don't need a boat
In order to float
On the River of Mistwisty Dreams
"O! the River of Mistwisty Dreams
Where Nothing's what everything means
No, you don't need a sieve
In order to breathe
In the River of Mistwisty Dreams"
Scrawled on the back of the first page was the following note:
"I have just swallowed a bottle of sleeping pills ... I have no desire for pain, but I do wish to die, so this seemed the most sensible method. I wish to die because there is no reason not to. This is a stupid reason, but then Reason is stupid so what the hell. I believe I am a happy man. WHY NOT NOTHINGNESS???!!!"
At first I didn't believe the note; I thought "There must be some deep-hidden problem -- something he couldn't tell even his little sister."
Now I don't believe anything ... I live in the Land of Sweet Fuck and am happy. In the River of Mistwisty Dreams!!!
But between Now and Then was the Greatest Ordeal ... I'll tell you about it, if you'll listen...
The night after he died I had a frighteningly vivid dream, in which he played a very large part. I was fourteen at the time, ripe for sexuality but absolutely inexperienced
with it -- so I was no stranger to sexual dreams. They were very nearly the only outlet which this powerful new source of energy was permitted. I had touched my sexual organs only infrequently; I had never had an orgasm; I had never let my boyfriends even touch my little titties. In the dream, I was lying on a cloud, while an electrical storm buzzed all around me -- in a shroud of invisible yellowbright transparent bumblebees made of silicon chips and four-dimensional lasers, I was shrouded, almost dead and entwined with a haze of bright purple feline medallions which gave me the glow of twenty lives, not only the one I was rapidly losing. I sensed that there were people in that cloud, or rather pieces of people's minds, indiscriminately rearranged -- Whenever I tried to think about what I saw, my gift of crystalclear vision whoosh-vanished and was replaced by a dark dank thud, so I tried not thinking. And with a strange amoebal smoothness of glide, out of the storm sprayed my brother. His phallus was twenty feet long, but it fit in me nicely. The storm infiltrated every pore of my skin, making me feel like the Las Vegas skyline at night, making me glimmer and sparkle and fizz like a million zillion billion zany
fireworks shows all crammed inside one ultramodernly micro-
miniaturized Pandora's box -- I was carried aloft by this
incestuous swarm of bees, which were stinging me with an
icecream sort of pleasure that seemed perhaps to hurt at first,
but maybe only when I paid attention to it, and anyway only for a couple nanoseconds, after which it turned into a sort of bottomless yet shallow wading pool of flesh, of bodies writhing
like jello, tasting eachother in forty seven different flavors
and viscous conings.
I woke in orgasm, which of course fixed the vision richly in my mind.
This was the end of my life as a slightly mentally and physically hyperdeveloped but basically pretty normal tenth grader -- And The Beginning Of Infinity!
I woke with the dream on the tip of my mind. Immediately I began to finger myself, hungry to regain my bliss. But it would not come. I did come, that is, but although it was wonderful it just didn't rock the proverbial foundations of my fourteen-year-
old universe. It was plain old me, lying on my pink-sheeted virginal bed and sticking a long graceful finger into my red little cunt, listening anxiously for footsteps. I wanted to lose myself in pleasure, but I couldn't even lose the thought of my brother's death. We'd never been very close; since he'd moved out six years ago, I'd been seeing him maybe once every two weeks,
and during these visits he'd often been mysteriously quiet. I'd listened to him rant too much to imagine that he didn't have anything to say; I speculated, rather, that what he would have said if he'd uncritically poured out what was ominously dancing
across his eyes -- might have literally driven us crazy, and would have certainly convinced us that he was loony as hell.
Why not nothingness? he asked me -- Yes, I felt that his final, frightful question was directed straight towards me. That
I was required to justify my (trivial) existence, or else just
cease it as had he. Of course, I realized that he might as
well have refrained from suicide simply because there was no
reason to -- by his own logic ... But he hadn't refrained, and
that was the important thing! not his perfunctorily stated logic. I knew from his books and his personality that he loved
contradiction, that (in any circumstance) he would just as easily
say the opposite of what he thought as what he thought; I knew
from his personality and his books that above all he loved
capriciousness and unpredictability, particularly inasmuch as
they were self-contradictory insofar as true, complete randomness is itself predictable (et cetera), and he would therefore also
often be inclined to say or write something completely
unrelated to what he believed ... I also knew that the supposedly capricious is often chillingly and/or deliciously revealing of deep psychological patterns ... that no two things are unrelated ...
Knowing so much, I was absolutely baffled by his suicide. My parents were not baffled; "He's crazy," they'd decided long ago, thus blathering up a wall of incomprehensibility and disgust between him and themselves, thus cutting off the flow of love. To them, insanity was the end of all hypothesis. To me, however,
insanity was a question mark. To me, all questions needed answers, and if the answer included another question, then that
just meant that my search would go on for a while -- and if the
answer included the original question, that was not a signal to abandon hope, but rather a sign which aroused my interest, a buoy indicating dangerous and therefore beautiful metaphysical (and therefore nonexistent) waters, a clue to look for more circles in the vicinity and try to glean an answer of some trans-
comprehensible species from the structure of this spiraling web
of (most likely contradictory) self-reference.
Well, I didn't look at it quite so spectacularly then, but there it was anyway,
this bottomless abyss
of merely wondering -- about all kind of things, but above (and below) all
about what the fuck it is to ask a question.
