Omasters: MIS' DONA

Bon-po.jpg

The MIS' DONA had a vast black hull and a soaring dark green tower above her superstructure. She had the bulk and form of a gigantic steel sea tortoise: one of the largest ships ever designed to sail the world ocean. On the squarish expanse of her deck, lines of white and red covered the face of the void, all finely painted, with the precision of a Bon Po mandala.

The ship served as an Eco-Hulk, a mother platform for the oceanic operations of DINAMOS Multinational. Flying atop the MIS' DONA's tower was the corporate flag of DINAMOS, and alongside were the colors of Canamexico, her current common market contractor. On her recent Atlantic cruise the MIS' DONA suckled projects in cetacean interspecies communication, psychoastronomy, and an ongoing sea-skimming operation. Gobbling up masses of off-shore sewage, oil spills, floating Styrofoam, throw-aways and the waste of contributing continents, the MIS' DONA's mission was much like that of a vulture, jackal or shark: as if impelled by some innate and ravenous hunger to collect and recycle (and thus to digest) the corruption of flotsam carried about by the surface currents of the seven seas.

Three principle functions on the MIS' DONA were controlled by BOCS (BIOINTERFACE OPTICAL COMPUTER SYSTEMS). Philip Dowd, called the First Mate and Engineer in conventional nautical terms, interfaced with the MIS' DONA's power plant. The hardware was state-of-the-future-art: a floating CTR (Controlled Thermonuclear Reactor) developed in Southern Sinkiang and dubbed the Chinese TOKAMAK Response. As a multinational DINAMOS man, Dowd was a practiced and polished spy, having cleverly pieced together plans for the CTR from gleaning trash basket fragments of graduate student notes on Oriental computer poetry and plasma physics, while masquerading as a janitor in the academies of Berzerkeley and Old Nassau. The BOCS contact for Philip Dowd amplified his hypothalamus to control the ionization of particles over great distances, and modulated the magnetic snuffbottle effect of the CTR. By this function Dowd enabled the MIS' DONA to attract and consume every particle of radioactive waste not locked up in solid lead.

The MIS' DONA's nominal Captain was an oildrum-chested, greasy-haired man known as Sam Nodi by the longshoremen sailors and shipyard workers in Amoga City. He had to be bodily present for the leviathan construction process of the ship, as his biointerface programming enabled the MIS' DONA to perform her principle Eco-Hulk objective work. His body metabolism activated enormous mechanical tentacles which gathered the off-shore sludge, the black goo from industrial flushes and spills co-mingled with human excrescences from the shores of Canamexico.

Sweetheart of the crew was Ms. Diona Flowers, a luscious Latina born on the tiny Caribbean island of San Dimo, toward which her innate impulses inevitably, unerringly guided the craft. This bikini-bodied Navigator was a resplendent female presence, cook/swabber and cabingirl. However, she held degrees from Kryptocosmic U. in Miasma Beach in the fields of Astro-archaeology, Environmental Impact, and Work on What Has Been Spoiled (an 18-unit major)--studies that well pre­pared her for meso-therapeutic companionship with Philip Dowd in the balmy nights, laying out on deck, watching the old stars.

It was one such night, as Diona and Philip enmeshed their senses and psyches on the MIS' DONA's mandala deck, the two-as-one were shuddered by a wave of ionic pulsations. The harmonic oscillations apparently came from from the direc­tion of Betelguese, a red giant star in the constellation Orion, the Wanderer, Hunter of Scorpions. Recalling her research at K.U., and the paper she delivered in the DINAMOS/N.J.A. Sloane Memorial Lecture Series entitled "Chasing Betelguese," Diona was ready for a new fix on the intriguing problem of and old disintegrating star. She had predicted waves of ionic consequences for us here on earth by a technique of Fourier Optical Transform Analysis: a FOTA finish for the astral demise.

And at that moment a phosphorescent mist descended from the atmosphere, rose-violet colored and smelling of carnations. Sam Nodi burst out of the Captain's cabin with a surge of adrenalin and raced to the place on deck where the MIS' DONA's crew stored their auxilliary land transportation: an enormous antique brougham Turing Car. He leaped into the driver's seat, cranked it over, and peeled out, snapping the great car's lashings. Sam Nodi lead-footed the sixteen-cylinder machine in screeching circles around the stadium sized deck. The backseat was filled with plants of potted cilantro, the savory green herb also called coriander and Chinese parsley. It was not only a gourmet ingredient for the guacamole sauce on the Captain's favorite dish of Quesardinos, but also served as the critical organic modulator of his digestive juices, thus directly affecting the MIS' DONA's capacity to collect her cache of offal, sludge and ooze. Faster and faster around the Olympic deck the ponderous Turing Car careened. Nodi stored the Ship's Log in the glove compartment, in which with one free hand he scribbled references to "Purple Haze, on the Flood Side of the Pink Moon (sic!), and She's a

Rainbow." The black, gelatinous floating mass that surrounded the Eco-Hulk began to quivver and rotate. With each wild round of the Turing Car it picked up speed until the dark green seawater and effluvia, darker still, spun and whirled in a veritable maelstrom.

