Part 5: Rocking to Amargi

Trisha spooned the arginine carefully into the grapefruit juice.


Three teaspoons made about twelve grams. She added three more teaspoons of choline chloride mixed with pantothenic acid. She stirred the brew carefully, added water, then drank it fast, keeping her mind blank. She shuddered at the aftertaste.

Durk Pearson and Sandy Shaw were right, she thought. Arginine does taste like dead goat vomit.

She went to the bedroom and stood before the full-length mirror inspecting her body critically. High breasts giving way to a flat abdomen. Narrow waist, a widening at the hips, and long legs that were slightly muscular. The late afternoon sun coming through the window highlighted the reddish gold at her crotch.


She thought a light trim was in order.

She locked her fingers behind her neck and pulled her hair up over her head. The golden blond mane overflowed the arc of her wrists and still easily covered her shoulders.

She would go tonight as Dejah Thoris, she thought. When she was growing up her father had read her Edgar Rice Burroughs' tales of Barsoom, and she had often imagined herself as Dejah Thoris, Princess of Helium. She had once asked her father for a jeweled dagger, which he purchased for her a few years later on her sixteenth birthday.

Well. Not quite as Dejah Thoris.


As Dejah Thoris she would have worn an ornament for her hair, sandals, a simple belt to support her dagger, and nothing else. That was the difference between Philadelphia and Barsoom. For this party she would also wear a dress. Perhaps the sleeveless white one with the hemline that hung to her left ankle, but which was gathered up on the right side to end at her hip. The dagger would hang down at the side of her exposed thigh.

She was sure the effect would be stunning.




"So? What do we do for bread?" Roy demands.

"You tell me."

Ezra spits on the sidewalk.

"The drug deal won't fly, not with the cowboy ridin' herd down there."

They are leaning against a wall near 12th and South. The previous week they had put up a table near 3rd and collected signatures and money. "Committee for a Drug-Free South Street," the cardboard had read.


They had taken in over three hundred dollars, a hundred for rent, and the rest blown in weekend partying.

"Let us pay a visit to that mother Two-Shoes. Jivin' us in the presence of the Man."

They contemplate the demise of Two-Shoes in silence, a strategic plan requiring careful thought.

Shit, you ain't no committee for a drug-free nothin', Two-Shoes says. The Man cocks his ear and gets nosy.


Ezra makes up a phone number and as the Man saunters off on his horse they pack up and disappear.

"Maybe we should pluck some pussy off the street," Ezra says, and then Roy sees it too.

Coming down the block, the Cadillac of downtown pussy.

"Look at her dress, pulled up like that."

"Advertisin'," says Ezra.

Roy looks at the billowing blond hair, the sleeveless white dress, and the naked leg rhythmically flashing at him.

"Hey, lady," he says as she comes past. "Tell me how much and I'll knock over a bank."

He reaches out and touches her shoulder, to slow her down. He hardly senses her hand moving, just the sting that spreads through his arm.

He looks at the line drawn from his wrist to the inside of his left elbow. The line begins to fill with blood.

"Jesus, the bitch cut me."

To Ezra he sounds more awed than angry.

Roy stares at his arm as the blood begins to freely drip on the sidewalk.

"A little love nip," Ezra says.

Oblivious to his friend's plight, Ezra hurries to follow her.




"Get your methylxanthines here!" a voice cried.

The methyl hawker was a mobile concession stand, bright yellow cap and jacket, and loaded with white styrofoam.

"What do you recommend?" Homer Nilmot asked.

"Tea is your best bet, about 125 milligrams of caffeine, same as a cup of coffee, but it's a better stimulant because it also contains theophylline - the coronary vasodilator and antiasthmatic."

"What about the hot chocolate?"

"The chocolate has two methylxanthines, the diuretic drug theobromine and the stimulant caffeine. Mixed with succrose, cinnamon, and vanilla, it is rich in carbohydrates and a source of quick energy."

After a moment's thought, Homer decided on the hot chocolate.


He sipped the thick liquid and looked around the spacious open room that would later serve as the dance floor for the Mauvaises Arts Ball. It was early and people were mostly milling about, talking. Streamers, Chinese dragons, and inflated puppets dangled in mid-air. At either end of the floor were small raised platforms with podiums.

A woman was speaking on the far dais, but Homer couldn't distinguish anything she said over the babble of conversation. Above the dais, a pink neon sign flashed: "The truth shall make you free." Homer smiled. He knew the quotation. A thin man porting two large volumes was taking his place at the near podium.

Warbling from an old phonograph nearby was a cowboy song Homer had never before heard outside his father's ancient stack of 78s: "He turned his ol' belly right up to the sun. He sure was a sun-fishin' son-of-a-gun." Strawberry Roan.

Homer paused near a man wearing a superman outfit, in which the "S" had been replaced by "007."


007 was briefing a couple in medieval costume.

"The original 007 was John Dee, the leading scholar of the day, an occultist who served as a secret agent for Queen Elisabeth I. At that time - the Sixteenth Century - England was challenging the number one sea power Spain.


