home   |   -   |   A-Z   |  


THE FIFTH TRIP, OR GEBURAH

Swift-Kick, Inc

And, behold, thusly was the Law formulated:


IMPOSITION OF ORDER = ESCALATION OF CHAOS!


Lord Omar Khayaam Ravenhurst,

"The Gospel According to Fred," The Honest Book of Truth

The lights flashed; the computer buzzed. Hagbard attached the electrodes.

On January 30, 1939, a silly little man in Berlin gave a silly little speech; among other things, he said: "And another thing I wish to say on this day which perhaps is memorable not only for us Germans: in my life I have many times been a prophet and most of the times I have been laughed at. During the period of my struggle for power, it was in the first case the Jews that laughed at my prophecies that some day I would take over the leadership of the State and thereby of the whole folk and that I would among other things solve also the Jewish problem. I believe that in the meantime the hyenalike laughter of the Jews of Germany has been smothered in their throats. Today I want to be a prophet once more: if the international-finance Jews inside and outside Europe should succeed once more in plunging nations into another world war the consequence will be the annihilation of the Jewish race in Europe." And so on. He was always saying things like that. By 1939 quite a few heads here and there realized that the silly little man was also a murderous little monster, but only a very small number even of these noticed that for the first time in his anti-Semitic diatribes he had used the word Vernichtung-annihilation- and even they couldn't believe he meant what that implied. In fact, outside of a small circle of friends, nobody guessed what the little man, Adolf Hitler, had planned.

Outside that small- very small- circle of friends, others came in intimate contact with der Fuhrer and never guessed what was in his mind. Hermann Rauschning, the Governor of Danzig, for instance, was a devout Nazi until he began to get some hints of where Hitler's fancies were tending; after fleeing to France, Rauschning wrote a book warning against his former leader. It was called The Voice of Destruction and was very eloquent, but the most interesting passages in it were not understood by Rauschning or by most of his readers. "Whoever sees in National Socialism nothing but a political movement doesn't know much about it," Hitler told Rauschning, and this is in the book, but Rauschning and his readers continued to see National Socialism as a particularly vile and dangerous political movement and nothing more. "Creation is not yet completed," Hitler said again; and Rauschning again recorded, without understanding. "The planet will undergo an upheaval which you uninitiated people can't understand," der Fuhrer warned on another occasion; and, still another time, he remarked that Nazism was, not only more than a political movement, but "more than a new religion"; and Rauschning wrote it all and understood none of it. He even recorded the testimony of Hitler's physician that the silly and murderous little man often awoke screaming from nightmares that were truly extraordinary in their intensity and would shout, "It's HIM, it's HIM, HE'S come for me!" Good old Hermann Rauschning, a German of the old school and not equipped to participate in the New Germany of National Socialism, took all this as evidence of mental unbalance in Hitler

All of them coming back, all of them. Hitler and Streicher and Goebbels and the powers behind them what look like something you can't even imagine, guvnor.

You think they was human, the patient went on as the psychiatrist listened in astonishment, but wait till you see them the second time. And they're coming-By the end of the month, they're coming

Karl Haushofer was never tried at Nuremberg; ask most people to name the men chiefly responsible for the Vernichtung (annihilation) decision, and his name will not be mentioned; even most histories of Nazi Germany relegate him to footnotes. But strange stories are told about his many visits to Tibet, Japan, and other parts of the Orient; his gift for prophecy and clairvoyance; the legend that he belonged to a bizarre sect of dissident and most peculiar Buddhists, who had entrusted him with a mission in the Western world so serious that he vowed to commit suicide if he did not succeed. If the last yarn is true, Haushofer must have failed in his mission, for in March 1946 he killed his wife Martha and then performed the Japanese suicide-rite of sepukku upon himself. His son, Albrecht, had already been executed for his role in the "officer's plot" to assassinate Hitler. (Of his father, Albrecht had written in a poem: "My father broke the seal/He did not feel the breath of the Evil One/He set It free to roam the world!")

It was Karl Haushofer, clairvoyant, mystic, medium, Orientalist, and fanatic believer in the lost continent of Thule, who introduced Hitler to the Illuminated Lodge in Munich, in 1923. Shortly thereafter, Hitler made his first bid to seize power.

No rational interpretation of the events of August 1968 in Chicago, satisfactory to all participants and observers, has yet been produced. This suggests the need for value-free models, inspired by the structural analysis in von Neumann and Morgenstern's Theory of Games and Economic Behavior, which will allow us to express what actually occurred functionally, without tainting our analysis with bias or moral judgments. The model we will employ is that of two teams, an uphill motorcar race and a downhill bicycle race, accidentally intersecting on the same hill. The Picasso statue in the Civic Center will be regarded as "start" for the downhill motorcar race and "finish" for the uphill bicycle race. Pontius Pilate, disguised as Sirhan Sirhan, fires the opening shot, thereby disqualifying Robert F. Kennedy, for whom Marilyn Monroe committed suicide, as recorded in the most trustworthy tabloids and scandal sheets.


THIS IS THE VOICE OF YOUR FRIENDLY NEIGHBORHOOD SPIDER MAN SPEAKING. YOU MUST REALIZE THAT YOU ARE NOT JOSEPH WENDELL MALIK.


Hell's Angels on motorcycles do not fit the structure of the race at all, so they endlessly orbit around the heroic statue of General Logan in Grant Park ("finish" for the uphill crucifixion racers) and can be considered as isolated from the "action," which is, of course, America.

When Jesus falls the first time, this can be considered as a puncture and Simon operates an air pump on his tires, but the threat to throw LSD in the water supply constitutes a "foul" and this team thereby is driven back three squares by Mace, clubs, and the machine guns of the Capone mob unleashed from another time track in the same multiverse. Willard Gibbs, far more than Einstein, created the modern cosmos, and his concept of contingent or statistical reality, when cross-fertilized with the Second Law of Thermodynamics by Shannon and Wiener, led to the definition of information as the negative reciprocal of probability, making the clubbings of Jesus by Chicago cops just another of those things that happens in this kind of quantum jump.

A centurion named Semper Cuni Linctus passes Simon in Grant Park looking for the uphill bike race. "When we crucify a man," he mutters, "he should confounded well stay crucified." The three Marys clutch handkerchiefs to their faces as the teargas and Zyklon B pours upward on the hill, to the spot where the crosses and the statue of General Logan stand "Nor dashed a thousand kirn," croons Saint Toad looking through the door at Fission Chips Arthur Flegenheimer and Robert Putney Drake ascend the chimney "You don't have to believe in Santa Claus," H. P. Lovecraft explains "Ambrose," the Dutchman says to him imploringly.

"But it can't be," Joe Malik says, half weeping. "It can't be that crazy. Buildings wouldn't stand. Planes wouldn't fly. Dams would collapse. Engineering colleges would be lunatic asylums."

"They aren't already?" Simon asks. "Have you read the latest data on the ecological catastrophe? You have to face it, Joe. God is a crazy woman."

"There are no straight lines in curved space," Stella adds.

"But my mind is dying," Joe protests, shuddering.

Simon holds up an ear of corn and tells him urgently, "Osiris is a black god!"

(Sir Charles James Napier, bearded, long-haired and sixty-odd years old, General of Her Majesty's Armies in India, met a most engaging scoundrel in January 1843 and immediately wrote to his cronies in England about this remarkable person, whom he described as brave, clever, fabulously wealthy, and totally unscrupulous. Since this curious fellow was also regarded as God by his followers, who numbered over three million, he charged twenty rupees for permission to kiss his hand, asked- and. got- the sexual favors of the wives or daughters of any True Believers who took his fancy, and proved his divinity by brazenly and openly committing sins which any mortal would shrivel with shame to have acknowledged. He also proved, at the Battle of Miani, where he aided the British against the rebellious Baluchi tribesmen, that he could fight like ten tigers. All in all, General Napier concluded, a most unusual human being-Hasan Ali Shah Mahallat, forty-sixth Imam, or living God, of the Ishmaelian sect of Islam, direct descendant of Hassan i Sabbah, and first Aga Khan.)

Dear Joe:

I'm back in Czechago again, fabulous demesne of Crookbacked Richard, pigbaschard of the world, etc., where the pollution comes up like thunder out of Gary across the lake, etc., and the Padre and I are still working on the heads of the local Heads, etc., so I've finally got tune to write you that long letter I promised.

The Law of Fives is all the farther that Weishaupt ever got, and Hagbard and John aren't much interested in any further speculations along those lines. The 23/17 phenomenon is entirely my discovery, except that William S. Burroughs has noted the 23 without coming to any conclusions about it.

I'm writing this on a bench in Grant Park, near the place I got maced three years ago. Nice symbolism.

A woman just came along from the Mothers March Against Polio. I gave her a quarter. What a drag, just when I was trying to get my thoughts in order. When you come out here, I'll be able to tell you more; this will obviously have to be somewhat sketchy.

Burroughs, anyway, encountered the 23 in Tangiers, when a ferryboat captain named Clark remarked that he'd been sailing 23 years without an accident. That day, his ship sunk, with all hands and feet aboard. Burroughs was thinking about it in the evening when the radio newscast told him that an Eastern Airlines plane, New York to Miami, had crashed. The pilot was another Captain Clark and the plane was Flight 23.