Both Philip Dowd and Diona Flowers hastily ascended to the tip top of the green tower. From there they witnessed a spectacle of Sam Nodi, Turing Car, cilantro plants, the Logbook and everything else not made fast washed away by a wave of the blob like so many Lay's potato chips in a giant Jacuzzi of old avocado dip.

Diona noted the time at 2311 hours, plotting the land last sighted, Cocabisquit Key off Miasma Beach, at 51° 51' off the starboard quarter. This placed them well within the Bermuda Short-sided Triangle, a nefarious focus for Krypto­cosmic energy as she knew too well from field trips in her student days at K.U. Diana's heart pumped synchronistically as the viscous black mass settled, condensing underneath the ship. It sighed and heaved, floating the MIS' DONA like a bubblegum wrapper on the breeze.

Philip's cerebrum was hyperionized, whiplashing his spinal cord like a radioactive eel. The whole tower top glowed with an eerie pink light the color of Revlon's Fire and Ice. The maw of the deep gave a final belch as Diona slipped to the deck with her arms clutching Philip's thighs. The drenched crewneck T-shirt she wore, with "MIS' DONA" across the back and an embroidered pink, green and black DINAMOS logo over her heart, clung tightly to her body, accentuating the two tumesced Lorenesque protuberances of breasts which she pressed against Philip, the First Mate's kneecaps. With her centered support Dowd rode out the last pop, demonstrating the equilibrium and grace of a T'ai Chi surfer on the Sunset Pipeline. And the MIS' DONA settled on top of the congealed lump of solid sable mayonnaise, containing now presumably the Captain, Car, cilantro and its other contents compressed into a blob of lead-like stuff and stuck to her bottom as keel ballast.

The seawater in moonlight sparkled again with crystalline purity. But so dross was the drag of agglomerated goop that the MIS' DONA partly submerged. With her deck highly canted there was no normal seamanship or navigation to be done. The ship merely spun with helplessness in the ocean, a floating ceiling fan from the Blue Parrot Cafe of Casablanca.

We all remember the movie: The Call of Adventure, and setting out on the Path, crossing the Great Water. But then certain complications cross the Path, which lead to the Nightmare at Sea and catastrophe. For those who (barely) survive, things bad as they already seem, in fact, proceed to worsen. The ultimate, ironic end approaches adrift in the doldrums, and ennui itself looms as the coup de grace. The almost pointless diversions of mere survival nevertheless paradoxically seem to offer a dramatic risk that just possibly could indicate a way out.

Philip lay on the sloping, sea-washed deck, his feet trailing in the glassy, cool, translucent wave. Diona reached for sur­vival rations, breaking a piece off the one pound wedge of Milton cheese. Dowd drained the last bottle of Solo Equis cerveza, flipping it lazily into the sea--but not without first making a telepathic note to be enclosed within, suc­cinctly worthy of the Caribbean castaways:

DINAMOS MIS' DONA TO SAN DIMO
NO SAM NODI.

This improbable combination of words, and the truths (if any) in their interrelationship, Submerged Dowd's consciousness as he leaned his head back to rest on Me. Diona's bikini nook. She bent forward so her frizzle-do hair shaded his eyes from the tropical sunlight, and she gazed down--upside down--into Philip's bemusingly languid face.

As the porpies and the guppies splashed in the wavelets, a tiny pink gleam, shaped like a quarter moon, appeared in the spot on Philip's forehead, long famed in song and lore as the noble locus of the so-called Third Eye.

AIEEEM! KA -ZAPPA-DOO!

She smiled sweetly, she comes in colors everywhere. She kissed Philip's pink Third Eye. In sensuous abandon, her mouth cascaded with kisses down his face. She sucked a little teasingly on his carotid artery, and caressed with her cheek the white gold weather bleached hairs on his chest. Her liquid tongue swirled into his navel, deep and cool as a Mayan cenote--one of the sunken limestone pits of Yucatan, filled with water, jade and gold (and we know by its chemical composition that the gold came from Colombia), the bodies of sacrificial victims, and great green serpents the Mayans called coatls. Then Diona slowly raised her eyes from Philip's belly to check out the whole length of his charged body. At the water's edge she saw two bottlenose dolphins sucking one on each of Philip's big toes. They flicked the surface of water with their flukes and dove in a frolick of foam. One dolphin's head bobbed up. It said:

"Fa!"

