ILLUMINATI PROJECT: MEMO #19
I wish you would explain to me how your interest in the numbers 5 and 23 fit in with this Illuminati project.
This is all I've been able to unearth so far on the number mystery, and I hope you find it enlightening. It's from a book of mathematical and logical paradoxes: How to Torture Your Mind, edited by Ralph L. Woods, Funk and Wagnalls, New York, 1969, page 128.
2 and 3 are even and odd;
2 and 3 are 5;
Therefore, 5 is both even and odd.
The damned book, by the way, provides no solutions to the paradoxes. I could sense the fallacy in that one right away, but it took me hours (and a headache) before I could state it in precise words. Hope this helps you. Anyway, for me, it was a relief from the really frightening stuff I've been tracking down lately.
There were two further memos in the box, on different stationeries and by different typewriters. The first was brief:
I am seriously concerned about Pat's absence from the office, and the fact that she doesn't answer the phone when we call her. Would you send somebody to her apartment to talk to the landlord and try to find out what has happened to her?
Joe Malik Editor
The last memo was the oldest in the lot and already yellowing at the edges. It said:
Dear Mr. "Mallory:"
The information and books, you requested are enclosed, at length. In case you are rushed, here is a quick summary.
1. Billy Graham was in Australia, making public appearances all through last week. There is no way he could have gotten to Chicago.
2. Satanism and witchcraft both still exist in the modern world. The two are often confused by orthodox Christian writers, but objective observers agree that there is a difference. Satanism is a Christian heresy- the ultimate heresy, one might say- but witchcraft is pre-Christian in origin and has nothing to do with the Christian God or the Christian Devil. The witches worship a goddess called Dana or Tana (who goes back to the Stone Age probably).
3. The John Dillinger Died For You Society has its headquarters in Mad Dog, Texas, but was founded in Austin, Texas several years ago. It's some kind of poker-faced joke and is affiliated with the Bavarian Illuminati, another bizarre bunch at the Berkeley campus of the University of California. The Illuminati pretend to be a cabal of conspirators who run the whole world behind the scenes. If you suspect either of these groups of being involved in something sinister, you have probably just fallen for one of their put-ons.
"So this thing was already linked to Mad Dog several years ago," Saul said thoughtfully. "And Malik was already assuming an alternative identity, since the letter is obviously addressed to him. And, also as I've begun to suspect as we read this stuff, the Illuminati have their own brand of humor."
"Deduce me one more deduction," Barney said. "Who the hell is this W.H.?"
"People have been asking that for three hundred years," Saul said absently.
"I'm being whimsical. Shakespeare's sonnets are dedicated to a Mr. W.H., but I don't think we have to worry that this is the same one. This case is as nutty as a-squirrel's dinner, but I don't really think it's that nutty." He added, "We can be grateful for one thing at least: the Illuminati doesn't really run the world. They're just trying."
Barney frowned, perplexed. "How did you make that one?"
"Simple. Same way I know they're a right-wing organization, not left-wing."
"We're not all geniuses," Barney said. "Take it a step at a time, will you?"
"How many contradictions did you spot in these memos? I counted thirteen. This researcher, Pat, saw it, too: the evidence is deliberately warped and twisted. All of it- not just that East Village Other chart- is a mixture of fact and fiction." Saul lit his pipe and settled back in his chair (in 1921, reading Arthur Conan Doyle, he first began playing these scenes, in imagination).
"In the first place, either the Illuminati want publicity or they don't. If they control everything, and want publicity, they'd be on billboards more often than Coca-Cola and on TV more often than Lucille Ball. On the other hand, if they control everything, and don't want publicity, none of these magazines and books would have survived- they would have disappeared from libraries, book stores and publisher's warehouses. This researcher, Pat, never would have found them.
"In the second place, if you want to recruit people into a conspiracy, besides idealism and whatever other noble motives you might exploit in them, you would always exploit hope. You would exaggerate the size and power of the conspiracy, because most people want to join the winning side. Therefore, all assertions about the actual strength of the Illuminati should be regarded, a fortiori, as suspect, like the voters' polls released by candidates before elections.
"Finally, it always pays to frighten the opposition. Therefore a conspiracy will exhibit the same behavior that ethnologists have observed in animals under attack: it will puff itself up and try to look bigger. In short, potential or actual recruits and potential and actual enemies will both be given the same false impression: that the Illuminati is twice, or ten times, or a hundred times, its actual size. This is logical, but my first point was empirical- the memos do exist- and therefore logic and empiricism confirm each other: the Illuminati are not able to control everything. What then? They've been around a long time and they are as tireless as the Russian mathematician who worked out pi to the one-thousandth place. The probability, then, is that they control some things and influence a hell of a lot more. This probability increases as you think back over the memos. The two chief Arabic branches- the Hashishim and the Roshinaya- were both wiped out; the Italian Illuminati were 'crushed' in 1507; Weishaupt's order was suppressed by the Bavarian government in 1785; and so forth. If they were behind the French Revolution, they influenced rather than controlled, because Napoleon undid everything the Jacobins started. That they had a hand in both Soviet Communism and German Fascism is plausible, considering the many similarities between the two; but if they controlled both, why did the two take opposite sides in the Second World War? And, if they ran both the Federalist party, through Washington, and the Democratic Republicans, through Jefferson, what was the purpose of the Aaron Burr counterrevolution, which they are also supposed to be behind? The picture I get is not a grand Puppet Master moving everybody on invisible strings, but some sort of million-armed octopus -a millepus, let's call it- constantly reaching out tentacles, and often drawing back nothing but a bloody stump, crying, 'Foiled again!'
"But the millepus is very busy and quite resourceful. If it controlled the planet, it could choose either operating in the open or retaining secrecy, but since it doesn't have that omnipotence yet, it must choose to be as anonymous as possible. Therefore, many of its tentacles will be probing around in the areas of publication and communications. It wants to know when somebody is investigating it or getting ready to publicize an investigation he has already completed. Finding such a person, it then has two choices: kill him or neutralize him. Killing may be resorted to in certain emergencies, but will be avoided when possible: you never know when a person of that sort has stashed extra copies of his documents in various unexpected places to be released in the event of his death. Neutralization is best, almost always."
Saul paused to relight his pipe, and Muldoon thought, The most unrealistic aspect of Doyle's stories is Watson's admiration at these moments. I'm just irritated, because he makes me feel like a chump for not seeing it myself. "Go ahead," he said gruffly, saving his own deductions until Saul was finished.
"The best form of neutralization is recruitment, of course. But any crude and hurried effort at recruitment is known as 'taking your pants down" in the espionage business because it makes you more vulnerable. The safest approach is gradual recruitment, disguised as something else. The best disguise, of course, is the pretense of helping the subject in his investigation. This also opens the second, and preferable, option, which is leading him on a wild goose chase. Sending him looking for Illuminati in organizations which they have never really infiltrated. Feeding him balderdash like that stuff about the Illuminati coming from the planet Vulcan or being descended from Eve and the Serpent. Best of all, though, is telling him the purpose of the conspiracy is something other than it actually is, especially if the story you sell him is in keeping with his own ideals, since this can then shade over into recruitment.
"Now, the sources this Pat unearthed mostly seem to come to one of two conclusions: the Illuminati doesn't exist anymore, or the Illuminati is virtually identical with Russian Communism. The first I reject because Malik and Pat have both disappeared and two buildings, one here in New York and one way down in Mad Dog, have been bombed in a series palpably linked with an investigation of the Illuminati. You've already accepted that, but the next step is just as obvious. If the Illuminati tries to distort whatever publicity cannot be avoided, then we should look at the idea that the Illuminati is communist-oriented as skeptically as we look at the idea that they don't even exist.
"So, let's look at the opposite hypothesis. Could the Illuminati be a far-right or fascist group? Well, if Malik's information was in any way accurate, they seem to have some kind of special headquarters or central office in Mad Dog- and that's Ku Klux and God's Lightning territory. Also, whatever their history before Adam Weishaupt, they seem to have gone through some reformation and revitalization under his leadership. He was a German and an ex-Catholic, just like Hitler. One of his Illuminated Lodges survived long enough to recruit Hitler in 1923, according to a memo that might be the most accurate one in the lot for all we know. Considering the proclivities of the German character, Weishaupt could likely be an anti-Semite. Most historians I've read on Nazi Germany agree to at least the possibility that there was a 'secret doctrine' which only the top Nazis shared among themselves and didn't tell the rest of the party. That doctrine might be pure Illuminism. Take up the many links between Illuminism and Freemasonry, and the known anti-Catholicism of the Masonic movement- add in the fact that ex-Catholics are frequently bitter against the church, and both Weishaupt and Hitler were ex-Catholics-and we get a hypothetical anti-Jewish, anti-Catholic, semi-mystical doctrine that
would sell equally well in Germany and in parts of America. Finally, while some left-extremists might want to kill the Kennedys and Reverend King, all three were more likely targets for right-wingers; and the Kennedys would be especially abhorrent to anti-Catholic rightists.
"A last point," Saul said. "Consider the left-wing orientation of Confrontation, The editor, Malik, would probably not give much credence to most of the sources quoted in the memos, since the majority are from rightist publications, and most of them allege that the Illuminati is a leftist plot. His most probable reaction would be to dismiss this as another right-wing paranoia, unless he had other sources besides his own Research Department. Notice how cagey he is. He doesn't tell his associate editor, Peter Jackson, anything about the Illuminati itself- just that he wants a new investigation of the last decade's assassinations. The bottom memo is so old and yellow it suggests he got his first clue several years ago, but didn't act. Pat asks him why he's hiding all this from the reporter, George Dorn. Finally, he disappears. He was getting information from some place else, and it revealed a plot he could believe in and really fear. That would probably be a Fascist plot, anti-Catholic, anti-Jewish and anti-Negro."
Muldoon grinned. For once I don't have to play Watson, he thought. "Brilliant," he said. "You never cease to amaze me, Saul. Would you glance at this, though, and tell me how it fits in?" He handed over a piece of paper. "I found it in a book on Malik's bedside table."
The paper was a brief scrawl in the same handwriting as the occasional jottings on the bottoms of Pat's memos:
Pres. Garfield, killed by Charles Guiteau, a Roman Catholic. Pres. McKinley, ditto by Leon Czolgosz, a Roman Catholic. Pres. Theodore Roosevelt, attempted assassination by John Shrank, a Roman Catholic. Pres. Franklin Roosevelt, attempted assassination by Giuseppe Zangara, a Roman Catholic. Pres. Harry Truman, attempted assassination by Griselio Torresola and Oscar Collazo, two Roman Catholics. Pres. Woodrow Wilson, somewhat mysterious death while tended by a Roman Catholic nurse. Pres. Warren Harding, another mysterious death (one rumor: it was suicide), also attended by a Catholic nurse. Pres. John Kennedy, assassination inadequately explained. Head of CIA then was John McCone, a Roman Catholic, who helped write the inconclusive and contradictory Warren Report.
(House of Representatives, March 1, 1964-five Congressmen wounded by Lebron-Miranda-Codero-Rod-riguez assassination squad, all Roman Catholics.)
When Saul looked up, Barney said pleasantly, "I found it in a book, like I said. The book was Rome's Responsibility for the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln by General Thomas M. Harris. Harris points out that John Wilkes Booth, the Suratt family, and all the other conspirators were Catholics, and argues they are acting under orders from the Jesuits." Barney paused to enjoy Saul's expression and went on, "It occurs to me that, using your principle that most of the memos are full of false leads, we might question the idea that the Illuminati uses the Masons as a front to gather recruits. They would probably need some similar organization, though- one that exists all over the world, has mysterious rites and secrets, inner orders to which a select few are recruited, and a pyramidal authoritarian structure compelling everybody to take commands from above whether they understand them or not. One such organization is the Roman Catholic church."
Saul picked up his pipe from the floor. He didn't seem to remember having dropped it. "My turn to say, 'brilliant,' " he murmured finally. "Are you going to stop going to Mass on Sunday? Do you really believe it?"
Muldoon laughed. "After twenty years," he said, "I finally did it. I got one jump ahead of you. Saul, you were standing face-to-face with the truth, eyeball-to-eyeball, nose-to-nose, mouth-to-mouth- but you were so close that your eyes crossed and you saw it backward. No, it's not the Catholic church. You made a good guess in saying it was anti-Catholic as well as anti-Jewish and anti-Negro. But it's inside the Catholic church and always has been. In fact, the church's efforts to root it out have given Holy Mother Rome a very unfortunate reputation for paranoia and hysteria. Its agents make a special effort to enter the priesthood, in order to obtain holy objects for use in their own bizarre rites. They also try to rise as high in the church as they can, to destroy it from within. Many times they have recruited and corrupted whole parishes, whole orders of clergy, even whole provinces. They probably got to Weishaupt when he was still a Jesuit- they've infiltrated that order several times in history and the Dominicans even more. If caught in criminal acts, they make sure that their cover Catholicism, and not their true faith, is publicized, just like this list of assassins. Their God is called the Light-Bearer and that's probably where the word 'illumination' comes from. And Malik asked about them a long time ago and was told by this W.H., quite correctly, that they still exist. I'm talking about the Satanists, of course."