Dee not only kept track of Spanish naval preparations, but also helped create a defeatist atmosphere by spreading the rumor, through personal astrological forecasts he prepared for the King of Poland and the Emperor of Bohemia - knowing the predictions would be repeated abroad, that storms would cause the defeat of a great empire in 1588.


Throughout Europe everyone understood the 'great empire' to be Spain, whose Armada was in fact defeated by the British in 1588. You might say it was simply a good weather forecast, but the prediction was widely believed and created a dearth of good sailors to man the Spanish ships. Powerful, effective propaganda. Dee also cast the Queen's horoscope and set the date for her coronation.

"Dee introduced cryptography into the spy network run by Sir Francis Walsingham, and signed his own occult communications 007, the number later adopted by Ian Fleming in his James Bond novels. Ian Fleming served as assistant to the director of British naval intelligence during World War II, and knew that Dee was one of the founding fathers of his own organization.


It was Ian Fleming, incidentally, who in 1943 conceived of the plan to have Aleister Crowley question Rudolf Hess, when Hess made his famous flight from Germany to England. Fleming thought Crowley was just the right person to gather information on the occult activities of the Nazis."

"This John Dee was some sort of college professor?" the medieval woman asked.

"He was the most learned man of his time, not surprising considering his personal library contained almost ten times as many books as the Cambridge University library. Dee wrote the preface to the first English translation of Euclid's Elements, itself the most famous mathematical treatise in history.


Unfortunately, Dee was smeared by the religious establishment because he devised a flying machine for a production of Aristophanes' play Peace. They couldn't understand how it worked, so they charged that Dee was in league with demons. He had also been imprisoned for a time by Queen Mary, because he was suspected of employing enchantments against her.

"Afterward, Dee was patronized by Queen Elisabeth, but when she died she was succeeded by James I, who was obsessed with witchcraft, even writing a book on the subject based on his personal investigations. He's the same King James who had the Bible translated into English. James' obsession with witches, incidentally, is the reason for the infamous King James translation, or mistranslation, 'Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live.' Under King James, witch-hunters had full reign, and Dee was eventually forced to step down as Warden of Manchester College."

"So Dee was just a scholar, maligned because he was ahead of his time?"

"Well, to be sure, like most of the leading intellects of that age, he had a personal interest in the occult. Fascination with the occult also seems to be endemic to the intelligence profession. Through his scryer Edward Kelley, an Irish rogue who was nevertheless a genuine medium, Dee held conversations with diverse spirits. Some would later claim that Kelley used these channeling sessions as a way of manipulating Dee."

A slender girl wearing cat's ears moved past. She was hanging on to a pony-tailed behemoth in a Tuxedo.

"Les vertus se perdent dans l'interet," she whispered pointedly, "commes les fleuves se perdent dans la mer."

The man at the near podium had begun to speak.

"I refer you to the Attorney General's Commission on Pornography, Final Report, July 1986, Volume 2.

"According to official U.S. government statistics, the magazine Teeny Tits, Big Boobs to Chew & Suck On contains, and I quote, 'Thirty- seven photographs of a partially clothed caucasian female exposing her breasts and her vagina; Twelve photographs of a partially clothed caucasian female exposing her breasts and inserting a finger or fingers into her vagina; Four photographs of a partially clothed caucasian female exposing her breasts and her buttocks; Three close-up photographs of a caucasian female's vagina spread open with her fingers.'

"Ho hum, you say? Another nebulous piece of government sociometry, to be filed and forgotten along with the balance on merchandise trade? Not so! For independent surveys by private researchers indicate the magazine in question actually contains thirty- eight photographs of a partially clothed caucasian female exposing her breasts and her vagina. So why the miscount in this official document? Why the deliberate falsification of an important statistic?

"I submit that we have here before us one more example of government cover-up . . ."

Homer continued to circulate. A new record played on the phonograph: "Stray in the bunch, and the boss said kill it. I shot it in the rump with the handle of a skillet. Come a ti yi yippie, come a ti yi yippie yippie yea."

"You see, we had gone out to Bird-In-Hand and Intercourse to sample the shoo-fly pie," said a Horus-faced man sporting a mohawk.

Homer inspected the small group, paying particular attention to a svelte female in a bikini.

"Then in the afternoon we went back to her aunt's place near King of Prussia where they were having a yard party. It was mostly a group of wealthy, liberal, new-age Pennsylvania Dutch, and someone started talking about the new wave of Hitlermania in European publishing and how terrible it all was. You would think they were personally responsible for what happened in Germany in the 1940s.

"I found the fake emotion a little obnoxious, so I said one man's culture is another man's disease. First I said that the Nazis learned at the feet of the masters, that most of the evil Hitler did, he learned by reading the Old Testament. Genocide? I said. Where do you think Hitler got the idea? Yahweh told the ancient Israelites to wipe out every man, woman, and child when they conquered the land of Canaan he had 'given' them. Kill a Canaanite, win a homestead. When once they spared a few people, Yahweh smote them for rebellion.

