Saturday, December 30, 2006

Does Prohibition EVER Make Sense?

[The Independent (UK)]:

"The liberalisation of drug laws in Zurich has led to a massive fall in the number of new heroin users, according to a study published yesterday. Now Britain, which has the highest number of drug deaths in Europe, is being urged to follow suit

By Jeremy Laurance, Health Editor

Published: 02 June 2006

Drugs charities called yesterday for Britain to abandon its tough approach to heroin use after research showed one European city had cut the number of new addicts by transforming the image of heroin into a "loser drug".

The UK should follow the example of Zurich, which adopted a liberal drug policy a decade ago, and has seen an 82 per cent decline in new users of heroin, experts say.

The change has been achieved by offering drug addicts in Switzerland "substitution" treatment with injectable heroin on prescription, as well as oral methadone, needle exchange and "shooting galleries" where they can give themselves their fix.

The new approach has medicalised drug use and removed its glamour, researchers say. Crime and deaths linked with drugs have fallen, and the image of heroin use has been transformed from one of rebellionto an illness.

"Finally, heroin seems to have become a loser drug, with its attractiveness fading for young people," said Carlos Nordt of the Psychiatric University Hospital in Zurich. The Lancet, which publishes the research today, accuses the Government of resisting reforms such as the introduction of drug consumption rooms - safe injecting houses for addicts - which are contributing to Britain's death rate from illegal drug use, which is the highest in Europe.

Their introduction was first recommended by the Home Affairs Select Committee in 2002. Last week a report from the Joseph Rowntree Foundation, backed by police chiefs, urged the Government to act.

"After four years and thousands of needless drug-related deaths, a thorough trial of drug consumption rooms is a requirement the Government cannot afford to refuse a second time," The Lancet says in an editorial.

Responding to the report, Vernon Coaker, a Home Office minister, reiterated the Government's key objection, that drug consumption rooms risked increasing localised dealing and antisocial behaviour.

The Tories said they would consider the proposal. Edward Garner, shadow home affairs minister, said: "If this is to be used as a stepping stone to actually getting people off drugs we will look at it carefully."

There are an estimated 280,000 problem drug users in the UK, most taking heroin and crack cocaine, and around 2,500 deaths a year. Professor John Strang, director of the National Addiction Centre at the Maudsley hospital in south London, said: "If there is something magical about what the Swiss have done it is not handing out the heroin - it is the heroin mixed with routine and drudgery. All the drugs are consumed on the premises and the patients have to come in three times a day for their dose. It is extremely medicalised. The rebellious nature of drug use has been institutionalised - in the same way that punk was institutionalised when it was adopted by the fashion industry."

Writing in The Lancet, Dr Nordt and his colleague Rudolf Stohler say drug use in Zurich rose rapidly from 80 new registered users in 1975 to 850 new users in 1990. It culminated in open drug scenes at the Platzspitz ("needle park") and subsequently at the former railway station Letten.

Since 1991, when substitution treatment became available to all heroin users in Zurich, the number of new addicts has dropped sharply to 150 in 2002. The overall number of heroin addicts in the city has declined by 4 per cent a year, even though the average length of time each user spends on the drug has increased.

The researchers say the finding confounds critics of the liberal approach who predicted that it would increase drug use. Despite giving addicts readier access to the drugs they want, drug use has fallen. Deaths from overdoses and drug seizures have also declined, they say.

Supporters of the approach hailed the study yesterday as evidence that the policy works. Drug use in the UK continues to rise, figures show.

Victor Adebowale, the chief executive of Turning Point, the drugs charity, said: "Heroin prescribing should be part of the mix of getting people to succeed in treatment. Experience abroad has shown that prescribing heroin helps to stabilise some users who have tried and failed with a methadone prescription, and have been in and out of detox and rehab." A spokeswoman for Drugscope said: "We would very much like to see heroin prescribing extended here. There is a lot of international evidence that it can help entrenched drug users to stabilise their habit and move to a drug-free lifestyle."

Many robberies and much antisocial behaviour is drug-related, and a large number of addicts are homeless. Extremely pure heroin appearing on the streets can lead to a surge in deaths. A BBC survey found that three out of four people believed that illegal drugs were a problem in their local area and more than half thought that the police should be doing more to tackle it.

The spokeswoman for Drugscope added: "The problem with many drug users is that they keep going back to street drugs and drop out of treatment. Effective measures that keep them in treatment are what we need."

Five steps to a more liberal policy

* Prescribing injectable heroin: Evidence shows it can draw users into treatment, is safer, and can help long-term users stabilise their lives.

* Drug consumption rooms: Provide a safe house for drug users to inject, where they do not cause a nuisance and can be monitored.

* Methadone substitution: Offered as an alternative to street drugs it is taken orally, is safer, and gives a gentler high.

* Needle exchange: Providing clean needles reduces the risk of the transmission of diseases including HIV and hepatitis.

* Relaxing the law on cannabis: Downgraded two years ago from a class B to class C drug to free police to concentrate on suppliers.

The doctor: 'Lives have been turned around'

"Our clinic in south London is modelled on the Swiss one. It is deliberately sterile - we don't allow Led Zeppelin or joss sticks. It isn't about creating a social ambience. We are treating 20 to 30 patients - pretty entrenched cases.

"We have no published results yet but we have been very surprised at how well some people have turned round their lives. These are people who had been in treatment and doing badly, usually for years."

"Experience [from elsewhere] shows a large number move on within a year, usually to oral methadone. It is the routine and drudgery that does it. The heroin hooks the junkie into a routine that makes them think, 'I want to move on from here.' That is what the Swiss have achieved.

"But it would be a mistake in the UK to think that this endorses a liberal prescribing policy in the sense of a free-for-all. What it endorses is heroin prescribing in an incredibly rigid environment.

"Drug-users don't want to keep coming to see their drug worker three times a day. If they switch to methadone it might be once a day or once every three days."

"Heroin has been prescribed in Britain to a small group of about 500 users for years. But the scheme lost credibility because the drug can be taken away and is given in very small doses out of fear it would be sold on the black market.

"The new clinic allows high doses like the Swiss because it all goes up their arm - it has to be taken on the premises - and we don't have to be institutionally paranoid about where it is ending up."

Professor John Strang is director of the National Addiction Centre at the Maudsley hospital in London. The hospital has opened the first pilot scheme offering drug users heroin on prescription. Three more are planned

The former addict: 'Give them heroin'

"I agree with giving addicts heroin in very controlled conditions. I am not saying the method should be used on a 15-year-old but if someone has tried rehab, counselling and everything else but they keep relapsing and committing crimes, then I believe it should be used as a last resort.

"I was addicted to heroin for 23 years, from the age of 15 to 38. I lived on the street, squatted and went in and out of prisons.

"It wasn't a life choice at 15. I was self-medicating at home because I was brought up around alcohol and Valium, which my father used. He was aggressive. I tried to run away three times - first at 12, then 13, and then finally at 15. I ended up on the streets in London, where I met a lot of other distressed young people who were self-medicating.

"I spent quite a lot of time in prison - I think I went in a total of nine or 10 times - because you will do anything to feed your habit. It controls you and you are its servant. You will either resort to crime or to drug dealing because those are the only ways to fund your habit.

