"Phil, darling.....how are you?"
"Mary......is that your real name?"
"It's one of my names Sherlock. My third one ....to be precise. The second is Clair and the first.....is a secret. Do you like the name 'Mary' Phil?"
"It holds a lot of warmth for me. It's my mother's name."
"How wonderful that your mother's name evokes warmth. I take it that she gave you lots of love when you were a child."
"Yes she did."
"Is she still alive?"
"I don't know. The last time I saw her was twenty years ago.....a year after my father died. She'd decided that Mexico was calling her soul. I saw her off from London Airport....and I've never heard from her since."
"Does that bother you?"
"I don't know if it does or not. I dream about her about once a week. She always seems very peaceful.....wise...like an angel I guess."
"Well I can see why you live alone Phil. No real woman could compete with that image. And I s'pose you were a virgin birth?"
"Of course Mary....my real name is Jesus."
"Good. I'll be able to rely on you to not betray Tim, Kate and Joe...but publish Tim's novel as Tim's master directed......talking of which....what did you make of the last fax?"
"There's nothing about Simon that I find endearing. He seems very un-real. One minute he's got it all sussed...then his Buddhist mate turns up and he's falling apart. He seems very weak.....like me.....which means either Simon isn't so unreal.....or I'm more unreal than I realise!"
"I think the last possibility is more real than the first."
"I really thought I was beginning to live a real life at last. I thought I'd feel real by acting out what seemed to me a real idea."
"Wouldn't it be good if it was as easy as that. Just get on a plane to India...go up to Badranath....and become enlightened. That's what assholes believe Phil. That's how the tourist industry works. No, I'm afraid you've got some soul searching to do Phil. Your sense of feeling unreal is the consequence of not letting your conscience direct your life. So what has been directing your life Phil?"
"Images! Images of myself......images of others.....images of the future......images of other dimensions.....a desire for security."
"Haven't you ever tripped out on acid or D.M.T.?
"Sure......I did....but that's a long time ago."
"Phil you don't sound like you've ever really stepped off the treadwheel of your own self-centredness. I think it's time you really got stoned and found out who you are!"
"And how's this going to happen O great goddess of the night?"
"We'll meet at some point Phil....and I'll turn you on with something special. In the meantime there's lots for you to learn in Tim's book. Also if you've got good dope....don't waste it by falling asleep...but smoke it like a sadhu. Draw it right down into your belly and hold it there and let it be absorbed by your belly chakra. That way you'll get out of your head....and who knows what will happen then?"
"O.K. Mary I'll try to get really stoned. I know what you mean...go beyond one's fear of dying. In the meantime can you tell me why it's so important to publish Tim's novel?"
"Because the novel traces the ins and outs of living from a vision of one's spiritual mission.....but it also shows how one could be an unconscious agent for the prejudice of the tribe's hierarchy...yet believe one is living out one's own true spiritual mission. Sound familiar Phil?"
"I don't think I ever thought I had a spiritual mission nor...."
"Get off it Phil. Fucking bullshit. Before you started that poetry reading at The Traverse you told the audience that your mission was to help other people fulfil their spiritual mission......and now you're ready to betray your own commitments!
"God, you really get down there Mary, you really do. O.K. Thankyou for reminding me of my promise to life. So.....the novel? O.K. I'll never grumble again about you phoning me..."
"Phil ! Stop being BORING!!!"
"I feel out of my element Mary."
"Well, celebrate your encounter with strangeness O screwed-up celibate hermit."
"Mary, you're right. I'm uptight...stuck in the shadows cast by my past. I can't see anything in front...in the future.....except a re-arrangement of my past mistakes."
"Look Phil....darling.....don't take yourself so seriously. Do what I say and get really stoned...then when you're really relaxed......re-decide to spend your life fulfilling that mission of helping other people fulfil their true
spiritual mission in life. And to do that you'll need to wake up your sleeping fuck-energy."
"Mary I don't know how to do it."
