Another clueless, airhead model

Sunday, December 30, 2018

A Merry Mushroom Christmas!

All characters and events in this story may or may not be based on reality.

25 December 2018 # 14334

I’ve been tasked to write a story based on the thinnest of recollections of Christmas therefore, I started my own celebration of Jesus’ birth.  This story is a amalgamate of events which transpired on Christmas 2018.  It is not lost upon me that I, a 58-year old man is participating alone in a tradition made for celebrating with family and friends.  This is not meant to solicit pity.  My family stopped inviting me to Christmas parties only recently after nearly forty years of avoiding the invitation.  They’ll still pray for me to their dying days to keep me from going to hell.  

It took some effort to find the mushrooms.  A call made to a person who knew a person who knew a location to collect the fungi from cow pies outside Huntsville, TX.  I thought of this mushroom Christmas party too late to initiate a transaction from the Dark Web.  Too late to wait for funds to be deposited from my bank to the account of a digital currency exchange to an account with a TOR black market exchange where the vendor only accepted Bitcoins for purchase. 

Genus Psilocybe, species unknown. These could be any one of a several species in North America although the majority for sale are P. cubensis.  Might as well get into the spirit of the season I told Motorhead, my orange tabby cat.  He stopped licking his phantom testicles for a moment to look at me, the slave he’s tolerated for the last 12 years.  Othello, the deaf 17-year old Australian Shepard was oblivious on his mat.  Doobie, the black ninja assassin cat was not present. The Christmas tree substitute, Funastrum cynanchoides aka Ass Vine, grew entwined around a lattice in a 1-gallon pot on my desk. What is it that makes me inclined to cut the vine’s surface, smelling the putrid, exuding sap to confirm that it indeed smells like ass?

Ass Vine Christmas Tree


Christmas music! Must have Christmas music! What’s a Christmas without the endless drone of songs designed to keep adults in perpetual childlike subservience?  I gotta admit though, Handel’s Messiah does kick ass.  With songs setting the ambience I placed the mushrooms on a scale, weighing three grams.  Two grams more than my previous limit but fuck it, I wanted to see God or at least a reasonable facsimile.  I can’t speak for Islam or Judaism or any other of the World’s thousand other religions but I can say that even after a lifetime of atheism the Catholic church’s cultist brainwashing still retains a smidgen of hold on me.  Much like after seeing innumerable horror movies you have that inexplicable feeling there’s a monster waiting to disembowel you in the forest darkness no matter how silly the notion.  A final precaution: protecting my surgically replaced knee with a brace.

The taste of psilocybe mushrooms is horrid.  I liken it to eating a wet towel found in the bottom of a washer after two days.  I was prepared though, chopping and mixing the fungi with dairy-free coconut chocolate ice cream chased by a glass of orange juice. The latter a well-known urban myth or perhaps truth for enhancing the effects of the trip.  One more preparation: It’s a Wonderful Life playing on my computer screen.  A life-long favorite of mine, the movie is a microcosm of white Christian male exceptionalism in 1946 where women accepted their lot as baby ovens and people of color are so powerless that not even one was present in the background of Bedford Falls, Massachusetts. Still, it’s a great story of redemption and acceptance where you are so fucking important that if you didn’t exist the people you knew would live a life of loneliness, despair and unfulfilled ambitions.  

Depending on dosage and body mass the effects of magic mushrooms can begin anywhere from 30 minutes to 1.5 hours.  I can’t say exactly when my trip started, only that the first clue was Motorhead’s fur pouring off him in a cascading waterfall.  He stared at me, then called out in that disjointed meow of his.  This cat has been on the spectrum ever since he was found after riding in a car’s motor for 20 miles.  Hence the name.  

