Nine Characters in Search of An Author
By an MLA crew called Maybe
The Academy has run for more than three years now, and generated a magazine and a blog, as well as various other collaborative projects between people who met up on courses here. Most recently ZenPunkist suggested a collaborative writing project. We had considered various surrealist games (exquisite corpses) and OuLiPo adventures (thanks to Borksy's influence) but somehow they never quite took off - as we tried to find ways to work together and inspire each other. Bobby then set up a Wiki, and each of the enthusiasts for the project wrote a profile of themselves (but enhanced slightly) as an avatar, to work as a character, and we dived in.
Here's a taster of this multi-author project...
Somewhere in New York City
The MLA crew meet up in a club space that Eva Herself has squatted. As people arrive from various parts of the planet, they explore New York, perhaps go on Borsky’s underground tour, but plan to meet up for a Maybe gig later in the day. No-one, now seems clear exactly what happened at this notorious event.
NonProphet: Apparently like they say about Woodstock and the 60's; if you can remember this gig then you probably weren't there, which is a shame because if you had been there I could ask you if you remembered seeing me as I definitely can't remember being there which means I probably wasn't, right? Maybe?
Actually on second thoughts if you were there (which means you probably weren't) and you do remember me being there then please don't tell me, because then I might remember being there which means I probably wasn't.
Oh well, as my own dear Grandfather, Old Man Paradox used to say "keep away from me with that axe you dimensional meddling little bastard!"
First Person Singular (who looks a little like the young Orson Welles):
On my first day in The Big Apple I wandered around a little, until I noticed a friendly looking pair of people coming towards me. One seemed to have a shimmering copper aura, a gangly sort of guy, with unusual eyes. He looked a little baffled by the ‘whole thing’. Or maybe stoned.
He was accompanied by someone who looked like a professor, not quite so tall, dark-haired, green-eyed, and dressed like a dandy.
They appeared deep in conversation, but as they passed me I overheard the taller guy say “We have to get to the universe by 23 hundred hours”, and that so intrigued me that I turned and rather furtively followed them up Fifth Avenue. I thought no-one had noticed but was startled whena rather scary woman of medium build, but exuding strength, jumped out of a side-street (well, she seemed to appear out of nowhere) and challenged me “Why do you wanna follow those guys?”
I jumped back. “Uh...uh...I overheard them say something intriguing…”
She prowled around me, sizing me up.
I looked around for help, only to notice that the two guys had stopped, and looked back, bemused. She took me firmly by the arm and I moved, unresisting (it felt like resistance might prove useless) towards them.
“I didn’t mean any harm” I said ... but what happens to the universe at 23 hundred hours?”
“Aw”, laughed the professorial-type, in a European accent I couldn’t quite place, “nothing happens to it, just at it, or maybe in it. If you have nothing better to do you might want to find your way there, too.”
I said “I got no money” he said “That ain’t necessary” – then launched into what sounded like a brief rendering of “Isis” in a Dylanesque voice. Although it sounded more like “Eris, oh Eris, you’re a mystical child, what drives me to you is what drives me insane” in his odd accent.
They seemed OK. They told me about this club called The Universe, and said maybe, just maybe, it would contain a Maybe or two, that evening, late.
I’d have liked to hang out with them, actually, but the taller one was apparently on the way to the library to do some ‘research’ and I didn’t know if the woman (still gently but firmly holding my arm) actually knew them at all, at all. She and the Prof then suddenly headed off to Central Park, apparently to ‘hug some trees’.
So later on I decided I had nothing to lose by seeking out the club. I found the right street, but couldn't see any obvious signs. Where it should have been was some kind of Chinese herbalist shop, and the gnomic old Yoda-type in there just shrugged when I asked him "where the universe was", looked around at his apothecary jars, took another bite of his Ginseng root (or was it Mandrake?), and gave a sweeping gesture towards his own little world. So I said, club, music, and waved my hands around like an air guitarist.
He looked at me fiercely and shoved whatever it was he was chewing in my direction.
"You go there, you need this", he said. "Bite!"
"Ah" he said, "The Universe! - next door".
Just outside of "The Universe", I thought I saw a blinking neon sign that said, "LEAVE YOUR DOGMAS AT THE DOOR (Or They MAY BE Confiscated)", but it suddenly stopped blinking as I drew near, and I couldn't see any evidence of neon tubes, or retractable walls, or anything. I must have imagined it (or maybe it was Mandrake).
I got in with no real problem – some Greenwich Village type, on the door, seemed to disappear at just the right moment for me to stroll in unchallenged.
At the bar a tall guy with really long hair, a beard, moustache and a hat, with a dark beer in a strange-shaped glass in front of him, sat chatting to a lightly built guy with a shaved head and glasses,
"Too sweet!" he said.
"Tout de suite?" queried the bearded one.
"No, too sweet..."
"TOO SWEET!!! How can you say that! ... Anyway, as I was saying, the Paris catacombs went so well on our last meeting that I thought we might explore underground New York, and have contacted Julia Solis as a guide..."
They seemed oblivious to their surroundings. The gig obviously hadn’t started, and it didn’t even seem clear quite who was involved.
The rather daunting dark-skinned woman behind the bar, with long dark curly hair, obviously (or probably) worked there, but I couldn’t tell who else did, or if anyone worked at all, really. She picked idly at a bowl of what looked like small dried mushrooms.
The doorman appeared at my shoulder. “Did I just let you in?” he said.
“Yes” I gulped.
“Ok. Whatever" ...he whisked out a couple of drum sticks and played a 'paradiddle on the counter. Turning to the two in conversation he asked “Anyone seen The Fly?”
The intense-looking man with glinting glasses simply pointed to the center of the room, where a great pile of equipment and wires stood. From behind it (or the middle of it?) could be heard grunts and mild curses and muffled laughter, and I could see clouds of smoke...”He’s over there, with TJ, setting up.”
“Are Minja and Rosie coming later?” asked the doorman.
“I believe so, I think you could find them at the park” said the bearded man, with another hard-to-identify European accent...”and we have to magick Ragu in from the library to play the golden pennywhistle, because we need his special Fortean effects tonight.” Turning to me, he kindly asked:
“Do you want something to drink?”
I turned to the bar. “Gimme a Guinness with a Jamieson’s chaser,” I said, trying to sound cool and undaunted - in fact, downright rude and abrupt.