My addiction cost £200 a day and it wasn't numbing me any more, my tolerance was so high. I believed I was going to die that way.

"Every time we left prison with our medication, we'd be selling it by the time we got to the prison gates.

"I tried to give up in rehab when I was 34 but I got thrown out after 28 days for being disruptive. I remember being in tears as I walked out of the gates and I was already back on heroin by the time my train pulled into King's Cross.

"When I finally gave up at 38, it took me 12 months to stabilise myself on methadone. I have seen what methadone addiction can do."

Rob English, 42, is a former heroin addict from south London. He uses the services of Turning Point, a social care organisation"


Tuesday, November 14, 2006

So Many Threads

I'm thinking tonight of my old pal Scotty. I don't really know why. Perhaps I'm trying to psych myself into seriously beginning to chronicle my story as anecdotes (or synecdoches if you'll pardon the pleonasm);{> and the tale of a Native American Shaman/ex-Korean War Marine/CIA operative sent to Berkeley in the early '70s to infiltrate/recruit The Brotherhood Of Eternal Light Psychedelic Missionary Movement into the MK Ultra black-op, who ended up defecting to the "hippies" (and, in the process, revealing the "Gemstone" files to a nascent Lightworker fraternity) just seems kind of appropriate.

I'm also thinking of Howard, who gave me that first baseline dosage of Sandoz "Yellow Wedge" on a trip a few of us took to Death Valley, and the experience of being caught in a 75 mile wide sandstorm for 6 hours as we were tripping. Reading and seriously discussing Artaud and Hegel while waiting it out in a Volvo 144s.

Or maybe I'm remembering "Mad John" who, after a few trips too many on Telegraph Ave., communicated for years by laughing only , in thousands of different inflective iterations, always getting his point across somehow (more about psychedelic telepathy anon) only to end up being stomped to death in an Oakland parking lot for offending some people who had not been "experienced".

Or perhaps I'm thinking of all those brave souls and fellow etheogenic explorers I knew who have, over the years, fled the corporeal for other realms ethereal, and how to begin to tell their stories and explain the pain they felt at being relegated to the culturally defined ranks of the "addicted", when, in truth, they were the sanest and least 'hooked' (by the druglike lure of the inculcated consensus reality that blinds more than just the Moral Majority to the truth of our existance and Puritan Ethic's definitions of 'normalcy') of any of their milieu.

I guess I can only say that they, like myself, always tried to practice 'samshara" - that elusive cognative state of being "in the world, but not of the world". Why I have persisted, past their much nobler efforts, I truly wonder . . .

Sunday, September 17, 2006

You CAN Go Home again.

Well folks, in an effort to adjust a REALLY unpleasant Solar Return chart this year, I have moved back to Northern California and, at present, am casting about for a suitable domicile, while working at yet another new factory to pay the bills. More about the trip, and my new situation (as well as more on the war in heaven, the timeline battles, shifting loyalties, alien agendas, and YES - "What it all means, Mr. Natural!") anon.

- the Dalphe

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Lo, There Is An Accounting For Taste

Zack scratched his head thoughtfully and placed the last of the disks, and the reader, on the floor next to the foodslot. It had been an eye-openin’ thirteen days. Each day, all day, he had spent lookin’ at the pictures in the small machine-window of the reader, that were purported, by it, to be of places in the known universe: all the myriad planets and their native creatures, with bits of strange knowledge and information from some one million odd cultures and civilizations recited to him out of thin air by a halting, toneless voice. His old concepts of existence and reality had been obliterated, in the face of, what seemed to be, overwhelmin’ evidence to the contrary. He was awestruck by the sheer immensity of the universe, as touted by the teachermachine’s stories, as well as its supposed complexity and endless variety.
Not completely convinced of the truth of anythin’ he had learned, and tried to learn, in the past coupla days (it could still all be some devilish plot aimed at confusin’ him), he was awed, yes; but he remained uncowed. He refused to let even this extraordinary onslaught of brain-bendin’ information break his life-long, hard-bitten resolve. Perhaps his mental flexibility stemmed from his habituation to a nomadic lifestyle — eighteen years spent on the trail. A life of travel and constant change had inured him to the improbable, and had imbued him with a streak of broad-mindedness and tolerance rare amongst even his peers. He had had lots of experience adaptin’ to new situations.
Zack smiled and waved to the, by now, familiar “face” in the wall-window. He had almost come to think of the alien as a friend — that showed just how far he had come from his initial paroxysm of superstitious terror. Of course, havin’ come to believe that the big slugs evidently intended him no harm other than his present confinement, had gone a long way towards alterin’ his feelings.
He’d been pissed-off about Jezebelle’s fate ever since he’d finally understood that she had become food for somebody (orsomething ). After a week or two his anger had become melancholy after he accepted the alien’s accounts of the fact that they had made a mistake, a mistake that he had concluded was, from what he had been told, an honest one.
It had also been made clear to him that the slugs wanted to compensate him for her loss. It all had somethin’ to do with their laws, and some concepts that came across to him as meanin’less sounds or as simple silent gaps in the translator-machine’s narratives. Zack was constantly being asked how much the horse had been “worth”, and whether or not another horse might do just as well, if one could be found for him upon his promised return to the Earth. Zack, well schooled in horse-tradin’, had adroitly refused to be pinned down on a final price, waitin’ for the offers to escalate. He had tried to explain that, after all there had been countless hours of trainin’, and “bonding” (a concept he’d learned from them), involved in the total value of his former mount. His saddle, tack and gear had been located, and he had been promised that, upon his return to Earth, all these would be given back to him.
The alien (“S. Cal Two” was what the machine gave his name as) began today by offering Zack three unbroken horses and a water buffalo as compensation for his loss.
Zack smiled and said no, politely but firmly.
Four horses and immunization against various diseases endemic to his species?
After a moment’s thought, Zack once again declined, politely.
A zebra, the horses, and an orangutan?
Zack once again declined. While he was not a greedy man, he reasoned that, if he waited and drove a hard bargain (after all, he had been kidnapped and nearly frightened to death), he might come out of this somewhat well off. No greenhorn he, Zack had long ago learned that when the other fella seemed impatient, it was smart to start draggin’ his heels a bit. The other guy might start makin’ rash offers, to Zack’s ultimate benefit. ‘Sides, he’d had a lot to learn in the past few weeks, and his brain was still reelin’ from all the new information he’d taken in in such a short span. He needed time to think.
The horses, two Hereford cows and a pound of iron?
Zack’s eyebrows rose involuntarily before he regained his poker-face. Metals? . . .
Having come to a decision, Zack proceeded to, for the first time, vocalize his demands. Squinting at S. Cal, he began firmly: “I don’t want another horse, Jezebelle can never be replaced!”
The slug slumped. “What do you want then?” the machine intoned. “Please, I am responsible for this; I could lose my job, my propagation privileges. There must be something . . .”
“Relax pardner,” Zack said expansively, “I’m sure we kin work out some kinda deal.” He thought about the glorious three-dimensional pictures he’d seen of all those exotic places. Pictures that had set his imagination afire.
Zack scratched his chin and decided to lay his cards on the table. “Ya know,” he drawled, “I’ve always had a hankerin’ to travel . . .”

