THE FOG OF THE CAVEMAN’S BLOG Part 2
ZAWMB’YEE TAKES OVER THE BLOG
I know it’s unprofessional for the stenographer to speak in her own voice but I wanted to make clear that I’m typing in the blog while Doug recuperates. Most of the time, I’ll just transcribe his words for him. Oh yes, in case you don’t know, it’s me(I?), Zawmb’yee, posting this stuff for a while. Actually, I guess it’s OK to speak in my own voice for a while, because I’m not a professional. It’s good that Doug tripped and fell, because the bullet just grazed him. If he hadn’t blocked the gun, I’m sure Zusoiti would have killed me[stenographer pauses]. (Yeah. I know it’s silly but I’m trying to be like the court reporter who puts everything in the transcript like “cough”, or “indistinguishable”, and all that…
Geez, I know I could never be a court reporter because you have to record every word and sound that anyone says without getttin emotional, which reminds me that I can’t get through Doug’s steno poem without flooding the paper. It was horrendous for me as an adult being violated by the gods for their genetic experiments, but I can’t imagine the unbearable trauma for a child violated in any way. Well, I guess you don’t know what I’m talking about, so, be careful: this poem I’m going to show you I find disturbing. It’s fiction but nevertheless…
My Poem For Mommy Steno
Mommy, a Lady’s writing
big hand for me with commas.
Did you write me down, and
everything? Ok. Here goes:
No wait a second. Ok, umm
Mommy don’t let me cry too much.
I didn’t mean to be mean
to Daddy when he yelled
Didn’t want to make you
go to jail
Mommy, I’ll let him
touch my breast again
if they’ll let you out
Has he gone to Heaven?
Foster people say
Mommy, forgive me.
Didn’t want you to kill Dad.
Mommy, don’t let me cry too much.
My poem. Is it good, Mommy?
Lady don’t cry. Make it good? Ok?
Make it pretty on good paper.
I’m sick. Doug writes such dark poems, and I’m not sure how he connects to what he writes. I’m so glad he and Utcoozhoo are OK, but still, Zusoiti did escape. Oh yeah, more about that later…
Because Doug is still too fatigued to write the blog, I’m going to continue. I don’t know how Doug and I expected to stop Zusoiti in her War Room without weapons; it’s just that we were the only ones in position, and time was running out. I was trying to run up the stairs in the War Room when Doug and Zusoiti got shot. By the time I turned around, all I could see was the FBI surrounding Zusoiti on the floor. I don’t know why they took their time, but a trapdoor opened under her, letting her disappear, and then it snapped back up. The whole task force, it seemed, took turns pounding the door with sledge hammers. Just as they smashed it open, there was an explosion. Smoke, dirt, and choking gases filled the air. Putting Doug on a stretcher, shouting into their radios, they moved en masse to the stairs, pushed me up the stairs, helped me put on a gas mask, and we all ran out of the library through the main ballroom, and out past the statute “Aphrodite Foaming At The Mouth,” when the entire Mansion collapsed into a pile of rubble. They never did find Zusoiti’s body. They assume she escaped.
I could not get to the hospital before they started interrogating Doug. I’m so glad he had sense enough not to tell them everything. I mean, what if he had told them that not only was Zusoiti running for Mayor in the village but also for high-priestess of the Grand Council that governs a secret cave society? Had they heard that, they would presently be tearing apart the “apparatus of the gods”, trying to reverse engineer everything.
I’m sprucing up Doug’s apartment, or I guess at this point I should say “our” apartment. He did leave most of my decorations intact from the last time, as he said he would, which leaves just a few final touches — the major thing is that I’m going to put up my paintings. This time it’s really going to feel like home. My quarters in the Cave I’m going to think about as “school”. I want to think about it this way: Doug and I will have a sanctuary here, and our cave apartments will belong to the adventures of childhood.
Knowing how I am, Doug set up my stuffed animals on the bed to greet me as soon as it seemed like I might be coming back. I felt so comfortable coming here, having my things, but Utcoozhoo says I should wean myself off ebben (I think they call it transitional objects in English). He says teddy bears are like amulets and should not be overused.
This writing of the blog in English is so tedious — laying out all the pieces of events, each a section of canvas difficult to imagine from the sound of the blind letters. I much prefer the seeing of the Utd’mbts even though I’m just a beginner at it.
I’m chattering away here, and I haven’t even written about Utcoozhoo’s escape on the thiktdi. I’m going to mount my paintings first.
Well, something good came of all this. There is a new tunnel in the sacred quarters. I should have known Utcoozhoo wouldn’t allow himself to be trapped anywhere as he knows more about the gods than even Zusoiti. I’ve always wondered how great an emergency was required for Utcoozhoo to utilize the power of the gods, to embrace his prerogatives without shame, neither shaman nor king, an executor of the ancient endowment. Sometimes I think he is too humble for our good, should use his powers.
Yes, the tunnel is a good example. He and the elders were trapped in the Tzvaleubhoi while Zusoiti made havoc. Finally the legend of Tpiqlat’ng was vindicated when Utcoozhoo declared pcapdyntpa. It must have been a shock when Utcoozhoo and Naztko, from the Forbidden Zone, reactivated the Thiktdi, “the flying mole in fire tube”. They loaded up 500 elders into the Thiktdi that looks like a jet plane without the wings. No one knows how, but it vaporizes rock in front of it, and compresses it off to the side into a kind of slippery glass. At the right moment, they flew through the rock into Utcoozhoo’s anteroom in the sacred quarters. Utcoozhoo got them all accommodations, and the next day, they stunned the Registrar when they marched into his office and registered to vote. That’s one step.
With Zusoiti away, Utcoozhoo now thinks he can push through a Magna Carta in the Grand Council, but I’m not so sure how many supporters Zusoiti still has.
So much has happened since the FBI went after Zusoiti — I don’t mean that they caught her, but her fugitive status has been a blessing. Utcoozhoo found her secret interface between the ancient technology and the modern. The good news is that he has developed his own interface device and has hooked up the gods’ grp’nl system to the Internet. Now, I can do my homework for Utcoozhoo from here, and actually, I’d rather do it here then in the cave. The bad news is that there may be other hidden interfaces that Zusoiti is using.
I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t get my last assignment exactly right. I logged into the grp’nl with Utcoozhoo’s new password and went to the language practice page, thinking it would be easy, because I’ve done pretty well with his meditation exercises. The Utd’mbts language, in its full form, is much harder than I thought. I went to the first vocabulary word exercise all excited and confident. I was to simply learn one word that would be displayed on the screen. I stared at the screen, not consciously perceiving anything as I was told to do, and let whatever it was sink into my subconscious. Then, I lay down on the bed and meditated to await a vision. I saw an angry parent scolding a child, a rampaging gang of kids, a marauding group marching with a flag, heard a National Anthem of some kind, saw the construction of buildings, of supermarkets, of trains, of planes, and of ships, saw all of them blown up and destroyed. I was supposed to say what this word meant in English. I said I thought it meant that “the displacement of anger from family to ethnic group to country, over generations, was the cause of war.” Utcoozhoo said, no that’s not it. He said it’s a lot more complicated than that, and I didn’t allow myself to absorb more, that I was suppressing most of the important elements of the word. That was very discouraging because I thought I had already learned many Utd’mbts words and he said I had only learned a few of the beginner’s training subset language — the baby-talk babble of the beginner.
(Because Doug is still too sick to write the blog, I, Zawmb’yee, am going to continue to write this blog)
I’m worried. I think Doug has lost the will to live. It’s odd but I don’t think he ever thought about his own mortality until Zusoiti fired her gun at him. It seems as though he thinks he will go out of existence at his death, and he will not be aware that he had ever existed. He is much too logical and analytical to be happy. I do think that Utcoozhoo is right that he has the curse of the eokxavexa. Utcoozhoo is all mystical and vague, but I could put it bluntly: some of the gods’ genes have been quite destructive to our people.
Doug has been just moping around, doesn’t want to get out of bed, doesn’t want to eat.
The other day I said to Doug, “I know you’ve been hurt because most people find it very hard to talk to you, don’t want to hear your ideas, can’t wait for you to gather your thoughts… But then, you hate what you are — you can tolerate neither kegmn, bsoer, bsoei, nor veb.”
Doug said,“No, that’s not it. I can’t understand how people can talk, talk, talk, chatter, chatter, chatter, on and on, without saying anything. By the time they’re finished, I can’t remember what I wanted to say.”
“See, that’s the thing: it’s not just chatter to talk about how you feel…”
“What’s the point of talking about problems, if you don’t have a solution?”
“It just feels good to vent,” I said, but I could see he was clueless.
“Yeah. I know. You tell me everything, and I understand how you feel and you always say you feel much better after telling me. But I feel much worse. I don’t know how to solve anything.”
“You don’t have to solve… just listen… You are a comfort to me…”
“That is a mystery, but I love to see you smile, hate to see you cry…”
“That’s empathy, isn’t it?”
“For what purpose? It’s emotion without solutions, without goals…”
“There you go again… Y’know, you haven’t seen this because you haven’t left the apartment, but I’ve seen quite a few people on the street wearing royal purple uniforms…”
“What is that — the latest fashion? You’d look good in purple. You could get…”
“No, no, no. It’s not fashion. I think it’s Zusoiti’s followers. I think she’s building a secret police. It’s the beginning of a movement. You know, like the Nazi ‘brown shirts’, except it’s the ‘purple shirts’ . ”
“Oh come on. You’re just being paranoid. Enough already with all this cave culture stuff. Could we just join the mainstream for a change, just be normal people?”
“Oh hell, you know what I mean.”
“So, anyway, you should see this… they’re holding rallies and meetings. I just know Zusoiti must be behind this.”
“Uh huh. Zawmb’yee, could we do a joint painting — you could do a sketch and I could paint over it. ”
“You see — that’s kegmn. You weren’t listening while I was talking. You were just thinking about what you wanted to say. You couldn’t wait for me to finish, and then you plunge ahead.”
“No. You just keep talking and don’t say anything.”
I was so mad, and almost started a tirade, but I don’t know, Utcoozhoo keeps telling me it’s eokxavexa. Yeah, but that’s no excuse for bad manners. Is it?
I’ve been losing my temper a lot lately, but its just that this place is such a strewn-fest, my things scattered, boxes falling, hell, I can’t find anything, and Chloë’s driving me crazy with hassle, hustle meetings — I’m sick of the damn Moose Café project: I tell her it’s done, it’s done, I’m done — cash the check. An avalanche of building plans and escaping wardrobe snow are burying me in a shoe storm and fashion disasters, even though Doug gave me my own bedroom in case he snores, but the bed is piled high with my dresses and shoe boxes, and the carpenters are just leaving.
Out, out, damn Carpenters, leave the spots — the painters will do it — give me my space, my closet… I must go on stage in a gown without sneakers if I can finally use the “closet organizer” right.
I haven’t even used my bedroom yet and Doug doesn’t snore. Actually, I’d rather be with him for the snuggle factor, and getting my feelings onto his hairy chest. Oh, maybe I’m the one who snores. I’ve been angry so much, so often. OK, I’ve got the closet organizer, and Doug gave me his project room for my work. I should be able to bring my furies to the clothes. Where, the hell, are my Viwwa shoes — Chloë’s going to be envious, and I look gorgeous. It’s got heels like stalagtites. No one could run around in the cave wearing these if they didn’t want to fall into the K’ut’mbletaw’i. But who would want to be well-heeled in the cave anyway. Chloë says I have to dress well for business. Somehow I have to mix and match, or match and mix, or match and match, put on the make-up… which reminds me. I should go yell at Doug before we make-up. Just kidding. Yeah. I don’t know what I’m so angry about. Utcoozhoo says I should work on my anger. But I don’t know. I think my anger was justified when Doug dismissed what I was saying. But here’s this thing — oh hell, I can’t remember the word for it in any language. It seems I forget because I don’t want to let go of my anger — for some reason I want to keep it. Um, well, the thing was something like “firm assertion that cajoles attention for loving repromand(is this an oxymoron?).” Oh geez, even if I could remember some level of an Utd’mbts word for the thing, I bet Utcoozhoo would say I’ve got that wrong. Yeah, I’m lost — certain concepts I have a problem with. Yeah, maybe that’s why I can relate to Doug sometimes because we’re both lost souls. I really hate what Doug’s father did to him: made him repress all emotion and even forced him to show no facial expression(said, “Don’t look at me that way), and he remembers his Mom always saying, “That can’t be…” — I bet he had extraordinary abilities as a child and I bet they were frightened by how much he knew their thoughts. That’s why he claims he has no talents — they’re all suppressed or repressed or you know. Damn, I have to work on vocabulary. His father was incredibly destructive. Doug was already born poor at reading body language and he could have used some compensating skills.
Doug needs to develop at least some skill. As Utcoozhoo says(don’t quote me), “If you can close your eyes and get into someone’s mind, you don’t need to read body language…”
OK, I think I’m getting my closet more organized. Well, not exactly; I’m getting good at organized tossing and throwing: I tossed some of my shoes onto the racks, threw some onto the lower shelves, but I don’t know what tier a teardrop buckle shoe should occupy. Chloë says there’s a style for every occasion, but should I have a shelf for cocktail parties and gallery openings? I’ve had a pair of Wymucen “Ballerina” shoes in black patent leather that keep pirouetting around the racks and shelves and won’t let me toss or pigeonhole them. Do I have to dance if I wear them — no, I guess, if they’re not red, I don’t have to. Doug heard me mumbling and said I should get an automatic transmission and pump the cheap gas. I thought, huh-what, but then I realized I was mumbling about my flat open-toe PUMPS, and my evening CLUTCH bag. Now, I’m in the clutches of unforeseen consequences at the Moose Café, and we can’t seem to finish.
Angela had to have the marble slab countertops for her transformation: she wanted an elegant design to scrub out the “Moose” image, but now, we’re on the antlers of a dilemma. She’s all hysterical because she read in the newspaper that some marble is radioactive. She’s the one that insisted on richly grained burgundy countertops. The technician went over it with a Geiger counter and it was fine, but Chloë wants me to get my own Geiger counter because Angela only trusts me. It’s ridiculous. Now, I have to learn how to use this thing. Some granite has uranium in it. I’m trying to tell her our granite slabs don’t. I mean, ours are not even from Brazil or Namibia.
I wish I could just negotiate on the phone and send another technician, but Chloë says the “customer is always right.” The more I think about it, the more it gives me the creeps, because I’m remembering that Angela was going to vote for Zusoiti for mayor just because she had purple hair.
Doug loves my long blond hair when I use the Gecmen Creme conditioner. He doesn’t know the trouble I go through — he thinks it’s just always soft and flowing like a self-washing river.
This morning, I thought Doug’s mood had improved. When I came out of the shower, he said, “Y’know, you’ve been wanting to have a party in our remodeled dining room to show off the crystal and the chandelier you designed. Why don’t we do it tonight. Call everyone and you can invite Chloë and mix business with pleasure and …”
“You want me,” I said, “to prepare everything on such short notice? How do you know everyone can drop everything and come over?”
“Well, Chloë will come and…”
“Uh huh. Yup.”
“What do you mean uh huh?”
“It’s not that you really want me to have a party to show off the chandelier. It’s just a little bsoei on your part, but it’s no mystery to me.”
“So why can’t we keep it a mystery? I mean, isn’t that what romance is about: mystification?”
“No, Utcoozhoo says bsoei is a form of manipulation,” I found myself saying, but actually, I have always thought that this sort of thing was harmless play and romantic(How did I change sides on this issue).”
“No, not if we agree to it,” Doug protested.
“He says bsoei…”
Wait just a second… Um, what exactly does bsoei mean?”
“It means when one person is masking his true intentions in order to manipulate the other to get what he really wants. He wants it to be a mystery as to what he wants and um…”
“Are you sure that’s exactly right?”
“Well, you know I can’t always explain it perfectly,” I said, “and I’ll admit that, as usual, if I gave this definition to Utcoozhoo, he’d say ‘ubemuwx’ .”
“Oh geez. Now what does ubemuwx mean?”
I laughed. “It means, ‘That’s not exactly it.’”
“Are you sure,” Doug said with a sly smile, “that ubemuwx means that?” Doug was moving in for the coup de grâce. “What would Utcoozhoo say if you gave him that definition?”
“He’d say ubemuwx to my ubemuwx definition.”
“Ah ha. I know this one: you’ve made the uxomexn,” Doug said triumphantly.
“Oh yeah. Well now, YOU define uxomexn!”
“Um, it’s, um, ‘The spiral of the mirrors — the nested paradox,’ the um…”
“ubemuwx!” I said.
“Now, I forgot, what were we saying before?”
“We have decided to have a mystery party for no purpose, but for the benefit of our friends, and then somehow we’ll be surprised when we end up having sex for purely noble causes.”
“Don’t you think I deserve to share the Nobel prize with you for deception if you’ll switch back to your old naïve romantic self, so we can both be foolish and playful?”
“ubemuwx. Love is better.”
I think there are two good omens today; Utcoozhoo called to make it official: I’ve been appointed to the Grand Council to fill the vacancy left by Zusoiti. It’s only temporary, but I have all privileges and powers of a council member. And the other thing is that Doug has been writing his novel nonstop for three days straight. Well, that’s good, but he hasn’t gotten any sleep at all. I think I’ll wait a few more hours and tell him he’s got to stop and get some sleep. Maybe I should tell him that I’m dying to read it. If I can just take it from him and get him to lie on the bed, I’m sure he’ll fall right to sleep. Well, anyway, I have to meet Utcoozhoo now for my swearing-in ceremony and to receive my Nipusindi (equipment, paraphernalia, and vestments of office). Doug should be ready for sleep by the time I get back.
It’s been scary. I came back home after being sworn in. I didn’t realize how much power Council members are given, and how Utcoozhoo had to call in a lot of favors to get me appointed — I even heard some grumbling in the background: someone said, “She doesn’t even know Utd’mbts.” Utcoozhoo just needs another vote on the Council while Zusoiti is away to make some vital changes. He told me not to worry, and that I’d just do some ceremonial things until he needs my vote.
Doug was still writing at his desk, drinking coffee and splashing water on his face after each page.
I went back to organizing my closet. Utcoozhoo had seven large ancient hand carved chests, containing the Nipusindi, delivered. I stuck five of them in the middle of the bedroom, heaved one, using a drawing board as a ramp, on top of the bed next to a pile of dresses, and dragged one into the closet. Before the chest arrived, I was going to dump out my old jewelry box and put all my rainbow bangle bracelets on a display rod. But there was some jewelry, ceremonial dresses, and shoes in the chest that didn’t really go with anything. So I became disorganized again.
I carried some dresses and my old jewelry box into Doug’s bedroom. He was sitting on the bed still writing.
He said, “More dresses? I thought you were organizing your closet?”
“Well, I was, but I have seven new chests of stuff, most of which I haven’t even opened.”
“Seven chests? Yeah, I wondered what all that noise was — I thought you were getting new furniture. What kind of chests?”
“Nipusindi? I thought that was for Grand Council members only?”
“I’ve been appointed to the Grand Council!”
Doug finally put down his manuscript and smiled. I took off my shoes, stood on top of the bed, put my hands on my shoulders and then unfolded my arms in a regal gesture, palms up. Doug got up and took my hands and we jumped up and down on the bed, shouting “Hooray, hooray!”. Doug’s manuscript fell to the floor. Letting go of my hands, Doug did a seated trampoline landing.
I said, “Leave it. You should get some sleep. Tomorrow we should talk about your friend Ziohat — his curiosity is getting to him again. You never should have teased him in the 1960’s with tales of secret caves. Just tell him it was a joke. ”
Doug yawned, and said, “Well, OK. Um, he always wondered how I used to “disappear.” He’s always suspected their was a secret passageway from the party cave to the real one … and um, hmm, uh … I’m tired and uh …”
I lay down next to Doug, touched his face. “Never mind about that now, ” I said.
“Uh, well, umm, oh … Congratulations! You are uh …”
Doug fell asleep. And somehow, yawn, so did I.
Today has been an odd day. This morning, Doug was so sweetly dreaming that I wanted to fondle him awake to rock me fondly before the sunrise might intrude with exigencies. But because he hadn’t slept for three days, I didn’t want to wake him at all. I fumbled around quietly, and in the bedroom got dressed in the dark. I had to go to the Moose Café. Having only to just reassure Angela about her marble table top, I thought casual nonchalance would be the best look for my accessories. I had the jewelry box on the night table, but didn’t want to turn on the light and wake Doug. The box had my bangle bracelets, rainbow-colors collection, with the blue one on top that I easily snatched. I started to push on my blue bangle, but it was hard to get over my hand. I thought I must be getting fat or my hands were hot and swollen or something. I thought, gee, I’m not going to be able to wear my favorite blue bangle anymore. I pushed hard for a while until it grudgingly slipped on. Feeling my way around, I got to my coat that was slumped on the chair in the corner, put it on, and rushed into the living room to call a cab. That was no problem, but then something odd happened. I remember getting into the cab and telling the driver the address for the Moose Café, but then I went blank. I woke up with the driver shouting at me, “Hey, Lady, we’re here.” I didn’t remember anything in-between. I was startled, but I looked up and there we were on Darling Street diagonally across from the Antique Shop, in the first parking spot past the street light, right in front of the Moose Café. I paid the driver, and marched to the entrance. I had my shoulder bag, and my Geiger counter.
I went in. Angela was waiting. She said, “Hi, I’ll take your coat.”
Taking my coat off, I said, “Don’t worry. We researched this: your marble counter tops are certified safe. But I brought a Geiger counter, and I’ll prove it to you.”
Angela put my coat on the rack. She said, “Yeah, I know. I’ve calmed down since I last spoke to you … Hey, I like your purple bracelet — where did you get it?”
“Huh? I’m wearing my favorite blue bangle.”
“I think I know purple when I see it.”
I looked down and saw that it was purple. “Oh,” I said, “I got dressed in the dark. I thought I put the blue one on.”
“That’s funny. I’ve always wanted one of those. It has a very pretty design engraved in it. You can only get it in very exclusive boutiques — very expensive. I hope you got it on sale. But not everyone likes them: you have to get it an extra size bigger because it shrinks over time. So tell me the secret. Where’d you get it?”
“Oh. I think Chloë gave it to me that night that we came back from the psychometry lecture at the Blue Attic Club. I don’t remember where Chloë got it from but Chloë has expensive tastes.”
“Well, never mind — I could never afford it, even on sale. So, as long as you’re here, anyway, why don’t you try out your Geiger counter.”
We walked over to a marble counter top, and I said, “Well, it’s going to click a little, but that’s just normal background radiation — see, I put the wand over the table and the meter stays in the normal range. OK?”
“Yes, alright. I guess we’re done then.” Angela tossed her hair off her face, and ran her hand over the counter top.
I started to feel dizzy. I said, “I don’t feel well. I have to sit down and … ” The next thing I knew, I woke up home again on the living room couch.
I didn’t know how to couch my feelings. What had happened? Was I forgetting things — having blackouts? No, probably, I thought, just fatigue and exhaustion.
For a while I wondered if I had actually gone to the Moose Café, but the phone rang.
I felt panic, but reached for the phone on the end table, picked it up in trepidation. It was Chloë. She said, “Good job. Angela is pleased with our work, and we got the bank transfer, paid in full.”
“Finally. And I went out there for nothing.”
“No. Answering a client’s questions and concerns is always a good idea, and it helps our reputation for satisfaction … ”
“Yeah, but I spent a lot of time — more than the project is worth.”
“Hey. Just think of it as a down payment on a future project from a referral.”
“I guess so. But … ”
“Stop fretting. You did a great job and Angela said you were sick, so just relax for a few days and …”
“You’ll never believe what … ”
“Shush. Lie down, drink some warm milk or whatever … I’ve got another call. Gotta go. Bye.”
I think Chloë has been a little too efficient sometimes. Words couched in concern, but cynical in execution.
Maybe all this was language overload — trying to learn Utd’mbts and idiomatic English. I vowed to call the couch a sofa. But in any case, it was no place to rest.
I went to Doug’s bedroom, and turned on the light to see that he looked dead in bed. I jumped on the bed. Doug opened his eyes and smiled. He said, “I was dreaming of you and here you are, gorgeous one. Can a council member give me a kiss?”
“Yes.” I gave him a quick kiss.
“Um nothing. I finished the Moose Café project.”
“That’s great. Finally. It was giving you a real headache. How is Angela?”
“Oh she’s OK, but we didn’t talk much because … never mind. I need a vacation. Maybe I’ll just do my art work and take more acting lessons and … ”
“Hey yeah: ‘You’re a class act’. I just learned that. Do you know that expression? ”
“Thanks, yeah. I’m tired of language studies — I think I’ll just grunt … ”
“And what a lovely grunt you have Grand… Oops sorry, I almost said ‘Grandma’. ”
“You know, the ‘Little Red Riding Hood’ story, except that I got the wrong character. You’re nothing like a wolf and … Oh sorry, I’m just rambling … ”
“Uh well, before I forget, we have to discuss Ziohat. He’s … ”
“What are you staring at?”