The woman set up my drinks, then pushed the bowl of mushrooms towards me.
"¿Tapas?" she offered.
I shrugged, left the whiskey for a moment, and picked up the Guinness, not feeling obliged to try to talk to the two at the bar, and strolled to the middle of the room, and the pile of musical and electrical equipment. I heard a deep English voice, pontificating "I guess we should feel honoured, getting to play at the Centre of the Universe" and chuckled... And then, with the cadence of one of the great British actors, "I need a drink!" A second British voice came from somewhere inside the stacks, "hey TJ, where did you put that Pentaphobe CD?"
A strange long-haired figure scrambled out of a tunnel between two speakers, wearing a T-Shirt with some sort of eye or pyramid on the front. After standing up, and dusting himself off, he eyed up my Guinness and rumbled "I could do with one of those", and wandered towards the bar - calling behind him "Somewhere in the random pile, Fly".
Another voice came from the centre of the stack, then suddenly switched from acoustic to emerging from the speakers around the room..."The Universe seems like an infinite sphere, with its centre everywhere, and its circumference nowhere..." boomed and bounced, and echoed and reverbed about the room, jumping from speaker to speaker, iterating and reiterating itself...
In the background chugged another voice sample that seemed to repeat the word "Cogitate, cogitate, cogitate..." until it started to morph spontaneously in my mind.
It seemed like a good time to return to the bar and wash down a few mushrooms with the Jamieson's.
The following continuation of the above was found baked inside a Lasagne purchased from the Midi Bleu Pomme restaurant in Weehawken New Jersey. How it got there remains a mystery but Weehawken is situated across the Hudson from New York and is the site of the infamous and fateful fatal duel between Alexander Burr and John Addams. Those of a certain persuasion maintain that this duel was the last time that two prominent opponents, one representing the Illuminati the other a leading Discordian, battled openly. Weehawken was also for a short time (including the date of the infamous and probably miffic New York gig of The Maybes) the home of their drummer NonProphet
"You believe so? the Doorman queried the Bearded man's response "and when did we start believing anything?"
"Ah mon ami d' Nonprophet" the Bearded Man relied "you make a terrible doorman, an even more useless drummer and one hell of a pinikety hair-splicing guerilla ontologist, Mother Nonprophet must be so proud"
NonProphet grinned a Shit eats me grin wider than the Verresano Bridge
"Make like a vampire and bite me Brother Borsky"
"You know," TJ's voice rang out from behind a stack of amps that had been place in a large triangle on stage, "when Min the Indeterminate and the Rosie miester get here it means the nine have finally assembled."
The dude drinking Jamieson's finest ischobar and a pint of porter did a quick tally of heads and came up one short of a nontette
At which point Fly came down the stairs carrying a large sign spelling out the words THE - others could remember it's former home had been on the roof signifying the venues name.
"Bucky's orders," he said placing the massive THE against the back wall, "we don't live in the Universe. Universe means everything and you don't say the everything. So tonight we play Universe singular and eternal - one Universe only, one venue only, one night only"
As he delivered his words, Fly emerged from behind the Pythagorian mountain of Marshalls as BK and Mindy came slightly down the stairs and bellied up to the bar (well one of them did)
TJ went to investigate, and inevitably snapped off the T, added it to a string around his neck, and begins to pontificate about the Tau Cross, the 22nd letter of the alphabet, and the symbolism of rebirth…to anyone who'll listen (no-one, in particular).
Several of the others sit at the bar, holding up the E in different orientations, leaning sideways and squinting, like a bunch of blind men around an elephant – while FA tells them about Joyce’s Doodle Family…
The H, temporarily ignored, walks stiff-legged over to the bar to explain to No 12 (The Tenth Man) about how it symbolises Uranus, which rules Aquarius, the sign for which is wavy lines…and how the first television aerials in the UK took that very form (collective unconscious) which is weird because Uranus governs electricity and communication – but Number Twelve just blames the mushrooms, and ignores its rant.
They were still missing a member, who needed to be summoned from the library:
The following bit of writing, attributed to somebody named "Ragu", was discovered on a piece of paper atop a fairy-mound somewhere in County Antrim in 444 BC by a diarrhetic would-be Druid going about Yet Another Initiation. He found that it worked excellently as toilet paper. Much, much, better than a pine cone, at any rate.
So I went on my first date ever, the other day.
I've always been the kinda guy who just sits around scared and bubbly like a smitten 13-year-old, until the girl I like can't takes no more and pounces. It almost always works for me, but as a result the women I've been with have always been either exceptionally needy, or exceptionally bossy (usually exceptionally both). I've never "hit on chicks", and I've never gone on "dates".
Well, the other day I received a phone call from the library about a book by Jorge Luis Borges (with an Introduction by Ursula LeGuin!) that I had put on hold ages ago. They'd found it and subsequently and immediately lost it a couple of times now, and I was starting to get suspicious.
I excitedly hurried to the library, and reported to the counter to receive the elusive book. Of course it wasn't there, again.
I expected as much. I never did trust Librarians. I always feel like they're up to something, you know?
I decided that I wasn't leaving the library without getting a book or two, goddammit, so I headed over to the Sci-Fi section. While looking for any Philip Jose Farmer book that I hadn't read yet, I overheard a woman on the other side of the shelf talking to her friend about a LeGuin novel that she quite enjoyed. A couple of minutes later, in a different aisle, I overheard her talking about how someone had recommended a book called "Skinny Legs and All" to her, and that she was considering picking it up.
Having recently decided that Universe was my Friend, I thought, "Hmmm, this is weird... Fuck it! Let's go!"
I walked up to her and said, "You know... I don't normally do this kind of thing, but I overheard you talking to your friend about "The Dispossessed", and I deliberately avoided getting a good look at you, so as to not become infatuated (that's the last thing I need right now). But then you had to go and pop up in front of me and start wondering aloud about my absolute favorite novelist."
She didn't bite my head off (yet), so I continued,
"Well", I blazed on. "Thanks a lot! I have a hard enough time sleeping as it is. Now I'm doomed to toss and turn for at least a week and a half."
She smiled bigly and said, "You found me!" Then she took out a pen and a bit of paper and gave me her phone number.
I was absolutely baffled by my success (I mean, my teeth are jacked up), so I figured I'd quit while I was ahead (baby steps, baby steps). I made some prevaricating claim about having to be "somewhere" "soon", and beat a hasty retreat .