"You sound pathetic Phil. For God's sake man, use your fucking imagination. Imagine me....the randy slut that I am.....stripping in front of you. I'm still very sexy to look at with green eyes...long dark loose hair....very slim with big firm tits....and I'm wearing black stockings and black suede high heel shoes with ankle straps....I've got a black skirt on with slits at the side and a black cashmere jumper which is tight....stretched over my hot heaving tits. I put a tape on of Bob Marley's 'Soul Shake-down Party' and start to do a very provocative dance infront of you. As appropriate to your fixed state of mind I've made sure you can't move by tying you up to the armchair you're sat in. I've also gagged you...and pulled off your trousers....so I can see the effect my strip dance is having on you. With my back turned towards you....I slowly pull off my black jumper revealing my sexy black bra with little red bows. Whilst gyrating my hips I undo my bra and let it fall onto my dark blue Chinese carpet. I dance towards you squeezing my rampant thick nipples...then turning my back on you again I undo the zip on my skirt and step out revealing my french frilly knickers and black suspender belt...and my white creamy thighs contrasting against the black frilly tops of my black silk stockings. Slowly I pull my nickers down and let them fall to the carpet...and stroke my curvaceous ass in front of your eyes...then I turn round towards you and place one foot on the arm of the armchair so my dripping pussy is right in front of your perplexed face. I then start to stimulate my pulsing clit with the index finger of my left hand....whilst I start to fondle your big, stiff prick with my other hand. God I can feel that you're buzzing with horny energy...and I know why...it's because you want to suck my horny pussy....but you can't tell me because you're very efficiently gagged. I move away from you and watch your amazement as I clip two clothes pegs onto my keen brown nipples......you get the idea Phil?"
(NEXT INSTALMENT OF INSIDE-OUT RECEIVED BY FAX)
"You make it sound like there's a diabolical conspiracy," rasped Arnold, not wanting to be enrolled into Simon's psychic army.
"But Arnold," replied Simon in a tone close to pleading, "what if what I'm saying is not an egotistical paranoic fantasy, but a fact? Are you going to refuse to look merely on the basis that you don't want to be brought down?"
"Simon, I can't see why you're telling me this stuff?"
Simon...lying in bed in his old room in his mother's house, was mulling over the last meeting he'd had with Arnold...just after he'd heard that Lance had been killed.
Suddenly he remembered that he ought to be be sending his dead brother beams of love...after all, he couldn't pretend that he didn't know the rites as laid out in The Tibetan Book of The Dead...but despite his guilty feeling he couldn't stop thinking about that last encounter with Arnold. It had happened like this:- Simon and Arnold were sat on their jerkins in the mouth of a cave...very high up overlooking a deep lake...said to be brimming with red trout.
"I'm telling you Arnold, because I don't know anyone else capable of examining this thesis without getting hysterical."
"What about your brother? Why don't you look him up and discus your doom theories with him ... or one of his academic mates?" (At that point in time, Simon hadn't felt like telling Arnold that Lance had been murdered.)
After a long silence ... watching a pair of rare eagles drifting high above the disorderly terrain ... Arnold gave way. "O.K. tell me again but ... try to make it concise."
Arnold took out his tobacco tin and slowly began making a joint using very black hash. Simon re-positioned himself so he wouldn't accidentally catch a whiff of smoke.
"To begin with," said Simon, quietly and evenly, "I don't believe that this universe BEGAN with a BIG BANG. I believe the BIG BANG marked the end of a love-less universe. A soul-less universe which absolutely denied the existence of Spirit."
"Why did it come to an end?," asked Arnold, crumbling his hash onto the Golden Virginia.
"The being who created that universe engineered its destruction."
"It was his clever way of entering into our universe."
"What, he got brought in on a stretcher?"
"In pieces," Simon grinned. "Look," he continued, "this universe as you know ... this, our real universe, is made of consciousness ..."
"And what in your opinion is consciousness?"