And the second dolphin appeared alongside, saying:

"Lo!"

Together, they repeated "Fa! Lo!" and turned to swim away toward the eastern horizon. The combined force of the bio­interface energy with the dolphins, Diona and Dowd (all into higher mammalian reciprocal sensuosity) propelled the ponderous MIS' DONA to kick up a wave in pursuit.

No longer spinning like wounded tortoise or circling, like the stars in Lyra do around the pole, the MIS' DONA made straightaway for a distant landfall. Ms. Diona soon recog­nized the morning-lighted pristine pyramidal peak of Mona Ida, the highest peak on her native isle of San Dimo.

The ship sailed into the harbor. And as they say, seventy five thousand dollars later, Dowd and Diona, refreshed and relaxed in natty tropical attire, overlooked the harbor of San Dimo from the sumptuous verandah of the Las Modinas Hotel. Philip sipped a tall drink of gin and grenadine, replete and serene, save for the peculiar pink spot on his forehead which glowed with ever more effervescence. This could indeed be the distant effects of some star, such as Betelguese, that eons ago in time had already, quite possibly, blown up, KABLOOEY! Yet only now and for a sensitive few were the ionic waves announcing the death of the star, and perhaps a new Black Hole in the heavens.

Along the tiled archways of the Las Modinas' verandah strode a meticulous figure with light clothing and dark mien. In the left lapel of his suit gleamed a discreet DINAMOS pin, fashioned of onyx, jade and amethyst. The gentleman from DINAMOS approached their table, whipping out a Black Russian, gold-tipped Sobranie cigarette. What attracted Philip Dowd's attention was that he held the smoke between the tongs of a double hook, one part of which was made of whale ivory, and the other of gold.

Without doubt this man was Ahab McGaff, Canamexican Minister of Environment, Energy and Eroticism, and also Chairman of the Board for DINAMOS multinational. But now, in the shade of opulent orchids and fan palms, he was the purveyor of a preposterous proposal. Graciously he slipped them checks in separate envelopes in recompense for their extraordinary efforts on behalf of the corporate concern.

For a little something extra, McGaff handes to each of them a dainty pouch made of pink velveteen. Dowd undid his and out on the crystal tabletop rolled a glittering diamond, precisely cut in the shape of the Great Pyramid at Giza. Etched in the pyramid's base, however, was the name DINAMOS. McGaff slipped into the high-backed white, wicker chair, whispering,

"When you fit your two together, we are one."

Diona put hers up to Dowd, but from Philip's point of view it seemed to say:

SOMANID

Reflecting in the facets of the pyramidal diamonds, Philip Dowd's pink Third Eye brightened with its own light the color of tourmaline. Although it seemed that he and Diona had been looking at their diamond baubles, close to, with one eye, for almost an hour, a moment's refraction revealed the image of Ahab McGaff's chryselephantine claw surreptitiously dropping a cerise lozenge into Philip's glass. McGaff seethed decorum and Draculesque elegance as he sought to entice Philip Dowd,

"With your preternatural powers of attention and the chemo-inspiration of that SOMANID pill let us see if the three of us can syntonize our psyches to rise above the equivalent of Sam Nodi's lead-like blob of sea sludge. May Poseidon conserve the Captain's presence! His work was certainly well-turned, and we gratefully acknowledge his achievement in getting all that shit together. And now we three must bring to closure what we have ini­tiated. So drink it up Dowd and we can set our psychic timers. Look, I wouldn't ask you to eat something I wouldn't eat myself."

McGaff popped a SOMANID lozenge into his mouth like a jellybean. With his precious claw he extended the secular eucharist to Ms. Diona Flowers, who collected it in on the curl of a tongue-tip. Philip Dowd twirled the drink, peering into the tiny pink whirlpool. Sucking up a cool mouthful, he studied the logo on the hotel napkin:

LAS MODINAS / SAN DIMO

And then, in an internal graphic display, all the other names of the preposterous anagram flashed in his consciousness, an open sesame road of cartoon musical letters, dancing and leaping to fill newly voided spaces on opposite sides of the virgule, tailed with problematical excurses:

MIS' DONA / MS. DIONA
DONA: Dana (Sanskrit, Generosity, Giving) donation.
MIS': Miss (A miss as good as how many meters?) Misgiving, misfortune.
MS.: Modern, neither Miss nor Mrs. You guess. DIONA: And where is the A for an O? The moon, Diana. LAS MODINAS / SAN DIMO
Yin und Yang nebeneinander on the heraldic napkin,
Nacheinander, one after the other in principle,
with the female prior, deeper, first.
Y las Modinas, cuales son? Which are the ladies?
Stylish little modern ladies first, a la mode.
SAN DIMO, Compassionate Intercessor for nickel/dime crime, one of the helpers of St. Nicholas (another
renowned Tulpa, or imaginary being) who connected for him with the Snow Queen through taming the twin
snow lions, whose pelts are counterparts of reindeer hides as legitimate seatcovers for yogis of the North.
SAM NODI: Sambhogakaya Buddhas five (5) in number and sometimes confused with those of Dhyana, or visualization, Boundless Meditation, essential to Samadhi.
SAM NODI / DINAMOS
Sam and the rest all work for this Multinational, Dynamic Dinosaur corporation, sin claritas. Every part appeared of the Mountain Venusian, MONS IDA: from early on in the Agamemnon, the peak on which the first blaze shot light forth at the end of the Trojan War, tokening the Homecoming of the King, who thought that just because HIS vengence was fulfilled it would be the end of all Karmic implications, and Vengence itself would wash off in a hot bath.
Imaginary beings and things, consequences of the algebra, played over the crossing of reality and dream, refracting in enantiomorphic mirrors:

DINAMOS / SOMANID / DINAMOS / SOMANID
SOMANID / DINAMOS / SOMANID / DINAMOS

One's demons, the daimon in Greek, is only subdued by embrace, the incorporation and neutralizing of a mad fragment momentarily aggrandizing itself to act for the whole: ground glass in the liverwurst, surrounded by bread.

Philip Dowd's hitherto perfect certainty about the distinction between reality and dream coalesced, confused and interwoven. One of the Tulkus told him that "Creative Intelligence is the flipside of paranoia," Philip sighed to himself. What then of McGaff and entelechy, the complete and perfect fulfillment of this spectre's portent? McGaff's eyes held the spot on Philip's forehead like an electromagnet, telepathically enwrapping him in a maze of references and lexical relation­ships whose precise qualities were tantalizingly obvious, yet whose web of meaning only appeared as subvert and mys­terious, as the subtle melody of the lulling Dokosis within.

McGaff's visage quavered like a cyclamen talisman, as he explained:in mollifying tones to Philip Dowd:

"This SOMANID pill is an agonist for synesthesia: that usually delightful sense of colors, sounds, and images that seem to share essential harmonic qualities and interchangeable affect. And while it is true as some say that this SOMANID effect spontaneously arises out of the natural mind, yet others call it a gift of the gods, bestowed upon those human beings who open channels for the Barakath of Creativity. And as the Wheeler Dealer of Gravity's theoretical fallout admits, all the star-deaths and galactic ululations of gleaming form are, in all their creativity of void and light, indissolubly bound to the eye of the observer, be it a baby new born and mewling. It is true that in the divine states of Creation, in the prior, deeper realm of Eternity before time, everything that appears distinct in the world of temporal affairs is literally confused, comingled, adamantine."

Dowd spun the gleaming diamond pyramid over the graphic slash, the virgule printed in pink ink on the napkin. The words whirled as counter-rotating swastikas and sauwastikas. Across the table from Dowd, McGaff's eyes sparkled with a bright purple light reflected from his silken cravat. As Philip regarded the apparition, an orchid flower withered, and a fan palm closed. A memory key in his associative mind shunted to a swelling soundtrack of flashback lines from rock and roll classics out of the past. The Midnighters, Screamin' Jay Hawkins, Bobby Boris Pickett and His Cryptkickers doing the Monster Mash, Dead Man's Curve and One Bad Dreamo in San Dimo.

The purple haze thinned as Ahab McGaff lightly tapped with the tip of his claw his semi-precious lapel pin.

"The heart knows, Mr. Dowd, what the Wild Goose knows: Which is best, a wandering fool or a heart at rest? A heart at rest is dead when the brain wave functions drop below three cycles per second, as the great big heart of Tiamat, the seamonster of outer space cools to three degrees Kelvin...above absolute zero. You would get it together with Ms. Flowers, would you? what about with me and the Captain as well? We require--it is not a matter of fortune, but of necessity--fully four forms with which to represent the Unity in order to do it by the numbers, The extremity of our proposal is a warp trip to the edge of conventional being and non-being: an attempt to make contact with consciousness on the very threshhold of a Black Hole. It is all up to us, here and now."