* * *

Joe Sample was gettin’ old. He peered intently at the harness he’d been fixin’ for the last hour and shook his head. Time was, he thought sadly, when he coudda fixed this here harness, an’ fixed it good, in half that time.
Shorty Dobkins came a-walkin’ up to him, jes’ back from town, sayin’: “Hey Pops, ya’ll got a letter.”
Joe sighed and looked up reluctantly. “None of yer bad jokes now Shorty. Ya know I ain’t got no kin. ‘Sides, anybody knows me know I kin’t read. ‘N doncha be callin’ me ‘Pops’.” He spat fiercely, jes’ missin’ Shorty’s boots.
“Suit’cherself, old man,” Shorty said, brandishin’ an envelope, “It’s all here anyways. Want me to throw it away?”
“What? Gimme that.” He reached up and snatched it away from him, scratchin’ his matted “burnsides” in wonder as he made out his name on the front of it. He could recognize at least that much. “Why, this here’s a telegram you asshole, must be bad news.”
“Well, ain’tcha gonna open it?
“Whatzit say? . . . O.K.,” he held it up to the sun, as though he could see through the envelope and somehow divine its message. He sighed and spat again, frownin’, and handed it back to Shorty. “Go on ‘n have yer fun. Open it ‘n read it to me. Consarned pain in the ass.”
Carefully, Shorty opened the envelope. “Well I’ll be dipped in shit,” he exclaimed.
“Read it to me, goddamit!” Joe growled, startin’ to rile and rise.
As Shorty began to read aloud, Ole Joe’s toothless mouth began to curl open in a gummy smile, the first he’d had in years, for the contents read:


Sunday, May 28, 2006

“We In Goshen Yet?”

Zack opened his eyes, and then immediately wished that he hadn’t. After gettin’ up enough courage to open them again, he was convinced that wherever he was, it sure as shit wasn’t Heaven! With that thought, and the realization of its only logical alternative, he began to shiver uncontrollably. A few quick glances about, through half closed eyes seemed to indicate that he was the sole inhabitant of a featureless milky-white room, about 12 foot wide by 12 foot deep, with a low ceiling; one wall of which, rather then being white, was a huge piece of glass. Lookin’ through it for the first time, he gasped and immediately scuttled backwards involuntarily, crablike, ‘til one of the cold walls stopped his retreat.
His groggy mind groped for some clarity, something familiar. He could remember nothin’, other’n a strange smell, ‘bout what had happened to him after he had entered the giant floating pieplate thing. That was fine. He just wished, right now, he could somehow make himself unaware of what he was seein’ through that huge pane of glass. The light that illuminated the horrors that he was viewin’ seemed to come from everywhere, as though the walls themselves were shinin’ or glowin’.
Subsequent to his cursory glance at the room he was in, his wide-eyed stare had never wavered or wandered from its fixation on what appeared, to him, to be two giant swayin’ slugs about five foot long, and two foot ‘round, made outta bright yellow hominy grits. The front parts of these . . . slugs . . . were all-over covered with whitish tendrils that alternately oozed and swayed, in constant motion; and each one had five somewhat longer and slightly thicker tendrils, or stalks, emergin’ from their front-parts, which ended in bright crimson eyes, that kinda reminded Zack of crawdad’s-eyes.
Even though the sight of these monsters made him feel like pukin’, Zack stubbornly clenched his jaw and swallowed purposefully, determined to betray no sign of weakness. He’d obviously not made it to Heaven, so when Satan appeared to claim Zack’s soul as his prize, Zack was sure-as-shit gonna be on his feet and ready, not pulin’ on the floor in his own mess.
He tried to get up off the soft-covered shelf that served as a cot and stand straight to face his fate, but his legs were too rubbery, almost as though they hadn’t been used in ages. He tried to massage some life back into them, all the while still starin’ hostilely at the apparition of the two devil-slugs confrontin’ him.
That really was what they looked like, he thought: yellow slugs with white shoots wavin’ all over ‘em. He kinda wondered why they hadn’t had their way with him when he was helpless. That thought made him feel even worse, and he shuddered, trying to imagine what could possibly be worse than what he was goin’ through right now.
“Come on you big, fat worms,” he heard his voice half-growl, half-creak; “come on an’ try and git me. I gotta coupla surprises for y’all afor I see yer boss!”
He tried again, and found that he could now stand, although he still felt real weak. “C’mon and be even more dammed than ya’ already are, ya ugly demons,” he shouted, his voice growin’ in strength with use. “E’en tho’ there’s two ‘o you, you jes’ try ’n git near me you slimesuckers, ‘n I’ll settle your hash!”
Zack had near shouted this last line whilst beckonin’ boldly for the demons to enter his cell and come get him. Just then, he, for some reason, thought of Jezebelle. “Hey now, where’s “Belle? Whar’s my horse, ya puked up polecats? Whar is she? If’n ya’ll’ve hurt her, you’ll pay, ‘cause I’ll make ya, e’en if’n it’s the last thing I ever do!”
With this imprecation uttered, he ran suddenly forward and proceeded to pound on the sheet of glass that separated him from the two demons with both fists and feet. He observed, with some satisfaction, that the devilslug’s upper parts shied back from the window in response to his headlong rush t’wards’em. “Well now,” Zack thought aloud, “ya’ll kin be sceered. That’s good ta know, real good ta know; ‘n I thank’ee.”
Meanwhile, outside the enclosure (to cover his embarrassment at having been frightened by this feral entity), Eeekaal8 communicated, in a commskinpatch aside, to Eskal2: “It’s a violent thing, isn’t it? It must either be extremely stupid, fairly brave, or some combination of the two, mustn’t it? For Zogg’sake, can’t you get that thing to work, Kraaxmall?” Upon having signed this, he extruded two psuedopodia quickly and grabbed the Universal Translator from Eskal2, as the subordinate’s nervous fumblings had served only to elicit non-intelligible blurps or bleeps from the expensive device.
Expertly pushing and prodding the grey box’s touch-sensitive knobs until something akin to an intelligible pattern began to emerge from the translator’s commsurface, Eeekaal8 extruded two tendrils and waved them sarcastically, saying: “Well. The alien doesn’t seem happy in its confinement. For which,” and at that he paused and gestured meaningfully, in high dudgeon, at his cringing subordinate, “one can hardly blame it. It is clearly sentient, if somewhat ill-behaved! I’m sure the translator is doing its best, and apart from these xenophobic comments about our appearance, what is this it is saying about a companion?”