" I think," said Simon, relieved that Arnold was entering the question....."I think consciousness is idea plus energy. Energetic idea. Living idea. I think it's both material and -if you like- spiritual. The two dimensions are joined together like hydrogen and oxygen make water. Hydrogen is the spiritual. Oxygen the material. Water equals consciousness.....but the universe which ended with the big bang had no consciousness in it. The material totally dominated the spiritual. The hydrogen never joined up with the oxygen. That universe had no idea....of what it was. The being who made it never entered into his own creation. It was a universe composed of trapped energies. Energies incapable of any self-governing, creativity or purpose. But the creator of this hellish existence had a very definite purpose. A purpose stimulated by the realisation that his universe....and eventually himself...were on the way to total extinction. His position was truly tragic. The self-imposed tragedy of a fool."
"In what way was he a fool?" asked Arnold after he blew out his first draw.
"Well," said Simon, thrilled that Arnold was really following his argument."On the one hand this adventurous being...I call him Harry....Harry Manic.....this Harry well knew, (ONE), that his universe was not the only universe which existed, and (TWO), that his own ability to make a universe had been granted to him by Central Intelligence. And on the other hand, he pretended to himself that Central Intelligence didn't exist.....and yet....he knew that the consequences of this denial meant that he would run out of energy, and therefore, would be unable to afford a universe. If you cut off your connection to Central Intelligence, your universe becomes a dead lump. And he could see the signs. So he set out to put into operation a daring- and from our point of view deadly- plan."
Arnold wondered why Simon went to such incredible lengths in his attempt to gain validation for his views. To Arnold it seemed as if Simon couldn't face up to realizing he wasn't the innocent `Simple Simon' who Simon believed he was. It was a combination of Clever Dick and Cowardy Custard who Arnold heard spouting. Spouting off in a desperate attempt to get support for his chronic paranoia. Of all people why me? Who does he think I am? Wise Owl? I think he wants me to say `I am who you believe I am. I believe what you are telling me is the absolute truth, and because you see with the absolute truth of the real God...I will join your team. I will be your right hand man. I'll fight Harry with you. Go to the depths with you. Die for your vision. But...the truth is...as far as I'm concerned...it's all bollocks. BOLLOCKS!
"Are you listening Arnold?" Simon couldn't avoid the nerve-racking smell of the Nepalese hash.
"Yeah...go on ....Custard."
"Custard! Did you say custard?"
"Why d'you say 'custard'?"
"You work it out." With that Arnold took another deep draw on the joint and kept his eyes on the wheeling Golden Eagles.
"Cowardy Custard.....that's what you mean isn't it?"
"You said it."
"Look I'm not telling you all this because I'm scared to face all this on my own."
"Why are you telling me all this?"
"Because I respect your being. Who you are. Your integrity. Your intelligence...and I think you are capable of seeing if there's any truth in what I'm laying out."
"O.K. Go on......don't sulk."
"I'm not sulking."
"O.K. Go on Custard."
Fighting off the feeling of deflation, Simon knew he was walking a knife edge between his own fear and Arnold's coldness.
"Well the first thing Harry did with the beings he'd animated (with fear)...was indoctrinate them. He told a group of males that he was the one and only god in existence....but there was more than one universe. He told them that they were existing in his Mark Two Universe. Which of course was an absolute lie. He had only created one universe. His Mark 1 was his only one. He said he had made a big mistake with the first universe he had created. His mistake was to have bestowed His love upon his 'Mark 1' beings instead of the fear of death.........( which he explained, this present ((so called)) Mark 2 ran on).
And, because the Mark Ones were continuously bathed in the presence of His love....and had never ever experienced anything other than this wonderful feeling....( which he described based on his memory of the love given to him when he lived within the radiance of Central Intelligence)....yes, because they were love- saturated....they failed to appreciate their state of being. They remained mentally apathetic....so much so, they failed to even recognise the presence of HIM...their creator and sustainer. So- he had 'reasoned' at that time....(actually a lie)....that unless he took away their free will- it would be impossible to get them to co-operate in the development of their universe.
