|science and philosophy alternatve medicine history and misc.|
|blog biography gallery pipedreams (title page/contents)|
In the town of Ketama, Hadji Baba led Christopher through a courtyard to a room. "Sit," he said. Chris waited. Not alone. Four figures draped in jelabaes like pyramids, their faces hidden in their hoods, kept him company. Nobody moved. After a time the Berber returned with a brass tray and mint-tea. He was no longer clothed in white, and he was no longer fat. He was many weights lighter and dressed in black. "Sy.id!" Chris exclaimed.
"Salome," said Sy.id with a flourish.
"Who are you?" Chris asked very seriously.
"A thing which is a little mystery is vaguely named. A thing which is a great mysterioso is called a thousand things. We cannot describe it," he gestured hopelessly. "We must know directly to know it at all."
"I don’t know where you’re coming from," said Chris.
The Berber picked up an empty glass from a mint-tea service and handed it to Christopher. "I want you to throw this glass. To toss it in the air so that you may catch it. Toss it high, near to, but not touching the ceiling."
Chris took the tumbler and tossed it as bidden. It spun end over end. Shards of light flecked from it. Time seemed to slow. The glass drifted upward like a spaceship, and melted, became no more than the lines of light reflected upon its surfaces, lines which as the tumbler turned appeared to shiver and flash…
A telex-like type print out appeared on the lenses of the apparatus he wore: "PROGRAM COMPLETE. UNIT PBB2 RETURN TO VEHICLE."
He turned. Fleeting reflections on an undefined wall caught his eye - an echoed image of the Berber? The red crystal ball, the gypsy’s crystal ball, falling? It will shat.shatter. Cat.sh…!"
"You are safe with my people," said Hadji. "We are Berbers: proverbial good fellows."
"It's a religious matter," Chris insisted. "The meditationals."
The Berber spoke to one of his colleagues. The latter showed Chris to a small room, a cell with a mat to sleep on.
Chris returned to the Berber to ask for some drinking
water to take up to his room and retired with a coke bottle full of well water.
He stood it just inside against the closed door to be a wet clattering wake-me
if disturbed. Little phantom misgivings teased Chris as he lay on his mat in the
dark in his patchwork cloak. "If anyone comes in I think I'd rather sleep through
it," thought our hero.