Authors: Robert Shea,Robert Anton Wilson
Tags: #Science fiction; American, #General, #Science fiction, #Fiction, #Fantasy, #Visionary & Metaphysical
“What is this?” I asked. “And who is that woman?”
“She’s the daughter of Fu Manchu,” he said. Suddenly, he threw his head back and laughed like a rooster crowing. Just as suddenly, he stopped and looked at me. Just looked at me.
“Somehow,” I said slowly, “I’ve qualified for a small demonstration of whatever you and she are selling. But I don’t qualify for any more until I make the right move?” He gave the faintest hint of a nod and went on watching me.
Well, I was young and ignorant of everything outside ten million books I’d gobbled and guilty-unsure about my imaginative flights away from my father’s realism and of course stoned of course but I finally understood why he was watching me that way, it was (this part of it) pure Zen, there was nothing I could do consciously or by volition that would satisfy him and I had to do exactly that which I could not
do, namely be Simon Moon. Which led to deciding then and there without any time to mull it over and rationalize it just what the hell being Simon Moon or, more precisely SimonMooning, consisted of, and it seemed to be a matter of wandering through room after room of my brain looking for the owner and not finding him anywhere, sweat broke out on my forehead, it was becoming desperate because I was running out of rooms and the Padre was still watching me.
“Nobody home,” I said finally, sure that the answer wasn’t good enough.
“That’s odd,” he said. “Who’s conducting the search?”
And I walked through the walls and into the Fire.
Which was the beginning of the larger and funkier part of my (Simon’s) education, and where we cannot, as yet, follow him. He sleeps now, a teacher rather than a learner, while Mary Lou Servix awakes beside him and tries to decide whether it was just the pot or if something really spooky happened last night. Howard sports in the Atlantic; Buckminster Fuller, flying above the Pacific, crosses the international date line and slips back into April 23 again; it is dawn in Las Vegas and Mocenigo, the nightmares and anxieties of night forgotten, looks forward cheerfully to the production of the first live cultures of Anthrax-Leprosy-Pi, which will make this a memorable
day in more ways than he expects; and George Dorn, somewhere outside this time system, is writing in his journal. Each word, however, seems magically to appear by itself as if no volition on his part were necessary to its production. He read the words his pencil scrawled, but they appeared the communications of another intelligence. Yet they picked up where he had left off in his hotel room and they spoke with his private idiom:
… the universe is the inside without any outside, the sound made by one eye opening. In fact, I don’t even know that there is a
. More likely, there are many
verses, each with its own dimensions, times, spaces, laws and eccentricities. We wander between and among these multiverses, trying to convince others and ourselves that we all walk together in a single public universe that we can share. For to deny that axiom leads to what is called schizophrenia.
Yeah, that’s it: every man’s skin is his own private multiverse, just like every man’s home is supposed to be his castle. But all the multiverses are trying to merge, to create a true universe such as we have only imagined previously. Maybe it will be spiritual, like Zen or telepathy, or maybe it will be physical, one great big gang-fuck, but it has to happen: the creation of a universe and the one great eye opening to see itself at last. Aum Shiva!
—Oh, man, you’re stoned out of your gourd. You’re writing gibberish.
No, I’m writing with absolute clarity, for the first time in my life.
—Yeah? Well what was that business about the universe being the sound of one eye opening?
Never mind that. Who the hell are you and how did you get into my head?
“Your turn now, George.”
Sheriff Cartwright stood in the door, a monk in a strange red and white robe beside him, holding some kind of wand the deep color of a fire engine.
“No—no—” George started to stammer. But he knew.
“Of course you know,” the Sheriff said kindly—as if he were suddenly sorry about it all. “You knew before you left New York and came down here.”
They were at the foot of the gallows. “ … each with its own times, spaces, laws and eccentricities,” George was
thinking widly. Yes: if the universe is one big eye looking at itself, then telepathy is no miracle, for anyone who opens his own eyes fully can then look through all other eyes. (For a moment, George looks through the eyes of John Ehrlichman as Dick Nixon urges lewdly, “You can say I don’t remember. You can say I can’t recall. I can’t give any answer to that that I can recall.”
