“I suppose I would describe it like walking into a warehouse or something and flipping all the light switches on at the same time. You know how at first they all flicker back and forth much like a strobe show and then suddenly they all fall in alignment and fill every corner with electric light? That is very much what it was like to wake up in this body shortly before the apocalypse. At first I became suddenly aware around the time Iris and I would meet and then nothing for a short while. Then there was something. Then there was nothing. Back and forth, up and down like the flickering of the warehouse light. And then I went and walked into that dark, candle lit meditation center one Sunday morning and the breaker box was fused on.
My eyes had to adjust from blue and sunny skies to flickering flames amidst chimes and tunes from singing bowls when I stepped through the threshold of the door. The room wasn’t too awful big and looked more like a commercial office space set up than one would imagine a place of meditation to be. No pews or pretty carpets and pillows and shit. Nope. Just stationary office chairs in rows of eight on either side of the room, a little podium probably purchased from Staples or something and a radio with i-thingie docking ports. There were a few candles here and there; some real and some for the obsessive compulsive regarding fire that have a switch and batteries but other than that I would have to say the place was far from spectacular. Of course as of late I had been increasingly remembering that things are not always as they appear to be.
I silently made my way to a seat somewhere on the left side of the place and glanced around the peppering of faces that happily turned to smile and acknowledge my existence. That was pleasant. I didn’t pick up on any silent judgment at my casual attire nor did I feel like someone was going to burn me at a stake or nail me to some planks of wood because my iconography looks like it comes from the devil. Most of the people were …let’s say…closer to expiration than born on date. Which is great, don’t get me wrong because I just so happen to love the company of old people. This was a little different though than hanging around with the old timer at the barber shop; oh no, there was a constellation of twinkling winks of the eye from all of their faces and it suddenly felt to me as if an entire galaxy of solar systems were spanning out in front of me. The only exception was a forty something year old guy in the front row that didn’t bother to turn around at all. Clyde De-Lorean, a pasty, white guy from Africa that spoke with a French accent. This shit made my nose nearly bleed.
‘Good morning’ he says.
I wait until I am settled in my seat with one leg over the other and both arms wrapped around the backs of the seats to my sides in my best please respect my space pose before responding in kind.
‘Good morning to you.’
‘And how are we today?’
‘Upright and mobile.’
Finally this guy turns around as he simultaneously stands all hip and shit and glides around to my row of chairs. I stand to shake hands and Clyde stares at my extending palm like it’s a humorously alien gesture. Typically I am the one to instigate awkward moments so I immediately appreciated this guy for beating me to the punch.
‘I’m Clyde. You can call me Clyde.’ Said the guy who clearly wanted me to call him Clyde.
‘My friends call me Daniel; if they call me something else I don’t even know who they are.’ I replied.
‘Good to know Daniel, now what is with this ridiculous hand shaking thing? Get that away from me already and hug someone will you already.’ Clyde smoothly poured his words out like cappuccino as he wrapped his arms around me.
The internal computer of my mind booted up with a flashing question mark and the words ‘panic mode: yes or no’ blinked on and off. I clicked the mental button that said ‘more information’ and some neon red script scrolled from bottom to top of my consciousness.
‘This interaction may not be safe to process due to possible errors with the root program: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. A sub folder in program OCD runs territorial bubble firewalls due to previous interactions resulting in the installation of the aforementioned program. This firewall typically prevents the user from engaging in interactions where physical contact is required for longer than 2.3 seconds and under normal parameters keeps other users and NPC’s a standard 2.3 feet away from current user (exception: this sub folder in program OCD has a sub-sub folder which nullifies prime sub folder in the presence of user’s matrimonial mate. This sub-sub folder is due for updates caused by recent inactivity.) Entering panic mode will result in rapid heart-beat, cold and sudden sweat and the activation of the flight or fight mode which may end the interaction suddenly. Foregoing panic mode will allow you to stand awkwardly in the embrace of another male user with repeated queries as to his sexuality until it is politically correct to exit the embrace.’