He told the fear-filled male beings...who he was addressing as `Mark Twos'... that he'd contemplated destroying his Mark One version built out of love ( such a universe made by him never existed)....but decided it would be a very unjust act. After all, it wasn't really their fault that they were too drunk on love to do any meaningful work. No, all they needed was to be woken up to their actual situation. So...he lied...this was the reason he had created this Mark Two universe. Created it in the hope that fear-filled self-centred selfish beings would help him save his first universe. Their reward, he explained, would be an ever-present feeling of love....but in this case....they would not forget it was a pure gift from HIM. their creator....since they well knew by now what it was like to never feel love. (It was Harry of course, who could barely remember the reality of love). So, now they understood their predicament. If they refused to help Harry save his Mark One Universe, Harry told them he would destroy this three-dimensional Mark Two version!"
Arnold took the last draw and buried the roach in the gravel-like floor of the very ancient cave. He wondered how many other mad cosmologies had been spelt out in this volcanic hollow? The cave....maybe twenty feet high and the same in width and depth. Arnold leant back against the dry conglomerate wall and said, "what about the women?"
"A group of them were told by Harry that the males were all blind to the reality of love. He told the women that sex was the essence of love and only females could really feel this truth. He told them it was their duty to get the men out of their minds where they manufactured mad theories about another universe which existed and had been created out of love. He told them that there was only one universe and only one god...He, Harry Manic! He said if necessary it might become their duty to have nothing to do with male beings whatsoever if they refused to love and serve the women."
"And so what happened in this mad universe made by Harry Manic?"
"War. War. War. The whole universe became dedicated to the development of weapons of mass destruction. Weapons which could wipe out planets...then suns...then solar systems....until finally all the denizens of this hell wanted and craved for nothing else but out! Harry had purposely cultivated in them an absolute hatred for HIM and their own existence. And it was then that HARRY himself, entered into this horrendous thought-form....and contracted it...and contracted it...and contracted it ...until his universe became so dense.....it SPLAT! BIG BANG!"
"So what happened to the Mark One?"
Simon felt stunned....disappointed. LONG SILENCE...........Eagles gone. Drizzle in the late Highland autumn afternoon.
."Arnold...there was no Mark One universe.....haven't you followed....?"
"I'm stoned.....yeah, I remember.....Mark One was Harry Manic's fantasy....yeah?"
"Yes, of course. Look Arnold, in truth....we are the inhabitants of the real Mark One universe.....the Christ universe.....our universe of eternal love consciousness....that is the universe we are really in....but usually we forget where we are.....anyway ....at the moment of Harry's Big Bang, our universe of eternal consciousness--the true Mark One-- was invaded not only by the dust of that exploded Harry Manic universe....but by trillions and trillions of wildly agitated ghosts! Ghosts who we--in our blindness today-- call thoughts." Simon took a deep, breath, stretched his arms and wriggled his shoulders. "Can you take it?" he asked very cautiously.
"The groundplan of my vision?"
"It seems to me to be a very obscure way of explaining why there's negativity."
"Can I go on?"
Arnold nodded...and opened his very worn tobacco tin. Simon tried to remember what it was like to be stoned. Stoned and frightened. Scared to the quick by the implications of a story...like I'm now telling Arnold! O my God what am I doing to Arnold?
"Arnold are you sure you can take it?" Simon whispered.
After a very long pause Arnold said," did you know there is a difference between cosmogony and cosmology?"
Simon boomeranged out the cave....swept across the deserted wasteland and then....flew back into his crumpled body. After a big sigh Simon said "yes."
" Are you suggesting that your story refers to the actual stages which led us to where we find ourselves NOW?"