I can’t give any answer to that that I can recall.)
“All flesh will see it in one instant”: who wrote that?
“Gonna miss you, boy,” the Sheriff said, offering an embarrassed handshake. Numbly, George clasped the man’s hot, reptilian palm.
The monk walked beside him up the gallows’ steps. Thirteen, George was thinking, there are always thirteen steps on a gallows…. And you always cream in your jeans when your neck breaks. It has something to do with the pressure on the spinal cord being transmitted through the prostate gland. The Orgasm-Death Gimmick, Burroughs calls it.
At the fifth step, the monk said suddenly: “Hail Eris.”
George stared at the man dumbfounded. Who was Eris? Somebody in Greek mythology, but somebody very important….
“It all depends on whether the fool has wisdom enough to repeat it.”
“Quiet, idiot—he can hear us!”
I got some bad pot, George decided, and I’m still back on the hotel bed, hallucinating all this. But he repeated, uncertainly: “Hail Eris.”
Immediately, just like his one and only acid trip, dimension began to alter. The steps grew larger, steeper—ascending them seemed as perilous as climbing Mount Everest. The air was suddenly lit with reddish flame—
, George thought,
some weird and freaky pot
And then, for some reason, he looked upward.
Each step was now higher than an ordinary building. He was near the bottom of a pyramidal skyscraper of thirteen colossal levels. And at the top…. And at the top….
And at the top One Enormous Eye—a ruby and demonic orb of cold fire, without mercy or pity or contempt —looked at him and
him and through him.
The hand reaches down, turns on both bathtub faucets
full-power, then reaches upward to do the same to the sink faucets. Banana-Nose Maldonado leans forward and whispers to Carmel, “Now you can talk.”
(The old man using the name “Frank Sullivan” was met, at Los Angeles International Airport, November 22, 1963, by Mao Tsu-Hsi, who drove him to his bungalow on Fountain Avenue. He gave his report in terse, unemotional sentences. “My God,” she said when he finished, “what do you make of it?” He thought carefully and grunted, “It beats the hell out of me. The guy on the triple underpass was definitely Harry Coin. I recognized him through my binoculars. The guy in the window at the Book Depository very likely was this galoot Oswald that they’ve arrested. The guy on the grassy knoll was Bernard Barker from the CIA Bay of Pigs gang. But I didn’t get a good look at the gink on the County Records building. One thing I’m sure of: we can’t keep all this to ourselves. At the very least, we pass the word on to ELF. It might alter their plans for OM. You’ve heard of OM?” She nodded, saying, “Operation Mindfuck. It’s their big project for the next decade or so. This is a bigger Mindfuck than anything they had planned.”)
“Red China?” Maldonado whispers incredulously. “You musta been reading the
We get all our horse from friendly governments like Laos. The CIA would have our ass otherwise.” Straining to be heard over the running water, Carmel asks despondently, “Then you don’t know how I could meet a Communist spy?”
Maldonado stares at him levelly. “Communism doesn’t have a good image right now” he says icily; it is April 3, two days after the Fernando Poo Incident
Bernard Barker, former servant of both Batista and Castro, dons his gloves outside the Watergate; in a flash of memory he sees the grassy knoll, Oswald, Harry Coin, and, further back, Castro negotiating with Banana-Nose Maldonado.
(But this present year, on March 24, Generalissimo Tequilla y Mota finally found the book he was looking for, the one that was as precise and pragmatic about running a country as Luttwak’s
had been about seizing one. It was called
and its author was a subtle Italian named Machiavelli; it told the Generalissimo everything he wanted to know—except how to handle American hydrogen bombs, which, unfortunately,
Machiavelli had lived too soon to foresee.)
“It is our duty, our sacred duty to defend Fernando Poo,”
Atlanta Hope was telling a cheering crowd in Cincinnati that very day. “Are we to wait until the godless Reds are right here in Cincinnati?” The crowd started to scream their unwillingness to wait that long—they had been expecting the godless Reds to arrive in Cincinnati since about 1945 and were, by now, convinced that the dirty cowards were never going to come and would have to be met on their own turf—but a group of dirty, longhaired, freaky-looking students from Antioch College began to chant, “I Don’t Want to Die for Fernandoo Poo.” The crowd turned in fury: at last, some real reds to fight…. Seven ambulances and thirty police cars were soon racing to scene….