"Of course," Saul repeated softly, "of course. That pentagon that keeps popping up- it's the middle of the pentacle for summoning the Devil. Fascism is only their political facet. Basically, they're a theology- or an anti-theology, I guess. But what in hell- literally in hell- is their ultimate objective, then?"
"Don't ask me," Barney shrugged. "I can follow my brother when he talks about the history of Satanism, but not when he tries to explain its motivations. He uses technical theological terms about 'immanentizing the Eschaton,' but all I can understand is that it has something to do with bringing on the end of the world."
Saul turned ashen. "Barney," he cried, "my God. Fernando Poo!"
"But that was settled-"
"That's just it. Their usual technique of the false front. The real threat is coming from somewhere else, and they mean to do it this time."
Muldoon shook his head. "But they must be crazy!"
"Everybody is crazy," Saul said patiently, "if you don't understand his motives." He held up his tie. "Imagine you arrive in a flying saucer from Mars- or from Vulcan, like the Illuminati did according to one of our allegedly reliable sources. You see me get up this morning and for no clear reason wrap this cloth around my neck, in spite of the heat. What explanation can you think of? I'm a fetishist- a nut, in other words. Most human behavior is that sort, not oriented to survival but some symbol-system that people believe in. Long hair, short hair, fish on Friday, no pork, rising when the judge enters the room- all symbols, symbols, symbols. Sure the Illuminati are crazy, from our point of view. From their point of view, we're crazy. If we can find out what they believe, what their symbols mean to them, we'll understand why they want to kill most of the rest of us, or all of the rest of us. Barney, call your brother. Get him out of bed. I want to find out more about Satanism."
("The devil!" the President shouted on March 27. "Nuclear war over an insignificant place like Fernando Poo? You must be mental. The American people are tired of our army policing the whole world. Let Equatorial Guinea fish its own nuts out of the troubled waters, or whatever that expression is." "Wait," said the Director of the CIA, "let me show you these aerial photographs…")
Back at the Watergate, G. Gordon Liddy carefully aims his pistol and shoots out the streetlight: in memory, he is in an old castle at Millbrook, New York, eagerly searching for naked women and not finding any. Beside him Professor Timothy Leary is saying with maddening serenity, "But science is the most ecstatic kick of all. The intelligence of the galaxy is revealed in every atom, every gene, every cell." We'll get him back, Liddy thinks savagely, if we have to assassinate the whole Swiss government. That man is not going to remain free. Beside him, Bernard Barker shifts nervously as in right-angular time a future president metamorphoses the plumbers into the cesspool cleaners: but now, inside the Watergate, the Illuminati bug is unnoticed by those planting the CREEP bug, although both were subsequently found by the technicians installing the BUGGER bug. "It's the same Intelligence, making endlessly meaningful patterns," Dr. Leary goes on enthusiastically. ("Here, kitty-kitty," Hagbard repeats for the 109th time.)
"The devil?" Father James Augustine Muldoon repeated. "Well, that's a very complicated story. Do you want me to go all the way back to Gnosticism?"
Saul, listening on the extension phone, nodded a vigorous affirmative.
"Go as far back as you have to," Barney said. "This is a complicated matter we're trying to untangle here."
"OK, I'll try to remember you're not in my theology class at Fordham and keep this as brief as I can." The priest's voice faded, then came back- probably he was shifting the phone as he got out of bed and moved to a chair, Saul guessed.
"There were many approaches to Gnosticism," the voice went on in a moment, "all of them centered on gnosis-direct experience of God- as distinguished from mere knowledge about God. The search for gnosis, or illumination as it was sometimes called, took many odd forms, some of them probably similar to Oriental yogas and some of them using the very same drugs that modern rebels against the slow path of orthodox religion have rediscovered. Naturally, with such a variety of paths to gnosis, different pilots would land at different ports, each insisting he had found the real New Jerusalem. Mystics are all a bit funny in the head anyway," the priest added cynically, "which is why the church locks them all up in mental hospitals and euphemistically calls these institutions monasteries. But I digress.
"What you're interested in, I guess, is Cainism and Manicheanisra. The former regarded Cain as a specially holy figure because he was the first murderer. You have to be a mystic yourself to understand that kind of logic. The notion was that, by bringing murder into the world, Cain created an opportunity for people to renounce murder. But, then, other Cainites went further- paradox always seems to breed more paradox and heresy creates more heresy- and ended up glorifying murder, along with all the other sins. The credo was that you should commit every sin possible, just to give yourself a chance to win a really difficult redemption after repenting. Also, it gave God a chance to be especially generous when He forgave you. Related ideas popped up in Tantric Buddhism about the same time, and it's a great historical mystery which group of lunatics, East or West, was influencing the other. Does any of this help you so far?"
"A bit," Barney said.
"About this gnosis," Saul asked, "is it the orthodox theological position that the illuminations or visions were actually coming from the Devil and not from God?"
"Yes. That's where Manicheanism enters the picture," Father Muldoon said. "The Manicheans made exactly the same charge against the orthodox church. According to their way of looking at it, the God of orthodox Christianity and orthodox Judaism, was the Devil. The god they contacted through their own peculiar rites was the real god. This, of course, is still the teaching of Satanists today."
"And," Saul asked, begining to intuit what the answer would be, "what has all this to do with atomic energy?"
"With atomic energy? Nothing at all…at least, nothing that I can see…"
"Why is Satan called the light-bringer?" Saul plunged on, convinced he was on the right track.
"The Manicheans reject the physical universe," the priest said slowly. "They say that the true god, their god, would never lower himself to mess around with matter. The God who created the world- our God, Jehovah- they call panurgia, which has the connotations of a kind of blind, stupid blundering force rather than a truly intelligent being. The realm which their god inhabits is pure spirit of pure light. Hence, he is called the light-bringer, and this universe is always called the realm of darkness. But they didn't know about atomic energy in those days- did they?" The last sentence had started as a statement and ended as a question.
"That's what I'm wondering," Saul said. "Atomic power releases a lot of light, doesn't it? And it sure would immanentize the Eschaton if enough atomic power was unleashed at once, wouldn't it?"
"Fernando Poo!" the priest exclaimed. "Is this connected with Fernando Poo?"
"I'm beginning to think so," Saul said. "I'm also beginning to think we've stayed in one place a long time, using a phone that is almost certainly tapped. We better get moving. Thanks, Father."
"You're quite welcome, although I'm sure I don't know what you're getting at," the priest said. "If you think Satanists control the United States government a few priests would agree with you, especially the Berrigan brothers, but I don't see how this can be a police matter. Does the New York Police Department now maintain a bureau of holy inquisitions?"
"Don't mind him," Barney said softly. "He's very cynical about dogma, like most clergymen these days."
"I heard that," the priest said. "I may be cynical but I really don't think Satanism is a joking matter. And your friend's theory is very plausible, in its way. After all, the Satanist's motive in infiltrating the church, in the old days, was to disgrace the institution thought to represent God on earth. Now that the United States government makes the same claim, well. That may be a joke or a paradox on my part, but it's the way their minds work, too. I am a professional cynic -a theologian must be, these days, if he isn't going to seem a total fool to young people with their skeptical minds- but I'm orthodox, or downright reactionary, about the Inquisitions. I've read all the rationalist historians, of course, and there was certainly an element of hysteria in the church in those days, but, still, Satanism is not any less frightening than cancer or plague. It is totally inimical to human life and, in fact, to all life. The church had good reasons to be afraid of it. Just as people who are old enough to remember have good reasons to be panicky at any hint of a revival of Hitlerism."
Saul thought of the cryptic, evasive phrases in Eliphas Levy: "the monstrous gnosis of Manes… the cultus of material fire…" And, nearly ten years ago, the hippies gathered at the Pentagon, hanging flowers on the M.P.'s rifles, chanting "Out, demon, out!"… Hiroshima… the White Light of the Void…
"Wait," Saul said. "Is there more to it than just ideas about killing? Isn't killing a mystical experience to the Satanists?"
"Of course," the priest replied. "That's the whole point- they want gnosis, personal experience, not dogma, which is somebody else's word. Rationalists are always attacking dogma for causing fanaticism, but the worst fanatics start from gnosis. Modern psychologists are just beginning to understand some of this. You know how people in explosive group-therapy sessions talk about sudden bursts of energy occurring in the whole group at once? One can get the same effect with dancing and drum-beating; that's what is called a 'primitive' religion. Use drugs, nowadays, and you're a hippie. Do it with sex, and you're a witch, or one of the Knights Templar. Mass participation in an animal sacrifice has the same effect. Human sacrifice has been used in many religions, including the Aztec cult everybody has heard about, as well as in Satanism. Modern psychologists say that the force released is Freud's libidinal energy. Mystics call it prajna or the Astral Light. Whatever it is, human sacrifice seems to release more of it than sex or drugs or dancing or drum-beating or any less violent method and mass human sacrifice unleashes a ton of it. Now do you understand why I fear Satanism and half apologize for the Inquisition?"
"Yes," Saul said absently, "and I'm beginning to share your fear…" A song he hated was pounding inside his skull: Wenn das Judenblut vom Messer spritz…
He realized that he was holding the phone and seeing scenes forty years ago in another country. He jerked himself back to attention as Muldoon thanked his brother again and hung up. Saul raised his eyes and the two detectives exchanged glances of mutual dread.
After a long pause, Muldoon said, "We can't trust anybody with this. We can hardly even trust each other."
Before Saul could answer the phone rang. It was Danny Pricefixer at headquarters. "Bad news. There was only one girl in research at Confrontation named Pat. Patricia Walsh to be exact, and-"
"I know," Saul said wearily, "she's disappeared, too."
"What are you going to do now? The FBI is still raising hell and demanding to know where you two are and the Commissioner is having the shits, the fits, and the blind staggers."
'Tell them," Saul said succinctly "that we've disappeared." He hung up carefully and began stuffing the memos back into the box.
"What now?" Muldoon asked.
"We go underground. And we stick to this until we crack it or it kills us."
("How long is this motherfucker?" George asked, gesturing at the Danube six stories below. He and Stella were in their room at the Donau Hotel.
"You won't believe me," Stella replied, smiling. "It's exactly one thousand seven hundred and seventy-six miles in length. One-seven-seven-six, George."
"The same as the date Weishaupt revived the Illuminati?"
"Exactly." Stella grinned. "We keep telling you. Synchronicity is as universal as gravity. When you start looking you find it everywhere.")
"Here's the money," Banana-Nose Maldonado said generously, opening a briefcase full of crisp new bills. (It is now November 23, 1963: they were meeting on a bench near Cleopatra's needle in Central Park: the younger man, however, is nervous.) "I want to tell you that… my superior… is very pleased. This will definitely decrease Bobby's power in the Justice Department and stop a lot of annoying investigations."
The younger man, Ben Volpe, gulps. "Look, Mr. Mal-donado, there's something I've got to tell you. I know how the… Brotherhood… is when somebody fucks up and hides it."
"You didn't fuck up," Banana-Nose says, bewildered. "In fact, you lucked out amazingly. That schmuck Oswald is going to fry for it. He came along at just the right time. It was a real Fortuna… Jesus, Mary and Joseph!" Banana-Nose sits up straight as the thought hits him. "You mean… you mean… Did Oswald really do it? Did he shoot before you?"
"No, no," Volpe is miserable. "Let me explain it as clearly as I can. I'm there on top of the Dallas County Records Building like we planned, see? The motorcade turns onto Elm and heads for the underpass. I use my magnifying sight, swinging the whole gun around to look through it, just to make one last check that I have all the Feds spotted. When I face the School Book Depository, I catch this rifle. That was Oswald, I guess. Then I check out the grassy knoll and, goddam, there's another cat with a rifle. I just went cold. I couldn't figure it out. While I'm in this state, like a zombie, a dog barks and just then the guy in the grassy knoll calm and cool as if he was at a shooting range lays three of them right into the car. That's it," Volpe ends miserably. "I can't take the money. The… Brotherhood… would have my ass if they ever found out the truth."
Maldonado sat silently, rubbing his famous nose as he did when making a hard decision. "You're a good boy, Bennie. I give you ten percent of the money, just for being honest. We need more honest young boys like you in the Brotherhood."
Volpe swallowed again, and said, "There's one more thing I oughta tell you. I went down to the grassy knoll, after the cops run from there to the School Book Depository. I thought I might find the guy who did the shooting still hanging around and tell you what he looked like. He was long gone, though. But here's what so spooky. I ran into another galoot; who was sneaking down from the triple underpass. Long, skinny guy with buck teeth, kind of reminded me of a python or some kind of snake. He just looks at me and my umbrella and guesses what's in it
His mouth falls open. 'Jesus Christ and his black bastard brother Harry,' he says, 'how the fuck many people does it take to kill a President these days?'"
("And they're teaching them about perversions as well," Smiling Jim was building toward his climax. "Homosexuality and lesbianism are being taught in our schools and we're paying for it out of our tax money. Now is that communism or isn't it?")
"Welcome to the Playboy Club," the beautiful blonde said, "I'm your bunny, Virgin."