My brother had always been even more curious than me, but he'd decided not to answer any more questions -- this cast a
brand new light of darkness-doubt upon my inner life, and upon my
outer life which, though bearable and often rather enjoyable,
was not quite fulfilling enough to restrain me to the world, and
was (!) therefore responsible for my in....
Et cetera et cetera et cetera ... around in timelessly unnameable circles swarmed my mind, never reaching a conclusion,
never seeing any point to my life, never knowing a thing ...
Why not nothingness? He'd been found the previous afternoon by a scared girlfriend (he had died the previous night); I'd been
given permission to keep the two short manuscripts given above, and I'd read them, but they hadn't had any particularly clear meaningfor me ... it was their structure which had moved me, the incomparable smooth and rapidly aimless flow of his writing,
the way his mind leaped through the confusionally infinite- dimensional spacetime transcontinuum of ideas and feelings like a
virtuoso weightless dancer with ninety-five legs and a thousand multicolored wings while the rest of us hobbled around like
overweight cripples on Valium.
But now his writing became transparent -- it served as a
lense through which my I's observed my life ... He had had several bold irrational dreams, I saw -- several Visions, interconnected but distinct. That they contradicted eachother did not bother him. One was the universe as a big -- no, sizeless -- eye forever looking at itself 'yond time, and therefore generating time, and therefore nonsense ... of the tumbling and the jumbling through itself as -- what? the rhyme which was his life, which was us all. This was the philosophical content of the "Notes for a Revolutionary Manual", discussed also in a curious section of his novel The Heartbeat of the Universe called "Beyond Insanity", in which the narrator commits suicide because he knows his real-world life will never equal the splendor of his mystical visions (This, of course, is the fallacy of "visions past" -- visions are timeless. And the narrator knew that -- )
Another was his Shadow-Lover, discussed extensively in his epic poem The Cosmic Cunt -- a woman whose voice he heard, whose body he felt and saw with frightening intensity, whom he all too instinctively knew was a perfect complement to the numerous perversities which were his personality. But whom he never quite encountered in the real world. He was obsessed with her for a while; he thought he saw her in a movie here, on the street there ... Totally out of character with his scientific, cynical aura ... "Cynically and with innocence," he always said (I think quoting Nietszche) -- well, this was his innocence.
These visions ... they were beautiful; he embraced them -- Yes, although he believed in nothing! This was his life: Kierkegaardian, Nietszchean, Zen Buddhist no-reason-to-no-reason-
not-to-so-hey-what-the-fuck vitality of existence, saying Yes to his visions regardless of everything;
No: ultimately, death. His death of a piece with his life, now it seemed to me ... now I felt I understood him. It was all there in his writing, in his weird-ass surreal novels and poems, but I'd never seen it. I chided myself rather angrily, then reminded myself that I was only fourteen and most people never realized such things, even if they had my 146 I.Q. or his 190. I saw it only because of my incestuous imaginary orgasm: This was to me as his cosmological and angel-fantasic visions were to him! it seemed to me to be glowing so brightly that I couldn't even tell what was happening to the rest of my life; perhaps it had melted it! WHY NOT NOTHINGNESS? Because of this vision! because of this feeling! because of the smell Of my ripe young vagina rippling with the heat which it's generated by the absurdly raw and meaninglessact of rubbing back and forth ... It was suddenly clear to me now; it was quite clear that nothing would ever be clear, but besides that that the decision to die and the decision to live were just about the same thing, to the enlightened soul, and what you did was a matter of -- choice? Not of choice, exactly ...
"Time for school, dear," said my mother. Her matter-of-fact tone repulsed me; it was all too clear that she'd long ago ceased to give a shit about Fy.
"Must I go?" I asked. "Not all of us got over it in fifteen seconds."
"If you're going to talk like that, yes, you will go," she snapped, as usual injured by my perceptiveness.
"The least you could do," I retorted nastily, "is to admit that you long ago ceased to give a shit about him. You're not going to miss him, but I will, so I don't expect you to understand what I'm feeling, but at least you could try to understand that you don't understand!"
"Look, I'm not going to argue with you about this. You're too old for this stuff."
"You mean for the truth? If so, may I remain forever
"Either you get up right now and get ready for school, or you don't go to the dance tonight, and that's all there is to it young woman!"
"I don't really have to go to school, then, I just have to get up now and get ready for it?"
"YOU KNOW WHAT I MEAN!"
"Actually, the meaning of any human being has never been quite clear to me, mother, particularly since I have never been able to elucidate the meaning of the word 'meaning'."
"Just SHUT UP and do what I tell you, young lady, or you're grounded!"
She walked away. I had to leave in half an hour, so there wasn't time for talk ... I showered, blow-dried, brushed my teeth, thought about shaving my armpits, and nearly forgot my gym uniform as I grabbed a bagel and cream cheese on my way out the door in my favorite bright yellow sundress with red lace trim. I was quite a hot item, or so I fancied; the dress let off about four inches below the crotch, and would have exposed a lot of cleavage had I had a lot. My underwear had little blue bunnies on them; I thought about how you could see them if I bent over, creeping into my very white ass, maybe showing some vaginal hairs.... By no means had my first two orgasms exhausted my sexual desire --
Walking toward school, I saw Lucille come toward me from across the street -- we usually met at the corner, but as I was late I'd assumed she was already gone. "Hi, Lucy."
"Please don't call me that. Lucille."
"Sorry, Lucille," I said quietly.
Surprised that I'd given in that easily, she said "What's wrong?"
"My brother killed himself."
"Fy?!! But why?"