"Racial purity? Yahweh told them not to take wives of the surrounding peoples. Stay away from inferior goyish shiksas, Yahweh said. If that's not master race propaganda, I don't know what is, I said.

"The thousand-year reich? Hitler got that phrase from Martin Luther's translation of the Book of Revelation, which was an early Jewish apocalyptic work adopted as part of the New Testament canon.

"Now I was really rolling, so I told them that history was on Hitler's side. A United Europe? That's what Hitler wanted and it's all the rage these days with European left-wing intellectuals. Hitler took the one government, one economy, one currency idea one step further, and planned also for a common language. Now Europe's got it, although the language is English, much to the disgust of the French.

"A one-world global village? McLuhan was describing what Shicklgruber started. Technology accelerated under the Nazis, with the beginnings of space rockets and continent-wide electronic communication links.

"Then I got personal. I pointed out that some SS leaders were into vegetarianism and right-brained Eastern philosophy, not to mention consciousness-altering drugs like hashish, peyote, amphetamines and cocaine. Change your mind and you'll change the world. The SS understood that, or at least the leaders did.

"All in all, I said, Hitler was a man ahead of his time, a man of the 1980's, but suffering under the Neanderthal baggage he picked up from the Bible. Like many futants, he turned into a maniacal killer.

"That set them back, all right," Horus-face finished smugly.

"So what did they say?" asked the girl in the bikini.

"Oh, some of them were pretty pissed. They didn't believe that part about SS leaders being vegetarian."

There were large foam rubber cushions and bean bags arranged along the walls. Homer settled down on one, closed his eyes, and let the voices wash over him.

"I have this friend who works at a Philadelphia bank who's been mugged four times," a girl's voice was saying.

"Really? Four times?"

"Around that. He just looks like the archetypical chronic victim. He wears his body like a provocative sign: 'Please don't mug me.' People see this guy coming from a block away, and get the instant urge to beat the hell out of him."

The voice at the podium continued:

"...A group of dedicated men and women putting your tax dollars to good use, hours and hours of grueling work, watching pornographic films on your behalf, all in the interest of science and the future of America. Here, beginning on page 1573, is a listing of the actual films viewed and studied by the Commission."

The speaker began to enunciate the list in a stentorian voice.

"A Coming of Angels. A Few Good Men. A Girl Like That. A Lacy Affair. A License to Thrill. A Little Dynasty. A Little Sex in the Night. A Married Man. A Matter of Size . . ."

With his eyes closed, Homer could perceive the sounds of the room as a single standing wave of energy, which pulsated and crackled.


Then he detected a tremor, the arrival of a second modulating wave. Homer opened his eyes and saw the Goddess in the doorway. As Trisha paused, surveying the room, a refreshments boy wearing yellow cap and jacket appeared. He obviously had instructions to approach every new guest.


He was flustered by her presence but rallied to the occasion.

"Adam, Madam?" he asked.

Trisha raised her eyebrows.

"Ecstacy, MDMA. Methylenedioxymethylamphetamine returns you to the Garden of Eden. You see the world with new and innocent eyes. You gain an emotional empathy with everything around you. But you don't have to worry about dissolving into the cosmic glue, because it strengthens your ego and makes you feel good about yourself. You can think and dance normally, while having your heart filled with love."

The refreshments boy saw that Trisha was regarding him with amusement. It made him feel like a street preacher pushing Jesus.

"I'm always that way anyway," she said. "I don't need it. Besides, it inhibits orgasm."

"No, you wouldn't want that," he mumbled as she moved past him. He felt faint.

Trisha spotted an enclave with Colin Bass, the M.D. at Pennsylvania Hospital from whom she obtained prescription pharmaceuticals. The circle opened to admit her as she moved closer.

"In the late 1800's health faddists said you were supposed to eat natural, wholesome foods, get plenty of exercise, and abstain from sex," Colin was saying.


"Good diet, good exercise, and good sex. Just like today, except proper sex then meant no sex. Kellogg's Corn Flakes, for example, were created by John Harvey Kellogg in the 1890's with the intention they would help eliminate harmful sexual desires.


Mothers could perform no higher duty than to see their sons start the day off with a fresh bowl of antimasturbation corn flakes. Kellogg's own marriage to a nursing student at his sanitarium went unconsummated. Instead he spent his honeymoon writing a book about the evils of sex.


On the other hand, he did have an orderly administer him an enema every morning after breakfast."

Behind her, Trisha heard a man's voice reciting a list of films.

"...Debbie Does Dallas. Debbie Does 'em All. Debbie's Fantasy. Debbi's Confession. Deep Chill. Deep Passage. Deep Roots. Deep Throat. Deep Thrust. Delicious. Deliveries in the Rear. Delivery Boys. Der Lang Finger. Der Perverse Onkel. Der Sex-Spion. Desire for Men. Desiree. Desiree Lane. Desires of the Devil. . ."

"Well," Trisha said, "medical malady or no, perhaps it's better to keep sex slightly immoral, non-casual, hence preserving its air of excitement and privilege for the aristocracy who dare defy the Gods."

