The others gathered around the table, chattering amongst themselves while sorting through the plans.
“These are all splendidly arranged. My complements on your work, Lucifer.”
Lucifer bowed graciously. “My Lord. You are indeed charitable.”
Hundreds of angels and empyreal beings busied themselves with The Plan. Lucifer finished the final touches, and handed it to the Creator.
Seconds later, a bolt of radiance streaked into the oceans. The Plan became life.
Time accelerated, millions of years in a second, billions in a day. The oceans teemed with life.
The bolt of radiance then struck the ground. Moments later, animals and insects of all kinds scurried about.
Lucifer and the seraphs recognized themselves in the creatures of earth; their own faces and features everywhere they gazed. The Plan was perfect.
But this was day five. Day six would change EVERYTHING.
He waited, trembling, for them to call his name. He didn’t want Princess Poodypop to make fun of him.
And, of course, laughter ensued. Hahahaha. “John!” Seriously, what kind of name is that?? Stupid parents!
“Here!” He slumped his head in shame. “Frap! Every single time!!!”
What he did not notice, however, was Princess Poodypop’s delightful gaze as she snookered over and sat next to him.
“I like your name. It’s sooo… cute!” She placed her hand on his shoulder, causing his heart to leap wildly from his chest.
First day at the Atlantian Underwater Moon Academy, and he had already made his mark!
“Um, I like your name too, Princess Poppycock.” He turned ghastly white and winced as if shot by five harpoons. “Poodypop! I meant Poodypop!”
She laughed so forcefully her perfectly tailored red locks flopped over her radiant face. “You are soooo cute!!!”
Confidence restored, he wiped the sweat from his face and relaxed.
After classes, John accompanied the Princess along the Lunar Mare Tunnel, which ran the length of the sea floor, offering picturesque views of moonfish and the dreaded dragonfish of Tranquility Bay.
“So, how long have you been living here underwater on the moon?” Whew, he did it. An ENTIRE sentence! No gaffes! “Smooth, John, smooth!” he thought.
“Um, only a year or so, underwater. But I’ve lived on the moon for several years.”
“I’m originally from Mars,” he shrugged apologetically.
“Don’t worry,” she assured him, “I’m not one of those anti-Mars girls!”
Whew. Good. “Mars is too red,” he paused, and smacked himself in the head. “Frap. Not that there’s anything wrong with red, ‘cause your hair is red…”
“You are SO SILLY!” And with that, Princess Poodypop kissed him right on the lips. Overwhelmed with emotions surging through his body uncontrollably, he fainted.
When he awoke minutes later, her blurry face morphed into the picture of pristine beauty. His heart pounded as though it would smack her in the face any moment.
“I love you, Poppycock,” were the words that escaped his lips, and his brain, before he could do anything to stop them.
She blushed and laughed hysterically. “You are SOOOO SILLY!!!” And once again, a peck on the lips.
At that moment, he realized… he FINALLY had his first Atlantian girlfriend! He instantly conjured up visions of sailing the lunar mares together and deep-mare diving; riding the moonfish side-by-side and holding on tightly as they bucked twenty feet into the air and crashed back into the waves. Why, they could grab a sail barge and circumnavigate the moon, serenaded by a Jovian Chorus, solar wind in their hair….
Nothing else from that moment on mattered anymore. Not the Moon Wars. Not the scary dragonfish or moon dragons which hid in the craters. All he could think about was that SMILE and those lovely locks of red! Oh, and dimples!
John Pickypuss and Pricess Poodypop. Prince and Princess of the Moon. Forever and ever and ever!
An upwelling of energy surged along the red terrain. Lightning flashed across the sky, unleashing voluminous bursts of thunder echoing endlessly, wave after wave of rumble and reverberation. The ground swayed and quaked in rhythm to the rumble.
Particles of dust funneled into clouds of electrostatic matter, whipping charged streams of plasma into bolts of lightning. The roar was deafening. Hundreds of men huddled in the safety of cargo pods and waited for it to end.
Vagaries of weather entreated them to draconian examples of Martian nature. Though endlessly hostile, Mars was a better fate than death; than being imprisoned after losing the Moon Wars.