At this point the neocortex was partially shutting down, relinquishing most control to the ancient reptilian region of my brain.  I mimicked Motorhead’s meow, trying to decipher a cognitive language pattern.  There was an urgency to these actions as if I would never get another chance to understand him.  We continued this back and forth meow banter until he jumped from the bed to another room.  I followed, watching his fur flow onto the floor.  He walked towards his cat food on a small table to keep Othello from eating it.  I recognized his repeated meows as a sign he wanted me to see something.  In the past it was always a crippled insect, usually a grasshopper which was the extent of his hunting prowess.  I scanned the floor then focused on the body of a rodent under the table.  It was a rat, headless and eviscerated.   Offal radiated out from the body in haphazard directions. Ah! the ninja assassin cat left me an offering.  I picked up the rat.  Its dried entrails stretched from their adhered anchor point on the floor then snapped free around my hand.  Hand and rat swirled with a trail of visible echoes as I walked outside to thank Doobie. Leaving the door unlocked to do so was a tactical mistake as was evident when I missed my step off the threshold.  The rat flew from my hand into the night as I fell towards concrete. A lifetime of falls instinctively turned my body sideways to allow the upper arm take the brunt of it. Mostly.  Sharp bolts of pain in my bum knee felt rhythmic, a steady beat emanating then abruptly stopping as if I willed it to do so. I laid there for an indeterminate amount of time, raising my hand to touch intermittent rain drops.  Then panic as the drops coalesced into a white putty enveloping the arm towards my head.  I retained my composure, limping inside the house to the bedroom to watch the movie.  

I found it fascinating how George Bailey et al moved in concert with Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture but even more astounding was the bellowing of my farts during the cannon fire.  Apparently, the songs had shifted from Christmas music to my classical mp3 list and the ice cream’s fake sugars had energized my gut flora, producing one explosive fart after another.  After the music ended, I continued farting and giggling because it was background noise during the darkest moments when George had lost everything.  As George begged the angel to restore his previous life, I spied from my periphery a dark object at eye level from atop a book case.  It was Doobie. We locked in a Clint Eastwoodesque stare down until I was the first to break contact.  I returned my gaze, thanking him for the rat offering however, sensing another opportunity to communicate I asked him - Why?  He yawned a reply.  I repeated my question to no avail.  Then it dawned on me - it’s who he is!  For the rest of this cat’s existence he will follow and refine his genetic raison d’etre. He can’t change, no one can’t change their genetic destiny especially humans.  Is this what you are trying to tell me, Doobie?  That we think we are masters of our domain, raping and pillaging the earth but our existence is a blip in the grand timeline of this planet’s existence and our species will eventually succumb to the billion-year web of life and death?  Again, no reply.  

Doobie slunk off the bookcase onto the bed then the floor.  I followed him to the guest room, my eyes adjusting to the peyote grow-light as he jumped onto a bed to curl up cat fashion. Whatever the cat’s intentions they held onto their secrets after I left mushroom dimension.  

Saturday, December 01, 2018

The Knee Thus Far

 Day 1

The operation to completely replace my knee took about two hours.  I felt no pain afterward but that was due to the nerve blocking medication.  After day two I was reduced to Vicodin and a walker, unable to lift the leg at all.

No regrets. It was to the point where nothing was between my knee bones.  They were grinding together into dust.

 Day 7

With Connor, my stepson, gone I was on my own.  I had prepared meals in advance but found I needed more supplies.  My coworkers volunteered to help in whatever capacity and only once did I need help to purchase groceries thanks to David Sigafoose.  After that day I managed to drive to the store, work and rehab but it was still touch and go.  I can get around in the open with a cane but need a walker around the house. 

Day 10

The staples are out. The doctor said I was making excellent progress.  The risk of infection is almost nil by now.  

Sleep is fitful.  The rehab center puts me through basic leg lifting and stretches. After a week of therapy I am able to lift my leg.

Day 25:

The swelling is reduced to the knee region, making flexibility problematic.  To remedy this I hit the stationary bike at work, bending the knee as much as possible.  I am finished with rehab after realizing my day to day routine at work far exceeds what I get at the rehab facility.  It figures, people go in there after a day of senescence but I'm on my feet for hours as well as carrying, stooping and putting my knee in positions that ultimately make it stronger.  I'd say I'm at 60% power level which effectively leaves me drained by 1700.  For a time I needed 10 hours sleep to recoup. During the night I awake to ice the knee down then go back to sleep.  The process is repeated after work.  Meds are reduced to 95% and taken mostly after hours of pushing myself physically.  The background pain which has drained me physically and mentally is dramatically reduced from previous weeks.  There are times I don't notice it and times when I move instinctively without worrying where to place my leg.  Every day is incrementally better albeit still frustrating.  I remain positive I'll pass the fire physical fitness test in April but if now I'll keep trying.  I need to remember that a lot of physically disable folks never get better.