At that he turned the translator’s visible volume down until it was a whisper, and cleared his commskinpatch. “Kraaxmall,” he began, “I have always prided myself that, under my aegis, this business has been built up in punctilious adherence to GalFed standards. Those standards are quite specific, as you should well know (for your pupae’s sake), pertinent to proper treatment of all sentient life-forms, regardless of their technological development or standing on the Galactic Stockmarket! You will find this creature’s companion and reunite them. At once !
Eskal2 was, at this point, scrolling frantically through its lading roster. “Uh, your pardon, Provenevolved One, but . . .”
“Yes, what is it? . . . Well?”
Spez now began to ooze, quite visibly, from the hapless subordinate’s florns , “I’m afraid that won’t be possible,” the kraaxmall signed, perceivably cringing. “Its companion was adjudged “non-sentient bioplasm” and has already been processed into comestibles.”
At this admission, Eeekaal8 became thoroughly agitated, obviously upset. “Zoggdamn, Kraaxmall. Have you no Glé?” This whole sordid affair was attributable, evidently, to not only faulty software, but also gross incompetence on the part of his ClanKin employees. He had other, more pressing business to attend to, and he had already spent too much time in investigating this problem.
“Compensation is your problem,” he signed imperiously. “Take care of it to the creature’ satisfaction, if you value your sperm!” He tossed the translator to his twitching subordinate. Turning to go he signed: “Oh, and Kraaxmall . . .”
“For Zogg’sake, give the poor thing a relaxant or something. If it continues to behave in this violent fashion it might damage itself, and the fines for that even I don’t want to contemplate. I’ll expect a full report input to my workstation within one blem .” Without another sign, he turned and slid swiftly on his slime away.
Silently, Eskal2 cursed the retreating back of his boss. Calming down quickly, he became a bit more philosophically inclined. “Entropy be praised, I’ve still got my job.”
He turned his attention back to the beast, which stood in the center of the holding cell, its upperappendage, loaded with sensory apparatus, almost touching the ceiling. What an ugly brute it was, he thought, all static curves and angles. It was, apparently, glaring at him with an intensity that made his hide crawl. Eskal2 wondered why it didn’t fall over, balanced as it was on only two thick tentacles. What an hideous evolutionary manifestation, he was glad a full leem of polarized plassteel stood between them.
Well, he thought, a species-specific general euphoric should ameliorate its anxiety and calm it down, though compensation for its loss might prove a much trickier problem. Eskal2 had no cultural information upon which to base an attempt to ascertain what the creature would consider fair compensation for its loss. Whatever his decision, he knew it would now have to pass his boss’s personal scrutiny. A sudden thought intruded upon his cogitation: why not just ask it? It was worth a try. He hurriedly slid back to his dockside workstation and rummaged through his things, coming up with the copy of The Junior Executive’s Encyclopedia he had bought as a present for his eldest grub’s Pupation party, and a disk reader; after having directed, through his control console, a mild Glebb brand narcotic to be introduced into the anomalous beast’s cell through the air ducts. He then also programmed the release of a synthburger and a container of water through the thing’s cell’s foodslot.
Returning apace to the creature’s cell, he peered in with all five eyes curiously. The beast was wandering about the cell aimlessly, vocalizing in a fashion that Eskal2 conjectured might be considered musical, occasionally striking at the walls with one of its appendages. Perhaps he had given it too strong a dose of the euphoric. As the foodslot opened and proffered its contents, the creature turned at the sound and went over to inspect the offering. After having grabbed the comestibles within what were its evidently non-transmutable tendrils, it lowered itself to the floor with an odd collapsing motion of its limbs until it was about half its former height.
It positioned one of its sensors above the container of water and sucked air in through it. It then stuck one of its small rigid tendrils into the cup and subsequently put it into the largest hole in its upperappendage. Seemingly satisfied, the beast abruptly poured the entire contents of the container down what was evidently its gullet. Eskal2 could not help but notice its formidable array of an omnivore’s hard mastication apparatus as it did this.
The creature seemed momentarily puzzled by the synthburger. After subjecting it to some evidently intense sensory scrutiny, and becoming satisfied that it was ingestible, it followed the water down the creature’s capacious esophageal canal.
He busied himself with connecting the translator to the disk-reader. If this worked, nextblem he would borrow his youngest grub’s holoprojector. When all the connections looked good he palpated the transmit knob on the translator and began to try to explain, in simple concepts and phrases, just what was happening to the creature, how it had happened, and what he, Eskal2, was attempting to do about it. He couldn’t tell from the beast’s behavioral mannerisms whether or not it understood anything he was saying, and it had stopped vocalizing. However, the creature had stopped plodding about, and was standing stock-still, with something like intelligent apprehension shining in its skeletally-encased, non-mobile eyes.
Eskal2 turned on the disk-reader, which immediately began dictating from the Junior Executive’s Encyclopedia, through the Universal Translator. He turned two eyestalks toward the cell. The creature had folded, and sat immobile, apparently comprehending something while it stared, unfocused, into space. Only time would tell whether this ploy was working. He wrinkled his commskinpatch in the equivalent of a shrug and returned to his module, to the more pressing business at tendril, hoping for the Entropic best.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