They still had weapons, men willing to fight, fuel, and the most advanced spaceships ever built. And they vowed revenge.
“Atlantians, prepare for battle! Future generations will long remember us, the Princes of Mars, and carry our fight beyond the stars! Atlantians! To your ships!”
Susurrations of the soul intensified with time. Music and rhythms waxed and waned and rounded thrice. Forms of consciousness swirled and cooled in spiritual broth, traversing the senses like petrichor and summer rain, vexing vainglories and self-servitude.
Surreal and serene, a Jovian chorus emanates from magnetized plasmatic fields, a bow-shock of Spirit and Cosmic Stream.
Like children castigated by karmic conscious strings, we focus and transcend locality beyond limits and time; Sine Qua Non for souls, inebriated hearts and maudlin moods and all things specious and sad.
We rise and then we fall, stardust-covered we breathe the morning light, immersed in photons, particulate waves of matter and energy, we breathe the incantation with each breath of life.
Transcendent we become. Bathed in splendiferous waves radiating from the sun, outward from the very fabric of God. Thus have we aspired to be, far beyond the meretricious makings of malicious-minded fools.
Vishnu turned Her all-seeing eye towards the Earth. It was time. She felt it in her being.
Her creation moaned and begged for its rebirth. The trees cried out. The roots rotted in the gloom and the grey. Violence prevailed. Death and destruction. The evil hearts of men and beast were infesting life with plagues of decay and woe.
Vishnu descended into the darkened realm and spoke the words.
The skies began to burn. Bursts of flame and soot ascended beyond the stratosphere and into the lower orbit. Pitch darkness consumed the living, the air choked from their lungs. Dying birds dropped from flight and rained upon the ground. The ground rolled like waves. The earth spit into two. Mountains exploded into fire and clouds of ash.
“I am Vishnu, Lord of creation. Fear my power. I am creator and destroyer of worlds.”
The last living human begged to stay alive. She was a child, sobbing, her soul was clean. Vishnu saw no sin in her.
“Take my hand, my child-god.”
The touch transformed the child into perfect health and form. She assumed the form and power of the Vishnu.
Doing this, Vishnu became a human child, innocent as snow and powerful in love. Rebirth and renewal. The cycle of life. Vishnu and child, one and the same.
The sky cleared, the smoke withdrew. The rivers began to flow.
The sea, once red, now green and blue. Radiant sunlight through the breeze, flowers and birds and nature sing.
“It is good. Love is free again. This pleases me.”
She felt her soft brown hair for the first time. It felt infinite and good. Light was everywhere, bright as the sun.
She drifted and danced in the sunshine. Petals fell.
She crossed the bridge, never looked back, and faded from view.
Beyond the reach of stars, beyond gravity and accepted laws of time; across the known cosmos and guided by the light of rainbows arching different worlds; the satyr sulked and leaped into the flame.
“The secret is protected.”
“The satyr knew, and is no more.”
“Why have you come?”
“The door beckons and begs me into being. I have looked into its eyes and heard it speak.”
“Machine men, zipping round, seductive, pulling millions and millions of Mah‘dor‘mon**…. They never rest nor never sleep, they search the Earth, go round and round. They will find you, my dearest, my darling dear, they will find my love and you will die.”
“How is that to be? I am older than the hill and longer than the tree of legend-length; older than the moon, more seasoned than the suns; my time is squared, though gained for loss; I fell before, I rose again, by righteous will I die no more.”
“Surrender. These creatures do not belong. We will not fight them. We must trust the bridge. We will not fight. We will not force. We are true. We are real. The great mystery is our strength. Cast your light into the door, the door will move. Your energy is in your light.”
“I will bend the cosmos. Press my light into the fabric and roll the galaxy into my palm and fly beyond the sun.”
The door, opening, revealed in truth: “Because it they, who never speak, though in their thoughts do dwell, they never, nor for nary ought, best to their thoughts do tell. And though through those, thrice they therewith, my quaking heart can’t quell, my mind for naught but wicked words, in propense-ed pain do spell.”
That is the secret of the stars.
**A type of canned stew
Peanuts. In a bowl. Ate. Allergy. Sick. Hospital.