"The next stage of sexual evolution is technological," pronounced a short curly-haired punk in a Rambo T-shirt. "Imagine this total environment, a multi-sensorily controlled bedroom, set up with biofeedback equipment and closed circuit holography, programmed to respond to your every mood and generate the ultimate sexual trip with real or imaginary partners."

"We already got that," Colin responded. "It's called the central nervous system and it can organize your experience into pretty much any shape you can imagine."

"Then something went wrong with my programming," a girl said. "The more sex I have, the less I like it."

"Remember you are the programmer as well as the program."

"So what should I do?"

"Maybe you should have less sex. Abstinence makes the heart grow fonder, and all that."

"But isn't the lack of sex the root of all evil?"

"No, you've got it mixed up." A man in horned-rim glasses spoke up. "What Freud said was the lack of a good analyst is the root of all evil. A good analyst will provide you with all the sex you need."

"Ever since I read Philip Jose Farmer's book The Lovers, I've wanted to have sex with an alien." Rambo again.

"Aren't you afraid of catching something?" Oriental girl, genuinely curious. "Some kind of galactic gonorrhea?"

"Many men after ufo observations report a soreness in the testicles," responded a big man in a Tux. "Maybe that's what they have. They're suffering the biological after-effects of an experiment in inter- species breeding."

"It happens to women too," the Oriental girl said. "I read about a woman in California named Marian Greenberg who became pregnant from extraterrestrials. She wrote a book about it. She hadn't had sex for months when it happened. It's like the sons of God seeing the daughters of men, that they were beautiful, and through them begatting the Nephilim. "

"Yes, I read that same story. But didn't she share a hot tub with this guy before she became pregnant? Maybe it wasn't extraterrestrials. It could have been subterraneans." Trisha.

As the group pondered the possibilities, Trisha looked across the room and saw Ezra standing in the door to the kitchen.

Following Trisha up 13th, Ezra sees her disappear into Dirty Frank's. He enters from the corner, and stands for a moment looking at the dingy tables and the beaten up bar. Redneck song on the juke box. In the back above the video games he sees cabinets, doors ajar, stacked with cases of beer. A baseball game is in progress on the blurry TV screen.


The painted wall opposite is covered with pictures, in contrast to the dilapidated one behind him, which displays only Budweiser and St. Pauli Girl signs.


Why don't they spread the pictures around, make it look classy, he wonders. Overhead fans circulate a general smell of disinfectant which permeates the room despite two doors open to the street. Ezra feels comfortable here. He walks around the bar to a spot near Trisha, who is seated at the table nearest the video games.

Also at the table is a man in a business suit, a mulatto girl, and a swarthy fellow with a small mustache. Ezra hears them call the suit man Eric.


Eric has only stopped by for a few drinks.

"I know my wife is going to kill me when I get home. She always yells at me when I get smashed," he says as he drains his glass.

He smiles at Trisha.

"No wonder you drink, a bitch like that," the girl sitting beside him speaks up. "Here. Let me get you a cajun martini. That'll pick you up."

"Did I tell you about the hangover I had last week?" he asks her.

Keeping an eye on Trisha, Ezra feels in his pocket and finds he has enough change for a beer.


He sips the brew and hears her say she is going to an old warehouse down near the bridge. Then she is out the door and into a taxi. Ezra grabs his bottle, rushes out to the street, and watches the cab disappear.

He drains the bottle and throws it into an alley. Then he walkes over to Market, down to 4th, and turns left toward the bridge. Some weirdly dressed people drive by, and he follows the car up the street. They get out in front of an old building. There is a bouncer at the door, checking tickets.

Ezra watches people go in for a while, then walks around to the back, finds an open window, and climbs through it into a kitchen. He helps himself to the shrimp until scolded away, then walks to the kitchen door and looks out into a large room.

Colin was speaking again.

"That's right, the FDA's Recommended Daily Allowances are based on no scientific evidence whatsoever. Instead they calculated the minimum amount which will keep you from getting a known vitamin deficiency disease. Like scurvy. Say 20 milligrams of Vitamin C. Then they add a small margin, say 40 mg.


So they set 60 mg of C as the RDA. There's not the slightest evidence that 60 is the optimal amount. Its based on the 19th century notion that you get all the nutrition you need from balanced meals - balanced meals being whatever the average Joe eats. So as long as you don't have scurvy you're getting the optimal amount of C, or whatever."

Settled back on his cushion, Homer was watching Trisha. Gradually the impression came to him that everyone was watching her. Not staring, just being aware she was there.

Two YMCA types had positioned themselves on the neighboring bean bag.

"But if you're always looking for something, you'll never find it. Just when I thought I would be a bachelor all my life this girl comes along and I find we have a lot in common."

"I gave you numbers to call," the other one said.

"Yeah, but I don't like to pay for it."

"I know, but if you're going with girls and calling up other girls and paying for it, then you feel more relaxed. It's not like you're begging for it. You know my philosophy on that."

Now a couple was blocking his line of sight. Homer shifted so he once more had a clear view of the Goddess. If I can't have that woman, I'll die, he whispered to himself.


