by St. Rixter Hibeam

with pope-on-a-rope "Basicly Dave"

one ::::: PREFACE ::::: Removal

there's a knock on the door of your dream, so you open up. in steps a salesman, smiling around his pipe. "hell-lo, i'm with the Aard-Nigva Novelty Company. would you care to buy a Duck?" he grins, producing a very lifelike rubber duck from somewhere behind him.

"um... i don't think so" you cleverly reply.

"oh." he tosses it casually back & starts groping in his pockets, pulling out odd things -- "could i interest you in some fake ivory? no? ...genuine unicorn horn? ...glass eye? plastic poop? prosthetic nose? latex prairie squid?"

"what?" ... you decide there's something slightly spooky about this salesman, so you say "no, i'm sorry..." & start trying to figure how to get him out.

he puffs his pipe and grins even wider, as if it were possible, & says "well, fine! ...y'know, it occurs to me that you're a customer of finer discrimination than most -- judging by your fine taste in furnishings", & he pretends to scan the room, rolling his eyes ludicrously, "so maybe I should show you our "top o' the line" item of merchandise -- behold, the Synthetic Snark Egg!!"

you're startled to see a large leather briefcase has somehow appeared in his hands, & sprung open to reveal row upon row of glistening spheres set in black velvet like planets in space. "colorful, aren't they? all faithful reproductions, yet perfectly harmless."

they are beautiful, but you're distracted. the pipesmoke drifting toward you has a strange spicey fragrance; what in heaven is it? ...seems to stir a million buried memories... ancient incarnations... strange lights bobbing across the night skies... crystal caves... great furry shapes against the snowy peaks... without intending, you step forward, eyes watering -- dizzy -- you barely manage to say "uh, really?"

"well, relatively harmless. but they're a true bargain; not TOO cheap, not too expensive!"

entranced by the smoke, you can't resist. you reach out, & one seems to leap into your hand. incredibly, it looks EXACTLY like your own planet!! as you gaze, wondering, into its jewel-like depths, those cloudy seas of color seem to swirl outward to enfold you... all half-formed memories are left behind a you pass simultaneously into the cosmic egg and out, to the most superficial face, the ultimate lost horizon, of what we might laughingly refer to as "reality"...

two ::::: INTERFACE ::::: Retrieval

"fall in Atlanta, or is it Atlantis? the seasonal clock again lurches forward without warning, & all of a sudden One finds itself seeking warmth at night, & a crisp breeze of herb-spiked air descends along the Piedmont... another interface hit; another cosmos heard from; another story. a young mutant's heart is lifted, not with spring-sweet Melancholia, but with the high cold cirrus knowledge that this particular Autumn, this unique Season, brings the greatest challenge of them all: it is the Inter-Level Debates... sponsored this millennium by the S.K.P. -- "Bringing you the Best in Retro-Temporal Fits Until 1998!" -- but enough of that.

now, first of all, as an old debater-baiter, let me assure you that this is the Utopia, nay, the Olympia of One's Life! for all the Fame-&-Fortune that will surely follow cannot mean a FIG compared to --"

-- a knock at the door.

"excuse me..." you look out the window. uh-oh. 2 of Them.

recklessly you open the door anyway, what the hell. surprised, They both stand there blankly for a couple of heartbeats.

at last Sueyel the Uglier breaks the silence: "is this 1984 Piedmont? apartment 13?"


`Now' Young Officer McRoy (who bore the lesser scars) takes his turn: "uh, we have a report of highly suspicious smoke coming from this apartment."

"do tell! would you mind showing me your eye-dee?"

They would, but do anyway, the smug flackards. mmm-hmmm, sez FROPOLICE. oh well.

"never heard of `em", you improvise, trying to shut the door inconspicuously.

