December 27th, 2011 by acjohner
By Andrew Charles Johner
The loneliness of my situation comes in waves. The radio went out seven days ago and no word of my rescue has come.
In the sky a great drove of smoky black clouds emerges from the bowels of heaven and is bringing a dark and terrible storm upon me.
“What am I still doing here in the jungle?” I ask myself.
I am in a tree house thirty feet from the ground. It is like a giant soup can on peg legs. It looks like a water tower. There is very little water, however.
The view from my window is pleasant …I can see the dig site below, the temple all the little instruments gleaming like tiny chrome sprinkles.
The solitude has gotten to me. Last night I drank a whole bottle of Ramsfield scotch and smashed every electrical device in this rusting lab with an iron hammer. None of it works anymore anyway. There was this great single clasp of thunder some time ago that made all the little blinky red and green lights all around me dim into nothingness.
A few months ago one of the rovers on Mars sent back digital imagery of a stone wall imprinted with Mayan glyphs. After that everything began to spin sideways.
I’m not sure much of the story. Everyone but me left nearly two weeks ago. I volunteered to stay the extra night and power-down the system. My bag is still packed in the corner. It has been 12 consecutive nights now.
Something happened up there on Mars. Right after the team left every computer in our labs fell into darkness never to reboot again. Nothing in my vast knowledge of electrical-think-bots can tell what has happened. Its as if some giant magnet was stuck up top our laboratory.
I look out at the rain outside my window. I press my hand firmly against the warm pane of the window and feel the tiny rupturing orbs of rain drops break against the glass.
In the sky there are a thousand little blue fireballs falling from the troposphere and disappearing just before they reach the tree tops. I wonder if anyone knows what the hell they are. They weren’t here yesterday. Mixed with the wind and rain I admit the sight is cosmically poetic but I’m sure nothing good wills come of them.
I walk over to the stove and flip on the gas. There is a kettle of water. I toss in a teabag and blow air through my puckered lips making a fart sound as it plops down into the water.
There is a graffiti of a red monkey on the tiled wall behind the stove. One of the interns drew it on with a permanent marker. The monkey is holding a gun to its head and above it is a little caption bubble that reads “no sienta ningún mal,” which is Spanish for feel no evil.
I sit down in a ripped leather chair and close my eyes. When I close my eyes I see a thousand spinning triangles all creating this vast vortex of geometry that seems to pulsate in and out of its center.
I am use to the hallucinations now, or whatever they are. They began a few days ago. I thinks its my brain trying to expel my perception, or something metaphysical like that.
The hallucinations are entertaining now. I watch the spinning vortex waiting for the light. It begins as a dim red splotch in the center of the Mandela. As I focus on it, the splotch comes into view and changes from a red to a dim green. I see my gateway emerge as a spinning star which quickly spirals out from the center of the green light which is becoming a bright yellow and almost white. I catch the star as it spirals the outer edge of the light with my attention and tightened the muscle underneath my forehead and SWOOSH.
The star amplifies into a billion mandalas which are all bending inward towards the bright center. The light in the center intensifies as the two-dimensional wall of mandala stretches inward taking on a third-dimension. This cracking of dimensions creates an even brighter light at the center which begins to suck me into it.
The feeling is like going 180 in a convertible with the top down and the top of your skull has been cut away so you feel the warping winds blast right over the top of your brain. The feeling is quite astonishingly good, like jumping out of an airplane while doped up on morphine. It seems to scratch an itch you never knew you had before.
I am shot through a bright tunnel, and at the end of the tunnel a creature made out of light is there to greet me. I know this character. I’m not sure how but I feel about him being here in my hallucination. I can tell by the expression on his face there is something he wants from me and something I want from him.
I am below him now. His body keeps no distinct form, all except his head which is a large silvery diamond with two black beads for eyes and no mouth. His voice is a vibrating hum, but so is mine. I have no idea what we are saying to one another but I seem to understand enough to answer him.
“Urrrrrmmmmmmmmm,” I say to up to him, feeling like an ant in a child’s sandbox.
“Urrrrrrmmmmmmmm.” He says back to me smiling invisibly through his silvery incandescence.
There is an exchange of some kind. It comes out from the center of my body and into a spinning mandala that has formed between his eyes and soon closes after the exchange is made.
There is a scream, like a child screaming murder, or like a zillion insects being squished at once. This strange character is all at once absorbed into the space between my own eyes and the screaming gets louder and louder as all the spinning triangles fold in on themselves and I am sitting in my chair again hearing the kettle whistle.
I press my fingers to the spot on my forehead and blow air through my lips again making the fart sound.
“spppppp,” I say with my lips.
“Are you really comfortable in there?” I ask myself humorously rubbing my index finger hard into the spot until it hurts. Then I stand and go pour the tea into a chipped glass.