"He left a note which said 'Because there is no reason not to. This is a stupid reason, but then Reason is stupid. I believe I am a happy man. WHY NOT NOTHINGNESS???!!!!'"
"That's so weird."
"I'm so sorry."
I am considering telling her my dream, but I decide against it almost before I pose the question -- At the same time? in different parts of my mind? I am in love with my brother ... I tell myself this now, though no such inkling even passed me by before his death. I tell myself it's nonsense, but I know that it's not. I am concealed in bright ivory shadows and ebony light. Love and Death. Sex and Death. Sex is Love. Love is Orgasm. Death is Orgasm. Death is Love. All is Orgasm,
All is Love, and
All is Death
Enough impassioned philosophy and philosophical passion, however -- it's time for homeroom. I'm not quite late.
The moment is so vivid -- was so vivid -- that I'm starting to live it, in the present tense. What the hell was so damn
significant about it, I can't comprehend, but then I'm not much
for comprehending --- O these riverready daze. -- Caught between
death and lust, not knowing anything about good or evil --
not feeling them as real. And then love hurtles through the
picture (of my life, which is my life), illogically,
incestuously -- impossibly! to boot. Crystalline confusion ...
the forces at work are so clear; what they were doing I
couldn't know! but only that they were swallowing me, that
I was no longer the same Marya Zozzynski I'd been just a day ago
-- before his death, before his dreamy screamy orgasmlove ...
Perhaps he killed himself because he was in love with me, I
think for a second, then nervouslyembarrassedlyhurriedly leap to
castigate myself: No mere physical issue could have impelled
him to any action of such magnitude -- him, the ultimate
metaphysician and skeptic! The ultimate skeptical
metaphysician! The infinitelyinfinitely abstract one! And then I remember the wistful romantic inanity of the Shadow-lover ... and I cough. The Shadow-lover, without a name, who he usually called Melissa....
I sit in the second row, behind Arnie Rowger, who wore a tweed jacket to school yesterday and got the shit kicked out of him for it. The jacket was ruined. I feel my vagina rub the seat, and I wish I'd had time to go to my locker so I'd have homework or something to do, a piece of paper to scribble on.... I am unbearably horny. I have a feeling that something important is required of me, something much more substantial than sitting half-contentedly in sterile classrooms for the next two and a half years of my life, then going on to college to sit in more, and finally someday encumbering myself with the (hopefully?) distracting vagary of a "career". Something which
will -- is it possible? -- combine the cleverness which I have
(painfully) learned to restrain with the new lust for life and
above all penises and orgasms which has now overcome me. Absurd
as it seems -- yes, a Mission! A Mission Impossible, no less!
I'm going crazy too, I tell myself -- but I don't believe it. And I do believe it, too, and I wonder if that's why he did it -- just to make me insane. For me to carry his burden of insanity. Burden of delight? Of beyond-pain-and-happiness....
I realize that I'm staring abstractly at the back of Joe Sady's head ... I realize this as he turns around and it isn't true any longer. I guess Lucille has told everyone about Fyodor.
I love him....
School does not mesh with my dreamular mentality, with my (subtly) screaming vitality, with my life as I am presently in
the process of revisioning it. Exuberance flows into everything;
all my friends and my classes are receptacles into which I
involuntarily pour the substance of my vision ... which is
apparently infinite in quantity. First class is creative writing, a senior class which I am supposed to feel privileged to attend. Today we will write something about ... a dream we've had! Ha ha ha ... if I had known about this assignment ... what?
I would have been eager to come, or to stay away? I don't know;
can't tell the difference. I wander through class in a viscous subduedly-sparkling daze, virtually not noticing any of the
students sitting around me ... this is particularly easy since I
don't really know any of them, most of them being three or four
years older than me and none of them in any of my other classes.
I write, and I feel that the pen is being lifted from my hand and translated into some other reality, all while quite firmly in my hand ... I've always been a very good writer, won several awards etc. etc., but I've never exploded like this, never felt free in the pure act of writing -- . I am being possessed. I realize that my composition is somewhat inappropriate for the class, but
it runs out like diarrhea -- what the hell --
I hand it in without looking at the teacher as I walk on out of the classroom -- walk on, as though I was walking through the class, only in a different dimension. Walk on out. Life is a poem, I say to myself, and only rarely does it rhyme. Does anybody have a dime? What the fuck is life? I can't remember if I used to be like this or if I really am my brother -- slowly becoming him -- Did my thoughts run on so fast like this yesterday, perpetually trampling themselves?
PRINCIPLES OF THE PARANOIAC-CRITICAL METHOD
What is insanity? -- asking too many questions
What is sanity? -- answering too many questions
What is genius? -- asking too many questions, and answering them.
What is enlightenment? -- asking no questions, answering no
To try to see oneself is to become a mirror
Consciousness? Pulling the rug out from under one's own
feet. Falling down and landing on it again. Wondering: is this the first or the second time ... or the third or
the millionth? And in the midst of this thought, it
happens -- yet again --
True mental health is treating all experience like food: a good meal brings pleasure, a bad meal repulses -- but does it tangle the self?
"To concentrate on something" -- to create that thing in one's own image. Playing God.
What is the deepest structure of the universe? Nothing is
impossible; impossibility is impossible....
Pragmatism: the ultimate hypocrisy -- condemning the study of relevancy as irrelevant.
Freedom: seeing nothing in every thing; seeing everything in
nothing; seeing nothing in everything; seeing
every thing in nothing; seeing everything in every
thing ... seeing nothing in nothing. Duuuh....