Another Man’s Poi, Son

The letters of the large sign, laser-graven-and-lit, within an almost transparent piece of aerogel plassteel, winked and fizzled above the loading docks: E-EKA-L COM-OD---ES . Eighty ublems before, when new, the sign had proclaimed EEEKAAL COMMODITIES as an up-and-comer on the Galactic Delicacies market. Ten lifespans had been spent by successive generations of the EEEKAAL Clan (“Purveyors To Fine Palates”) in working towards some sinecure in the Gourmandary Index of the ARM3 Stockmarket, but their efforts had been in vain.
After abandoning their failed initial A.&R. push (“MUCOUS FOR THE MASSES”) some sixty ublems ago, the firm had specialized, out of necessity, in plasmproteins: meatcuts of exotic,non-sentient (by GalFed Decree) animals, culled from the backwaters and fringes of the galactic protoplasm’s gene-pool; gathered at no little risk, and some great expense, occasioned by the necessary gathering expeditions to the non-federated planets on the fringes of Galactic society, by the scions of Clan Eeekaal in their frenzied, but somewhat less-than-profitable scurry for Position, and Power. Their fortunes had suffered and substantially waned, as the lack of repair to the dockside signad so graphically testified.
It was upon these rather serious distinctions of Dogmadirection, and the genetically inbred notion of Clan Viability , or “Glé”, that Eeekaal8, the great-great-great-great-great-grandclone of the original Eeekaal, ruminated, chewing upon a mass of the “Gl¥ph” ganglia he so favored, fetching a new one every 10 eeblems or so (the narcotic effect of the dying nerve cell’s chemicals fading, in the jaded, at about that interval); expectorating frequently into the iridium spittoon that sat, spattered with phosphorescent green globs, on the floor at the foot of his workstation module.
Synthsteak was fine for plebeians, but the omnivorous and carnivorous wealthy and upper-middle classes of ARM3 of the Galaxy [most notably those of the fourth planet of the star (known on the planet Earth as) Arcturus] demanded more: novelty and diversity, Eeekaal8 (who was a ManagerGrd.1) thought. One of the Clan’s only exclusive markets: the ferropotami of Mudheaven, as the Arcturun planet was known to its inhabitants, were becoming more and more demanding as their wealth and status in Galactic society increased.
Having cornered the market on a process for the production of supercooled subatomic ceramic enclosures essential in the current generation of GalFed FTL shipdrives, enzymes from their slushy excrement doing the job on special slips mined from deep beneath their bogwarrens; their prestige had waxed,as had their entrepreneurial irascibility. Pleasing these immense hulks (weighing nearly as much as one of the Clan’s Collector ships) of organic iron and concrete was becoming more and more difficult. Neither he, nor any of the expert enzyme tailors in his employ yet understood how these creatures exactly tasted anything; let alone how they were able to distinguish it from the ubiquitous rotting sludge that they habitually immersed themselves in. On the other tendril, his was not to reason why, his was but to profit, or die. Lack of profit had decreed the euthanastic demise of the first seven of his generation’s Comptroller Model, Eeekaals1-7, by the Clan’s Genetic Security Division Board; and he certainly did not want his existence “compassionately terminated” for the same reasons.
If the ferropotami’s taste receptor’s processes could be understood by his research staff, then specially crafted compounds could be synthesized particularly for their palates. Short of this, he was committed to providing them with copious (and thereby quite profitable) quantities of not only their favorite foods, but an neverending smorgasbord of new tastes and textures. Aesthetes they would never be, but those ferropotami sure did like to eat!
The search for new tastes for them and other of the Clan’s customers had become something of a mania in the last twenty ublems or so, and Eeekaal8 had ridden the current ARMwide tide of culinary curiosity to modest profit statements 2 ublems running now. Good thing too, considering the short leash that the G.S.D.B. had him on. Not only was he now this quadrant’s largest comestibles importer, but a chain of Clan Eeekaal’s Gourmet Restaurants were now becoming the talk of the Galactic Hub’s InfoNet’s society columns; thanks to a fortunate cost-and-demand analysis projection forwarded to the Clan Directors, through him, by his handpicked staff of market-systems researchers.
Under the swaying signad, Eeekaal8 examined the Bill of Lading from the Clan’s most recent expeditionary foray, with a constriction of his upper frontal commskinpatch, which, in his race, was the equivalent of a frown. He waved an extruded tendril, epidermally shaded red, at the obviously anxious Expedition SupervisorGrd. 3E, hight Eskal2, who had been regarding him uneasily from a respectful distance. Eskal2 had been hoping the boss would give the bill a cursory glance, sign it, and then leave. It would have simplified matters greatly. He prayed silently to Chaoim to protect him with some randomly distractive occurrence, who would feed his grubs if he lost his job, and thus his reproductive viability.
“So Kraaxmaal,” (for so were all probationary personages derogatorily referred to by their genetically proven superiors) “it seems you have declared a stowaway?”, Eeekaal8 signed gruffly, fixing the squirming subordinate with the triangulative positioning of three of his five red stalkeyes. He cocked one in a cynically speculative mannerism. “I suppose you were going to take care of this yourself?”
“Yessir . . . I mean, nossir. I mean . . .”
“Nevermind,” interposed Eeekaal8, inwardly amused by the roccoco genuflections of the underling. A flair for style, he thought, something the Clan should think about cultivating. Shaking off these unbidden genetic system’s analyses, with a hint of mock severity he said: “You know the law. Take me to the being! At once!”
The kraaxmall turned to comply, his psuedopodia visibly quivering.
“And Kraaxmaal . . .”
“Yes, Provenevolved One?”
“It had better be undamaged, physically and mentally! And have all the brainwave calibrations on the Larder unit’s sensor systems be given a through going over immediately! If this is an attempt at guilt expiation on your part, you’d better count your sperm cells, bub! You could be declared Non-Viable , easily!”
“Yessir!” replied Eskal2 stiffly, in a veritable paroxysm of reproductive-threat induced anguish, all appendages in subjugative display. He thanked the Entropic Godhead that he hadn’t accepted Bblogghan The Carpathian’s crudely attempted bribe for the anomalous creature. Then his spreggle really would have been cooked! He wiped the spez from his florns , and then led the way to the de-stasis unit’s processing area.
As they undulated purposefully over the plasmetal decking towards the stasis cells, Eeekaal8 thought ruefully about the current cost of the Clan’s expenditure for their mechanized collecting expeditions. If the Clan were fined for a contravention of GalFed Comestible Collection Regulations, it could seriously jeopardize the current profit statement, and, correspondingly, his future. If it was just a defective device, the Clan would be “non-responsible ”, according to law; but, if there was “sentient-error ”, even the threat of fines would effect their market standing. He knew that this particular Eskal2 model was of unimpeachable genetic integrity, and he would hate to have to sacrifice his existence for the good of the Clan. Nevertheless, his own pupae were, to him, more important than that.
He expelled internal gases in a sigh that roiled his commskinpatch as they approached the transparent barrierfield securing the first cell, and looked in with a great deal of apprehension, and no little curiosity.

Sunday, March 19, 2006

The Legacy

The four attercops conferred on the top of the headboard, forelegs
furiously tapping an arythmic staccato on each other’s carapace, in turn, till all had their say. Two then proceeded in opposite directions to the ends of the headboard, (out of harm’s way, lest an errant elbow or hand get all of them); and the other two descended their silent skeins toward the huge sleeping body below.
Through hundreds of thousands of generations this ritual had been performed, at the least, monthly. Their singular genotype maintained about 36 individuals continually, chromosomally bent on fulfilling their
function, and always in the immediate vicinity of one particular human soul, whenever incarnate. Over the millennia billions of eggs, encysted till needed, had been deposited everywhere humanity lived thence to waft windward and eventually lay in wait anywhere they might be needed. Oviposited as crystalline titanium carbide, they were, (barring the next Big Bang) imperishable, the ancient offhanded gift of a demigod for favors rendered him by a human soul when the earth was young, and all the Orders of Angels/Aliens still visited Earth and walked amongst men.
All watched over by nano-’machines of loving grace’ were the bodies of this evolving essence and yet never had any of the ‘false personalities’ (the ego developed in any one lifetime) known or suspected anything, some gods being desirous of no worship, heresy though that was. Yet none of these dharmic avatars ever intentionally killed a spider, and none knew, or thought about, why.
Time after timeless time, down all the echoing decades inchoate with virulence had they synthesized inoculative toxins in response to their detection of disease in this particular soul’s succession of incarnative vehicles, persevering, (sometimes past death - say by crawling into a shoe or boot, there to die - but only after their autonomic bite reaction served its purposes) to inject their patient, for such he was, with antigens and genespliced antibodies that would counter disease and maintain optimum health.
Thus had this essences’ bodies survived plague after flu after cancer. Countless were the recoveries from cholera, dysentery,
malaria, pneumonia, tuberculosis, syphilis, gonorrhea (the list was a history of every ill that humanity suffered). All of this because of a favor once done with no thought of reward, by this soul and its body in a forgotten incarnation. No ‘lust of result’ had colored that ancient action, and that was so rare that it was deemed worthy of reward by one of the former guardians/bio-engineers that had brought the human race into being, and guided its development.
The ‘demigod’ had been Thoth/Prometheus, and he had been hidden, fed, clothed and aided by this mortal. A mortal who only knew that he was a friend of his friend Heracles/Hercules’s, and had been recently rescued from imprisonment and torture. The man, then a budding Magus (for this soul’s role/matrix was Sage), cast a Magick spell so well wrought that it hid the demigod from the enraged scrutiny of a partial pantheon of deities bent on recapturing and continuing to harvest his wildly regenerative godwrought liver tissue to punish the rogue bio-tech.
The rebel who had fled the orbital station/labs, and hid on Earth, teaching humanity about the laws and nature of existence (Magick), and the perfidy of those BioMages worshipped by men as gods [who were simply a consortium of scientifically advanced technomancers; both spatially, chronologically and dimensionally alien to the Earth (which, to them, was but another planetary testube, wherein they could develop ‘soul-vehicles’ and that most efficacious of data storage devices, DNA)] never forgot this random act of kindness, and, at the first opportunity, created and programmed a legacy of nanobiobots for the mortal as thanks.
The two attercops, having reached the pillowed head of the sleeping man, quickly scuttled up to a looming ear. After the first bit and anesthetized the lobe, the other injected a toxin synthesized the night before in response to a recent blood sample which had indicated the presence of a strain of E-coli (ingested in an undercooked burger) about to promulgate itself into a life-threatening illness.
Their task accomplished, the two ascended the headboard, swung to the wall and then vanished through a crack between the wainscotting and the plaster, there to replenish themselves and tend to their eggs. Their two partners would repeat the process of bioptic
sampling, analysis and toxin production (if necessary) again tomorrow, just as had all their replicedents, down through the centuries.
The man snored, all unawares of both his good fortune and his prior lifetimes, dreaming of a small, goat-footed boy playing a pipe in a forest of dawn redwoods - and of laughter, hearty and vibrant, echoing through the sunbeams and trees of a world newly minted.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Range On The Home: Chapter 1