Keep Positive!!!

Sunday, November 25, 2018

An Alternate World Story

It’s always a crap shoot finding another reality’s version of Alohahawk, George, Lumpster and Ed.  This time stream was behind mine by three months but reading their blog posts would narrow down where they’ll be this day.  Pinpointing it to the hour is trickier.  Most times I can stalk them from a distance on the trail, then engage at a stopping point for the night.  They were on their way down from Emery Peak, making the 7800-foot ascent in 5 hours from the trailhead at Big Bend NP.  With full packs no less.   If I timed it right, they will spend the night at a communal site on the trail and it was not unusual for another hiker to be sharing it. Still healing from the knee replacement, I didn’t make the ascent rather, I waited for them to pass me as I hid amongst the madrones and mountain mahogany bushes. Staying an unobserved distance behind I waited till they stopped at a campsite then joined them within the hour.  A bag of good weed is the best icebreaker and after 37 trips it’s a no-shitter they’ll readily accept my invitation to smoke.  The weed puts them at ease, makes them more incline to accept the surreal and unexplained. That’s when I hit them with whom I am.  As always, they humor me at first but after ten minutes of answering questions no stranger could know they begin to settle down to a modicum of acceptance. In the earlier realities before I perfected my intervention, they would pack up immediately and move down to base camp.  I further settle them down by proving I had no weapons and sit where they have the advantage to overtake me.  

Alohahawk 37: Ratt, um I mean Rogue Botanist, you say you are from another reality?  The one where you survived being hit by that car in Austin? 

Rogue Botanist: Yeah, I only suffered a strained knee ligament which eventually led to a full knee replacement last year.  I’m still recovering from the operation and you can’t imagine what a bitch it feels like hiking up a mountain.  What happened right after I died?

Alohahawk 37: We attended your funeral with your family in Austin – Randy, Jersey, Martha and Sue, Boo and Jack and several others except Tripp.  He said he had an important test to study for.  That was the last straw. We all drifted apart from him after that.  I guess you’re not surprised.

Rogue Botanist: Not in the least.  

Alohahawk 37 stared intensely at me.  I saw the conflict in his face because of our shared friendship before I died in this reality. He tried to discern how I would look thirty-seven years after my death. My father’s genes had caught up with me by now, giving me a more bulbous nose and jowls. The balding genes are from my mother’s side of the family.
George 37: I still think you’re full of shit. Some psychopath who has nothing better to do then play mind-fuck games but you’ve broken up the routine of this hike so I’ll play along. Tell me then, how did you get here from your so-called alternate reality?

Rogue Botanist: Well, in my reality I survive the vehicle accident.  I got off the UT shuttle bus to walked in front of it.  That’s when I was distracted by what looked like a jagged light tearing into open air. I walked to it while ignoring a car that sped past the bust in my direction.  The driver hit the brakes just enough to hit the side of my leg and push me into the light.  I kept my balance but the light had disappeared.  Like an idiot I was more concern with seeing a movie then staying at the accident scene.  Throughout the years there were random times when the arm which touched the light would glow slightly and that same jagged light appeared for second or so.  I never told anyone because it’s crazy talk.  Eventually I joined the Marines and became a botanist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service on a refuge complex by the Texas coast.  The refuge is a mix of coastal prairies and bottomland forests.  The forests are my favorite place to get away for the day especially in the spring when heat and humidity are still low.  Only employees and researchers are allowed in most of the bottomlands due to the remoteness and dangerous wildlife.  I like the solitude to think and botanize and usually the only man-made sound I hear is an aircraft.  I was making my way up a dry slough when I saw that light in front of me.  This time it was larger, like a door about ten by six feet wide.  I didn’t see the other side of the slough through it, just some weird cascading lights, like large rain drops.  By this time, I was more curious than freaked-out. This had to be a doorway to another world so I walked through it.  Inside, those lights flickered around amorphous doors which displayed exact copies of the slough on the other side of them.  I picked one but stopped short because I might not find my way back.  My day pack of survival essentials had a 100 foot of parachute cord.  I tied it to an oak tree on the slough bank and let out the remainder as I walked back into the portal staging area and through a door. That’s when my leg started dissolving.  It hurt like a motherfucker but reformed when I pulled it back.