"that's ok, WE've heard of YOU!" punchlines Officer S.

somehow the door has opened wider, & Sueyell & MacRoy stride boldly thru, across the living-room & into the dining area, eyeing the giant holo-fractal Dobbs-head poster above the table with obvious suspicion -- a 3D image composed of tiny Dobbs-heads made of even smaller ones, ad infinitum.

casually They sit down. 3 can play that game, so you sit down too. Sueyyell smiiiiiles ssllowwwwly... has a gold right incisor, very clean. his pallid smile imitation is copied in tan by M'Kroy. Sueyyell shifts topless-lady-like in his chair, flashing a strip of leather (plastic?) running left shoulder to armpit under his coat. everyone waits; the clock ticks like a bomb; & outside, night is swiftly falling.

suddenly, as if from somewhere, a hand reaches out, easily lifting the sunday sportsection (n c 24, fla 23) -- a handsome hand, apparently attached to McRhoid; innocently uncovering a fork, the society pages, & LESS than 2.8 grams (SWEAR to "Bob") of organic `FROP.

The Nightmare Come True! valiantly, you smile weakly. "uh, how about One for the Road?"

in a split-instant that seems to stretch forever, the flimsy table is BODYSMASHED INTO THE WALL!!! a Pollock of coffee, over-easy eggs and Heathen Herb is given Cubist qualities by the fracturing of Time as the table slowly hits the floor -- M'Croi has gone TOTALLY Foam-Mouthed BERSERK!! he raves: "WHY can't a Man be both Realistic and Idealistic????????"

Suey-yell yawns, thinks {{welp, there goes our "Fair Cop"!}} & releases a fart held prisoner far too long.

MaCroy shudders. "oh, PLEASE, don't remind me of Societosis -- subjugating Reason to formfilling -- always telling ME, MacRoy, a Man what is a MAN, what to DO?!!?!?!?!?!?!"

Sooeyell raises his eyes as if to heaven; thinks {{shut up!}}

meanwhile you're thinking <<OH boy, he's... really bad now, reeeally had it. i... i just can not relate. sorry. i guess i'm out of touch... already anachronistic... but somehow it's easier to wear the printed teeshirts and faded jeans of the "Generation" than to give in and get styled... besides, i'm allergic to polyester.>>

MacRoi babbles "if you don't do what you should do or at least what most other people think you should do then those who believe in Society shun you and snicker behind your back, just like they do the freak-boys from `Nam..."

are ghostly poison darts issuing from Sooeeyell's pinpoint pupils?

you think <<of course, a lot of us are different now. so many are into Money.>>

McRoY, growing calmer, turns to the hidden camera (Soooeeyell's tie-clip); his eyes earnestly plead -- "Amerika was SUPPOSED to be DIFFERENT! we had a DREAM! can glory days lie down and dreams fade like old jeans? did "Ol' Radioactive" dye in vein? what went WRONG??"

{{YOU did, Mack, & it's a beat on Squid Row for YOU!}} thinks Soooeeeyell, leaning his chair back against the wall, hands behind his head in simi-conscious mockery of arrest.

meanwhile you're thinking <<maybe i SHOULD explain how they got there. in the beginning of the End was the Conspiracy, of course, and in the END of the beginning of the End was their anal android figurehead Nixoff, always afraid of the potency of the long-haired mutant, which had already made such a fool of el Bee-Jay.>>

MaKroy, turning spacey, muses "...ya know, at first it was just the Rastas, & Philippinos & such. then there was Philadelphia, & the NonNegroes, & the long shortages and rising depth of apathy, & before long it was Nazis in Tuskogee and Xmas in July. then all hell broke loose."

a cosy look of reminiscence surfaces for a moment in the cold dark waters of Sooooeeeyell's eyes, but the secret file of his brain reads {{No Official Comment}}.