“You’re so beautiful, so … ”
“Not now … ”
I wondered why I would say, “not now,” when I had always succumbed to a moment. I could have fallen as, oh, I was feeling so engulfed in a metcar or maybe a ipzabexr, and Doug is such a cute animal, but Utcoozhoo wanted me to resolve this problem with Ziohat, and I didn’t really know that much about him. I said to Doug, “How did this Ziohat character get the idea to create an artificial cave in the rock bluff above our cave complex?”
Doug, sighing in disappointment, said, “He just wanted an exotic, out of the way location on a cliff suitable for a Guru. It was his way to hype the hippies, make a movement. You know, be groovy, far out, cool, an avänt-gärde, he thought, but no matter how much he tried, Jack Chelka always called him the ‘fake guru’. ”
“Yeah, I think he was the only one in the group who had a genuine interest in poetry itself.”
“Ziohat called it the Xyiwa poets, and Utcoozhoo told me to join the group to learn up-top poetry. It was supposed to begin a rebellion in poetry to embrace the Zeitgeist: love, peace, compassion, and rock-and-roll — ‘power to the people.’ You know, all that jazz and blues, and psychedelic enlightenment ..”
“Supposed to … ?”
“Well, as far as the poetry went, it was mostly angst. But actually Ziohat wasn’t really interested in promoting poetry … ”
“The guru thing I guess was a little bsoei and veb, uh, games. Right (and if you say, ‘ubemuwx!’ again, I’ll slap you silly) ?”
“Yeah. I think you have it pegged. Yeah, he was all excited about Camille, a rich older woman, who was his patron, and paid for the construction of the poetry cave. The whole thing to him was just a gimmick to attract chicks and an excuse for an orgy. There were some pretty wild parties in the cave.”
“Uh, me too … ”
“Thought so … ”
“Don’t think so much … ”
“I have to . We have a problem with Ziohat, and I have to get to know something about him … What ever happened to the group?”
“Well, it was disbanded years ago, and the club was closed down and sealed. I guess I’m the last of the Xyiwa poets. But recently, Ziohat has been cleaning up the mess left behind, and has been rummaging through the storage boxes. I gave him a blog to post some of the poetry he recovered.”
“What poetry is that?”
“I made copies of what he found so far — I can show it to you, but could we do this tomorrow?”
“Uh, well, the thing is: he seems to be remodeling and expanding. We don’t want him finding one of our secret entrances … ”
Doug sighed again. “Don’t worry, he won’t … You know, I was dreaming of you before you jumped on the bed .. ”
“Yes, you told me.”
“And you came in here to unwind and relax. Right? ‘Cause you love me, you came here, blue eyes, gorgeous one … ”
“Sometimes it’s not love after a hard day, but a desperation to avoid metca, you know, anxiety.”
“I relieve your metca because I love you.”
“And I don’t suppose you enjoy the process?”
“You are beautiful you know.”
“Well, um, Utcoozhoo, always says, eujxami.”
“Well it’s somewhat like the French expression: ‘La beauté sans vertu est une fleur sans parfum’ ”
” ‘Beauty without virtue is like a flower without perfume’. ”
“And that’s what the Utd’mbts word means?”
“Sort of … ”
That’s when I lost it and couldn’t help but pull down his pants and see that his beauty was already standing erect saluting me. I gave it a few licks and got up from bed. Doug grabbed my arm, but I managed to reach the night table. I let Doug pull me back onto the bed and I rolled a condom over his beautiful hardness.
This morning I felt strange. The purple bracelet on my left wrist only would slide a little bit. I wanted to put on my wide silver bracelet and then put on my gold charm bracelet. I thought it would be a funky tricolor expression. There wasn’t enough space for all three.
I took a shower wearing the purple bracelet that seems to have shrunk and is too small to take off. I was thinking that I should read Ziohat’s blog to see if he is really a bumbling, harmless person not capable of stumbling into anything important. Doug seems to think that Ziohat has no idea about our secret culture, and just thinks that we’re a bit eccentric. Yeah, I guess we should try to be a little less eccentric and blend in better. I’m beginning to embrace the up-top culture which, I think, is what Utcoozhoo wanted me to do — uh, well, I suppose he really wanted me to learn about it, but not embrace it.
I got an e-mail message from Fewo Jegucso saying they had a way-out, blowout designer sale. Yeah, maybe, I should run out while I have the chance and get Christian Nuiduim suede booties at only $700, and the Marc Pestymorvo totes for only $600. Hey, all the designer handbags and shoes that I could ever dream of getting are all now on sale. Well, I don’t know, it seems all about prestige. I mean, it can’t really cost that much to make a handbag or a shoe as a raw leather object with stitches, can it? I buy a brand name so other women can admire me? I mean, Doug likes me naked, doesn’t he? No, I don’t mean sexually, just that he likes me as a person without decoration. Uh, well, most of the time, I think.
Dare I say that fashion is empty. No, I think that blasphemy should always be a last resort. I think I’ll just print Ziohat’s blog while I think about it all.
THE BLOG OF JAMES ZIOHAT
JAMES ZIOHAT’S REMINISCENCE
founder of the Xyiwa Poets
Much has happened, but for now I’m left with the task of cleaning up the old party cave. I’m James Ziohat, the Poetry Guru. Doug, who’s the last one around that I know of, has lent me a blog to post on.
In the 1960’s (who can remember exactly when) I founded the Xyiwa Poets. Poetry readings were held for a few select followers in secret caves. Like the impressionists in painting, we, the early vanguard poets were scorned. A few rich patrons financed the building of a luxury cave complex where wild parties were held and poetry was written on the cave walls. We called ourselves the Xyiwa poets because Jack Chelka found some obscure words that he learned in his travels, and we just picked one. We condemned the dependence on the traditional University system for validating the decadent standard for poetic excellence. Some of the early works were moderately incoherent, and meant for shock value such as this wandering verse by Jack Chelka:
by Jack Chelka
often not high
entrance to danger:
spikes and crevices of stone
never gone to.
Mob on fire
wandering flesh torn inside
falls and torments
many hours to death
spikes and crevices
stone and stream gurgles
screams many hours
greets the dead.
rather be outside
The Xyiwa poets can easily tear apart and destroy any formal form of poetry, making it unrecognizable. Here’s an example by Douglas Gilbert that shows how a haiku can be distorted into nothingness:
by Douglas Gilbert
For the festival cry
many at the reflecting pond
see each other see
a lunch time in the park
a man gushing blood on a tree
cops jumping back to catch a
trial day for the
collapsing man on marble
his woman crying by
our exploding Sun where
couples in weeping willows
release spirits from ashes
by meowing lions
lambs in meadow’s lake
for all to
ripple still waters
with sneezes deadly mocking
Here’s another fragmented style by Douglas Gilbert:
by Douglas Gilbert
deeply my song
in twists confesses
Flat note dance
in double time confessions
With me gravely
rasp my horn
Lonely the night
leaky eyes stain
in fog lashes
for ships on ice
coldly stoned rocks
bleeding red confessions
twists turn to
The Xyiwa poets often ridiculed the poetic forms by including them with a non-traditional internal rhyme scheme. Here’s an example:
MRS. CLAUS HATES SONNETS
by Douglas Gilbert
Santa Claus left her
a sonnet to read:
The romp of love beguiles, a playful horse
my heart a rider gripping spirit’s trip
a bit of banter falls from saddled lips.
A candor canters, musical in source
a clip-clop hoofing it, my fruit is tossed.
Her lust is cantaloupes so sweetly quipped
yet love’s a cherry deeply red of lip
outspoken rips in bound’ries’ gorgeous loss
I know you love me mole and mountain bluff
I show my cards, won’t raise to bluff a love.
It’s real this deal of sharing zeal, a bliss
no gamble oneness riding thought enough
to join two souls, a coup by doves
who fly with coos to play the music’s kiss
Mrs. Claus hated his bluff —
rarely did she see
his cherry lips or cheeks
She could play
with farce no more, for
the fantasy wishes
in unlabeled boxes
would not suffice
for Mrs. Claus who
wrote free verse
while Santa was busy
from giddy children, but
she received letters
of rejection from the
a trochee donkey
iambic like an ass
Mrs. Claus hated when the big one
went away on Christmas,
when the snow looked like
semen dried up and flaky,
his departing stomach
like a pregnant indulgence
she could only wish for
Finally, one Christmas
when no more
could she count the
melting snow flakes on her tongue,
count the elves, the reindeer,
the orphan toys, her emptiness
overtook her sanity, and
she took an empty sleigh
to drive into the city of sin,
her naked body wrapped only
in a fur coat, a pocket
for her Santa cell phone
She left the sleigh,
tied the reindeer to a lamp pole,
strolled the streets showing a leg,
singing “Ho, ha, ha”; Heaven’s
white tears covered her head as
she peered into loneliness
waiting for a finger of love, but
she spied a lost little girl
She hoo, ha, ha’ed the girl
’till the crying subsided,
asked her name
found a Lisa
“Where’s your Daddy?”
She didn’t know,
said he went for a quickie walk
She would look to find him as
the snow thickened, her head covered
with a white crown of sorrow. Lisa skipped
and jumped close behind her like
a newly born calf not
straying too far, waiting for an available tit
Mrs. Claus walked, showing a leg. A man
appeared from nowhere, laid
his hand on her thigh
like a roadway, followed the path
Eventually he noticed
her glistening tears. Looking
in her eyes, saw
he knew her
Just then, the
Santa cell phone rang.
The Elf Secret Service said,
there’s been a sleigh crash, and
Santa is dead.
The world was wrapped in gloom
as Mrs. Claus
brushed snow from her head
Joy fell from artificial boons
and wrappers filled the ocean
With a poof
vanished in a twinkle,
elves all banished
to a realm of puff
on Lisa’s tears,
a word on innocent lips:
“Can we all be married, Daddy?”
With a ho, ho, ha
and a ho, ho, ho
they vowed to
do better with love
to listen to snow
gust up and swirl,
to see a gift like a crystal
had already been born
APOLOGY BY ZIOHAT
When we were partying and scribbling poems on the cave walls, I never thought about preserving them. I suppose that even though the walls now appear to be blank, there must still be some residue, chemical imprint, or subtle difference in the surface that was temporarily protected by the pigment of the writing. We could bring in some experts, but we really don’t want to reveal the location of the cave complex to any outsiders. However, I have found some old photo’s of a party where the walls are visible in the background and I’ve been able to read some of the old stuff.
I’m sorry, but most of us were relatively young at the time, and although I put on a show as a Guru promoting poetry readings, the ostensible leader, I was really just excited about a rich older woman who took more than a casual interest in me. I guess, foolishly, I just thought of the poetry as a gimmick or excuse for an orgy. The older guys I guess must be dead by now. Looking back, it was really stupid not to publish in a book — after all, we were too drunk to memorize anything. Well, a few kept notebooks and did do some vanity press books. Doug has stuff out now, but not all of it is authentic to the movement — ah, well, I guess I shouldn’t be such a snob, especially as he’s been gracious enough to let me use this blog site…
…And now that I think about it, Jack Chelka hasn’t always been that consistent either because he wanted to be published in the Mainstream press, but still wound up broke in the creek. Anyway, here’s a few different ones:
by Jack Chelka
Below the tide line
a shack sits on my sorrow
on her grave in shallow soil
spotted ramshackle place
lair of the leopard who
could not but kill her nagging.
Wave crown like a lion’s mane,
erosion has left
an ocean opening for
pain’s swirling wash and drain
The beach shack of this leopard
shall not stand as
roaring sadness bites me there
where I will tell Guilt one thing:
eat me as prey,
pray me down soiled
blot the blood in spots
before I die awash
by Jack Chelka
If feelings were enough
I could just be sad
like Swiss cheese
but there’s a hole
in that argument
You don’t know me at all
never asked to listen to me
’cause you say your tears
speak for themselves,
being too few, you say
If you’d let me speak
I might cry too
with an explanation that
I made the oceans
Let me fish in peace
and I might gut our problems
fry love in olive oil
stuff your poem in
a green pepper, sweet
and sour with a note from me
that doesn’t rhyme but’s
on rice paper that’s edible
I’ve been thinking about how to organize Jack Chelka’s scattered poems because I think the style varies quite a bit. I suppose I really should wait a few years until I’ve synthesized it into a more intellectual presentation, but I decided to plunge ahead with my primitive first draft. Ok, so I’ll embarrass myself a little. Jack would have liked that — he always thought I was a bit pompous considering how he suspected that I really didn’t know anything(I think I once overheard him call me the “fake Guru”, or maybe it was a curse word…) Anyway, here’s my first attempt.
Jack Chelka often fretted about his sense of identity, and pondered Love as a loss of ego:
I spread myself
to be without boundaries
to conquer, to control,
yet diluted drop
doesn’t taste of
blood, soup, love
that I take back
when feeling loss of identity
Not I would be
if lost in love, but
is an owl, and
what a hoot feathers are
But, of course, Jack could often be grandiose. Here he imagines himself being God:
I awoke this morning
finding myself not a cockroach
as in Kafka, but
Everything is a bit much.
Therefore, I put all humanity to sleep,
except for one
You foolish one:
I give you
the power of Love, and
I know you will give it
the infinite Love
I have infused in you,
because this baby
Teach yourself, and
when you’re finished,
help me to continue.
I have many billions more
Jack experimented with the re-assignment of word function. He forced the verb to be noun with an article: “the IS” — beingness; preposition with verb also used to force the verb to be a noun: “with COULD” means “with hope”…
sanguine pump in the played
the laughed love gushed
with could by the wished
the is by the bleed
a duel duet sings
the where ever light
up pump the huh down
duh the why burden heavy
beamed out the shadowed
the light by the be
sings the shine
on flashlight, onward
Jack liked spoofs. Here’s a spoof of the song “Anything Goes”:
warming the scent
to tent all the
and anything goes
decamping a passion
lighting a fire
wellsprings a choir
is parading love
blowing our horns
to vent all the
and anything goes
Drum up a throbbing
glide with a
warming the tent
to scent all the
and anything goes
Well, that’s all for now. Geez, I’m thinking of deleting this — I don’t think this selection does justice to the body of his work — I think he’s done better. I could leave it for now, and I’ll search for more — I know I remember there was a lot more that was better…
One of the underlying techniques embraced by the Xyiwa poets was the unending sentence, dependent clauses galore. This one is hard to follow until you realize that it is structured as “John, a blah-blah, troubled, is lost”:
The Explorer of the Clause
by Jack Chelka
John, explorer of the weird
troubled by the accumulating
detritus of fear, greater in
reputation than courage, who
might easily step into
an abyss of unending tragedy, if
his fans goaded him into
indulging his foolish bravado by
leaping into supernatural danger, a
lurking phantom of dread, a figure
from the closet of his childhood,
this danger that he could
wrap around himself like
a cloak of honor, he, standing on
the magical cliff above the cheering crowd
who wait for his downfall, playing for time
that would run his future out of luck
with his last coin for the
slot machine of lemon cars driven
into rivers of lost hope, and who
distinguished as a novelist
fighting to publish the memoirs of a fool,
hoping bad jokes can be extremely bad,
campy comic and like a
very excellent counterfeit painting, one that
all collectors will insist is real to
save both their face and his, hoping a
cult following will astound the critics, but
not curse him when he ultimately
disappoints them with his frailties, those
quirks that twitch in the night of the dead authors,
John is lost and so am I, but this one is a little easier to follow:
by Douglas Gilbert
The psychic woman
had showed her
rough seas ahead,
said beware the tides
and flowing kisses,
but that seemed like
shallow waters to her
She had a fifth
her thick handkerchief
mopping up her eyes
highly high on her trumpeted mope
slipped on her poor spilled
cocktail of his love kisses
across the stage
where she was to sing beige
before a sea of mahogany tables
over drunks and hecklers
sticky stinky beckoning
bass strings plucking her heart
woe tale wagging about him
the bragging whale
who blew his spout
and left her high and dry.
Seeing her collapsing,
I could not bear her despair,
rose to say,
“I have always loved you,”
and we all stood,
hecklers and all,
to beg the last song
She knew me at last–
kissed me, the little one
Turning from beige to blue
caressing the mike,
she rasped in weeping harmonies
“Stand for me
the stood-up one;
harpoon my love and
sail me to the Port,
wine me down mellow,
me, a cello solo
singing this tale of prophecy:
the big ones get away, and
the little ones stay.”
Jack worked as a chef once and had a steamy affair with a rambunctious waitress named Marie who wrote a few poems about him, and although they had many fights, she did tend to exaggerate. Here’s one of the milder ones:
I Dump the Chef for the Poet
by Marie Draper
My precious chef is a practical man
knows where to find fragrant garlic
can drive a chive dish to profit
buys me gifts and trinkets
but won’t let me buy him mouthwash
says smell is macho natural
won’t wear sissy cologne
I want less spice
but not a diamond ring;
mushrooming passion singing
brings a new excitement to
another, my passionate poor poet
a soul layered
like an onion
In my buttercup, Poetry Man,
I shall sauté our bubbling love
and be soft
don’t make me cry
though I’m unfaithful to riches
Now, who will bring me
Marie could cook too. She made some special dishes on occasion. Pastele is a traditional Puerto Rican dish — Wrapped green banana stuffed meat pastry. It’s wrapped in parchment paper, and made with pork.
by Marie Draper
When I write my poems on parchment
he is my spicy pork
boiling with passion
wrapped in words of love
filling my scroll
dipping in the lip
of a labia pastele seeker
I seem to remember there were a lot of poems written by the Xyiwa poets about floods and storms, but unfortunately I think most of them were written during the purge ceremony: We had a pile of pens, markers, crayons, and paint brushes with buckets of paint scattered about with a giant stack of old computer fan-fold paper. Someone started a chant, “Write your ire — throw it in the fire.” All night we wrote hundreds of pages, most of it crap, and threw it into a bonfire. By not worrying it was supposed to eliminate writer’s block. The day after, we liked to imagine that
everything we wrote was a masterpiece. But unfortunately(or fortunately), Paul Chelibi had bad aim and a few of his poems missed the fire, or at least that’s what I surmise from finding a charred scrap, or maybe it was from a different time and he meant to burn it and changed his mind. I suppose it might need more work, but it’s too late for that now. Well here’s the burnt draft I found:
by Paul Chelibi
you fair weather friend,
have you seen her?
500 year almanacs, and
planes by twilight
didn’t warn us
She and I had last cognacs
before floods scoured
Now lost I am
forgetting her for hours
awash in fragrant flowers
in harsh despair I pray will soften,
but since I see a glimpse too often
of glints in shadow sorrows seen,
I look for her still in rainbows
gone in soaking drowning rains
those floods awash in flagrant flows
of love remains awash and soaked
like boundless muddy sadness buried,
in all, forlorn to mourn a body missing,
not saved by dams man-made
nor comfort jammed assistance,
but madness of sadness remains to be found lost
on ships listing heavy in names of my loss
I also think this one escaped purge night:
Still Verse Born Dead
by Paul Chelibi
I showed you my
only poem child
who wanted to sing me
the gospel of my wails
to sail on windy travails
my hurricane of desire
He is too fragile for you
rock us to sleep
when calm seas
seem too boring
to let us dream
of tranquil verse
our cries to the sky
are more amusing
Here’s a more recent one written by Doug, but he claims he wrote a much better one those many years ago that he threw in the fire on purge night, claims it was magnificent, but nevermind — we’re all stuck with minor work now:
A Wash Day
by Douglas Gilbert
Clear skies a sad beauty
blue light on the
heavy smashed awash
Flagging hopes asunder
only her scarf waves
a brick on its end
My eyes flutter full
overrunning my face
a thunder sob escaping me
though death escapes her not
beneath a fallen wall
she had for me
while I was away
Waves she got
while I could not
too high for tiptoes
dancing toes, dainty
toes in the water
I wave of me in light
it waves of blue in dark,
last waves cried tsunami
The Xyiwa Poets had many “unanswered prayers” — none of them were ever published in a legitimate publication to my knowledge, and I don’t think any of them made it to Woodstock. I haven’t been in contact with any of them except for Doug who’s letting me use this blog space while he recovers from his brush with death and … well that’s another story. I think Paul Chelibi went to the Grand Canyon once, but probably that has nothing to do with this poem of his:
by Paul Chelibi
I am my own donkey
carrying my mule-song
down this canyon road
narrow ledges slippery
More than once
I grasp a tree root
protruding from rock crevices
devastated to hear
answered cries are echoes
off backpacks heavy with
too heavy to cross the river
too light to turn back
heard by vultures circling
seen by eagles leaving
scenes tumbling in
hoping to reveal a cave
a cave-in song, or
Marie Draper was a troubled person who prayed often and experimented with many different religious movements. She kept a journal or diary but was unfaithful to it. Sometimes she shared her journal entries with the group and certainly, everyone would agree that she had many “unanswered prayers”. She said,
“The restaurant where Jack works(where he thinks he is chief Chef, but is really just a lackey — I mean, he hasn’t been to Cordon Bleu school or whatever the hell those elite saucy snob cuisine colleges are called) has been in turmoil ever since one of Jack’s prize steers on his cattle ranch died. He’s not much of a rancher or cattleman and his dream of a new cut of prime famous branded beef has died. As they say, “he’s all hat and no cattle.” He was going after that dream of a perfect herd and great riches. The death of his best stud was the end of a dream. I told him that the Native Americans always said a prayer before eating an animal(so maybe he forgot that part): they thanked the spirit of the buffalo for sacrificing itself for their survival. Jack doesn’t want to put prime beef on the menu for eating anymore — I wouldn’t be surprised if he put a memorial sticker over the entry on the menu. He’s too sad. He just wants to bury it. I say, eat the meat because we have canine teeth for it and we’re not meant to be vegetarians. I’ve written a poem in honor of death and chicken bone soup for poor Yorick or Boris or whoever that famous allusion is, and I think I’m going to dump him, the arrogant chief Chef, because we fight too much. I guess I should have taken him with a grain of salt and thought of him as a poetic moment— wait, um, what ever happened to that discussion at the cave party? I thought we were going to amplify on that concept. Somebody started a flu poem and then did a second more poetic version…. well anyway, here’s the poem:
Marie on Death of a Chef Who Loves His Beef More Than Me
by Marie Draper
Don’t rip me no more
you’re tearing out my guts;
I’m tearing out yours
in my trail
I’m stuffin’ it;
take your chitterlings and go
’cause I’m not mad enough
to eat your brains.
Sweet bread, I
once thought you
were sweet enough
to eat without your pancreas
Defeated I cry blood, but
take it with you
it’s a pleasure
to vomit alone without you:
I can flush
Oh, writing hurts so much, well.. so this scattering:
Oh hell, what is this crap, “Poetic Moment”. I’m not sure what that means. Is it an incident and an emotion that’s trying to be expressed? I’m not sure what many of these poems are trying to say. Some seem to be hiding very dark events that are too painful to express. But I don’t think that vagueness in poetry is always a virtue(I almost accidentally spelled that “vulture”, but I guess vagueness can’t be a vulture, because the carcass is the vagueness I guess— you can see I have trouble with metaphors). Am I wrong about this? My poetic moment is confusion:
I’m confused about
what words to use
to stew my angst
banking fear by the river
where I stir my pot
over the campy fire
with soft marshmallows
charring with emotion
Maybe I misunderstood something, but I thought one of the poems that someone blurted out during one of our drunken orgies was about rape. So I wrote a poem talking about revenge and/or forgiveness. So we come back to vagueness: I don’t know what I’m saying, if anything:
Cornered in Hell
he holds his breath
while praying for his birth
The Devil asks me
shall he be forgiven:
No, no, no,
I cry in remembered blood, but
a question occurs to me to ask
Have I ever been in Hell
on Earth or elsewhere, and
whose forgiveness did I require
I was tempted until I heard
my former tormentor shout,
I will get you even from Hell
My screaming anger
burst into flames
turning him into the ash
of a phoenix
will God seek now
Not mine is a life that
is an end to suffering.
Pain will not let me forgive”
That’s the end of the entry that Marie donated to the group. Each of these is very different but I think they both represent “unanswered prayers”.
Discovery! I found a box of old 45rpm records, and tucked between “Honky Tonk Women” by The Rolling Stones and “Knock On Wood” by Eddie Floyd, I found a gem of a poem by Marie Draper. Gee, I don’t think there’s a turntable anywhere in the cave to play any of these. Oh well, here’s the poem:
Minding A Mine
by Marie Draper
Loving a stone
is like being stoned
he comes alive
coursing in gold veins,
in my mine
and I share my treasures
pleasures we are
in my mind, but
he is a rocking
a stone of mystery
he is a gem,
I love a stone
And I found this one at the bottom of the box. I had to wait to stop sneezing from all the dust before transcribing it.
