Addiction

You find yourself barreling down Alcohol Avenue toward the hospital dead ahead. Its all green lights, pedal-to-the-metal, full tilt. There are cars at your sides so you can’t turn off even if you want to, and you say to yourself, how did I get here again?
You remember driving down Sobriety Lane away from the hospital. You had crossed Denial Street and even Anxiety Way successfully and with great expectations. Then you suddenly hung a left on Just One Street, and found out that it led to a left-turn-only intersection with the teeming, noisy traffic of Alcohol Avenue, and now, here you are, once again, about to turn your pleasant, afternoon cruise into an ambulance ride.

August Frost

amish-painting-horse-and-buggy-country-trails-anns-nature-paintings

Whose plants these are I think I know.

His house is in the village though;

He will not see me stopping here

To grab some bud and do some blow.

 

My little horse must think I’m queer

To sit here staring at his rear,

Between the blow and tender bud,

The stonedest evening of the year.

 

He gives his hairy balls a shake

To ask if there is some mistake.

The only other sound’s the sweep

Of smoking weed and snorting flake.

 

It’s lovely here beside the patch,

But I have all these buds to stash,

And miles to go before I crash,

And miles to go before I crash.

Ah…

…ah, just sitting around with my son listening to Star Talk. Neil’s going on about the consequences of flatulence in space. It’s a slow Friday night, but I picked up a new book from the library today, which, along with the Sunday Paper Supercrossword, should see me through the weekend.

Also, I’m looking foreword to taking a little hike up to the top of a nearby mine dump, where I recently discovered soft, brightly-colored iron ore rocks that can be easily crushed to a fine powder. The colors range from brilliant yellow to orange to bright red. I’m going to bring some baggies and try to get a substantial amount of maybe four distinct colors (which could be mixed to make different hues). Then, I’m going to mix them up with egg-whites the way the early artists did, and try to paint a mining scene. Maybe.

I’m also making some willow wands. I wish I still had my drill so I could put a feather inside them. Maybe I’ll try to make one with a skull carved into the handle. That diamond willow (it’s everywhere around here) can really look nice sanded like glass and polyurethaned.

Celeste

tyche-oort-cloud

PROLOGUE

There’s a chance I’ll be murdered before I can finish this and spill my guts. I know Nasa will do what they must to keep the secret–the secret I am about to divulge to you. After certain recent events, I feel I must.

I first learned of the Aravi back in 1980 when I was in the Air Force. I was passing a bottle of home-made moonshine back and forth with some red-neck Marine one night when he told me all about the Aravi, and the Oort Cloud Empire. He did seem too stupid to make this stuff up, but it was so far-fetched, I blew it off as drunken babbling–until I watched it unfold before me!

You see, its not Earth that’s the prime real estate around our star, it’s the Oort Cloud. Of course we humans are a little biased toward Mother Earth, but the Oort Cloud inhabitants are not human. To them, The Cloud is where its happening; the inner solar system is boring, not to mention lethal. (That’s the other reason they live in The Cloud: the solar wind is deadly to them.) They don’t have a body made out of meat like you and I, but some kind of energy that can be “dissipated” by the intense solar wind of the inner solar system. Other than that little problem, they are practically immortal.

There are literally billions of little icy homes for the Aravi in an almost endless sea of teeming metropolitan centers across vast expanses of space. According to what this Marine had eavesdropped on, Nasa knew about the Aravi for many decades, and co-existed around the same star without incident.

But there was a problem. A big, bad problem, and they called him Kor. He was a criminal of the highest order, some say the most evil entity there ever was, and for a city of untold billions, that’s bad. He was captured and he and the icy snowball he called home were cast into the inner solar system where his home would become his prison. He would be imprisoned inside the diamagnetic cavity trailing the comet known as 81P/Wild, or Wild 2, to circle the solar system for eons, before the comet’s orbit would decay enough for it to finally fall into the sun, and Kor’s energy would be annihilated; he would have plenty of time to think about his crimes.

Now, like I said, Nasa knew about the Aravi, the Oort Cloud, and even the fact that Kor, the most dangerous criminal in the solar system, was circling the sun in their “back yard”, and it was all tolerated until September, 1974, when Wild 2, and its silent passenger came within a million miles of Jupiter, altering its orbit, and sending it reeling into the innermost solar system, changing its orbital period from 43 years to just 6 years.

This was just too close for Nasa, and a meeting of their top brass was convened and they came up with a bold plan to get rid of Kor once and for all: they would send the space capsule Stardust on a rendezvous mission with Wild 2 under the guise of collecting comet dust for the public. In reality, they would carefully extricate Kor from the comet’s coma, and in a special container, the aerogel Stardust Sample Container (SSC), bring him to Earth, only to be put aboard the New Horizons Spacecraft heading out of the solar system, under the guise of exploring Pluto (and beyond).