‘We are all just people walking each other home, Daniel. Knock off the bullshit old man.’ Clyde said with his pristine cadence and enunciation.
I clicked no, closed the window and floundered a hand to pat him on the back as I smiled sardonically and said the word ‘snuggles’ in my head. He didn’t let it get creepy and stepped back to the appropriate 2.3 feet away as if he could read the program I was running as I myself could. A swoon of déjà vu dizzied my head for a moment as I got a good look at the happy-go-smiley weirdo because I myself am oh so sane. Khaki and loafer type of fella with a button down, short sleeved shirt (which have always puzzled me and upon seeing them I get the overwhelming unction that I should somehow be offended but I don’t know why), glasses and a twenty dollar haircut. Clyde, like the center itself, was nothing spectacular to look at…just ordinary. That being said, I did get the distinct feeling that in some way or another I was staring into a glass darkly and what was looking back just so happened to also be me from a different point of view. This possibility immediately gave me the willies.
Seeing as how I had arrived a little early, which in itself was a little bit of an oddity, the two of us were able to chit chat it up for a moment and in the most bland of summations explain to one another how we became enlightened and all. Mine was as you know enlightenment through struggle and suffering or so I thought at the time and his involved being born and bred through the materialistic wants of most stock investing like people which sadly ended in a skydiving event which left Clyde feeling completely unfulfilled as a sentient being. From there it was a matter of simply shuffling off the attachment to the world and off on a quest to find out just who the fuck he actually was. Thus far that quest had landed him in the drubid heart of Georgia where the Universe got It’s shits and giggles by placing him as the ‘preacher’, ‘guru’, ‘monk’, ‘guide’ or whatever at some meditation center which slightly resembled a travel agency office. When a significant amount of people filed in the two of us gave one another the polite head nod and went back to what we were going to do. For him that was to the front to prepare for guided meditation and for me that was back to my seat to be guided in meditation primarily and secondly to see if Iris would attend this particular Sunday and further test the thin ice in my moral code that I believed I was already pushing to the limits.
I had expected her to arrive through the back door like myself but that wasn’t the case. No, behind the podium there had been an arched door with a sheet hanging from above it and a little caught off guard I saw her hands part them ever so gently. When her head came through I watched her eyes scan the room quickly as they adjusted to the darkness and within seconds shoot to directly where I was sitting. Her face exploded with a smile and the rest of her followed from behind the curtain as she skipped across the room to my row slowing only once or twice to hug someone along the way. There was no time for my internal computer to evaluate the situation before she was sitting next to me with a giddiness that seemed child-like and innocent; hands clenched between knocking knees and all.
‘You came.’ Iris smiled.
‘I did. It’s good to see you again.’ I replied through the cavalier of recently consumed cannabis.
‘How’s that adrenal stuff workin’ out for you? Is it taking you to places?’ She asked, her eyes rolling upwards to indicate into other dimensions and what not.
Again I was taken aback by her ability to apparently read my mind for little details like the fact that I had been practicing astral travel with the intent to reach the Bookstore. Conversations about such things were not normal with anyone in which I had in my normal life and she just let such things roll off her tongue with no regard to the questioning of her sanity by those that may be listening. It was like realizing that you weren’t the only little kid awake in the cosmic orphanage where almost everyone else was sleeping away unaware they were just in a dream. When you find a mischievous friend like that the pitter pat tat of your feet across the floor is bound to lead to trouble. But what the hell right? Sometimes you just gotta get into some trouble so long as you know where to draw the line.
‘That remains to be seen I suppose, but I will keep you posted.’ I said.
She stared at me for a moment as if she were expecting me to verbalize what was going on in my head, which I did not. She abruptly reached to a mason jar beside her foot and brought it up to her chest, clutching it with both hands as she unscrewed the top and took a gulp after presenting it to me and saying ‘This is a good drink.’