"If you want to know the extent of their control," Simon told Joe (speaking this time, not writing a letter; they were driving to San Francisco after leaving Dillinger), "take a dollar bill out of your wallet and look at it. Go ahead- do it now. I want to make a point." Joe took out his wallet and looked for a single. (A year later, in the city Simon called Czechago in honor of the synchronous invasions in August 1968, the KCUF convention is taking its first luncheon break after Smiling Jim's sock-it-to-'em opening speech. Simon brushes against an usher, shouts, "Hey, you damned faggot, keep your hands off my ass," and in the ensuing tumult Joe has no trouble slipping the AUM in the punch.)

"Do I have to get a library card just to look at one book?" Carmel asks the librarian in the Main Branch of the Las Vegas Library, after Maldonado had failed to produce any lead to a communist agent.

"One of the most puzzling acts of Washington's Presidency," Professor Percival Petsdeloup tells an American history class at Columbia, back in '68, "was his refusal to aid Tom Paine when Paine was condemned to death in Paris" Why puzzling? George Dorn thinks in the back of the class, Washington was an Establishment fink.,.. "First of all, look at that face on the front," Simon says. "It isn't Washington at all, it's Weishaupt. Compare it with any of the early, authentic pictures of Washington and you'll see what I mean. And look at that cryptic half-smile on his face." (The same smile Weishaupt wore when he finished the letter explaining to Paine why he couldn't help him; sealed it with the Great Seal of the United States whose meaning only he knew; and settling back in his chair, murmured to himself, "Jacques De Molay, thou art again avenged!")

"What do you mean, I'm creating a disturbance? It was that faggot there, with his big mitts on my ass."

("Well, I don't know which particular book, honey. Something that tells how the communists work. You know, how a patriotic citizen can spot a commie spy ring if there's one in his neighborhood. That kind of thing," Carmel explained.)

A swarm of men in blue shirts and white plastic helmets rushes down the steps at Forty-third Street and UN Plaza, past the inscription reading, "They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks, neither shall they study war any more." Waving heavy wooden crosses and shouting angry battle cries, the helmeted men surge into the crowd like a wave hitting a sand castle. George sees them coming, and his heart skips a beat.

"And when you turn the bill over, the first thing you see is the Illuminati pyramid. You'll notice it says seventeen seventy-six on it, but our government was founded in seventeen eighty-eight. Supposedly, the seventeen seventy-six is there because that's when the Declaration of Independence was signed. The real reason is that seventeen seventy-six is the year Weishaupt revived the Illuminati. And why do you suppose the pyramid has seventy-two segments in thirteen layers?" Simon asks in nineteen sixty-nine.. .. "Misunderstanding, my eye! When a guy gropes my butt that way I understand exactly what he wants," Simon shouts in nineteen seventy George nudges Peter Jackson. "God's Lightning," he says. The plastic hats gleam in the sunlight, more of them jostling down the stairs, a banner, red letters on a white background unfurling above: "AMERICA: LOVE IT OR WE'LL STOMP YOU "Christ on rollerskates," Peter says, "now watch the cops do a vanishing act." Dillinger settles down cross-legged in a five-sided chamber under the UN meditation room. He curls into the lotus posture with an ease that would appear unusual in an American in his late sixties were there anyone to witness it.

"Seventy-two is the cabalistic number for the Holy Unspeakable Name of God, used in all black magic, and thirteen is the number in a coven," Simon explains. "That's why." The Volkswagen purrs toward San Francisco.

Carmel comes down the steps of the Las Vegas Public Library, a copy of J. Edgar Hoover's Masters of Deceit under his arm, an anticipatory smirk on his face, and Simon is finally ejected from the Sheraton-Chicago shouting, "Faggots! I think you're all a bunch of faggots!"

"And here's one of their jokes," Simon adds. "Over the eagle's head, do you dig that Star of David? They put that one in- one single six-pointed Jewish star, made up of all the five-pointed stars- just so some right-wing cranks could find it and proclaim it as proof that the Elders of Zion control the Treasury and the Federal Reserve."

Overlooking the crowd in UN Plaza, Zev Hirsch, New York State Commander of God's Lightning, watches his thick-shouldered troops, swinging their wooden crosses like tomahawks, drive back the lily-livered peaceniks. There is an obstacle. A blue line of policemen has formed between the men of God's Lightning and their prey. Over the cops' shoulders, the peaceniks are screeching dirty words at their plastic-hatted enemies. Zev's eyes scan the crowd. He catches the eye of a red-faced cop with gold braid on his cap. Zev gives the Police Captain a questioning look. The Captain winks. A minute later the Captain makes a small gesture with his left hand. Immediately, the line of police vanishes, as if melted in the bright spring sun that beats down on the plaza. The battalion of God's Lightning falls upon their anguished, outraged, and astonished victims. Zev Hirsch laughs. This is a lot more fun than the old days in the Jewish Defense League. All the servants are drunk. And the rain continues.

At an outdoor cafe in Jerusalem two white-haired old men wearing black are drinking coffee together. They try to mask their emotions from the people around them, but their eyes are wild with excitement. They are staring at an inside page of a Yiddish newspaper, reading two ads in Yiddish, a large, quarter-page announcement of the greatest rock festival of all time to be held near Ingolstadt, Bavaria- bands of all nations, people of all nations, to be known as Woodstock Europa. On the same page is the paper's personals column, and the watery eyes of the two old men are re-reading for the fifth time the statement, in Yiddish, "In thanks to St. Jude for favors granted.-A. W."

One old man points at the page with a trembling finger. "It is coming," he says in German.

The other one nods, a beatific smile on his withered face. "Jawohl. It is coming very soon. Der Tag. Soon we must to Bavaria go. Ewige Blumenkraft!"

Carlo put the gun on the table between us. "This is it, George," he said. "Are you a revolutionary, or are you just on an ego trip playing at being a revolutionary? Can you take the gun?"

I wiped my eyes. The Passaic was flowing below me, a steady stream of garbage from the Paterson falls down to Newark and the Atlantic Ocean. Like the garbage that was my contemptible, cowardly soul The God's Lightning troopers fan out, clubbing each person wearing an I WON'T DIE FOR FERNANDO POO button. Blood dances in the air, fragile red bubbles, before the tomblike slab of the UN building Dillinger's breathing slows down. He stares at the ruby eye atop the 13-step pyramid hidden in the UN building, and he thinks of pentagons.

"I'm a God's Lightning," Carlo said. "This is no joke, baby, I'm going to do the whole bit." His intense eyes burned into mine as the switchblade came out of his pocket. "Motherfuckin' commie," he screamed suddenly, leaping up so quickly that the chair fell over behind him. "You're not getting off with a beating this time. I'm gonna cut your balls off and take them home as a souvenir." He slashed forward with the knife, deflecting his swing at the last minute. "Made you jump, you long-haired faggotty freak. I wonder if you have any balls to cut off. Well, I'll find out." He inched forward, the knife weaving snakelike patterns in the air.

"Look," I said desperately, "I know you're only playacting."

"You don't know nothing, baby. Maybe I'm FBI or CIA. Maybe this is just an excuse to get you to go for the gun so I can kill you and claim self-defense. Life isn't all demonstrations and play-acting, George. There comes a time when it gets serious." He lunged again with the knife, and I stumbled clumsily backward. "Are you going to take the gun or am I going to cut your balls off and tell the Group you're no fucking good and we couldn't use you?"

He was totally mad and I was totally sane. Is that a more flattering way of telling it, instead of the truth, that he was brave and I was yellow?

"Listen," I said, "I know you won't really stab me and you know I won't really shoot you-"

"Shit on you know and I know," Carlo hit me in the chest with his free hand, hard. "I'm a God's Lightning, really a God's Lightning. I'm gonna do the whole scene. This is a test, but the test is for real." He hit me again, jarring my balance, then slapped my face, twice, rapidly, back and forth like a windshield wiper. "I always said you longhaired commie freaks don't have no guts. You can't even fight back. You can't even feel angry, can you? You just feel sorry for yourself, right?"

It was too damned true. A nerve twinged deep down inside at the unfairness of it, of his ability to see into me more than I usually dared see into myself; and at last I grabbed the gun from the table, screaming, "You sadistic Stalinist son-of-a-bitch!"

"And look at the eagle," Simon says. "Look real close. That ain't really no olive branch in his left claw, baby.

That's our old friend Maria Juana. You never really looked at a dollar bill before, did you?

"And the real symbolism of the pyramid is alchemical, of course. The traditional code represents the three kinds of sex by a cube, a pyramid, and a sphere. The cube is that travesty we call 'normal sex, in which the two nervous systems never actually merge at the orgasm, like the two parallel sides of the cube. The pyramid is the two coming together and joining, the magical-telepathic orgasm. The sphere is the Tantric ritual, endlessly prolonged, with no orgasm at all. The alchemists used that code for over two thousand years. The Rosicrucians among the founding fathers used the pyramid as a symbol of their kind of sex magic. Aleister Crowley used that symbol the same way, more recently. The eye on the pyramid is the two minds meeting. Neurological interlock. The opening of the Eye of Shiva. Ewige Schlangekraft-the eternal serpent power. The joining of the Rose and Cross, vagina and penis, into Rose-Cross. The astral leap. Mind escaping from physiology."