But he was too cynical to believe either that he would ever have her, or that he would actually die from wanting.

"...Hot Action. Hot Blooded. Hot Bodies. Hot Cars, Nasty Women. Hot Chocolate. Hot Circuit. Hot Close Ups. Hot Country. Hot Cunt Service. Hot Dallas Nights. Hot Dogs. Hot Dreams. Hot for Cash. Hot Fudge. Hot Girls in Love. Hot Gypsy Love. Hot, High, and Horny. Hot Jobs. Hot Legs. Hot Line. Hot Lunch. Hot Merchandise. Hot Nights & Hard Bodies. Hot Number. Hot Nurses. Hot off the Press. Hot Pants. Hot Pursuit. Hot Pink. Hot Rockers. Hot Roomers. Hot School Reunion. Hot Shots. Hot Spa. Hot Spanking. Hot Spots. Hot Spur. Hot Tails. Hot Touch. Hot Wire. Hot Wired Vanessa. Hotel Hooker. Hotline. Hotter than Hell. Hottest Hunks. House of Ill-Repute. . ."

The couple before him were engaged in an animated discussion.

"And what's more, you eat too fast," the girl said.

"I don't like to talk that much when I'm eating."

"And you walk too slow."

"I walk for pleasure, not exercise. When I exercise, I jog or work out in a gym."

"Besides you're in business. I don't think I could ever respect anyone who does that for a living."

"Jesus, Gloria, you're a nurse yourself."

"I'm helping people."

"Do you ever treat people who are in business? Or what about the hospital you work? Isn't that a business? What if no one paid their bills, or paid your salary?"

"You just don't understand what I mean. Because you never listen to me."

"I'm listening now."

"And you're always arguing. You argue about everything I say."

The man in horn-rimmed glasses was speaking passionately.

"All the signs point to AIDS being a designer disease, engineered by genetic manipulation, and spread - by design or by accident -  under the cover of public innoculation. Look at the patterns.


The incidence of infection in Africa corresponds to the precise location of the smallpox vaccination program conducted in the mid-1970's by the World Health Organization. And the appearance of AIDS among Haitians can be attributed to the same source, since there were 14,000 Haitians then on UN secondment to Central Africa who also received the vaccine.


AIDS gets to New York City by a similar process - the Hepatitis B vaccine study in 1978.


Six years later, 64 percent of those in the study had AIDS, and the percentage is probably higher now. Interesting enough, back in 1969 the Biological Warfare division of the U.S. Department of Defense requested funds at a House Appropriations hearing to develop genetically a disease that would attack the human immune system. What do you think happened?


They got the money from Congress, the same idiots who are now being asked to spend funds on a cure."

We had barely gotten inside the door to the Mauvaises Arts Ball when Sheri had to rush off to the bathroom. While I was waiting for her to return, a waiter appeared.


He looked at my Levis and running shoes.

"You look like a businessman," he said. "Perhaps some dimethyltryptamine?"

He offered me a platter with marijuana joints neatly arranged like carrot sticks. I assumed the DMT had been rolled into the ends of the joints.

"What else you got?"

"A mescaline mix."

He indicated the peyote buttons in the wooden bowl in the center of the display.

"These will reveal to you a small green man, Mescalito, whose photo appears on Peter Pan peanut butter jars, but who is occasionally mistaken as a little green alien from Mars.

"Finally, there are psilocybin mushrooms, the fungus of choice for discriminating shamans."

I took one of the joints and slipped it into my shirt pocket. In some parts of the country, it would have been tacky to help yourself to a little of everything. But this was Philadelphia, so I took some peyote buttons and mushrooms also. You never knew when an emergency might arise, or what you could trade them for.

There was a man on an elevated platform who had been reading a list of names.


He now paused.

"You must remember that despite the countless hours spent in viewing and analyzing this genre of film, it is a matter of record that no male member of the Attorney General's Commission experienced an unseemly erection, nor was any female member forced in the course of her duties to put on dry underwear.


This in itself is testimony to the dedication and high moral purpose of the Commission."

He returned to the recitation of the list.

"...Piercing of Laura. Private Nurses. Private Party. Private Pleasures. Private Practice. Private Teacher. Prized Possession. Pro Ball Cheerleaders. Probation Officer's Discipline. Programmed for Pleasure. Project: Ginger. Prunella. Public Affair. Punished. Purely Physical. Puss N Boots. . ."

While waiting for Sheri, I looked around the room for Homer Nilmot, and amused myself by eavesdropping on the desultory conversations. Trans-Global had relayed the message that Homer would meet me here.

"If it weren't for Fred, I could have gotten my degree and really gone somewhere. I could be teaching sociology now."

"If it weren't for Fred, you would have flunked out of college in six months. Everybody knows your rush to get married was an excuse to avoid exams."

"Der volkische Staat hat die Rasse in den Mittelpunkt des allgemeinen Lebens zu setzen."