A relatively uneventful month of amblin’ found Zack well into Colorado Territory, in the late afternoon, facing a sight he’d never seen. He’d heard about, but never quite gotten around to seein’, the White Sands of New Mexico, but the descriptions he’d heard of them had not prepared him for this: before him lay a stretch of huge, dun colored sand dunes, the tallest of which couldn’t have been less than a coupla hundred feet high. They reposed, in ancient sleepiness, near the northern portion of a long, flat valley; bordered on all sides by low, unprepossessing hills. This was certainly not the way he’d pictured Colorado country from old Joe’s Sample’s colorful descriptions and tall tales. The land that he had crossed up till now resembled New Mexico and Arizona more’n anythin’ else. Yet now these sinuous pyramids of sand rose starkly light-brown before him, like somethin' from a book of tales about the Great African Desert, or Araby.
It was right warm this summer out on the high New Mexico plateau. Zack sat with his back up against a stunted pine tree, fortuitously curved to fit his frame, eating the nuts he had shaken down and then laboriously harvrsted with the sharp tip of his Bowie knife, looking longingly at the inviting prospect of the not-too-distant hills and mountains ahead, with their shady scrub forests and occasional fast flowing mountain streams. With any luck, he hoped to be within their cool confines by sundown, a fat trout spitted over his campfire and his feet propped up on his saddle. Jezebelle, unexpectedly, and for no apparent reason, gave out a nervous whinny.
“What’sa’matter girl? Hear a rattler, or a 'Pache?” He listened carefully to the slight sounds elicited by the wind through the scrubbrush. “Naw,” he opined aloud, “more likely you’re just a-hankerin’ to be up in those hills, same as me.” He made a comforting clucking sound and she immediately came over to him. He stood up, offering her his last handful of piñon nuts, brushing the husks and pine cone pieces from his lap, and the dusty brown dirt from his seat. She accepted his offering, and as he wiped the salty sweat crust from his brow and then pulled his broad-brimmed felt hat back down over his curly, reddish-blonde hair (ever-so-slightly interspersed with an occasional strand of gray), he peered intently towards those enticing foothills, attempting to pick out the most likely path into, and upwards, through them. After a moment’s hesitation, he mounted, gave the mare a pat on the neck, and said: “C’mon now ‘Belle. ‘Hain’t got all day to be a-lollygaggin’ ‘roun’, gettin’ what brains we got fried.”
The slanting afternoon sunlight illuminated his deeply lined face. The exertions of a honest life of tedious toil, the swelt of day and the chill of night, the erosive effects of wind and water had left their marks on him, etching his face and his very being as surely as they had the sandstone of the surrounding desert. He had often joked that his skin had weathered so well he could play dead and pull it off, so dessicated and wrinkled were his face, neck and hands. Therefore and thereby, he seems of indeterminate age . He could be anywhere from thirty-five to fourty-five (tho’ he’s actually only thirty-six). The type of man whose visage might make most women dilate on first meeting, he was often garrulous and longwinded, with a repetoire of jokes and puns for all occassions. Most men that knew him instinctively wished to impress him with their new jokes, and he would always guffaw with glee while filing each new punchline away to be delivered when he next hit town.
He has always looked just like what he was: a “cowpoke”, someone having chosen a life in natural surroundings over ANY of the incentives wealth or roots or civilization might offer. Six foot in his (when he had ‘em) stockings, and with not an ounce of fat on his well-muscled and wiry 180 lb. frame, he meets the circumstances of his life head-on, with no quarter asked, or given. Good with animals and with children, honest and true to his word, capable of drinking to excess without becoming stupid, clumsy, or a cad; he endures and seemingly thrives on the vagaries and exigencies of his life’s vicissitudes. Now then, though, Zack was headed for Southern Colorado for a much needed change of scenery, and for the job his old friend, Joe Sample (“I’ll try near anythin’ once’st, jest t’be true to ma callin’ ya see. Git it?”) had always assured him would be waiting for him if he ever wanted it.
“Lotta head of cattle an’ a lotta work for a good ‘hand up that-a-way,” Joe had often been heard to say, spitting a brown gobbet of steaming juice from the corner of his permanently stained lips, product of the ever-present piece of “‘plug’ tobaccee” forever resident in his constantly moving mouth. “Yep,” he’d spit and say, squinting out at the sere desert landscape where they'd first met with a look of pure disgust, “not like this here god-dam’ desert: bake in the summer and freeze your tail in the winter. They got soft grass and mountain clover for months, months by god — make you wanna take off your duds and just roll aroun’ in them cool green meadows, like a stud stallion in a dustpit.” Spit. “They got mountains up thar make make these here hills look like shitpiles, an’ that there Rocky Mountain water’s clear an’ clean an’ cold an’ sweet as honey! Why, I e’en heer’d tell that the deer and the rabbits; fat cottontails mind, not nasty stringy jacks like we got here, come right up to your camp of a night, just a-beggin’ to be eaten.” Spit. “Yep,” he’d sigh, hitch up his britches, and shake his grey-maned head dolefully, “that there’s country a body’d wanna settle down in, I reckon.”
But when Zack would ask why he didn’t go on up there if it was so fine, Joe would just spit, sigh, and once again shake his head, exclaiming: “Too old’s what it is, jes’ too dam’ old, I guess. I’m jest too blamed old to to be movin’ on, this late in life.” Spit. “‘Sides, I got roots down here, friends like, an’ a man my age’s gotta think ‘bout his future, an’ security an’ such.”
Zack had always felt like telling his friend that he didn’t see much future for him in New Mexico, but he’d always held his tongue, thinking it would be kinda’ mean — let the old man have a few dreams to comfort him in his dotage — who could tell? Maybe the Triple-O would keep him on in his later years, doin’ the easy chores.
Zack imagined these thoughts stretchin’ out behind him, sorta like the wafting dustpuffs ‘Belle raised with each hoof-fall, hangin’ there in the hot and heavy air (once even wreathing a startled-from-slumber Gila Monster in an evanescent and ocherous halo, a sight he marveled upon, as he glanced back along his trail), ‘cross the plains and hills of his path as he climbed slowly into the loomin’ mass of the Sangre De Christo Mountains, named for the blood-red color the ubiquitous mineral deposits there lent to the hues of the native soil. If those memories had been tangible things, kinda’ like that dust, he thought he might have watched them settle slowly into the horsetracks, footprints and wagon ruts he’d left by the thousands across the land in his life’s passage; until they too, like the visible signs of his passing presence, blew away in the willful and omnipresent wind.
Maybe his proximity to these dunes had somethin’ to do with the strange lights and sounds that had wakened him from his sleep late last night, and his discovery of several strangely cut-up cattle carcasses the day before. At first Zach had thought he was back in Canada, and the Northern Lights had, as they sometimes did, come to be seen far south of their accustomed occurrence, and out of season; for these lights kinda looked like them, all flowin’ and colored like an outta’ focus rainbow, only way lower, and closer. But then, he’d remembered just where he was and, at the same time, also realized that accompanyin’ the lights was an eerie whistlin’ whine, an eldritch hum like nothin’ he’d ever heard or e’en heer’d tell of before. So strange a sound it was that the hairs on the back of his neck rose as one, to stand straight out from his skin, before both the sound and lights quickly faded away; as did he, back to a troubled sleep.