"It seems to me, Arnold, that in our universe of eternal consciousness- which is whole...one- there are myriad fragments of another universe. And we- humanity- are being used to create the right conditions for the embodiment on earth of these fragments......these demonic thought forms. That's the first stage of Harry's plan to re-assemble the shape and dynamics of his universe out of the substance of our universe."
"And what's the right conditions?" asked Arnold in what felt to Simon like a coldish tone.
"Mindlessness. The lack of will to be truly human....truly caring.... The de-humanization of our planet."
"What d'ya mean? The destruction of the whole human race?" Arnold felt he had guessed right. Simon was on a total doom trip.
"No, not necessarily Arnold. It means the robot-eyes-ation of man's mind."
"What does that mean?"
"It means the ability to think with one's soul....with real depth of feeling...will vanish.....will be simply.....forgotten.....like it never happened. Like only the idea of feeling will exist. You see...what I'm talking about is a mental VIRUS. Look Arnold, upto recently I had a very superficial view on the meaning of the word 'virus'. Probably like you, I believed the word `virus' belonged to the circuits of medicine.....but that's rubbish. Virus implies information. Information which knows how to gate-crash and get the host to re-align the party to the gate-crasher's benefit...and fuck the host's health. It just doesn't care. As you well know, our minds are living beings and if we become victims of viral ideas....we become sick...and sick souls can't care for their over-soul--- this planet."
The silence mingled with the rain. Fine pulsing billowy rain. Their eyes met for an uncomfortable length of time. Arnold was ready to split. He felt deeply suspicious of Simon's performance. The story said something but, there was something unreal about it.....one dimensional.....political....or puritanical....like why Simon no longer smoked tobacco or took drugs. Basically Simon's scared of death and is blaming his ignorance of reality on some mythical maniac. Yet Simon was his friend.
"Give me an example of a viral idea Simon."
"The idea that the ego or if you like...the real seed of individuality is an illusion....which causes un-necessary suffering."
"Listen if you want to suffer ...that's O.K. by me."
"That's not the point Arnold. The thought-forms which have invaded our universe are not all obviously negative. Some promise bliss born of the idea that unenlightened people live in an illusion and don't realise that there is no such thing as individuality......because only God is real....only the absolute exists....only Paramatman really lives. The consequence of accepting this idea into your mind is to become unconcerned with the deteriorating conditions of human life....or of life in general on the planet. I've not only witnessed the effects of this idea on Indian society and their wiped-out desecrated countryside.....I've also seen how it affects you!"
"What d'ya mean by that?" Arnold took a deep draw on his second joint and scratched his balding head.
"I mean your attitude to what's going on all over this planet. Time after time you've told me that the world's a goner....and there's nothing anyone can do about it....because it's all an illusion anyhow! I'm sorry Arnold ...but you asked for it."
"Did I?" Arnold's attention moved along the jagged line of the distant mountains."I came here to see you because you asked me to visit because you had something important to discuss. It took a lot of effort to get here and now......"
" I'm laying it on the line Arnold. I want to find out if I've got it completely wrong....or whether I've sussed something very important?"
"O.K. Let's get down to the nitty-gritty. What exactly do you think you've sussed?"
"That we're being brainwashed to..(A)...give up the struggle to spiritualise our ego nature...and (B) to give up the struggle to transform the earth into a beautiful...harmonious heaven."
Arnold let his gaze rest on the misty horizon and drew in a huge wad of contentious smoke. "In what way are we being brainwashed to give up the struggle?" he asked after letting what was now a much paler smoke return to the inhuman universe.
"Through trance-medium transmissions....and through those drugs which give you the impression that you're out of your body."
"I don't know what you're upto? Ever since I've known you you've been a medium transmitting ideologies from 'outer space'....or from ancient times in China or Japan....or from obscure Masters living in the Himalayas....only very seldom do I hear the person in front of me say something .....of his own."
"Well this is mine."
"So you're a master now?"
"I wouldn't say that......but I know a Master..."
"Where does he live?...In a cave in the Himalayas?"
"Of course. Wouldn't you...if you could?"