"I dreamed last night that I became the head of a nuclear power station. Only the reactor was missing. It was in some place like New Mexico, and everything was in a state of decay, with crumbling walls like those at an old castle I had seen near Salisbury in England. I, or a group of us, had stormed the place and taken it over, then I was in charge and I felt very confident. A military group came by with orders for an inspection, and I could barely repress a smile because only I knew there was no reactor to inspect.


In addition they didn't know that the personnel had changed (that is, that we had taken over), and were under the delusion that I might actually care about their orders. But I let the leader of the group in to look around. There were also other people coming and going, and two girls showed up and started to accompany us on the tour. Then the girls were naked with white trimmings where their bathing suits had been. A guy and one of the girls began kissing, and I knew that the second girl and I would get around to that too. But then the first girl and I began kissing, and the second girl got angry. I soothed her feelings, and then they were both kissing me and I woke up."

"Science overthrew theology and assumed the post of infallibility. Now it cites the warfare of science with theology the same way the government cites the ideals of the Revolution. Tyranny reigns under the rubric of freedom."

"Joe definitely has the biggest mortgage in our office. He must pay three thousand a month in interest alone."

"I always thought he had that look about him. A man with a purpose, a man with responsibilities."

"Well he does. He got a thirty-year mortgage. He'll be paying on it till 2014."

"I wish my Arthur could do something like that. He has hardly any debts because he can't get any credit."

"An infinite set is a set that can be put on a one-to-one correspondence with a proper subset of itself. For example, the natural numbers 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, ...can be matched one-for- one with the even numbers 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, . . ., since 1 matches with 2, 2 matches with 4, 3 matches with 6, and so on. The number n matches with the number 2n.


Therefore there is a sense in which we can say that all the natural numbers are contained in the set of even numbers. In a similar way, a hologram can be matched with a proper subset of itself. Suppose you have a hologram of the Philadelphia Museum of Art and Fairmont Park. You can throw it all away except for a piece, but from that piece you can reconstruct the entire original hologram. Thus each part can be said to contain the whole image of the museum and the park, and the whole image can be examined by looking at only a tiny portion."

"He was the type of guy who was always spilling french fries in his lap."

"She was weeping and cursing when I vaulted into her brain."

"We can't get it all together. It is all together."

"I don't practice what I preach because I'm not the kind of person I'm preaching to."

"The classic double-bind theory of Gregory Bateson can be illustrated by the mother who tells her kid to quit imitating Johnny and to be himself. Of course the kid, left to himself, had the spontaneous inclination to imitate Johnny, but now he's told this is not being himself. Thus, by definition, he's wrong no matter what he does, and this circuit of insanity gets imprinted in his mind."

"Crotchless underwear?"

"If you look at a Cadillac today, and you look at a Cadillac tomorrow, there's a little bit of difference."

"That's true. You can't step into the same Cadillac twice."

"I just had a tissue donor from Doylestown."

"How could a boogey man be in my house?"

"Boogey men have lots of keys."

"You'll pay to know what you really think."

"Careful analysis by the President's Commission notes the paperback book Tying Up Rebecca contains, on the inside cover, an advertisement for Stallion Slo-Cum Spray. This official document states, 'A photograph of the product is on this page and printed below the photograph is "Get it up and keep it up!" A three paragraph narrative explains its application and why it's needed. The price is $10.00 and an order form has been supplied on page 192.' "

Ezra stops a passing waiter. "Can you get me some of that slokum spray?"

"No, but I do have a nice mixture of cocaine and phenylalanine. It's rolled in a coconut macaroon for oral ingestion."

Ezra eyes the concoction. "How about a beer?" he asks cautiously.

"Sorry, hard drugs you have to buy yourself." The waiter points to the cash bar in the corner.

"Lawyers are living proof cowboys fuck sheep."

"Backward ran the sentences until reeled the mind."

"I was parked on Sansom street and someone vandalized my car, threw a rock through a window, left glass all over the inside. I called the police to report it, and they asked if anything was missing. I said no, didn't appear to be. Then it occurred to me it would be better to have something missing. So I said a camera, a Polaroid, had disappeared."

"Would Jesus take a urine test?"

"He said render unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's."

"Well, whose urine is it, God's or Caesar's?"

"And now we come to the Attorney General's official synoptical review of the movie Forgive Me I Have Sinned.

"A male dressed in a robe is seated behind some lattice work with smoke surrounding him. The young girl, who is dressed in what looks like a parochial school uniform, stands on the other side of the lattice work.

"Who are you, she asks?

"Tell me about the sins of the flesh, the man says.

"What do you want me to say? The girl moves closer to the lattice work.

"You little fool. Tell me of your sins if you want to be forgiven.

"It was when Serena and I went camping. It was so much fun. The campfire was warm. I was so tired, my sleeping bag was so warm. I just went to sleep. I dreamt Serena was touching me.

"How was she touching you? How did she touch you?

"She touched my face. She touched me with her hands and her mouth. She kissed me. And then she moved her hands further down and I couldn't breathe.

"Tell me more how you've sinned....

"She put her hands between my legs and I felt all warm and strange...."