I call to the waterfall
who shushes my heart
a shining sky peaks
Waterfalls speak that
shining tizzy for bears who
love a glistening fish falling in
jumping bubbles of dinner calling,
but alone I watch for
the arrow of Cupid
within the rushing twirling fluid
and I pray to the guardian
of the calming sound
for a listening lover
found so fit
to christen me in
the love in a bubble
a splashing sound
breaks for a ship
Cleaning up the mess has been more tedious, more arduous than I could have ever imagined, slowed when an objet d’angst brings me the pain of reminiscence, tiny little crumbles and broken things. What is it I should remember…
Y’know, the more I think about it, the more I realize that as kids we were arrogant and foolish to think we were inventing new theories of transcendence: we thought that thought-games would liberate us from redundant emotions and sentences to obscurity such as this. Venting anger on paper was supposed to cleanse us. It didn’t work. If anything it reinforced our rage.We must have written hundreds of angry, unfocussed poems that wound up in the trash. But I think when Paul Chelibi helped Marie Draper write a few, it wasn’t too bad.
I found something the other day. I had been doing a meditation on a stack of 45’s when I found a tightly crumbled up wad of paper in the center hole of a record. At first I thought it was a crude version of one of those plastic conversion discs that were used to change the large hole of a 45 to a small hole so you could play it on a 33 1/3 rpm turntable. Maybe, out of curiosity, I’ll try to play it, some other time, to see if it has any significance– hmm,”Lover’s Holiday” by Peggy Scott &; Jo Jo Benson? Sort of scratched up…
I’ve unfolded the crumbled up center paper and even with all the dark black pencil scribbles all over it, I’ve managed to pick up the impression of the writing from the undersheet. So here’s one which I think was a tamed down version from an argument between Marie and her sister about who would make a better hypothetical Secretary General of the UN. It’s pretty mild and I think maybe the original rant was better. Paul broke up the fight, and by the time he and Marie decided to collaborate on a poem they were both too calm and too drained of passion. I’ll look and see if I can find some other draft, but for now here’s the crumbled up version:
by Marie Draper (with Paul Chelibi)
While resolutions were tabled
at the foot of war
peace was axed, and
the ancient evil growled
in the castle fortress
on the pimple of the world
The blond UN lady
knew I would blitz
up the hill with
for I had advertised
my attack with polish
that it was time to chop wood
Dreaming at the foot of twilight
the ancient house called
me to reform its recalcitrant wood
to etch a notch in the handle of my adze
by slaying the dragon
saving my son but
I had brass and so did he,
so I arrived to his triumph
kissed his success
as we cried for the dead
Kiss my adze blond lady
if you want to auction it
to the highest bidder who
chops down ancient trees
in the forest of the evil castle
where the Beast waits
to be transformed by
the Beauty of justice
at “twilight’s last gleaming”
If I would be as beautiful
as he is ugly
I might approach him
but I polish
the handle of my adze
until I am pure of heart
and the wood is ready for carving
because death is the only solution
for the impudence of ignorant brutality
Only revenge now
when evil breathes fire
Tasty is the barbecue
that roasts on the
spit of freedom
And speaking about rage, here’s one by Doug:
by Douglas Gilbert
Justice, I called on you
to shield me
from my father,
a hanging judge
who made me
an orphan from love
as he had been one
in fact and for me
de facto. TURNING AWAY,
a scientist, giving me
a time machine,
let me go back to pre-mean.
Seeing my Grandmother
hit by a random stone
I lured her into a trap, thought to
let the crowd stone her to death
a method ensured to suggest
to Fate that my Father never be born.
Told I could not come back
as I wouldn’t exist,
I visited myself as a child,
had him kill, but
it took an extra day for
his Mother and him to dump the body,
never did tell his friend Becky
to check out the museum where
she was to meet her future husband,
father of the world’s greatest healer.
If it was my fate to suffer
I was convinced these paradoxes
made time traveling circuses
dreams not to be had
as I know I woke up from
but next time I’ll
then kill him
I could have gotten help
when Justice I called on you
but you were dead;
I am Justice alone.
I didn’t want to do any spring cleaning because bringing back memories is so painful. I’ve been finding all kinds of stuff.
I found an odd note from Jack Chelka: “I’m sorry I left in such a hurry, so if you find any of my poems, could you please burn them. Well, OK, I know you never listen to me, so, could you give them to Doug in case he ever publishes anything. He can do whatever he wants with them. I’m going somewhere — maybe Australia. You are groovy Ziohat… and don’t take this the wrong way but you have been so cool and I love your… nevermind… peace and love,
Jack Chelka, 1969
p.s. Marie Draper says, ‘Right on.’ ”
Well yeah, great guy, and I’ve found at least one poem that was to be burned:
Not A Fair Match
This last affair
not a fair match
in the clinches
Saving the ring and little else
only one tissue an eye
a tissue in each corner
to watch her die
stifle a scream
sing a lullaby
put my voice in her
to ring out hush tones
wring out tissues
silhouetted shreds in a box
HEY, ENOUGH OF THIS. I HAVE A BETTER IDEA. WHY SHOULDN’T I GET SOME DRILLING EQUIPMENT OR MAYBE EVEN SOME DYNAMITE. I’LL JUST BLOW HOLES IN THE WALL AND FLOOR UNTIL I FIND A PASSAGEWAY TO THE SECRET CAVES. I SHOULD HAVE DONE THIS YEARS AGO INSTEAD OF WASTING TIME TRYING TO FEEL ALONG THE ROCK FOR SOME KIND OF DOOR. WHY LOOK FOR SOME MECHANISM THAT OPENS IT? I’LL JUST BLAST THROUGH. WHY NOT? IT COULD WORK. IT’S GOT TO BE SOMEWHERE.
My New Exploration Blog
OK, forget the archive blog. It’s time to do an exploration blog. I’m looking for a mining contractor who can get me some explosives. I don’t know why I never thought of doing this before. I remember how I saw Doug once go down a passageway as I was about to call him to ask a question, but he turned a corner and when I reached the turn he had disappeared. I dismissed it at the time, because I thought maybe I was distracted and somehow he just ran past me. No, he must have gone through a secret door.
I told them I’m mining for gold, but it’s all top-secret. They’re setting up the explosives. Once they’ve done the blasts, I’ll tell them I’m calling in a digging crew and I’ll dismiss them. I’ll just tell them I’ve run out of money for now and I’m looking for investors and blah, blah. They’ll think I’m a crackpot and lose interest. Then I’ll explore at my leisure. This could work. I’ve already paid them plenty.
I don’t know, maybe Doug was just kidding about a secret society. It was years ago and maybe I remember everything wrong. Yeah, maybe I was just drunk and Doug just ran past me and I remember it wrong. But wait, I think he did disappear more that once… Besides all that, it could just be a very minor cave of no importance.
This is getting more complicated. I need special permits and an inspector has to come. The geologist says I’m nuts and there can not be any gold. Oh hell, the gold story was a bad idea.
I’m not sure yet, but I think a found someone who for a little extra money will do whatever I want — no questions asked…
We’ll see… I’ll write more in the blog as soon as I’ve arranged something. Yeah, OK, and if this works out I’ll start to give a lot more details. Sorry about that — I didn’t think it was safe to give names and descriptions of the equipment… OK, as soon as I get this organized I’ll describe the whole operation in detail. This should be exciting….
ZAWMB’YEE BECOMES HIGH PRIESTESS
I’m a nervous wreck. When Utcoozhoo called, I thought he’d just wanted me to come back to the sacred quarters just to study the ceremonies and protocols that a Grand Council member should know. He had said he just needed me for a few crucial votes, but it’s not that simple. I thought I was to be a stand-in, a figurehead appointment. He has assigned me a Mieta (tutor), but I feel like a little young Queen and he has assigned me a Gavicte (Regent). The Gavicte will handle my executive duties until I understand fully what my responsibilities and powers are.
I had thought when Utcoozhoo had me appointed to the council that I was just going to join Utcoozhoo in a few votes, and otherwise, I’d just stay in the background while he and his Wejamn (cabal) rescinded Zusoiti’s powers. Utcoozhoo had said it was just a technicality, but the fact that he had cajoled the Grand Council into electing me as the temporary replacement for the absent Zusoiti, has made me the High Priestess. He had said not to worry because I didn’t have to actually do anything, and that before Zusoiti, most High Priestesses did not actually exercise their powers although, theoretically, they could have.
Maybe, I’m just a silly naïve little girl: I mean, look how I’ve just been bopping around the Wejpob down the staircase that Utcoozhoo showed me, and that he allowed me to decorate. I’ve always been happy to just turn the corner into my apartment without noticing the nooks and crannies in the corridor that are actually doors to other places. I’ve just been on the edge of a maze of passageways, oblivious to a profound matrix.
But now, ever since the Gavicte has shown me the entrance to the Kmpamew (Palace), I am astounded.
Yenkoi seems like a trustworthy Gavicte. I think that if Utcoozhoo recommended him, he must be reliable, but maybe not. I’m not exactly sure what’s going on, and maybe Utcoozhoo was forced by the Council to appoint their favorite. On the other hand, he does seem meticulous in the way he lays out all the caveats and options.
Yenkoi does pay attention to every detail with his penetrating brown eagle eyes. His deep voice resonates with careful enunciation and I imagine that his aquiline nose will vacuum in the scent of trouble, or sniff unkindly at the vulgar, he, standing tall and grandly thin, but all seems heavy on his officious bushy brow.
Yenkoi had said, “Fevepo Zawmb’yee, I am required to inform you that…”
“Excuse me for interrupting,” I said, “but what does ‘Fevepo’ mean?”
“Um, well… I see that your Mieta has a lot of work to do. Let me put it this way: it is a title or term of respect which means roughly, ‘Your majesty High Priestess who is all powerful.’ ”
“Oh, that’s scary. Maybe you could call me chicky babe…” I thought poor old Yenkoi was going to have a heart attack, so I added, “I’m just joking — I’ll work with my Mieta to learn all these terms. Sorry, please continue Gavicte Yenkoi.”
“Yes, thank you. Fevepo Zawmb’yee, I am required to inform you that I will be acting in your name to exercise all executive powers of state while you study the Ofuye and legal documents. However, although it is generally not recommended, you have the power and right to overrule or rescind any order I have issued in your name, and may if you deem it necessary, issue an order or decree of your own which will be followed and obeyed by all subjects of the realm. You may write and promulgate laws to enforce your decrees as you deem necessary.”
“Don’t worry. Your Mieta will instruct and inform you on the state of affairs, and I will handle everything until you are ready…”
Oh Kievifkwa, this has been all too overwhelming. I’ve only spent one overnight at the Kmpamew. I’ve postponed my appointment with Apacevj, the Mieta. I’m not looking forward to having a formal teacher. I mean, Utcoozhoo is a fatherly figure, knows when I don’t understand something, and knows how to explain a subject with a story. His homework can be difficult, but I don’t mind doing it for him. He doesn’t push me too hard, but guides me toward the subtleties. Utcoozhoo is always very patient with me, but Yenkoi, now, I’ve come to think, is in a rush or panic about something, and very eager for me to get started with Apacevj.
Oh Kievifkwa, I nearly ran screaming from the Kmpamew (but I was calm and polite to Yenkoi, actually). I told the Gavicte I had to consult with Utcoozhoo urgently, and that seemed to placate him. I told Utcoozhoo I had to go back to Doug’s apartment to unwind, because I was still feeling weird and not myself. Oddly, he didn’t object, seemed preoccupied, and just thanked me for the report on James Ziohat.
I don’t know why I didn’t want to stay at the Kmpamew. It’s very luxurious. Yenkoi, proudly gave me the grand tour and told me the statistics: there are 800 rooms, 25 State Rooms, 60 guest rooms, 100 offices, 200 staff rooms, and 100 bathrooms. Doug would be impressed with the State Dining Room and the kitchens and the chefs, and … . Oh Kievifkwa, I don’t need all that.
I’ve chosen my Royal study and bedroom. Oops, I’ve forgotten the correct terms for those, but anyway, I guess, considering how scatterbrain I can be sometimes, Yenkoi has done the best he could.
Well, I can say this: the Grand Ballroom is magnificent, with a sky high ceiling and with a seemingly endless staircase, and thanks to Utcoozhoo’s instructions, the Gavicte took extraordinary measures to accommodate my tastes. When Yenkoi said, I have a special surprise for you, I thought, oh no, now what. We had entered the huge room through the main entrance off the sacred corridor.
But he had said, “We’ve taken special measures for your Grand Ballroom. We’ve hung Velijdiko that reflect your esthetic tastes while still functioning quite well… ”
“It’s drapery or curtains made from the traditional fabric of fiber-optic threads, and carbon nano-tubes, joined with the standard interstitial crystalline rubies and sapphires and with rare-earth wave-guides. But the enhancements are adjusted to… ”
“Too much information for me right now, um…”
“Yes, Fevepo Zawmb’yee, let’s just say, it’s beautiful adjustable-color curtains that also act as a communication device and antenna. Will this do for today?”
“Yes, thank you, Gavicte Yenkoi. I’m sorry, I interrupted you — you were going to say?”
Yenkoi gestured and we walked across the expansive marble floor. Yenkoi tilted his head: “Look up at the Gijlek, um, the frescoes…”
I looked up at the ceiling. Beautiful landscape paintings adorned the surface. I said, “Wow. It’s great and so intricate, but the ceiling is so far away and … Oh, didn’t you say before that you had a ‘special surprise’ for me? Is this it?”
“No, Fevepo Zawmb’yee. Walk with me to the center of the room.”
We walked across landscape mosaics imbedded in the floor, meadows and flowers, deer and fruit trees. As we approached the center, I could see a desk and chair on a long low platform resting in the center of the room. “That’s an odd place to place a desk,” I said.
“Well, step with me onto the platform. Be careful of the rim — step over it.”
We stepped up just an inch or so. I sat down in the chair. “What’s the rim for?”
“That’s so the chair doesn’t roll off the platform.”
“Well, then if it did, I could just roll around the marble floor… ”
“Not if you’re near the ceiling…”
“Yes, well. It is after all a Reksipj, and if you’re flying around you have to be careful. Look up — do you see that white blank spot?”
“That’s for your painting. Look at your desk.”
“Oh… tubes of my favorite acrylic paints. Let’s see. Yes, wow: you’ve given me all the primary and secondary colors, custom shades… um, extra large white, yeah OK. Great. Brushes?”
“Yes, in the draws, all the standard types and sizes, and if you need it we can custom make a brush to your specifications.”
I told Yenkoi I’d take flying lessons some other time. Painting in the sky is something new for me, and I’ve never seen a bird use a paint brush so even though birds are good at flying, they must not think that painting is safe.”
Now I’m really starting to worry: I think I’m having blackouts. I remember after leaving the Kmpamew that I gave Utcoozhoo my report on James Ziohat, and then I went to my old sacred quarters in the old main corridor that I was familiar with and that Doug had been to.
But something major is happening because I woke up in the morning back at Doug’s apartment with no memory of how I got there. Other than the missing time, I woke up in bed with Doug, feeling wonderful, but something is missing. I think I’m back to myself, but where was I and what did I do? I got dressed quickly, had some coffee to wake up, and went back to the bedroom. Still a puzzle.
I kissed Doug and he woke up smiling. I said, “Do I seem normal to you?”
“Normal?” he said, “When have you ever been normal? You’re extraordinary…”
“Yeah, right … um, how is your novel going?”
“Well, being absorbed in the world of my characters, feeling as if they actually exist and are real, I wonder what is real. Do we live in a dream? Is everything we perceive just our imagination? How do we know this is real and … ”
“It means something like, ‘Philosophers can say the world is unreal until reminded of pain, chocolate, and sex.’ ”
“One word for that?”
“Actually, it’s more than that. Most Utd’mbts words are symbols for concepts. There are different levels of sophistication for the Utd’mbts language. Utcoozhoo says I’m mostly at the baby talk babble stage where a symbol stands for a sound, but higher forms of Utd’mbts have nothing to do with sound. There is the ‘thing’, the actuality of what is referred to, and then different levels of symbolism which are to re-trigger the experience of the ‘thing’. ”
“Oh, I know, I don’t know what I’m saying exactly. I’m just bluffing. But now I’m supposed to do better.”
“What do you mean ‘now’. Now what?”
“Uh, well, the whole Grand Council can ‘speak’ the upper levels of Utd’mbts and they’re probably maneuvering behind my back to keep control. I think only Utcoozhoo is watching my back.”
“OK. Try this again. The highest level of Udt’mbts is what?”
“A word is a push-dream. The word is a trigger to a two hour movie that occurs in a second. It doesn’t have speech but it has music, vision, smell, and flavor. It has a meaning and a taste. To speak, one would push the vision of the singing pigeon that is to be eaten without remorse… you devour the thing and you can ‘have your cake and eat it too.’ ”
“This makes no sense.”
“It is: a word for a thought as complete as a dream.”
“You have to do it to know it.”
“I tried a little of that sort of process but didn’t get far. If Evewapei then after death when the reality of the world stops for the individual, is there nothing? And if there is something, isn’t that more real or,… or, um, more permanent? Is anything real beyond the self… um, you’re giving me a headache…”
“Utcoozhoo always says, ‘Jipacy!’ ”
“Only love is real.”
“That doesn’t sound like what Utcoozhoo would say… he’s never definite.”
“OK. That’s what I say.”
I told Doug all about the Kmpamew and I said I thought maybe he should come to live with me there during my interim appointment, just until the new Council is sworn-in in the new year.
Doug said, “you know, they lied to us. Didn’t we always think the caves were barren and underpopulated, especially after so many moved up-top to live? They didn’t say anything about a palace and a secret city.”
“Yeah, we missed an entire world. How could we have not known about an isolated and secret society in our midst?…”
“And did you ever see any workers coming and going from there?”
“And these people are not any of the crowd in the main cave that we saw on the day of the last crisis?”
“No. They don’t dress the same and I don’t think I’ve ever seen them before.”
“Speaking of dressing: you were organizing your closet and you were going to finish unpacking the seven chests of the Nipusindi.”
“Well, yeah, but I’ve been busy…”
“Well now that you’re part of the upper-upper strata of society, you may want to wear some of the clothes from the chest.”
“I don’t know what to choose or where to put it all and, um, how to organize…”
“I would think they have endless closets in a palace, and some kind of servant who can help you. Didn’t you say there’s a large staff?”
“Well, I just met the Gavicte and I wanted to study some documents before seeing my Mieta … Oh damn, oh Kievifkwa!”
“What’s Kievifkwa ?”
“Oh hell, it’s just our general all around curse word, or expletive… you know how I am with definitions…Oh Kievifkwa! And damn, how am I going to remember all these rules and stuff…”
“What stuff is that?”
I explained to Doug what little I knew about the weapons in the armory and about the rules for intruders. I said, “There’s a possibility that James Ziohat might accidentally drill into the ceiling of the Kmpamew.”
“It’ll never happen: the little twerp just talks big. His grand plans never go anywhere… but I’ve got better news…”
“I get to paint on the ceiling of the Kmpamew.”
I decided that Doug and I are too obsessed with our projects and we should just go for a walk. He’s right about one thing: I should finish unpacking the seven chests of the Nipusindi. But I just dragged Doug into my bedroom, threw open the lids to all the chests, and started pulling things out and piling them onto my bed. I said, “Which of these do you think I’d look best in?” Doug seemed to point to one at random.
Doug said, “That one. The Royal purple dress with the gold trim or whatever…”
I stripped off the plain green dress that I had been wearing and I looked over at another of the chests. I threw a collection of colorful bras onto the bed. I said, “Which of these?”
Doug said, “First take this one off,” and he unfastened my plain white bra. He tickled his fingers over my nipples.
I said, “I’m getting dressed, not undressed. Remember?”
“So which would you choose?”
“Um, the one with the metal breastplate — the warrior princess look or um, whatever it’s called…”
“OK. But I’ll do it. I’m putting it on, not off.” Yes, I thought, we do need a walk in the fresh air. I slipped into the Royal purple dress. I said, “How does that look?”
“Does it fit? It doesn’t bulge anywhere?”
“No, no, no. It fits perfectly. Your body is perfect.”
I pulled out some other dresses. I said, “Maybe this one would be a better color?”
“Well, um, uh, that whole bunch looks like the wrong size?”
I said, “Uh, yeah, those seem different.” Then something weird happened: I found myself saying, “Of course those are different. They are the slave uniforms.”
“What did you say?”
“Oh, I don’t know why I said that. Um, OK, I’ll just put on some make-up and we’ll take a walk. OK?”
I rushed around and quickly got ready. I took Doug’s hand and we were out the door. “You know, I’ve been meaning to ask you…”
“Whenever I go in or out from your apartment, I never see anyone… ”
“Uh, well, actually the whole building is empty except for me. All of the other apartments are just there to provide addresses and false identities so Utcoozhoo can launder money. He sells precious metals and other things from the Tzalbihuki under different names. The wealth that the gods brought us is what gives us a source of income. If an inspector comes, we put someone in an apartment for the day.”
We walked down the clean well-lit hallway with the gold carpet and plain white walls. I said, “Well if this is your building, maybe I could practice painting murals on these empty walls.”
“Sure. Why not.”
We arrived at the elevator with the car ready. “Oh, well, now I understand why the elevator is always here.” We stepped in, and I pushed ‘L’. “But if there’s no one here, what do we do in an emergency?”
“Oh we have double backup.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well, the original building plans don’t show it, but we took out several columns of apartments and we used two of those columns to make two extra elevator shafts.”
“Huh? How would we get out of here?”
“Well, see the handle on the side panel that says, ‘emergency only’?”
“That opens to a parallel shaft that has a hand operated pulley system with multiple shelves that fold at the top and bottom of the shaft to make a continuous loop.”
“No, you just open the door, pull down the nearest shelf and hop on. You can hoist yourself up, or let gravity take you down. Wanna see?”
“No some other time.” The elevator opened onto our opulent lobby with the red carpet, blush couch, and the fish pond. “You know, maybe you should invite someone, and make them wait down here just so someone can use the couch.”
“I suppose, but its really just a front.”
“Ah, it’s a sunny day.” Doug opened the door for me and we walked to the corner. The sign said ‘WALK’, so we did — across the street into the honking, dodging the cars that had trapped themselves in the intersection at the change of light, and we swirled around the line at the hot dog stand. We pushed our way to the pedestrian flow that was moving in our direction. I said, “Let’s walk to the park.”
“Look at that tourist over there coming towards us: She’s wearing your purple dress.”
“No. It has a different collar … How do you know she’s a tourist?”
“By the way she’s looking up at the skyscrapers and looking everywhere like she wants to take in every sight.”
“…yeah, stands tall, struts confidently with proud marching breasts…”
The woman smiled and passed us by, but I became worried. “Did you feel that?”
“What? I think she said something but I couldn’t make it out.”
“No, I felt an upper Utd’mbts word.”
“I could have sworn she said, ‘Yes, I’m a tourist of sorts.’ ”
“No. She didn’t speak. She pushed an Utd’mbts word into your subconscious and you allowed it to bubble up into your consciousness, though a little distorted.”
“Hmm. Now that you mention it, it did feel like upper Utd’mbts. I haven’t tried using that in years…”
“I saw ‘Old Faithful’, the geyser at Yellowstone National Park, a plane to the city, a car to her hotel room, and her walking here… and she thinks you’re cute…”
“Hmm, um. Her life story in a second?”
“Sort of …”
“Wow. Great. Cool.”
“No. I’m not so sure it’s benign. I’m worried.”
We made our way towards the corner of the park. I think we passed the building with the trees on every terrace, and the buses faced us at every stop with their unloading commotions and their boarding confused hordes looking for cards and change. But mostly I didn’t notice if there were gems in the din, or new fashions in the store windows, no, mostly, I listened to the music of Doug’s chatter because I love the sound of his voice — it comforts me and I know when the song of his voice turns tender, when I laugh, that he loves to be with me, and when my word of acknowledgment makes him smile and pause, I know he loves me like the humming bird loves the flower however fast the flutter of his wings. I think perhaps I dress to be his nectar.
Doug said, “Could this be a Phthalocyanine Blue sky?”
“I mean, it seems like a god has lent you his brushes, and you’ve painted my sky. Is it you who paints my world?”
“No, it is you who shines on my tears, penetrates the rainbow of my feelings and I show you the canvas of the world as I see it. I look in your eyes and pray they will see every color that makes you happy and if I would be on your palette, brush me.” His hand brushed my cheek and touched my lips, but we nearly collided with a passerby who said, “Idiots!”
Doug said, “Maybe we are foolish to speak poetically. I mean, if we don’t speak colloquially or idiomatically in English, and develop such bad speaking habits, then how will we blend into the up-top world?”