All the world's a player, and all the men and women merely
stages. And does it feel good to be trampled?
And does it feel better when you realize that both
Shakespeare and his opposite were right -- that it's
you who are trampling yourself?
Guilt: fear of loving oneself ... and thus causing one's
boundaries to grow fuzzy ...
Health: dying at the proper rate.
Reality, which systematically tries to kill the spirit, also owes the spirit for what little vivacity it possesses.
Sex creates the body by compelling it to transcend itself. The body creates the world. Sex is the creation of the world by way of the creation of the body.
Two lovers meet: they are vaguely formed blocks of clay. They are sculptures who sculpt each other. Their skills and aesthetics change along with their shapes. They become intricate,
grotesque, beautiful. This is the greatest form of art.
Anything, repeated often enough, becomes a mantra. Thus we have,
by enacting the routines of daily life, been lulled into the daze of our existence.
What's in a name? Other names.
The knot of not. Freedom is disentangling oneself from oneself.
And once one has finished, one realizes: there never was any
string; there was only the knot. Duuuh....
We say "time passes" -- but it would be no falser to say that we
pass it. We perceive ourselves as moving; in reality
we create the illusion of motion. Psychologically,
why? Because it scares us to think that we aren't
going anywhere: if we acknowledge that we aren't,
we are required to face our present situation.
I am told not to "put people down". From the fact that I can put
a person down, however, it follows that I am holding
that person up. Why aren't they holding themselves up? (Answer: They only exist through me. I only exist through them. We're all part of an organism. It's not as solid as it seems.)
The deepest insights are never gained inside a system. The great mind may create a system -- the value here is in the process,
however, not the end result; and the system does not explain
its own conception.
Once scientists and mathematicians could claim themselves better
than mere artists. No more. Reality and logic, according
to twentieth century science and mathematics, are no
longer absolute. Now everything must be judged by
one and the same standard: intuitive reaction. Aesthetics.
Every instruction is an outstruction as well. Every introspection
is an outrospection.
Formlessness is but another species of form: this is the birth and death of minimalism in art.
A child does not know how to deceive itself.
Honesty means, quite often, sublimating one's contradictions. An honest opinion is a peculiar kind of organism, not always healthier than a lie.
The artist creates a world in which their thoughts and feelings
are realities. This reverses the normal order of things,
in which realities give rise to feelings and thoughts. (To keep these two processes in balance -- this is the task of an artist, and also a god. Artists are usually not very goodat achieving this balance; judging from the appearance of our world, our creator may not have been great either.)
A video camera, turned on its monitor, produces all sorts of
complicated forms -- aberrations -- errors turned into beauty,
ugliness, pattern. And a mind turned on itself?
RETURN FROM THE STARS
Walking down the street, arm in arm, with my new boyfriend Jonathan. Visited by Fyodor's voice.
"I never would have believed such a thing if I hadn't felt it," says Jon. "I've always been extremely skeptical of things like reincarnation and talking to the dead. And now that it's happened, I can't help but seek a scientific explanation."
"I'm not sure that's possible."
"I'm not sure of anything, but what the fuck!"
We walk for a while, holding hands in silence. Then suddenly I am moved to speak. "I eat petunia livers, Lordy, and suck the fuckumblood, and when I whinny with desire will you splay me cross your legs and bendldy rend me in the buttocks with your love?"
"No, I don't think so, that sounds painful. Even metaphyically."
"Metaphysics is bound to be painful."
"So's your momma."
"Don't talk to me about your momma!"
"She wears plutonium windshields and juggles bologna licenses and on Tuesdays she shimmies down her hot poles and loves her spasms in the night so much it impels her to turn into a pumpkin and whigulate."
"We're not so witty."
"But your ass is shitty!"
"Hoo hoo hoo hoo. At least I entertain myself when I sit on the metaquizzical toilet bowl and stink forth gourds of crystal silence into the everyman abyss, silently giggling fifth my love in sillyum hickups."
"I am my love."
"We sound like a Jack Kerouac novel read by a demented angel getting butt-fucked by a conscious balloon."
All the while giggling.
"I am my love."
Who's saying what?
Suddenly everyone's turned into dogs.
Suddenly everyone cannot exist.
Suddenly they does.
Suddenly they do not.
They are not here so they can spazzulate quickly.
I am not here but what the fuck.
I am not life. I am death inside silence. I am upsidedown through insideoutiness. I am free only when I am infinitely bound and can have not even thoughts of mobility. Infinite lack
of ambition means fulfillment. And vice versa? That's a vice. This is a verse.
I am unconsciousness.
I am awakened, once again, on a long white bed. But this time Jon is next to me. We were found, I am told, passed out in the pure act of intercourse on somebody's lawn. "I'm a crazyman now", whispers Jon, and he agrees with me. "You never use birth control, do you." I shake my head know. "Ah, I love you! Even though in a year it'll be illegal, you virtual toddler!"
"You must admit I'm well-developed for my age." Vain comment forgiven due to sleep still in head.
"You give me a permanent erection. Either that or I'm turning into a reptile -- they have permanent bone-ons, you know. That wouldn't be much stranger than all this other shit that's been happening."
"Ha ha ha."
I realize that I am lying in the hospital with my new boyfriend Jon. My mother is lurking over us. Something has happened, something bad and uncertain.
Fyodor is dead.
"How's my little psychotic?" says my mom.
I shrugged. "What happened?"
"We were hoping you would tell us."
I screwed up my eyes and stared at her. "I love you, mom! I love everybody now. I'm an earwigphone! with mussels in my dead."