Slowly he guided Jezebelle to the right, along a small patch of hard-packed open ground. There, the sand ended so abruptly that it might have been tidied up at night by broom-wielding elves. Zack and ‘Belle entered a small stand of short pines on the other side of the open ground that grew ‘midst piles of granite boulders, rough-hewn and strewn randomly as if tossed like seeds from some giant’s hand. Perhaps that huge troll, or ogre, had been grindin’ those rocks for eons, like a miller grindin’ grain, producing these huge hills of rock dust, ready for makin’ into giant flapjacks; for sustenance down through the ages.
Zack stared at the high dune tops and the graceful snake-like curves of the sand in fascination. He was seriously considering a climb, just for the fun of it, when he, for some reason, pulled ‘Belle up short. He might have stopped there because the dunes stopped, right there, as abruptly as they had started; or because the horse and he needed a rest; or to allow them both to answer the call of nature. Actually though, none of these things were the reason. If he had been intrigued by the sight of the dunes, he was now thunderstruck by the unimaginable prospect before him. Slack-jawed, he gaped at the immense scintillating metallic object directly in front of him, some fifty feet away.
Sharp along its edges, curvin’ at the top and bottom in identical, flattened arcs, like two pie tins melted together (without visible seam), this — thing — hung motionless, without visible support, some ten or fifteen feet above the ground. Kinda like pie plates, yeah, but the pie they would bake would be a good two-hundred feet across! The thing was so big, his brain balked at comparin’ it to anythin’ he’d ever come across. Zach’s mind kinda seized-up, like a wagon wheel gone long without greasin’, just lookin’ at it (an’ those hairs on his neck, like the hackles on a frightened dog, all rose up again).
It hung so rigidly in the air there that it might have been painted on the backdrop of hills and sky behind. Almost unconsciously he looked for the ropes above it, or the poles beneath it that he knew must be holding it up. Neither were to be seen, and Zack wondered whether they might be made of some kind of glass. To what could even transparent glass ropes have been attached in a clear blue sky? He rubbed his eyes, thinkin’ it might be some strange kind of mirage brought on by his long days on the trail and/or lack of water, but it still wouldn’t go away. He sat frozen thereafter, atop his increasingly skittish mount, until a particularly plaintive whinny from the redoubtable mare brought him ‘round to some awareness of his surroundin’s and his place in them.
“Jeezus, ‘Belle”, he finally whispered, “what in the hell is it?”
In the next instant, he came to a realization that her alarm, perhaps, had less to do with the apparition of this hanging golden plate-thing, than it did with whatever was causin’ the approaching dust cloud to the southwest, behind the hummin’ thing hanging in front of them. She was rigidly facin’ that loomin’ dust-cloud, legs wide apart as though suspicious of her balance on level ground. Her ears were cocked full forward, her nostrils flared and eyes wide, concentratin’ on whatever it was a-causin’ that commotion. It had a somewhat familiar appearance to Zack; as a matter of fact, it looked like it belonged to a small herd of stampedin’ stock — possibly wild horses. That would at least explain Jezebelle’s interest, if not her apparent slight fright.
Believin’ that this explicable occurrence and the inexplicable phenomena in front of him had no connection, he urged ‘Belle forward, his apprehension now overcome by his curiosity. The horse refused to move, or to even budge an inch from her rigid stance. She didn’t seem to be at all aware of the thing in the air before her; instead, she seemed hypnotized by the approaching tan turbulence. In spite of her fright, she took one deliberate step forward, at his spurred urgin’, and then another.
“O.K. then girl. Hold on now. Whoa.” He pulled back on her reins, and she stopped, somewhat nervously yet studiously facing that approachin’ herd, utterin’ that particular bilabial exhalation of resignation peculiar to horses, donkeys and mules: “p-b-p-b-p-b-p-b-p-ph”; and tossin’ her head, evidently quite relieved to be goin’ no further. He could make out some shapes in the dustcloud now as they came into view over the top of a low rise about a half-mile away. As he squinted into the setting sun he was able to pick out individual figures, and realized that the small herd approaching consisted of not only a dozen or so horses, but at least as many cattle, a number of mule deer, a large lumberin’ hulk that he thought might be a bear, and numerous smaller leapin’, hoppin’ and flyin’ shapes that appeared to be antelopes, rabbits and sundry sage grouse.
“Well, I’ll be swiggered,” he breathed to himself. The only time he’d ever seen animals run together like this was before a brush fire he’d witnessed once in Oklahoma. But, there wasn’t any fire here and now, so what in tarnation were they a-runnin’ from?
As he pondered this question with growing unease, a hum of a distinctly higher pitch became more and more audible. He scratched his neck reflexively and his hand came away damp and matted with hair that was apparently falling out. “What is it, girl? . . . What in tarnation is . . .”
The question remained unfinished. Through the driftin’ dust, he could now make out what it was that propelled the animals to such haste — say better, herded them, right on the edge of panic, toward the horse and rider. Flashin’ golden as they dipped and swerved, reflectin’ the sunlight like mirrors, came a good score or so of pie-plate shaped disks — exact duplicates, on a much smaller scale, of the one monster disk still a-hangin’ in front of ‘em. As this realization struck home, he heard a loud “whoosh”, and a blast of cool air threw a cloud of dust into his eyes. He pulled his soppin’ bandana up, over his nose and mouth and steadied the horse as it tried to rear and dance away sideways, squintin’ in the fine flying dirt. The air around him pulsed and vibrated as though a railroad train were goin’ through a tunnel, or on greased tracks, such that the normal squeals of metal-on-metal were subdued. When tears had washed tracks through the caked coat of dust down his face, Zack saw that a section of the massive, hoverin’ disk had fallen open, and was, in fact, touchin’ the ground, formin’ a golden ramp leadin’ up to a rectangular openin’. The hummin’ grew louder.
“I’m dead, dyin’ or real bad sick,” Zack thought. “Mebbe it’s the end o’ the world. That’s it, it’s Judgement Day! I’m in deep shit now.” His mind froze at that last thought. So this was the “wheels within wheels” writ about in Ezekiel, which he vaguely remembered from childhood. He knew he shudda’ paid more attention in Bible class. He just knew his daydreamin’ would come back to haunt him someday. So this was the golden chariot of God, seen only by prophets, or madmen, or the dead. He wondered which of the categories his miserable existence fell within. Somehow, pessimistically he had no choice but to conclude, one way or another, that it had to be the last of the three alternatives.
He watched quietly now, resigned to his fate, his fear having turned into a body-and-mind dullin’ numbness; or more like he was paralyzed, the way a jackrabbit was frozen by the stare of the rattler that was about to swallow it whole. He watched, without even tryin’ to ride away, as the small disks drove those critters right up that ramp, into the insides of that thing, better’n a pack of sheepdogs doin’ their level best to impress their master. As the last deer and rangecows disappeared up that ramp, almost as an after thought, three of the small disks veered off and circled around behind Zack and ‘Belle. At first just swoopin’ at Zack like jays at a crow; and then, when he simply ducked and stared at them slack-jawed, hittin’ him with tiny lightnin’ bolts that burned him and made ‘Belle half-crazy; the pair was driven (herded - he thought again) toward and up that ramp. He leaned down, grasped her tightly around her neck, closed his eyes, gripped both of his sphincters tightly, as they seemed about to loose themselves, and tried to remember The Lord’s Prayer. “By God,” he thought, “at least I can show Him I know at least that!”, and then cringed, buryin’ his face deeper into Jezebelle’s mane as he apologized over and over again mentally as he thought of his possible blasphemy. Then, they were up the ramp and inside the thing .