We met at her place that weekend, went and had a beer (Yummy... Guinness!) and some Portobello Mushrooms (she was a vegetarian), and headed off to a club downtown that was having a Hindi dance music night. I had never been to a club, let alone a Hindi one, so I was quite nervous.
On our way to the club (we got a bit lost) she claimed to be "slightly autistic", and stated that she used to be "obsessed" with UFO's (with an unconvincingly strong emphasis on "used to be"). Most of the night she acted as if it were her mission in life to prove to me that I was slightly autistic as well. I may very well "be", but I don't need folks insisting to me about what kinds of things I am.
It turned out that I was just seeing The Goddess in her at the library, ignoring the human parts, as usual. I don't quite know what her game was, but I'm pretty sure she was playing at something. That's OK, though. She was interesting and nice enough. Seemed to be pretty sharp. Pretty pretty, too. And I should be the last one to judge her for not being Her all the time. I'm not Me most of the time, myself.
And then came the moment I was dreading. I found myself being dragged to the dance floor. You have to understand, I've spent a lot of time in Armor. I was raised in a tough neighborhood as one of the only white guys around, so I learned to be hard postured around strangers. It was either that, or get my ass kicked every time I left the house. Over the years it kind of developed into a Chronic Condition. Until I knew someone for quite a while, I was incredibly dense, tense, and on the fence. And I had never ever danced before.
But, having recently decided that Universe was my Friend, I thought, "Hmmm, this is weird... Fuck it! Let's go!"
And I started moving. And I started thawing out. I wasn't even drunk or stoned!
After ten minutes or so I was flailing about like a madman, having the time of my life. A couple of minutes later I was receiving pats on the back and shouts of encouragement from all kinds of smiling dark people with shining eyes. I must have made quite a sight, what with my being a Gangly Tall Shockingly-Caucasian Fellow who had never ever danced before, and all.
All that flailing about was hard work, so we returned to our table for a breather. After a shouted conversation (the music was very loud) in which I learned that cigarettes "were" disgusting, and that people who smoked pot "are" paranoid, I suddenly felt the need to go to the bathroom.
On my way there I bumped into a strikingly beautiful (there She goes again!) middle-aged Indian woman in an orange Sari. I kind of gasped and started to apologize, but she interrupted me and said,
"Go to the Minneapolis Public Library. Check out The Fifth Floor. I think you'll like it."
I could clearly hear her, even though the music was blaring away.
"The fifth floor?", I yelled, not even noticing that I was exposing my mangled fangs. "I don't think the fifth floor is open to the public. It looks like it's just boxes and stuff."
"I said, "The Fifth Floor", not "the fifth floor". And you're not The Public", she replied. "You're The Private. You'll get in. TRUST ME", and disappeared into the crowd.
Understandably, the date kind of fizzled out from there, as my mind was very much elsewhere.
The next day, first thing in the morning, I headed off to the library once again. I didn't even bother asking anybody about the cagey Borges book (with an introduction by Ursula LeGuin!). I headed right up to the fourth floor, wondering along the way how I would make it up any higher. There were no stairs going up from there, and you needed a special card to access the fifth floor from the elevator..
I was stunned to find that there was one more flight of stairs than I had remembered. It appeared to head right up to the fifth floor. Or was it The Fifth Floor? This was definitely odd.
Having recently decided that Universe was my Friend, however, I thought, "Hmmm, this is weird... Fuck it! Lets go!"
On my way up the stairs I started to feel that Old Panicky Feeling, and time began to slow down. I knew The High Weirdness was approaching very ginormously. I fortified myself by repeating the phrase "DON'T PANIC!" over and over again in my head, a trick I once learned from a Blazing Belgian (pardon my French) Ball of Light.
As I approached the door, it opened by itself, which was strange because it was a huge heavy oaken affair with an old fashioned golden doorknob (which looked kind of like an apple). The room was awash in a Golden Light, and right there, in the middle of the floor was a pedestal with two columns. It was the only thing I could actually see due to the blinding glow in the room. Placidly resting upon on the pedestal, exuding a slightly softer glow, was the book! The Borges book (with an introduction by Ursula LeGuin!) was right there!
Yup. This was definitely The Fifth Floor.
I lovingly and boldly approached the pedestal. This was it! I couldn't believe my eyes! (No big deal, I've learned not to anyway.)
As I grabbed the book with my right hand, The Golden Light got even Golder and Lighter, and the next thing I knew I found myself in a smoky room, surrounded by a number of disreputable looking characters (a trip I would take many times in the future).
Then I noticed a Golden Pennywhistle in my left hand.
"Erm... I hope they don't expect me to play this thing.", I thought. "I'm no good at it... never was."
It dawned on me that I already knew these people. I recognized them all from the first time I took acid, when I curled up into a little ball in a dark room by myself, and ended up "THERE". They were all Blazing Balls of Light that day, but I recognized them nonetheless.
Yup. there were Toby Jongleur, Borsky, and Matthias of the Snow! I'd recognize those blokes anywhere! (They kinda remind me of Librarians, only slightly less malevolent.)
And Holy Shit! Was that Rosie!?! But I thought I remembered Rosie being a guy, and that his name was B.Kane!?! Ah well, each and every WoMan is a Star, and none more-so than the delightfully wonderful Rosie Budd/B.Kane!
Wowza! That can't be Eva! Eva Herself!?! And Minja! Man-oh-man! They're Hot even when they're not Blazing Balls of Light!
Egads!!! That's NonProphet over there! Remind me not to ask him about Orcs again. My head still fucking hurts from the last time (though I wouldn't mind hearing him pontificate about Dwarves).
And Oh My God! That's The Fly! No fucking way! The Fly Agaric! The man with The Beat! What the hell? Are those gills!?!
Having recently decided that Universe was my Friend, I thought, "Hmmm, this is weird... Fuck it! Let's go!"
Then I noticed an odd sensation in my mouth. What the hell were these? Joy, oh joy, oh joy! Teeth!
"Hmmm," I said (giddily annunciating my "s"s like a pro and smiling like a carnivore). "Looks like things are going to start getting interesting."
Yes, things were going to start getting very interesting indeed.