<<Nixoff>>, you persist, <<ever paranoid, sought to eliminate this homegrown scourge with a Cambodian glee. first he went after l s d. with printed lies and wiretaps, his classic `Modus OperENDi' (sick) the rest is `History'. `Pot' was only saved by an intensive letter-rolling campaign... but later it got too expensive anyway. thank `Bob' for `Frop'! if you're going to shell out the Big Bucks, it might as well be for something permanent.>>

{{DAMN those stupid LabBrats!}} grimaces Sooooeeeeyell, {{if only they'd been able to analyze "Substance F", come up with a vaccine or something... at least tune the Watchers to it (the bug-eyed kreeps!) ...we could have really smashed the AntiCon... I still think Connie's responsible somehow; I bet she gave `em all squid-jobs...}}

"think what you will, Pigboy, but we all know SOMETHING's missing! Maybe it IS "Bob"! ...I dunno. but as the Poet says, "grease the forehead liberally & put on the Dangerous Cap"... grind that equation on through... mama's Lakota Ancestors made a boy "count coup" to prove his manhood; to touch an enemy with a stick was greater coup than killing him. how many boys carrying sticks were killed by the White-eyes? social wizz-dumb... mumble mumble" ...he falls asleep in his chair, snoring softly.

Soooooeeeeyell sniggers, {{the Boys in Black are gonna have some fun with You, Macro-boy...}}

grimly you continue <<of course fanatical Nixoff & his ghastly Puppeteers were never One to let a down man lie; & their Recessions kicked at ALL his favorite groups: Blacks, Chicanos, Women, especially "those GODdam SubGenius Freeks"; young folk resurgent as corks with great big eyes "bobbed" back up, but, determined never to go under again, they became (to "Outer-Eyes") materialistic. but this was only to render unto "Bob" that which IS "Bob"s.>>

{{whadda buncha happy horseshit!}} snorts Soooooeeeeeyell.

Macro wakes up, still delirious: "WHAT horse, Loah? & where is the Pipe whose Smoke will bloom for me? where's the wild goose gone with my illusion of Freedom? where's the Terrible Puppeteer, & the GaZorKids wielding the Weird Scissors? flashed back to the Contented-Buffalo Tribes, or forward to the Land of No Shit, or just sideways into Uranus? or have all 3 worlds been Consumed till even the blood's "all gone"... & threw-out the Void, nothing left but palefaces and other undead machines..."

<<...those not lucky enough to be born with the traditional Forked Tongue usually got their tongues grafted into their cheeks... upper OR lower. but E-nuff ancient history>> you conclude. you stand up & look right at ex-officer M, but the Macroid turns away, crying "if only we could trust! if only we had the Slack!"

{{not a chance in Hedonist Hell!}} thinks Sooooooeeeeeyell, getting up slowly, and you see -- dimly beneath the thin ice of his eyes -- other eyes, even colder, multi-faceted, Watching...

you try to look out the window, but it has become a dark mirror... & you notice that your OWN eyes are faintly GLOWING in the gathering darkness... you tell yourself <<even now there might be hope if we could laugh loud enough, long enough, weird enough...>>

"the Renaissance is only a `Stick' away!", McRoi sobs, & turns blind eyes up to the con-sealed stars. "`Bob', give me `Frop... or KILL ME!!!"

& Orficer Sooooooeeeeeeyell... ``the Silent Fart''... pig-eyed, ever-smug, sulFURYating, plastic\leather-colored Soooooooooooo Weeeeeeeeeeee Yell, HE keeps his cool... on ice... six feet under... he has us ALL placed in the same narrow box...

& through the blues-beat (bitter-sweet Urine of Time) we hear dear doomed Mac\Roi muttering "sweet Dreams, fallen Americusss... fallen Atlantis..." as his voice drowns in the frigid sea-grave of the Night.

three ::::: DEFACE ::::: Look Ma, No Fists!

a metallic voice rings out: "possibilities are now open..." as you return to self(simi)consciousness, still in the Dark.

now, across the Void echoes another voice, distant & most strange, yet oddly familiar... "your problem, as they say, is obvious. however, it might be solved more easily on a slightly different level of Falsehood... the Mythic, perhaps...