Dowd considered the prospects of a lengthy journey in the company of Diona Flowers. He turned in time to see her flow­ing form vanish through the opulence of wild orchids, exotic birds, vines and palms in the manicured jungle gardens of the Las Modinas Hotel. First the Captain, now Diona disappeared.

"Our us really reduces to me and thee, McGaff."

The Triple E Minister of Canamexico assumed an objective air.

"The operative word, Mr. Dowd, is real, the rule by which we regulate our regal ranks, I reckon. And this is correctly expressed by we two forms of unity: as Horus and Set, the King and his Tannist, the flip and the flop whose signs are each other's reciprocal. Those other ones give us the time of day, but they don't really pay attention. Now you do. And that, as it happens, is the price of admission."

Philip wondered to where? as his consciousness wandered, occulted by imaginary shadows of Black Holes permeating his solid Swiss cheese assumptions about the reality of the universe. Feeling like a baby out of step, out of time, Philip re-coursed to the practice of a concentration exercize once pandered to him by the lLama Al Paca, a Master of Immaterial Spiritualism who migrated from Bhutan to Bolivia and crossed Dowd's path on Bourbon St. in New Orleans. Like the "0" in Orleans, Dowd began to rub his tummy. Like the pat of a snow leopard cap on the Mad Yogi of Bhutan squatting atop the flag pole, Philip synchronized patting the top of his head with the other hand.

( "AS THE MESSAGES FLASH FROM SOOFI CENTRAL...")

He repeated the mantramic cantraip internally, alternately blinking his left and right eye, and began whistling Dixie. And now the difficult part: while syntonizing all these actions Philip Dowd attempted to call forth a mental image of a ripe yellow lemon, sliced in two by the Chinese form of Manjushri, the creator of sound and communicator of compassion, weilding the pyramidal-tipped T'ai Chi Dragon Swords, whose bullroar beat is the rhythm base for his consort Gita's song, the sound of emptiness and the source of all words.

McGaff whistled in time and in tune, until Philip's whistle was wetted with a cataract of saliva. He asked Dowd,

"Whom do you imagine awaits us on the other side of the road? It is true we have options in the complexities of combinatorics: your erstwhile compatriots are right now readying the launch at the MYNAH / SWAN cafe. The service is very much better here...it is no doubt quieter...and Las Modinas is posi­tively cleaner, as though cleanliness were the incarnation of enlightenment. Ms. Diona Flowers brought us together here, on neutral ground. Let's blast off from here and see where she leads."

MoGaff's wicked smile syncopated with his arched eyebrow. He cooly watched Philip Dowd down the last of his tall glass laced with the SOMANID lozenge.

Philip's immediate impulse was to go, and to keep on going through the veil of freedom he fancied behind the tropical foliage, to the road and beyond, off the island, back home. The game of consciousness, he reflected, is the highest game around. Flowing with the SOMANID infusion, spiked with muscarinic metabolites, Philip's attention circled into the end of his straw as if it were a rabbit hole to the bottom of an empty glass. But it is still just a game, the reflection returned, and for the playing: even up to or into the edge of the Void, for a blink into the Dharma realm, a Black Hole warp on the Schwartzschild time co-ordinate threshhold. Dizzied by drugs and the manic proposal of Ahab McGaff for an ultimate psychic excursion, he imagined the machine-like compassion of Manjushri as the self-referential model of his own psychic processes that turned out examples of somewhat strained & stilted sonnet forms of response, overdubbed by Fresh Cream's sound­track for "I'm Free!" But which was the singer and which the song inside? He wobbled to his feet, stumbling in a theatrical bow;

I should decline your kind invitation.
To accept it, no doubt, is insane.
Yet attraction creates hesitation...
A cruise and a Turing Game,
The Captain's weird disappearance,
The anagram's labyrinthine sequence,
MS. DIONA's impulsive relations, imaginary value equations,
SAN DIMO and orchid, DINAMOS, SOMANID...
The pill in my drink...so now everything's pink.
Guntherian insanity is mere mad Bhutanity:
To the star cross in blast-off perfection
Taking aim in a Black Hole's direction.
I agree! As the Cream sing,
      "I'm glad! I'm glad! I'm glad!"
Do you see? It now seems
      NO IS MAD, NO IS MAD, NO IS MAD

McGaff arose, and steadying Philip with his hook in the back of the belt loop, they wove their way through the formalities of Las Modinas' garden fountains and mani­cured forking paths to the road that divided the two establishments.

McGaff conversed chummily,

"Perfect, Dowd, pre-feck-to! I especially appreciate the finesse of distinctions between the mere maddness of what is right above, and the insanity of being left below. The game belongs to the players—the four of us. As the form of agreement is wholly conventional, by intention, will you join our onebody team? We call ourselves--if you agree, and as if you haven't already guessed--the DAIMONS."