Eva looked at the interesting mix that had already gathered at the bar she squatted earlier in the week. She drove cross country about a month ago picking up a few key ingredients on the way: Some mushrooms here, some Potcheen there, bud from all over, a few Trader Joe's runs for some essentials & come down munchies. She played all around the city each night climbing buildings & looking for ways into spaces that hadn't been used or thought about for a long enough time to borrow for a short enough time without anyone noticing. Time for some convergence & kick ass crazy ass music! She knew she found the perfect spot when she came to the sign on an elevator that said if more than 3 people get in, they shall surely die. How adorable! So she unloaded her car, went for another liquor run, fully stocked the makeshift bar, & now here they all are.
It had been 8 years since she'd seen most of them. Fourteen years since she'd seen Toby juggling on a street somewhere & begged him to teach her. She could clumsily juggle two lemons now after fourteen years of practice, how embarrassing! She was almost relieved that he didn't recognize her right away. Maybe it would be better to just meet again instead of having to discuss any progress that just never happened. Minja, on the other hand, could probably clearly remember Eva's pathetic attempt at Kung Fu as that was only 2 years ago. Amidst the physical failures, some mind blowing conversations were had along the possibilities of mutually failing in developing bands.
Borsky she met while climbing: They both got tangled up in the same logical tree. He had played with a few old neon signs to make a new one for the adopted bar. What a neat trick! She met both Rosie & Matthias in random encounters while playing with cats outside. Both of them were caring for & playing with strays (at separate times & places, though), when she came up, asked some questions, & started playing along. Ragu helped her out in a pinch while she was trying to score some bud. He shared some very kind herb & they shared stories of how much they both sucked at relationships. It would have turned into a competition of who was worse, except that pot kind of dulls the competitive side. So they decided to be bud buds instead.
She never experienced real jealousy in her life until the day she met Fly at a cafe near the Himalayas. He had gills. Gills! And his skin was green which is one of her favorite colors. Most their conversations sound like arguments since they both talk too much and listen too little. Once they shut up long enough to hear that they're both saying the same thing, everything cools down, & they both just start laughing. One day, under the influence of enough substance, Eva finally asked, "can I lick your gill slits?" "What? You're a weirdo!" "But it's not fair! I want gills! If I can't have them, I must lick them!" "No." "Just one side, really quick, pleeeeease!???" "Fine you freak, just hurry it up." The experience left much to be desired . . . mostly gills, still. But what are you going to do? Sometimes we forget to pack the important shit in our evolutionary luggage.
Nonprophet is another competitive talker. She was in an almost band that was in need of a drummer & tried to tempt him into playing with their band on the side. They started talking music, & then he couldn't stop talking about Orcs & angels and the like. She was a bit confused, but more impressed at how he could go on & on without stopping or caring about what the listener might be thinking. And damn he's a good drummer!
These days it seemed almost impossible for 9 people from around the world to come together & be in the same place at the same time. She also gave up on the possibility of being in a band that actually stayed together long enough to develop a single song. This moment, in this abandoned building, abandoned possibilities threatened to become a reality, and she couldn't be happier. The mushrooms began kicking in, everything became a little more fluid, she spilled herself up onto the bar & yelled,
"let's fucking do something!"
Minja slammed back a shot of Jamieson's and proceeded to climb on the bar. Weaving slightly, with a big grin on her face, she looked around at everyone, put one arm in the air, pointing to the ceiling, and said, "I have an idea."
Matthias turned slightly in her direction. "Excuse me, but I'm talking right now."
Minja grinned. "That's ok, we talk over each other all the time... er, well, no we don't, but that's only due to the uninterruptible nature of message boards. While face to face, of course we should be interrupting each other regularly. This is how it's supposed to be!”
Matthias rolled his eyes and sighed. "Whatever."
Minja rubbed her hands together, eyes wide (and a little wild-looking), looking at the 9 in the bar with her. "First, we need a taco truck."
"Hey now," Matthias interrupted. "This is not a new idea. You talked about this during the chat."
"How would you know? You weren't really there, were you? Or are you a spy?" Minja pointed at him and shouted "He's a spy, I tell you!"
"A spy! A Spy!", Ragu gleefully parroted. "Give 'im a Wedgie, Minja!"
Minja pointed at him again and shouted louder "He's a spy, I tell you!"
Matthias suspiciously diverted the conversation right to where Minja wanted it, saying "You know, for an E-Prime Nazi, you sure use is a lot."
Minja squinted at him, but couldn't resist the bait. "Well, actually, that's another thing." She cleared her throat and clasped her hands together. "Hi, my name is Minja, and I am an E-Primeaholic." She paused, then whispered "Now you all say, Hi, Minja."
"Hi Minja" sombunall of the bar patrons echoed back.
Minja beamed and went on. "I used to use E-Prime every day, religiously, one could say. I enjoyed it so much I wanted everyone around me to use it too. I became a pusher." Minja sighed dramatically and hung her head.
"But then came The Big Argument. And Nosajmai, bless his soul, made one comment that changed everything. 'If you like E-Prime so much, you should also read in E-Prime.' And so I stopped proselytizing the wonders of E-Prime to everyone except myself. And I started reading in E-Prime. And something miraculous happened. But that's a story for another time, as it's too early in the evening for me to be on a soapbox already."
And with that, she jumped off the bar, but because of a mysterious patch of ice, slipped as she leapt, spinning in the air into a graceful dive head-first into a nearby bin. There were many angry mutterings from the trash, some of which weren't in E-Prime.
Like a crazed cartoon Tasmanian devil, there was the trademark snarling and slavering, a whirlwind of destruction and suddenly an upright Minja, minus the bin. Suspiciously eyeing the ice patch on the bar, she ordered another Jameson's, maintaining a cat-like attitude of 'I meant to do that'.
"Now Minja has finished her swan dive theatrics," Matthias said with a smirk, "if we do need a Taco truck, somebody is going need to fetch it. Any volunteers? No GTA or TWOC experience necessary, although advantageous."
"Dude. Y'all aren't gonna believe what I just found on craigslist." Minja (fully composed from her trash landing) held her laptop up over her head, twirling around so everyone could catch a momentary glimpse of the screen. "A taco truck for $23,000. Tell me that's not a sign. Take a look at this baby!"
"But wait a second - I haven't got a clue what sort of a plot device a taco truck is going be," said Matthias, gamely carrying on.
Minja stuck her hands on her hips and bowed slightly toward Matthias. "Well, I'll tell you." What looked like small people in green alien outfits came dancing in from the kitchen, singing, "She's going to tell, she's going to tell, she's going to tell..." and they danced in circles around Minja.