Some undetermined liquid soaking a root or something was turned up and consumed by Iris as if she had just run across a playground. I watched intently as she screwed the top back on and gracefully set it back on the floor. Both of our attention was then requested by Clyde who took the podium and though I did disengage my stare with Iris, it was a slightly slower motion than the rest of the necks in the room.
‘Good morning my fellow human beings being. It is so lovely to see you this morning. What is even more invigorating is to finally see some males in here. A little testosterone in a sea of female’s hormones is always a good thing I say.’ Clyde said, snagging on the bait to a laugh from the assembly.
‘It is good to know that we all have a place to come to and perform this really strange practice we call meditation.’ He continued ‘Where we all happen to find ourselves in this particular Universe called…the south…it is a little rare to find other people who know about Dharma and Karma and meditation.’
I cocked my head to the side and found Clyde’s warm up to be as intriguingly inviting as my meeting with Iris. Who the fuck were these people? How long have they been in the same town as me, meeting in the middle of nowhere in some completely inconspicuous building talking about metaphysics, chakras and the interconnectivity of all that is? Was this room filled with members of the Illuminati or something? Just then, Clyde moved his fingers in front of his chin like one would imagine a puppeteer pulling strings.
‘It’s like we are the Illuminati or something.’ He said with a huff of a laugh.
‘Motherfuck!’ I thought ‘This is a fucking Illuminati meeting with old people, this ordinary khaki wearin’ dude and the hottest angel of death I ever met sitting beside me!’
I managed not to freak out as I told myself that it was just my imagination running away from me again as it often tends to do being a writer and all and sat still. Iris leaned into my territorial bubble and craned her neck around to look me in my eyes.
‘He is always making jokes about secret societies, shadow people, freemasons, chemtrails, smart meters and shapeshifting reptiles for some reason. Which are all true by the way.’ She nodded with rapid assuredness.
I could not even bring myself to blink. Who was this girl? Where did she come from, where is she going and am I supposed to go with her or did she just get back from where I am supposed to go? I was perplexed beyond cubes of Rubik.
‘Now’ said Clyde ‘If all of you would prepare yourself for a little guided meditation we can go into the absolute bliss that is the whirlpool of bullshitlessness.’
Some in the room cracked their neck, others kicked off their shoes. A few folded their legs into the lotus position and without further instruction I began fiddling in my pocket for a very unusual quartz crystal I had been carrying around. In the world outside I never talked about the strange things I happened to keep in my pockets; charms, crystals and from time to time some little oddball thing or another I found in a peculiar place that day yet here it seemed second nature to go straight for the crystal when preparing to meditate. As I cradled it in my palm and allowed its natural shape to extend my ring and forefingers upward I noticed that beside me, Iris was doing something extremely synchronistic and fumbling with crystals as well.
‘I keep weird things in my pockets.’ She whispered.
I could feel this Steve McQueen half-smile tighten my face as I opened my hand back up for a second to let her see mine because she let me see hers…her crazy that is. Or The Crazy, to be more politically correct.
‘Me too.’ I whispered back.
Iris took a few deep breaths in through her nose and closed her eyes, chin pointing back to the front of the room. I followed suit and before long my eyes were closed while I filled my lungs up with the air around me which of course happened to include her scent. I could not decide if it was apples and pine or apples and cranberry but to tell you the truth I really didn’t care at that point. A type of euphoria was coming over me and I could feel subtle electricity in the field around me. It sort of tickled my spine from second to second. As Clyde’s voice guided us deeper before forty five minutes of virtual silence in a room filled with other people, I was a little stunned to feel a soft hand slide into mine. I couldn’t honestly tell you if Iris had actually placed her physical hand in mine or it was just energy I was feeling. Either way my internal computer wasted no time throwing the option up of going into panic mode. ‘Shit’ I thought ‘I know, I know but fuck this feels…good for Chris sakes.’ Nevertheless I clicked again on the more information button.