I finger out bits of rust floating at the top and try to imitate the humming noise I made for the strange being.
I hear somthing outside. It is screaming at me from down in the jungle below. I hesitate and reach for the handle of the door then hear it again.
“Anyone alive up there?” a voice calls out from a dark wet collage of leaves and ferns.
I step out onto the veranda and lean over the threshold looking down below. The wind and rain is hitting my eyes hard. There is a crack of thunder and the voice calls up once more.
“Anyone still here?”
I am hesitating to respond and don’t know why. I just stand there leaning over and looking into the top of a jungle feeling the cool rain fall off my face and the collars of my shirt flapping hard against my skin.
“Who is it?” I finally call not even referencing this encounter to the context of my semi-desperate, long anticipated rescue.
“Dr. Saunders. I’ve hiked over from the other dig site. There’s a chopper flying over in the morning. It’s a customized autogyro. Nothing else gets in the air. I’m sure you’ve noticed your computers are down.”
I pick at one of my nails. “I have noticed that. Strange malfunctions too. And what of these fireballs? Should we be freighted of them?”
“I’m not sure much of anything, well, nothing that is making sense just yet…could I come up you think? You have the back up generators running your elevator?”
“I’m low on fuel for the generator.”
I could hear the doctor scuffling his feet.
“Just give me the lift.”
I hit the elevator switch and stare down the shaft as the box cage disappears into the foliage of the jungle.
I turn from the thwarting sounds of the metal cables and grab at a stack of papers out of a rusting file cabinet in the corner. I quickly find the roster for the other dig site and begin searching for Dr. Saunders name. I find it scribbled in at the bottom of one of the sheets.
I notice the emblem next to his name…the Institute of Gaian Regeneration. I had read an article published not long before we were all sent out here from the institute.
They had been working with a multitude of applications for programming the consciousness with electromagnetic code or something. But what would the doctor being doing here in the jungle dusting glyphs on a crumbling temple?
The elevator cage emerges from the dark green patch below and I can see the white brim of a jipi woven panama.
The elevator cage slams against the top of the shaft and through the steel diamonds the doctor stands drenched, reading something on the inside of his sleeve cuff.
He is an older man in his early sixties. A bit heavy with silver whiskers and gold rimmed spectacles. He farts as he reaches to open the cage door.
“Excuse me.” He says avoiding my eyes and stepping into the empty ramshackle lab. He immediately notices the strewn bits of broken electronics about the place. He bends over and picks up a chunk of shattered plastic adorning the infamous Macintosh apple.
“What? We can’t eat it.” I say sincerely.
There is an awkward silence then he reaches out to shake my hand.
Suddenly there is a terrible roar outside like a race car roaring past the window. I lean to see over the doctor’s shoulder. Out the window I see what appears to be a long scaly tail, although its all incandescent and pixilated like some digital hologram.
The doctor turns.
“Strange isn’t it? All of this….” He pauses. “Have you seen these fireballs yet…tried to catch one?”
“No I wasn’t really considering trying to catch one but I have been observing them for quite some time and am mystified while all the same scared but in a reclusive sort of way.”
“I understand the feeling. Here, come look see.”
The doctor pulls a handkerchief from his back pocket and adjusts his spectacles. He wobbles toward the window and opens it quickly.
I am curiously watching as he sticks his hand out, adorned in the handkerchief, and waits for one of the blue fireballs to fall into it. SPLAT! This gooey radiant blue hunk hits his hand like a wad of glowing peanut butter dripping down the sides.
The doctor pulls it in from the window and brings it over to me being very careful not to let the substance spill.
“Here, look,” he says pushing it into my face. “Watch.”
I look inquisitively down into his handkerchief and at the glowing goo which begins to bubble up from the center of its mess.
A round shape emerges from the center, then two beady black eyes open and a sloppy mouth opens discharging this nauseating gassy smell. The blurbing blob rises slowly from the center and as it rises it takes on more form and structure. It becomes a miniature alligator and snaps its jaws at me.
“Here, watch,” the doctor says leaning in close to the little alien reptile. He squints his eyes focusing on the little creature. It begins to bubble again and another body emerges from its back side. It is a miniature version of the doctor. Then the little alligator spins around and seizes the miniature doctor’s leg in its jaws. The doctor waves his fingers over the gurgling goey figures and squints his eyes again as if projecting thought into the blue jizz.
Suddenly, at the point where the reptile’s teeth meet its victim’s leg, there is an abrupt transformation of its physical form, and a spiraling pattern of circles began to emerge engulfing all of the bluish goo in the doctors hand.
“Make it into something,” The doctor says pleasantly smiling.
I look at the spinning blob whose circular spirals are becoming ever more complex. The spiral shifts direction and every circle transforms into tiny pyramid, all of them stacking upon one another forming one large one. Then, every single one individually develops a flap underneath which vibrate. These vibrating flaps lift the pyramids off the doctors palm and into the air.
