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The Phoenix’ cry had silenced Murmur and its ghosts to dust. Chris retrieved the flute knife and went over to inspect his friend Carlo. Carlo stood frozen like a statue covered in the powder of Murmur. (The Berber had deactivated the robot with the masterword "muckytubes".) Chris dusted down the robot, but had no idea how to restart him. He'd have to leave Carlo, to retrieve him later, and make it across the desert alone (except for the camels) alone behind a thousand miles and days and days, to think such thoughts as "I'm the bloody messiah! I am Jesus fucking Christ. And this is the second coming!" If this was true, what could it possibly mean? Christ! Chris searched his thoughts, chased them round as always. "I wonder, if say someone realised all their powers - telepathy, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, the lot - if through this I became God-like, entering the Kingdom (as it were)... if one could open the doors perhaps then lots and lots could follow him through." But what came through was a tumble of other thoughts. "I wonder were Ishtar is?" and "What will become of the Company now that the Berber's gone? Probably makes no difference at all. It didn't know of the Berber's existence, so why should it miss him now?"
Several days out into the sand seas, Chris became aware of certain inconsistencies. The sun suggested he should travel further to his left: the compass more to his right. Chris wasn't sure where the sun should be, so he put his faith in the gadget.
Meanwhile, twenty miles to the east, a strange wagon accompanied and paralleled Chris' passage. A large wooden platform, riding on a dozen tractor wheels, trundled through the desert drawn by a hundred camels. Trailing the wagon was a steam-boat paddle wheel which revolved as it was dragged forward through the sand. The turning paddle wheel in turn set whirling a large wire basket of copper wire. Above the paddle wheel was hung a large parabolic mirror. It was adjustable and could swing from left to right to focus on the sun. The mirror heated a boiler, which drove a generator, which sent a current coursing through the whirling wire-work basket. The whole thing was gigantic electromagnet.
At the front of the wagon, under a parasol, fanned by the turning basketwork behind, sat the Incompetent Evil Genius driving his hundred camels. At his right side stood a tall a periscope, its top disguised as a cactus. Through this the Incompetent Evil Genius monitored Chris Pasha's progress, keeping himself out of sight below the sand dunes, crossing their crests only when Pashanski was in a trough. The Incompetent Evil Genius' sun and camel driven magnet trolled along through the desert diverting Pasha's compass.
So it was that Chris Pasha came to Nguru on the Komadoga Yobe many hundreds of miles west of whereit’sat. Chris (on a camel) stood before a vast aggregation of bee-hive huts, a huge refugee camp replacing the old Nguru which civil-war and famines, drought and earthquake had destroyed. Christopher dismounted and led his camel into the town.
At the heart of the city of New Nguru the bee-hive huts formed a ring leaving in the centre a circle for a square. A group of the inhabitants was assembled there. Holding court between the tribal king and the witch-doctor sat an Indian holyman or "Sadhu". In one hand he held a lotus. In the other a chilum. Before the priestly busker a rice bowl sat begging filled with gold and trinkets. Round the "Guru" sat his disciples, young and old, listening with rapt attention to his eloquent silence, while several comely lasses ran hither and yoni peeling mangoes or bringing him gourds of milk and blood, or flowers of hemp to fill his chilum.
The Sadhu raised his chilum to salute Shiva. "Bombulay!" he shouted, and toked. Smoke rose. The Sadhu raised his chilum to salute the new arrival - "Bombulay!" - and toked again. He beckoned Chris to sit. He toked again and only then offered the chilum to Chris. Chris saluted the Sadhu, and then saluting Shiva (who is that aspect of the One which is its departing part) - "Bombulay!" - Chris toked and coughed on the hot leavings. Thumping his chest, touching his heart, he voiced his thanks, speaking now in English. "Ta," he said.
"I thought so," said the Sadhu. "Chris Pasha! Far out, man."
"San Francisco Pete?"
"Sh!" the Sadhu admonished. "The Maharupee San Franpee if you please. Too much hey? Yeah, let me explain..."
"I was waxing high in Katmandu, but I had to renew my visa, so I waned down to Dehli, and on the way I passed through Festerbad, near Bhanghigh, and there I ran into the Rajamagoonie’s mob. Man, that guy's too fucking much. He's got thirty million followers, man, and he's waxing. So like, I took the knowledge… and then I knew. It’s so simple. So I thought l’d get myself a gig. I went back up to Katmandu to gear up for the guru gig, you know like wandering in the wilderness, and there I hit a solstice or an equinox, conjunction, dig? I mean my stars were greased, cause I fell in with this amazing high being: I found THE Guru: a being who is so far fucking fantastic wide open and wet, it's a veritable orgasm. And we waxed up together to do this tour. Right now we’re meandering back State-side. Gonna set up a fleet of Ashrams in the New World, baby!"
The Maharupee San Fran Pee refilled his chilum.
"So, man, me and the Tsaq Guru’ ve been wandering back nice and easy, working out routines. Giving the odd holy gig here and there, like here for instance. Man, we are waxing all the time."
"The Tsaqque…" (this is a diminutive of Tsaq Guru and is pronounced "tsak-cue") "The Tsaqque decided to contemplate a while, so we've stayed here. Folks are just drooling. They're coming, man," said San Fran, patting one of his serving wenches on her nearest cheeks. "But wait man. Coast till you meet the Tsaq Gu. He is so high, man, it’s beautiful. It will melt your wax. Aaaauspicious baby!"
Then San Fran's brows knitted. "Hey man. But what brings you to this neck of the woods?"
Chris filled Pee in briefly. As he spoke several of the Maharupee's acolytes fell free from their orbits and gravitated towards him. San Fran Pee frowned. He interrupted Chris: "Hey man, just hey! Hold on a minute. Don't get me wrong man. I don't wanna go flaccid on you, but that's the Tsaq Guru's place your sitting in man. You're eclipsing us, man."
At this point, happily, a tinkling sound was heard and everyone who was standing around the square threw themselves to the ground, while those who were already sitting touched their brows to the earth - all but San Fran Pee, who winked at Chris. Into the square callumboled the Tsaq Guru, hairy and horned and festooned all over with silver bells and cowry shells.
Zak bounded over to Chris, grunted, licked his beard, and immediately began to pull Chris away, togging at his robe to indicate that they should travel.
"Hold on a minute, Zak." Chris turned back to the Maharupee, "Look. Zak seems anxious to start. We're going straight on to Roaratuni."
"Not Zak, man, please. The Guru," the Maharupee corrected. "Okay man. I'll look after the store. Wax on baby, and Fullness to you."