Arnold took another deep draw and after exhaling said "I don't know.....maybe....I certainly found India to be very amusing......as long as I didn't lose my sense of aloneness..."
"Look Arnold...most of the trance-medium transmissions I've come across maintain that the body and the ego are illusions. If you adopt that ideology and at the same time take the sort of drugs we both know about....you can easily become convinced that only the world of the Spirit is real. And that is exactly what these invading thought-forms want you to believe....because by believing that ...you become BLIND TO THEIR ACTIVITIES.
What they want above all else ....is to become substantial and they believe they can achieve this through taking over our minds....by getting us to deny our own intelligence...our own souls. They're like buzzing electrons inviting you to abandon your proton/neutron position.....so they can move in.
MOVE OUT! That's their real message....coated to say 'It's much more fun out than in'. I've sussed that their first stage was getting the whole human race involved in abstract calculating. Money was the concept used to achieve this....and now the confused soul is obsessed with calculating. Everything is evaluated in terms of how much? In other words the obsession is a form of POSSESSION. Humans are now possessed by an insidious viral activity. This abstract calculating activity turns the mind into a factory. The factory turns out images...forms of noise...and the Earth is exploited in the effort to turn these images into substance. Daily 'life' if you can call it that."
Arnold put out the joint....slowly stood up....and then shook his shoulders to try to create some semblance of warmth. "Simon....if it's all true ....what's next?"
Simon also stood up....not so slowly...and walked to the back of the cave. He felt on the edge of weeping.....but instead he heard himself speak from a mysterious area of his consciousness. "To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the Tree of Life....which is in the midst of the Paradise of God."
Arnold didn't turn round but standing at the mouth of the cave ...perused the vibrant chaos displayed before his hardened gaze. "Overcome WHAT?" He sort of chanted to the void.
"The urge to live in the past......in that pagan vision which misunderstood its own mission....and instead of reaching out to the Cosmic Christ.....to the true future......in order that the ego become spiritual-eyesd....and therefore free of the need to calculate......calculate......calculate how it will survive....it chose instead to be programmed! Programmed to behave like a robot. The programme deadens the soul....silences the heart......and forces the mind to be the slave of computer logic."
Simon walked slowly to the mouth of the damp cave. As he stood beside the much smaller figure of his dear friend, Arnold said " what are you saying.....that a pagan's true mission is to meet Christ?"
"Exactly, Arnold. The peak of paganism is feeling the need for Christ."
"Of course. Christ! The Lord of Karma."
"How do you know he's the Lord of karma?"
"It was shown to me that it is our duty to be the liver of this universe. We souls have to cleanse the Harry Manic virus by letting those thought-forms pass through our minds. Pass through without reacting in any way. If you let one of those fragments of his exploded universe pass through without in any way feeding it...( and you feed them by reacting to them.....liking this one...disliking that one...fearing this one....intoxicated by that one...etc...etc)......if you don't in any way identify with these bits of mad information....they become...neutralised.....and therefore no longer poisonous. That's what the Lord of our universe is asking us to do.......I think."
Arnold put his arm around Simon's shoulder. Then Simon turned, held Arnold tightly.....and sobbed....and sobbed.
After they sat down again on their coats...and as the light started to fade...Arnold said.."O.K. let's see if I've really got it?"
Whilst Simon had been crying Arnold had thought it through...his own position as it were. He understood that there had always been a battle between soul and glitz. Soul? The sense of being oneself and knowing that one has been given the gift of life and imagination and the potential for free will. He had realized from early childhood that his parents had little or no imagination. Where he could see, feel and actually experience incredible worlds of action, his mum and dad could only 'see' the remains of an old advertisement poster ripped off the hoarding.