"Okay then, enough singing." Minja leaned over her laptop, fingers making drawings on the touchpad. "Crap, where'd my PowerPoint go? Oh well. You'll just have to do without the pictures." She jumped up to sit on the bar and motioned toward Eva, who sent a double shot of Jameson's sailing down the bar to her waiting hand, slammed it back, and wiped her mouth with the back of her hand.
"So we get the taco truck, and paint it up to look like a spaceship! Then we need a good pancake recipe..."
"Ooh, yeah!" Eva said. "I bought a 10 grain pancake mix, and I've been making them before work with bananas, dates, & pecans, yummy!"
"Oh, hell yes, how perfect, I was just thinking banana pecan pancakes! Do you have any green food coloring?"
"What's the coloring for?" Matthias asked.
"Well duh, they're alien pancakes. Ever since I first read Cosmic Trigger, which marked my first encounter with Saint Bob, the thought of extraterrestrials delivering nutritious and tasty pancakes to farmers just warms my heart!"
"So I wanna recreate it, but with a Maybe spin. Eva and I talked about doing it once, and at the time I thought a radio flyer would work great as a delivery vehicle, but with a taco truck we can give out alien pancakes anywhere! And I bet we could fit an Orange Julius machine in there."
"Joe Simonton's Pancake-O-Rama!" Ragu piped up from the bar.
"Yeah, exactly!" Minja did a double take and then ran over to Ragu. "Awesome! A name! Hi-five!"
[Later, after complicated trouble with some fairly unpleasant Entities - but that's another story]
"OK, everyone, apologies in advance, I'll explain later, but in the meantime, let's all take each other's hands and jump in there. I know where we're going, so as long as you're in contact with me, we should all get there ok." Minja held out her hands.
Joining hands, mosbunall of the group followed Minja through the portable hole (oh, it's a long story!).
Nobody spotted TJ deftly pocketing a small part of the whole, inverting it, and returning to Square One (or Universe) on a Möbius curve. He sends a thought-form tulpa along with them, so no-one will miss him (or rather, in case anyone attributes dialogue to him in his absence). As he slips away, he grabs Fly by the arm, and yanks him back, too. . .
In the meantime, Tierna managed to keep the bar standing, in fact, her party had handed Tiamat her own ass to such an extent, there was now 'Dragon ribs', 'Dragon Soup', 'Dragon Flambe' and 'Dragon Surprise' on the specials board at the bar. And a drunken dwarf in the corner. (But, as I said, we'll save that story for another time).
"Phew!" thought TJ, "this place stinks of meat," and he turned to Fly, "what say we use this bit of black hole to zip down to Dylan Thomas' favourite hangout, and maybe scan the Chelsea Hotel, and Chumley's, etc? I assume they'll be gone for ages (though you never can tell)."
He and Fly laid the piece of the hole on the floor, and slid through...emerging (discretely) in the Gents at The White Horse Tavern.
Scoring a Truck
The portable hole amazingly dumped the MLA group right next to the Taco Truck available for sale. Borsky ran to a nearby bush with a technicolor yawn or calling out to Ralph or something. "I hate the feeling of being in two places at once, even for a millisecond, it put my stomach out!" groaned Borsky.
The group turning its attention away from the steadily looking better Borsky, towards Minja and Eva for guidance.
"I guess we go haggle with the guy then?" said Minja. "Feminine wiles?" asked Eva with a mischievous twinkle in her eye. "Of course! Men have a greater propensity for stupidity when distracted, especially when the blood is powering the wrong organ, lead on, Amazonian Queen Eva!" giggled Minja.
The guys watched them walk in, sort of feeling insulted, but all being men of the world, knowing that sombunall women look down on men as lower, simpler creatures. They were sure as they could be that Minja and Eva weren't referring to any of them.
Moments later, Eva and Minja came out of the house. Minja called over two of the little green guys and kneeled on the ground to talk to them. They nodded and went running into the house. Then the girls turned and walked back to the guys waiting by the little black hole in the ground.
"Jesus loves us!" Eva and Minja said in chorus, giggling at each other.
"So they traded the taco truck for two aliens." Minja looked over her shoulder at the house. "We should probably get out of here before they discover the little buggers are kleptomaniacs. Let the little guys drive back and let's head back to the bar through the portable hole."
"Oh no, I'm not doing that again," Borsky shook his head, face pale. "How about if I ride back with the truck?"
"But that will take days!" Minja protested.
"Well, at least let me wait a little while. You could always come get me from the truck with the hole, right?" said Borsky.
"Yeah, that's true." Minja grinned. "And there's no way I'm giving back a portable hole. I mean, come on. Instantaneous travel? Can't beat that."
Meanwhile, at The White Horse Tavern
TJ doesn't want to feel paranoid (he hates that feeling) but he does wonder about the man with no name (who looks a little like Orson Welles) already sitting so nonchalantly at the bar at The White Horse Tavern, sipping a Jamieson's and appearing to enjoy himself immensely, as he lights a cigar, toasts TJ and Fly as they emerge from the Gents, and plays with small squares of paper.
"I dunno", TJ grumbled to himself, "he strolls into our story, in the First Person Singular, as though he owned the place, or invented it. How did he beat us to The Tavern? Could he be the puppeteer, the author or director of this whole thing, or just a puppet, an empty avatar suit, just waiting for a late visitor to jump into and animate? And how come I find myself in the 3rd Person, and the past tense?"
He turned to Fly, climbing onto the nearest bar stool, and said, "So what do you reckon to this, as a theory..."
""You put the verb stem in,
you take the ending out,
you put the future tense of sum in & you shake it all about,
you add the adjective ending
in concord with number & person.
That's the future perfect passive tense" as Eric Wagner says.
"He's" - continued TJ - "living in the present tense, first person POV, so he has more control than we do, appearing (as we do) to live in the third person and the past..." TJ took another sip of his perfectly legal drink (dreaming of A'dam where he could be smoking) "so if I managed to twist myself into his position then I would find myself in a position to hand a joint back to you right now" I say, and Fly agrees. We both sample the strange pleasure of living in the present tense, and then I suggest that we try to consider the OW guy as the third man in the past tense. This proves more tricky (without our slipping out of the present tense again, ourselves). He sits over by the bar grinning at us, right now.