The AUM was supposed to work almost instantly, according to what the scientists at ELF had told Hagbard, so Joe approached the first man who had sampled the punch and started a conversation. "Nice talk Smiling Jim gave," he said earnestly. (I rammed the gun into Carlo's gut and saw him go white about the lips. "No, don't worry," I said, smiling. "I'm not using it on you. But when I come back there'll be a dead pig on the streets somewhere in Morningside Heights." He started to speak, and I jabbed downward with the gun, grinning as he gasped for air. "Comrade," I added.) "Yeah, Smiling Jim was born with a silver tongue," the other man said.

"A silver tongue," Joe agreed solemnly, then added, holding out his hand, "by the way, I'm Jim Mallison from the New York delegation."

"Knew by your accent," the other said shrewdly. "I'm Clem Cotex from down Little Rock." They shook. "Pleasure to meet you."

"Too bad about that kid that got thrown out," Joe said, lowering his voice. "It looked to me like that usher really was- you know- touching him."

Cotex looked surprised for a moment, but then shook his head in doubt. "Can't tell nowadays, especially in big cities. Do you really think an Andy Frain usher could be a- fairy?"

"Like you said, nowadays in big cities" Joe shrugged. "I'm just saying that it looked like it to me. Of course, maybe the usher isn't one. Maybe he's just a cheap thief who was trying to pick the kid's pocket. A lot of that goes on these days, too." Cotex involuntarily reached back to check his own wallet, and Joe went on blandly. "But I wouldn't rule out the other, not by a long shot. What sort of man would want to be an usher at a KCUF meeting, if you stop and think about it? You must have observed how many homosexuals there are in our organization."

"What?" Cotex's eyes bulged.

"You haven't noticed it?" Joe smiled loftily. "There are very few of us who are really Christians. Most of the membership are just a little bit lavender, know what I mean? I think it's one of our biggest problems, and we ought to bring it out into the open and discuss it frankly. Clear the air, right? For instance, take the way Smiling Jim always puts his arm around your shoulder when he talks to you-"

Cotex interrupted, "Hey, mister, you're pretty darn bright. Just now hit me like a flash- some of the men here, when Smiling Jim showed those beaver shots to prove how bad some magazines are getting, they really shuddered. They didn't just disapprove- it really honest-to-Pete revolted them. What kind of man actually finds a naked lady disgusting?"

Go, baby, go, Joe thought. The AUM is working. He quickly derailed the conversation. "Another thing that bothers me. Why don't we ever challenge the spherical earth theory?"

"Huh?"

"Look," Joe said. "If all the scientists and eggheads and commies and liberals are pushing it in our schools all the time, there must be something a little fishy about it. Did you ever stop to think that there's no way- just no way at all- to reconcile a spherical earth with the story of the Flood, or Joshua's miracle, or Jesus standing on the pinnacle of the Temple and seeing all the kingdoms of the earth? And I ask you, man to man, in all your travels have you ever seen the curvature anywhere? Every place I've been is flat. Are we going to trust the Bible and the evidence of our own senses, or are we going to listen to a bunch of agnostics and atheists in laboratory smocks?"

"But the earth's shadow on the moon during an eclipse"

Joe took a dime out of his pocket and held it up. 'This casts a circular shadow, but it's flat, not spherical."

Cotex stared into space for a long moment, while Joe waited with suppressed excitement. "You know something?" Cotex said finally, "all the Bible miracles and our own travels and the shadow on the moon would make sense if the earth was shaped like a carrot and all the continents were on the flat end-"

Praise be to Simon's god, Bugs Bunny, Joe thought elatedly. It's happening- he's not only gullible- he's creative.

I followed the cop- the pig, I corrected myself- out of the cafeteria. I was so keyed up that it was a Trip. The blue of his uniform, the neon signs, even the green of the lampposts, all were coming in super bright. That was adrenalin. My mouth was dry- dehydration. All the classic flight-fight symptoms. The activation syndrome, Skinner calls it. I let the cop- the pig- get half a block ahead and reached in my pocket for the revolver.

"Come on, George!" Malik shouted. George didn't want to move. His heart was thumping, his arms and legs trembling so hard he knew they'd be useless to him in a fight. But he just didn't want to move. He'd had enough of running from these motherfuckers.

But he couldn't help himself. As the men in blue shirts and white helmets came on, the crowd surged away from them, and George had to move back with the crowd or be knocked down and trampled.

"Come on, George." It was Pete Jackson at his side now, with a good, hard grip on his arm, tugging him.

"Goddam it, why do we have to run away from them?" George said, stumbling backward.

Peter was smiling faintly. "Don't you read your Mao, George? Enemy attacks, we retreat. Let the Morituri fanatics stand and get creamed."

I couldn't do it. My hand held the gun, but I couldn't take it out and hold it in front of me any more than I could take out my penis and wave it around. I was sure, even though the street was empty except for me and the pig, that a dozen people would jump out of doorways yelling, "Look, he took it out of his pants."

Just like right now, when Hagbard said, "Button up your asshole. We're in for a fight," I stood frozen like I stood frozen on the embankment above the Passaic.

"Are you on an ego trip playing at being a revolutionary?" Carlo asked.

And Mavis: "All the militant radicals in your crowd ever do is take out the Molotov cocktail diagram that they carefully clipped from The New York Review of Books, hang it on the bathroom door, and jack-off in connection with it."

Howard sang:

The foe is attacking, their ships coming near, Now is the time to fight without fear! Now is the time to look death in the eye Before we submit, we'll fight till we die!

This time I got the gun out of my pocket- standing there, looking down at the Passaic- and raised it to my forehead. If I didn't have the courage for homicide, Jesus knows I have despair enough for a hundred suicides. And I only have to do it once. Just once, and then oblivion. I cock the firing pin. (More play-acting, George? Or will you really do it?) I'll do it, damn you, damn all of you. I pull the trigger and fall, with the explosion, into blackness.

(AUM was a product of the scientists at ELF- the Erisian Liberation Front- and shared by them with the JAMs. An extract of hemp, boosted with RNA, the "learning" molecule, it also had small traces of the famous "Frisco Speedball"- heroin, cocaine, and LSD. The effect seemed to be that the heroin stilled anxiety, the RNA stimulated creativity, the hemp and acid opened the mind to joy, and the cocaine was there to fit the Law of Fives. The delicate balance created no hallucinations, no sense of "high"- just a sudden spurt in what Hagbard Celine liked to call "constructive gullibility.")

It was one of those sudden shifts of movement that occur in a mob scene. Instead of pushing George and Peter back, the crowd between them and the white helmets were parting. A slender man fell heavily against George, anguish in his eyes. There was a terrible thump, and the man fell to the ground.

George saw the dark brown wooden cross before he saw the man who wielded it. There was blood and hair at the end of the crossarm. The God's Lightning man was dark, broad and muscular, with a blue shadow on his cheeks. He looked Italian or Spanish- he looked, in fact, a lot like Carlo. His eyes were wide and his mouth was open and he was breathing heavily. The expression was neither rage nor sadistic joy- just the unthinking panting alertness of a man doing a difficult and fatiguing job. He bent over the fallen slender man and raised the cross.

"All right!" snapped Peter Jackson. He pushed George aside. There was a silly-looking yellow plastic water pistol in his hand. He squirted the oblivious God's Lightning man in the back of the neck. The man screamed, arched backward, the cross flying end over end into the air. He fell on his back and lay screaming and writhing.

"Come on now, motherfucker!" Pete snarled as he dragged George into the crowd, broken-field running toward Forty-second Street.

"An hour and a half to go," Hagbard says, finally beginning to show suppressed tension. George checks his watch- it's exactly 10:30 P.M., Ingolstadt time. The Plastic Canoe is wailing KRISHNA KRISHNA HARE HARE.

(Under the noon sun, two days earlier, Carmel speeds in his jeep away from Las Vegas.)

"Who am I going to meet at the Norton Cabal?" Joe asks. "Judge Crater? Amelia Earhart? Nothing would surprise me now."

"A few real together people," Simon replies. "But no one like that. But you'll have to die, really die, man, before you're illuminated." He smiles gently. "Aside from death and resurrection, you won't find anything you'd call 'supernatural' with this bunch. Not even a whiff of old Chicago-style Satanism."

"God," Joe says, "was that only a week ago?"

"Yep," Simon grins, gunning his VW around a Chevrolet with Oregon license plates, "It's still nineteen sixty-nine, even if you seem to have lived several years since we met at the anarchist caucus." His eyes are amused as he half turns to glance at Joe.

"I suppose that means you know what's been happening in my dreams. I'm getting the flash forwards already."

"Always happens after a good dirty Black Mass with pot mixed in the incense," Simon says. "What sort of thing you getting? Is it happening when you're awake yet?"

"No, only in my dreams." Joe pauses, thinking. "I only know it's the real article because the dreams are so vivid. One set has to do with some kind of pro-censorship rally at the Sheraton-Chicago hotel, I think about a year from now. There's another set that seems farther in the future- five or six years- where I'm impersonating a doctor for some reason. And a third group of images comes to me, now and then, that seems to be the set of a Frankenstein movie, except that the extras are all hippies and there seems to be a rock festival going on."

"Does it bother you?"

"A little. I'm used to waking up in the morning with the future ahead of me, not behind me and ahead of me both."