This has all been accomplished and you can Google Nasa Missions to fact-check. On Feb. 7, 1999, the spacecraft Stardust was launched, flew into the coma of Wild 2 on Jan. 2, 2004, and, after collecting its “sample”, successfully deposited the canister in the desert sands of Utah on Jan 15, 2006. The canister was immediately transported to the Cape Canaveral AF Station in Florida, where it was put aboard the New Horizons spacecraft, and destined to leave the Earth 4 days later, Jan 19, 2006.

Well, you got to remember that this was all under Military control, and so you might not be surprised to find out that when Nasa ran its first test after launching, Kor was not to be found. He was out, walking free upon the earth, under the protective dome of Mother Earth’s geomagnetic field. This was all a closely-guarded secret, of course, and only recently did I discover that Kor was not only free on Earth, but…oh no, someone’s banging,,oh noo h e lp

–Anonymous letter found inside a typewriter

$$$

I met a man

Who had a plan

To make me very rich,

And I was low

On cash and so

I listened to his pitch.

And for a fee,

He told to me

The secret scam he knew;

And if you send

Ten dollars, friend,

I’ll share it with you too.

Isle of Self

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The ancient Chinese philosopher, Zhuang Zhou, tells of a dream he had in which he was a butterfly. Upon waking, he was no longer sure if he was Zhuang Zhou, who had dreamt of being a butterfly, or if he was a butterfly dreaming he was Zhuang Zhou.
I’ve heard of a similar story about a guy who suddenly found himself treading water in total darkness, with no idea as to how this situation had come about or where he was, or, for that matter, who he was. All he could do was to continue treading water and wonder. Finally, the sky started to lighten off to what had to be the east, and then the sun came up in all its glory.
At first, all he could see was sea and sky. Then, there it was: a dark form–an island off to the north. As he swam closer, he could see that the tiny island was actually some kind of lava formation formed from an underwater volcano. In fact, it looked just like a man’s convoluted brain jutting up out of the sea. As he neared it, he could see that the entire island was fissured in two, with a sizable gap between.
He reached the shore of the eastern side, only to be greeted by a witch. “What is this place?” he asked, “Where am I?”
“Welcome,” she said, cackling with a hideous laugh, “I have been waiting for you. You are the chosen one.” Then she pointed her long, skinny arm toward a path behind her, and said,”Only he can tell you what you wish to know. He sits up on the bridge strung across the precipice, waiting for you. You must follow this path up to the bridge. Now go!” Not knowing what else to do, he started up the path.
Almost out of earshot, the witch called, “When you come to the dark ravine, you must cross it on faith alone. You can do it, for you are the chosen one!”
Soon he neared the top of the rocky isle, and could even see the man sitting cross-legged out about half-way across the bridge, but sure enough, there was a deep, dark ravine right across the path, with no way around.
He believed in the power of faith, but he certainly was no “chosen one”, so he reluctantly turned around, went back down the path, and explained to the witch that he was the wrong guy and all, and she told him of another way.
“You must swim around to the other side of the island, where you will meet a great and learned man. He will show you another path. But let me warn you, that way is harder still.”
By now, he had nothing to lose, so he dove into the water and swam around to the western shore. Sure enough, an old bearded man in a grey suit stood there with arm outstretched. ” I’m professor Eisensteinium,” he offered, ” and I can help you get up to the bridge…that is why you’re here, I assume.” He almost looked comical with thick glasses and a long, white beard. “You must follow this path up the hill,” he began, “but whenever you see a book lying on the path, you must read it. All of it. Or all will be for not, for the man on the bridge will not talk to you unless you do.”
So the man started up the path and came upon the first book. It was a science book on magnetism, electricity, and such. He read it and moved on. Next came a book on philosophy. Then another, and another. Soon, the books were coming in stacks. Books on Religion, quantum mechanics, Transcendentalism, and metamorphosis. He read and read and read, and in time, he could see the bridge–but he could also see that there were so many stacks of books on the path now, that it would take a life-time to read them.
He went back to the witch. She directed him to her path again, and said, “If you believe you are the chosen one, you will be. You must have faith.” After reading so many books on so many subjects, the witch’s words seemed to have the ring of truth to them. He marched up the path, mustered all the faith he could, and stepped out over the ravine. Instead of tumbling head-long into its depths, his foot came down on something solid. When he looked down, he could see a bridge across the ravine–it had been there the whole time, but he hadn’t seen it before! He strutted across it, thinking, I AM the chosen one, and walked out onto the long bridge with the man sitting on it.
Looking out from there, he could see the sea and sky were mirror images of each other.
When he approached the man sitting there, he could see that the man was asleep. He gently shook him by the shoulder, and said,”Excuse me, sir, I don’t mean to bother you, but I’m really quite lost and”–just then the man looked up, and their gaze met–they were one and the same!
“I was having a dream, ” said the man sitting cross-legged. “I was lost, and seeking a man to help me, I found…myself…who was dreaming…”
.

     Truly, I AM the universe, a dream within a dream within a dream…