Saul took his seat in the dark wondering if he had heard correctly. Virgin was an odd name for a bunny; perhaps she had actually said Virginia. Yes, Virginia, there is a Santa Claus.
"How do you wish your steak, sir?" the bunny was asking. A stake through the heart, for a vampire.
"Medium well," Saul said, wondering why his mind was wandering in such odd directions. ("Odd erections," somebody said in the nearby dark- or was it a distorted echo of his own voice?)
"Medium well," the bunny repeated, seemingly speaking to the wall. A medium wall, Saul thought.
Immediately the wall opened and Saul was looking into a combination kitchen and butcher shop. A steer was standing not five feet from him, but before he could recover from this shock a male figure, stripped to the waist and wearing the hood of a medieval executioner, caught his attention. With one stroke of a huge hammer, this figure knocked the steer unconscious and it fell to the floor with a crash. Immediately the executioner produced an axe and chopped its head off; blood gushed in a crimson pool from its neck.
The wall closed, and Saul had the terrifying feeling that the whole scene had been a hallucination- that he was losing his mind.
"All our lunches are educational today," the bunny said in his ear. "We believe every customer should understand fully what's on the end of his fork and how it got there, before he takes a bite."
"Good God," Saul said, getting to his feet. This wasn't a Playboy Club, it was some den of lunatics and sadists. He stumbled toward the door.
"No way out," a man at another table said softly as he passed.
"Saul, Saul," the maitre d' murmured politely, "why dost thou persecute me? Hab' rochmunas."
"It's a drug," Saul said thickly, "you've given me a drug." Of course, that was it- something like mescaline or LSD-and they were guiding his hallucinations by providing proper stimuli. Perhaps they were even faking some of the hallucinations. But how had he fallen into their hands? The last thing he remembered, he was in Joe Malik's apartment with Barney Muldoon… No, there was a voice saying, "Now, Sister Victoria," as they came out the door onto Riverside Drive…
"No man should marry a woman more than thirty years younger than himself," the maitre d' said mournfully. How did they know about that? Had they investigated his whole life? How long had they held him?
"I'm getting out of here," he shouted, pushing the maitre d' aside and bolting for the door.
Hands grasped for him and missed (they weren't really trying, he realized: he was being allowed to reach the door). When he plunged through the doorway, he realized why: he was not on the street but in another room. This was the next ordeal.
A rectangle of light appeared on the wall; somewhere in the darkness there was a projector. A card, light an old silent-movie caption, appeared in the rectangle. It said:
ALL JEW GIRLS LIKE TO BALL WITH BUCK NIGGERS
"Sons of bitches," Saul shouted back at them. They were still working on his feelings about Rebecca. Well, that would get them nowhere: he had ample reason to trust her devotion to him, especially her sexual devotion.
The card moved out of the rectangle, and a picture appeared in its place. It was Rebecca's, in her nightgown, kneeling. Before her stood a naked and enormous black man, six feet six at least, with an equally impressive penis which she held sensuously in her mouth. Her eyes were closed in bliss, like a baby nursing.
"Motherfuckers," Saul screamed. "It's a fake. That's not Rebecca- it's an actress with makeup. You forgot the mole on her hip." They could drug his senses but not his mind.
There was a nasty laugh in the darkness. 'Try this one, Saul," a voice said coldly.
A new picture slid into view: Adolph Hitler, in full Nazi uniform, and a naked Rebecca backing up to him, taking his penis in her rectum. Her face showed both pain and pleasure- and the mole on her hip was visible. Another fake- Rebecca was born years after Hitler died. But they hadn't produced the slide in the thirty seconds after his shout, and that meant they knew her body, intimately… And they also knew how skeptical and quick his mind was, and were prepared to administer a series of jolts until something got past his ability to doubt.
"No comment?" the voice asked mockingly.
"I don't believe a man who died thirty years ago would be buggering any woman today," Saul said dryly. "Your tricks are kind of corny."
"Sometimes, with the vulgar, we must communicate vulgarly," the voice replied- and it was almost gentle and pitying this time.
A new picture appeared- and this time, without doubt, it was Rebecca. But it was Rebecca three years ago, when he first met her. She sat at a table in a cheap East Village pad, wearing the emaciated and self-pitying look he remembered from those days; and she was preparing to inject a needle in her arm. It was the real thing, but the terror was in its implications: they had been watching him that long ago. Perhaps- it was hard to date the picture precisely, although he remembered her apartment in those days- they even knew he would fall in love with her before he knew it himself. No; more likely, a friend of hers in those days had taken the picture and they had somehow found it when they became interested in him. Their resources must be fantastic.
A new card came on the screen;
ONCE A JUNKIE ALWAYS A JUNKIE
A new picture quickly followed: Rebecca, as she looked today, sitting in his kitchen- with the new cafe curtains they had just hung last week- once again injecting a needle into her arm.
"You're the vulgar ones, O mighty Illuminati," Saul said caustically. "I would have noticed the tracks on her arm, if she was shooting up again."
The answer was nonverbal: the picture of Rebecca and the giant black man came back on the screen, and was immediately followed by a close-up of her face, eyes closed, mouth open receiving the penis. It was in perfect focus, the work of an artist with the camera, and he could see no sign of any makeup that would help another woman to pass as Rebecca. He held to his memory that the mole on her hip was missing, but, perversely, his mind tasted at last the other possibility- makeup can change a face, and it can also hide a mole… If they wanted him to use his skepticism, so that they could gradually destroy that, and, in the process, undermine his total psyche… Another sign came on the screen:
THAT WE CAN CALL THESE DELICATE CREATURES OURS BUT NOT THEIR APPETITES
Saul remembered, all too well, Rebecca's passion in bed. "Shakespeare," he called hoarsely. "Advertising your erudition at a time like this is worse than vulgarity. It's petit-bourgeois pretentiousness."
The answer was brutal: a whole series of slides, maybe fifteen or twenty in all, cascaded across the screen in such rapid succession that he couldn't examine them carefully, except that the central character was Rebecca, always Rebecca, Rebecca with the black giant in other sexual positions, Rebecca with another woman, Rebecca with Spiro Agnew, Rebecca with a little seven-year-old boy, Rebecca, Rebecca, in a rising crescendo of perversion and abnormality, Rebecca with a Saint Bernard dog- and a peppermint-colored sine-wave, part of the drug still working on him, cutting across the scene…
"The true sadist has style," Saul gasped fighting for control of his voice. "You people are about as evil and frightening as a bad B-movie."
There was a whirring mechanical sound and a movie began in place of the slides. It was Rebecca and the Saint Bernard, with several close-ups, and her expressions were the ones he knew. Could any actress portray another woman's individual style of sexual response? Yes- if necessary, these people would use hypnosis to get the effect letter-perfect.
The movie stopped abruptly and the projector had another message for him, held on the screen for minutes:
ONLY THE MADMAN IS ABSOLUTELY SURE
When he realized that there would be no further progress until he spoke, Saul said coldly, "Very entertaining. Where do I go to crumble into a bundle of neuroses?"
There was no answer. No sound. Nothing happened. He half-saw a latticework of red pentagons, but that was the drug- and it helped identify which drug, for geometric patterns were characteristic of the mescaline experience. As he considered that, the peppermint sine-waves appeared before the pentagons and the screen gave him a new message:
HOW MUCH IS THE DRUG?
HOW MUCH IS OUR TRICKERY?
HOW MUCH IS REALITY?
Suddenly, Saul was in Copenhagen, on a cruise boat, passing the mermaid of the harbor. She turned and looked at him. "This case is fishy," she said- and as she opened her mouth a school of guppies swam out. "I'm a mouth-breeder," she explained.
Saul had a reproduction of that famous statue in his home (which must be the source of the hallucination), yet he was strangely disturbed. Her punning words seemed to conceal a deeper meaning than mere casual references to the Confrontation bombing… something that went back… back through his whole life… and explained why he had purchased the statue in the first place.
I'm about to have one of those famous drug insights that hippies always talk about, he thought. But the mermaid broke apart into pentagons of red, orange, yellow…
And a unicorn winked at him. "Man," it said, "am I ever horny!"
Those sketches I made the other day, Saul thought… but the screen asked him:
IS THE THOUGHT OF A UNICORN A REAL THOUGHT?
… and he suddenly understood for the first time what the words "a real thought" meant; what Hegel meant by defining the Absolute Idea as pure thought thinking about pure thought; what Bishop Berkeley meant by denying the reality of the physical world in seeming contradiction of all human experience and common sense; what every detective was secretly attempting to detect, although it was always right out in the open; why he became a detective in the first place; why the universe itself became; why everything; and then he forgot it; caught a fleeting glimpse of it again- it had something to do with the eye at the top of the pyramid; and lost it again in visions of unicorns, stallions, zebras, bars, bars, bars.
Now his whole visual field was hallucinatory… octagons, triangles, pyramids, organic shapes of embryos and growing ferns. The drug was taking stronger hold on him. Criminals he had sent to jail appeared- sullen, hating faces- and the screen said
GOODMAN IS A BAD MAN
He laughed to keep from crying. They had touched his deepest doubt about his job- his career, his life's work- precisely at the time the drug also was leading him there, with those damnable accusing faces. It was as if they could read his mind and see his hallucinations. No; it was just one lucky coincidence, because among all their tricks one was statistically likely to occur in tandem with an appropriate drug experience.
WHILE THERE IS A SOUL IN PRISON I AM NOT FREE
Saul laughed again, more wildly, almost hysterically; and knew, even more clearly than before, the tears hiding behind the laughter. Prisons reform nobody; my life is wasted; I offer society a delusion of security but not a real service. Worse yet, I have known it for years, and lied to myself. The sense of total failure and utter bitterness that washed over Saul at that moment was, he knew, not produced but only magnified by the drug. It had been with him a long, long time but always pushed aside, brushed away from his attention by concentrating on something else; the drug merely allowed him (forced him) to look at the emotion honestly and totally for a few wrenching moments.
A doorway suddenly lit up toward his right and a neon light came on above it, saying, "Absolution and Redemption."
"OK," he said icily, "I'll play the next move." He opened the door.
The room was tiny but furnished like the world's most expensive brothel. Above the four poster bed was an illustration of Alice and a mushroom labeled "Eat Me." And on the bed, stripped of her Playboy costume, pinkly and beautifully naked with legs spread in anticipation, was the blonde bunny. "Good evening," she said speaking rapidly and fixing his eyes with her own stare, "I'm your Virgin Bunny. Every man wants a Virgin Bunny, to eat on Easter to celebrate the miracle of the Resurrection. Do you understand the miracle of the Resurrection, sir? Do you know that nothing is true and everything is permissible and that a man who dares to break the robot conditioning of society and commit adultery dies in the moment of orgasm with his whore and wakes resurrected to a new life? Did they teach you that in shule? Or did they just fill you with a lot of monogamous Yiddish horseshit?" Most hypnotists spoke slowly, but she was obtaining the same effect by talking rapidly. "You thought you were going to eat a dead animal, which is disgusting even if this crazy society accepts it as normal, but instead you're going to eat a desirable woman (and fuck her afterward), which is normal even if this crazy society thinks of it as disgusting. You are one of the Illuminated, Saul, but you never knew it. Tonight you are going to learn. You are going to find your real self as you were before your mother and father conceived you. And I'm not talking about reincarnation. I'm talking about something much more marvelous."
Saul found his voice. "Your offer is appreciated but declined," he said. "Frankly, I find your tawdry mysticism even more adolescent than your sentimental vegetarianism and coarse lasciviousness. The trouble with the Illuminati is that you have no sense of true drama and not even a patina of subtlety."
Her eyes widened as he spoke, but not with surprise at his resistance- either she was really alarmed, and sorry for him, or she was a great actress. "Too bad," she said sadly. "You've refused Heaven, so you must travel the harder path through the halls of Hell."
Saul heard a movement behind him, but before he could turn a sharp sensation pricked his neck: a needle, another drug. Just as he was guessing they had given him a stronger psychedelic to escalate the effect, he felt consciousness slipping away. It was a narcotic or a poison.
The wagon started with a jerk: we were off to see the wizard, the wonderful wizard of arse. What was it Hagbard had said to me, the first time we met, about straight lines, courtrooms, and shit? I couldn't remember, my mind drifted, Joseph K. opening the law books and finding pornographic illustrations (Kafka knew where it was at), deSade keeping a precise mathematical tally in the brothel, how many times he flogged the whores, how many times they flogged him, the Nazis counting every gold filling in the corpses at Auschwitz, Shakespeare scholars debating about that line in Macbeth (was it benches or banks of time?), the prisoner may approach the bench, you can bank on it, buddy, bank on it… PIGS EAT SHIT PIGS EAT SHIT… and Pound wrote "the buggering bank," he rejected Freud, but even so he got a whiff of the real secret… how one homo ominously loopses another…
"My God," the Englishman said. "When do we get out of the teargas area?"
"We're out of it," I told him wearily. "That's regular Chicago air now. Courtesy of Commonwealth Edison and U.S. Steel over in Gary."