I was a little insulted — I thought I was flowing and in tune with a romantic moment. I said, “No we’re not foolish. A little blend, a little metaphor. All things in moderation, as they say, but I say, except in matters of love, and then, and then, um…”
“Um, uh, and then the silent blend,” said Doug as he kissed my hand, and then we crashed into a hot dog stand.
Doug said, “Um, we’ll take two with sauerkraut.”
I said, “Mustard and chili.”
“Look, there’s a hansom cab parked up ahead and someone is giving the horse a carrot, and see over there the portrait artist doing someone…”
“Dougie wougie wougie, yeah, why don’t we cross over to the hotel side and then cross to the park? Yeah…”
“OK. You’ve got mustard and chili dripping down your face.” The vendor gave Doug a napkin and he wiped my face clean with love, patience, and indulgence if I may speak in such terms — I don’t know if I know the words for this moment.
We went down the corner staircase to the fork where the rocks rest in front of The Big Pond. A guitar and a saxophone player were tuning up while people climbed the rocks behind them, and people to the right in front sat on the grass behind the benches that lined the northward path.
We took the westward path, along the pond, the water and ducks on the right, a lawn, trees, and the border stone wall on the left. Above the wall we could still see the street in chatter-walking glory, see the hotels across the way, and we drank in the day, springy stepped and steeped in joy.
The benches were flecked with picnickers carousing, singles, double-troublers, troubadours, people, some at ease, one at an easel on the grass, and a bearded man washing his face at a water fountain.
We walked along until we could choose an interesting path that led into the interior of the park. At a short distance in, I felt an inner commotion. An influence swept by us. I said, “Did you feel that?”
Doug said, “Yes, I felt something in Utd’mbts: something about ‘Runaway Horse!’”
“Yes,” I said. Just then, a figure in a purple dress, far up ahead, ran across the path and up a rocky hill so fast that it seemed just a flash of color that froze at the top. Two others in purple followed right behind.
Doug said, “Another word: it feels dire, but I can’t understand it… ”
I pulled Doug over behind a tree. I said, “Duck down and stop thinking — meditate on nothingness.” One of the figures pulled out what looked like a weapon of some kind. A beam of light struck the figure who stood still and then vanished in place; there was no fall, change of position, or obstruction, but the figure was just gone instantly. Doug was not focused and reacted. I said, “Doug! You spoke to them in Utd’mbts.”
“Yes, we’d better run.” We turned and ran back the way we came, and then across and up an outcrop of rock. We could see the two figures go under a pedestrian bridge, open a door and disappear. “Watch what you say!”
“I don’t know what I said.”
“What? Um, is it safe now?”
“I think so. I don’t feel anything.”
Oh, well, this is the second time we had had a bright sunny morning, and an ominous afternoon. But this time we decided not to rush into anything. Last time, when we rashly chased after Zusoiti, Doug was nearly killed by a hand gun. But this seems to be an escalation: I had thought weapons from the sacred tiboesri were never to be used up-top. Whoever this was, evidently, is willing to use the legendary acacizg weapon. With the exception of it possibly being used in ancient times, as described in the Ofuye, I don’t think it has ever been used before. It was to be stored for the gods return. But I’m not sure if the brew of this storm is mixed with lightning or with swirling updrafts.
I suppose jogging and dodging through traffic and crowds back to Doug’s apartment had been good exercise, and I had gotten to practice seeing upper Utd’mbts, but in my fancy flights I think I have felt more like a pigeon than a hawk, not much like a dove, because my anger waits for its eagle nature to emerge while I rest in the fatigue of ruffled feathers, a sadness that reigns in the unknown. I wonder how it is that Doug remembers a little Utd’mbts in a crisis, but usually doesn’t know any; it’s not that I’m an expert or anything (and I too often only speak the verbal lower Utd’mbts) but …
Oh I forgot the point I was going to make. So anyway, we got back safely, Doug made eggplant parmesan with sardines, anchovies, and cherries, and I made mocha-cinnamon-ginger coffee with banana ice cream on top, a happy foam.
We ate in the dining room which we used to call the banquet room, but ever since Doug bought a new table at “Curiosity Tables” in the village, it doesn’t seem so elegant or royal. The guy told Doug it was made in the 1950’s but I think it’s too primitive — more like the 1890’s. Oh Kievifkwa, what do I know: I’m not a furniture expert; I should ask Chloë. Well, it is a curiosity: the table setting areas on the periphery are normal, but the center is taken up by an oblong conveyor belt. The whole thing seats thirty without a squeeze, but there’s usually just the two of us. Mostly, we sit together at one end, but sometimes we sit at opposite ends of the table so Doug can play with the mechanism. He puts the plate down at his end and it circles around the table until it reaches me. We don’t do it much anymore because he once told me to pass the pie while we were sitting at opposite ends. It annoyed me. I raised my pitching arm and threw it at him like a flying saucer. He threw it back and so no more face-offs.
I think we’ll ask Chloë to find us an elegant table, or we’ll just put the old one back. This time, Doug served me graciously, and we sat together staring into each other’s eyes.
It had been a delicious meal and we were more relaxed, but the thought of some sort of wipzib roaming around in the up-top world was disquieting. I took a sip of coffee foam and used a spoon to eat a lump of ice cream still floating on the top. Doug jabbed at a piece of eggplant.
Doug said, “Y’know, I think you were right a while back when you said you thought you saw Zusoiti’s followers wandering the streets, organizing rallies. I thought at the time you were just imagining it.”
“I think it’s wipzib.”
“Um, a secret police.”
“Well, um, we’re in big trouble. How minor is this catastrophe do you think?”
“Oh, just the end of the world… Just kidding… um, I think…”
“Hmm. The dance of doom. Is it? Well, so, what would Utcoozhoo say?”
“Yes? And what does that mean?”
“OK. Here we go again. Um, Tiglekso means, um, uh, um … “
“It means: there is no sense in brooding on possibilities in a fog that may yet bring water to a catch-net in the desert, no sense in not letting the music of fog horns teach caution when only the dawn will lift yearning spirits ready to grow in sun and in shade, these spirits who have looked for dream stars in the dark of nightly prayers, and no sense to brood when all is lifted by the clearing.”
“In short: don’t worry.”
“Oh? Fog condenses into water on netting hung on a tree?”
“Yes. This is just an approximation — you have to feel the word as a whole to see it all at once and the metaphors can change, although the underlying concept is static. At least that’s how Utcoozhoo last said it, I think. Maybe I’ll ask my Mieta, um, my tutor.”
“You have a tutor to teach you Utd’mbts?”
“Yes, his name is Apacevj. I’m supposed to make an appointment with him, but…”
“Yeah. Not just Utd’mbts: I have to learn rules and law and protocol and a bunch of other stuff. I’m in a fog… Hey let’s make a sunrise now!”
“What d’ya mean?”
“You get a tarpaulin or plastic sheet or something to cover the hallway carpet from your workroom, and meet me in the hallway. I’ll get some paints from my room. Race you to the hallway — loser cleans the dishes.” I knocked over my chair and ran toward the door.
Doug said, “Wait, not fair. You got a headstart.”
I turned and shouted over my shoulder as I left, “And bring some brushes.” I got to my room, grabbed a bag, ran out through the living room into the hallway with my duffel bag packed with tubes of acrylic paints. I shouted, “I win, I win!” Doug came lumbering out onto the gold carpet with a giant rolled up tarp. He dropped it with a thud. I kissed him. We unrolled it all the way down the hallway and covered all the carpet.
“Wait,” he said. “I’ll get a bucket of white paint as primer and a bucket of blue for a basic sky background.”
“As long as you’re going, could you also look in my room and get some charcoal sticks or some soft 4B pencils…”
“OK,” he said and turned back. He has a nice behind and a bold brisk walk. I had some good ideas for a mural and for him.
It had been a long day and it was hard to get into my artist mode. I walked up and down the hallway, staring at the blank wall, trying to envision what I wanted to paint. I was thinking I didn’t really feel like brushing on a wide broad background first. Doug returned with the bucket of blue, the bucket of white, the charcoal, and the pencils. I said, “I know it’s harder, but I think I want to do a sketch first, do some fine shimmering detail around the edges and then the background last. Yeah, it’s backward, but it’s possible to do, and the wall is already in good shape — it doesn’t need any priming.”
Doug dragged the unneeded buckets across to the opposite wall, and brought me the pencils. He said, “Well, what I’ve done when my foreground has gotten out of control and destroyed the background beyond recognition is to sketch in some guide lines to keep the perspective correct for the beginning and end pieces of hidden objects in the background and … ”
“Yeah. I get it. I do my drawing first. Then, I could sketch guide lines for the background. I could start a horizon line and lift my pencil as I pull it through my sketch and push it down again as I reach the other border of my drawing. Yeah, I’ve got it. I can do it backwards… ”
“OK. Are we ready now?”
“Uh… You’re not going to be mad, are you if …”
“No. Did you forget something?”
I did the coy look. “You could do me a little favor …”
“What does the cute little Zawmbee Warmbee want to inspire and to equip the preparation of her pièce de résistance ?”
“Dougie Wougie-Wougie, Sir, if you would be so kind as to get a big bucket of plain water for rinsing and some little empty buckets for the little brushes… ”
“And could you get my purse and some skin lotion.”
“Alright. Is that everything?”
“Uh, and a partridge, and a pear tree. No, just kidding. And bring your gorgeous self back.”
“As you wish, Miss artist extraordinaire,” he said with equanimity though he did not exactly perform an entrechat — more of a trudge then a leap. But he can thrust his legs out in a wide strided power walk away in animalistic grace. I had my own purr waiting…
I walked to the end of the hallway and started a sketch of a deer. Not exactly right. I walked up and down the hallway, stopped in the middle, and sketched a tree.
Doug came back with all my stuff. He was sweating. I said, “Take off your shirt, and look at my deer sketch.”
Doug walked down the hallway. “It’s a good start… Y’know, I haven’t heard much about the deer this year…”
“Yeah. I noticed that. Every year they do stories about how the deer are eating people’s gardens and one group wants to hire hunters and another has some birth control scheme. With all the protest marches, nothing gets done, the population explodes and they starve.”
Doug said, “We’ve always just ate them. It doesn’t seem like such a problem.”
“Yeah. I don’t know — city people only eat cattle, I guess. But anyway, this year there are no stories.”
“What do you mean?”
“The deer have disappeared,” I said.
“Oh? Well, we have plenty in storage. Next time we’re in the cave I’ll try out a new recipe for some 20,000-year-old venison.”
“Yeah. I like your venison… And walk along and look at my tree sketch…” While Doug stood in front of the drawing, I gazed at his back. He has a thick ribbon of twisted hair down the center of his back that looks like a double-helix. The hair on the sides of his back has a horizontal growing pattern from the side towards the center. It was disrupted, so I took a comb out of my purse, combed his back hair from each side towards the center, and then softly brushed it in the same way with my hands. Doug turned and I combed his chest hair downward. His hair is soft: some blond, some brown, and some gray, although the ribbon down his stomach is all dark brown. I petted his chest with my hands and when I rested my hand over his heart, it was beating so hard I thought my hand would be bruised. When I asked how my sketch was, Doug couldn’t speak, and when I reached into his pants I knew why. I pushed him against the wall. I said, “I have an idea for a drawing. Stay here.” I unbuckled his belt…
Even in the very bright lights of the hallway, Doug looked delectable in the nude, and he stood tall and erect. I said, “I’m going to do a sketch first, but the theme of my painting is going to be ‘Flying mushroom fountain between two trees…’ or something like…”
Doug looked down at himself and said, “Well, uh, umm…”
I gently wrapped my fingers around his scrotum and rested my thumb on his lower shaft. “Hmm,” I said, “the shaft is thicker and wider than a mushroom, and the tip has complex curves, actually…” I unwrapped my hand and touched the tip with my forefinger. I said, “Hmm, only a portion of the top front part is a rounded sphere-like shape with two lobes, and uh, what would you say Doug?”
Doug said, “Uh huh, uh-ha uh-ha uh-ha uh-ha mmmm uh mmmm uh…”
I said, “I don’t understand… is that a breathing exercise?” Doug sounded like a speeded up version of ocean waves crashing on the beach: the exhale like crashing waves, and the inhales like swooshy gasps. I ran my finger alone the surface towards the back edge. I said, “Hmm, the back edge curves upward, but a mushroom curves downward. Sort of like a ski slope or … What do you think Doug?”
Doug said, “Mmm uh, uh-haaa, uh-haaa, uh-haaa.”
I said, “Yeah, I think I have the basic form. I’ll do a sketch outline and then I’ll paint it.” I stepped back to get my pencils and look for a good spot on the wall.
Doug said, “Umm. You don’t want to get paint on you dress — why don’t you take it off.”
“Not yet,” I said. “I’m just doing a sketch first.” I found a spot on the wall next to Doug. But there started to be some changes, so I backed up, sort of hugged myself and did a little dance in front of Doug. He stood tall again and I went back to the wall, but I drew with my right hand and did some exploring with my left hand. I said, “Should this be a realistic painting or a surreal symbolic landscape?”
Doug said, “Uh-haaa, uh-haaa, uh-haaa, uh-haaa.”
“Yeah,” I said, “I should put in an ocean.”
Geez. Oh Kievifkwa! I’ve been struggling to do a Gijlek in Doug’s hallway. How am I going to do one on the ceiling of the Kmpamew if I can’t even practice a little splash of creativity. Well, I suppose I had demonstrated that I could exercise a certain amount of self-discipline by not removing all my clothes and throwing Doug to the floor right away, but I had struggled to stay in artist mode and only tease Doug and not myself, but he has always been so cute and… oh Kievifkwa, never mind.
I had finished the sketch when Doug said, “So now you’re going to paint. Right?”
“Yes,” I said, knowing where this was going, but I wanted to succumb to the emerging seduction, because his transparency of desire has its native charm, and even if he doesn’t know it, I think he is different from the tiger with alpha sperm, as no tiger wears a condom like he does, but his seeds in actuality are more like spiritual teachings by serendipity that would bear orphan followers, if bare essences be known, more like this than the seeds that would create his own child who he would dearly love if he could. So something of him must continue to thrive, and that is why I must keep him alive, because I am his only fun, his only true love, and I do love to play and why should I not be of pure lust sometimes. Philosophy can be written later when we conquer the world gently, when the outgoing tide leaves us oysters and pearls. Oh Kievifkwa, this is nonsense. I’m enough grandiose for two. Never mind. I can’t justify anything. I didn’t care. I’d eat my dessert if not first, then soon.
So I had done a preliminary sketch and had thought maybe after I got started, I’d just do pure painting from then on — and if necessary, even do more ‘sketches’ but with the brush and paint because it’s acrylic and not oil anymore; I could do quick changes.
But Doug had said, “You don’t want to get paint on your dress.”
I said, “OK. I’m going to paint now. I’ll mix up some flesh colors and if the wall is bumpy enough, maybe I’ll do a dry brush technique to get color variations just right.”
Doug said, “Y’know, you don’t want to get paint on your dress.”
“OK. Stay there. Stand tall.” I walked back a few steps to where I had dumped my purse and bag. I dumped out some tubes and a board. I squeezed a lot of white onto the palette board, and squeezed dabs of several reds, two yellows, two blues and I had to try to remember which was which: cadmium yellow medium is actually slightly yellow-orange and cadmium yellow light is slightly yellow-green, or is it the other way — oh phooey: mix and see, mix and see. Then oops: I almost dipped my dress into the paint(yeah, I know, I could have changed before I decided to run out into the hallway for this project). Yes, alright, it was time. I stripped off my dress. I carried the palette board in one hand, and my purse and a fist full of brushes in the other. I put them off to the side of Doug where I had started the sketch.
Doug said, “You don’t want to get paint on your bra, do you?”
I sat down in front of Doug, and looked up at his endowment. I said, “Hmm, these flesh colors are all different. Let me see the palms of your hands. Hmm, no, it’s not anything like that color; even the tip is darker than that, and the edge is an entirely different color.” I reached up and Doug’s knees bent and shook a little. I ran my hands up his inner thighs. I said, “How do I paint all these colors?”
Doug said, “Mmmm, uh, mmmm.”
“I want it,” I said, “to glisten in the sun for the painting. I got up and walked to the side to get my purse, look at the sketch, and mix a little paint.
Doug said, “How would I glisten in the sun — there’s no sun here and what color would I be in sunlight?”
I left the palette on the floor and came back in front of Doug with my purse. “Glisten?” I echoed. “Well, I can add a little shine.” I fumbled through my purse and found a tube of K-Y jelly. I put the purse down. I stood and squeezed some onto Doug’s shaft, let the tube drop to the floor, and spread the lotion with my finger tips. I said, “I think this will help capture the light and reflection and give the painting the right touch. Don’t you think so, Doug?”
Doug said, “Mmmmm, uh, mmmm.”
I sat down on the floor in front of Doug and looked through my purse. I tore open a package. I reached up and Doug’s knees bent and shook. I unrolled a condom on him, grabbed his hands, and like rowing a boat, pulled him down on me as I lay back onto the floor. He kissed me, thrusting like the artist he is.
So the painting wasn’t done — just an idea teased out, a glimpse of something to come. ‘The calm before the storm’ as they say, or is that ‘the calm before the orgasm.’ No, the storm before the … Never mind. It was play; its was a play for drama, for time and moves, a game, a passion flowering as we stood nude in the hallway.
After Doug had stood up and removed his condom, I had walked over to the scattered painting paraphernalia to dip one of the little buckets into the giant bucket of rinse water, and walked back to splash Doug’s new exposure and splash I did.
Doug said, “Yow. Is that for the painting?”
“No,” I said, “um, every cannon must be cleaned so it can fire again.”
“Yes, I suppose that’s true,” he said as he casually kissed each of my nipples and made his way over to the buckets. He dipped two buckets into the water and brought them back. He gave me one and said, “I demand a duel at 30 paces.”
I said, “Huh?”
He rested the bucket on the floor, put my face in his hands and he kissed me. He said, “We stand behind-to-behind, walk thirty paces, turn and fire our buckets of water.”
“You mean, we stand with your little cute butt pushed against my voluptuous derrièré, and then we each walk forward thirty paces and turn to throw water at each other?”
“Yes,” he said, picking up the bucket and turning.
I stroked his hairy cheeks, and then I turned and bumped him. We each walked forward carrying our buckets of water. Doug had walked only 15 of his 30 paces when I turned and watched his cute hairy butt and cute hairy back move down the hallway. I stopped, raised and aimed my bucket to wait for him to turn around. As soon as he turned, I threw it as hard as I could, but it didn’t reach him. He threw his and the water hit me between the breasts and dripped down. We raced to the big bucket to get more water. I took Doug’s hands, and we sat down and laughed.
Doug said, “You are a joy.”
“We are,” I said. But then I frowned.
“It’s an Utd’mbts word…”
“Uayi! It’s Apacevj.”
“What’s Uayi? “
“Well, it’s very formal. It means, ‘If I may have your permission to fuse and join into the node of your beingness, I would wish to impart to you, with deference and respect, the essence of my cognizance that I fervently believe is an element of truth which I believe will be to your benefit and which I offer with benign intention.’ ”
“Um, it means that he says ‘hi’, may I speak to you telepathically for a moment please.”
“Oh. At least, a lot more polite than what happened in the park.”
“Yes. Um, give me a moment. I’m not used to this. This is very uncomfortable.” I lay down on the carpet and meditated. After ten minutes, I sat up.
Doug said, “What does he want?”
“He wants me to come back to the Kmpamew so he can properly teach me upper Utd’mbts. He says I’m awkward and not very fluent and it’s vital in these crisis times that I learn more.”
“He’s that blunt or…”
“No, I’m just summarizing it for you. He said it in a kind way. But…”
“But there’s serious things happening…”
Doug did the dishes even though I cheated on the contests for who gets to do it. But I don’t think he minds. He’s meditating while his body is automatically doing the chore. But he’s lost his way with meditation in general, I think — it can be an empty gesture if not done correctly. Utcoozhoo says, as a child , Doug spoke upper Utd’mbts fluently, but now, Doug mostly represses and blocks it — he almost always has to ask what something means. I don’t know exactly what happened to him to make him forget.
In the morning, at the breakfast table, I said, “I think I’ll at least meet Apacevj in person, begin a little instruction, and then start on my painting for the ceiling of the Kmpamew.”
Doug said, “Pirgrikwa! ”
“Hmm,” I said, “you suddenly remember this?”
“Something,” he said, “about all of this sudden outbreak of upper Utd’mbts speaking is disturbing. Is it even safe to contemplate that such a thing exists when most people are incredibly vulnerable, because they are only aware of such things in their dreams and even then, they protect themselves meekly with symbolism and rationalization. What if their defense mechanisms are manipulated by others deliberately?”
It was a little bit shocking to hear this outburst. “So how would you define ‘Pirgrikwa’ ?”
“Uh, well, um, uh… ”
“Vigilance is required whenever we feel driven to perform an action which relieves anxiety, seems mandatory to survival, but has no known rational or logical connection to the resolution of conscious dilemmas. ”
“Um, ubemuwx!And maybe if you practiced authentic meditation you’d now more…”
“Yeah, touché, but just be careful.”
“Yes, OK, I will, thanks. I love you… and I should pull myself together and call a cab to take me to a spot, a safe distance away from the secret entrance to the caves. I use slightly different locations each time, but the cabby usually looks at me and says, you want to get off here?”
Doug said, “Well, Utcoozhoo told me not to tell anyone but…”
“Uh, well, since you’re on the Grand Council, I suppose I could tell you… “
“Tell me what?”
“Uh, well, I know a short cut…”
“A short cut?”
“Well, remember how I told you there were two extra elevator shafts?”
“Yes. You pointed to a manual emergency exit… ”
“Yes, well, there’s something on the other side… ”
“Yes. You can get access to a train… ”
“Train? What kind of train?”
“I’ll show you. I can get you to the sacred corridor and then you can go from there.”
“Oh, hey. That would be great. ”
“OK. Get dressed and when you’re ready, I’ll take you.”
I was dressed in my formal purple dress with the gold embroidery that Doug calls my “Goddess Dress” when I saw that Doug was still at the breakfast table nursing his piece of venison and buffalo fried in duck fat with truffles. I said, “Let’s go. Put that away — you’re only picking at it anyway.”
“OK… or maybe I should bring it to snack on the way…”
“The oven and the stove are off. Right?” Let’s just go now. Don’t look so glum — I’ll make you some fresh in the sacred quarters. It’s not as if I’m asking you to defenestrate the baby from the fire.”
“Like when the Bohemians threw the emperor’s envoys out the window.”
“Egads, what obscure history that is. OK, OK, this meal is history.”
“Sorry about that: I’ve always wanted to find a way to mention the ‘Defenestration of Prague.’ I guess, most of history study is a waste of time.”
“Now, I think they say, ‘throw him under the bus,’ rather than out the window.”
“I’m not throwing you under the bus. I just want you to show me the train like you promised.”
“Yes, OK. I’ll go to the bathroom and be back in a second. You look great!”
“Meet you in the hallway.” And I dashed out. I was standing at the elevator when Doug returned.
Doug said, “Wait ‘til you see this. Step in.”
The doors closed. We faced front. Doug pushed STOP.
I said, “What are you doing?” I looked over to the right where it said ‘Emergency Exit.’ ”
“No. Here on the left. I’ll stay here and you go to the back of the car and feel along this left wall in the back until you find a slight indentation.”
I walked to the back and found something. “You mean, this?”
“Yes. Now wait. I have a matching one here up front. OK. I’ll count to three and we’ll both push together against the wall and then step back.”
“Yes, push and step back. We’re going to push the wall down. The top and sides will release and there’s a hinge on the bottom. Push and step back so you don’t fall forward. OK?”
“Ready. One, two, three, push!”
“Ugh.” I pushed, trotted back, and almost fell backward. The wall fell and became a platform. Straight ahead was the end car of a subway train. Doug walked out onto the platform to show me that it was safe. He pushed the handle on the door down and opened it for me. I walked across the platform and went through the door. The car was set up like a living room with a couch and a table. Doug came in. We sat on the couch. I said, “Now what?”
“You see the panel on the armrest? Push Q1”
“OK.” The car accelerated smoothly to a moderately slow steady speed. “This seems slow — is this going to take a long time?”
“No. It’s following a downward spiral inside the building. As soon as we reach the basement level and then proceed into the underground bedrock below the building, it’ll speed up. When we’re deep enough, it’ll level off and go fast.”
I looked out the window, but didn’t see anything except a narrow curved ledge. I could feel the continuous turning of the train, and the downward tilt. “We’re circling around inside the building?”
“Yes. That’s right.”
After I had just gotten used to all of the turning and tilting, there was a sudden change like we had just reached the top of a basement roller coaster and were about to plunge even further down, and I had grabbed Doug’s leg a few times on the way. A bing-bong noise had sounded. I had said, “What’s that?”