"You'll get used to it. You're just beginning to contact what old Weishaupt called 'die Morgensheutegesternwelf- the tomorrow-today-yesterday world. It gave Goethe the idea for Faust, just like Weishaupt's 'Ewige Blumenkraft' slogan inspired Goethe's 'Ewige Weibliche.' I'll tell you what," Simon suggested, "You might try wearing three wristwatches, like Bucky Fuller does- one showing the time where you're at, one showing the tune where you're going, and one showing the time at some arbitrary place like Greenwich Mean Time or your home town. It'll help you get used to relativity. Meanwhile, never whistle while you're pissing. And you might repeat to yourself, when you get disoriented, Fuller's sentence, 'I seem to be a verb.'"

They drove in silence for a while, and Joe pondered on being a verb. Hell, he thought, I have enough trouble understanding what Fuller means when he says God is a verb. Simon let him mull it over, and began humming again: "Rameses the Second is dead, my love/He's walking the fields where the BLESSED liiiiive" Joe realized he was starting to doze and all the faces at the luncheon table looked at him in astonishment. "No, seriously," he said. "Anthropologists are too timid to say it out in the open, in public, but corner one of them in private and ask him."

Every detail was clear: it was the same room in the Sheraton-Chicago Hotel, and the faces were the same. (I've been here before and said this before.)

"The rain dances of the Indians work. The rain always comes. So why isn't it possible that their gods are real and ours isn't? Have you ever prayed to Jesus for something and really gotten it?" There is a long silence and finally an old tight-faced woman smiles youthfully and declares, "Young man, I'm going to try it. How do 1 meet an Indian in Chicago?"

Like tomahawks the crosses of God's Lightning rose and fell on the slender man's defenseless skull. They'd found their injured comrade lying on the street twisting and moaning beside his erstwhile victim. A couple of them hauled the wounded God's Lightning man away, while the rest took their revenge on the unconscious peace demonstrator.

("You, Luke," says Yeshua ben Yosef, "don't write that down.")

Space-time, then, may be slanted or kiltered when you're lost out here: Fernando Poo looks through his glass at a new island, not guessing that it will be named after himself, not imagining that someday Simon Moon will write "In Fourteen Hundred and Seventy Two, Fernando Poo discovered Fernando Poo," and Hagbard says, "Truth is a tiger," while Timothy Leary does a Crown Point Pavanne out of San Luis Obispo Jail and four billion years earlier one squink says to another, "I've solved the ecology problem on this new planet." The other squink, partner to the first (they own Swift Kick Inc., the shoddiest contractors in the Milky Way) says "How?" The first squink laughs coarsely. "Every organism produced will be programmed with a Death Trip. It'll give them a rather gloomy outlook, I admit, especially the more conscious ones, but it will sure minimize costs for us." Swift Kick Inc. cut the edges every other way they could think, and Earth emerged as the Horrible Example invoked in all classes on planetary design throughout the galaxy.

When Burroughs told me that, I flipped, because I was 23 that year and lived on Clark Street. Besides, I immediately saw the application to the Law of Fives: 2 + 3 = 5 and Clark has 5 letters.

I was mulling this over when I happened to notice the shipwreck in Pound's Canto 23. That's the only shipwreck mentioned in the whole 800-page poem, in spite of all the nautical voyages described. Canto 23 also contains the line, "with the sun in a golden cup," which Yeats says inspired his own lines, "the golden apples of the sun, the silver apples of the moon."

Golden apples, of course, brought me back to Eris, and I realized I was onto something hot.

Then I tried adding the Illuminati Five to 23, and I got 28. The average menstrual period of Woman. The lunar cycle. Back to the silver apples of the moon- and I'm Moon. Of course, Pound and Yeats both have five letters in their names.

If this be schizophrenia, I said with a P. Henry twist (one better than an O. Henry twist), make the most of it!

I looked deeper.

Through a bullhorn, a police captain began to shout,


CLEAR THE PLAZA CLEAR THE PLAZA.


The first reports of the annihilation camps were passed on to the OSS by a Swiss businessman evaluated as being one of the most trustworthy informants on affairs in Nazi Europe. The State Department decided that the stories were not confirmed. That was early in 1943. By autumn of that year, more urgent reports from the same source transmitted still through the OSS forced a major policy conference. It was again decided that the reports were not true. As winter began, the English government asked for another conference to discuss similar reports from their own intelligence networks and from the government of Rumania. The delegates met in Bermuda for a warm, sunny weekend, and decided that the reports were not true; they returned to their work refreshed and tanned. The death trains continued to roll. Early in 1944, Henry Morgenthau, Jr., Secretary of the Treasury, was reached by dissenters in the State Department, examined the evidence, and forced a meeting with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Shaken by the assertions in Morgenthau's documents, Roosevelt pledged that he would act at once. He never did. It was said later that the State Department convinced him, once again, of their own analysis: the reports simply were not true. When Mr. Hitler said Ver-nichtung he had not really meant Vemichtung. An author, Ben Hecht, then placed an ad in the New York Times, presenting the evidence to the public; a group of prominent rabbis attacked him for alarming Jews unnecessarily and undermining confidence in America's Chief Executive during wartime. Finally, late that year, American and Russian troops began liberating the camps, and General Eisenhower insisted that news photographers take detailed movies which were released to the whole world. In the interval between the first suppressed report by the Swiss businessman and the liberation of the first camp, six million people had died.

"That's what we call a Bavarian Fire Drill," Simon explained to Joe. (It was another time; he was driving another Volkswagen. In fact, it was the night of April 23 and they were going to meet Tobias Knight at the UN building.) "It was one official named Winifred who'd been transferred from the Justice Department to a key State Department desk where every bit of evidence passed for evaluation. But the same principles apply everywhere. For instance- we're half an hour early for the meeting anyhow-I'll give you an illustration right now." They were approaching the corner of Forty-third Street and Third Avenue and Simon had observed that the streetlight was changing to red. As he stopped the car, he opened the door and said to Joe, "Follow me."

Puzzled, Joe got out as Simon ran to the car behind them, beat on the hood with his hand and shouted "Bavarian Fire Drill! Out!" He made vigorous but ambiguous motions with his hands and ran to the car next back. Joe saw the first subject look dubiously at his companion and then open the door and get out, obediently trailing behind Simon's urgent and somber figure.

"Bavarian Fire Drill! Out!" Simon was already shouting at the third car back.

As Joe trotted along, occasionally adding his own voice to persuade the more dubious drivers, every car gradually emptied and people formed a neat line heading back toward Lexington Avenue. Simon then ducked between two cars and began jogging toward the front of the line at Third Avenue again, shouting to everybody, "Complete circle! Stay in line!" Obediently, everyone followed in a great circle back to their own cars, reentering from the side opposite to that from which they had left. Simon and Joe climbed back into the VW, the light changed, and they sped ahead.

"You see?" Simon asked. "Use words they've been conditioned to since childhood- 'fire drill,' 'stay in line,' like that- and never look back to see if they're obeying. They'll follow. Well, that's the way the Illuminati guaranteed that the Final Solution wouldn't be interrupted. Winifred, one guy who had been around long enough to have an impressive title, and his scrawl 'Evaluation: dubious' on the bottom of each memo and six million died. Hilarious, isn't it?"

And Joe remembered from the little book by Hagbard Celine, Never Whistle While You're Pissing (privately printed, and distributed only to members of the JAMs and the Legion of Dynamic Discord): "The individual act of obedience is the cornerstone not only of the strength of authoritarian society but also of its weakness."

(On November 23, 1970, the body of Stanislaus Oedipuski, forty-six, of West living Park Road, was found floating in the Chicago river. Death, according to the police laboratory, did not result from drowning but from beating about the head and shoulders with a square-ended object. The first inquiries by homicide detectives revealed that Oedipuski had been a member of God's Lightning and the theory was formed that a conflict between the dead man and his former colleagues might have resulted in his being snuffed with their Wooden crosses. Further investigation revealed that Oedipuski had been a construction worker and until very recently well liked on his job, behaving in a normal, down-to-earth manner, bitching about the government, cursing the lazy bums on Welfare, hating niggers, shouting obscene remarks at good-looking dolls who passed construction sites and- when the odds were safely above the 8-to-l level- joining other middle-aged workers in attacking and beating young men with long hair, peace buttons, or other un-American stigmata. Then, about a month before, all that had changed. He began bitching about the bosses as well as the government- almost sounding like a communist at times; when somebody else cussed the crumb-bums on Welfare, Stan remarked thoughtfully, "Well, you know, our union keeps them from getting jobs, fellows, so what else can they do but go on Welfare? Steal?" He even said once, when some of the guys were good-humoredly giving the finger and making other gallant noises and signals toward a passing eighteen-year-old girl, "Hey, you know, that might really be embarrassing and scaring her!" Worse yet, his own hair begun to grow surprisingly long in the back, and his wife told friends that he didn't look at TV much anymore but instead sat in a chair most evenings reading books. The police found that was indeed true, and his small library- gathered in less

than a month- was remarkable indeed, featuring works on astronomy, sociology, Oriental mysticism, Darwin's Origin of the Species, detective novels by Raymond Chandler, Alice in Wonderland, and a college-level text on number theory with the section on primes heavily marked with notes in the margin; the gallant, and now pathetic, tracks of a mind that was beginning to grow after four decades of stagnation, and then had been abruptly stomped. Most mysterious of all was the card found in the dead man's pocket, which although waterlogged, could still be read. One side said


THERE IS NO ENEMY ANYWHERE


and the other side, even more mysteriously, was inscribed:

The Illuminatus! Trilogy

The police might have tried to decipher this, but then they discovered that Oedipuski had resigned from God's Lightning- giving his fellow members a lecture on tolerance in the process- the night before his death. That closed the case, definitely. Homicide did not investigate murders clearly connected with God's Lightning, since the Red Squad had its own personal accommodation with that burgeoning organization. "Poor motherfucker," a detective said, looking at Oedipuski's photographs; and closed the file forever. Nobody ever reopened it, or traced the change in the dead man back to his attendance at the meeting, one month before, of KCUF at the Sheraton-Chicago, where the punch was spiked with AUM.)