"If I managed to twist myself into your position then I would find myself in a position to have a joint right now again." Fly said laughing (but TJ looks around furtively, and just a touch paranoid, after all). "New York ain't Amsterdam," he mumbled.
"Any longer" added Fly with a sly grin.
"As far as I could see, back there in Universe" says TJ, "almost everyone OD'd on the alcohol and 'shroom television" mix, except you, me and OW here...some of them faded out socially and collapsed giggling in the corner babbling about meeting aliens, and some grand "GREEN" plan. Orson makes some little origami figures of them all (which I found intriguing because they reminded me of that scene from Blade Runner and that bit of the book, but I guess I got a little stoned there) and then dances the figures around on this 64-tiered holographic chessboard, chanting some weird Norwegian shit."
"I reckon you're spot on, spit on in fact." says Fly, "The author, the protagonist and the editor, mister who makes the glass full. So, mine's a JAMS Sons' of a gum by gumma," Fly's now laughing hard out of both Gills, wafting a strong cigar scent (with just a hint of THC) over the surrounding tables.
TJ raises half an eyebrow, smiles, and says in a swanky European dialect "Son of a drum, sum zero sun, of a pun, gabba gigga game on!"
Fly smiles, recognizing TJ's playful half drunken mood, or, maybe Fly is wishfully projecting his ADD onto him and unto his holy copies. 'In The Church of Holy Carbon we trust, in coal and in dust, from Diamond to Blood Rock and Roll Motherfuckers!" Fly tones as he pulls his chair up closer to the table, continuing: "Table, fable, cable label, table fable wooden surface not stable, made in a stable, a fable unstable, made with horse powered cables, a fable to label unstable. The tale of a table, a tub and Clark Gable...Gabble Goblin Girls. Rhymes free flowing. The Mushroom Television ain't even switched on yet and i feel, oh yeah, i Feeeel, like its ON! !0'000 Watts. !0000'0000 Whats. 64'000 Wen's. 200 Trillion now's.
(Fly pauses for a brief second, a thought enters his left gill and then quickly exits as a fart travelling over 12 meters around the bar area causing a bit of a stir over by the fruit machine where two young ladies hold their cute tiny noses while pulling some ghastly looking facial expressions).
"Hey TJ, did you try the Hulk Hogan sauce with your 'everyware' breakfast Bagel this morning?"
"Fly," - TJ butts in, now smoking a Sherman's as more suitable to a public bar in New York, "did you check the DI box input?"
Fly: "Erm, i think so....yeah. Did you remember to switch the,the, DIYANNA box inputs?, fuck, my fucking phone's fucked. Yeah, hold on. Fucking thing. Yeah, sure." Fly mumbles. "Sorry. TJ! the Diyanna box?"
"You know I don't even know what that even means!" laughs TJ - "I just wanna know if we are set up for recording when we get back to Universe. I'd hate to miss the bliss of such a kiss of death to all disbelief in kif, and such a one as this, the miss, the hit, the kit, the fit, and all the shit that knows the nose that flows and a rose is a rose is a rose - such a pose for me to suppose I can talk in prose like a prole with a hose, and scatter and shatter the matter not flatter but rounder and sounder and flounder and bounder - the scatological boundary states of mates and fates and dates and the lateness of the hour, in flower, and power, but dour - over to you my dear friend, I send the best of the rest of the test for the fest..."
The White Horse Tavern staff were very used to people coming in reckoning they were poets, or inspired by their muse or daemon, and didn't blink an eye at this outbreak...
Even so, Fly and TJ compare lists of places they haven't seen yet, The Chelsea Hotel, e Róisín Dubh at 22 Warren Street (The official pub of the Finnegans Wake Society), etc and decide to mooch over to Chumley's (on foot this time) before they even make a decision (and try to clarify why people rumoured that Joyce had written some of Ulysses there, when Joyce had never visited New York!). After all, they had no appointment to meet up with MLA again, and could put it all down to 'research'. As they left, OW raised his glass in ironic farewell.
Return of the Maybes
Travelling back through their hole, minus 4 of Minja's little green men, the main group settled down in the Universal bar...
Matthias ordered Dragon ribs as he was starving, and he'd never eaten dragon before, he was pretty sure it'd probably taste like chicken, but he was giving it a try. Eva poured 'Orson Welles' (who I could have sworn sat right that moment in the White Horse) another Jamieson's to replace his earlier 'casualty', who was also now grinning enigmatically for some reason. Everyone else either got a drink, feasted on bar snacks, gathered into small groups or poked the now sleeping drunken dwarf.
TJ's tulpa began to feel a little apprehensive. He had a tendency to fade away if he didn't remerge with his 'real self' fairly shortly after a teleport. He took hold of a glass of Guinness by sheer will power, and tried to look solid. NP stared at him, slightly bemused. "You seem to be shimmering slightly, TJ," he said, "sort of fading in and out like a hologram..." TJ's tulpa shrugged, and tried to blame the drugs...(though whether he meant the ones NP had taken, or that he had taken, even he wasn't entirely sure.) Still, he mused, tulpas had been known to get a life of their own...and if TJ never returned, and he concentrated very hard, perhaps he, too could become independent...
And there was still a gig to do!
Later that night, if you found yourself @ Universe, you might have whooped and danced and yelled - you might have found yourself playing percussion, or twiddling knobs and dials to change the light and soundscapes - you might have enjoyed yourself.