Doug said, “That means we’ve reached the basement level and will begin a downward plunge.”
It almost felt like free fall, and I was glad I wasn’t drinking any coffee. “Yow,” I said.
“Told you it would get faster.”
Just as I adjusted to the fall, holding Doug’s hand, the train slowed and leveled off. Then there was a buzzing sound. “What’s that?” I asked.
“It’s the five minute warning. We should go over to the forward-facing G-posh chairs.”
“You mean we could be thrown off the couch or something onto the carpet?”
Doug led me over to one of the chairs. He said, “Have a seat. This will cushion the G-forces when we accelerate to super-speed.”
“This is a joke. Right?”
“No,” said Doug firmly, and he sat in another cushioned chair.
“I’d rather sit on the couch,” I said and I ran back to the couch and stretched out.
Doug said, “Come back quick.”
“If you insist.” And I mischievously sat on Doug’s lap facing him. The train took off like a jet and I got pushed onto Doug like I weighed a ton — I thought I was going to crush him. Doug tried to get to a seat belt but couldn’t. The train seemed to stop suddenly and I fell backward onto the floor with Doug on top of me. He braced himself with his arms, so it wasn’t too bad.
Doug kissed me and said, “Are you alright?”
As he fondled my whole body, I said, “Not now. I’m supposed to see Apacevj. Remember?”
“Oh yeah. Well we’re here.” And the side doors opened.
We came out onto a platform with rock walls and no sign of an exit. I said, “Uh, well, we’re here. Where’s here? I have to get to the sacred corridor.”
“Yes, don’t worry. We just have to open a door. It’s right behind these rocks, somewhere, um.”
Doug walked along the rock wall. He said, “Uh, yes, right here.”
“I don’t see a door.”
“OK. We just do the ‘ka’ sound thing like you taught me once. You know, you make the gargle sound, then the ‘ka’ on the roof of the mouth, and the motor sound through pursed lips until your sinuses vibrate.”
“Yes, I know that one. ” We did the sound together and adjusted our tones until the beats made a wah-oh-wah-oh sound. I made the same mistake I did the last time and a rock from the ceiling crashed beside us.
Doug pointed in front of us. He said, “No, focus here.”
We did it again and a slab of rock rotated on one edge and opened like a door. I could see my paintings through the doorway. We walked into the sacred corridor.
Doug had said he recognized the passageway to my old sacred quarters when I realized that he could sense that I wasn’t going to invite him to the Kmpamew. “Well,” I quickly said, “I know I said I might invite you to stay at the Kmpamew, but I have all these official things to learn, and uh, well…”
“Actually, the only way you would be allowed into the Kmpamew is if I officially appoint you to some position, um, y’know, like Minister of Finance.”
“No, I don’t think I could be Minister of Finance.”
“Or you could marry me…”
“Uh, um, good luck with your studies, and…”
“Or you could be my official Lalasaco. ”
“What’s Lalasaco? ”
“It’s the Priestess’ official escort or consort or ‘satyr in residence’…”
Doug hadn’t slept well in days, hadn’t been able to make much progress with his novel, and I think, given his eokxavexa, doubted he’d ever finish. “Yes,” he said, “I suppose I’ll never learn to love truly, never really be of any significant value except to offer a jester’s lust: seductive speculations and a dance for profundity, like a rain dance that never produces rain.” Doug turned away, but I heard him cry as he ran up the far stairs of the corridor, past the children’s art works, and turned toward the stairs that led to the Qukwerpfm, the Cathedral formation, and past the golden stalagmite.
I had a little silly note that I wrote for Doug, but I never gave it to him. It seemed too absurd, and I didn’t think he could understand it. I don’t know, I’ve always written silly things. I took out a folded up silly paper: “I’ve written many fairy tales, illustrating them in paintings of my heart, but every time I’ve read it again, I’ve seen you a vision there, and I have always searched for you, my Prince.” But I don’t want to appear silly. Oh, but I could do with a jest, and why couldn’t he be my laugh if I am in his smile.
I had gone too far with the light banter, and should have known that even if he didn’t articulate it that he really wanted more than to be able to brag to his male friends of his sexual prowess, and sometimes the humor of lightness and the avoidance of serious issues goes too far. Sometimes accidents of slight are fatal. I hope not.
ZAWMB’YEE PAINTS THE PALACE
When I became an apprentice to Utcoozhoo and was given an apartment off the sacred corridor, I thought that was the ultimate privilege and luxury. But this little cluster of apartments and offices that have overt entrance doors are in sophistication a tiny fraction of what lies behind this secret entrance to the Kmpamew. There and beyond are where the actual elite have always resided. It seems to me there are levels of deception. Most of us have been lulled into believing that the world of our comfort zone is the universe, but mostly we are ignorant. Doug has walked down the sacred corridor and come to my apartment. I have let him feel that I had reached the upper class, but I have been a common and coarse acolyte who is dazzled by what could easily be a false magic, because I am never sure of the motives of any guru of miracles, or person of power. Some with powerful skills have no morals. Some with artistic talent express trivia.
I had been standing in the sacred corridor where I had meant to tell Doug to hang out and wait for me at my old apartment in the sacred corridor where he had been many times. I should have seen to it that I invited him to the Kmpamew but now he’s gone and offended. I wanted to cancel the day and go cry in my old apartment off the sacred corridor, but I had stood there stunned. Gavicte Yenkoi and Mieta Apacevj appeared suddenly in the corridor from some portal.
Apacevj was a short person with blond hair and gray eyes. But he was tall in presence, certainly more dignified than an elf, though he had a twinkle in his eye. I don’t know why I want to say he has a pixie nose — maybe because he looked mischievous. Actually the nostrils were on two faces of a rounded trihedron, symmetrical, in short, ordinary.
Yenkoi said, “Fevepo Zawmb’yee, I want to introduce you to your Mieta, Apacevj.”
“Pleased to meet you, Mieta Apacevj,” I said as he bowed and kissed my hand.
Yenkoi said, “If it pleases you, Fevepo, Apacevj would like to teach you how to open the door to the Kmpamew. May we proceed?”
“Yes please,” I said.
“Fevepo Zawmb’yee,” said Apacevj, “as you have seen, it is possible to open a door with the ‘ka’ sound procedure, but that generally requires two people and it is a bit crude and noisy.”
“Yes,” I said, “we’ve had a few random stones come crashing down.”
Apacevj said, “Yes, that is typical, and that is why learning Upper Utd’mbts can be beneficial. Shall we proceed?”
“Do you like the old sour pineapple?”
“Yes. Most of the ones today are too sweet and plain.”
“OK. Can you remember how succulent and strong the taste was?”
“Alright. There is a pineapple behind the wall. Picture it.”
“Yes, I see it.”
“If you would pardon my effusions, would you cut it lengthwise, not all the way through, open it like a book, and smell the mouth-watering middle between the covering and the core. It is a wonderful perfume that fills you with desire.”
“Yes, I crave to devour the flesh, and I am intoxicated by my anticipation for succulence, my pucker awaiting to fulfill a hanker.”
“OK. Now close the pineapple book along the hinge, and restore it to its original form.”
I was so hungry — an exercise in temptation, I thought, but I’d go with indulgence and a party in tart times. I said, “OK, but now you’ve made me hungry. Can we do this some other time — just open the door and the chef can make a …”
“No, no, no. Don’t lose focus. The desire is to be captured as an object. Now gaze at the rock and notice the change. See it?”
“Yes, it seems to be quilted and the divisions are orange and green … there are triangular husk-like drips over each section.”
Apacevj perked up. “Good,” he said, “allow it to turn more orange like a ripe pineapple.”
“Now when it looks like a pineapple, slice it lengthwise and open it like a book…”
“Yes, I feel like I want to rip it open.”
“Ay ya oh uh,” I grunted and the door to the Kmpamew opened.
“Careful: Hold on to the action feeling and remember the feeling in all its aspects. You must cling to this eksetyk memory however subtle it may seem … ”
“How did I … ”
“You don’t have to know how you opened the door. Just remember the feeling when you willed it. You don’t know how you move your arm, yet you just do it. conjure this learned eksetyk and a door will always open.”
“Um, uh … ”
Apacevj closed the door, and said, “Don’t think too much. While this eksetyk is fresh in your memory, do it again quickly without thought.”
The door opened again at my whim. I said, “Did I do that?”
“Yes, ” said Apacevj, “very good.”
We had walked across the landscape mosaics of the Grand Ballroom in the Kmpamew to reach the flying desk, my Reksipj, when Yenkoi said, “I think it is time for Mieta Apacevj to teach you how to fly … ”
I said, “Uh, well…”
“Tiglekso,” said Yenkoi, “I think you will enjoy painting a Gijlek on the ceiling. You must pass through the forest to get to the river…”
“Huh? Oh, the Reksipj. You mean how to make the flying desk move up and down… I don’t have to be a bird?”
“Well, no, not a bird, Fevepo Zawmb’yee, not today. Tiglekso.”
“Alright, OK, Gavicte Yenkoi. Very well, my faithful Regent and master of protocol. Proceed Yenkoi honey-babe Sir.”
“Oh sorry. I forgot we are to be formal…”
“Yes, as I’ve said: as much as I might have an affection for you under different circumstances, I can’t address you as the High Priestess Chick, and I’d prefer to be called Gavicte Yenkoi.”
“As you wish, Gavicte Yenkoi. Thank you very much and proceed.”
“May I leave you then to Mieta Apacevj?”
“Yes,” I said, and Yenkoi bowed, turned, and left.
Apacevj bowed and said, “This won’t be so bad, High Priestess Chickie Babe…”
I laughed. “OK. How do I do this?”
“Make yourself comfortable in the chair behind the desk. I will stand in front of it, and guide you.”
I sat down and sunk into the plush, form-fitting easy chair. “Mmm. Should I take a nap now?”
“Not quite. You’ll do a deep meditation and stay relaxed but alert, stay poised yet placid, in short, the mikwumpa. Alright?”
“Yes,” I said, and did some deep breathing for the mikwumpa.
“Picture the pfambuuwisen. Can you see it?”
Without effort the pfambuuwisen appeared. “Yes. The iridescent blue lights seem to beckon.”
“Good. Can you find the one that has an image of the Reksipj?”
“Allow it to expand and dive into it to explore and travel through every molecule and every atom. Tunnel down, deeper and deeper. Deeper and deeper. More relaxed and confident, and you hear my guiding voice soothe you. Yes?”
“Now I will lift us all up into the air. Here I do it. Do you feel my effort?”
“Now join me in this eksetyk. Let us all together rise up.”
“Now open your eyes and see that we have lifted off the ground and are moving upward toward the ceiling.”
It was incredible to control a flying desk without being a bird, and I said, “I can do this?”
“Yes. I give you this eksetyk. Now focus and remember it. Now I will subside and you will continue. OK?”
We started to fall as Apacevj let go of the Reksipj, but I willed it to rise with my newly learned eksetyk, and we resumed the rise in the air toward the ceiling. “Did I do this?”
“Yes. Remember this eksetyk.”
“Now I will move us downward. Here I do it. Do you feel my effort?”
“Now join me in this eksetyk. Let us all together lower the Reksipj.”
“Now I give you this eksetyk.”
“I’ve got it.”
And thus I learned to fly.
I had learned all the maneuvers when I said to Apacevj, “Now what?”
“Just practice, enjoy yourself, and when you’re ready, fly to the ceiling and do a painting. If you can’t focus on an eksetyk, there are mechanical switches on the desk — see: UP, DOWN, HOVER, EMERGENCY LANDING. Or use the joy stick. No problem. OK?”
“Um. Well, I’m not really much of an artist and…”
“Yes, I understand.”
“Good. OK. Have fun, and afterward I would suggest for homework that you read at least 600 pages a day for this week from the Ofuye.”
“Please, High Priestess chickie babe… When you’re finished absorbing the written context, I will show you the Upper Utd’mbts equivalent of those 4200 pages in about 5 minutes. That, I think, you will find astounding and worthwhile. But without the preparation it will be impossible to absorb. Yes, a bit arduous, but well worth it.”
“Thank you, Fevepo Zawmb’yee. Then may I have leave to go?”
Mieta Apacevj bowed and left. I started to think this might be fun.
I laid out all my paints and brushes and a jar of water on the top of the Reksipj. I flew it just below the ceiling so I could recline in my chair and brush paint onto the ceiling. I did a background like I did in Doug’s hallway. Doug… My eyes washed the hands he would have held, would have maybe added a suggestion, a praise. I rested: the artist reclining, declining to continue without his laugh, just in hover mode.
But this limbo didn’t last. There was a loud grinding sound in the ceiling and then the tapping of a pickax. It seemed like the explosive drill-pick-and-chisel music of a lunatic archaeologist, who in his mania to discover, has thrown his careful brush aside, and the sounds were coming closer. I jumped out of my chair, ducked…
Yeow ugh Kievifkwa hell: ceiling burst open — rain of plaster, rock, and a falling lunatic who crashed onto my desk, screaming and moaning, a drill bit in his lap.
I said, “James Ziohat, I presume.”
“Yes,” said the lanky manic man, flailing about. He had curly black hair, half straitened for vanity, half left curled for guilt. Ascetic by appearance, hypocrite by fat vulgar intrusion like the cork screw of a wild boar.
I hit the emergency land button, and we plunged to the floor. Four Kutibea agents ran to me and carried me twenty feet across the marble floor while ten Wipzib surrounded James Ziohat with drawn guns. A team in haz-mat suits charged across the floor and sprayed him with a foam.
An agent said, “Fevepo Zawmb’yee, are you alright?”
“Yes, I’m fine.” I watched from a distance.
More Kutibea stormed into the room. One took direct aim at James and shot him with a stun gun. He fell to the ground. The haz-mat team tore off his clothes, rinsed him with a water cannon that slid him around the polished floor, and handcuffed his hands behind his back.
“Fevepo Zawmb’yee,” said a tall muscular Kutibea with crisp enunciation, “the intruder has been neutralized and decontaminated to level one. We may approach, if you wish, for the questioning, but contact is to be avoided. Do you want to observe?”
“Yes,” I said, and we walked over to where they had pulled him to his feet.
Yeah, I know, I was supposed to do a live blog(is that the term?), speaking extemporaneously as things happen and I started to it when I first took over the blog from Doug, but I can’t seem to just write to you all on the web in the middle of a crisis(and there always seems to be one). I just can’t seem to understand the up-top culture. Utcoozhoo told me to learn all about it. What do I do on a blog … um, is it: “today my breakfast was cold. I sent the kids off to school, and the old oak tree crashed into the kitchen that is being remodeled”? Kids? I can’t do that — I sent Doug away and … I can’t eat breakfast when I’m supposed to supervise the interrogation and torture of James Ziohat.
Did I say torture? Well, I don’t know — I’ve read the procedures to be followed for intruders who penetrate the Kmpamew, and I can see the goal is to prevent secrets from being revealed to the up-top world, but the various methods are … never mind. Oh, then, actually, I suppose this blog is treasonous but I doubt any of the elite read the up-top literature as it’s beneath them. But I do have to edit and interpret because most common daily chatter is boring and trivial. Isn’t it? (Oh God, I sound like Doug). You know, an execution here or there, quite ordinary. End of the world — that sort of thing.
How do I tell you everything? Oh, Kievifkwa, oh hell. Yeah, I know, I’m all over the place. I speak in present tense and then as I fail to record as I go, I pop up at random with a discombobulated rendition in past tense of everything I’m behind on. Yeah, no way to run a blog even for a High Priestess. Oh geez, Oh Kievifkwa, oh hell, I can’t figure out English past tense or Utd’mbts conglomerations. Yikes. I’m here, I’m there, I’m not quite what would have been if I were an amalgam of precious metal, mettle, and omnipresence in a narrative dream. Oh what precious gibberish, and look what I’ve done — Doug used to think I was precious. Oh Kievifkwa. This day hasn’t gone well.
I mean, what would you do if you were a High Priestess with absolute power and threatened by pip-squeaks like James Ziohat? (Oh yeah, I have to figure that out — “if you were” is subjunctive case.)
But anyway … more and more, I’m having an uneasy feeling about what my role actually is in this palace milieu of intrigue and deception. I am much too ignorant to be a leader. I fear, therefore, I am a puppet unaware of the strings attached to my undeserved honors. I’ve been having some incredibly weird and grandiose feelings lately. Maybe, maybe not, paranoid.
Perhaps to survive, I should call some hidden cabal’s bluff, and take the unlimited power that they assume, in my naïveté, I would never dare to claim, before evil forces can organize for a coup. Perhaps I must strike while I still can. At his moment, there are traditional forces who would blindly follow my every order, but I would be commanding blindly, sending troops into a remote battle foreign to my understanding, while certain generals position themselves to survive with whispers in a code I don’t understand.
But all of this is a fantasy unease like a child who fears monsters in the closet and under the bed, shadows on the wall. They must know what a child I am.
I could, at this moment, order the execution of an opponent, but I can’t even be sure who is my friend and who is my enemy. From what I’ve been feeling lately, I’m wondering if I’m my own enemy.
I need to learn a lot more to understand what’s going on. Can I trust Apacevj to teach me?
Geez, Kievifkwa, Utcoozhoo should have appointed Doug to this job — he’s more rational and in his own way not any more oblivious to reality than I am, but at least he can repress his feelings and take more control. I could see him say, maybe, everyone cool it, do nothing, write a report and I’ll decide when I’m up to it or something. No, that’s not it.
I should e-mail Doug and apologize and maybe I should tell him everything and let him take back the blog so he can expose everything and be treasonous with me. I’ll issue a pardon or something… I should look it up…
I’m in the High priestess’s library. It’s an extravagant abode, and they say I can remodel it if I wish. There are the books, but also the grp’nl is available. It’s like the Internet, but it’s a network that the gods have left and that the elite here in the Kmpamew use to chat, I suppose, but I don’t know exactly. Utcoozhoo started to teach me how to use it, but I never really got into it fully. I’ve been using the up-top Internet that Doug asked Utcoozhoo to install in the caves. I don’t think the elite care about it.
There are what one would expect in a library, y’know, shelves of books and dust, but no librarian, so I suppose I could shout and yell because there’s nobody here. Oh, Kievifkwa, I could make love to Doug on the floor and shout eureka! : his love is overflowing and … Oh, I’m so silly to cry so much, to worry if I’m pretty, when I would have been always, no matter what , in Doug’s eyes. And now I primp and strut among the elite. Oh eujxami!
I’ve been trying to finish my 600 pages of the Ofuye and read the legal document of office also, but it’s so overwhelming that I do have to leave the daily operations of things, whatever that is, to Gavicte Yenkoi.
There’s a grand four-post, elegantly carved bed in the library, with a ceiling partially mirrored and partially decorated with odd abstract mythological paintings that I suppose are for contemplation and meditation. I suppose, one is to learn, and then meditate on it, or something, or nothing or maybe it’s all a colossal joke. Maybe it’s barbarians in priests’ clothing, wolves with weapons, but what would I know. Oh, Utcoozhoo, why have you abandoned me?
Oh Kievifkwa, I stare at a teddy bear on a shelf, but I hear Utcoozhoo say, “uebihukxa: ‘don’t give power to objects.’ ”
OK, yeah, I have to pull myself together. I am the High Priestess. I’ll study my options. I don’t have to visit James Ziohat today. They are doing the decontamination level 2 today: they’re shaving off all of his hair, including his eyebrows, and washing him again. I’ve been to the up-top world, so I have immunities to the various viruses, bacteria, allergens, and antigens, but the elite at the palace who have never been up-top may be vulnerable to poor James’ sweat and agony. Oh, Kievifkwa, look what his curiosity has brought him on his clumsy cat feet. If he was ever a friend of Doug, he couldn’t be that bad.
The false guru will be stunned and numb. Too bad: seems like a decent fellow. I guess they’ll handle it. They did determine that he doesn’t have epilepsy. If he had, they would have executed him immediately, unless I stayed it, because they’d have problems using flashing lights. I’m glad I didn’t have to decide.
It’s been an odd few days. James Ziohat doesn’t know who he is anymore, and I don’t feel like myself either.
I seem to blurt things out with a temporary air of certainty, but it’s as if someone else said it. But, of course, it’s me. I guess it’s what happens when you let emotions get out of control — something from the sub-conscious pops up. No, that doesn’t sound right. Maybe it’s just fatigue and overload from all the studying I’m doing. Could be I just automatically remember something I’m supposed to know for an appropriate few seconds. They demand that the High Priestess, me, make a quick decision, so I do it by barely plucking out something from the crash study-course swimming-headache pool of my mind that I’ve been thrown into.
This seems like a plausible explanation, but I have a feeling it’s just wrong, because…
I did finally have to visit James Ziohat in the interrogation complex. I came with Gavicte Yenkoi, and an entourage. James stood nude, hands behind his back with guards restraining him in a large rock chamber with cave entrances and rock staircases leading into what looked like endless mazes on narrow ledges and cliffs. Yenkoi had said, “What method should we use to handle this intruder?”
I blurted out, “Pzkpac.”
Yenkoi said, “Are you sure. That’s an ancient method. We have more modern and efficient methods to…”
“No,” I said, “Jevkwyi! The Wipzib can have you removed and executed if you refuse a direct order from the High Priestess. Jevkwyi!”
“As you wish.” Yenkoi was stunned and surprised. “Gacplk, would you begin please.”
Gacplk, a burly, ferocious looking man, who looked like some sort of ancient gladiator, approached James and said in an oddly gentle voice, “You must be thirsty after your ordeal. Would you like something to drink? Some whiskey perhaps?”
James seemed relieved. He said, “Yes. Now can you uncuff my hands. I was only just exploring and…”
“Not yet. Maybe, if you cooperate. Now, would you like some rye whiskey?”
“Open your mouth wide, so I can pour a little without spilling.” Gacplk picked up a clay cup from a small table. Gacplk poured a cup of salt into James’ mouth, and with one huge hand on James’ head and one under his chin forced his mouth closed while one of the guards taped his mouth shut. Gacplk said, “Explore if you wish James, but don’t fall down any stairs. See you tomorrow… ”
Gavicte Yenkoi said, “Fevepo Zawmb’yee, may I suggest that you confer with Mieta Apacevj to explain this procedure further.”
“No,” I had said, and blurted out, “Jevkwyi.”
“I will return to my library for study and contemplation.”
“As you wish.”
So, it’s been an odd few days to say the least. And here I am again, alone. Well, I did blog a little. Right? I gave you a little — I didn’t describe everything, but I’m all mixed up. I should give the blog back to Doug or not.
These are the yo-yo days that try the student’s soul, and I’m deep in study and worry, deep in remorse, bits of text on pages scattered across my desk, planes of emotion enabling the staining of paper planes crumbling like me. I know, I should use the ancient grp’nl computer, or use the modern computer to gather my thoughts, but my sorry brain can’t compute very well, and I’d rather draw things out.
Yeah, I should finish up on e-mail to Doug, and maybe, at least, have it set up on the computer to send it later so that if I ever think it’s ready, I can just hit send — um, and, if there were an impending emergency or crisis, I could quickly hit “send” without thinking. Well, what I mean is: I so much lately don’t feel like myself that if I were ever more “not in my right mind” I could in a lucid moment hit “send” before I lapsed into insanity again, if that’s where I was or where I am. Oh, hell, holy Kievifkwa, what am I saying. Never mind.
I don’t know where Doug is, but I know he checks his e-mail, or he used to. I heard a rumor he was living with Angela at the Moose Café.
Yeah, maybe I should tell Doug to do the blog — he could do it from wherever, but I haven’t even told him that I … never mind.
Oh, sorry, I didn’t even finish telling you about what happened to James …
After the last episode, Gavicte Yenkoi had timidly inquired at the door of this royal library where I’ve been crashing (Oh, I should know the name for this, um, its called the “kngacev”). Anyway…
Gavicte Yenkoi said, “Do you wish to observe the Pzkpac for James Ziohat?”
“Yes, thank you. I’m sorry for my outburst last time. Yes, I want to see it.”
“Fevepo Zawmb’yee, there is never a need for an apology. It is your prerogative to issue orders without explanation. I am gratified for your magnanimity and concern. Thank you. I have a security detail ready if you wish to visit the mevltikacle…”
“Oh yes, Fevepo Zawmb’yee, the interrogation complex that you saw the last time — it’s known as the mevltikacle.”
I gathered myself together as best I could. I didn’t want to have another outburst despite my privilege to do so. But you know me. Oh that’s just an expression. Maybe you don’t . Maybe I don’t. I’ll tell you in the next entry. Yeah, OK, Doug always said I was a tease … (yeah, I should finish his e-mail).
When we had arrived at the mevltikacle, James Ziohat wasn’t looking well. He was very weak and the guards had to hold him up as he stood with his hands behind his back.