"You sound like Fy, darling."
"I assume no one has any idea what happened to us?"
Jon cuts in: "We blanked out before having sex; we were just walking down the street babbling nonsense -- ."
"Today, you know, our creative writing teacher started babbling nonsense in the middle of class."
"Actually it was toward the end."
"Freaked out, we left school. And then ... Do you think the cases are connected?"
The nurse nodded vigorously. "Miss Winckner was admitted this morning; she checked out just an hour ago. No physiological diagnosis. Her recollection agreed with yours."
PANGS OF REBIRTH
It was the jangling of the corridors of steel, the huddling darkness: shafts, a knife ... the dizzying groan: the machination-scream of death --
... anonymous industrial odours ...
And then the shrieks, the shivering squeals and shrieks that flow like liquid islands -- far too diffused for color ... wondering what it means to be flesh --
As my feet flutter toward the ground, as crumbling canyons soar resolutely through my eyebrows, as my eyes flutter through a cough of vortices too desperately afraid not to spin -- and as my memory dashes back -- dashes into an all-too-rare kernel of existence -- into the coat-tails of an age -- of bright days -- when there actually was such a thing as --
I cannot put it into words.
The street is grimy, filled with litter and the daze of days gone past without even the lick of a moment softly rising ... the days of grey oblivion (cackling so hard that its hair falls out): -- the days of eyes too cold to cry. Not even death extends a hand: not even solitude effaces -- the endless scream that is called life that is called numbness of the soul
-- What is the soul, then? I think it has something to do with solitude.
And what is life? It is these streets, their jaws so welcoming and so pin-sharply dull as to reject even the lassitude of evil too long gone: even their eyes are filled with mucus. -- Torrent of faces, darkly tumbling in unspawned communion past: torrent of faces, each one just as granite-hollow as the last.
-- Not even a rhyme provides solitude
This one is a dying face; I mean, immediately dying ... rigid grey hair-strands dribble shameless from its lack
... lack of expression: this one a young one, "dying at the proper rate", so full of cheer that it does not see its own sadness: somehow far sadder than the rest in this way -- ... I want to take it in my arms and shake it: "Look, you stupid boy! Take a look at these faces around you! This is what you will be -- soon! Your happiness is just -- preparation -- !" The cruelty of it doesn't stop me ... in fact, I wonder, it wouldn't
even be cruel: he wouldn't even understand me --
O machination! What I would give to see Tyrannosaurus Rex! roar here in front of me ... with its pure teeth growl and in one chomp tear the monotony of the street -- ! A slice of pure animal power!
But there is greyness, only greyness: a torrent, faces, never known: unknown, yes, even to themselves -- and always screaming, from dim pasts screaming as the Neanderthal had to scream: without a lust for life, though; without a thing except the fear of losing grey, except its name --
... O nauseous oils of cranks and gears! O clangor, dread! O tumbling, winding endless paths into infinity: -- into the gutsof the machine ... its blood not red but made of billions-empty faces ... -- O, wrench my guts now! Far apart
permit my tearful guts to fly
-- And I become one with the machine
And then a face came (or: it comes) ... a softness, whisper of a smile ... a haze in pink and peach-breath flesh-tones far more than worthy of the wildest palette: two cheeks so plump, that in their exuberance they sing praise to all infinity. They stand apart. Two eyes: abysses, but in peacetime; two too-warm rays of unshorn light ... two strands of quivering, slightly shivering: slightly, two unborn foes of night (although of nothing) ... two laughs of innocence
-- And a smile
-- It reached out toward me; like a sword it impaled me, but with sweet --
and the mountainous of doom
-- it failed away
I embraced life! -- once again: in this small face I had found beauty; found the Fountain of Ecstasy
-- Suddenly the machine was gone
I tried to touch it.
-- and it screamed: this was a vocal scream: (here something of my long-long-long-lost sanity returned to me (just for a moment): right here I noticed for some reason that I was unwashed.
Its beauty fled into a hollowness too much like all the rest: once again just a wave in the torrent confronted my eyes: I had to wail -- a sea of old, old tears charaded out of me, without a name: -- I never laughed, not for eternities (again): a supple cry, at least, confronted me, however; a power of pain and not an unformed death of libelous abandon.
I could still recognize it: my precious face, among the flood that all the rest consumed: but, alas, only as a memory
-- Of what it once was!
-- And could it ever be again?
I could not bear to wait; to watch it into ashes fade
away ... its present dull existence was a curse upon its past
beauty: as I looked at it now I saw its shining day fade away: the extremes melted --
I followed it; my arms high-arching through the sea ... : the other eyes I swept aside; some of them struck me, but I cast their blows into the stinking sea with the rest of them
-- until I reach it: my one-day smiling face, my fount of joy ... its cheeks were sagging.
I put my hands around its neck, and squeeze and and shake
and shake; and as I do the hollow whine of the machine takes life inside me: a maze of vortices: -- the screaming whorl --
And as the life goes out of its face I see its crash of beauty hanging one last time upon the world: I see its life at last return as I once dreamed that it would be -- forever
... its eyes, its cheeks, for one last moment radiated boundless love as they had done once, long before --
And as they would now do forever, shining bright before my mind -- fresh and unmarred by their momentary lapse into dignity.
I leave its corpse and laugh away: at last the cruelty of the machine (which has forgotten how to be cruel) alive within me -- for I have killed someone, and why? for what reason? -- as well as the always-shimmering beauty of her face
-- I could have loved her.