In the act of conception, of course, the father contributes 23 chromosomes and the mother contributes another 23. In the / Ching, hexagram 23 has connotations of "sinking" or "breaking apart," shades of the unfortunate Captain Clarks

Another woman just came by, collecting for the Mothers March against Muscular Dystrophy. I gave her a quarter. Where was I? Oh, yes: James Joyce had five letters in both his front name and his hind name, so he was worth looking into. A Portrait of the Artist has five chapters, all well and good, but Ulysses has 18 chapters, a stumper, until I remembered that 5 + 18 = 23. How about Finnegans Wake? Alas, that has 17 chapters, and I was bogged down for a while.

Trying another angle, I wondered if Frank Sullivan, the poor cluck who got shot instead of John at the Biograph Theatre that night, could have lingered until after midnight, dying on July 23 instead of July

22 as usually stated. I looked it up in Toland's book, The Dillinger Days. Poor Frank, sad to say, died before midnight, but Toland included an interesting detail, which I told you that night at the Seminary bar:

23 people died of heat prostration that day in Chicago. He added something else: 17 people had died of heat prostration the day before. Why did he mention that? I'm sure he doesn't know- but there it was again, 23 and 17. Maybe something important is going to happen in the year 2317? I couldn't check that, of course (you can't navigate precisely in the Morgensheutegesternwelt), so I went back to 1723, and struck golden apples. That was the year Adam Smith and Adam Weishaupt were both born (and Smith published The Wealth of Nations the same year Weishaupt revived the Illuminati: 1776.)

Well, 2 + 3 = 5, fitting the Law of Fives, but 1+7 = 8, fitting nothing. Where did that leave me? Eight, I reflected, is the number of letters in Kallisti, back to the golden apple again, and 8 is also 23, hot damn. Naturally, it came as no surprise when the 8 defendants in the Chicago Conspiracy Trial, which grew out of our little Convention Week Carnival, were tried on the 23rd floor of the Federal Building, amid a flurry of synchronicity- a Hoffman among the defendants, a Hoffman as judge; the Illuminati pyramid, or Great Seal of the U.S. right inside the door of the building, and a Scale getting worse abuse than the other defendants; five-letter names and proliferating-Abbie, Davis, Foran, Scale, Jerry Rubin (twice), and the clincher, Clark (Ramsey, not Captain) who was torpedoed and sunk by the judge before he could testify.

I got interested in Dutch Shultz because he died on October 23. A cluster of synchronicity, that man: he ordered the shooting of Vincent "Mad Dog" Coll (remember Mad Dog, Texas); Coll was shot on 23rd Street, when he was 23 years old; and Charlie Workman, who allegedly shot Schultz, served 23 years in prison for it (although rumor has it that Mendy Weiss- two five-letter names, again- did the real shooting.) Does 17 come in? You bet Shultz was first sentenced to prison at the age of 17.

Around this time I bought Robert Heinlein's The Puppet Masters, thinking the plot might parallel some Illuminati operations. Imagine how I felt when Chapter Two began, "23 hours and 17 minutes ago, a flying saucer landed in Iowa"

And, in New York, Peter Jackson is trying to get the next issue of Confrontation out on time- although the office is still a shambles, the editor and star researcher have disappeared, the best reporter has gone ape and claims to be at the bottom of the Atlantic with a wax tycoon, and the police are hounding Peter to find out why the first two detectives assigned to the case can't be located. Sitting in his apartment (now the magazine's office) in his shut and shorts, Peter dials his phone with one hand, adding another crushed cigarette to the pile in the ashtray with the other. Throwing a manuscript onto a basket marked "Ready for Printer," he crosses off "lead article- The Youngest Student Ever Admitted to Columbia Tells Why He Dropped Out by L. L. Durrutti" from a list on the pad before him. His pencil moves down to the bottom, "Book Review," as he listens to the phone ring. Finally, he hears the click of a lifted receiver and a rich, flutey voice says, "Epicene Wildeblood here."

"Got your book review ready, Eppy?"

"Have it tomorrow, dear boy. Can't be any faster, honestly!"

'Tomorrow will do," Peter says writing call again-A.M. next to "Book Review."

"It's a dreadfully long monster of a book," Wildeblood says pettishly, "and I certainly won't have time to read it, but I'm giving it a thorough skimming. The authors are utterly incompetent- no sense of style or structure at all. It starts out as a detective story, switches to science-fiction, then goes off into the supernatural, and is full of the most detailed information of dozens of ghastly boring subjects. And the time sequence is all out of order in a very pretentious imitation of Faulkner and Joyce. Worst yet, it has the most raunchy sex scenes, thrown in just to make it sell, I'm sure, and the authors- whom I've never heard of- have the supreme bad taste to introduce real political figures into this mishmash and pretend to be exposing a real conspiracy. You can be sure I won't waste time reading such rubbish, but I'll have a perfectly devastating review ready for you by tomorrow noon."

"Well, we don't expect you to read every book you review," Peter says mollifyingly, "just so long as you can be entertaining about them."

"The Foot Fetishist Liberation Front will be participating in the rally at the UN building," Joe Malik said, as George and Peter and he were affixing their black armbands.

"Christ," Jackson said disgustedly.

"We can't afford to take that attitude," Joe said severely. "The only hope for the Left at this time is coalition politics. We can't exclude anybody who wants to join us."

"I've got nothing against faggots personally," Peter begins ("Gays," Joe says patiently). "I've got nothing against Gays personally," Peter goes on, "but they are a bringdown at rallies. They just give God's Lightning more evidence to say we're all a bunch of fruits. But, OK, realism is realism, there are a lot of them, and they swell our ranks, and all that, but, Jesus, Joe. These toe freaks are a splinter within a splinter. They're microscopic."

"Don't call them toe freaks," Joe says. "They don't like that."

A woman from the Mothers March Against Psoriasis just came by with another collection box. I gave her a quarter, too. The marching mothers are going to strip Moon of his bread if this keeps up.

Where was I? I meant to add, in relation to the Dutch Shultz shooting that Marty Krompier, who ran the policy racket in Harlem, was also shot on October 23, 1935. The police asked him if there was a connection with phlegmatic Flegenheimer's demise and he said, "It's got to be one of them coincidences." I wonder how he emphasized that- "one of them coincidences" or "one of them coincidences"? How much did he know?

That brings me to the 40 enigma. As pointed out, 1 + 7 = 8, the number of letters in Kallisti. 8 x 5 = 40.

More interestingly, without invoking the mystic 5, we still arrive at 40 by adding 17 + 23. What, then, is the significance of 40? I've run through various associations-Jesus had his 40 days in the desert, Ali Baba had his 40 thieves, Buddhists have their 40 meditations, the solar system is almost exactly 40 astronomical units in radius (Pluto yo-yos a bit)-but I have no definite theory yet

The color television set in the Three Lions Pub in the Tudor Hotel at Forty-second Street and Second Avenue shows the white-helmeted men carrying wooden crosses fall back as the blue-helmeted men carrying billy clubs move forward. The CBS camera pans over the plaza. There are five bodies on the ground scattered like flotsam tossed on a beach by a receding wave. Four of them are moving, making slow efforts to get up. The fifth is not moving at all.

George said, "I think that's the guy we saw getting clubbed. My God, I hope he isn't dead."

Joe Malik said, "If he is dead, it may get people to demand that something be done about God's Lightning."

Peter Jackson laughed mirthlessly. "You still think some honky peacenik getting killed is going to make people indignant. Don't you understand, nobody in this country cares what happens to a peace freak. You're in the same boat with the niggers now, you silly sons-of-bitches."

Carlos looked up in astonishment as I burst into the room, still wet from the Passaic, and threw the gun at his feet, screaming, "You silly sons-of-bitches, you can't even make bombs without blowing yourselves up, and when you buy a gun the motherfucker is defective and misfires. You can't expel me-I quit!" You silly sons-of-bitches

"You silly sons-of-bitches!" Simon shouted. Joe woke as the VW swerved amid a flurry of Hell's Angels bike roaring by. He was back in "real" time again- but the word had quotes around it, in his mind, now, and it always would.

"Wow," he said, "I was in Chicago again, and then at that rock festival and then I was in somebody else's lifeline"

"Goddam Harley-Davidsons," Simon mutters as the last Angel thunders by. "When fifty or sixty of them swarm by like that, it's as bad as trying to drive on the sidewalk in Times Square at high noon without hitting a pedestrian."