I follow the first one upward and think the word duck and it becomes a tiny blue duck. I follow the second and think the word toast and with a quick gurgle it becomes a slice of toast. The third comes at an instant without much time for myself to become aware that I have just imagined something else. In a split second the third pyramid becomes this complex twisting fractal like a square slinky rotating around the doctor then divides and spins out in two separate directions dividing again at either end forming four spinning fractals that become sixteen and then become at least a hundred more branching off each end with more complex spiraling geometries every time.
The doctor and I watch in awe for a moment and the room quickly fills with a barrage of these spinning multiplying geometries until we ourselves are engulfed in what appears to be a magic eye painting vibrating and changing with every instant.
“Holy-moly!” The doctor cries out.
“Is that what you call this stuff?” I say, “How do we stop it?”
“Think of nothing, worry of nothing.”
And all of a sudden the doctor and I were standing in the middle of a black abyss, like actors on a green screen with no image imprinted behind.
“Now look what you’ve gone and done.”
Just when my brain begins to entertain the idea that I am in purgatory for all eternity and one step in any direction could send me eons beyond the doctor, forced to a hell of solitude with only my self and human capsule frozen in time, to never again age and only to think until I have run out of thoughts, and then realizing this is impossible because creation is also infinite, and right when some weird and unexpected acceptance of my fate begins to fill me like the smell of warm muffins, there is a terrible crash followed by a deep bellowing laugh and instantly all the dark space around us is sucked out the door of my tree house back into a little blue ball and rocketed back up into space.
The doctor and I stand dazed and confused for a long moment. We both take long breaths and begin running our hands over our arms and legs and chest and head, to check and make sure we are completely intake. All seems well. We give eachother a look as if we had both just seen a polar bear in a tutu eating a Volkswagen Beatle and defecating Cinderella’s castle.
We both go to the window at once. Outside, the rain is no longer falling, the dark clouds have moved away. All the blue fireballs are shooting off into space. The tail of the digital dragon returns to a vortex of light in the center of the sky and in a flash disappears altogether.
There is a roaring hum and behind us all the little green and red electronic lights begin blinking again, even the sound dial-up Internet makes, can be heard echoing through the sky.
The radio soon returns with a thousand broadcasts of amateur theory and callers with personal accounts of visions of heaven, hell, communication with aliens, angels, and demons alike. They call in with accounts of brief time travel billions of years into the future and past, of being whisked away to other planets, sodomized and worshiped by extraterrestrial creatures. They tell stories of miraculous healings of terminal illnesses, amputees regenerating parts, women giving birth to a thousand children in a single day. Everyone talks about the great serpent in the sky, some who had spoken with it, some who had shot at it, some to have claimed to have seen it reduce itself to the size of a humming bird and fly right into their domiciles laughing laughing laughing. One elderly woman claims the thing to have turned into a child and sat down at her dinning room table and demanded tea and upon her bringing it to the child-creature was forced to sit and listen to the thing read Revelations from Gideon’s Bible backwards and forwards several times.
A week later the doctor and I are rescued by our autogyro. Upon return to the cities we were met with a barrage of madness. The team from mars had just returned and promised to never go back. Slowly but surly things are put back into their proper places, people go into work on Monday, the children back to school, the scientists back to their dials and gizmos and blinky lights and tools for digging, and all is a jolly tit in an azure sky of deepest summer.
As for me, I am beginning to feel slightly cheated. As I reset my digital watch for another 26,000 year cycle, I admit to being forlorn and lost in meaningless revelation of absolutely nothing.
Feeling despondent and somewhat forsaken, I begin to entertain the idea that I am in purgatory forever, deserving of a wrath I may never receive. ‘Forever without end’ is a maddening thought. Forced to live and to breath a three dimensional character in an infinite number of occurrences one right after the other from birth to death, to transverse the dimensions of heaven and hell alike right here on a both fertile and exhausted earth.
I go home and take out a bottle of the Ramsfield Scotch and smashed every electrical device in my house with an iron hammer. I fall exhausted to my couch and pick up a magazine out from under my behind where I have sat down on a stack of newspapers and journals. The page I pull before my eyes is an article about the doctor and a recent update on his brain code experiments with Gaian Regeneration. From within the article the doctor quotes…
“We are hoping for a smoother run than last time. We can never know for certain what will happen when we finally hit the switch again-“ and by the time I read this line in the paper, there is a terrible thunder and again I hear the sound of every electrical device on earth simultaneously shutting off.
You know what billion billion computers shutting down all at once sounds like? I press my lips firmly together, pucker, and blow, making the fart like noise that escapes the end of a balloon when you let all the air out…
“Sppppppppppp.” I say making this noise.
“Urrrrrrmmmmmmm.” The universe answers back.