THE MADMAN'S SISTER SPILLS HER OVARIES ON THE FLOOR
"Go and ask him to dance," Lucille suggested.
"Okay," I shrugged.
He's standing on the other side of the gym and sadly smiling into nowhere. I don't get the feeling he comes to dances a lot; I wonder why he's here today. It seems like he's laughing at every individual in the room simultaneously. I wonder how this strange character could have heretofore slipped my attention. He doesn't notice me approach: "Would you like to dance?"
"Why, would you?"
I gawk confusedly.
"I'm sorry, that was rude. I'd be delighted to dance with you."
"Eloquent, aren't we?"
"Pardon my knowledge of English grammar."
"Shut up and let's dance, Mr. Absentminded Professor!"
It's a slow song now, one which reminds me of Fy, called "Fly on, Sweet Angel" or some such:
Angel came down from heaven yesterday
She stayed with me just long enough to rescue me
And she told me a story yesterday
About the sweet love between the moon and the deep
And then she spread her wings, high over me
And she said "So long, I'll come back tomorrow."
And I said: "Fly on, my sweet angel
Fly on, through the sky
Fly on, my sweet angel
Tomorrow I'm gonna be by your side...
But in the second verse Jimi's Shadow-lover angel beast returns andtakes him higher ... Fy's lovely angel was only a dream; unless she is nothingness, I figure, she ain't with him now.
Something tells me there's more to it than that; I ignore it without even wondering whether this something's a proverbial
little birdie with feckled wings and a mummy-breathed funnyfeather or a green metaphysical parachute with paraffin
genitalia and seventeen evil poppy seeds of gloom and gold. The
song has me all lost in Fy, wondering whether he's absolutely lost or maybe he's found a home in me or what the fucking fuck has happened. It has me realizing the triviality of everything,
as I hold Jon Handelman close and rub my craving pubic bone
against his gonads, and reach to kiss his neck as he turns down
his eyes in surprise. I give him seven kisses and a wicked hickey. "Will you love me?" I ask him, so breathily that I'm surprised
that he understands me. "Will you make love to me?"
"Maybe, and yes," he says quietly, as his cock throbs. "Would you like to finish this dance first?"
"Oooh, I love it when you're sarcastic."
"What's your name?"
"Marya's a beautiful name.... I'm Jonathan Handelman."
"How do you know me? Not many people here do ... I'm not around as much as I should be."
"Michelle Truby told."
"What did she tell you about me?"
"That you were good in bed."
"I don't know. I've never fucked myself. If you'd like to find out, we can go back to my apartment."
"You live alone?"
"Occasionally my father returns to the place. But he basically lives with his girlfriend."
"Do you love me?"
"Why do you keep asking that? I don't even know you. And furthermore I'm more than a little bit stoned. What do I know
about you? I know only your name; I know you're articulate,
you're beautiful, you're probably younger than me...."
"All right, all right. Let go back to your place, okay? I am horny as hell!"
"All right." And we get in his car. "Do you want some pot? Or some acid?"
"To tell you the truth, I've never tried either."
"Pot just relaxes you, makes you a little more mellow and jovial. Acid is completely different; it releases your hold on reality."
"And what if you have no such hold? Will it give you one back?"
"It could. Or it could drive you over the edge. It's the most personal drug, the most unpredictable ... Completely nonaddictive, of course. No one has ever overdosed on LSD." Meanwhile his hand is creeping deliciously up my leg, finger after flickering finger ... at the start an innocuous hand-
resting-on-knee, by now a full-flailing-fledged sacred-inner-thigh
caress, hinting at mild masturbations and more -- His
finger pulls my bunnies aside and gently flexes its way in, spiraling directly toward my clitoris. I decide Michelle really knows what she's talking about -- I am on the edge: for about
five minutes right before we get out of the car it feels as
though any second I'll jump across that invisible line.... "I want some acid," I groan to him shamelessly. "I want to take a chance."
"Okay," he says, also panting heavily. It excites me that
he was so tremendously excited by touching me, that he loves my
flesh. "I don't have any LSD, though," he says, not at all sheepishly. "Only STP, which is like LSD except faster. The trip takes two hours instead of eight. It used to be known as the businessman's LSD -- you can take it during your lunch break." He pulls out his wallet as we fly up the stairs, and out of it pulls a small tab of paper. "Put this under your tongue for a minute, then swallow it."
I take it. "You'll take one too?"
He chuckles "Okay." The apartment is a horrible mess, but the couch is clear, as if he'd been expecting me ... He'd been just standing there vague at the dance, waiting for some horny little bitch to approach him? Maybe he and Michelle had struck a deal? Abject nonsense! which fails to stave off the hot love that's inside me -- Fire, I sit on his lap while he kisses me, kisses my lips and neck and chest and unbuttons my sundress to
the waist and spends what seems like hours bringing my little breasts to their biggest ever, expanding them with desire, spiraling over each inch of them, each little rivulet of the bright red base of each trembling unshriveling nipple, each
hidden sweatabyss beneath, each shimmering anglelessness asmile
in valiant approximation-and-transcendence of the curvaceously
incomprehensible beauty of humanity (or whatever), each glimmer
of light reflected rather unromantically but erotically nonetheless from the bare 100-watt in the bathroom, the only light on. There is something sensationally sensual about the ugly surroundings: Our sex is the only beauty here! Magically music starts; I
think it's Jimi Hendrix but it really might be anything, so
thoroughly bleared I am. My sundress comes easily off; he plays around the borders of my underwear, so to speak worshipping them, begging their permission for removal. By this time my pelvis is thrusting joyously, seeking whatever part of his body is nearby; my hands are groping sweatily all around his chest, occasionally making an uncoordinated attempt to undo his fly. His tongue lightly nibbles at my inner thigh and buttocks while one hand clenches breastmeat and the other rubs the inside of my twat, around my underwear. Finally, just as I'm about to beg for penile mercy, he pulls them off and swoops his tongue far into
me. I literally melt -- I realize the STP must be affecting me.