The McCarthy woman was weeping quietly, although the Mace had worn off by now. The rest of us rode silently, a little caravan of dried snot and tears, the parmesan cheese odor of stale vomit, some lingering acrid Mace fumes, the urine of somebody who had peed himself, and that high sulphur dioxide and slaughterhouse aroma of Chicago's South Side. The quality of mercy is very strained; it drippeth like the pus from chancre. Abandon hope all ye who enter here. Chairman Mao appeared and lectured us: "Ho is just a poetaster. Now, if you want to hear some real socialist verse, consider my latest composition:
There was a young lady from Queens
Who gobbled a plateful of beans
The beans fermented
And she was tormented
By embarrassing sounds in her jeans!
Indicates the anal orientation of capitalist society," he explained, dwindling into a pool of blood on the floor next to the kid with the broken arm.
(In 1923, Adolph Hitler stood beneath a pyramidal altar and repeated the words of a goat-headed man: "Der Zweck heiligte die Mittel." James Joyce, in Paris, scrawled in crayon words that his secretary, Samuel Beckett, would later type: "Pre-Austeric Man in Pursuit of Pan-Hysteric Woman." In Brooklyn, New York, Howard Phillips Lovecraft, returning from a party at which Hart Crane had been perfectly beastly- thereby confirming Mr. Lovecraft's prejudice against homosexuals- finds a letter in his mailbox and reads with some amusement: "Some of the secrets revealed in your recent stories would better be kept out of the light of print. Believe me, I speak as a friend, but there are those who would prefer such half-forgotten lore to remain in its present obscurity, and they are formidable enemies for any man. Remember what happened to Ambrose Bierce…" And, in Boston, Robert Putney Drake screams, "Lies, lies, lies. It's all lies. Nobody tells the truth. Nobody says what he thinks…" His voice trails off.
"Go on," Dr. Besetzung says, "you were doing fine. Don't stop."
"What the use?" Drake replies, drained of anger, turning on the couch to look at the psychiatrist. "To you, this is just abreaction or acting-out or something clinical. You can't believe I'm right."
"Perhaps I can. Perhaps I agree more than you realize." The doctor looks up from his pad and meets Drake's eye. "Are you sure you're not just assuming I'll react like everybody else you've tried to tell this to?"
"If you agreed with me," Drake says carefully, "if you understood what I'm really saying, you'd either be the head of a bank, out there in the jungle with my father, grabbing your own share of the loot, or you'd be a bomb-throwing revolutionary, like those Sacco and Vanzetti fellows. Those are the only choices that make sense."
"The only choices? One must go to one extreme or the other?"
Drake looks back at the ceiling and talks abstractly. "You had to get an M.D. long ago, before you specialized. Do you know any case where germs gave up and went away because the man they were destroying had a noble character or sweet sentiments? Did the tuberculosis bacilli leave John Keat's lungs because he had a few hundred great poems still unwritten inside him? You must have read some history, even if you were never at the front lines like me: do you recall any battle that refutes Napoleon's aphorism about God always being on the side of the biggest cannons and the best tacticians? This bolshie in Russia, Lenin, he has ordered the schools to teach chess to everybody. You know why? He says that chess teaches the lesson that revolutionaries must learn: that if you don't mobilize your forces properly, you lose. No matter how high your morality, no matter how lofty your goal: fight without mercy, use every ounce of intelligence, or you lose. My father understands that. The people who run the world have always understood it. A general who doesn't understand it gets broken back to second lieutenant or worse. I saw a whole platoon wiped out, exterminated like an anthill under a boot. Not because they were immoral or naughty or didn't believe in Jesus. Because at that place, on that day, the Germans had superior fire power. That's the law, the one true law, of the universe, and everything that contradicts it- everything they teach in schools and churches- is a lie." He says the word listlessly now. "Just a lie."
"If you really believe that," the doctor asks, "why do you still have the nightmares and the insomnia?"
Drake's blue eyes stare at the ceiling. "I don't know," he says finally. "That's why I'm here.")
"Moon, Simon," the Desk Sergeant called.
I stepped forward, seeing myself through his eyes: beard, army surplus clothes, stains all over (my own mucus, somebody else's vomit). The archetypical filthy, dirty, disgusting, hippie-commie revolutionary.
"Well," he said, "another bright red rose."
"I usually look neater," I told him calmly. "You get a bit messed over when you're arrested in this town."
"The only way you get arrested in this town," he said, frowning, "is if you break the laws."
"The only way you get arrested in Russia is you break the laws," I replied cheerfully. "Or by mistake," I added.
That didn't set well at all. "Wise guy," he said gently. "We like wise guys here." He consulted my charge-slip. "Nice record for one night, Moon. Rioting, mob action, assaulting an officer, resisting arrest, disturbing the peace. Nice."
"I wasn't disturbing the peace," I said. "I was disturbing the war." I stole that one-liner from Ammon Hennacy, a Catholic Anarchist that Mom was always quoting. "The rest of the charges are all bullshit, too."
"Say, I know you," he said suddenly. "You're Tim Moon's son. Well, well, well. A second-generation anarchist. I guess we'll be locking you up as often as we locked him up."
"I guess so," I said. "At least until the Revolution. Afterward, we won't be locking you up, though. We're going to establish nice camps in places like Wisconsin, and send you there free to learn a useful trade. We believe that all policemen and politicians can be rehabilitated. But if you don't want to go to the camp and learn a productive trade, you don't have to. You can live on Welfare."
"Well, well, well," he said. "Just like your old man. I suppose if I looked the other way, while some of the boys took you in back and worked you over a bit, you'd come out still making wisecracks?"
"I'm afraid so," I smiled. "Irish national character, you know! We see the funny side of everything."
"Well," he said thoughtfully (he was awfully fond of that word), "I hope you can see the funny side of what comes next. You're going to be arraigned before Judge Bushman. You'll find yourself wishing you had fallen into a buzz saw instead. Give my regards to your father. Tell him Jim O'Malley says hello."
"He's dead," I said.
He looked down at his charge-slips. "Sorry to hear it," he mumbled. "Nanetti, Fred," he bawled, and the kid with the broken arm came forward.
A patrolman led me to the fingerprint room. This guy was a computer: "Right hand." I gave him my right hand. "Left hand." I gave him my left hand. "Follow the officer." I followed the officer, and they took my picture. We went down some halls to the night court, and in a lonely section the patrolman suddenly hit me in the lower back with his club, the exact spot (he knew his business) to give me liver problems for a month. I grunted but refused to say anything that would set him off and get me another clout, so he spoke. "Yellow-bellied faggot," he said.
Just like Biloxi, Mississippi: one cop is nice, another is just impersonal, a third is a mean bastard- and it doesn't really matter. They're all part of the same machine, and what comes out the end of the gears and levers is the same product, whatever their attitude is. I'm sure Buchenwald was the same: some of the guards tried to be as humane as possible, some of them just did their job, some of them went out of their way to make it worse for the prisoners. It doesn't matter: the machine produces the effect it was designed for.
Judge Bushman (we slipped him AUM two years later, but that's another story, coming up on another trip) gave me his famous King Kong scowl. "Here are the rules," he said. This is an arraignment. You can enter a plea or stand mute. If you enter a plea, you retain the right to change it at your trial. When I set bond, you can be released by paying ten percent to the bailiff. Cash only, no checks. If you don't have the cash, you go to jail overnight. You people have the city tied up in knots and the bail bondsmen are too busy to cover every courtroom, so by sheer bad luck you landed in a courtroom they're not covering." He turned to the bailiff. "Charge sheet," he said. He read the record of my criminal career as concocted by the arresting officer. "Five offenses in one night. You're bad medicine, aren't you, Moon? Trial set for September fifteenth. Bail will be ten thousand dollars. Do you have one thousand dollars?"
"No," I told him wondering how many times he'd made that speech tonight.
"Just a moment," said Hagbard, materializing out of the hallway. "I can make bail for this man."
MR. KHARIS: Does Mr. Celine seriously suggest that the United States Government is in need of a guardian?
MR. CELINE: I am merely offering a way out for your client. Any private individual with a record of such incessant murder and robbery would be glad to cop an insanity plea. Do you insist that your client was in full possession of its reason at Wounded Knee? At Hiroshima? At Dresden?
JUSTICE IMMHOTEP: You become facetious, Mr. Celine.
MR. CELINE: I have never been more serious.
"What is your relationship to this young man?" Bushman asked angrily. He had been about to come when the cop dragged me off to jail, and he was strangling in some kind of gruesome S-M equivalent of coitus interruptus.
"He's my wife," Hagbard said calmly.
"Common-law wife," Hagbard went on. "Homosexual marriage is not recognized in Illinois. But homosexuality per se isn't a crime in this state, either, so don't try to make waves, your honor. Let me pay and take him home."
It was too much. "Daddy," I said, camping like our friend the Padre. "You're so masterful."
Judge Bushman looked like he wanted to lay Hagbard out with a gavel upside of his head, but he controlled himself. "Count the money," he told the bailiff. "Make sure he pays every penny. And then," he told us, "I want the two of you out of this courtroom as quickly as possible. I'll see you September fifteenth," he added, to me.
MR. KHARIS: And we believe we have demonstrated the necessity of this dam. We believe we have shown that the doctrine of eminent domain is on sure constitutional grounds, and has been held to apply in numerous similar cases. We believe we have shown that the resettlement plan offered by the government will be no hardship for the plaintiffs…
"Fuckin' faggots," the cop said as we went out the door.
"All hail Discordia," I told him cheerfully. "Let's get out of this neighborhood," I added to Hagbard.
"My car is right here," he said, pointing to a goddam Mercedes.
"For an anarchist, you sure live a lot like a capitalist," I commented as we got into that beautiful machine crystallized out of stolen labor and surplus value.
"I'm not a masochist," Hagbard replied. "The world makes me uncomfortable enough. I see no reason to make myself more uncomfortable. And I'm damned if I'll drive a broken-down jalopy that spends half its time in a garage being repaired merely because that would make me seem more 'dedicated' to you left-wing simpletons. Besides," he added practically, "the police never stop a Mercedes and search it. How many times a week do you get stopped and harassed, with your beard and your psychedelic Slaveswagon, you damned moralist?"
"Often enough," I admitted, "that I'm afraid to transport dope in it."
"This car is full of dope," he said blithely. "I'm making a big delivery to a dealer up in Evanston, on the Northwestern campus, tomorrow."
"You're in the dope business, too?"
"I'm in every illegal business. Every time a government declares something verboten, two groups! move in to service the black market created: the Mafia and the LDD. That stands for Lawless Delicacy Dealers."
"I thought it stood for Little Deluded Dupes."
He laughed. "Score one for Moon. Seriously, I'm the worst enemy governments have, and the best protection for the average person. The Mafia has no ethics, you know. If it wasn't for my group and our years and years of experience, everything on the black market, from dope to Canadian furs, would be shoddy and unreliable. We always give the customer his or her money's worth. Half the dope you sell probably has passed through my agents on its way to you. The better half."
"What was that homosexual business? Just buggin' old Bushman?"
"Entropy. Breaking the straight line into a curve ball."
"Hagbard," I said, "what the hell is your game?"
"Proving that government is a hallucination in the minds of governors," he said crisply. We turned onto Lake Shore Drive and sped north.
"Thou, Jubela, did he tell you the Word?" asked the goat-headed man.
The gigantic black said, "I beat him and tortured him, but he would not reveal the Word."
"Thou, Jubelo, did he tell you the Word?"
The fishlike creature said, "I tormented and vexed his inner spirit, Master, but he would not reveal the Word."
"And thou, Jubelum, did he tell you the Word?"
The hunchbacked dwarf said, "I cut off his testicles and he was mute. I cut off his penis and he was mute. He did not tell me the Word."
"A fanatic," the goat-head said. "It is better that he is dead."
Saul Goodman tried to move. He couldn't twitch a single muscle: That last drug had been a narcotic, and a powerful one. Or was it a poison? He tried to assure himself that the reason he was paralyzed and laying in a coffin was because they were trying to break down his mind. But he wondered if the dead might tell themselves similar fables, as they struggled to escape from the body before it rotted.
As he wondered, the goat-head leaned over and closed the top of the coffin. Saul was alone in darkness.
"Leave first, Jubela."
"Leave next, Jubelo."
"Leave last, Jubelum."
Silence. It was lonely and dark in the coffin, and Saul couldn't move. Let me not go mad, he thought.
Howard spotted the Lief Erikson ahead and sang: "Oh, groovy, groovy, groovy scene/Once again I'll meet Celine." Maldonado's sleek Bentley edged up the drive to the home of "America's best-known financier-philanthropist," Robert Putney Drake. (Louis marched toward the Red Widow, maintaining his dignity. An old man in a strange robe pushed to the front of the crowd, trembling with exaltation. The blade rose: the mob sucked in its breath. The old man tried to look into Louis's eyes, but the king could not focus them. The blade fell: the crowd exhaled. As the head rolled into the basket, the old man raised his eyes in ecstasy and cried out, "Jacques De Molay, thou art avenged!") Professor Glynn lectured his class on medieval history (Dean Deane was issuing the Strawberry Statement on the same campus at the same time) and said, "The real crime of the Templars, however, was probably their association. with the Hashishim." George Dorn, hardly listening, wondered if he should join Mark Rudd and the others who wanted to close down Columbia entirely.