Gacplk sat in front of him next to a small table as he moved several objects around on the table: a hinged steel neck collar, a tape measure, a pitcher of water, and a full glass of water.
Picking up the tape measure in his massive hands, Gacplk stood and pulled it around James’ neck. “Yes,” his insidious voice affirmed, “the perfect size.” Next, he picked up the collar, opened it onto James’ neck and snapped it shut. James Ziohat still had tape on his mouth, and struggled to make a sound. Another guard came from behind, put his hands on James’ face and tilted the head back a little.
Gacplk slid the collar up and down and said, “Perfect fit: firm, but not too tight.” He rotated the collar a few times. “Chafes a little though, doesn’t it. Oh, and here’s something interesting: there are many lines and buttons all around the collar. It’s hard to tell where the hinge is and where the opening latch is. Each button looks like it might open the collar. I wonder what would happen if I pushed the wrong button.”
James Ziohat struggled a little while Gacplk turned the collar around a few more times. Then Gacplk casually sat down and took a sip of water from the glass.
A guard yanked the tape off James’ mouth. James screamed, “You’ll never get away with this. My friend will have gone for help by now.”
“Oh?” said Gacplk, “you mean the friend who was waiting with your equipment at the mouth of the cave?” He looked across the room to a cave entrance. Two guards dragged a body across the room by the feet and dropped it like a lump in front of James. “This friend?”
“Charles?” James gasped.
“He’s dead, you know.”
James ranted incoherently, trying to jump up and down, but the guards held him up in place. He repeated, “You’ll never get away with this.”
I observed all of this, a safe distance away with my entourage. Gacplk turned and looked at Gavicte Yenkoi and me.
Yenkoi said, “Fevepo Zawmb’yee, Gacplk needs your permission to use an acacizg. May he?”
Without knowing what I was approving, I said, “Yes,” and nodded toward Gacplk.
A guard pointed an acacizg at the body and Charles vanished in a burst of light. There was a slight trace of ash and dust on the floor. Gacplk stood, took a deep breath like he was about to blow out the candles on a birthday cake and blew the ash and dust away.
The guards continued to hold James up while Gacplk walked around James like on an inspection tour. Gacplk came around to face James again. Gacplk turned the collar again.
James yelled, “Ouch.” Red marks were appearing on his neck.
“Hmm,” said Gacplk, “perhaps it’s not the right size after all.” He suddenly changed tone and put on his odd and sweetly warm voice: “Shall I remove it then? We can count on your cooperation, yes?”
James was confused. He said, “Yes.”
“Alright then, I’ll open the latch.” Gacplk pushed one of the buttons on the collar. “Oops, I think that’s the wrong one.”
The collar tightened. James struggled, went limp and lost consciousness. The guards let him fall to the floor.
Gacplk strolled over, bent down, and pushed a button on the collar. It loosened. After a few minutes James opened his eyes. The guards lifted him to his feet again.
After sipping a little more water from the glass, Gacplk said, “would you like a sip of water, James?”
“Um,” said James, “Yes, um, I mean no. Uh, what do you want me to say?”
“See, James, I took a sip — it’s just plain water…”
Gacplk brought the glass to James’ lips. James sipped a few drops tentatively, and then took a gulp. Gacplk pulled it away, carried the glass to the table and sat down again. Gacplk glanced over at Gavicte Yenkoi and me.
Yenkoi said, “Gacplk wants permission to begin phase 2.”
I carelessly said, “Yes.” Poor James.
Poor James. He has been enduring the punishment for the crime of blabbermouth, and curious cat, I guess. Well no, of course, there’s something more official. If he were to reveal to the world the GPS coordinates of an entrance to the caves, our entire society would feel under attack and would have to retaliate. (A bit harsh, but I can’t explain now). Actually, at this point, I’m so ignorant that I don’t really know all the motivations of the elite. Oh, I forgot, I’m the elite now. Oh hell, oh Kievifkwa.
But poor James. We had taken a break because they were just going to shave and wash James again. They kept him handcuffed and naked except that they added jewelry. They dressed him up with a hilukwil on each arm. A hilukwil is an ornamental-decorative armlet with a ring. It’s part of the traditional ceremonial jewelry that’s worn on special occasions, I think. I have some in my Nipusindi chest that I never did finish unpacking and sorting, or maybe it’s on one of my jewelry racks — it reminds me of the jewelry in one of those “sacrifice of the virgins movies” except that James is not a virgin… Oh, I lost my train of thought again.
Oh, I was saying, we had taken a break while they cleaned up James and fixed up the mevltikacle. It had taken time for them to set up the tikwitipj. The tikwitipj is similar in concept to the “wheel of fortune” that the ancient Greek “goddess of fortune” used to choose suitably capricious fates for humanity. But the tikwitipj is a large wheel with pegs distributed around the edge and it has a flexible pointer at the top that bumps and clicks over the pegs when the wheel is given a spin. Eventually when the wheel loses momentum and comes to a stop, the pointer rests between two pegs and points to a message. I guess I don’t have to explain it so much — you’ve probably seen such things for gambling at carnivals and seen it on quiz shows.
I did finally finish the email for Doug: I have it set up on the computer so that whenever it happens that I feel the need, I can just tap “send” and it’ll be gone before anything else can happen. I had just barely finished composing it when Yenkoi returned to my kngacev. He and I and the whole entourage went back to the mevltikacle.
Poor James was standing again with the guards while Gacplk sat on his chair next to the table.
Gacplk said, “I have good new and bad news. Which do you want to hear first?”
James twitched. He said, “The bad news.”
Gacplk smiled, and said, “The inner village of Eszkja, beyond the palace, has no need for workers, so you’re of no use to us. Consequently, your execution would be prudent since you have no real useful information for us.”
James said, “Um, uh, I could tell you, um, all about our construction company, um, or…”
“No, it doesn’t matter. We know everything. So, forward with the execution.”
“Wait,” James sputtered, “what’s the good news?”
“Yes, of course, you get to spin the tikwitipj. Round and around it goes — where it stops, no one knows.”
Over in a far corner, beyond and to the side of the maze entrances, there was a huge wall of orange and purple mosaic designs. It was well lit like at a carnival. In front of it was the tikiwitipj about six feet in diameter. At the base of the tikiwitipj was some sort of gear box and to its side, there was a large plank of wood standing at an angle like a pedal.
The guards dragged James over to the pedal while Gacplk followed. James’ hands were still handcuffed behind his back, and he wore only two hilukwili. Yenkoi and I got into a position, still a safe distance away, with our security detail shielding us, so that we could see the wheel.
Gacplk said, “Spin the wheel.”
“How? Uncuff my hands, and ..”
“No. Just step on the foot pedal.”
James stepped on the foot pedal and the wheel spun. Around and around it went and…
And I’m tired of typing the blog for now. Poor James.
James’ mind had been spinning, no doubt, and the wheel of the tikwitipj stopped at “Take Another Turn — Prize.” A guard brought over a can of peach juice, and handed it to Gacplk.
The sound of the top popping open made James jump. Gacplk said, “You’ve won a prize.” He brought the can to James’ lips and tilted it. James gulped it all down.
James said, “Does this mean we can stop now and…”
“No,” said Gacplk as he walked behind James and tightened the handcuffs. “Look over to your right — do you see the three doors?”
“Well, you can spin again, or you can have what’s behind door number one, door number two, or door number three. What do you want to do — spin or choose a door?”
“Um, uh, um…”
“Or you could choose to be executed now by acacizg — that would be painless, but there’d be no remains, if that matters to you. Of course, there are many methods of execution. There’s that old favorite: stoning to death, but a circle of your new friends throwing stones at you doesn’t work that well and can be messy…”
“Um, uh, door number… um, no…”
“But, of course, there have been refinements: stones can be thrown with slingshots that are more accurate. Then there are catapults that can be used and …”
“Um, uh, door number… ”
“Oh, why don’t we just see how you might feel about door number one.” The guards dragged him towards it.
There were two posts, a foot in front of door number one, with locking fasteners. The guards squeezed James between them, and attached him to the posts by locking the fasteners onto the rings of his hilukwili so that he faced the door, tightly restrained at his elbows.
Gacplk said, “So, shall we open door number one?” Suddenly, Gacplk and all the guards retreated backward until they were twenty feet away from James and the door. The security detail pushed Yenkoi and me back also.
James said, “Um, no, or maybe door number…”
Gacplk gave a signal. A guard placed a plate of raw meat up against the bottom of the door, and ran back. “So you can’t decide,” said Gacplk, yelling from a distance, “perhaps a spin, or door number two?”
James tried to get loose from the posts. He tried to kick at the posts to push them down, and tried to get the hilukwili to slide down his arm but everything stayed firmly in place, and didn’t budge.
Gacplk gave a signal, and the door opened a crack at the bottom. There were ferocious roaring and scratching sounds.
James tried to kneel down. The hilukwili slid up his arm slightly. He was able to turn a tiny amount, and he rocked from side to side. But he made no progress.
Gacplk said, “I don’t suppose you’re inclined to choose door number one?” He gave a signal. The door opened a little more and a paw reached out from under the door. “So, would you like execution by acacizg, or door number two, or a spin of the wheel?”
James struggled harder. He bent down, stood up, bent down, and pulled from side to side.
Gacplk said, “Have we decided?”
James, twisting his body back and forth as much as he could, shouted, “Um, no, um, yes, um …the spin, the spin.”
Gacplk gave a signal. The paw pulled back and the door closed. Everyone cautiously walked back towards James. “Unlock him from the posts,” said Gacplk.
As soon as the fasteners were unlocked from the rings of the hilukwili, James fell to the ground and started rolling away towards the tikwitipj.
Gacplk said, “Hmm, OK, roll out the execution platform, pick him up and perhaps we’ll let him take another spin if he chooses that or…”
James broke away from the guards and ran into a cave opening on the other side of the mevltikacle next to a cathedral stalagmite formation, and a pond.
Gacplk said, “Seems like a good time for an intermission. He can wander in the maze while we set up and call in a fresh team. Anyone for lunch? My treat.”
Yenkoi and I headed back to my kngacev, and he told me what the chef could make me for lunch.
I’ve almost finished reading the Ofuye. It’s very tedious, and I hope I’m absorbing it. The true test will be when I see Apacevj. It’s been a very long process and that’s why I’m behind on writing the blog.
I’ve added something to what I think I should call the emergency email to Doug. I had the computer create a random number which I haven’t looked at and I’ve blindly put it in the email and will have it blindly be a new password for the blog if I send the email. That way, I can stop access from here, even by me and turn it back to Doug. It seems peculiar to do this, but more and more I’m not feeling like myself because… Oh, I don’t know, oh hell, oh Kievifkwa. Sorry, I should get out of the habit of cursing at every turn. Not very regal.
Poor James. If I were more like my old self, I probably would have had him released, told him to promise not to say anything and sin no more. Oh, that’s silly. But it’s too late for that now. Poor James. What have I done.
We never did go back to the mevltikacle after lunch on that day, but the construction crew did finish installing the agroape. It’s an execution platform that has a wall at the back, and a giant turntable in the center. In the center of the turntable are shackles for the ankles. Cables hang from a scaffolding at the top. The agroape was placed in front of the tikwitipj, and across from the agroape, they built the eksikmazm, the firing-squad platform. The turntable could be rotated to face either the tikwitipj wheel, or the eksikmazm.
Unfortunately, wandering in the maze, James had fallen into a crevice. He was pulled out but had a few minor bruises and scrapes. He was given first-aid and cleaned of mud, moss, and rock dust, but needed to be punished for attempted escape. They put him in a tilneskoyg.
They fitted its yoke over his neck and shoulders with the extra long wooden beam firmly in place on his shoulders and extending outward. His arms were stretched out straight on top of the beam and his wrists were manacled to the far ends of the beam.
We had returned the next day. A new team was in place: there were twenty or more women from a special division of the wipzib; they were called the Yacmyeep. Their hair was purple and their fingernails were painted the colors of the rainbow. They wore short yellow pleated dresses, decorated at the waist with equipment belts, and their immodest bodices had purple sun symbols on each breast with a blue triangle in the middle. Blue spiral designs were engraved on their calf-high green leather boots.
Libikzi, a tall woman, with blond hair and purple lipstick was in charge. She wore a white shirt, a silver necklace with a sapphire pendant, gold bracelets, a black leather skirt and black heels. She stood with a sword behind James who was standing at the pedal of the tikwitipj. He was locked in a tilneskoyg with his arms outstretched, and they had added to his waist, a ceremonial metal belt that had handles on short chains attached to the sides, but he was otherwise naked. Two of the Yacmyeep held onto the handles.
Libikzi touched the sword to his back, and said, “Spin the wheel.”
James stepped on the pedal and the wheel spun. Libikzi walked in front of James, put the sword in a scabbard and bumped him. Turning around, the Yacmyeep switched hands on the handles, and marched James backward up onto the turntable of the agroape. They put the shackles on his ankles, and attached cables to the beam of James’ tilneskoyg so that he would remain standing. They left the platform.
Libikzi gave a signal and James was rotated to face the wheel. James watched the pointer go past “stoning” and “arrows” and dozens of other choices that Gacplk had told him about, until it started to slow down. James squirmed. Finally the wheel stopped at “catapults.” A signal was given and James was rotated to face the eksikmazm.
Libikzi said, “Prepare catapults.”
There was a commotion on the eksikmazm as fifteen Yacmyeep assigned to the firing squad gathered their weapons and mounted the catapults into each firing station. The squad leader shouted, “Catapults installed.”
Libikzi said, “Load catapults.” She looked at James. “Any last words?”
James wiggled his fingers and shuffled his feet. “The FBI will find out about this and… Who the hell are you, you crazy damn bitch; what the hell are you doing, you, you… Stop, help, stop — look over there: the police and FBI are here.”
“Good stall,” said Libikzi, “but no one knows you’re here.”
“No, no. They’re on their way… You don’t want to be responsible for a murder,” said James, “and I could be helpful to you…”
Libikzi said, “Aim.”
James shouted, “Don’t,” and bent his knees slightly and leaned one way and then the other which make the turntable wobble slightly.
James winced, and a barrage of banana cream pies pounded his body from head to toe. James licked some of the cream from his mouth and quivered. “What…,” he said.
Libikzi said, “Re-load, aim, fire.”
More pies came flying through the air. One hit James straight on his face as he gasped. He inhaled a piece of it and choked and coughed. He made a gagging sound and spit some out. “Wait,” he said.
Libikzi said, “Re-load, aim, fire.”
James closed his mouth. He was totally covered in cream pie. He was rotated and they fired again. His back was covered. He was rotated again to face front.
“Cease fire,” Libikzi shouted. “Clean-up squad, attack!”
Five Yacmyeep ran onto the platform. Two licked cream off his shins and worked their way up his thighs. One squeezed in between them and sucked on James. One ran behind him, scraped some cream off his back, reached around and stuffed it in his mouth. A fifth Yacmyeep picked up a hose and sprayed him with water.
James said, “Uh aah uh. Stop. Uh, the FBI will hear about this, uh…”
Libikzi said, “This is your last meal, James.”
“What?” said James.
“Maybe, we’ll let you spin again. But for now I think you’ve had enough of a meal.” Libikzi commanded, “Clean-up squad withdraw.”
They left James standing there alone, quivering, while we all went to lunch. Yenkoi and I strolled towards my kngacev, and we had a pleasant conversation.
This time, we had gone back to the mevltikacle after lunch. James was still standing, tethered on the agroape. He was shivering. The Yacmyeep had left, and Gacplk and his thugs had returned. Fifteen of Gacplk’s men assembled on the eksikmazm. Gacplk turned his attention toward James.
“Well, James,” said Gacplk, “you’ve had your last meal. I think this time I’ll spin the wheel for you — you have a tendency to wander off.”
“Uh, wait,” said James, “release me from the platform, and I promise not to run, um, and…”
“No, shut up,” said Gacplk. He walked to the pedal of the tikwitipj and stepped on it hard. The wheel spun like a blur of fate. “Rotate James,” commanded Gacplk, “and let him look at the spinning wheel.” While James was looking at the wheel, the firing squad was preparing their weapons.
As the wheel slowed down, James could read the dire choices. He tried to pull his wrists free from the wooden beam. He shouted, “Wait, don’t I get to choose door number two…”
“No, James,” said Gacplk, “not this time. And what makes you think that would have been a better choice?”
James tried to lift his feet up, but the shackles kept his ankles tied to the turntable. James said, “Um, door number three?”
“No, James,” Gacplk growled as the wheel slowed down.
James leaned to one side and then to the other, but this time the turntable didn’t even wobble. “Uh,” he said, “it’s been a long time — a friend of mine will be wondering where I am and will have reported me missing and …”
“Oh, how interesting,” Gacplk said in his sweet insidious voice, “and what is this so-called friend’s name?”
“Um, no, it’s a real person, uh…,” said James almost blurting out a name.
“Perhaps, James, we have this person’s name on our list,” Gacplk suggested, “and if this person is already on the way there’d be no harm in giving us the name. Right? Or is this just an imaginary person?”
James turned his head as much as he could and shouted, “Oh Jack Chelka so glad you came with the National Guard and the police… Jack take cover…”
Gacplk laughed. “James, you can’t even turn your head far enough to see anyone at the entrance…”
“I heard his voice… Jack, watch out…”
“Yes,” said Gacplk, “I suppose you could hear an echo.” The wheel slowed down more.
James pursed his lips and tried to make a sound into a wall like a ventriloquist. His echo said, “Don’t worry James, we have them surrounded…”
“Wow,” said Gacplk, “good attempt, but I think you’re more like the ventriloquist’s dummy. And by the way, Jack Chelka is in Australia at the moment.”
“No,” said James, “the friends of Jack are here. He missed my usual phone call…”
Gacplk said, “Alright, shall we see: the wheel is about to come to a stop…”
“No,” said James as he saw that the section of the wheel that was coming into view had only horrendous names. “I’ve decided now: I’ll take what’s behind door number two…”
Gacplk laughed. “A little late for that fine choice. But now, you don’t get to choose.”
James said, “Door number four.”
“Ah,” said Gacplk. “We have a winner: ‘arrows’.” Gacplk commanded, “Rotate him towards the eksikmazm.”
“Wait. I see Jack’s men now…”
No one even turned to look. The firing squad was getting restless. Gacplk said, “Mount crossbows.”
James said, “Door number one, door number one…”
“Load arrows into crossbows.”
“I didn’t do anything, I was just exploring. I have top secrets I could give you. I have…”
There was a real sound at the entrance to the mevltikacle. Libikzi and the Yacmyeep came running in. Libikzi shouted, “Stop, I have a message.”
“Stand down weapons,” Gacplk commanded. Libikzi approached him with a letter. They met in front of the agroape, looked up at James, and began whispering.
After a few minutes, they both turned and looked at me. Libikzi said, “Fevepo Zawmb’yee, may we approach?”
“Yes, “ I said and nodded to the security detail. Libikzi and Gacplk came through, bowed, and stood in front of Yenkoi and me.
Libikzi said, “May I?” and handed the letter to me.
I glanced at it and turned to Yenkoi. “Gavicte Yenkoi, would you read this over for me.”
Yenkoi said, “May I take a few moments?”
“Yes,” I said. Yenkoi turned and walked a few steps away. Libikzi and Gacplk came closer.
Libikzi said, “Fevepo, the village of Uzpu has a work training program that may be appropriate for James.”
Gacplk said, “Fevepo, James is a dangerous person and he tried to escape. He’s impulsive, and judging by his lies is not very intelligent, liable to do rash and desperate things. He’s probably uncontrollable.”
“Fevepo,” said Libikzi, “he’s easily intimidated and eager to make bargains. Actually, he’s very intelligent but not very clever in negotiations. We can condition him with double-bind dilemmas and simple rewards.”
Gacplk retorted, “May I say, respectfully, Fevepo, I disagree with Libikzi. Given any freedom, he’ll turn violent and cause havoc. There would be less harm if we execute him now rather than later. Or I could propose a compromise: we could try to extract whatever useful information he would seem to have, try to confirm it and then execute him after — but so far he doesn’t seem to know anything useful…”
“I agree,” said Libikzi, “that he doesn’t have useful information, but a well-conditioned slave can be useful if fully re-programmed.”
Gacplk said, “Do you really think you can make him behave? You already had one escape into the up-top world of an incompletely trained agent…”
“We corrected that error,” said Libikzi.
“Thank you both,” I said, “I will consult with Gavicte Yenkoi.” They both bowed and withdrew.
Gacplk gave a signal and the turntable began to slowly spin James. They both walked over to the agroape and stared at James. Gacplk gave another signal and a soapy foam sprayed out from nozzles around the platform, covering James with soap. I overheard Gacplk say to Libikzi, “And his sweat is dangerous with toxins.” Gacplk gave a signal and James was sprayed with rinse water. The water stopped, but they kept him spinning while they argued.
Yenkoi came back. I said to him, “Did you read it, Gavicte Yenkoi?”
He said, “Yes, Fevepo Zawmb’yee. I’m familiar with Uzpu and their programs. They’ve produced some good workers and some good spies.”
“Gavicte Yenkoi, may I have your opinion on James’ disposition.”
“Yes, Fevepo Zawmb’yee,” said Yenkoi tentatively. “May I ask that we discuss this in the presence of the wipzib leaders, Libikzi and Gacplk, if it would please you to do so?”
“Yes, Gavicte Yenkoi,” I said, and we walked over to Libikzi and Gacplk who were still talking in front of the agroape. James was still spinning. They turned and bowed as we approached.
I looked up at James and watched him turn once around. I said, “Gavicte Yenkoi has a recommendation.” Libikzi and Gacplk turned toward him and bowed. I said, “Gavicte Yenkoi, proceed please.”
Yenkoi said, “I think James would be of marginal value in the proposed program and would not adjust properly to the training. His immediate execution would have the least risk, and if I may say, Fevepo Zawmb’yee, a word about your good friend Doug?”
I was stunned. “Yes, Gavicte, what about Doug?” Gacplk and Libikzi looked at each other.
Yenkoi said, “James is an old friend of Doug’s, and if James escapes to the up-top world he could be a bad influence on Doug.”
Gacplk said, “Hmm. Shouldn’t we take Doug in for questioning? Did he mention to James Ziohat anything about a secret cave?”
“No,” I said. I turned towards Libikzi. “Can you guarantee that James will safely behave and you will keep him under control?”
“Yes, Fevepo Zawmb’yee. We will give him careful attention.”
I spoke, “I hereby give custody and supervision of James Ziohat to the Yacmyeep under the command of Pevfexo Libikzi. Thank you and proceed as required.”
Gavicte Yenkoi looked disturbed. Libikzi and Gacplk bowed. Yenkoi and I walked back to our observation area. I said to Yenkoi, “Are we needed here for the transfer of command ceremony?”
Yenkoi said, “No, Fevepo Zawmb’yee.”
I said, “I will take a half-hour break.” I nodded at Libikzi. “You may proceed.”
Yenkoi and I walked out. We had a pleasant conversation about a dinner proposed for the coming evening.
After the half-hour break for the changing of the guard, Yenkoi and I had returned to the mevltikacle to find the Yacmyeep busy unpacking boxes along the catwalks that surround the turntable of the agroape. They had stopped spinning James, and he had dried off.
Libikzi walked onto the now motionless turntable, and walked clockwise around James to inspect him, but very slowly the turntable began moving again in the opposite direction so that we could observe Libikzi as she traveled. She touched his back, shoulder blades, and buttocks, letting her hands slide along his body as she sauntered. Continuing around to the side, she placed the fingertips of her right hand on his left hip and her left hand on his lower abdomen. She let her hands travel as she made her way to the front saying to James, “Relax, I’ve gotten you a reprieve,” and she placed her hand on his scrotum. She turned towards the Yacmyeep and said, “Someone hand me a catheter.” She put it on him and let the tubing fall.
James was still in the tilneskoyg and could not look down. He said, “What are you doing?”
Libikzi said, “I see that you’ve risen to the occasion and there’s no need to worry. We don’t want a mess if we put some clothing on you, and you don’t want to wear a diaper, do you?”
“Uh no,” said James, “and what do you mean by reprieve?”
Libikzi felt his chest, walked to one side, turned, and nodded at Yenkoi and me. Libikzi looked back towards James and said, “Well, James, you will not be executed if you cooperate, behave, and do as you’re told. Pevfexo Gacplk and Gavicte Yenkoi wanted you executed immediately, but I, Pevfexo Libikzi, argued for you to be spared a horrible death. It is only through the good graces and magnanimity of Her Majesty High Priestess Fevepo Zawmb’yee that you were allowed to live.”
James said, “Fevepo Zawmb’yee?”
I looked at James and gleefully waved my hand from side to side. Yenkoi frowned.
Libikzi stifled a laugh, and slapped James across the face. “You will not,” she said to James, “address the Fevepo directly. You will speak to me only, and from now on address me as Pevfexo Libikzi. If you fail to obey any of my directives, you can be given back into the custody of Pevfexo Gacplk. Understand?”