Down the slope of the hill the road carried them to a back­water swamp edge, where a ramshackle structure stood in disheveled counterpoint to the Las Modinas. A black and white mynah bird hung in a tin cage from a battered rafter. There was a man in ragged shorts who leaned over the front of the porch, urinating over a patch of San Pedro cactus. The mynah bird cawed cacaphonically, in a voice that made for rather bad French,

"Tush pi pit Tush pi pit"

No doubt about it, the casual chap was an avatar of Sam Nodi himself, marvelously reconstituted from the sea sludge, although inadequately rinsed. Above the steps hung a sign in the manner of Colonial inns, with the painted images of a mynah bird and a swan, and the words:

MYNAH / SWAN

Once again Dowd's eyes focused on the slashing virgule, and the black and white mynah bird echoed the Captain's greeting:

"Ol' Gaffer and Pinky Dowd!"
        "...Pinky Dowd! Pinky Dowd! Pinky Dowd!"

The swan and the mynah above in the sign began revolving in opposite directions, as the words on the napkin had done. Despite the welling of sentiment, Dowd cringed at the proximity of his former Captain, dissolute in his blatant lewdness. But Philip's crystalline scruples crunched when the man that he knew as Sam Nodi embraced the wrinkleless white linen suit of the Minister Ahab McGaff. And a greasy, urine-stained hand was extended toward him in greeting as Philip's finicky bias melted like sugar into syrupy reminiscences of days and nights of comraderie in Amoga City and underway. Flipped as he was, Dowd didn't miss the Captain loosening several yellow drops on McGaff's white shoetops. Sportingly, at a distance, Dowd responded to welcome,

"That's ay man, Captain Sam! Flash five!"

The two of them took a hand-jive routine through evolutionary phases of their common frames of reference, Dowd blowing in ignorance the latest "San Dino Double Thumb Clutch" finale.

"As you can see, we have revised several con­ventions here on San Dimo. For example: the name is now Dino, my flipped out friend."

As the sloven ghost of the Captain, now Dino, ushered them into the tumbledown tavern, a carillon of the original vulgar sort with four bells, marked the time with eight bells, and then ripped into a rendition of the Frankie Laine classic tune, "Wild Goose." Inside the shack reared a mirrored backbar, streaked with dust and grease, in front of which was suspended, sticking out into the room with wings widespread, a large-scale stuffed white swan. To one side was a rainbow lighted Rockabala jukebox.

Dino subterfuged behind the bar and began lining up bottles of hard stuff.

"Take what you want and pay for it, me hearties! Now Dowd, what'll it be? Don't tell me you're still sucking suds. Pick your poison; Solo Equis? How about a double cross? Ha, ha, ha. Naaaw! Go for three x'es in a row: Montezuma's revenge in a can! And a bit back a Kiwi craft hove to--we wiped them out of Waikato Four X at one hunge. "

He arranged the empty beer bottles in a row, going down the line by x'es. Philip Dowd was hooked back to attention by the exquisite claw of McGaff pointing through a pocked screen in the back door to where Diona was half-wrapped in a tawdry orange chenille bathrobe decorated with appliques of little dogs. She squatted atop the hood of the (also) reconstituted Turing Car, pinching the apical peristems on a row of pot plants lined up on its running boards and wedged in between the body and flaring clamshell fenders. Dino turned and called to her,

"Come in Onida, wherever you are."

Philip pondered yet another permutation in the letters of the names of just about everyone and everything except him­self and Ahab McGaff. He blanched at the once demure Ms. Flowers' suddenly wilted image. A small cloud of flies followed her in as she wiped herself obscenely on a bar rag. Where was the woman so decorous on the verandah, so intimate in the moonlit nights on the deck of the floating mandala?

Ahab McGaff tossed down a Five-Star Metaxa and studied the titles on the Rockabala jukebox as he drrropped a coin right into the slot, hoping to hear something really hot. The rainbow lights twirled in the side tubes.

"All the real truths are in the tunes."

Dino chipped in,

"You pays your quarter and takes your chance."
"I pick 'em by the stars,"

Onida said, as she tugged Philip over to the rainbow-lighted Rockabala jukebox console,

"...ah, but which star? Michelin only gives three, Metaxa five and seven. But the next star perhaps has already died...and we, all of us, transcend or we die with it. Transcend beyond, and beyond the beyond.- Star One: Johnny Ace-‑now who goes back to high school with black arm bands in mourning? Buddy Holly fades away with a final cricket chirp. The Big Bopper down in flames. Otis Redding dropped from the sky and I'm sick, y'all. Brian Jones, the best of the Stones, and Elvis the King still getting heavenly mileage out of the Blue Suede Shoes he borrowed from Carl Perkins. Janis the subject of Country Joe's lovesong. Jimi Hendrix passed over the Rainbow Bridge. James James, Morrison Morrison, light my fire and open the doors."