"And modern novels are the same," Smiling Jim went on. "Sex, sex, sex- and not normal sex even. Every type of perverted, degenerate, unnatural, filthy, deviated, and sick kind of sex. This is how they're gonna bury us, as Mr. Khruschchev said, without even firing a shot."
Sunlight awakened Saul Goodman.
Sunlight and a headache. A hangover from the combination of drugs.
He was in a bed and his clothes were gone. There was no mistaking the garment he wore: a hospital gown. And the room- as he squinted against the sun- had the dull modern-penitentiary look of a typical American hospital.
He hadn't heard the door open, but a weathered-looking middle-aged man in a doctor's smock drifted into the room. He was carrying a clipboard; pens stuck their necks out of his smock pocket; he smiled benignly. His horn rimmed heavily black glasses and crewcut marked him as the optimistic, upward-mobile man of his generation, without either the depression/World War II memories that gave anxiety to Saul's contemporaries or nuclear nightmares that gave rage and alienation to youth. He would obviously think of himself as a liberal and vote conservatively at least half the time.
A hopeless schmuck.
Except that he was probably none of those things, but another of their agents, doing a very convincing performance.
"Well?" he said brightly. "Feeling better, Mr. Muldoon?"
Muldoon, Saul thought. Here we go- another ride into their kitsch idea of the Heart of Darkness.
"My name is Goodman," he said thinly. "I'm about as Irish as Moishe Dayan."
"Oh, still playing that little game, are we?" the man spoke kindly. "And are you still a detective?"
"Go to hell," Saul said, no longer in mood to fight back with wit and irony. He would dig into his hostility and make his last stand from a foxhole of bitterness and sullen brevity.
The man pulled up a chair and sat down. "Actually," he said, "these remaining symptoms don't bother us much. You were in a much worse state when you were first brought here six months ago. I doubt that you remember that. Electroshock mercifully removes a great deal of the near past, which is helpful in cases like yours. Do you know that you were physically assaulting people on the street, and tried to attack the nurses and orderlies your first month here? Your paranoia was very acute at that point, Mr. Muldoon."
"Up yours, bubi," Saul said. He closed his eyes and turned the other way.
"Such moderate hostility these days," the man went on, bright as a bird in the morning grass. "A few months ago you would have tried to strangle me. Let me show you something." There was a sound of paper.
Curiosity defeated resistance: Saul turned and looked. The man held out a driver's license, from the State of New Jersey, for "Barney Muldoon." the picture was Saul's. Saul grinned maliciously, showing his disbelief.
"You refuse to recognize yourself?" the man asked quietly.
"Where is Barney Muldoon?" Saul shot back. "Do you have him in another room, trying to convince him he's Saul Goodman?"
"Where is…?" the "doctor" repeated, seeming genuinely baffled. "Oh, yes, you admit you know the name but claim he was only a friend. Just like a rapist we had in here a while ago. He said all the rapes were committed by his roommate, Charlie. Well, let's try another tack. All those people you beat up on the street- and that Playboy Club bunny you tried to strangle- do you still believe they were agents of this, um, Prussian Illuminati?"
"This is an improvement," Saul said. "A very intriguing combination of reality and fantasy, much better than your group's previous efforts. Let me hear the rest of it."
"You think that's sarcasm," the man said calmly. "Actually, behind it, your recovery is proceeding nicely. You really want to remember, even as you struggle to keep up this Goodman myth. Very well: you are a sixty-year-old police officer from Trenton, New Jersey. You never were promoted to detective and that is the great grievance of your life. You have a wife named Molly, and three sons- Roger, Kerry, and Gregory. Their ages are twenty-eight, twenty-five, and twenty-three. A few years ago, you started a game with your wife; she thought it was harmless at first and learned to her sorrow that it wasn't. The game was, that you pretended to be a detective and, late at night, you would tell her about the important cases you were working on. Gradually, you built up to the most important case of all- the solution to all the assassinations in America during the past decade. They were all the work of a group called the Illuminati, who were surviving top-level Nazis that had never been captured. More and more, you talked about their leader-Martin Borman, of course- and insisted you were getting a line on his whereabouts. By the time your wife realized that the game had become reality to you, it was too late. You already suspected your neighbors of being Illuminati agents, and your hatred for Nazism led you to believe you were Jewish and had taken an Irish name to avoid American anti-Semitism. This particular delusion, I must say, caused you acute guilt, which it took us a long time to understand. It was, we finally realized, a projection of a guilt you have long felt for being a policeman at all. But perhaps at this point, I might aid your struggle for self-recognition (and abort your equal and opposite struggle for self-escape) by reading you part of a report on your case by one of our younger psychiatrists. Are you game to hear it?"
"Go ahead," Saul said. "I still find this entertaining." The man looked through the papers in his clipboard and smiled disarmingly. "Oh, I see here that it's the Bavarian Illuminati, not the Prussian Illuminati, pardon my mistake." He flipped a few more pages. "Here we are," he said.
"The root of the subject's problems," he began to read, "can be found in the trauma of the primal scene, which was reconstructed under narco-analysis. At the age of three, he came upon his parents in the act of fellatio, which resulted in his being locked in his room for 'spying.' This left him with a permanent horror of being locked up and a pity for prisoners everywhere. Unfortunately, this factor in his personality, which he might have sublimated harmlessly by becoming a social worker, was complicated by unresolved Oedipal hostilities and a reaction formation in favor of 'spying,' which led him to become a policeman. The criminal became for him the father-symbol, who was locked up in revenge for locking him up; at the same time, the criminal was an ego-projection and he received masochistic gratification by identifying with the prisoner. The deep-buried homosexual desire for the father's penis (present in all policemen) was next cathected by denial of the father, via denial of paternal ancestry, and he began to abolish all Irish Catholic traces from ego-memory, substituting those of Jewish culture, since the Jew, as persecuted minority, reinforced his basic masochism. Finally, like all paranoids, the subject fancies himself to be of superior intelligence (actually, on his test for the Trenton Police Force, he rated only one hundred ten on the Stan-ford-Binet IQ index) and his resistance to therapy will take the form of 'outwitting' his doctors by finding the 'clues' which reveal that they, too, are agents of the Illuminati and that his assumed identity as 'Saul Goodman' is, in fact, his actual identity. For therapeutic purposes, I would recommend…" The "doctor" broke off. "After that," he said briefly, "it is of no interest to you. Well," he added tolerantly, "do you want to 'detect' the errors in this?"
"I've never been in Trenton in my life," Saul said wearily. "I don't know what anything in Trenton looks like. But you'll just tell me that I've erased those memories. Let's move to a deeper level of combat, Herr Doktor. I am quite convinced that my mother and father never performed fellatio in their lives. They were too old-fashioned." This was the heart of the labyrinth, and their real threat: while he was sure that they could not break down his belief in his own identity, they were also insidiously undermining that identity by suggesting it was pathological. Many of the lines in the Muldoon case history could refer to any policeman and might, conceivably, refer to him; as usual, behind a weak open attack they were mounting a more deadly covert attack.
"Do you recognize these?" the doctor asked, producing a sketchbook open to a page with some drawings of unicorn.
"It's my sketchbook," Saul said. "I don't know how you got it but it doesn't prove a damned thing, except that I sketch in my spare time."
"No?" The doctor turned the book around; a bookplate on the cover identified the owner as Barney Muldoon, 1472 Pleasant Avenue, Trenton, NJ.
"Amateur work," Saul said. "Anybody can paste a bookplate onto a book."
"And the unicorn means nothing to you?" Saul sensed the trap and said nothing, waiting. "You are not aware of the long psychoanalytical literature on the unicorn as symbol of the father's penis? Tell me, then, why did you decide to sketch unicorns?"
"More amateurism," Saul said. "If I sketched mountains, they would be symbols of the father's penis, too."
"Very well. You might have made a good detective if your- illness- hadn't prevented your promotion. You do have a quick, skeptical mind. Let me try another approach- and I wouldn't be using such tactics if I weren't convinced you were on the road to recovery; a true psychotic would be driven into catatonia by such a blunt assault on his delusions. But, tell me, your wife mentioned that just before the acute stage of your- problem- you spent a lot of money, more than you could afford on a patrolman's salary, on a reproduction of the mermaid of Copenhagen. Why was that?"
"Damn it," Saul exclaimed, "it wasn't a lot of money." But he recognized the displaced anger and saw that the other man recognized it too. He was avoiding the question of the mermaid… and her relation to the unicorn. There must be a relationship between fact number one and fact number two… "The mermaid," he said, getting there before the enemy could, "is a mother symbol, right? She has no human bottom, because the male child dare not think about that area of the mother. Is that correct jargon?"
"More or less. You avoid, of course, the peculiar relevance in your own case: that the sex act in which you caught your mother was not a normal one but a very perverted and infantile act, which, of course, is the only sex act a mermaid can perform- as all collectors of mermaid statues or mermaid paintings unconsciously know."
"It's not perverted and infantile," Saul protested. "Most people do it…" Then he saw the trap.
"But not your mother and father? They were different from most people?"
And then it clicked: the spell was broken. Every detail from Saul's notebook, every physical characteristic Peter Jackson had described, was there. "You're not a doctor," he shouted. "I don't know what your game is but I sure as hell know who you are. You're Joseph Malik!"
George's stateroom was paneled in teak, the walls hung with small but exquisite paintings by Rivers, Shahn, De Kooning, and Tanguy. A glass cabinet built into one wall held several rows of books. The floor was carpeted in wine red with a blue stylized octopus in the center, its waving tentacles radiating out like a sunburst. The light fixture hanging from the ceiling was a lucite model of that formidable jellyfish, the Portuguese man-of-war.
The bed was full size, with a rosewood headboard carved with Venetian seashell motifs. Its legs didn't touch the floor; the whole thing was supported on a huge, rounded beam that allowed the bed to seesaw when the ship rolled, the sleeper remaining level. Beside the bed was a small desk. Going to it, George opened a drawer and found several different sizes of writing paper and half a dozen felt-tipped pens in various colors. He took out a legal-size pad and a green pen, climbed on the bed, curled up at the head and began writing.
Objectivity is presumably the opposite of schizophrenia. Which means that it is nothing but acceptance of everybody else's notion of reality. But nobody's perception of reality is the same as everybody's notion of it, which means that the most objective person is the real schizophrenic.
It is hard to get beyond the accepted beliefs of one's own age. The first man to think a new thought advances it very tentatively. New ideas have to be around a while before anyone will promote them hard. In their first form, they are like tiny, imperceptible mutations that may eventually lead to new species. That's why cultural cross-fertilization is so important. It increases the gene-pool of the imagination. The Arabs, say, have one part of the puzzle. The Franks another. So, when the Knights Templar meet the Hashishim, something new is born.
The human race has always lived more or less happily in the kingdom of the blind. But there is an elephant among us. A one-eyed elephant.
George put the pen down and read the green words with a frown. His thoughts still seemed to be coming from outside his own mind. What was that business about the Knights Templar? He had never felt the slightest interest in that, period since his freshman year in college, when old Morrison Glynn had given him a D for that paper on the Crusades. It was supposed to be a simple research paper displaying one's grasp of proper footnote style, but George had chosen to denounce the Crusades as an early outbreak of Western racist imperialism. He'd even gone to the trouble of finding the text of a letter from Sinan, third leader of the Hashishim, in which he exonerates Richard Coeur de Lion of any complicity in the murder of Conrad of Montferret, King of Jerusalem. George felt the episode demonstrated the essential goodwill of the Arabs. How was he to know that Morrison Glynn was a staunch conservative Catholic? Glynn claimed, among other dyspeptic criticisms, that the letter from the castle called Messiac was well known as a forgery. Why were the Hashishim coming back to mind again? Did it have to do with the weird dream he'd had of the temple in the Mad Dog jail?
The sub's engine was vibrating pleasantly through the floor, the beam, the bed. The trip so far had reminded George of his first flight in a 747-a surge of power, followed by motion so smooth it was impossible to tell how fast or how far they were going.
There was a knock at the stateroom door, and at George's invitation Hagbard's receptionist came in. She was wearing a tight-fitting golden-yellow slack ensemble. She stared compellingly at George, her pupils huge obsidian pools, and smiled faintly.
"Will you eat me if I can't guess the riddle?" George said. "You remind me of a sphinx."
Her lips, the color of ripe grapes, parted in a grin. "I modeled for it. But no riddle, just an ordinary question. Hagbard wants to know if you need anything. Anything but me. I've got work to do now."
George shrugged. "You beat me to the question. I'd like to get together with Hagbard and find out more about him and the submarine and where we're going."
"We are going to Atlantis. He must have told you that." She shifted her weight from one foot to the other, rolling her hips. She had marvelously long legs. "Atlantis is, roughly speaking, about half way between Cuba and the west coast of Africa, at the bottom of the ocean."
"Yeah, well- That's where it's supposed to be, right?"
"Right. Hagbard's going to want you in the captain's control room later. Meanwhile, smoke some of this, if you want. Helps to pass the time." She held out a gold cigarette case. George took it from her, his fingers brushing the velvety black skin of her hand. A pang of desire for her swept through him. He fumbled with the catch of the case and opened it. There were slender white tubes inside, each one stamped with a gold K. He took one out and held it to his nose. A pleasant, earthy smell.