“Yeah,” said James.
“You’re off to a bad start already. We can re-load the crossbows now. The correct response is ‘Yes Pevfexo Libikzi’. Understand?”
“Yes, Pevfexo Libikzi,” said James.
“Good, but you still get one demerit and we’ll see if any punishment will be needed. You will be well-treated if you behave, and you may receive rewards and inducements if things go well…” A few of the Yacmyeep giggled. Libikzi, finishing, barked, “Understand?”
“Yes, Pevfexo Libikzi,” said James.
“Fine. You may relax now James. You’ll learn and everything will work out alright. Just a few guidelines here and there. If I’m speaking to you directly, you may call me ‘Pevfexo’ for short. Enough protocol for now. Just relax James — you’ll get through the initial indoctrination in an easy way if you simple obey the instructions and directives you’re given.” Libikzi gave a signal. One of the Yacmyeep carrying a glass of rye whiskey stroked James’ face. Libikzi said, “This is Aipnica Naytuci. You may address her by her title: Aipnica.”
Naytuci said, “Would you like a sip of whiskey James?”
“Yes, please, Aipnica Naytuci,” said James timidly.
Libikzi nodded and Naytuci brought the glass to his lips and tilted it. He drank a little. Naytuci departed.
“Feel better, James?” said Libikzi.
“Yes, Pevfexo, ” said James.
“Well, then,” said Libikzi, “I know that you’re very cold, so let’s get some clothes on you. Can we count on you to be cooperative, James?”
“Yes, Pevfexo,” said James.
“Alright then,” said Libikzi, “no kicking.” She gave a signal.
Naytuci returned. She removed the shackles from his ankles, stroked his ankles, and massaged his calves. Naytuci departed.
“Good,” said Libikzi, “and you’re still cold, so let’s get on with this. We’ll start with some underwear.” Libikzi pointed to some Yacmyeep. Two began walking around the catwalk towards James. Libikzi said to James, “Alright, I see you didn’t choose to kick, jump, or fidget. Would you like another sip of whiskey?”
Libikzi gave a signal. Naytuci returned with the glass of whiskey and raised the glass near James’ lips. Two new Yacmyeep appeared on each side of James. He could not see them, his head restrained by the tilneskoyg. One touched James’ right thigh. Libikzi said, “This is Aipnica Hshwigi. The other touched his left thigh. “This is Aipnica Baynibi,” said Libikzi. “Would you like that drink now, James?”
“Aipnica Naytuci,” said Libikzi, “give him what he wants.” She brought the glass to his lips and tilted it. He drank heartily. She tipped it more. She handed off the empty glass.
Hshwigi said, “James, I have your underpants. Lift your right leg and I’ll help you put your foot through the leg hole. OK?”
“Yes, Aipnica Hshwigi,” said James.
Hshwigi took out a pair of pink panties with a hole for tubing. “Lift your leg…OK, now put your foot through here…there it goes.”
Baynibi said, “Lift your other leg…foot through here. There, OK.”
Naytuci threaded the end of the tubing through the hole. Hshwigi and Baynibi lifted the panties all the way up as Naytuci guided the tubing through.
Naytuci said, “James, I’ll be right back. I have to get something for you.”
“Fine, fi’, Aipnica Naytuci,” said James slurring his words.
Hshwigi and Baynibi massaged James’ legs all around. They massaged his chest up to his underarms.
Libikzi said, “James, your first work assignment is in the village of Uzpu. If you do well there, you might even be able to appear on a new television show they’re producing for the Inner Village Network. It’s new. It’s a quiz show called ‘The Elusive Truth’, but first you have to do some manual labor for the village. For your first assignment you will be pulling a wagon. Being a ‘horse’ is not a glamorous assignment, but you have to start at the bottom and work your way up. You could do this. Right James?”
“Sure, shuh, fi’, fine, your Pevfexo majesty, uh Miss Commander, um, Pevfexo Libikzi. Fi’, fine,” James slurred.
“Just a few more things,” said Libikzi, “and we’ll let you sit down.” Hshwigi and Baynibi went around and gave him a back massage, and when they finished returned to the front. “We’re almost done, James.”
“Fi’, fi’, Pevfee x oh,” said James.
“James,” said Libikzi, “as a horse we need to fit you with a harness to pull the wagon. It’s padded so it won’t cut into you when you pull a heavy load. The straps go around your chest and over your shoulders. If you’re willing to cooperate we can remove the tilneskoyg, but you must follow directions carefully. Are you willing to do this James?”
“Fi’, fi’, Pevee x oh,” said James.
A group of Yacmyeep gathered around James. Hshwigi and Baynibi unlocked the wrist shackles and neck yoke and the rest of the Yacmyeep lifted the tilneskoyg off James. James’ arms fell to his sides. The Yacmyeep carried the tilneskoyg away.
Hshwigi and Baynibi massaged his shoulder, arms, and fingers. Baynibi went round and massaged the back of his neck.
“Feel better James?” asked Libikzi.
“Perfecto Pevfexo Libi X Zee,” said James.
“Alright now, James,” said Libikzi, “a little game. Everybody hold hands and swing your arms.”
James took the hands of Hshwigi and Baynibi and they swung their arms back and forth. They took him for a little walk along the catwalk and back onto the same spot on the turntable.
Libikzi said, “Did we have a nice walk James?”
“Fun, fun, fun, Pevee x oh,” said James.
Naytuci returned with the harness. Hshwigi and Baynibi grabbed the ends. Naytuci went around to the back.
Libikzi said, “James, put your hands through the loops.” Hshwigi and Baynibi passed the ends to Naytuci. They lifted the shoulder straps into place, and Naytuci fastened it in the back.
“Almost done, James,” said Libikzi, “give Naytuci your hands.”
Naytuci handcuffed his hands behind his back. Yacmyeep brought him a chair. James sat down and fell asleep.
Naytuci came around to the front with the others. Naytuci said, “Doesn’t James look pretty in his bra and panties.” Someone said, “pretty filly”, and they all laughed.
I’m still reading the Ofuye. There is a disturbing question that comes to mind. Everything is based on the assumption that the gods were benevolent. The elite in the palace, and those in the inner villages are portrayed as descendants of those given special tools and knowledge by the gods. Some are assumed to be descendants of the prophets. They make no claims any more extraordinary than any other religion, and they have as many purported miracles and saints as any other culture, and have as much or more documentation and literature. There are convoluted explications on why bad things happen to good people. There’s a master plan never explained but constantly alluded to whenever a painful lesson is learned (could you teach me about fire without burning me — a good teacher would bring the child to the mountain cliff, but would be sure to hold his hand and not let him fall over the edge before he’s been given wings. Why would any god not have sense enough to do this? Why would any god be such a degenerate parent? If a god won’t teach, won’t help, won’t stop the children from fighting(even letting siblings kill each other, without even a stern and timely warning, ‘now children play nice — don’t hit your sister, don’t hit your brother’), if all of these are refused, no god is a benevolent supervisor, a god is at best indifferent, and at worst…
What if the gods were not benevolent. Then the elite of the book would be descendants of collaborators with tyranny, fooled by magicians.
And as in the up-top world, who is to say that we don’t suffer under the yoke of the descendants of an elite who were the greatest superstitious storytellers of all time, be it from one or many sources — talent of persuasion does not guarantee truth. Do not the innocent suffer under the unintended consequences of every exuberance foisted by the day’s extant ecstatics. Every epoch has had it’s absolute ‘Certainty of Faith’ in its primitive writing, and has had the blasphemies of the others, some of whom had noble lives off in some distant corner with compassion and kindness toward their own children.
What if a benevolent god spoke to me. Would what he said be untrue if my rhetorical skills were lacking, and no one would believe me? What if an evil god spoke to me and my rhetorical skills were great. Haven’t the Machiavellian ones always dominated with rhetoric and armies. The pacifists and idealists don’t lead armies. Don’t the greatest soldier orators steal the revolutions from the idealists?
Oh Kievifkwa! I’ve done a polemic and I’m not very convincing. What if a god told me something true — how would I convince anyone, and how would I explain its authenticity? Can I say to anyone, when I love you, I give you truth, for who am I to be a god even for a moment.
But then, there are the duties of the leader. If our enemies destroy us, how will we speak, be it even the voice of a god. Many a shaman have died when their warriors were weak, and their knowledge was lost, not for any lack of authenticity, but for a lack of weapons of war. No culture who let their warriors become weak were defended by their God. Were they? No, they were demonized by their conquerors whose weapons allowed them to claim a greater God.
And so what do I do about James who would be blabbermouth, or jester but would not be King. What do we do with clowns? Well, actually, it’s already too late. I just didn’t finish telling you about his destruction. Philosophy is so much more high-minded and pleasant. There can always be found a more intricate logic that can justify anything(oh if we only knew the premises). But anyway, the gods made me do it.
Stall, stall, stall. Wait until you hear how James got into the trotter’s race. Tragedy had become so funny, and that’s what worries me. I must not be myself if I find my growing powers amusing. I’m losing something… but the High Priestess is amused. Ha! I have spoken. Bring in the clowns.
Poor James. He must be one of many who have endured the damihaiz.
I wonder how many others have wandered into any part of the secret city, or been dragged there. Poor other Jameses.
At least, last time, James got to sleep one night. We had returned to the mevltikacle in the morning after.
By the time we got there, the Yacmyeep had already washed and shaved James, and they had removed the agroape and the eksikmazm from the floor of the mevltikacle. Most of the Yacmyeep were busy setting up equipment, but Hshwigi, Baynibi, and Naytuci were chatting. Naytuci ran her fingers through her purple hair and said, “Isn’t the filly pretty. She could be a good trotter. She needs a better name than James.” They all laughed.
“Yeah, whatever name they choose, bet on that one,” said Hshwigi pointing her index finger with the red nail polish. “You’ll probably get good odds.”
James was pacing up and back trying to get out of his handcuffs and trying to reach around to the front of his body. He walked to the end of his leash that was chained to a post, pulling until he choked and then he stopped.
James shouted, “Libikzi, let me the hell out of here now. This is ridiculous, this is insane, and they will…”
“Oh James,” said Libikzi, “You were doing so well. That’s another demerit: you address me as Pevfexo Libikzi.”
“Oh hell, Pevfexo Libikzi,” said James, “what are you doing to me? Let me go.”
James paced up and back, and coming to the end of his leash, tripped on his own feet and fell to the floor. All the Yacmyeep were there in their short yellow dresses with purple sun symbols shining on each breast and blue triangles under their immodest cleavages. One remarked, “Isn’t she a wild filly — she’ll probably win the race…”
Hshwigi and Baynibi came over and lifted him to his feet. Naytuci grabbed the chain of his handcuffs and pulled him backward toward the center of the floor where there was a small trotter racing cart with room for one jockey.
Libikzi, fingering her sapphire pendant, said, “James, why all the fuss? I have good news for you.”
“Pevfexo Libikzi, may I ask, um…” said James with insincere respect, stalling for time, probably trying to think of an escape plan, “may I ask what is the good news?”
Libikzi raised an eyebrow and played with one of her gold bracelets. “I’m glad you asked,” said Libikzi. “There’s a trotter’s race for novice horses. The winning prize is a full course dinner in the main dining room without restraints, and a guided tour of the Inner Cities. Seems perfect for you, seeing as you wanted to explore. No?”
“Well, Pevfexo Libikzi,” said James tentatively, “may I ask the bad news?”
“Hmm,” said Libikzi, “you could put it that way, but it’s just part of your training program, and as you advance, you will receive more privileges and freedoms. You must first train to be a good trotter. Shall we proceed?”
James was afraid to say no. He said, “Yes, Pevfexo Libikzi.”
“To qualify for the race, you must learn to trot. If you break into a gallop you will be disqualified and ineligible for a prize. But don’t worry, we can guarantee that you can’t spread your legs too far. Shall we show you?”
“Um,” said James, “uh, Pevfexo Libikzi, I guess you could tell me about this, um…”
“No, James,” said Libikzi, “we will instruct and you will comply.”
The Yacmyeep brought a chair. Naytuci pushed him and he sat down.
Libikzi said, “We will put on you a tight and narrow trotter’s skirt that will limit how far apart your legs can stretch. This will prevent a gallop and limit steps to the correct length apart.”
Aipnica Naytuci said, “Lift your legs so we can put on your skirt.”
“What?” said James.
“Another demerit,” said Aipnica Naytuci. “Shall we move to the punishments?”
“Uh, no,” said James, “Aipnica Naytuci.”
Hshwigi and Baynibi helped Naytuci pull a trotter’s skirt part way up, pushing James’ legs together. “Stand up James,” said Naytuci, and they pulled the skirt up and locked the waist belt.
James tried to run with tiny small steps, but couldn’t get far before Naytuci stopped him.
Libikzi said, “Open you mouth wide — we want to see your teeth. Now!”
James opened his mouth wide and then said, “Pevfexo Libikzi, why am I doing this?”
“Every horse must be steered, “ said Libikzi. “We must determine what kind of bit to use. We need to attach some pieces to your teeth, and perhaps an automatic tongue depressor so we can train you not to talk inappropriately — it’s usually more comfortable than a gag. When the reins are attached to a good bridle you’ll know exactly where we want you to go, and when to speak.”
James trotted out to the end of his leash, sat down, and tried to get his fingers under the belt in the back where he could reach. He stood up, trotted back to the post, turned backward and tried to push the post down.
Libikzi said, “Hmm, I think maybe we’ll have to drill your teeth a little to make a good fit. Maybe pull a couple.”
“No,” said James, “you can’t do that. It’s ridiculous, it’s…”
“Another demerit,” said Libikzi, “but then there’s an alternative…”
“Pevfexo Libikzi,” said James, “what’s the alternative?”
“Well, you do have large fleshy earlobes. We could steer you by your ears,” said Libikzi.
“Are you nuts?” said James. “What are you doing…you’re all crazy. Let me go. You’re going to pay for this, you lunatics.” James trotted out to the end of his leash and pulled. Then he trotted up and back looking for something he could use as a tool or weapon. There was nothing within reach.
“Two demerits, James,” said Libikzi. “So, shall we fit you for a bridle now?”
“No, Pevfexo Libikzi,” said James.
“Very well then,” said Libikzi. She gave a signal. Two Yacmyeep swabbed his ear lobes with antiseptic and anesthetic. “Hold still. We don’t want to rip your lobes.” The Yacmyeep punched out large holes in the center of each lobe, removing a chunk of flesh. They cleaned it and then used a rivet gun to install large earrings. They walked away admiring their work.
James trotted out to the end of his leash, shaking his head. He trotted back.
Libikzi said, “You are wild. You’ll make a good filly. I think you’ll win the race, but we don’t want to put the cart before horse. We’ll see how well you can pull the cart later.”
Libikzi turned to the Yacmyeep, “That’s enough for now. Let’s all go to lunch.” They left James alone to trot about. Yenkoi and I and our entourage went to lunch.
Before the lunch break, James hadn’t been fully dressed in his trotter’s uniform, but he needed to be hitched to the trotter’s cart soon to begin his breaking in before his rebellious tendencies could become habitual and chronic. The time had approached to apply a more comprehensive discipline and ensure obedience. I’ve read that once a new trotter accepts the role assigned, it no longer suffers the pain of futile escape attempts, and injuries from reckless flailing about. They say that once the horse’s identity and role are firmly inculcated, the new trotter is comforted by the certainty of its obedience to a proscribed routine. Thus fear is removed. But first the wild horse must be broken.
James had not been looking well when we had returned to the mevltikacle after our lunch break. He had not eaten and had had limited drinks. His weakness had to be carefully calculated to limit his strength to resist, but not allow his death as long as he appeared to be a useful commodity, but from the way he trotted about, pulling on the post, rolling on the floor, yanking at his clothes, he seemed strong enough to survive a little longer.
The Yacmyeep milled about in excited anticipation. Hshwigi, Baynibi, and Naytuci, gossiped, not overly concerned with who would overhear them while the rest of the Yacmyeep prepared for the afternoon’s activity. Hshwigi wiggled her fingers to show her rainbow-colored fingernails. “Look,” she said to the others, “aren’t these great shades of nail polish: passionate red on my index finger, citrus orange for my middle finger, sun-bright yellow on my ring finger, and bright green for my pinkie. Aren’t these gorgeous?”
The others agreed. Baynibi said, “You know, we could paint James’ fingernails these colors. Don’t you think it would be pretty?”
Naytuci said, “Well, maybe but right now, James’ hands have to stay handcuffed behind his back.”
“Oh yeah, I forgot,” said Baynibi.
Hshwigi fluttered her eyes. “See my blue eye shadow…”
“Oh yeah,” said Naytuci, “we could do his eyes, and paint his toes.”
Baynibi said, “Yeah, that would be fun.”
“Yeah, yeah, yeah,” said Hshwigi, “I can see it: this will be a pretty filly. Look at the decorative ancient engraving on James’ hilukwili, and doesn’t it look gorgeous: James does have pretty armlets, and if you look closely you can see there are nice frilly, leafy designs on James’ bra. Don’t you think?”
“Just one thing,” said Naytuci, “those dry chapped and cracked lips are not attractive.”
Libikzi shouted, “Quiet everyone. We have work to do… Someone bring the horse over to the cart between the pull poles.” James was lifted, pushed, and dragged.
James said, “Don’t you think you’ve had enough fun. I could go and I won’t say anything — I mean, who would believe me anyway?”
“Another demerit. You address me as Pevfexo Libikzi. Understand?”
“Yes, Pevfexo Libikzi,” said James.
“James,” said Libikzi. “We can’t take any chances. Calm down, and you’ll be fine. Wouldn’t you like a nice full course dinner of your choice, and all you can drink of any beverage?”
“Yes, Pevfexo Libikzi,” said James.
“Well then, you have to win the race. We will prepare you to be a good filly. We’re going to hitch you to the cart. Don’t fidget because we want to properly distribute the load that you’re going to pull among the attachment points and lines. Just stand calmly, and we’ll take good care of you. Alright, James?”
“Yes, Pevfexo Libikzi,” said James.
Libikzi instructed the Yacmyeep. “First attach the chains from the poles to the rings of the hilukwili. Leave some slack, and we’ll adjust it later — it’s not going to take much of the load…”
Hshwigi and Baynibi locked the chains onto the rings. Hshwigi wiggled her fingers in front of James’ face. “Do you like my nails, James?”
James said, “Uh, yes Aipnica Hshwigi. Very nice.”
“Alright, now just for a margin of safety,” said Libikzi, “attach the chain from the center bottom of the cart to the handcuff chain and the extension pole to the neck collar.”
James tried to trot away. Five Yacmyeep rushed in to hold James, and five to hold the cart.
“Whoa, James,” said Libikzi, “you don’t want to hurt yourself.”
James said, “Never mind the race. Get me out of this.” James tried to turn the cart around, but the Yacmyeep already had a hold on everything.
“Ten demerits,” said Libikzi. “If you damage yourself, we’ll have to execute you. And you will address me as Pevfexo. Perhaps we should redeem all your demerits with a suitable punishment now. Or will you stand still and be calm?”
James shifted around to try to get comfortable. “Alright, Pevfexo. I’m OK now.”
“Good James,” said Libikzi. “Now we move on to the main load bearing item.” Libikzi gave a signal. More Yacmyeep came in and grabbed hold of every inch of James’ body. Libikzi commanded them, “From now on, I want no movement at all.”
James couldn’t budge in any way. James screamed, “Let go of me.”
“Two demerits,” said Libikzi. “James, if you stay calm, you’ll be fine.”
Libikzi pointed at Hshwigi and Baynibi. They attached chains from the main structure of the cart to rings on James’ bra.
Naytuci sat in the jockey’s chair of the cart. Hshwigi and Baynibi attached the reins to James’ earrings.
“Now that was easy. Wasn’t it James,” said Libikzi.
James jumped up and down and shook his head.
Libikzi directed the Yacmyeep. “Hold James still. Don’t allow any movement.”
Baynibi was all excited. “Pevfexo, can we decorate our filly now?”
“Sure,” said Libikzi. “The lips are chapped. Choose a lipstick.”
Baynibi said, “Let’s see how bright orange looks.” She applied an orange lipstick to James’ lips. “Doesn’t that feel better,” she said to James.
“Yes, Aipnica Baynibi,” said James.
Libikzi turned and looked over towards Yenkoi and me. “High Priestess, Fevepo Zawmb’yee, if it would please you to do so, would you be inclined to name the new filly?”
“Yes, thank you, Pevfexo Libikzi,” I said, “I like Camille.”
“Very well, thank you, Fevepo Zawmb’yee,” said Libikzi, “we are honored.”
Hshwigi brought supplies from her equipment bag. She said, “Camille, close your eyes, I want to paint your eyelids blue.”
The filly looked around, hitched firmly to the cart.
Hshwigi grabbed the horse’s face. “That’s you Camille; I’m speaking to you,” said Hshwigi.
“I’m James,” said the filly.
“Two demerits,” said Libikzi, “This is your new name. You will answer to it when addressed. Understand Camille?”
“I’m James,” the horse hitched to the cart said.
“Ten demerits,” said Libikzi. “You will address me as Pevfexo Libikzi, and I will address you as Camille. Understand Camille?”
Libikzi said to Naytuci who was in the jockey’s chair, “Drive Camille to the treadmill in the punishment cell, after you establish control.”
The Yacmyeep still held the horse in place. Naytuci pulled all the chains tight until the horse screamed. Naytuci reached to one side and found a whip. She lashed the horse twenty times. She said, “When I pull on your left ear, you will turn left.” Naytuci nodded to the Yacmyeep. They withdrew away from the cart. The horse pulled forward with its head turned to the left. Naytuci said, “Turn left, turn left.” The head was turned left but the cart went straight. Some Yacmyeep in a forward position blocked the path with a ramp that they unfolded from the back of a truck. The cart went straight up the ramp onto the platform of the truck. The Yacmyeep climbed up the ramp, threw lines out and anchored the cart to the platform. Naytuci put on a brake, and got out of the driver’s seat. Naytuci and the Yacmyeep walked down the ramp back onto the floor of the mevltikacle. The ramp folded up. The whole cart with the horse still attached was driven to a huge domed area that was carved out of the rock between the entrance and the pond. An enormous garage door opened slowly in the back. The truck disappeared into a tunnel, and the door closed.
Libikzi said to Naytuci, “Wasn’t that exciting? It’s just a minor setback. This sort of thing often happens. We have other strategies. We’ll see.”
I said to Yenkoi, “Does this mean the conditioning has failed?”
Yenkoi said, “No, Fevepo. It’s just one of the variations. They’ve handled it before. It’s never predicable which variation will work best in each case. It’s just going to take a little longer.”
“Well, in any case, Gavicte Yenkoi, the Yacmyeep seem to enjoy their work.”
“Yes Fevepo,” said Yenkoi, “they will get the job done eventually. There’s plenty of time, and I predict that Camille will win the race. It should be interesting. Shall we go to dinner?”
“Yes, fine, Gavicte.”
An exciting day. Better than reading the Ofuye.
Today, Gavicte Yenkoi has said that a group of Drofluo want to meet with me. They are a black ops division of the Wipzib. He has said that if I choose to meet with them I can’t consult with him or anyone else, and that I must keep to myself whatever secrets they tell me, unless I write a formal decree explaining my reasons for wanting to share this information with any persons, and explaining these persons’ need-to-know. Gavicte Yenkoi says, I may reveal those secrets to those designated in the decree only if the full Council ratifies the decree. I can refuse to see the Drofluo if I wish. I don’t know if I want to know this ultra-super-top secret stuff. But if I don’t even hear it, how would I condemn any abuse of power I know nothing about. I suppose the idea of refusal is to be able to have plausible deniability for the approval by default of a necessary evil, because conditions are so dire as to require drastic measures.
I’m feeling more weird all the time. Because of this, I’ve scheduled an automatic sending of Doug’s email at the up-top network service provider. It’s already safely stored by them. This way, whatever happens here to me or to my up-top-type computer in the kngacev, the ISP will send the special email to Doug and will take care of my accounts. At his point, I’d better not say anything further here about that.
Well, then, perhaps, while I’m still somewhat lucid (although, I don’t know if anything has ever been clear to me), I’ll talk about the last session I observed at the mevltikacle. After that one, I just told Libikzi to send me written reports and that if any more authorizations were needed that I’d let Gavicte Yenkoi make the decisions for me.
After the cart pulling incident, they had returned James to Gacplk. We had arrived at the mevltikacle for a morning session. The tikwitipj and the eksikmazm were laid out on the floor of the mevltikacle again. James a.k.a. Camille was naked except for his hilukwili, earrings, neck collar, and handcuffs.
James stood, hands behind his back, in front of the pedal of the tikwitipj. Gacplk, growling behind him, said, “Spin the wheel.”