Philip felt the grubby mitts of Dino pawing him toward the huddle around the Rockabala.

"And now for a little melted architecture,"

he said randomly punching button X-1. The stuffed swan, at that moment broke loose from one of its wires and swung down above their heads attached by only its right wing.

The cut that came up was from a Columbia electronic rock recording from out of the 'sixties, by a group called, audaciously, "The United States of America." The frail feline voice of Dorothy Moscowitz sang: from "The American Metaphysical Circus?:

"At precisely eight-o-five
Doctor Frederick von Meier
Will attempt his famous dive
Through a solid sheet of incandescent fire."

They/all joined hands around the flashing hardware music source, as Ahab announced,

"Stand by for countdown, now that Philip the oh-so-positive one of our number has overcome his doubt and punched-in to play. Remember the Brownie motto from the late last century:

          YOU PUSH THE BUTTON...WE DO THE REST

But then, the secret is always submission, subversion and service--the path with a heart, trusting the Impulse toward Life--and beyond, tran­scending to Love--and beyond--and beyond the Beyond, to the flower-like Unity, the seed and the void at the heart of all that ever was, is now, and yet shall be, world without end. For the World is an old man, a wise guy and a fool combined, who in every spin of his incarnations sees a universe entire.

"Altogether now, by the numbers, let us count as a group, and in order by the power series of imaginarius. We have our swan sign swinging above, the price is right, and we are one--so shall we allow Philip positively to begin?"

The erstwhile Captain Sam Nodi, now Dino, and Ms, Diona Flowers, Onida, answered Ahab as one,

"Aye, ayel"

Philip index-fingered the pink spot of his Third Eye, acting as a pressure switch, and the color emission ceased,

"i to the zero, the zeroth power, is Unity."

The female essence, whose apparition enveloped the four with an aura of erotic sensuality, magnetically drew Philip's consciousness to her left eye, open wide as a purified lens of the Void.

"My heart is your heart. Any numerical value raised by the power of one is itself. Not only do I imagine that this is the case--it is true wherever we go, and will always be so."

Her gaze then focussed on the eyes of McGaff, who squared to face her in the cluster, responding,

"i square is, as Chris Kenner and the Dave Clark Five both sang, the name of the place: Mynah / Swan equals minus one."

The doyen of DINAMOS and Dino, in duetto, recapped the line,

"The name of the place is I like it like that."

Thus warmed to the count, Dino continued,

"The symbol 'i' is understood by the conven­tions of algebra to betoken a value that, if expressed numerically, would equal the square root of minus one: say some impolite quasi-hipster better half such as my better half. Let's see, i to the third power is also a Unity, but negative and imaginary: a Kundabufferectomy, the psychic excision revealing the essential Unity to three-eyed beings."

Their auras comingled, and breathing in time, with their heartbeats also in unison, the four-as-one embraced and smiled, then laughed and danced. For by raising the value i to the fourth power, the group was closed: finite and Abelian—composed of four and only four members, always and forever, without any doubt whatsoever, in any universe we could possibly imagine or in which we should even find ourselves--all of which is not a matter of opinion:

 IT IS BEING KNOWN FOR LONG TIMES
AND IS BEING WRITTEN DOWN BY MANY PEOPLES.

None of which is such a big deal, except that it is valuable to be able to distinguish--or even to know that one IS able to distinguish--truth from fact: not necessarily always in their exterior expressions of relative, superficial complex­ities, but on the deep and unified level of cosmic law.

In the Grande Finale, the Rainbow Rockabala jukebox explodes in a shower of sparks like stars, as the white waterbird's feathers make a blizzard in the room. Elite, empowered, ethereal and expressing ecstatic joy, the four together sing:

YOUNGER THAN SPRINGTIME, OLDER THAN FALL
THE FOUR SEASONS ARE TO THE YEAR AS A WHOLE,
DEEPER THAN NUMBER, FAR SIMPLER THAN TIME,
THE HARDCORE RELATIONS INTRINSIC TO RHYME:
AS SPATIAL DIRECTIONS TO ONE CENTRAL SPOT
SAMBHOGAKAYA, COCKAIGNE, CAMELOT.