"We've got a plantation and a factory in Brazil," she said.
"Hagbard must be a wealthy man."
"Oh, yeah. He's worth billions and billions of tons of flax. Well, look, George, if you need anything, just press the ivory button on your desk. Someone will come along. We'll be calling you later." She turned with a languid wave and walked down the fluorescent-lit corridor. George's gaze clung to her unbelievable ass till she climbed a narrow flight of carpeted stairs and was out of sight
What was that woman's name? He lay down on the bed, took out a joint, and lit it. It was marvelous. He was up in seconds, not the usual gradual balloon ascent, but a rocket trip, not unlike the effect of amyl nitrate. He might have known this Hagbard Celine would have something special in the way of grass. He studied the sparkles glinting through the Portuguese man-of-war and wiggled his eyeballs rapidly to make the lights dance. All things that are, are lights. The thought came that Hagbard might be evil. Hagbard was like some robber baron out of the nineteenth century. Also like some robber baron out of the eleventh century. The Normans took Sicily in the ninth century. Which gave you mixtures of Viking and Sicilian, but did they ever look like Anthony Quinn? Or his son Greg La Strade? What son? What the sun done cannot be undone but is well dun. The quintessence of evil. Nemesis of all evil. God bless us, every one. Even One. Odd, the big red one. Eye think it was his I. The eye of Apollo. His luminous I. Aum Shiva.
– Aye, trust me not. Trust not a man who's rich in flax- his morals may be sadly lax. Her name is Stella. Stella Maris. Black star of the sea.
The joint was down to the last half inch. He put it down and crushed it out. With grass flowing like tobacco around here, it was a luxury he could afford. He wasn't going to light another one. That wasn't a high, that was a trip! A Saturn rocket, right out of the world. And back, just as fast.
– George, I want you in the captain's control room.
Clearly, this hallucinating of voices and images meant he wasn't all the way back. Reentry was not completed. He now saw a vision of the layout of that part of the submarine between his stateroom and the captain's control room. He stood up, stretched, shook his head, his hair swirling around his shoulders. He walked to the door, slid it back, and walked on down the hall.
A little later, he stepped through a door onto a balcony which was a reproduction of the prow of a Viking ship. Above, below, in front, to the sides, was green-blue ocean. They seemed to be in a glass globe projecting into the ocean. A long-necked red-and-green dragon with golden eyes and a spiky crest reared above George and Hagbard.
"My approach is fanciful, rather than functional," Hagbard said. "If I weren't so intelligent, it would get me into a lot of trouble." He patted the dragon figurehead with a black-furred hand. Some Viking, George thought. A Neanderthal Viking, perhaps.
"That was a good trick," George said, feeling shrewd but still high. "How you got me up on the bridge with that telepathy thing."
"I called you on the intercom," Hagbard said, with a look of absurd innocence.
"You think I can't tell a voice in my head from a voice in my ears?"
Hagbard roared with laughter, so loud that it made George feel a little uncertain. "Not when you've had your first taste of Kallisti Gold, man."
"Who am I to call a man a liar when he's just turned me on with the best shit I ever had?" said George with a shrug. "I suspect you of making use of telepathy. Most people who have that power would not only not try to hide it, they'd go on television."
"Instead, I put the ocean on television." said Hagbard. He gestured at the globe surrounding their Viking prow. "What you see is simply color television with a few adaptations and modifications. We are inside the screen. The cameras are all over the surface of the sub. The cameras don't use ordinary light, of course. If they did, you wouldn't be able to see anything. The submarine illuminates the sea around us with an infrared laser-radar to which our TV cameras are sensitive. The radiations are of a type that is more readily conducted by the hydrogen in water than by any other element. The result is that we can see the ocean bottom almost as clearly as if it were dry land and we were in a plane flying above it."
"That'll make it easy to see Atlantis when we get to it," George said. "By the way, why did you say we're going-to Atlantis, again? I didn't believe it when you told me, and now I'm too stoned to remember."
"The Illuminati are planning to loot one of the greatest works of art in the history of man- the Temple of Tethys. It happens to be a solid-gold temple, and their intention is to melt it down and sell the gold to finance a series of assassinations in the U.S. I intend to get there before them."
The reference to assassinations reminded George that he'd gone down to Mad Dog, Texas, on Joe Malik's hunch that he'd find a clue there to an assassination conspiracy. If Joe knew that the clue was leading 20,000 leagues under the sea and eons back through time, would he believe it? George doubted it. Malik was one of those hard-nosed "scientific" leftists. Though he had been acting and talking a little strangely lately.
"Who did you say was looting this temple?" he asked Hagbard.
"The Illuminati. The real force behind all communist and fascist movements. Whether you're aware of it or not, they're also already in control of the United States government."
"I thought everybody in your crowd was a right-winger-"
"And I told you spacial metaphors are inadequate in discussing politics today," Hagbard interrupted.
"Well, you sound like a gang of right-wingers. Up until the last minute, all I've heard from you and your people was that the Illuminati were commies, or were behind the commies. Now you say they're behind fascism and behind the current government in Washington, too."
Hagbard laughed. "We came on like right-wing paranoids, at first, to see how you'd react. It was a test."
"You passed. You didn't believe us- that was obvious- but you kept your eyes and ears open and were willing to listen. If you were a right-winger, we would have done our pro-communist rap. The idea is to find out if a new man or woman will listen, really listen, or just shut their minds at the first really shocking idea."
"I'm listening, but not uncritically. For instance, if the Illuminati control America already, what's the purpose of the assassinations?"
"Their grip on Washington is still pretty precarious. They've been able to socialize the economy. But if they showed their hand now and went totalitarian all the way, there would be a revolution. Middle-readers would rise up with right-wingers, and left-libertarians, and the Illuminati aren't powerful enough to withstand that kind of massive revolution. But they can rule by fraud, and by fraud eventually acquire access to the tools they need to finish the job of killing off the Constitution."
"What sort of tools?"
"More stringent security measures. Universal electronic surveillance. No-knock laws. Stop and frisk laws. Government inspection of first-class mail. Automatic fingerprinting, photographing, blood tests, and urinalysis of any person arrested before he is charged with a crime. A law making it unlawful to resist even unlawful arrest. Laws establishing detention camps for potential subversives. Gun control laws. Restrictions on travel. The assassinations, you see, establish the need for such laws in the public mind. Instead of realizing that there is a conspiracy, conducted by a handful of men, the people reason- or are manipulated into reasoning- that the entire populace must have its freedom restricted in order to protect the leaders. The people agree that they themselves can't be trusted. Targets for assassination will be mavericks of left or right who are either not part of the Illuminati conspiracy or have been marked as unreliable. The Kennedy brothers and Martin Luther King, for example, were capable of mobilizing a somewhat libertarian left-right-black-white populist movement. But the assassinations that have occurred so far are nothing compared to what will take place. The next wave will be carried out by the Mafia, who will be paid in Illuminati gold."
"Not Moscow gold," said George with a smile.
"The puppets in the Kremlin have no idea that they and the puppets in the White House are working for the same people. The Illuminati control all sorts of organizations and national governments without any of them being aware that others are also controlled. Each group thinks it is competing with the others, while actually each is playing its part in the Illuminati plan. Even the Morituri- the six-person affinity groups which splintered from the SDS Weathermen, because the Weathermen seemed too cautious- are under the control of the Illuminati. They think they're working to bring down the government, but actually they are strengthening its hand. The Black Panthers are also infiltrated. Everything is infiltrated. At present rate, within the next few years the Illuminati will have the American people under tighter surveillance than Hitler had the Germans. And the beauty of it is, the majority of the Americans will have been so frightened by Illuminati-backed terrorist incidents that they will beg to be controlled as a masochist begs for the whip."
George shrugged. Hagbard sounded like a typical paranoid, but there was this submarine and the strange events of the past few days. "So the Illuminati are conspiring to tyrannize the world, is that it? Do you trace them back to the First International?"
"No. They're what happened when the Enlightenment of the eighteenth century collided with German mysticism. The correct name for the organization is Ancient Illuminated Seers of Bavaria. According to their own traditions they were founded or revived in seventeen seventy-six on May first by a man named Adam Weishaupt. Weishaupt was an unfrocked Jesuit and a Mason. He taught that religions and national governments had to be overthrown and the world ruled by an elite of scientifically-minded materialistic atheists, to be held in trust for the masses of mankind who would eventually rule themselves when enlightenment became universal. But this was only Weishaupt's 'Outer Doctrine.' There was also an 'Inner Doctrine,' which was that power is an end in itself, and that Weishaupt and his closest followers would make use of the new knowledge being developed by scientists and engineers to seize control of the world. Back in seventeen seventy-six, things were run largely by the Church and the feudal nobility, with the capitalists slowly getting a bigger and bigger piece of the pie. Weishaupt declared that these groups were obsolete, and it was time for an elite with a monopoly on scientific and technological knowledge to seize power. Instead of eventually producing a democratic society, as the 'Outer Doctrine' promised, the Ancient Illuminated Seers of Bavaria would saddle mankind with a dictatorship that would last forever."
"Well, it would be logical enough that someone around that time would think of that," said George. "And who more likely than a Mason who was an unfrocked Jesuit?"
"You recognize that what I tell you is relatively plausible," said Hagbard. "That's a good sign."
"A sign that it's plausible." laughed George.
"No, a sign that you're the kind of person I'm always looking for. Well, the Illuminati, after staying above ground long enough to recruit a hard-core membership from Masons and freethinkers and to establish international contacts, allowed it to seem that the Bavarian government had suppressed them. Subsequently, the Illuminati launched their first experimental revolution, in France. Here they suckered the middle class, whose true interests lay in laissez faire free enterprise, to follow the Weishaupt slogan of 'Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.' The catch, of course, is that where equality and fraternity rule, there is no liberty. After the career of Napoleon, whose rise and fall was purely the result of Illuminati manipulations, they started planting the seeds of European socialism, leading to the revolutions of eighteen forty-eight, to Marxism, finally to the seizure of Russia, one-sixth of the earth's land mass. Of course, they had to engineer a world war to make the Russian Revolution possible, but by nineteen seventeen they had become quite good at that. World War Two was an even more clever job and resulted in more gains for them."
"Another thing this explains," George said, "is why orthodox Marxism-Leninism, in spite of all its ideals, always turns out to be not worth a shit. Why it's always betrayed the people wherever it established itself. And it explains why there's such an inevitable quality about America's drift toward totalitarianism."
"Right," said Hagbard. "America is the target now. They've got most of Europe and Asia. Once they get America, they can come out into the open. The world will then be much as Orwell predicted in Nineteen Eighty-four. They bumped him off after it was published, you know. The book hit a little too close to home. He was obviously on to them- the references to Inner and Outer parties with different teachings, O'Brien's speech about power being an end in itself- and they got him. Orwell, you see, ran across them in Spain, where they were functioning quite openly at one point during the Civil War. But artists also arrive at truth through their imaginations, if they let themselves wander freely. They're more likely to arrive at the truth than more scientific-minded people."
"You've just tied two hundred years of world history up in a theory that would make me feel I should have myself committed if I accepted it," said George. "But I'm drawn to it, I admit. Partly intuitively- I feel you are a person who is essentially sane and not paranoid. Partly because the orthodox version of history that I was taught in school never made sense to me, and I know how people can twist history to suit their beliefs, and therefore I assume that the history I've learned is twisted. Partly because of the very wildness of the idea. If I learned one thing in the last few years, it's that the crazier an idea is the more likely it is to be true. Still and all, given all those reasons for believing you, I would like some further sign."
Hagbard nodded. "All right. A sign. So be it. First, a question for you. Assuming your boss, Joe Malik, was on to something- assuming that the place he sent you did have something to do with assassinations and might lead to the Illuminati: what would be likely to happen to Joe Malik?"
"I know what you're suggesting. I don't like to think about it."
"Don't think." Hagbard suddenly pulled a telephone from under the railing of the ship. "We can tap into the Bell System through the Atlantic cable from here. Dial the New York area code and dial any person in New York, any person who could give you up-to-date information on Joe Malik and on Confrontation magazine. Don't tell me who you're dialing. Otherwise, you might suspect I had someone on the ship impersonate the person you want to speak to."
Holding the phone so Hagbard couldn't see, George dialed a number. After a wait of about thirty seconds, after numerous clicks and other strange sounds, George could hear a phone ringing. After a moment, a voice said. "Hello."
"This is George Dorn," said George. "Who is this?"
"Well, who the hell did you think it was? You dialed my number."
"Oh, Christ," said George. "Look, I'm in a place where I don't trust the phones. I have to be sure I'm really talking to you. So I want you to identify yourself without my telling you who you're supposed to be. Do you understand?"
"Of course I understand. You don't have to use that grade school language. This is Peter Jackson, George, as I presume you intended that it should be. Where the hell are you? Are you still in Mad Dog?"
"I'm at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean."
"Knowing your bad habits, I'm not surprised. Have you heard about what happened to us? Is that why you're calling?"