“I can’t,” said James.
Gacplk let go of the chain of the handcuffs. He said, “Move forward and step hard with your foot on the pedal. The harder you step, the faster and the longer the wheel will spin… you might need time to think about something.”
“Is this good news or bad news?” asked James.
“Shut up. Just step on the damn pedal,” said Gacplk pushing James who then fell onto the pedal on his knees. The wheel spun furiously.
“Can I win a prize?” asked James.
“No. But you can take the consequences of the wheel, or you can have what’s behind door number one, door number two, or door number three. What do you want to do?” said Gacplk.
“I want to go to Disneyland.”
Gacplk looked toward the firing squad. “Load crossbows.” He said to James, “Decide soon, and this time, if you try to escape, the archers will get you in a painful way.”
James said, “Um, uh, door number one.”
Gacplk waved over two guards. Gacplk said, “Remove his handcuffs.”
James said, “Does this mean I can go to Disneyland?”
“No James,” said Gacplk, “you’ve chosen door number one. Walk over to the door, and you’ll see that there’s a sword on the floor right in front of it. Go pick it up.”
“Does this mean,” said James, “that I get to fight my way out of the mevltikacle?”
Gacplk used his sweet insidious voice, “No, James, not that you’d be any match against crossbows and guns. Just go while the wheel is still spinning and you don’t have to forfeit your chance.”
As James walked towards the door, Gacplk and his men all moved back about fifty feet away from the door. Yenkoi and I also moved back to a safe distance. The men up on the eksikmazm with their crossbows were already in a secure position.
Arriving at the door, James picked up the sword and said, “Oh, I could throw this like a spear.”
“No James,” shouted Gacplk, “hold the sword straight out in front of you.”
“Good enough,” said Gacplk. He gave a signal and the door began to open. Gacplk’s men spread out into defensive positions and drew their guns.
A lion lunged at James going for his throat and was just barely diverted as part of its body fell onto the sword that James didn’t even have time to move.
The lion roared and while stumbling, mauled James with its claws. It turned itself around.
“No, James,” shouted Gacplk, “stab it in the throat.”
James plunged the sword into its throat as it lunged again.
Gacplk shouted, “Stab it again. Cut its head off.”
James pulled out the sword and plunged it repeatedly all over the lion’s body, and hacked at the neck. He turned, screamed a war cry and ran towards Gacplk with the sword outstretched. Gacplk’s men backed up and aimed their guns at James.
Gacplk shouted, “Stop James, now.”
Two arrows flew near James’ ears, the feathers of one brushing him. James slowed somewhat. He let out a bellowing shriek, waving the sword wildly while blood sprayed into the wind of his wake.
“Stop James,” Gacplk said, calmly stepping back a few steps and drawing his gun.
James lowered the sword and walked towards Gacplk.
“Drop the sword.”
James picked up speed again, made the sound of a moose, and raised his sword back like an antler.
“Stop. Drop the sword.” Gacplk ran back, stopped, turned, aimed his gun and shouted, “Aim crossbows.”
James ran faster, aiming the sword at Gacplk.
Gacplk braced himself. “Steady, fire at my signal.”
A chorus of screeches came from the entrance of the mevltikacle and James stopped and looked up.
Hshwigi, Baynibi, and Naytuci screamed, “Camille! Whoa!”
The wild creature wearing the hilukwili and earrings, stopped in its tracks, dropped the sword like a molting, and began shaking uncontrollably, falling to the ground.
“Pevfexo Gacplk!” shouted Pevfexo Libikzi.
Gacplk looked at Libikzi and back at the creature on the ground. “Stand down weapons,” said Gacplk.
Pevfexo Libikzi said, “May I, Pevfexo Gacplk?”
“Yes, alright, Pevfexo Libikzi, if you wish,” said Gacplk. “Come retrieve it.”
Libikzi, Hshwigi, Baynibi, and Naytuci had come with an entire team of Yacmyeep who waited at the entrance. Libikzi waved them in. They carried all kinds of baskets and bags, and they looked like they came for a picnic.
Hshwigi, Baynibi, and Naytuci rushed over to Camille who was still shaking on the ground. Hshwigi said, “Take it easy Camille. We’ve brought you a cheeseburger, and a gin and tonic.”
The filly Camille sat up. She took a sip of the gin and tonic from a straw, and had a bite of the cheeseburger.
Baynibi said, “We’ve brought your clothes. Do you want to put them on?”
Camille said, “Yes, Aipnica Baynibi.” Camille put on her trotter skirt and Baynibi and Hshwigi helped her put on her harness bra.
Naytuci said, “Drink the rest of you gin and tonic.”
Camille gulped it down.
Libikzi came around. “Is everything under control?”
Hshwigi said, “Yes, our filly is fine.”
Libikzi said to Camille, “Feel better?”
The filly said, “Yes, Pevfexo Libikzi.”
Libikzi said, “Finish your Cheeseburger.”
Camille grabbed it with both hands and gobbled it up.
Libikzi offered a swig of whiskey from a bottle. “Want to have a jolt?”
“Yes, please, Pevfexo Libikzi,” said Camille and she took the bottle to her mouth and swung it back.
Hshwigi and Baynibi took Camille’s hands and led her away from Gacplk’s sight.
Libikzi said, “Don’t worry Camille. We’ll take care of you. Feel better?”
“Yes, Pevfexo Libikzi,” said Camille.
Libikzi signaled Naytuci. Naytuci walked behind Camille.
Libikzi said, “Give Naytuci your hands.”
Camille said, “Yes, Pevfexo Libikzi.”
Naytuci handcuffed Camille’s hands behind her back. “Secure,” said Naytuci to Libikzi.
Libikzi shouted to Gacplk, “Thank you, Pevfexo Gacplk. Everything’s under control now.”
The Yacmyeep took Camille away, and Naytuci said, “Can we put on her blue eye shadow and her mascara?”
Libikzi said, “Sure, why not. It’s your filly, and she has pretty eyes and nice eyelashes.”
Hshwigi said, “Um, Pevfexo Libikzi, if I may make a formal request?”
Libikzi said, “Yes, Aipnica Hshwigi, dear. Speak your mind.”
“High Pevfexo, if it pleases you, may I um, uh…”
“Go right ahead Dear. I give my permission for you to speak freely,” Libikzi said.
“Thank you, Pevfexo. After proper training, may I use Camille as my yleueox?”
Libikzi said, “I am inclined to approve, but wait Dear… I have one formality to do.”
Libikzi turned towards me. “High Priestess, Fevepo Zawmb’yee, if it would please you to do so, would you allow Aipnica Hshwigi to use Camille as her yleueox, and may I also ask if the Yacmyeep may have Camille available as aucocne?”
Baynibi and Naytuci giggled. They whispered to Hshwigi.
I said, “Pevfexo Libikzi, thank you for your request. Please give me one moment.”
I whispered to Yenkoi, “Gavicte, what the Kievifkwa is she asking me?”
“Well, Fevepo, yleueox means um…”
“Oh hell, oh Kievifkwa, never mind. Gavicte, can you decide and speak for me?”
“Yes, of course, Fevepo.”
I said to Libikzi, “I will allow Gavicte Yenkoi to make the decision and speak for me.”
“Yes, High Priestess, Fevepo Zawmb’yee.” Libikzi bowed toward Yenkoi.
Yenkoi smiled and whispered to me, “Fevepo, may I proceed?”
“Yes, Yenkoi,” I said.
Yenkoi turned toward Libikzi. “Pevfexo Libikzi, I hereby grant both requests, and if you would convey to Aipnica Hshwigi in advance, our congratulations and best wishes. May you succeed as fortune will have it in service to the gods.”
Libikzi bowed. “Thank you Gavicte Yenkoi. Thank you, High Priestess, Fevepo Zawmb’yee.”
I whispered to Yenkoi, “Now what the Kievifkwa, what Kievifkwa-ing thing did I agree to?”
“High Priestess, Fevepo Zawmb’yee, if it pleases you to do so, may I request that you not curse so much?”
“Oh never mind Gavicte. Can you tell me what it means later?”
“Yes, of course, Fevepo. You are so kind.”
“Oh… I mean, yes, fine, very good, my dear Gavicte.”
SECRETS AND DISASTER
As you could have guessed, I’ve procrastinated as much as I could, but I do have an appointment set with the Drofluo. This I did after I finally asked Yenkoi for an explanation of the last session at the mevltikacle, and asked for a clarification of my options for a meeting with the Drofluo. After a few days when I had caught up on my Ofuye studies, I called in Yenkoi for a consultation.
I had said, “Gavicte Yenkoi, I think I’m ready now for you to update me on everything I’ve postponed.”
“Yes, of course, Fevepo. You had asked me after the last session at the mevltikacle to explain my decisions on your behalf. I think that you needed a definition of yleueox, and aucocne, in the context of Aipnica Hshwigi’s request?”
“Yes, Gavicte Yenkoi.”
“Um, Fevepo Zawmb’yee, as you may know, I find it difficult speaking about vulgar and indelicate matters. If you would please pardon me if I stumble about in my explanation with too many euphemisms or with an obfuscation. Perhaps, after you’ve finished your studies with Apacevj, I’ll be able to explain this and other things more precisely in Upper Utd’mbts. Shall I proceed?”
“Sure, Gavicte Yenkoi — let it all hang out.”
“Excuse me, Fevepo? I don’t understand.”
“Sorry, that’s an up-top expression. Um, I mean, yes, of course, proceed.”
“Thank you, Fevepo. Aipnica Hshwigi wishes to become pregnant. She wants it to be by a supervised mounting of her by the horse Camille alias James. The process of lowering an erect horse onto her, and allowing for a careful thrusting process that results in an ejaculation within her, is called ‘yleueox’, and ‘aucocne’ simply means ‘sperm donor.’ When I say ‘horse’ I mean liaoc or a person such as James.”
“Um, well, Gavicte Yenkoi, I think I understand. If I may be indelicate for a moment: Hshwigi wants to have sex with James, and have his baby…”
“Yes, Fevepo Zawmb’yee, that would be a succinct way to describe the essential elements without the social-milieu context. Is this sufficient for now?”
“Yes, thank you, Gavicte Yenkoi. I’m sorry you had to suffer through that explication, but I enjoy a good ramble. Well, OK, whenever I learn Utd’mbts more thoroughly, you’ll tell me more.”
“Which reminds me: I think it best that when I have the meeting with the Drofluo, that I insist that they NOT speak in Upper Utd’mbts, since I don’t know it that well. Will this be acceptable?”
“Yes, of course, Fevepo. The briefing can contain as much or as little detail as you want to hear. The decision is yours, and as I’ve said before, whatever you do agree to hear must be kept secret.”
“Yes, Gavicte Yenkoi, I understand,” I had said, but as I’ve hinted at: there is a problem which I won’t dare discuss with Yenkoi.
Now as the meeting approaches, I’m getting more and more nervous. And I hope I’m correct that none of the elite here in the Palace and in the inner villages read this blog, because I do plan to describe a little bit about the meeting.
I think it’s treason, but I’m thinking that if I’m the High Priestess, I could pardon myself or… I’m not going to think about it anymore. Yeah, I’m pretty sure they don’t read blogs on the up-top Internet.
I had my meeting with a representative of the Drofluo. If it’s even possible, I feel even more weird than before. Because I said I just wanted a general briefing, they sent just one representative who I suppose was sort of like a public relations spokesperson, although she had the high rank of Kfuaihicoo in the Drofluo. Perhaps it’s like the games in the up-top world where a person of ostensibly high rank like the Secretary of State can be out of the loop and ignored by the President and given only ceremonial duties, or in a different administration given real powers. It depends on a whim, or I suppose in this case I’m the whim and the wind. But since I’m supposed to be the ultimate power, and since if I knew anything, I could use rogue bureaucrats to drill down to the real deep secrets, I needed to make strategic friends. My feeling had been to play coy and see if I could develop an ally for myself deep within a disgruntled core. I know an entrenched elite leadership will always lie.
Kfuaihicoo Yimiecei had arrived with a large entourage, but she made a strange request: she asked to meet in the kngacev. I would have thought she’d ask to meet in one of the royal conference rooms with the elaborate media displays and security equipment. The kngacev is a simple library with a royal meditation room or bedroom. I’ve been so busy studying that I’ve never actually slept yet in any of the official royal bedrooms. I haven’t even had time to explore all the rooms of the palace. But anyway…
I had welcomed Kfuaihicoo Yimiecei into the kngacev with as much formal protocol as I could muster with the help of Yenkoi.
Yimiecei had curly blond hair and blue eyes. She was fiercely beautiful and ferocious in a leather vest over a blue mesh tank top, a green shredded silk skirt, and orange running shoes with rubies over steel toes and with purple ankle bracelets. She left her weapons belt with her entourage who waited outside. She was so powerful looking and sexy that even Yenkoi almost kissed her when he, entranced, almost drifted into her lips, but stirred to composed himself for a formal introduction.
She had said, “Fevepo Zawmb’yee, may we proceed to the back of the kngacev?”
I was puzzled, but I said, “Yes, of course, if you wish.” We walked to the back, to the far most corner.
She said, “If it would please you, Fevepo Zawmb’yee, may I climb the ladder to the top shelf of the book case?”
I had no clue, but I said, “Yes, of course, proceed.”
Yimiecei climbed to the top shelf, pulled a purple book part way out, and scrambled down the ladder . At the bottom she extended her arm in a downward arc and bowed. The shelf slid to the side revealing a room with huge screens, computer consoles, and a large conference table. She escorted me in, and we walked to the table as the shelf closed behind us. She pulled out a plush chair for me and said, “For your comfort, Fevepo Zawmb’yee. I am honored to brief you in the manner of your choosing.”
I sat down. “Yes, thank you, Kfuaihicoo Yimiecei, proceed.”
Sauntering around to the front of the table with her curly blond hair doing spring dances, she began, “I will start with the state of the Inner Villages. If at any time you want more detail, you may ask for it under the confidentiality agreement that Gavicte Yenkoi informed you of. Is this acceptable Fevepo Zawmb’yee?”
“Yes, continue,” I had said. It was eerie like when Doug and I entered Zusoiti’s lair except that Yimiecei had a benign presence. She updated me on all the mundane affairs of state and I nearly fell asleep until she almost casually lapsed into extraordinary intrigue… I’ll tell you all about it, but I have to rest now before Yenkoi brings me more papers to sign and I have some grand decisions to make. I am exhausted. I have to rest before I present my treasonous revelations here on this blog. Good night and sweet dreams before I rule the day, or is that rue the day…
So it is true that at every level the apocalypses approached — the bursting of every cherished bubble, large and small, where balloons of false belief and of the deception of comfortable certainty drift. The Drofluo are everywhere that pin pricks will lead to domination.
Kfuaihicoo Yimiecei had finished her agriculture report for the inner villages when she said, “Our stockpile of food in the Dakalzca is nearing full capacity and we’re ready to begin the inducement of the Wicsmi when the gods will return.”
“Oh, yes, Fevepo Zawmb’yee, I beg your pardon, I should have defined the jargon. Dakalzca are giant “caves of Stillness” where frozen food is kept like an elegant cuisine reserved in time for our epoch chefs by mammoth refrigerators, and Wicsmi means an Ice Age.”
“So you’re able to do what Kragzluk, the god of preservation and death, did in ancient times?”
“Well, yes. We have the pfayohiqusi and our psomuce, um, lava tube network can disperse the heat from the Dakalzca to deep ocean vents and when we’re ready for the Wicsmi, can be sent to active volcanoes.”
“How much food is that?”
“It’s enough for the half of the population of Earth that will obey us and …”
I was stunned at how calmly she spoke while playing with her blond curls. I said, “Wait, this sounds like Zusoiti’s plan, and didn’t Utcoozhoo lead the Grand Council to stop her and…”
“Fevepo Zawmb’yee, Zusoiti’s ideas were basically correct. It’s just that in implementation she failed to consult with the Drofluo, and became reckless in relying on the teigdain.”
“It’s a hybrid science: it assumes that certain things will forever be unknowable to science, only comprehended by the gods, and should not even be explored by experiment or study. It combines the science from our many Renaissances with the magic, or casmivi of the pfayohiqusi. But relying on the pfayohiqusi has actually held us back. Our scientists have moved in fits and starts to and beyond quantum physics. But the executions for sypmauiyig, blasphemy, have always been somewhat inhibiting.”
“Hmm, somewhat inhibiting?”
Kfuaihicoo Yimiecei suddenly had a look of terror on her face as she seemed to realize that I could read between the lines. I said, “Then, what you are saying is that the Drofluo have deliberately committed sypmauiyig in order to reverse-engineer the pfayohiqusi to learn the science of it?”
Yimiecei grimaced and shuttered for a moment before regaining composure and standing up straight. “Yes,” she said.
“Then the law would have you executed?”
I waited a moment to try to discern by her reaction if I still had absolute power. She started to shake. I said, “but I don’t have to, I suppose.”
I laughed. “I like the sciences.”
Hmm. So Yimiecei told me that the plan was basically the same except that we were not expecting the return of the gods but the return of the beings who were perceived as gods. She had said, “We are perfecting our knowledge of the science of the gods; we are beginning to understand the apparatus of the gods, the pfayohiqusi, infinitely better than ever before. With this knowledge, our benign rule of the Earth can begin, and we will purge all evil and any imperfection that would continue the troublesome inefficiencies.”
I had said, “Yes, it’s a messy, wasteful world.”
“Um, Fevepo, your Majesty and divine chosen leader of the realm, High Priestess, keeper of the faith, if I may discuss a delicate matter that may be personal to you?”
I was stunned and not sure what to say. I was thinking that theoretically I could have said that no, you may not, but then how would I know what was going on, and I would be worried and anxious continuously if I said something like tell me next week because I’m busy. So I said, “Yes, you may proceed.”
“We have discovered that it was Doug who revealed the existence of the caves to Ziohat. The damihaiz extracted the information from Ziohat. We believe Doug has been revealing too much information to the up-top world, and because of his eokxavexa, his genes obviously are of no value to us. Therefore, he should be executed.”
My impulse was to strangle her to death, but I felt sick, vomiting in a waste paper basket. Then, I cried, knocking over a chair and falling to the floor. I had to scream and the Kutibea appeared.
“Are you alright?” one of the Kutibea asked.
“Yes,” I said, “Call Apacevj and Yenkoi for a formal meeting. Go now.”
“Fevepo, may we help you up?”
“No, Jevkwyi, go!” The crowd departed. Yimiecei lifted me up and I struck her across the face with a backstroke of my fist.
Yimiecei wiped the blood off her face. She said, “Perhaps we should discuss this in more detail in Upper Utd’mbts, if it pleases you Fevepo.”
I sat down at the table and sobbed into my hands. I whispered, “Yes, after I consult with Apacevj.”
The book shelf door slid open and I ran out. Yimiecei followed behind and I stood in front of the books. I turned and screamed, “Get out, get out, get out, get out.”
Her entourage came. They gave her, carefully, her weapons belt back and they all left quietly.
This could be my last entry as myself, Zawmb’yee Nuje, interim High Priestess, Fevepo — Her Majesty, lover of Doug, student of Utcoozhoo, because I find myself doing dreadful things and I must lock myself out of control of this blog. I’ve alluded to this before, but I think now I will have to trigger the emergency protocol.
I am so foolish. Just when I needed friends in high places, or under places, needed some allies, I went berserk and showed my volatility and untrustworthiness. I could have been real cool and just listened to say tell me more and I’ll take it under advisement. But now I’ve gained nothing. The fact that Kfuaihicoo Yimiecei was stoic and took my abuse to show loyalty doesn’t actually mean she is loyal, and doesn’t mean she’s going to give me the true inside information. I’m such a novice. Yimiecei taking a punch is nothing — she could still stab me in the back at the right time.
What am I saying. This is all irrelevant. Already I am pushing to forget the evil I’ve done. But should I not flush the tokens of my good deeds away and be left with the labels of my malefactions for display in hell. What have I done. I’m an idiot to have let myself drift. I could have resisted but look what has happened:
I had called an emergency meeting with Apacevj. Apacevj rushed into the kngacev as if he already knew something. We sat on opposing couches in the reference section.
Apacevj said, “Fevepo Zawmb’yee, how may I help you?”
“Mieta Apacevj, I had what was to be an informal meeting with Kfuaihicoo Yimiecei conducted in English, but she brought up vital subjects that I think I need to hear in Upper Utd’mbts.”
“Yes,” I said and deeply meditated to feel and be with his message. After a few minutes, feeling his Upper Utd’mbts communication, he abruptly stopped making contact.
“Stop,” he said, “Speak in English only please.”
“What’s wrong? Am I not expressing myself correctly?”
“No, it’s not that your Upper Utd’mbts isn’t well done. It’s, um, uh …”
“What? Is it clumsy or something?”
“No, it’s magnificent and nuanced but…”
“I feel the presence of a different personality. This is the voice of someone else.”
And then at that moment I felt incredibly weird and I heard myself say, “So little Apacevj, you have heard me. I will take my rightful place as High Priestess even in this body.”
I heard Apacevj screaming, “Zawmb’yee Nuje! Zawmb’yee, Zawmb’yee, Zawmb’yee. Are you there?”
“No,” I heard myself say, “I am Zusoiti.”
“Kutibea!” I heard myself say, and they ran in.
“Fevepo Zawmb’yee, how may we help?” I heard from the Kutibea.
I heard myself say, “Pirgrikwa! Apacevj has attacked me and will imminently seize control of my mind. Execute him immediately.”
The Kutibea drew their acacizg and fired. There was a flash of light and Apacevj vanished. All that was left was a pile of ash.
I stared at the ash and was confused. “What happened?”
“You were attacked and we destroyed him. Are you alright?”
“Um, well, yes, I’m fine. Thank you and could you send in Gavicte Yenkoi,” I said.
I’m an idiot. I was so confused that I just somehow assumed that Apacevj had attacked me while speaking Upper Utd’mbts and all the strange events had been due to him. I preferred to think that I was perfectly fine after he was dead. But nothing had been his doing.
Oh, I see, I can probably stay lucid a while longer. I could do one more entry as my final confession. I am so sad, so sorry.
Oh Kievifkwa, I don’t know if I’m unraveling in madness, or doing what is necessary. Our secrets must be protected at all costs, and there is a higher calling of patriotism for our culture, for our people. No, no, no. This can not be — I feel it. To betray my only love is infinitely more evil than to betray the State. Those grand plans of State are Machiavellian and I have fallen, have let them offer slow poisons to me like a Juliet, but worse, I have betrayed Doug, and it might be too late. You would have thought I would have delayed speaking to Gavicte Yenkoi, but I had ordered the Kutibea to ask him to come in to hear my treachery.
Silly me, a child in borrowed robes, I had said to send in Gavicte Yenkoi. Foolish me. Treacherous me.
“Yes, Fevepo Zawmb’yee, you wished to see me?” Yenkoi had said.
“Gavicte Yenkoi, please prepare for me to sign, a death warrant for um…”
“Yes, Fevepo Zawmb’yee?”
So many sobs escaped from me and I sat down at a table near the reference section in the kngacev. So many tears dripped on my notes that the ink blurred on the paper buckled with evil dimples. Yenkoi stood in front of the books that were laid out like tombstones. But he merely lifted an eyebrow.
Yenkoi began again, “Fevepo Zawmb’yee, your Majesty, High Priestess, how may I serve you?”
“Gavicte Yenkoi, please prepare for me to sign, a death warrant for Doug…” and a full-throated cry broke out that echoed across the walls that mocked me.
“You know who,” I screamed.
“Fevepo Zawmb’yee, if I may, I will look up his full formal name and prepare the formal documents with orders to the security forces as needed for you to approve. Is this acceptable?”
I got up from the table and turned my back on Yenkoi. I pulled books from the shelves and flung them across the room. I said, “Is this civilization? Does knowledge become weapon become death, become ignorance from compassion, rip out hearts, beat us down without a rhythm of love for filthy secrets, dirt. I am a filthy wretch…” I picked up a heavy book and tore out a page. “For this secret a life? For this I am powerful? This Fevepo, this Queen, who plays in mud, embraces this dirt, this warrant…” And I dripped on the table again.
“My condolences, Fevepo Zawmb’yee. If I may inquire, respectfully, Fevepo Zawmb’yee, do you wish to proceed?”
“Yes, Gavicte Yenkoi.”
“May I …”
“Just go. Go now. Go quickly. Jevkwyi! ”
“Yes, Fevepo Zawmb’yee, as you wish, as you order.” He turned officiously and left.
Thus the world will be rendered cold. It is in this Ice Age that with my unearthly weapons, I will rule. For those loyal, I will provide food, provide warmth. And yet, though ruler of hell, I am so cold, so bereft and lonely among both the nobles and the hordes, above and beneath them.
So let it be that I’d be seized by…~ post terminated ~
END OF BOOK 1