IN THE HELL REALM OF LEVEL 6000
TV SETS SURROUND HUMAN BEINGS
CONDITIONING WITHOUT AROUSING
AWARENESS AS DATA MACHINES.

3000 RADIOS DEVOID OF SEEING WRONG
THE SOUNDTRACK FOR VISUALIZED SENTIENCE
THEY'RE PLAYING ONIDA/GITA'S SONG
EFFECTING THE DRAGON SWORDS SENTENCE.

1500 EDITIONS OF THE STANDARD PRESS
FOR THE GIRLS OF ST. BRIDE'S AND ST. TRINIONS;
TELEPIX FUNNIES & WORDS, STOCKS SPORTS JOYS & DURESS
SUBJECTIVELY LACED WITH OPINIONS.

IN THE BOOKS BY JEALOUS GODS, INTENDED ONLY FOR WE
WHO DO NOT REQUIRE THE PICTURES IN ORDER TO THINK THAT WE SEE
THE INTELLECTUAL MEDIUM, SELF-STYLED AND SO LITERATE
THEORETICALLY BOUND BY RULE NUMBER 768.

THE FLAMING SWORD OF MANJUSRI CUTS IT IN HALF ONCE AGAIN:
TO POETIC DISPLAY IN THE GOD-REALM WE ARISE. IF YOU LIKE, OR DESCEND.
MAD GENIUS, CREATOR, GOD-LIKE AND REMOVED,
WITH PRACTICED BELIEFS, SOLIPSISTICALLY PROVED.

RING! RING! GOES THE BELL.
ALL THE TRUTHS ARE IN THE TUNES.
A DOUBT APPEARS, THEN VAJRA HELL:
THE SUN REFLECTS 192 MOONS.

JUMP OR DIE!
TO THE SKY
ANGELS FOUR OF A SINGLE FACE,
WE ARE GRAVITY'S SPECTRUM
IN A COSMIC RECTUM
GLEAMING DIAMOND LIGHT OF GRACE.

In syntony with the last word, GRACE, in the quartet's rendition of ONIDA/GITA'S SONG--the title of which contains an anagram of itself, if we allow for the equivalence in the voiced and unvoiced D and T and the lyrics of which also demonstrate self-reference, by the levels, as it were--the Rainbow Rockabala jukebox disappears in a billow of ethereal violet smoke. The, carillon strikes a chord of perfectly harmonic tones. The Hubert Laws track of "Amazing Grace" offers its soft flute accompaniment to the dénoument.

The scene and the characters transform through time until they reach the edge of a space in which time has no duration. One of the final forms in which they appear as a cast of characters is set, in a distant kalpa, aboard the Gravity/Grace Warpship ADAMANTINA, whose Captain apparently disappears, leaving them locked on a course that flutters in flippety oscillation, bordering the Schwartzschild time co-ordinate threshhold we imagine to characterize the X-ray star and possible Black Hole called Cygnus X-1.

0 TRAGEDIA / DEO GRATIA
G. R. A. C. E.

In the G-race of levity, above the grave of gravity, on the gray sea of neither/nor, the comedy comes about as the pilgrims arrive at their shrine of pennance, where we all must cross to the lighter shore.

On page 90 (a number fit for a King) of the wonderful edition of THE I CHING, or, BOOK OF CHANGES, being the Richard Wilhelm Translation rendered into English by Cary F. Baynes, with a Foreword by C.G. Jung and a Preface to the Third Edition by Hellmut Wilhelm, published as the Bollingen Series XIX (a number fit for the sun), by Princeton University Press (an institution worthy of Princeton, New Jersey, tigers), and Copyright 1950 by Bollingen Foundation Inc.,New York (the.Big Apple of Jean Shepherd, Oscar Ichazo, and Don S. Grubb), N.Y., and under the seal of Tung Tso-pin, (which is printed in facsimile on a ricepaper Chinese Title Page), appears the following entry:

22. Pi/Grace
above KEN KEEPING STILL
below LI THE CLINGING, FIRE

On the other side of the open page, the right side, numbered oddly, 91, appears the following Note:

1. This hexagram shows tranquil beauty--clarity within, quiet without. This is the tranquility of pure contemplation. When desire is silenced and the will comes to rest, the world-as-idea becomes manifest. In this aspect the world is beautiful and removed from the struggle for existence. This is the world of art. However, contemplation alone will not put the will to rest absolutely. It will awaken again, and then all the beauty of form will appear to have been only a brief moment of exaltation. Hence this is still not the true way of redemption. For this reason Confucius felt very uncomfortable when once, on consulting the oracle, he obtained the hexagram of GRACE.