"Later-for-that," Joe said, conscious of his growing ease in using Simon's own language. "This tomorrow-today-yesterday time is beginning to get under my skin. It's happening more and more often"

Simon sighed, "You want words to put around it. You can't accept it until it has labels dangling off it, like a new suit. OK. And your favorite word-game is science. Fine, right on! Tomorrow we'll drop by the Main Library and you can look up the English science journal Nature for Summer nineteen sixty-six. There's an article in there by the University College physicist F. R. Stannard about what he calls the Faustian Universe. He tells how the behavior of K-mesons can't be explained assuming a one-way time-track, but fits into a neat pattern if you assume our universe overlaps another where time runs in the opposite direction. He calls it the Faustian universe, but I'll bet he has no idea that Goethe wrote Faust after experiencing that universe directly, just as you're doing lately. Incidentally, Stannard points out that everything in physics is symmetrical, except our present concept of one-way time. Once you admit two-way time traffic, you've got a completely symmetrical universe. Fits the Occamite's demand for simplicity. Stannard'll give you lots of words, man. Meanwhile, just settle for what Abdul Alhazred wrote in the Necronomicon: 'Past, present, future: all are one in Yog-Sothoth.' Or what Weishaupt wrote in his Konigen, Kirchen und Dummheit: 'There is but one Eye and it is all eyes; one Mind and it is all minds; one time and it is Now.' Grok?" Joe nods dubiously, faintly hearing the music:


RAMA RAMA RAMA HAAAAARE


Two big rhinoceroses, three big rhinoceroses.

Dillinger made contact with the mind of Richard Belz, forty-three-year-old professor of physics at Queens College, as Belz was being loaded into an ambulance to be taken to Bellevue Hospital where X rays would reveal severe skull fractures. Shit, Dillinger thought, why does somebody have to be half dead before I can reach him? Then he concentrated on his message: Two universes flowing in opposite directions. Two together form a third entity which is synergetically more than the sum of its two parts. Thus two always leads to three. Two and Three. Duality and trinity. Every unity is a duality and a trinity. A pentagon. Sheer energy, no matter involved. From the pentagon depend five more pentagons, like the petals of a flower. A white rose. Five petals and a center: six. Two times three. The flower interlocks with another flower just like it, forming a polyhedron made of pentagons. Each such polyhedron could have common surfaces with other polyhedrons, forming infinite latticework based on the pentagonal unit. They would be immortal. Self-sustaining. Not computers. Beyond computers. Gods. All space for their habitation. Infinitely complex.

The howl of a siren reached the unconscious ears of Professor Belz. Consciousness is present in the living body, even in one that is apparently unconscious. Unconsciousness is not the absence of consciousness, but its temporary immobility. It is not a state resembling death. It is not like death at all. Once the necessary complexity of brain-cell interconnections is reached, substantial energy relationships are set up. These can exist independently of the material base that brought them into being.

All of this, of course, is merely visual structural metaphor for interactions on the energy level that cannot be visualized. The siren howled.

In the Three Lions pub, George said to Peter, "What was in that water pistol?"

"Sulphuric acid."

"Acid is just the first stage," said Simon. "Like matter is the first stage of life and consciousness. Acid launches you. But once you're out there, if the mission is successful, you jettison the first stage and you're traveling free of gravity. Which means free of matter. Acid dissolves the barriers which prevent the maximum possible complexity of energy relationships from building up in the brain. At Norton Cabal, we'll show you how to pilot the second stage."

(Waving their crosses over their heads and howling incoherently, the men of God's Lightning formed wavering ranks and marched around the territory they had conquered. Zev Hirsch and Frank Ochuk carried the banner that read "LOVE IT OR WE'LL STOMP YOU.")

Howard sang:

The tribes of the porpoise are fearless and strong Our land is the ocean, our banner's a song Our weapon is speed and our noses like rock No foe can withstand our terrible shock.

A cloud of porpoise bodies swam out from somewhere behind Hagbard's submarine. Through the pale blue-green medium which Hagbard's TV cameras made out of water, they seemed to fly toward the distant spiderlike ships of the Illuminati.

"What's happening?" said George. "Where's Howard?"

"Howard is leading them," said Hagbard. He flipped a toggle on the railing of the balcony on which they stood in the center of a globe that looked like a bubble of air at the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean. "War room, get missiles ready. We may have to back up the porpoise attack."

"Da, tovarish Celine," came a voice.

The porpoises were too far away to be seen now. George discovered that he was not afraid. The whole thing was too much like watching a science-fiction movie. There was too much illusion involved in this submarine of Hagbard's. If he were able to realize, in his glands and nerves, that he was in a vulnerable metal ship thousands of feet below the surface of the Atlantic, under such enormous pressure that the slightest stress could crack the hull and send water bursting in that would crush them to death, then he might be afraid. If he were really able to accept the fact that those little distant globes with waving legs appended to them were undersea craft manned by people who intended to destroy the vessel he was in, then he could be afraid. Actually, if he could not see as much as he was seeing, but only feel and sense things and be told what was happening, as in the average airplane flight, then he would be afraid. As it was, the 120,000-year-old city of Peos looked like a tabletop model. And though he might intellectually accept Hagbard's statement that they were over the lost continent of Atlantis, in his bones he didn't believe in Atlantis. As a result, he didn't believe in any of the rest of this, either.

Suddenly Howard was outside their bubble. Or some other porpoise. That was another thing that made this hard to accept. Talking porpoises.

"Ready for destruction of enemy ships," said Howard.

Hagbard shook his head. "I wish we could communicate with them. I wish I could give them a chance to surrender. But they wouldn't listen. And they have communications systems on their ships that I can't get through to." He turned to George. "They use a type of insulated telepathy to communicate. The very thing that tipped off Sheriff Jim Cartwright that you were in a hotel room in Mad Dog smoking Weishaupt's Wonder Weed."

"You don't want them too close when they go." said Howard.

"Are your people out of the way?" said Hagbard.

(Five big rhinoceroses, six big rhinoceroses)

"Of course. Quit this hesitating. This is no time to be a humanitarian."

"The sea is crueler than the land," said Hagbard, "sometimes."

"The sea is cleaner than the land," said Howard. "There's no hate. Just death when and as needed. These people have been your enemies for twenty thousand years."

"I'm not that old," said Hagbard, "and I have very few enemies."

"If you wait any longer you'll endanger the submarine and my people."

George looked out at the red and white striped globes which were moving toward them through the blue-green water. They were much larger now and closer. Whatever was propelling them wasn't visible. Hagbard reached out a brown finger, let it rest on a white button on the railing in front of him, then pressed it decisively.

There was a bright flash of light, dimmed slightly by the medium through which it traveled, on the surface of each of the globes. It was like watching fireworks through tinted glasses. Next, the globes crumbled as if they were ping-pong balls being struck by invisible sledge hammers.

'That's all there is to it," said Hagbard quietly.

The air around George seemed to vibrate, and the floor under him shook. Suddenly he was terrified. Feeling the shock wave from the simultaneous explosions out there in the water made it real. A relatively thin metal shell was all that protected him from total annihilation. And nobody would ever hear from him or know what happened to him.

Large, glittering objects drifted down through the water from one of the nearby Illuminati spider ships. They vanished among the streets of the city that George now knew was real. The buildings in the area near the explosion of the Illuminati ships looked more ruined than they had before. The ocean bottom was churned up in brown clouds. Down into the brown clouds drifted the crushed spider ships. George looked for the Temple of Tethys. It stood, intact, in the distance.

"Did you see those statues fall out of the lead ship?" said Hagbard. "I'm claiming them." He hit the switch on the railing. "Prepare for salvage operation."

They dropped down among buildings deeply buried in sediment, and at the bottom of their television globe George saw two huge claws reach out, seemingly from nowhere- actually he guessed, from the underside of the submarine- and pick up four gleaming gold statues that lay half-buried in the mud.

Suddenly a bell rang and a red flash lit up the interior of the bubble. "We're under attack again," said Hagbard. Oh, no, George thought. Not when I'm starting to believe that all this is real. I won't be able to stand it. Here goes Dorn doing his world-famous coward act again Hagbard pointed. A white globe hovered like an underwater moon above a distant range of mountains. On its pale surface a red emblem was painted, a glaring eye inside a triangle.

"Give me missile visibility," said Hagbard, flicking a switch. Between the white globe and the Lief Erickson four orange lights appeared in the water rushing toward them.

"It just doesn't pay to underestimate them- ever," said Hagbard. "First it turns out they can detect me when they shouldn't have equipment good enough to do that, now I find that not only do they have small craft in the vicinity, they've got the Zwack herself coming after me. And the Zwack is firing underwater missiles at me, though I'm supposed to be indetectable. I think we might be in trouble, George."

George wanted to close his eyes, but he also didn't want to show fear in front of Hagbard. He wondered what death at the bottom of the Atlantic would feel like. Probably something like being under a pile driver. The water would hit them, engulf them, and it wouldn't be like any ordinary water- it would be like liquid steel, every drop striking with the force of a ten-ton truck, prying cell apart from cell and crushing each cell individually, reducing the body to a protoplasmic dishrag. He remembered reading about the disappearance of an atomic submarine called the Thresher back in the '60s, and he recalled that the New York Times had speculated that death by drowning in water under extreme pressure would be exceedingly painful, though brief. Every nerve individually being crushed. The spinal cord crushed everywhere along its length. The brain squeezed to death, bursting, rupturing, bleeding into the steel-hard water. The human form would doubtless be unrecognizable in minutes. George thought of every bug he had ever stepped on, and bugs made him think of the spider ships. That's what we did to them. And I define them as enemies only on Hagbard's say so. Carlo was right. I can't kill.

