Neo-American Church

Chapter 31


Well, there are times when one would like to hang the whole human race and finish the farce.

I was OK. I like to move around while going up. There is nothing to think about or not think about, so one might as well just screw around with minor details, get a drink, take a piss, or whatever, until the transition is complete; then enter into the spirit of the thing. The faster you go up the better. The bigger the dose, the easier it is to go up, and the harder it is to come down.

Marco was standing a couple of feet away from Bali, the human statue, looking at him intently. Tommy had taken a chair facing away from us and the fire, and had his head in his hands, as if some tragedy too heavy to be borne had just occurred.

Marco beckoned me over to him. I couldn’t understand a word he was saying, because he spoke Spanish. He handed me a walkie-talkie, one of a pair he held in his hands, about the size of a pack of cigarettes, and motioned me over to the couch which contained kittenish Aurora, cute ruler of two continents. Sure enough, Marco’s voice was coming over the device in my hand, and I could see him where I had left him earnestly delivering into his machine, probably the best distributed by the CIA, a stream of vowels with a few consonants floating in it. I recognized some English words like “police” and “arrest” and so on. “Sorry, but I don’t speak Spanish,” I said. I turned my tiny radio off, and put it down on an end table.

I was standing behind Aurora’s couch. Billy Hitchcock, sprawled out on the floor, was looking up at me through a large fake emerald which he had picked up from the hundreds of shiny fake stones Haines had scattered around. The entire scene boomed with arcane energy. Decor is not philosophy.

Which is not a bad mantra at this point on big trips, when many paranoid episodes take place, due to premature categorizations and speculations about the meanings of events. One is tempted to exclaim, “Holy shit, this can’t be happening. I must be out of my mind. What are these people really doing? Are they deliberately trying to drive me crazy?”

To which the voice of experience should reply, “Shut up, you jerk. Internal and external are false distinctions. Everyone here is acting out his archetypal role using the means at hand. Those roles are, and these people are, elements of the psyche; your psyche. Call me anytime. If there’s no answer, keep trying.”

When you see this clearly and fully accept it, you are “dead.” The introductory part of the trip is over. You are now “in the realm” of universal archetypes, where people say and do things you wouldn’t expect to hear or see at the corner bar on Saturday night.

Tim thinks of this state as being “at the cellular level.” As with many of his other inventions, this metaphysical image has Fazzmic appeal and utility. Everything takes on a certain golden liquidity. One does not see events as occurring in a regular cause and effect or linear way but rather as being contained in some kind of “eternity capsule” outside of space-time.

As philosophic concepts, “time capsules” and “cellular levels” are every bit as rubbery as “arcane energy.” These philosophically useless terms, however, convey the feel of things very well, and can be called good Fazzm on that account.

Bali, frozen into his classic pose in his shining costume, represented this condition in a manner sanctified by art and tradition, and Marco was just as accurate a representation of his way of looking at things, as was everyone else present.

My own introductory act was to go to the bar, make a drink, take perhaps one small sip, set the glass down somewhere, forget where I had put it, go to the bar, make another, set it down, go to the bar again, and so on. After a while, I realized what I was doing. Powerful, icy highballs were standing all over the place, gleaming wetly in the firelight. Well, I thought, at least anyone who wants a drink can get one without exerting himself.

Another classic was being enacted: The tape machine was screwed up, and Billy and Bill were untangling reels of tape which had spilled out on the floor, or at least trying to perform this classic task. Bill finally dumped the whole tangle in his bag and put on another tape. He got behind the machine, put his arms around it, and announced with mock solemnity and relish, “He who controls the tape recorder controls the world.”

How true, sort of. Could be, in a sense. Suddenly, everything, although still just as fantastic as it had been, seemed pretty amusing also. The mood of the room changed, except for the Tommy and Sham regions, which seemed to stiffen as people began to talk and laugh. The constructions I am obliged to use in describing this are driving me crazy. A region of mood is something one might identify spatially in a painting, right? A stage setting might have two regions of mood. I am not talking metaphysics.

Sham had his eyes closed and began rapidly mumbling some mantra or other to himself. I could now identify my proper place in the room. It was with Bill and/or Billy, so I settled down near the tape recorder next to them. Bali joined us. Bill was drawing an Om symbol with his finger in a field of tiny garnets on the carpet. Bali added a flourish, a sweeping line coming up from the intersection of the lesser and greater curves, but Bill shook his head impatiently and erased it. Great symbolism in there. I felt that pure light was streaming in and out of the top of my head.

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