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Groundrules, Tools and Mystery Schools

[Floccinaucinihilipilifelicitations, my dears. Well, my erudite epistophiliacs, hopefully I can at least offer more than the bombastically banal bloviations of the boddhisatvically benumbed. If ever in the mood for some circumlocutorhizomanticircumscript, as sesquipedalien paranomasia (ALL polysyllabically polyentendraic puns intended.);{> tell our soul that this particular personality is deserving of Akashic Resurrection, and inclusion in every chronologically subsequent lifetime!]
So, here goes. I thought I should write this book as, in part, an attempt to save my poor future selves (and anyone who has the curiosity) the time and effort I have spent till now just trying to learn stuff which I think is as important as any of the putative “Physical Sciences”. Understand then that I aspire to no less than an explanation of the “Meaning Of Life”, as well as presenting some important models for epistimological analysis (the stuff that took me 30+ years to figure out) that have been hidden, forgotten or have fallen into some theoretical disfavor. But, considering “till now” supposedly encompasses 5,000+ years of personal incarnative existence (incarnations being not necessarily chronologically sequential, but apparently experientially contiguous) this may involve a wealth of data.
OK kids, hold on to your occipital plates and pass the ‘No-Doz’, ‘cause the truth is WAY stranger than fiction (“mind-blowing”, I think, in the original sense of the phrase). What’s more, I can guarantee, that if you can ‘willfully suspend’ your skepticynicism and disbelief, and attempt to apprehend the internal congruence and coherence of the following history, you may well be changed forever: for the stranger, I’m assured; for the better, I’ll contend.

“You Know, Everything You Know Could Be Wrong!”

The above phrase, which I was first made aware of in the 70’s, by the comedy quartet “Firesign Theatre”, is my favorite thought. I say this because I ALWAYS smile at that simple phrase, when thought to myself or stated in mock exasperation to religious fanatics. They don’t get it. Can’t, they might start to doubt, Cultivation of objectivity is rarely at the top of their “To Do’ list The original delivery was quite insouciant and wonderfully expectant - as though the prospect was highly amusing - to try to believe in something you don’t, or stop believing in something you do.
This is one of the most difficult exercises for most people (myself included) to execute with facility and yet important ideas for anyone who values Science and Western Empirical Methodology, critical thinking, ratiocination, deductive analysis, formal Logic, debate, Dysteleological perception and/or exposition, noumenal Solipsism and/or Epiphenomenological Epistemology. If a person cannot detach themselves from ANY personal belief, then conceptualize and believe (with attempted equal fervour) in it opposite,
First, a few groundrules, tools and Mystery Schools: All paradoxes CAN be reconciled: Juxtapose any belief with its opposite, see that they’re just opposite ends of a line drawn between them, then come up with an idea that is true for both of them. Thesis, Antithesis, then Synthesis.
“Is the glass half-empty or half-full?” (Depends on whether you’re drinking or pouring, doesn’t it?!);{> I believe the simple act of attempting to perceive existence from within the framework of a ‘world-view’ much different than that of the dominant paradigm with which we are culturally imprinted is transformative, and can be transcendentally epiphanthetic. “Outer Limits” here we come.
First, an Hermetic Principle to be explicated, illuminating some esoteric history upon which to stretch a fabric of cosmology .
I’ll try to explain as we proceed. The phrase: “As above, so below.” is called “The Principle Of Correspondences” and simply means that if things are related to each other in one way, on any one plane that can be observed, then, the corresponding principles, on any other plane, stand in that same exact relationship. IOW: If the government down here is SNAFU, which it so obviously IS, then the government in “Heaven” is so likewise.
Approximately 250,000 years ago, our planet, and 27 others nearby, in this arm of our galaxy, seceded from the “Galactic Union” (for want of a better term). Our prehistoric ancestors weren’t much involved, being too far down on a cosmic evolutionary scale to be of much help to one side or the other.
Other than the three railgun mass-driven asteroids that destroyed the failed reptile developments (read: sterilized the test tube), the Rebellion, subsequent “Fall” of 1/3 of the Angelic Host, and our planet’s status as one of the secedents has had more to do with the course of human history on Earth than of which it’s possible for me to convince anyone.
The carefully contrived, and successful evolution, of a simian model for ‘soul-vehicle’ development, after the abject failure of no less than 3 previous saurian (reptile-derived) model lines, had finally garnered the local bio-engineering System Administration praise, almost offsetting the disappointing discovery that the viability of a neighboring planet’s primary gene-line (the scions of a mutation in a lemur-like progenitor, and one of the older races extant in this part of the galaxy) was waning; and the aliens we know as “Little Greys” were at zero population growth even back then. Even a lifespan of centuries can’t make up for a gene pool too small, non-diverse and recessively replete from too much tinkering (and inbreeding). If there was such a thing as chromosomal hubris, they had it, in spades.
The ‘Greys’ had served their gen-engineer maker/s less than well throughout their history, being both markedly amoral, and acquisitive. Though good survival skills in ‘bootstrapping’ experimental development schemata (like our own) that utilize Darwinistic ‘natural selection’ ecologies as self-correcting genetic winnowing methodologies, these traits proved ultimately counter-productive to the goal of designing tractable and compliant self-replicating soulvessel livestock/DNA factories.
The ‘Greys’ were still astute, if not prolific, and they realized that only drastic (and perhaps even prohibited) measures would suffice for their survival. Compatible genetic stem-cell material was needed in large quantities, in order to genesplice a robust DNA sequence onto the ‘Greys’ deteriorated one, and sometimes entire worlds with no native sentients were laid waste just to serve the energy and raw material needs of the Greys for a few years.
Along with their surreptitious collection expeditions to primitive worlds like ours that were producing compatible gene-plasm (and for the most part were lacking interstellar or interdimensional travel capabilities - so we couldn’t run OR hide from their predations), they seemed to care nothing for the terror and trauma their criminal sperm and ova poaching produced. Alas, it was all too easy to understand when you realized that they used us like we use lab rats, and, apparently, had as low a regard for our intelligence and right to autonomy as we have for any of the millions of “dumb animals” we experiment upon every year.