Hagbard hesitated, didn't he? Yes, but he did it. Any man who can cause a death like that to be visited upon other men is a monster. No, not a monster, only too human. But not my kind of human. Shit, George, he's your kind of human, all right. You're just a coward. Cowardice doth make consciences for us all.

Hagbard called out, "Howard, where the hell are you?"

The torpedo shape appeared on the right side of the bubble. "Over here, Hagbard. We've got more mines ready. We can go after those missiles with mines like we did the spider ships. Think that would work?"

"It's dangerous," said Hagbard, "because the missiles might explode on contact with the metal and electronic equipment in the mines."

"We're willing to try," said Howard, and without another word he swam away.

"Wait a minute," Hagbard said. "I don't like this. There's too much danger to the porpoises." He turned to George and shook his head. "I'm not risking a goddamned thing, and they stand to be blown to bits. It's not right. I'm not that important."

"You are risking something," said George, trying to control the quaver in his voice. "Those missiles will destroy us if the dolphins don't stop them."

At that moment, there were four blinding flashes where the orange lights had been. George gripped the railing, sensing that the shock wave of these explosions would be worse than that caused by the destruction of the spider ships. It came. George had been readying himself for it, but unable to tell when it would come, and it still took him by surprise. Everything shook violently. Then the bottom dropped out of his stomach, as if the submarine had suddenly leaped up. George grabbed the railing with both arms, clinging to it as the only solid thing near him. "O God, we're gonna be killed!" he cried.

'They got the missiles," Hagbard said. "That gives us a fighting chance. Laser crew, attempt to puncture the Zwack. Fire at will.

Howard reappeared outside the bubble. "How did your people do?" Hagbard asked him.

"All four of them were killed," said Howard. "The missiles exploded when they approached them, just as you predicted."

George, who was standing up straight now, thankful that Hagbard had simply ignored his episode of terror, said, "They were killed saving our lives. I'm sorry it happened, Howard."

"Laser-beam firing, Hagbard," a voice announced. There was a pause. "I think we hit them."

"You needn't be sorry," said Howard. "We neither look forward to death in fear nor back upon it in sorrow. Especially when someone has died doing something worthwhile. Death is the end of one illusion and the beginning of another."

"What other illusion?" asked George. "When you're dead, you're dead, right?"

"Energy can neither be created nor destroyed," said Hagbard. "Death itself is an illusion."

These people were talking like some of the Zen students and acid mystics George had known. If I could feel that way, he thought, I wouldn't be such a goddamned coward. Howard and Hagbard must be enlightened. I've got to become enlightened. I can't stand living this way any more. Whatever it took, acid alone wasn't the answer. George had tried acid already, and he knew that, while the experience might be wholly remarkable, for him it left little residue in terms of changed attitudes or behavior. Of course, if you thought your attitudes and behavior should change, you mimicked other acidheads.

"I'll try to find out what's happening to the Zwack," said Howard, and swam away.

"The porpoises do not fear death, they do not avoid suffering, they are not assailed by conflicts between intellect and feeling and they are not worried about being ignorant of things. In other words, they have not decided that they know the difference between good and evil, and in consequence they do not consider themselves sinners. Understand?"

"Very few humans consider themselves sinners nowadays," said George. "But everyone is afraid of death."

"All human beings consider themselves sinners. It's just about the deepest, oldest, and most universal human hangup there is. In fact, it's almost impossible to speak of it in terms that don't confirm it. To say that human beings have a universal hangup, as I just did, is to restate the belief that all men are sinners in different languages. In that sense, the Book of Genesis- which was written by early Semitic opponents of the Illuminati- is quite right. To arrive at a cultural turning point where you decide that all human conduct can be classified in one of two categories, good and evil, is what creates all sin- plus anxiety, hatred, guilt, depression, all the peculiarly human emotions. And, of course, such a classification is the very antithesis of creativity. To the creative mind there is no right or wrong. Every action is an experiment, and every experiment yields its fruit in knowledge. To the moralist, every action can be judged as right or wrong- and, mind you, in advance- without knowing what its consequences are going to be- depending upon the mental disposition of the actor. Thus the men who burned Giordano Bruno at the stake knew they were doing good, even though the consequence of their actions was to deprive the world of a great scientist."

"If you can never be sure whether what you are doing is good or bad," said George, "aren't you liable to be pretty Hamlet-like?" He was feeling much better now, much less afraid, even though the enemy was still presumably out there trying to kill him. Maybe he was getting darshan from Hagbard.

"What's so bad about being Hamlet-like?" said Hagbard. "Anyway, the answer is no, because you only become hesitant when you believe there is such a thing as good and evil, and that your action may be one or the other, and you're not sure which. That was the whole point about Hamlet, if you remember the play. It was his conscience that made him indecisive."

"So he should have murdered a whole lot of people in the first act?"

Hagbard laughed. "Not necessarily. He might have decisively killed his uncle at the earliest opportunity, thus saving the lives of everyone else. Or he might have said, 'Hey, am I really obligated to avenge my father's death?' and done nothing. He was due to succeed to the throne anyway. If he had just bided his time everyone would have been a lot better off, there would have been no deaths, and the Norwegians would not have conquered the Danes, as they did in the last scene of the last act. Though being Norwegian myself I would hardly begrudge Fortinbras his triumph."

At that moment Howard appeared again outside their bubble. 'The Zwack is retreating. Your laser beam punctured the outer shell, causing a leak in the fuel-storage cells and putting excessive stress on the pressure-resisting system. They were forced to climb to higher levels, which put them so far away from you that they're now heading south toward the tip of Africa."

Hagbard expelled a great sigh of relief. "That means they're heading for their home base. They'll enter a tunnel in the Persian Gulf which will bring them into the great underground Sea of Valusia, which is deepest beneath the Himalayas. That was the first base they established. They were preparing it even before the fall of High Atlantis. It's devilishly well defended. One day we'll penetrate it though."

The thing that puzzled Joe most after his illuminization was John Dillinger's penis. The rumors about the Smithsonian Institute, he knew, were true: even though any casual phone-caller would get a flat denial from Institute officials, certain high-placed government people could provide a dispensation and the relic would be shown, in the legendary alcohol bottle, all legendary 23 inches of it. But if John was alive, it wasn't his, and, if it wasn't his, whose was it?

"Frank Sullivan's," Simon said, when Joe finally asked him.

"And who the hell was Frank Sullivan to have a tool like that?"

But Simon only answered, "I don't know. Just some guy who looked like John."

Atlantis also bothered Joe, after he saw it the first time Hagbard took him for a ride in the Lief Erikson. It was all too pat, too plausible, too good to be true, especially the ruins of cities like Peos, with their architecture that obviously combined Egyptian and Mayan elements.

"Science has been flying on instruments, like a pilot in a fog, ever since nineteen hundred," he said casually to Hagbard on the return trip to New York. (This was in '72, according to his later recollections. Fall of '72- almost two years exactly after the test of AUM in Chicago.)

"You've been reading Bucky Fuller," was Hagbard's cool reply. "Or was it Korzybski?"

"Never mind who I've been reading," Joe said directly. "The thought in my head is that I never saw Atlantis, any more than I ever saw Marilyn Monroe. I saw moving pictures which you told me were television reception of cameras outside your sub. And I saw moving pictures of what Hollywood assured me was a real woman, even though she looked more like a design by Petty or Vargas. In the Marilyn Monroe case, it is reasonable to believe what I am told: I don't believe a robot that good has been built yet. But Atlantis I know special-effects men who could build a city like that on a tabletop, and have dinosaurs walking through it. And your cameras trained on it."

"You suspect me of trickery?" Hagbard asked raising his eyebrows.

"Trickery is your metier," Joe said bluntly. "You are the Beethoven, the Rockefeller, the Michelangelo of deception. The Shakespeare of the gypsy switch, the two-headed nickel, and the rabbit in the hat. What little liver pills are to Carter, lies are to you. You dwell in a world of trapdoors, sliding panels, and Hindu ropetricks. Do I suspect you? Since I met you, I suspect everybody."

"I'm glad to hear it," Hagbard grinned. "You are well on your way to paranoia. Take this card and keep it in your wallet. When you begin to understand it, you'll be ready for your next promotion. Just remember: ifs not true unless it makes you laugh. That is the one and sole and infallible test of all ideas that will ever be presented to you." And be handed Joe a card saying


THERE IS NO FRIEND ANYWHERE


Burroughs, incidentally, although he discovered the 23 synchronicity principle, is unaware of the correlation with 17. This makes it even more interesting that his date for the invasion of earth by the Nova Mob (in Nova Express) is September 17, 1899. When I asked him how he picked that date, he said it just came to him out of the air.

Damn. I was just interrupted by another woman, collecting for the Mothers March Against Hernia. I only gave her a dime.

W, the 23rd letter, keeps popping up in all this. Note: Weishaupt, Washington, William S. Burroughs, Charlie Workman, Mendy Weiss, Len Weinglass in the Conspiracy Trial, and others who will quickly come to mind. Even more interesting, the first physicist to apply the concept of synchronicity to physics, after Jung published the theory, was Wolfgang Pauli.