(But only five years earlier Atlanta had a different message. When God’s Lightning was first founded, as a splinter off Women’s Liberation, it had as its slogan “No More Sexism,” and its original targets were adult bookstores, sex-education programs, men’s magazines, and foreign movies. It was only after meeting “Smiling Jim” Trepomena of Knights of Christianity United in Faith that Atlanta discovered that both male supremacy and orgasms were part of the International Communist Conspiracy. It was at that point, really, that God’s Lightning and orthodox Women’s Lib totally parted company, for the orthodox faction, just then, were teaching that male supremacy and orgasms were part of the International Kapitalist Conspiracy.)
“Fernando Poo,” the President of the United States told reporters even as Atlanta was calling for all-out war, “will not become another Laos, or another Costa Rica.”
“When are we going to get our troops out of Laos?” a reporter from the
New York Times
asked quickly; but a man from the
asked just as rapidly, “And when are we going to get our troops out of Costa Rica?”
“Our Present Plans for Withdrawal are going Forward according to an Orderly Schedule,” the President began;
but in Santa Isobel itself
, as Tequilla y Mota underlined a passage in Machiavelli,
00005 concluded a shortwave broadcast to a British submarine lying 17 miles off the coast of the island:
“The Yanks have gone absolutely bonkers, I’m afraid. I’ve been here nine days now and I
am absolutely convinced there is not one Russian or Chinese agent in any way involved with Generalissimo Tequilla y Mota, nor are there any troops of either of those governments hiding anywhere in the jungles. However, BUGGER is definitely running a heroin smuggling ring here, and I would like permission to investigate that.” (The permission was to be denied; old W., back at Intelligence HQ in London, knew that 00005 was a bit bonkers about BUGGER himself and imagined that it was involved in every mission he undertook.)
At the same time, in a different hotel, Tobias Knight, on special loan from the FBI to the CIA, concluded his nightly shortwave broadcast to an American submarine 23 miles off the coast: “The Russian troops are definitely engaged in building what can only be a rocket-launching site, and the Slants are constructing what seems to be a nuclear installation….”
And Hagbard Celine, lying 40 miles out in the Bight of Biafra in the
, intercepted both messages, and smiled cynically, and wired P. in New York: activate MALIK AND PREPARE DORN.
(While the most obscure, seemingly trivial part of the whole puzzle appeared in a department store in Houston. It was a sign that said:
NO SMOKING. NO SPITTING.
This replaced an earlier sign that had hung on the main showroom wall for many years, saying only
The change, although small, had subtle repercussions. The store catered only to the very wealthy, and this clientele did not object to being told that they could not smoke. The fire hazard, after all, was obvious. On the other hand, that bit about spitting was somehow a touch offensive; they most certainly were not the sort of people who would spit on somebody’s floor—or, at least, none of them had done such a thing at any time since about one month or at most one year after they became wealthy. Yes, the sign was definitelv bad diplomacy. Resentment
festered. Sales fell off. And membership in the Houston branch of God’s Lightning increased. Wealthy, powerful membership.
(The odd thing was that the Management had nothing at all to do with the sign.)
George Dora awoke screaming.
He lay on the floor of his cell in Mad Dog County Jail. His first frantic, involuntary glance told him that Harry Coin had vanished completely from the adjoining cell. The shit-pot was back in its corner and he knew, without being able to check, that there would be no human intestines in it.
Terror tactics, he thought. They were out to break him—a task which was beginning to look easy—but they were covering up the evidence as they went along.
There was no light through the cell window; it was, therefore, still night. He hadn’t slept but merely fainted.
Like a girl.
Like a long-haired commie faggot
Oh, shit and prune juice, he told himself sourly, cut it out. You’ve known for years that you’re no hero. Don’t take that particular sore out and rub sandpaper on it now. You’re not a hero, but you’re a goddam stubborn, pigheaded, and determined coward. That’s why you’ve stayed alive on assignments like this before.