Girlfriend. Visits hospital. “Sorry. Leaving you.”
Heartbroken. Sick. Want to die.
Nurse helps. Beautiful kind compassionate. Fall in love.
Girlfriend returns. Visits in hospital. Wants him back. Kisses him. Nurse walks in. Runs away.
Still sick, don’t care, chases nurse. Loves nurse. Leaves girlfriend in hospital.
Finds address. Rushes to nurse’s home. Nurse not home. Neighbors say gone to Rome.
Rushes to airport. Runs from cab. Huffing, puffing, out of breath.
Runs through security. Shots are fired. Shot in back.
Finds nurse at terminal. Kisses nurse. Loves nurse. Bleeding, dying, in her arms.
The gun goes off with the tintinnabulation of a thousand bells, sending my soul above my lifeless form and above the man with the .44, a man who looks surprisingly like Samuel L Jackson. The room, the light, the Earth, all dissolve as I’m pulled inexorably through transmigration, a sort of “Doctor Who” time-tunnel warp across the cosmos.
Despite reports to the contrary, it’s not the dying that kills you. It’s the after. The journey. The unknowing.
When you pass, they give you another body. I don’t know who they are, only that there’s two of them, and one of them looks like Don Knotts. I figured they assist the dead, assign them to their fate, which in my case would not appear to be the good place.
The cool thing is, with these new bodies, your brain becomes smarter than Einstein. You pretty much know everything. Such as the fact, oddly enough, that hell is apparently located somewhere on Titan. Not the worst place for hell to be, I suppose, until you realize exactly where they’re putting you.
Most are familiar with the notion of the Lake of Fire. Well, that’s where they’re taking me. Such a beautiful little world, Titan. A thin purple haze separates the atmosphere from deep space, the bright bursts of reflected light shimmers off Saturn in the distance, creating aurora-like displays, though the illumination is brief. Streaks of meteorites appear as candles, too numerous to count, across the sky. And from the depths of the lake, a lake of methane and ethane, clear as crystal, I will look upward and glimpse my only light, a tiny pin-prick in an endless night.
Falling, I drop like a cinder block to the very bottom, as if through thin air. The liquid permeates right through me, a cold so cold it burns like fire. And I curse the name Sam Jackson for putting me there. My mind cries out to God, begging for another chance. And for a moment, I return. The one like Don Knotts responds, in terms uncertain, that I blew my chance at the bar.
“Please,” I begged, “let me talk to God.”
“You just did,” he answered, and dropped me back down. My mind raced through the implications before the pain tore through my senses. Somehow, I couldn’t quite get my mind around the most astonishing fact of all.
Don Knotts is God.
At the center there are monsters, invisible, beyond the reach of everything, where light becomes dark. Hypocycloidal shapes surround the surface, along the edges of a chase that never ends. The pursuit pays a price, but a price at what cost, and to what possible end? How much is this one worth? Or that one?
“The hate of men will pass when dictators die and we possess their power.”
The power of the masses, flowing into form, a single power-mass far flung into the center where the monsters roam in shadow.
“Relax. Let it flow. You are the creator.”
“Is this real? Or just a ride?”
“Whatever you think it is, you can change it anytime. Don‘t be afraid.”
I hold my finger to the moon. I fix my gaze until the finger disappears. The ground begins to quake. Vertical potential surpasses downward pull, and I begin to fly.
Projections of a shadow world, inventions of morning light, breathed in, breathed out, footprints on worlds of oceans with fifteen billion suns. Stretched out, rolled up, ripped apart, and weather-worn; spaces of matter and twisted time, between two verses and ion shifts. The key to everything, a single photon, particles of energy turned into mass.
What is real there, really?
The mind sees, the brain detects; stimulations and time-dependent waves. An effect of cause, a focus, from one to two and on and on.
Recognizing, we see. Seeing, we believe. Touching, we feel. Thresholds surpassed, reset, surpassed again. The key to everything is nothing.
“What do you see?”
“The image of a face, a moment, the things you see?”
The palm of the hand, inside out, energy and time; the faster we go, the bigger we become, until we become all at once the zero and the one.