And over all the chaos of unCaged music, a FloW oF Words, polyphonal, polytonal, voices HOWLing at the moon, Flying, keeping Finnegan aWake:
Universe Contains a Maybe. Go Get your self off the shelf, climb down the tube and un-stitch your mouth, weave, come on out, shout out, together now. Truck Censorship, Up. reach out, teleport to Geneva, teach out the peach box, call me the Queen of foreva, teach the furtive fruits from the roots, from the shoots, meditate on the river. Squat. State your ground ground your state. Dive in swim with Me'Eva forever and flock censorships to shore. You add the adjective ending to the Law of fives and Burroughs. Diva dives and rises with a Beat-box to put minds in flux. Break out the prison planet damn it. Walk through the walls Kick out the JAMS. Slam your tongue and have a conscious nice day, day in day out and about, kicking in/out the jams with boots coated in SaTiVa, Shiva Finnevil. Blowing wind melody, laying mellow day dreams with tunes from flutes, living in the "DICE" days. Let the wind speak. Kiss my LPs The Keys. (Burp) the the blind speak (Burp Bap) Embracing change, an open mind with a mic', Diva eva Allieva the world debt of imagination of imagination. Eva electronic Diva. Get your self off the factory shelf moth flickers!, Time to deliver the way of the winding wynding river. Maybe Nine patterns in nine-four timespace, 123 BPM. shroom TeleTelecommunication fast EH! Fast EH! whizz-bang the peed of soundead. Wholly Chao! Wholly Chao! All along the River watchbanktowers. Un-stitch time with the Maybes of NINE time, Eva herself, yourself, ourselves, minutia of greater organisms. Mini MC Elves. Go DO It Trucking do it! start collaborative writing projects like lightening. We live love and learn as one family, join us, maybe in our non-equation gravy tea room. Wind and stars. Words and lights. Jimmy Calendrix pulls out a lighter tonight. Chimera of Nine Millennium bugs in a boogie, from fertile bogs. Percussive sound wholesome like Clogs. Don't disturb Eva. Code values 9/9/99, the usual data appears absent. Shut down. Rule Lasagna. Nines to mean shutdown. Rule Lasagna. History shot-down. Who's the author, who's the author.
Since way before before History history, from the sky and sea of green tea came the spirit of great Borsky. Tele-ported from 54 BC. Poet bard inventor of mystickle cakes ice cream cakes. Borsky bakes History's mystery solid to the pan of pun. Leaves scraps for the dog pan. Borsky of the Bong gone eara, days of crazy wisdom, with wit of Banshee and Tongue of tong fu tea. Casting light back out to sea and sky and making the shoes fit snug with a super-lace, knotting land and sky together, Borsky moth flickers! To cross again is not to cross, polite line, do not get cross. Pulling down the sky, Emcee Borsky of the Eburonic Chapter for 'Pataphysical Research. Borsky To the B Sky Bee Boy Broadcasting Tea tymespicy. Wholly Chao! An ode to Eris and Everyware. Tetra-teleporting slack spyme juice. Borsky on the loose. Ubiquitusk. Tie it up nice to your face. Slingshot rotten teeth bullets to fix the world web. Beat-box the Battle of the French Canadian Bean Field Soup, keep Spitting Maybe debris, phalanx of panarchy. Baba Borsky. Invoking She, and doubtfulness with finesse so slick that it can undress your daughters of congress. Fix this mess, Baby logic can fix this chest of draws. All here now in the room and Borsky will not flee or pee his panties. He stands besides me. Us, on the magic bus, the Maybe baby class of 07. who's the author, who's the author.
Toby Jongleur perceptions angular, aerospace engineer, i can make flowers bloom in triangular patterns in the shape of a mouse ear. If i want. Or just sit by the riverside drinking from a fount singing this Lament of a Groan Man. Smoking a Sherman. No lamb just mint. From hour to theur you listen and hear the Bronx cheur from the folks that give ear n' eye to Jogleur the Juggleur, spayking is clear as a king. Even after a beur or three, or seven other relative Instruments. Jongleur shows no fear of hell nor of heaven. n'J after class. Rah, Rah, Rah! Rest in Discord RAW! Coincidance Hall TJ passes a year in a single tear. Strong heart of a red deer. Smiling in a nation of racial profiling, harmonica harmony for humanica, solar symphony. TJ mossy software engineer. Shaman of the world and your gentle to your mum. Shaman to turn New York into Amsterdam. Bard TJ financier of words, pioneer volunteer for Humanica, joining hearts and minds together. Got cauliflower ear from days playing Rugby. You put the verb stem in, you take the ending out, At the last frontier getting young wonderers into freewheeling gears for the whole worlds rising day, the world premier of the third seer. No Slaves, No Tyrants, No Discord. TJ metallurgical engineer. The nine gods of Egypt descended from eleven. This Sweet story weaves nine stitches in timespice, and brings nine dogs with nine tales up in hods to the fifth floor. See rectanguleur and sleep away with me with that sheep you dimensional meddling little bus stand! Who's the author, who's the author.
Figure it out yo, just do the Mathias, figure it out yo yoshi yoshi. Like Hungry DavI.D Thoreau up. Me the math face, X,Y Z graph reads "T" thats "T" time for the staff, Math of the snow on the flow. On your face! Eh! Universe Contains a Maybe. Acid rain guitar moth flickers. Snow like missiles of bass when entering the vessels of the lasagna brotherhood, Rule Rule Rule Lasagna. Do the math in the snow, you'll piss the test! Do the math like the graph, drink the red Bordeaux, who got the flow? (let me hear ya?) SNOW. Who got the flow? (let me hear ya?) SNOW. Who got the flow? Ra Ra Ra! Yush! (let me hear ya?) SNOW. Who can make it cold, hot however you go. Between your eyes on the dance floor at the disco, Eh! Shake it. Eh! Bake it. you put the future tintz of sum in & you milkshake it all about. in concord with number & person. Eh Eh " Universe contains some gravy. Me crazy flinging lyrics like Tessa Sanderson. With my Snow hammer throw i knock punks down, Yo, i'm even a CEO of a little picture show. It's a long way to tickle Mary. Do the Math, read the graph, switch on. Turn on to the Math Snow TV show your face place. On the case like John Holmes. Comb back your hair and drop the gun slow honey, snows gonna melt your mind down to chemical elements, right clown to your little toe, snow flow gets in between every toe and paints it in the style of Vincent Van Gough, a tidal flow of menstrual snow can defeat an empire in one, two, three, lasagna slings. Tic-tac-toe time me and my nine we got game to play. Come on moth flickers, paint up your game theory, do the math, my rhymes a Graph, a Glyph and a spliff. All that is, is metaphor. For burning snow mathias man, fire and the Ice Nine. Time to tell a Tub truth or two. Who's the author, who's the author.