say the day's Emblem is stained steel Sky. here, atop a tower of hot air, the Hawk hovers -- bigger than Anytown, & none dare call him Conspiracy. above him, only the frozen glare of Infinity; below, the bare belly of the raped & ravaged Earth squirms with trapped & rapidly aging children. close your I for what follows --

suddenly ghost-goosed by a vengeful updraft, the Hawk whirls and dives! down & down & down through miles of slow-motion wind-tunnel special-effects, his screams of glee the color of mouse-guts, his fall cushioned by the rising screams of the speck-taters far below. sharpened on persistent flesh, do his diamond talons rend the pale skin of sky as he plummets? slice through the thick sunlight? lay bare the black bones of space? trail star-veins? one thing is sure: his prey are already in the shadow of his claws, & have been from the first.

meanwhile, far away upon their windswept plateau, the Twins wake pained, but leap up from their nest among the Frop-beds weird-ly laughing... one wears only a nimbus of pearly radiance while the other seems swathed in unearthly shadows.

Poobaah, the Twin of Light, reaches out with her left hand, thinking to the sky ((this one's for You, Daddy-oh!!)) ...a rainbow shimmer forms at her fingertips, & there appear the fabled Scissors of Sight! she snatches the gloried Scissors from the air, & their rainbows immediately extinguish as if absorbed, but Poobaah begins to glow more brightly than ever.

these very Scissors of Sight were once the common fission-fusion instrument familiar to all Xist maintenance workers -- but in the miracle-working hands of St. GaZork, "the Holy UFO Repairman", they were lifted up AND transmogrified to a more complex & confusing level of function, becoming capable of separating ALL things, or, turned around, of joining them again!

Kids, these are not just another eerie relic of the Alien Saints! among the literally supernatural features of the Scissors, most often important is the fact that they can manifest in SO many places at once as to be Wond'rously difficult to control. yet Poobaah LIGHTly tosses them to Boooboh, the Twin of Darkness, & he actually CATCHES them (heavily) & wrestles them up to his face, accidently (ha!) slicing off his nose in the process.

((oh well, "a small price to pay")), Poobaah silently quotes her paternal unit's last words before his meteoric martyrdom -- urging her twin onward as, concentrating, he reduces the bloodflow to a trickle.

[[oh GaZork, we hardly knew ye!]] he psyches out loud, & reversing the Scissors, raises the Handles to his eyes. he takes swift aim with his Synthetic eye, & reaching ghostly out with a projected ectoplasmic line of sight, he catches the right Eye of the Hawk. then he FOCUSES, sweeping his fine Analytical eye across the sky, & its projected line of Nothingness catches the REST of the Hawk, dicing predator, SnickerSnap, right out of the air!! disintegrating bloody feather-flack showers down upon the squeeling Suspectators below...

[[so much for Conspiracy!]] thinks ugly Boooboh, his `face' covered with blood, his proud `head' launched among the stupidly staring stars. in his gory hands the stainless Scissors flash once more, & the blood is all gone... but so is his nose. & now the Scissors shimmer & fade away, again...

but Poobaah is gazing, wall-eyed, BEYOND infinity, & her stance plainly reads ((It will grow back)).

[[the Conspiracy? or my nose?]] he wonders, already far along his wild internal "orbit"...

her silence says ((same difference...))

& in the voice of their long-dissolved father, whom Amortals call "the Holy Ufo Repairman" & the cops call "Ol' Radioactive"... the warm & faintly-glowing breeze sighs Yessssssssss..."

zero ::::: ABOUT FACE! ::::: Reversal

"probabilities are now equal..." intones the metallic voice.

silence falls, & you come to, startled.

you wonder, was it a dream?

desperately, trying to `center', you chant "Void not different from Form, Form not different from Void, Void where prohibited --" abruptly comes the pounding of that THIRD fist, spookiest of all, and in stark panic you clench teeth stomach & anus.

who will it be THIS time, the Conspiracy, or "Bob"?

& will it mean Slavery, or Freedom?

& even if it DID mean Freedom, what would you DO with it?


The End \ The Other End \ ???