I worked my way to the far side of the room, where I spotted Homer Nilmot looking at a neon sign above the head of an intense young woman at a podium.

"Plainly put," the woman was saying, "the Mark of the Beast is a designation without which no man can buy or sell. Buying and selling requires money. Most money exists in the form of checking accounts. Ever try to open a checking account without giving the bank your social security number?


Your SS number goes on your employment record, your tax record, your school record, and the data files for all your credit cards, your driver's license and your passport. It serves as a general universal identifier, a mark, which is computer coded to keep track of all your financial and other important activities.

"A social security number is just the embryonic beginning of the Beast system.


At the European Economic Community's three-story computer complex in Luxembourg, an attempt is being made to assign every man, woman, and child on the face of the earth an 18-digit number, that is 6 + 6 + 6 digits. Interestingly, the computer complex itself is commonly referred to as 'the Beast.' "

This was my kind of good rant. I liked this woman. She continued.

"I refer you to the eye-opening book, When Your Money Fails ...the "666 System" is here, by Mary Stewart Relfe, Ph.D. The cover notes that this work has been called 'one of the most astounding books of this generation,' by Colin Deal, author of the best seller Christ Returns by 1988.

"This fine work points out that that the first war ship which entered the newly re-opened Suez Canal in June 1975 carried on its deck Egyptian President Anwar Sadat, and on its bow the number 666. It also says that all Arab-owned vehicles in Jerusalem must carry the license prefix '666' in order that Israel may be able to quickly identify the enemy if war breaks out. . ."

By this time I had reached Homer. All I wanted was to explain the trip to California - to continue the Jack Parsons investigation - and verify Trans-Global would pay expenses, a task I managed to accomplish despite acoustical chaos.


The important work done, I indicated the sign above the girl.

"How about you? Do you know the Truth?" I asked.

"Yeah. Known it for years," Homer said.

"Has it make you free?"

"Not really. I had to fire my God because he wasn't doing his job."

Homer looked thoughtful.

"When I was at college," he said, "sophomores would sneak into the restrooms some nights at the start of the school year, and put these signs above the urinals. On the signs would be a single biblical reference: I Kings 21:21. It was on old joke, but new Freshmen wouldn't have heard about it yet and would go and look it up."

"And what does the reference say?"

"Every man that pisseth against the wall shall be cut off."

"With respect to the number 666, elementary gematria reveals . . .," continued the girl at the podium. But gematria's revelation was aborted, for at that moment the room darkened, and a booming voice overrode all competition.

"Welcome ladies and gentlemen, not to mention all you idolators, whoremongers, dogs, insensitives, unbelievers, effeminate, abusers, sorcerers, despisers of government, fornicators, and blasphemers. And greetings, too, to those unclean, unsanctified, puffed up with knowledge, or holding political office.


A toast to Apocalypse Culture! The End Time is here! It's here NOW! So tonight it's fitting that we begin the first annual Mauvaises Arts Ball with a prophetic PLAGUE FROM HEAVEN!"

A shower of hailstones fell from the ceiling. A woman near me shrieked as ice slid down her ample cleavage.


Then the room went completely black, and from the four walls came a thunder clap, the voice of Grace Slick:

"Every night I rock myself to sleep."

The song was over before a slight illumination reappeared. Just enough light to make out the facial features of the person next to you if you looked carefully. I felt a tug at my arm. It was Sheri and with her was another girl, of medium height, with a wild mane of hair that shot out in all directions.

I missed her name, but I caught the warmth given off by her body as we stood toe to toe for introductions.

As above so below.

Random thoughts kept popping into my head.

Sheri had left again to talk to a fellow Sub-Genius, the ranter with the inside scoop on the 666 system. For reasons unknown Sheri had set me up with the girl with the wild hair. Why, didn't seem important at the moment.

We began to dance. It was crowded and it seemed natural I would lace my fingers at the small of her back and pull her close. Angel means messenger. Her reaction was unexpected. She simply leaned her forehead into my shoulder and pressed her stomach and pelvis against me. We danced some more, body to body. She was wearing a strange perfume that was heady, erotic. What we require is an angelology of words.

After a while I slid my hands down on her hips, feeling their rhythm. She turned her face upward in invitation, and as I kissed her, she slipped her hand under my shirt and ran her fingers up and down my side.

Words are angels, independent carriers of soul. She unbuttoned my shirt. I shifted uncomfortably in my Levis, and started to pull away. But she adjusted to the motion, keeping her pelvis pressed against me as I stepped backward. The powder developed by Jack Parsons using roofing tar and sodium perchlorate was known as GALCIT 53.


At this point I lost all desire to slow the course of events. In the darkness I began to roll her skirt up under my fingers until I reached the hem.


Then I slipped a hand underneath the elastic of her panties, and caressed the cleavage between her hips. She shifted her right hand around to my back, clinging to me, standing on tiptoes and pushing her breasts forward. The slightest nudge would have toppled us over.