I feel as though my cunt is a miles-wide canyon, the rest of my
body quite sizeless; I am groaning, I think, at the top of my
lungs. I faintly realize that I am kicking and waving my hands,
that he cries out in strange pain, that the intensity with which
he eats me wavers for a minute as soft bonds are placed on my
thin wrists and ankles, that after this his dick is in my mouth
and one of his fingers in my ass, that we are on the floor in a
smelly dead heap of clothing ... there is nothing but my cunt and
the pleasure, a screaming-wild sea of fleshtone explosion, of
love for itself and the world wide that bore it -- of Life! of
Oh! oh! oh! only now do I see what Fy meant by the Cosmic Cunt
-- the infinitely intricated labyrinth of ultimate simplicity of
ecstasy, of orgasm perpetuated and extended to include all
of eternity and everything else, of my cunt so damn writhingly
deep that its inmost recesses were the tongue of love laughing
in it so lovespacelovelovingly ... Used he a condom when he put it in?
I see another place then, while so fuckingly I wander through freedom. Where there're others too, all engaged in this timeless abyss of free flowing and wild screaming intaking life throwing limbs and not caring but glee. This is Heaven, I think to myself, almost nully. This is where Fy lives.
And I live there now too!
A seething abyss of fragments of pure minds, and also strange composite bodies, disjointed fantasies almost, all orbiting in a finite space without boundaries, all wild in love -- And a tear in the fabric I not -- Through which Fy's fallen? My love, the fallen angel? What the fuck? I open my eyes and look around -- What do I see? Objects? Yes, but beneath the objects -- inside -- All the objects are woven of strands, certain strands which are made of existence, and one strand is called I, and I try to unravel it from the other strands, but as I do the process of concerted unraveling is seen to contain I and therefore reweave it into all it touches. Everything woven of these strands, including the concepts of "everything" and "woven", including most brilliantly me, me the universe, and the strands themselves woven of strands ... And at the bottom level, where strands no more -- This which does not exist -- What? At this nonexistent bottom, live the angels! Lives on Fy, and all the others who were dead but now are living their infinitely enconnected life, all amok and all a-running down
the semenic stream of eternalife, of sweet eternity.... Makes no
sense?! But I don't care about sense, I want to see, feel
it! Give me light above all! -- give me sensational vision!
This is the Ultimate Orgasm.
Abruptly it faded. No, not abruptly; actually it was gradual but my realization of the fading was not gradual. No, actually, it wasn't really anything, since it was only to me; however, it wasn't to me. The joy was gone; I untied myself. Jon only stared out into space. Why do I so like nicknames? I waitwaitwaited for the STP to fade, but it just wouldn't. I tried to read a book I found on the floor, some dragon-and- swordsman tale, but I couldn't hold the concepts in my mind. Each word enchanted me with its manifold implications -- What exactly does "hand" mean? Numerous meanings, and numerous images for each, and why does each image erupt as itdoes -- why O why the default values? why the life which permits us to interpret as such? why the lifeblood? why the blood? why the blood of the dragon? what color was it? Just as in all Fy's writing, everything leads back to the Me. O! O! Just as in life! (Except that now I'm forced to dwell on it? (To hell with exceptions!!!)) Such agony I've never known; I wanted to wrench myself from existence; I wanted to hate myself; I wanted to kill -- myself ... anything, to escape the fucking maze of meaningless introspection which wouldn't allow me, not anything else -- not even to be lost in details like during thinking or the real trip. Only the realization of unhappiness due to unhappiness due to unhappiness due to.... Infinite regress of pain; no cure for noplace to enter. Incomprehensible anxiety; inability for action. Inability for life. Was Jonathan the same way? or was he tripping out -- or dead? or what? What the fuck?
After an eternity of pain, I got up, and he drove me home without saying a word. I don't know if he was capable of speech. By the time we reached my house the pain was past, as was the pleasure; both were balanced in my mind, I saw that I'd achieved a goal. As he drove off, he yelled "I love you!"
In my mind: "I love you too." But I didn't say it. I don't know why. Perhaps because it was a lie. Perhaps it wasn't. I went to bed. In any case he wouldn't have heard me if I'd yelled; perhaps he planned it that way, sensing my confusion.
When I woke up, remembering no dreams, Fy had exited my mind. But I realized I retained his abilities. The purpose of the possession stage was clear.
But nothing else was.
In the morning I realized amazedly that I had returned on time -- by midnight! Viva la STP! Leave reality for an eternity of incomprehensible orgasm bondage freedom drugged delight -- and still be back by bedtime!
I also realized that my mind had been bent out of shape, and would not return so easily. In fact it might never return. Forever insanity? Reality had slipped away from me; previously I had speculated that it was an illusion, but to feel it that way is something far subtler. The intellectual skeptic vs. the mystical, et cetera. I began to understand that this was something that had shaped Fy. I began to understand the narrator of Beyond Insanity. How to return to reality after exiting it? after one's nerve endings know that it's nothing? Impossibly! I began to grow a new respect for druggies -- No wonder they didn't care about grades or respect et cetera: they didn't even care about reality! But then I reminded myself of what he'd said about it being such a personal experience...