The puppet, and the puppeteer. Me and my crew all got a tattoo saying Statutory Apeshit. We are the nine, know no fear. Hard, tuff, Teeth of George Washington, Hair of Kool keith. Listen up you might cat shit. With a copper Aura protecting the flora. Kick out the Jams moth flickers. Me and my brothers and sisters worked our selves into blisters for this life and shampoo. Now we bloom. I got the sauce and the verse noodle, the chrome and the curse, make rhyme tints for the review. ragu, shows you how to break through, with just a gym shoe and a tube of glue, ragu can make do, and now debut to the ground crew the strength of his home brew, ha ha, Ragu can renew the word, undue the absurd with a pool cue. Maybe Baby Ragu can see through the untrue and can subdue the political beef stew that threatens you with Minnesota-style decency. Ragu helps us pull through the intro-verse and traverse the "Universe" (Let me hear the stars) No taboo, all walls to be walked through, use magic fish stew, Oyster stew, kangaroo Ostrich stew. Wholly Chao! Wholly Chao! Rag studied in Timbuktu, got mad knowledge in the bag. Travelled to Kalamazoo to learn Kazoo from Master How Tsu Do. Ragu rhymes like a walking shoe, traveling soul about the world in my black bamboo earrings, reading, writing, daydreaming, sleep-dreaming, pot-smoking, feeding various neighborhood critters, and playing poker. Ragu the Queen of hearts Ragu the Joker. Favorite Student. Fun Uncle. Devil's Advocate. Unwilling Recruit. Far-Out Friend. Maddening Boyfriend. Diplomat. Bureaucrat. Dreamer. But Who's the author, who's the author.
Tsar bright eyes tongue made of blue stars. Coincidence? Synchronicity? Cosmic Hilaritaste? just a taste. Wrestle with Malignant Extraterrestrials and Gawd while still scratching my face. Minjah Minja who bakes mysteries into edible puppets, action at a distance, effects from afar eye, living laws of five, maybe nine till five? Minja telepathic radar, solid as iron bar, tuned in with her super-Dog star, vigilant like a patrol car, on track like a railroad car and her sweet music, the sounds of minja on her old steel guitja. Minja is healthy, like rain like a salad bar, or Sushi bar, or yugoslavian dinar. Government Puja pusher. Minjah knows where what how and who you are. Left her Dogmas at the door. Telkepathic action at a distance, knowledge from afar, star born! Minja no kiddin' turns out city lights when travelling back through a time hole. Turn you into a granola bar with my verse so far a crumbling strategy, and im just getting warm, waking up sons. aka Puller. Ninjah! Minjah! The words gonna Get Cha! Wife, momma, youngest daughter, baby sister, favorite Auntie. Rah, Rah, Rah! Rest in Discord RAW! Who's the author, who's the author.
Nip it, slap it like stand up bass. Come on now snap it on. Snap the beat in the Budd. Shuffle to NP's beat. Shake it baby. Take it off, maybe. The universe contains a baby in the Budd. When i start to rhyme its like a terrible flash flood, nip it in the budd, dam it. Nip it in the budd Eh! Rah, Rah, Rah! Rest in Discord RAW! When i start to rhyme i go off like a scud, like a scud full of flowers. Yeah Eh! Mixed drinks in my rose garden. Rhyme in the mud, from the forests and the waterfall, i rap for Eris, Wholly chao! Nine's crossed. A vine-hole to the Year Zero Zeroine. She in the cheese moon pulling it all in like a blog hole. History, that bloody dictionary of fundamental materialist facts incidentally recorded An ode to Eris for the Nine and for Elvis, the spirit of Rock n' Rolled up gods, full blood Budd, mixed tipsy turvey, little rad writing pad wearing a hood. Everything and nothing are everyware now in a Web 3D spice. So lets milk it with the spirit of capitalism. Massage the udder of all cows. Nip it. Everything has vanished. Gone gone gone. Can you sell emptiness and space? SKY can! Ephemeral beings of deconstruction are eating reality. All of it, allmen. No authority can contain the water Web 3D coming all over you with slime and fluffy poodle fur and some bristles and a pink nozzle cap to paint your puzzle black. Nip it. Tuck it. Go ahead punk. Go find you Relative Instruments. Relative Instruments. Relative Relative Relative Instruments. Who's the author, who's the author.
Sweet Flock whore. Dramatic fanatic idiotic robotic word machine comes clean. Whistle Pissing Sonata. Stoned melodramatic agaric. All that is, is metaphor. Acrillic figa it out, axiomatic and diplomatic toxic in high does. Aromatic agaric but toxic. Turntable static tingle taste of Agaric. Wholly Chao! Cinematic stinking Fungus, fun gloss agaric antibiotic, auntie bionic, old tea, drink and be merry agaric, speaking semi-automatic and almost hypnotic toxic, toxicating, intoxicating, symbiotic intoxicating king of beers, and sewers. Turning to Howords Way and Immediate spacetime date tinter technology, lung wordsmanships but bogged down in a war on culture. They put holes in my raft. Hegemony, monotony, monogamy. Sturch choirs in chorus. The Spooks that spiked us? Straight authority figurines. DO Poetry, Join the Battle of the French Canadian Bean Field Souper men. Make it KNu. A stew. Make it brew Ha Ha. Unstoppable. Unknowable. Unthinkable. Your Mom. Love. Sweet FA spray particles of rim. Nine portals "driving storm" to Butter-table-minster. 1776: Starport "licks". Forged keys. Unlicked lockgates. acrillacked restraint. Daisy-chain makers arms scaffolded. Lock, key, gate. Bow, crescent, chicane and curve. Who banks with river banks anymore anymore. Oh shit Diaper backward spells repaid. Who's getting laid and paid with aid, who's the author, who's the author.
Nonprophet, back to back to transmit the message about how we make a global massage to relax the globe, see through the fake shit, nunsrocket tool kit bag full of witty letter to make your eyelash glitter. Star fragments i emit, cutting at History; a drill bit, turntable skit fleeting in/out, shake it, Eh! Shake it! Eh. The Universe contains a maybe so bake it baby. First take at a Ken Traverse Lament, then flush it away. With Nine here in everyware world always on timespice, fresh like what's dew to the grass, made all my base hits and reversed profits to fit the feet of prophets, dressed in a nuns gown, the Suits just can't make it man, suits and brown shoes don't make it, Rah, Rah, Rah! Rest in Discord RAW! "BUY IT" commit to this HIT, hoof to the record stores and buy a bit of Nine maybe, use this tool kit put my rhymes back together, together bring the weather and colur back, the wooden furniture and garden perfumes, all in the room make it, bake, twist and get off it. Wholly Chao! Wholly Chao! Lickety split. See y'all in the orchestra pit where i'll be piloting my spit to send waves out to caves on Mars, 12 bars blues, better pack your travel kit and have your expansion bit, double knitting time and rhyme and do it legit, non-prophet. Scribe of the holy writ, allmen! That's the future perfect pissing tints. Who's the author, who's the author.