By the age of twelve Arnold had reached the conclusion it was a waste of time trying to get the blind to see. He simply left their whirld....and began nourishing his own....with love. Love of girls....love of jazz....love of adventure...love of painting...love of drugs...love of children...love of philosophy....love of The East...love of the mind....love of quietness. He saw that people become empty....yes, nothing else than empty bubbles......empty viewpoints...when they allow themselves to be emptied of love.....and as they become more and more empty they become more and more filled with heavy delusions. These empty souls....or viewpoints...get herded together by power freaks....or magnet-eyesd like iron filings...in any direction their boss proclaims. And these empty agents call expressions of soul-vision....imagination...as if imagination were just another viewpoint. But for Arnold, imagination....the ability to see from the position of wonder and gratitude is divine. He could also see that when people construct a world according to their soul-vision....in a paradoxical way, it banishes imagination. When he looked at the Taj Mahal for instance, he realised the architect and builders had left no room for the soul to see. The soul was being told. Instructed.It was having a trip laid on it.
"I'm sorry," Arnold almost whispered rather than spoke. " I was carried away.....to India. Anyway....your story...we...you and I...according to the thesis embodied in your story...are seperate, unique, individual beings. What you call soul-seeds or egos. Right?"
Simon nodded, begining to feel very insecure.
"Our nature," Arnold continued," is consciousness. We live in an eternal spiritual reality. The guiding spirit whose mission is to help mankind develop his ego nature is called by you the Cosmic Christ....but there are other forces who have different designs on man, the Earth and even the universe. One such force....which you call Hairy Manic has managed to sneak into our consciousness-universe by the back door....disguised as common thoughts and agitated dust. Next....we in our unenlightened state have been either seduced or bullied into making a hellish whirld....through using these hellish thoughts as our blueprint. These so-called `thoughts' are the origin of the meaning of the word 'virus'. Acting on this virus...we are building a whirld out of matter which will de-human-eyes our conscious sensitive souls. But we fail to identify the source of this de-human-eyesing process...because we don't want to investigate our own consciousness and behaviour in case we discover that we are already in deep shit....and already acting as agents for this anti-human take-over. So we pretend that either it isn't happening....or don't even care because we have already been brainwashed by the virus to believe that the world and the soul are illusions......or life is so fucked up it's not worth saving anyhow. Therefore, if none of us expose this brainwashing and takeover.....the entire human race is going to be totally wiped out...and the Earth will become the breeding ground for demonic beings who will produce more viral thoughts which will spread eventually throughout the entire universe."
Simon put his arm around Arnold again and whispered gently, "So you really did listen."
Yep, Arnold had listened but he hadn't let it root in him. To Arnold it was all wrapping. Glitz......the very stuff Simon professed to abhor. To Arnold, mood was as important...if not more important than fact. That's why he loved chinese landscape painting...in the style of the T'ang painters like Wang Wei. Arnold valued grace of line, balance of composition....the great value of emptiness....empty spaces......and a use of language where the essence is always left unexpressed. He didn't feel that Simon's story expressed the rhythmic soul of the real palpable universe but mental garbage....and he knew there was no way he could transmit this to Simon. Simon would have to discover it himself.
"You see Arnold....unenlightened paganism says 'get stoned and jump into the warm abyss....and then you'll be free of fear'. In other words...do anything to avoid entering into that question whose only answer is encountering the real Christ."
Simon felt ruptured. He staggered to his feet...shuffled to the back of the cave ....slumped against the cold ...wet rock....then forced himself forward and gazed out into the evening gloom. "Yep? Is that all?"
Arnold had had enough. He opened his tobacco tin and started to make another joint. "Where d'ya get all that stuff from Simon?"
"From studying Greg Riley and doing a lot of deep thinking in the teepee," replied the founder of The Centre for Awakening Cosmic Consciousness.....in a very worried tone.
"Imagine you hadn't read any books Simon...what state of mind would you be in now?"
Simon imagined it was Christ who was now questioning him. He felt a growing sense of claustraphobia.