Ed 37: Makes sense.  From what I know about the paradox of realities there can’t be two version of the same person occupying the same place.  It would rip the fabric of time and you to shreds. 

Rogue Botanist: Exactly as I thought so I tried another door but was careful in case of another cellular disruption.  After the fifth of sixth time I passed through into a reality that didn’t destroy me.  Nothing suggested the habitat around me was any different.  I tied off the parachute cord to another oak and walked out of the slough into the forest.  I didn’t go far because if I didn’t exist here then that meant there was no Fish and Wildlife employee called Rogue Botanist. I also had no means to get very far in that reality.  I needed a plan so I followed the cord back into the portal between worlds and back into my own reality.

Lumpster 37:  How long ago was that?

Rogue Botanist: About October 2016 but I entered your reality 7 days ago on March 3 my time.  Since its January here that makes me a visitor from the future. That’s not always the case though.  Sometimes realities are ahead of mine but after 37 trips it has never been more than about a year and two months, future or past.  It took a while but I’ve got it down to travel in alternate realities where I don’t disintegrate and I’ve made a few observations along the way.  Substances that are not alive don’t dissolve when I carry them over.  For example, money and clothes and cell phones.  They must lack enough quantum charge inside them to disrupt the fabric of reality. This was confirmed when I tried to bring over a sapling in a pot and ants.  They dissolved immediately.  It also seems all realities are synced up, give or take.  The same events here have occurred thus far in all realities I’ve encountered.  Same disasters, same news, same shit head President Trump. All my siblings and friends and even my ex-wife is doing the same thing, mostly.  By that I mean even though they are richer or poorer or in a different job they have the same morals and values, same health and end up with the same partner or spouse or alone.  I think at the Big Bang a nearly infinite number of universes were born at the same time with the same quantum destiny infused into their sub-atomic matrix.  They each expanded out along in their own time streams at the same speed.  The differences in the time line for each universe is because they’ve encountered some force which slowed some down if for a quintillionth of a second.  Who knows, maybe it was a black hole?  After 15 billion or more years of existence any tiny discrepancy in time adds up.  

George 37: Wait a fucking minute!  Every universe has the same outcome for each person?  No one of us in any of the gazillions of alternate universes could be billionaires or president or married to Scarlett Johansson? We are destined to live out the same destiny in every time stream?

Rogue Botanist:  So far, yes.  No offense but people like you and me are destined to not make a piss-ant change in the direction mankind is going.  Please pass the joint.

Alohahawk 37: Then why did you die in other realities if you were destined to live in yours?

Rogue Botanist: Good question.  I’m not sure but I’ve got a theory. I think I was present at the right time when the time streams of universes collided at the sub-atomic level, causing a tear in their realities.  In some realities I should have come away from that accident with only a damaged knee.  In others, time stopped for a split-second to alter that car’s speed with deadly results.  That might explain why I can’t enter every universe because the alternate Rogue Botanist survived in them. When I bumped into that light some of it infused into my body.  I think that made me a conduit to the portal between other doors.  Although the portal may be stable now it is still random but luckily, I’m retired and have the means to travel at a moment’s notice when it appears. 

Ed 37: I’m have to ask, did you come here to say one of us or someone close to us is going to die?  

Rogue Botanist: No.  All of you go about your lives in a fairly predictable and safe manner for at least another 3 months. Remember, I can only see what happens up to one and half years in some realities.  I should warn you Ed though to not give diamond earrings to your wife for y’alls anniversary.  From what I’ve read she is entering a minimalist phase in her life and you will be a hero when you substitute that present for a trip with her to Vancouver.  I recommend the VanDusen Botanical Gardens when you’re there.

Ed 37.  What the fuck?!!? How did you about the present?  This is blowing my mind, but thanks anyway!  