Reality just an arbitrary way of organizing things; just a pattern, not a basis -- only strands -- By force of habit I am trapped in it -- this is what I am, a part of this reality; the concept of identity --
If I get out, I will not be me --
I will not be --
Why want be-anything?
WHY NOT NOTHINGNESS??????!!!!!!!!!!!!
that I would have to will
reality back into existence.
My belief in reality had evaporated.
(And all the walls,
the unspilt pain,
the vanquished-yet-still-righteous sane
The pleasures of a poring reign
A jihad wrought in rust
Beneath the flickering hurricane,
BENEATH THE FLICKERING HURRICANE !!!!!!
in a conspiracy
to keep the Solid Me
from envoiding itself
into the ultimate reality
-- Into the free!
... Fy saw all this and kept living for a while. Why not nothingness? Why not why? Why not ecstasy? Why not agony? Why not mainline post-orgasmic nothingness through a spoon fashioned of scalpels and dead tweets? What's the meaning of the all? I am everything; "I" am not, but just a figment of reality, of my own nonexistent but wildly charming nonetheless imagination ...
That's it! the charmingness! I am beautiful!!!!! Why not? As good a reason to live as any. Reality is just a bunch of patterns, a bunch of habits; I look at reality because I'm used to looking at it, and furthermore this whole concept of used-to and infantile patterning-death et cetera is just a part of reality so -- so there is no escape -- I am nothingness! I am life! I might as well just say -- it could all be the proverbial evil scientist programming my brain to believe all these things -- Can I understand my own thoughts? I don't think so; it's all probably incoherent nonsense -- Why this concern about coherency? -- I start off a thought and before I can finish it something in its substance distracts me, some piddling detail of expression -- et cetera -- and this, I suppose, is a sort of abbreviated formulation of how the universe has evolved -- including the concepts "evolution" and "universe"
-- I love me, therefore I exist --
Is this called existential angst, or nothingness?
When you look the abyss in the eye, you realize that your eye is no realer than the one it doesn't have.
When you lie in your bed cooking up impenetrable koan-
aphorisms and rubbing your exhausted nipples instead of getting up and going to school, your mother comes in and grimaces embarrassedly that you are sleeping naked and touching your tits. "Did you have a good time at the dance?" she asks emptily.
"It helped me forget the pain," I reply honestly.
"That's wonderful. You know, you can forget the pain without forgetting him."
"It's too early for platitudes."
"Must you be so foul?"
"Apparently. That which is must be."
"Aren't we mystical this morning?"
"At least one of us is."
"Maybe the true mystic keeps quiet."
IMPLACABLE CAPTURE ...
MOMENTS OF PURE GREED...
DEATH AROUND MY MEANING
do you recall that night
I flooded all your reservoirs and creeks?
o when my tongue swept tiny orbits
cross your canyons and your cheeks?
when I solved the never-born equation
of your passionate mystique --
when you were frigid
so I doused you with your hell?
we lashed eachother with our love
till we were weak
o my love, I remember well!
DEATH AROUND MY MEANING
It was at once the subtlest and most blatant, shocking painting I had ever seen. I was amazed. Everything in it I could call myself, and yet I knew that I would never have assembled these specific portions of my identity in this particular way: not if I had lived to five hundred. It was almost a history of sex, arranged in spirals: but not quite ... there were just enough temporal violations to make the eye continually wonder if temporal order was there at all. Looking at it, I believed in time travel: I felt it, in my groin. It combined the emotional power of the orgy scene with all the intellectual ramifications of my time-travel painting: exactly the most optimistic plausible prediction of the dialectical synthesis -- come true.
I invited Lisa to see the painting: it was finished at three, the computerized brushes still dripping ... the painting itself was so marvelous that I forgot to marvel at the technical prowess of the painting machine. She was there at five-thirty, right afterwork; she showed up noticeably reeking of what she explained was a brand new hallucinogen designed for the appreciation of art.
"What it does," she said, "is in some sense make you belive that the art is real. What is art but a surrogate universe? When you look at a painting, for a moment that painting is your world. Art appreciation is a process of dancing back and forth between this momentary absorption and the conventional dualistic frame of observation. What this drug is designed to do is intensify that moment into a minute, or an hour. I just worked it up today. Actually, LSD sometimes has the same effect -- but it has all kinds of other effects as well; it's uncontrollable."
"Don't you worry about trying all these things out on yourself?" I asked her.
"No, not really. I mean, none of them are poisonous, I know that. The worst that could happen is a little insanity."
"Or a lot"
"Or a lot. But who says that's bad. Who says it hasn't happened already?"
"Not me," I laughed. I had met her at my apartment, and we had walked to the lab where the computer painter was located ... now we had arrived, and I wished I had remembered to tell her that long story about her husband and Nathaniel. Maybe she knows, I mused ... but not unless J. Emil was lying.
We stood in front of the painting, arm in arm: I had already explained it to her on the telephone when I invited her; now all there was to do was look....
The next thing I noticed was that I was tumbling around through the spirals of the painting: making love to the women of different times, meeting myself from the distant past and future ... becoming emotionally one with time-travel. I reflected dimly
that I must be under the influence of that art-appreciation drug Lisa was wearing ... the odor must have wafted so strongly that I too was intoxicated with it. This dim reflection faded fast: -- I was lost in the trail-tunneling of time ....
Converted by Andrew Scriven