"I enjoy," said Arnold very quietly, "entering other people's worlds created out of their imagination.....like Casteneda's......those books can be aids.....inspiring...but I DONT BELIEVE IN THEM in the sense that I use them like maps to determine my own vision....my own thinking. This seems to be your mistake all the way along. You use your power to animate other people's viewpoints. What the hell has Greg Riley's ideas got to do with now?" Arnold lit a match and warmed his piece of black.
"I mean it. Apart from now.....what else is there? Only imagination."
Simon felt stuck `ON HOLD'. He just watched Arnold make his joint and light up.
"Have a smoke Simon."
"Come on Arnold......you know I've given it up."
"Why? Because you're scared of your own powers of imagination. Scared to let your own soul SEE. Your soul is Sleeping Beauty Simon.....and because you're so scared to see with your own eyes.....you cop-out and read books instead. Very safe! It's all phoney Simon."
"What, everything I said?"
A very long pause.....Arnold smoking.....Simon staring out into the increasing darkness.
"Well I can't see on what basis we can continue our friendship Arnold."
"Nor do I."
"You say it as if you don't care."
"O fuck it Arnold! I really need help to explore this scenario.....and all you do is get stoned out of your mind....and say 'yep'..."
"Listen Simon! Once upon a time we both read the same books.....and we got stoned together....got stoned TOGETHER........shared very intimate moments......but in the last few years we've read different books...and so we seem to now live in different worlds."
"You're being sarcastic. Why are you so defensive? Why can't you face the possibility that by avoiding facing up to the fact that there's a spiritual battle going on......you are throwing away the most precious jewel in the universe......your ego"
"I can't see any point in carrying on this argy-bargy."
Quietly Arnold drew the smoke deep into the centre of his attention. Simon picked up his jacket and slowly left the mouth of the cave. Arnold looked up but remained sitting on his black leather jerkin.
"Are you coming Arnold? I've got to sort something out. I may have to go south." Now it was definitely not the time to tell Arnold what had happened to Lance. Simon couldn't find a layer of himself in which he felt at ease. He was cornered ....for sure.
"You go on professor....I'll stay here for a bit....I've got a torch......"
Simon wanted to go into blankness.......but he struggled against the urge all the way down the slope of the rough granite. By the time he'd walked the five miles back to the Ashram he was more and more convinced of the reality of his vision....of the spiritual battle now raging in this part of the universe......and he felt mortified ...yes, mortified that Arnold had allowed himself to be caught in Harry.....no Hairy......yes, Hairy Manic's mesh.
He decided he would go south....and give support to his mum and maybe Jill--Lance's academic widow. God knows what they're both going through? Thinking of Jill made him feel more despondent. God if ever there was a good woman who had allowed her soul to be trampled on...it was Jill. He first met her when he was five. She was nine...the same age as Lance. Right from the start he'd always felt that she fancied him more than Lance.....but it was like she never allowed herself the pleasure of going with what she felt. She was always running on one hidden agenda or the other. This keeping to hidden rules drove Simon crazy. He couldn'd bear to be near her ....because....of course he had his own hidden agenda when it came to Jill. And Lance had no intention of helping Simon fulfil his dreams.
Suddenly he thought of the second bullet. It had only taken one to execute lance. The fanatical executioner's second shot smashed through his own demented skull. Instant suicide! . Simon was definitely relieved......which was why he hadn't already sent a telegram to his mother to say he was coming. When he'd heard the news he couldn't avoid remembering those times when he'd imagined Lance being assassinated! How many times? Uncountable. And who had he ever confessed this to? Shanti. Only Shanti. So was he now about to open his heart to Jill? To what degree was the bullet which shrieked through Lance's brain a manifestation of Simon's imagination? There was no doubt about it...Simon felt relieved that Lance was now in Hell. Hell! Where else could he be? There was no way Simon could avoid feeling what he felt about Lance's influence in the world. A long time back Simon had become convinced that Lance was demonic. That demons were definitely directing his thinking processes. The demons from Hairy Manic's exploded universe. I suppose I'll have to excavate Jill to see what is left of her soul?