Alohahawk 37:   So, I guess, aside from natural curiosity you travel alternate realities to blow peoples’ mind for the fuck of it?

Rogue Botanist: In a way, yes but also, I want to see if I can make life a little better for people who are alternates to the ones I’ve known in my world.  I’ve accumulated a substantial amount of money from knowing what sport teams to bet on, what stocks to invest in or when a crypto-coin will skyrocket in value. On my way to the door I’ll leave enough money for my alternate family to care properly for my mentally ill brother for the rest of his life.  Maybe that’s playing God but at least I’m not a douche bag god that brings joy while killing thousands of people with a virus or tsunami.  Then again, if I’m right everyone I know everyone will live about the same way as their atoms were destined to live from 15 billion years ago.  No matter what I do.

George 37: What if the door is not there when you get back to it? What then?

Rogue Botanist: That’s the risk I take.  Instead of a parachute cord I now use 10-gauge cable with a carabiner.  In reality No. 14 the cord was eaten down to one thread after a rodent tore into it for nesting material.  Even though I take financial advantage of realities which are ahead of mine there’s always that unknown future.  I don’t know if I will die again in this reality or the door will disappear.  I’ve found the doors in all realities decrease in size within about three weeks.  In reality No. 23 it shrunk down to around the cable’s diameter.  Fortunately, I was able to expand the entrance with my hands to get inside.  From now on I limit my visits to ten days to cover my ass. 

Lumpster 37: Is it like Schrodinger’s cat between the portals?  

Rogue Botanist: Aw, another good question!  Like the cat I am in a superposition of states, neither entering or exiting.  I figured this out when I scratched myself pretty good before leaving reality No. 11.  At that time, I had planned ahead to stay in between portals with provisions to last two days. I noticed the scratch didn’t heal or become infected.  It was in stasis until I entered my reality. I also noticed I didn’t feel hunger or any pain.  I think I can live forever in between worlds.

Dusk had fallen on the Chisos Mountains. Alohahawk 37 turned on his micro lantern, illuminating the group as they sat in silence for a few moments.  The visitor brought conflict to each No. 37.  None of them were pious men but darkness brings out primal superstitions nevertheless. Was this a test of faith or is the universe or universes beyond any person’s puny comprehension?  Rogue Botanist broke the silence

Hey Alohahawk, how’s Sue?

Alohahawk 37: Oh, you know, spin classes and Zuma.  Same old, same old. Just like she was destined.  

The group chortled.  

Rogue Botanist (looking at Ed): And Karen and the kids?

Ed 37: Doing good.  Pretty happy with life and me. Just so you know, if I ever see you near my wife and daughters, I would beat you within an inch of your life. 

The others echoed that warning.

Rogue Botanist: Understood.  Besides, I’m not coming back because no door has an identifying marker.  When I leave this world, the odds are infinitesimal against finding it again.

George 37: I gotta say Rogue Botanist, before I met you, I had occasional thoughts of what life would be like if I had made different decisions.  Would I be single now or married to another woman?  Maybe the best gift you’re leaving us is even if we don’t control our destinies it all turned out like we wanted anyway.  

Rogue Botanist: Good to hear.  Listen, I think I should move on down to basecamp.  I’ve laid some heavy shit on you all and if you are like the previous 36 you won’t get any sleep tonight if I stay in the area.

Alohahawk 37: Wait.  We may not be the masters of our destinies but in this reality, you stay the night and we’ll sleep just fine.  Would you guys agree that our livers won’t end up in a plate of fava beans and eggs in the morning?  

Ed and George and Lumpster nodded. 

Rogue Botanist: Okay, then I’ll have one more drag and sleep under the stars. 

In the morning I was gone, leaving behind a waterproof envelope containing a letter with 4 lines of six numbers separated by comas with dates from February through March:

To All:
I had to leave early because I “know” I will encounter delays that could make it a little too close for comfort to reach the portal.  Thanks for “shaking up” the monotony of this reality.  I didn’t see it coming when you let me stay overnight.  The line of numbers are for each of you.  Their dates correspond to the winning Texas state lottery tickets within the next three months.

Enjoy life – Rogue Botanist.