"No. What happened?" George gripped the telephone tighter.
"The office was blown up by a bomb early this morning. And Joe has disappeared."
"Was Joe killed?"
"Not as far as we know. There weren't any bodies in the wreckage. How about you- are you okay?"
"I'm getting into an unbelievable story, Peter. It's so unbelievable that I'm not going to try to tell you about it. Not till I get back. If you're still running a magazine there then."
"As of now there's still a magazine, and I'm running it from my apartment," said Peter. "I only hope they don't decide to blow me up."
"Whoever. You're still on assignment. And if this has anything to do with what you've been doing down in Mad Dog, Texas, you're in trouble. Reporters are not supposed to go around getting their boss's magazines bombed."
"You sound pretty cheerful, considering Joe might be dead."
"Joe is indestructible. By the way, George, who's paying for this call?"
"A wealthy friend, I think. He's got a corner on flax or something like that. More on him later. I'm going to sign off now, Pete. Thanks for talking."
"Sure. Take care, baby."
George handed the phone to Hagbard. "Do you know what's happened to Joe? Do you know who bombed Confrontation? You knew about this before I called. Your people are pretty handy with explosives."
Hagbard shook his head. "All I know is, the pot is coming to a boil. Your editor, Joe Malik, was onto the Illuminati. That's why he sent you to Mad Dog. As soon as you show your face down there, you get busted and Malik's office is bombed. What do you think?"
"I think that what you've been telling me is the truth, or a version of it. I don't know whether to trust you completely. But I've got my sign. If the Bavarian Illuminati don't exist, something does. So, then, where do we go from here?"
Hagbard smiled. "Spoken like a true homo neophilus, George. Welcome to the tribe. We want to recruit you, because you are so gullible. That is, gullible in the right way. You're skeptical about conventional wisdom, but attracted to unorthodox ideas. An unfailing mark of homo neophilus. The human race is not divided into the irrational and the rational, as some idealists think. All humans are irrational, but there are two different kinds of irrationally- those who love old ideas and hate and fear new ones, and those who despise old ideas and joyfully embrace new ones. Homo neophobus and homo neophilus. Neophobus is the original human stock, the stock that hardly changed at all for the first four million years of human history. Neophilus is the creative mutation that has been popping up at regular intervals during the past million years, giving the race little forward pushes, the kind you give a wheel to make it spin faster and faster. Neophilus makes a lot of mistakes, but he or she moves. They live life the way it should be lived, ninety-nine percent mistakes and one percent viable mutations. Everyone in my organization is neophilus, George. That's why we're so far ahead of the rest of the human race. Concentrated neophilus influences, without any neophobe dilution. We make a million mistakes, but we move so fast that none of them catch up with us. Before you get any deeper, George, I'd like you to become one of us."
"Which means what?"
"Become a Legionnaire in the Legion of Dynamic Discord."
George laughed. "Now that sounds like a gas. But it's hard to believe that an organization with an absurd name like that could build anything as serious as this submarine, or work for such a serious end as foiling the Ancient Illuminated Seers of Bavaria."
Hagbard shook his head. "What's serious about a yellow submarine? It's right out of a rock song. And everybody knows people who worry about the Bavarian Illuminati are crackpots. Will you join the Legion- in whatever spirit you choose?"
"Certainly," said George promptly.
Hagbard clapped him on the back. "Ah, you're our type, all right. Good. Back through the door you came, then turn right and through the golden door."
"Is there someone lifting a lamp beside it?"
'There are no honest men on this voyage. Get along with you now." Hagbard's full lips curled in a leer. "You're in for a treat."
("Every perversion," Smiling Jim screamed. "Men having sex with men. Women having sex with women. Obscene desecrations of religious articles for deviant purposes. Even men and women having sex with animals. Why, friends, the only thing they haven't gotten around to yet is people copulating with fruits and vegetables, and I guess that'll be next. Some degenerate getting his kicks with an apple!" The audience laughed at the wit.)
"You've got to run very fast to catch up with the sun. That's the way it is, when you're lost out here," the old woman said, stressing the last five words in a kind of childish singsong… The woods were incredibly thick and dark, but Barney Muldoon stumbled after her… "It's getting darker and darker," she said darkly, "but's always dark, when you're lost out here"… . "Why do we have to catch the Sun?" Barney asked, perplexed. "In search of more light," she cackled gleefully. "You always need more light, when you're lost out here"….
Behind the golden door stood the lovely black receptionist. She had changed into a short red leather skirt that left all of her long legs in view. Her hands rested lightly on her white plastic belt.
"Hi, Stella," said George. "Is that your name? Is it really Stella Maris?"
"No honest men on this voyage is right Hagbard was talking to me telepathically. He told me your name."
"I told you my name when you boarded the sub. You must have forgotten. You've been through a lot. And sad to say you'll be going through a lot more. I must ask you to remove your clothing. Just shed it on the floor, please."
George unhesitatingly did as he was told. Total or partial nudity was required in lots of initiation rituals; but a twinge of anxiety ran through him. He was trusting these people simply because they hadn't done anything to him yet. But there was really no telling what kind of freaks they might be, what kind of ritual torture or murder they might involve him in. Such fears were part of initiation rituals, too.
Stella was grinning at him, eyebrows raised, as he dropped his shorts. He understood the meaning of the grin, and he felt the blood rush hot as a blush to his penis, which grew thicker and heavier in an instant. Being aware that he was standing nude with the start of an erection in front of this beautiful and desirable woman, who was enjoying the spectacle, made him swell and harden still more.
"That's a good-looking tool you've got there. Nice and thick and pink and purple." Stella sauntered over to him, reached out and touched her fingers to the underside of his cock, just where it met his scrotum. He felt his balls draw up. Then her middle finger ran down the central cord, flicking the underside of the head. George's penis rose to full staff in salute to her manual dexterity.
"The sexually responsive male," said Stella. "Good, good, good. Now you're ready for the next chamber. Right through that green door, if you please."
Naked, erect, regretfully leaving Stella behind, George walked through the door. These people were too healthy and good-humored to be untrustworthy, he thought. He liked them and you ought to trust your feelings.
But as the green door slammed shut behind him, his anxiety came back even stronger than before.
In the center of the room was a pyramid of seventeen steps, alternating red and white marble. The room was large, with five walls that tapered together in a gothic arch thirty feet above the pentagonal floor. Unlike the pyramid in the Mad Dog jail, this one had no huge eye goggling down at him. Instead there was an enormous golden apple, a sphere of gold the height of a man with a foot-long stem and a single leaf the size of an elephant's ear. Cut into the side of the apple was the word KALLISTI in Greek letters. The walls of the room were draped with enormous gold curtains that looked like they'd been stolen from a Cinerama theater, and the floor was covered with lush gold carpet into which George's bare feet sank deeply.
This is different, George told himself to quiet his fear. These people are different. There's a connection with the others, but they're different.
The lights went out. The golden apple was glowing in the dark like a harvest moon. KALLISTI was etched in sharp black lines.
A voice that sounded like Hagbard boomed at him from all sides of the room: "There is no goddess but Goddess, and she is your goddess."
This is actually an Elks Club ceremony, George thought. But there were strange, un-BPOE fumes drifting into his nostrils. An unmistakable odor. High-priced incense these people use. An expensive religion, or lodge, or whatever it is. But you can afford the best when you're a flax tycoon. Flax, huh? Hard to see how a man could make such big money in the flax biz. Did you corner the market, or what? Now, mutual funds, that was more down to earth than flax. I do believe I'm feeling the effects. They shouldn't drug a man without his consent.
He found he was holding his penis, which had shrunk considerably. He gave it a reassuring pull.
Said the voice, "There is no movement but the Discordian movement, and it is the Discordian movement."
That would appear to be self-evident. George rolled his eyes and watched the giant, golden-glowing apple wheel and spin above him.
"This is a most sacred and a most serious hour for Discordians. It is the hour when the great, palpitating heart of Discordia throbs and swells, when She What Began It All prepares to ingest into her heaving, chaotic bosom another Legionnaire of the Legion of Dynamic Discord. O minerval are ye willing to make a commitment to Discordia?"
Embarrassed at being addressed directly, George let go of his wang. "Yes," he said, in a voice that sounded muffled to him.
"Are ye a human being, and not a cabbage or something?"
George giggled. "Yes."
"That's too bad," the voice boomed. "Do ye wish to better yerself?"
"How stupid. Are ye willing to become philosophically illuminated?"
Why that word, George wondered briefly. Why illuminated? But he said, "I suppose so."
"Very funny. Will ye dedicate yerself to the holy Discordian movement?"
George shrugged, "As long as it suits me."
There was a draft against his belly. Stella Maris, naked and gleaming, stepped out from behind the pyramid. The soft glow from the golden apple illuminated the rich browns and blacks of her body. George felt the blood charging back into his penis. This part was going to be OK. Stella walked toward him With a slow, stately stride, gold bracelets sparkling and tinkling on her wrists. George felt hunger, thirst, and a pressure as if a balloon were slowly being inflated in his bowels. His cock rose, heartbeat by heartbeat. The muscles in his buttocks and thighs tightened, relaxed, and tightened again.
Stella approached with gliding steps and danced around him in a circle, one hand reaching out to brush his bare waist. He stepped forward and held out his hands to her. She danced away on tiptoes, spinning, arms over her head, heavy conical breasts with black nipples tilted upward. For once George understood why some men like big boobs.
His eyes moved to the globes of her buttocks, the long muscular shadows in her thighs and calves. He stumbled toward her. She stopped suddenly, legs slightly apart forming an inverse with her patch of very abundant hair at the Royal Arch, her hips swaying in a gentle circular motion. His tool pulled him to her as if it were iron and she were magnetized; he looked down and saw that a little pearl of fluid, gleaming gold in the light from the apple, had appeared in the eye. Polyphemus wanted very much to get into the cave.
George walked up to her until the head of the serpent was buried in the bushy, prickly garden at the bottom of her belly. He put his hands out and pressed them against the two cones, feeling her ribcage rise and fall with heavy breathing. Her eyes were half closed and her lips slightly open. Her nostrils flared wide.
She licked her lips and he felt her fingers lightly circling his cock, lightly brushing it with a friction strong enough to gently electrify it. She stepped back a bit and pushed her finger into the moisture on his tip. George put his hand into the tangle of her pubic hair, feeling the lips hot and swollen, feeling her juices slathering his fingers. His middle finger slid into her cunt, and he pushed it in past the tight opening all the way up to his knuckle. She gasped, and her whole body writhed around his finger in a spiral motion. "Wow, God!" George whispered. "Goddess!" Stella answered fiercely. George nodded. "Goddess," he said hoarsely, meaning Stella as much as the legendary Discordia.
She smiled and drew away from him. "Try to imagine that this is not me, Stella Maris, the youngest daughter of Discordia. She is merely the vessel of Goddess. Her priestess. Think of Goddess. Think of her entering me and acting through me. I am her now!" All the while she was stroking Polyphemus gently but insistently. It was already ferocious as a stallion, but it seemed to be getting more inflamed, if that were possible.
"I'm going to go off in your hand in a second," George moaned. He gripped her slender wrist to stop her. "I've got to fuck you, whoever you are, woman or goddess. Please."
She stepped back from him, her tan palms turned toward him, her arms held away from her sides in a receiving, accepting gesture. But she said, "Climb the steps now. Climb up to the apple." Her feet twinkling on the thick carpet, she ran backward away from him and disappeared behind the pyramid.
He climbed the seventeen steps, old one-eye still swollen and aching. The top of the pyramid was broad and flat, and he stood facing the apple. He put a hand out and touched it, expecting cold metal, surprised when the softly glowing texture felt warm as a human body to his touch. About half a foot below the level of his waist he saw a dark, elliptical opening in the side of the apple, and a sinister suspicion formed in his mind.
"You got it, George" said the booming voice that presided over his initiation. "Now you're supposed to plant your seeds in the apple. Go to it, George. Give yourself to Goddess."
Shit man, George thought. What a silly idea! They get a guy turned on like this and then they expect him to fuck a goddamn golden idol. He had a good mind to turn his back on the apple, sit down on the top step of the pyramid and jack-off to show them what he thought of them.
"George, would we let you down? It's nice there in the apple. Come on, stick it in. Hurry up."
I am so gullible, thought George. But a hole is a hole. It's all friction. He stepped up to the apple and gingerly placed the tip of his cock in the elliptical opening, half expecting to be sucked in by some mechanical force, half fearing it would be chopped off by a miniature guillotine. But there was nothing. His cock didn't even touch the edges of the hole. He took another small step, and put it halfway in. Still nothing. Then something warm and wet and hairy squirmed up against the tip of his cock. And, whatever it was, he felt it give as he reflexively pushed forward. He pushed some more and it pushed back, and he slid into it. A cunt by all the high hidden Gods, a cunt!- and by the feel it was almost surely Stella's.
George exhaled a deep sigh, planted his hands on the smooth surface of the apple to support himself and began thrusting. The pumping from inside the apple was as fierce. The metal was warm against his thighs and belly. Suddenly the pelvis inside slammed up against the hole, and a hollow scream resounded from the inside of the apple. The echo effect made it seem to hang in the air, containing all the agony, spasm, itch, twitch, moon madness, horror, and ecstasy of life from the ocean's birth to now.