We were both breathing hard. I realized we were standing beside a cushion, and I sat back on it and pulled her down on top of me. I was dimly aware that we were not the only couple making use of the darkness. She sat astraddle my thighs, and began to unfasten my Levis. I rolled her over to the side and slipped a hand into her panties. She pressed against my fingers as I explored her body. If the present is intolerable, and the future is inaccessible, only the past can furnish models for change that can be communicated to a mass population with relative ease.

Then I pulled her panties off entirely, slipping them over her shoes. I leaned back on the cushion and pushed my Levis down to my knees, and she straddled me again and slipped me inside her. It was a slow number and we got into a rhythm of sorts with the music.


Our life is less the resultant of pressures and forces than the enactment of mythical scenarios. I wanted to pull her dress completely off, but I yielded to prudence and contented myself with unbuttoning the front to caress her breasts.


She had her hand down between us, exploring the connection, monitoring the thrusts, and massaging us both. Then she leaned forward over me, shaking her head from side to side in orgasm.

I was in no hurry. The longer this lasted the better. But she abruptedly pulled off me, then turned and took me into her mouth. By considering the personified archetypes as Gods, they become recognizable as persons, each with styles of consciousness or typical modes of apprehension.


The insistence of her lips and fingers made me come almost immediately. I guess it was just as well, because the voice of the master of ceremonies intruded to state this would be the last number before the channeling session by Helen Morley. I pulled up my Levis and she buttoned her dress as the lights began to brighten.


She gave me a kiss, and as she did so I spied her panties, which were still lying on the floor. She smiled when I handed them to her, and walked away carrying them in her hand. I watched her cross the room and exit through a door on the other side.

Finally I looked around me and I saw Sheri standing a few feet away, contemplating me behind an expressionless mask.

"Not I was the cause of this act, but Zeus and my portion and the Erinys who walks in darkness: they it was who in the assembly put wild ate in my understanding," I quoted.

"Helen can't channel unless she's just had sex," Sheri said matter- of-factly.

"That was Helen Morley?"

Sheri nodded.

"So what could I do? Deity will always have its way." But I couldn't help asking: "What if I hadn't been available?"

Sheri didn't bother to comment.

Later, after the lights had darkened, a there had been a moment's silence, Helen Morley began to talk about new light from the sun and the time of coming Earth changes.

It was weird and garbled stuff, but seemed quite in keeping with the rest of the evening.

"The Earth will begin to receive light with a new frequency. This increase in intensity of the frequency of energy will produce a different life, which will be lived in a different way from the one known today.


This means that the cyle of life on Earth will be totally and radically changed, because of the inevitable mutations which will result at the electro-chemical- molecular level.


Other forms will be given to the animal and vegetable kingdoms. Man will undergo a change in the force field which structures him."

She was talking in a microchip-simulated voice, like those in new model cars that tell you your seat belt is unfastened.

"Every man, as vivified by energy, has his own determined force field, which is the etheric body, or the soul - the psychic energy which structures the material form. The good quality force field of man is capable of bearing, without any damage to matter, any kind of change in freqency of energy, which determines a new time where different values exist.


But if the organism is a chaotic vibrator of exterior effects, produced by excessive human emotivities (hate, malice, envy, egoism, hypocrisy, fear, etc.), the syntony with values of the Universal Force Field will then go though major distortions, distortions which would make any energetic power change unbearable to the cellular system.

"Survival, therefore, is for those who, by their spiritual evolution, have attained a physical structure and psychic frequency which harmonizes with the Superior Force Field coming from the sun in an energetic form. The increase in power of the energy coming from the sun will also produce a certain effect in the mental field of the humans: what is negative will become more negative, and what is positive will acquire a greater syntony. When this energy, which is spiritual, is in discord with the mind, a short-circuit is produced in the organism and certain fuses blow.

"This will lead to an exaggeration of violence and evil in general, a progressive degeneration of the remaining moral, ethical, social, religious, and spiritual values by which the human society is still structured. The few people whose individual force field is in syntony with the values of the Universal Force Field will have to struggle in order to keep away from the negative solicitations emitted by the human masses, who are caught in the crazy whirlpool of a destructive, uncontrollable, and non-preventable delirium."

"Sounds like she's talking about all of us," I said to Sheri. "The chaotic vibrators of exterior effects were driven to the Mauvaises Artes Ball."

"Yeah, well, what do you think about Helen Morley as New Age prophetess?"

"At least there's no ectoplasm. But she seems to be more interested in frequencies than freedom," I said. "I think I liked her better with her panties off."

I shut up then, because I saw that Helen was looking at us, as though in some supernatural way she had overheard our conversation. She began walking toward us - toward me - her eyes in a parallel focus, looking at a distant point beyond my head.

She stopped a couple of feet away. "They have given me a message for you," she said.

I waited, conscious of the watchful eyes of the surrounding people. When she didn't speak, I finally decided she was waiting for a reply.

"Okay, I'm ready for the message."

"You have to separate the wheat from the chaff," she said.

I started to laugh out loud, but then I realized the room had changed.

I was looking out a window, across a valley, to an adjacent hill. There before me were the walls of Jerusalem's Old City.