‘This interaction may not be safe to process due to possible errors with the root program: Obligations to Entity called God. Program OEG while running has a myriad of sub-folders which simultaneously run to steer the vessel of the current user within certain parameters deemed ‘ethical’ to the current user’s environment and shared majority consciousness. Often these sub-folders keep a check and balance system on seemingly meaningless decisions or menial decisions at most with random spot check questions such as; Does an entity called God like what I am doing, does an entity called God care what I am doing and finally will an entity called God roast me in a gigantic easy bake oven for time and eternity for what I am doing. Obviously in between these primary questions several sub-sub folders are also active which narrow down the action the current user is trying to attempt with more precise questions. In this instance the more precise question the current user is asking internally is as follows; I stood on an altar before an entity called God and swore to It that the young woman in front of me was mine to have, hold and other stuff until death would do us part and it was kind of heavily implied in said vow that infidelity would also be completely out of the question. That being said, is meditating beside an attractive young woman with either a physical hand or metaphysical hand in contact with current user’s infidelity?
If the current user decides this interaction should be filed in root folder infidelity it will result in the program Guilt, Shame and Remorse running for an undetermined length of time. That length of time will be determined by the decision of the current user to run the following programs; Confession, Repentance and Amends. After these programs clean up disk space and defrag Guilt, Shame and Remorse the current user will then be prompted to re-run Confession, Repentance and Amends to matrimonial mate.
WARNING!!: Under normal parameters running programs Confession, Repentance and Amends to a matrimonial mate will result in several nights on the couch at the least, a reasonable amount of counselling and awkward time for lower to middle range marital arrangements and in the middle to high range the least result is divorce and extreme cases a bloody divorce. The current user’s matrimonial mate is a red head which increases the possibility of a bloody divorce significantly. Proceed with extreme caution!
Entering panic mode will result in rapid heart-beat, cold and sudden sweat and the activation of the flight or fight mode which may end the interaction suddenly. Foregoing panic mode will most likely result in a merging of software with user adjacent to current user. Digital and electrical information will be transferred from current user to adjacent user and vice versa resulting in a concept best described as a mind meld thanks to the late Gene Roddenberry. The current user will at first begin to feel disoriented as lines appear in the darkness of his eyelids and form into arrangements similar to DNA followed by a sudden download of thoughts, feelings and emotions that were not experienced first-hand. The current user will be overcome with the emotions of bliss, belonging, and a sense of being understood while simultaneously feeling exhilarated with fear. If adjacent user synchronizes with current user in like manner the energy and information exchange will charge the crystals of appropriate users to a level which could potentially open a rip in the fabric of space and time surrounding the present structure. Note: If current user opts to forego panic mode and allow a rippage in the fabric of time and space the program OEG will then prompt the question of whether or not ripping the fabric of space and time with a user other than the matrimonial mate is infidelity or not. Enter panic mode? Yes or No?
My hesitation on clicking either for a moment allowed me a span to consider all the possible outcomes of the decision I was about to make and if the worst case scenario of them all was worth what I was or was not about to do. In that span felt like thirteen years all balled up into one twelve inch world between my hands. From the moment I, or he or whoever met the ex-wife until the moment I left Red at the house that morning to find myself sitting there; beside Iris-it was all within my very hands to do with what I wished. I took the time to peek inside that span for a while as unbeknownst to me I unconsciously clicked one of the two buttons and before my very eyes DNA strands began to evolve from double helix to well…let’s just say…much more than two. Before the light show of evolution overtook my consciousness I could feel the story of my life swirling downward into something and at the last moment, when the smallest pebble in the top of the hourglass tinkered downward the question occurred to me that perhaps what was being flushed wasn’t actually the story of my life at all. Perhaps I was not being pulled down so much as I was shedding my skin.
Sorry…that sounded a little Silence of the Lamb-ish didn’t it?
A SONG TO PLAY US OUT…
Chapter Eighteen Coming Soonby