George's prick was stretched like the skin of a balloon about to burst. His lips drew back from his teeth. The delicious electricity of orgasm was building in his groin, in the deepest roots of his penis, in his quick. He was coming. He cried out as he fired his seed into the unseen cunt, into the apple, into Goddess, into eternity.
There was a crash above. George's eyes opened. A nude male body at the end of a rope came hurtling at him from the vaulted ceiling. It jerked to a stop with a horrible crack, its feet quivering above the stem of the apple. Even as the leaps of ejaculation still racked George's body, the penis over his head lifted and spurted thick white gobbets of come, like tiny doves, arcing out over George's uplifted, horrified head to fall somewhere on the side of the pyramid. George stared at the face, canted to one side, the neck broken, a hangman's knot behind the ear. It was his own face.
George went ape. He pulled his penis out of the apple and nearly fell backward down the stairs. He ran down the seventeen steps and looked back. The dead figure was still hanging, through a trap in the ceiling, directly above the apple. The penis had subsided. The body slowly rotated. Enormous laughter boomed out in the room, sounding very much like Hagbard Celine.
"Our sympathies," said the voice. "You are now a legionnaire in the Legion of Dynamic Discord."
The hanging figure vanished soundlessly. There was no trapdoor in the ceiling. A colossal orchestra somewhere began to play Pomp and Circumstance. Stella Maris came round from the back of the pyramid again, this time clothed from head to foot in a simple white robe. Her eyes shone. She was carrying a silver tray with a steaming hot towel on it. She put the tray on the floor, knelt, and wrapped George's relaxing dick in the towel. It felt delicious.
"You were beautiful," she whispered.
"Yeah, but- wow!" George looked up at the pyramid. The golden apple gleamed cheerfully.
"Get up off the floor," he said. "You're embarrassing me."
She stood up smiling at him, the broad grin of a woman whose lover has thoroughly satisfied her.
"I'm glad you liked it," said George, his wildly disparate emotions gradually coalescing as anger. "What was the idea of that last little gag? To turn me off permanently on sex?"
Stella laughed. "George, admit it. Nothing could turn you off sex, right? So don't be such a bad sport."
"Bad sport? That sick trick is your idea of sport? What a goddam rotten dirty motherfucking thing to do to a man!"
"Motherfucking? No, that's for when we ordain deacons."
George shook his head angrily. She absolutely refused to be shamed. He was speechless.
"If you have any complaints, sweet man, take them to Episkopos Hagbard Celine of the Lief Erikson Cabal," said Stella. She turned and started walking back toward the pyramid. "He's waiting for you back the way you came. And there's a change of clothes in the next room."
"Wait a minute!" George called after her. "What the blazes does Kallisti mean?"
She was gone.
In the anteroom of the initiation chamber he found a green tunic and tight black trousers draped over a costumer. He didn't want to put them on. It was probably some sort of uniform of this idiotic cult, and he wanted no part of it. But there weren't any other clothes. There was also a beautiful pair of black boots. Everything fit perfectly and comfortably. There was a full-length mirror on the wall and he looked at himself and grudgingly admitted that the outfit was a gas. A tiny golden apple glinted on the left side of his chest. The only thing was that his hair needed washing. It was getting stringy.
Through two more doors and he was facing Hagbard.
"You didn't like our little ceremony?" said Hagbard with exaggerated sympathy. "That's too bad. I was so proud of it, especially the parts I lifted from William Burroughs and the Marquis de Sade."
"It's sick," said George. "And putting the woman inside the apple so I couldn't have any kind of personal sex with her, so I had to use her as a receptacle, as, as an object. You made it pornographic. And sadistic pornography, at that."
"Dig, George," said Hagbard. "Thou art that. If there were no death, there would be no sex. If there were no sex, there would be no death. And without sex, there would be no evolution toward intelligence, no human race. Therefore death is necessary. Death is the price of orgasm. Only one being on all this planet is sexless, intelligent and immortal. While you were pumping your seeds into the symbol of life, I showed you orgasm and death in one image and brought it home to you. And you'll never forget it. It was a trip, George. Wasn't it a trip?"
George nodded reluctantly. "It was a trip."
"And you know- in your bones- a little more about life than you did before, right, George?"
"Well, then, thank you for joining the Legion of Dynamic Discord."
Hagbard beckoned George to the edge of the boat-shaped balcony. He pointed down. Far below in the blue-green medium through which they seemed to be flying George could see rolling lands, hills, winding riverbeds- and then, broken buildings. George gasped. Pyramids rose up below, as high as the hills.
"This is one of the great port cities," Hagbard said. "Galleys from the Americas plied their trade to and from this harbor for a thousand years."
"How long ago?"
'Ten thousand years," said Hagbard. "This was one of the last cities to go. Of course, their civilization had declined quite a bit by then. Meanwhile, we've got a problem. The Illuminati are here already."
A large, undulating, blue-gray shape appeared ahead of them, swam toward them, whirled and matched their speed so it seemed to drift alongside. George felt another momentary leap of fright. Was this another of Hagbard's tricks?
"What is that fish? How does it keep up with us?" George asked.
"It's a porpoise, not a fish, a mammal. And they can swim a lot faster than submarines can sail underwater. We can keep up with them, though. They form a film around their bodies that enables them to slide through the water without setting up any turbulence. I learned from them how to do it, and I applied it to this sub. We can cross the Atlantic under water in less than a day."
A voice spoke from the control panel. "Better go transparent. You'll be within range of their detectors when you've gone another ten miles."
"Right," said Hagbard. "We will maintain present course until further notice, so you'll know where we are."
"I'll know," said the voice.
Hagbard slashed his hand through the air disgustedly. "You're so fucking superior."
"Who are you talking to?" said George.
The voice said, "I've never seen machines like this before. They look something like crabs. They've just about got the temple all dug up."
"When the Illuminati do something on their own, they go first class," said Hagbard.
"Who the hell is Howard?" said George.
"It's me. Out here. Hello, Mr. Human," said the voice. "I'm Howard."
Unbelieving, yet knowing quite well what was happening, George slowly turned his head. The dolphin appeared to be looking at him.
"How does he talk to us?" said Hagbard.
"He's swimming alongside the prow of the submarine, which is where we pick up his voice. My computer translates from Delphine to English A mike here in the control room sends our voices to the computer which translates into Delphine and broadcasts the correct sounds through the water to him."
"Lady-oh, oh de-you-day, a new human being has come my way," Howard sang. "He has swum into my ken. I hope he's one of the friendly men."
"They sing a lot," said Hagbard. "Also recite poetry and make it up on the spot. A large part of their culture is poetry. Poetics and athletics- and, of course, the two are very closely related. What they do mostly is swim, hunt, and communicate with each other."
"But we do all with artful complexity and rare finesse," said Howard, looping the loop outside.
"Lead us to the enemy, Howard," said Hagbard.
Howard swam out in front of them, and as he did so, he sang:
Right on, right on, a-stream against the foe
The sallying schools of the Southern seas make their
course to go. Attack, attack, with noses sound as rock
No shark or squid can shake us loose or survive our dour shock.
"Epics," said Hagbard. "They're mad for epics. They have their whole story for the past forty thousand years in epic form. No books, no writing- how could they handle pens with their fins, you know? All memorization. Which is why they favor poetry. And their poems are marvelous, but you must spend years studying their language before you know that. Our computer turns their works into doggerel. It's the best it can do. When I have the time, I'll add some circuits that can really translate poetry from one language to another. When the Porpoise Corpus is translated into human languages, it will advance our culture by centuries or more. It will be as if we'd discovered the works of a whole race of Shakespeares that had been writing for forty millennia."
"On the other hand," said Howard, "your civilizations may be demoralized by culture shock."
"Not likely," said Hagbard grumpily. "We've a few things to teach you, you know."
"And our psychotherapists can help you over the anguish of digesting our knowledge," said Howard.
"They have psychotherapists?" said George.
"They invented psychoanalysis thousands of years ago as a means of passing the time on long migrations. They have highly complex brains and symbol-systems. But their minds are unlike ours in very important ways. They are all in one piece, so to speak. They lack the structural differentiation of ego, superego, and id. There is no repression. They are fully aware, and accepting, of their most primitive wishes. And conscious will, rather than parent-inculcated discipline, guides their actions. There is no neurosis, no psychosis among them. Psychoanalysis for them is an imaginative poetic exercise in autobiography, rather than a healing art. There are no difficulties of the mind that require healing."
"Not quite true," said Howard. "There was a school of thought about twenty thousand years ago that envied humans. They were called the Original Sinners, because they were like the first parents of your human race who, according to some of your legends, envied the gods and suffered for it. They taught that humans were superior because they could do many more things than dolphins. But they despaired, and most ended up by committing suicide. They were the only neurotics in the long history of porpoises. Our philosophers mostly hold that we live in beauty all the days of our lives, as no human does. Our culture is simply what you might call a commentary on our natural surroundings, whereas human culture is at war with nature. If any race is afflicted, it is yours. You can do much, and what you can do, you must do. And, speaking of war, the enemy lies ahead."
In the distance George could make out what appeared to be a mighty city rising on hills surrounding a deep depression which must have been a harbor when Atlantis was on the surface. The buildings marched on and on as far as the eye could see. They were mostly low, but here and there a square tower reared up. The sub was heading for the center of the ancient waterfront. George stared at the buildings; he was able to see them better now. They were angular, very modern in appearance, whereas the other city they'd flown- sailed- over had a mixed Greek-Egyptian-Mayan quality to its architecture. Here there were no pyramids. But the tops of many of the structures were broken off, and many others were heaps of rubble. Still, it was remarkable that a city which had sunk so many thousands of feet to the bottom of the ocean in the course of what must have been an enormous earthquake should be this well preserved. The buildings must be incredibly durable. If New York went through a catastrophe like that there'd be nothing left of its glass-and-alloy skyscrapers.
There was one pyramid. It was much smaller than the towers around it. It gleamed a dull yellow. Despite its lack of height, it seemed to dominate the harbor skyline, like a squat, powerful chieftain in the center of a circle of tall, slender warriors. There was movement around its base.
"This is the city of Peos in the region of Poseida," said Hagbard, "and it was great in Atlantis for a thousand years after the hour of the Dragon Star. It reminds me of Byzantium, which was a great city for a thousand years after the fall of Rome. And that pyramid is the Temple of Tethys, goddess of the Ocean Sea. It was seafaring that made Peos great. I.have a soft spot in my heart for those people."
Crawling around the base of the temple were strange sea creatures that looked like giant spiders. Lights flashed from their heads and glinted on the sides of the temple. As the submarine swept closer, George could see that the spiders were machines, each with a body the size of a tank. They appeared to be excavating deep trenches around the base of the pyramid.
"Wonder where they had those built," muttered Hagbard. "Hard to keep innovations like that a secret."
As he spoke, the spiders stopped whatever work they were doing around the pyramid. There was no motion among them at all for a moment Then one of them rose up from the sea bottom, followed by another, and another. They formed quickly into a V shape and started toward the submarine like a pair of arms outstretched to seize it. They picked up speed as they came.
"They've detected us," Hagbard growled. "They weren't supposed to, but they have. It never pays to underestimate the Illuminati. All right, George. Button up your asshole. We're in for a fight."
At that moment but exactly two hours earlier on the clock, Rebecca Goodman awoke from a dream about Saul and a Playboy bunny and something sinister. The phone was ringing (was there a pyramid in the dream?-she tried to remember- something like that) and she reached groggily past the mermaid statue and held the receiver to her ear. "Yes?" she said cautiously.
"Put your hand on your pussy and listen," said August Personage. "I'd like to lift your dress and-" Rebecca hung up.
She suddenly remembered the hit when the needle went in, and all those wasted years. Saul had saved her from that, and now Saul was gone and strange voices on the phone talked of sex the way addicts talked of junk. "In the beginning of all things was Mummu, the spirit of pure Chaos. In the beginning was the Word, and it was written by a baboon." Rebecca Goodman, twenty-five years old, started to cry. If he's dead, she thought, these years have been wasted, too. Learning to love. Learning that sex was more than another kind of junk. Learning that tenderness was more than a word in the dictionary: that it was just what D. H. Lawrence said, not an embellishment on sex but the center of the act. Learning what that poor guy on the phone could never guess, as most people in this crazy country never guessed it. And then losing it, losing it to an aimless bullet fired from a blind gun somewhere.
August Personage, about to leave the phone booth at the Automat on Fortieth Street and the Avenue of the Americas, catches a flash of plastic on the floor. Bending, he picks up a pornographic tarot card, which he quickly shoves into a pocket to be examined at leisure later.
It was the Five of Pentacles.
And, when the throne room was empty and the believers had departed in wonder and redoubled faith, Hassan knelt and separated the two halves of the vessel which held the head of Ibn Azif. "Very convincing screams," he commented, slipping the trapdoor beneath the plate; and Ibn Azif climbed out, grinning at his own performance. His neck was thick, bull-like, undamaged, and quite solid.