Another suggestive letter-number transformation: Adam Weishaupt (A.W.) is 1-23, and George Washington (G.W.) is 7-23. Spot the hidden 17 in there? But, perhaps, I grow too imaginative, even whimsical

There was a click. George turned. All the time he'd been in the control center with Hagbard, he had never looked back at the door through which he had come. He was surprised to see that it looked like an opening in thin air- or thin water. On either side of the doorway was blue-green water and a dark horizon which was actually the ocean bottom. Then, in the center, the doorway itself and a golden light silhouetting the figure of a beautiful woman.

Mavis strode onto the balcony, pulling the door shut behind her. She was wearing forest-green tights with white patent leather boots and a wide white belt. Her small but well-shaped breasts jiggled naturally under her blouse. George found himself thinking back to the scene on the beach. That was only this morning, and what time was it anyway? What time where? Back in Florida it was probably two or three in the afternoon. Which would make it one P.M. in Mad Dog, Texas. And probably about six out here in the Atlantic. Did time zones extend beneath the water? He supposed they did. On the other hand, if you were at the North Pole, you could skip around the Pole and be in a different time zone every few seconds. And cross the International Date Line every five minutes if you wanted to. Which would not, he reminded himself, make it possible to travel hi time. But if he could go back to this morning and replay Mavis's demand for sex, this time he would respond! He now wanted her desperately.

Well and good, but why did she say he was not a schmuck, why did she imply admiration for him because he would not fuck her? If he had fucked her because she asked him and he felt he should but without wanting to, he would have been a pure and simple schmuck. But he could have pronged her simply because she would have been nice to fuck, regardless of whether she would have admired him or despised him. But that was their game-Mavis's and Hagbard's game of saying I do what I want to do, and I don't give a damn what you think. George cared a great deal about what other people thought, so not fucking Mavis at the time was at least honest, even if he was beginning to see some merit in the Discordian (he supposed it was Discordian) attitude of super self-sufficiency.

Mavis smiled at him. "Well, George, had your baptism of fire?"

George shrugged. "Well, there was the Mad Dog jail. And I've been in a few other bad scenes." For instance, there was the time I held a pistol to my head and pulled the trigger.

She'd sucked his cock, he'd watched her in manic masturbation, but he was desperate to get inside her, all the way, up the womb, riding her ovarian trolley to the wonderful land of fuck, as Henry Miller said. What the hell was so special about Mavis's cunt? Especially after that induction ceremony scene. Hell, Stella Marls seemed like a less neurotic woman and was certainly a classic lay. After Stella Maris, who needed Mavis?

A sudden question struck him. How did he know he'd laid Stella? It could have been Mavis inside that golden apple. It could have been some woman he'd never met. He was pretty sure it was a woman, unless it was a goat or a cow or a sheep. Best not put that kind of joke past Hagbard either. But even if it was a woman, why visualize Stella or Mavis or somebody like them? It was probably some diseased old Etruscan whore that Hagbard kept around for religious purposes. Some Sibyl. Some wop witch. Maybe it was Hagbard's rotten old Sicilian mother with no teeth, a black shawl, and three kinds of VD. No, it was Hagbard's father who was Sicilian. His mother was Norwegian.

"What color were they?" he said suddenly to Hagbard.

"Who?"

'The Atlanteans."

"Oh." Hagbard nodded. "They were covered with fur over most of their bodies, like any normal ape. At least, the High Atlanteans were. A mutation occurred around the time of the Hour of the Evil Eye- the catastrophe that destroyed High Atlantis. Later Atlanteans, like modern humans, were hairless. Those of the oldest Atlantean ancestry tend to be rather furry." George couldn't help looking down at Hagbard's hand as it rested on the railing. It was covered with thick black hair.

"All right," said Hagbard, "it's time to head back to our North American base. Howard? You out there?"

The long, streamlined shape performed a somersault on their right. "What's happening, Hagbard?"

"Have some of your people keep an eye on things here. We've got work to do on land. And-Howard, as long as I live I will be in debt to your people for the four who died to save me."

"Haven't you and the Lief Erickson saved us from several kinds of deaths planned for us by the shore people?" said Howard. "We'll keep watch over Atlantis for you. And the seas in general, and that which Atlantis has spawned. Hail and farewell, Hagbard and other friends-

"The sea is wide and the sea is deep But warm as blood through it there rolls A tide of friendship that will keep us close in Ocean's blackest holes."

He was gone. "Lift off," Hagbard called. George felt the surge of the sub's colossal engines, and they were sailing high above the hills and valleys of Atlantis. With the special lighting of Hagbard's television screen system, it seemed much like flying in a jet plane over one of the continents above the ocean's surface.

"Too bad we don't have time to get deeper into Atlantis," said Hagbard. "There are many mighty cities to see. Though of course none of them can approach the cities that existed before the Hour of the Evil Eye."

"How many of these Atlantean civilizations were there?" asked George.

"Basically, two. One leading up to the Hour, and one afterward. Before the Hour, there was a civilization of about a million human beings on this continent. Technically, they were further advanced than the human race is today. They had atomic power, space travel, genetic technology and much else. This civilization was struck a death blow in the Hour of the Evil Eye. Two-thirds of them were killed -almost half the human population of the planet at that time. After the Hour, something made it impossible for them to make a comeback. The cities that came through the first catastrophe relatively undamaged were destroyed in later disasters. The inhabitants of Atlantis were reduced to savagery in a generation. Part of the continent sank under the sea, which was the beginning of the process that ended when all of Atlantis was under water, as it is today."

"Was this the earthquakes and tidal waves that you always read about?" George asked.

"No," said Hagbard with a curious closed expression. "It was manmade. High Atlantis was destroyed in a kind of war. Probably a civil war, since there was no other power on the planet that could have matched them."

"Anyway, if there'd been a victor, they'd still be around now," said George.

"They are," said Mavis. "The victors are still around. Only they're not what you might visualize. Not a conquering nation. And we are the descendants of the defeated."

"Now," said Hagbard, "I'm going to show you something I promised when we first met. It has to do with the catastrophe I've been talking about. Look there."

The submarine had risen high above the continent, and it was possible to see landscapes stretching for hundreds of miles. Looking in the direction in which Hagbard pointed, George saw a vast expanse of black, glazed plain. Out of its center jutted something white and pointed, like a canine tooth.

"It is said of them that they even controlled the comets in their courses." said Hagbard. He pointed again.

The submarine sailed closer to the jutting white object It was a four-sided white pyramid.

"Don't say it," said Mavis, giving him a warning look, and George remembered the tattoo he had seen between her breasts. He looked down again. They were above the pyramid now and George could see the side that had been hidden from him as they approached. He saw what he had half-feared, half-expected to see: a blood-red design in the shape of a baleful eye.

"The Pyramid of the Eye," Hagbard said. "It stood in the center of the capital of High Atlantis. It was built in the last days of that civilization by the founders of the world's first religion. It doesn't look very big from up here, but it's five times the size of the Great Pyramid of Cheops, which was modeled after it. It's made of an imperishable ceramic substance which repels even ocean sediment. As if the builders knew that to last it would have to survive tens of thousands of years of ocean burial. And maybe- depending on who they were- they did know that. Or maybe they just built well in those days. Peos, as you saw, was a pretty durable city, and that was built after High Atlantis fell, by the second civilization I spoke of. That second civilization reached a level somewhat more advanced than that of the Greeks and Romans, but it was nothing like its predecessor. And some malevolent force seemed bent on destroying it, too, and it was destroyed, about ten thousand years ago. Of that civilization we have the evidence of ruins. But of High Atlantis we have only records and legends dug up from the later civilization- and, of course, poetry from the Porpoise Corpus. This is the only artifact, this pyramid. But its existence and durability prove that as long ago as ten Egypts, a race of men existed whose technology was far advanced beyond what we know today. So advanced that it took twenty thousand years for that civilization's successor culture to disappear completely. The men who destroyed High Atlantis did their best to make it disappear. But they couldn't quite manage it. The Pyramid of the Eye, for instance, is indestructible. Though it's probable that they didn't want to destroy it."

Mavis nodded somberly. "That is their most sacred shrine."

"In other words," said George, "you're telling me that the people who destroyed Atlantis still exist. Do they have the powers they had then?"

"Substantially, yes," said Hagbard.

"Is this the Illuminati you told me about?"

"Illuminati, or Ancient Illuminated Seers of Bavaria is one of the names they have used, yes."

"So they didn't start in seventeen seventy-six- they go a long way back before that, right?"

"Right," said Mavis.

"Then why did you lie to me about their history? And why the hell haven't they taken over the world by now, if they're all that powerful? When our ancestors were savages, they could have dominated them completely."

Hagbard replied, "I lied to you because the human mind can only accept a little of the truth at a time. Also, initiation into Discordianism has stages. The answer to the other question is complicated. But I'll try to give it to you simply. There are five reasons. First, there are organizations like the Discordians which are almost as powerful and which know almost as much as the Illuminati and which are able to thwart them. Second, the Illuminati are too small a group to enjoy the creative cross-fertilization necessary to progress of any kind, and they have been unable to advance much beyond the technological level they reached thirty thousand years ago. Like Chinese Mandarins. Third, the Illuminati are hamstrung in their actions by the superstitious beliefs that set them apart from the other Atlanteans. As I told you, they're the world's first religion. Fourth, the Illuminati are too sophisticated, ruthless and decadent to want to take over the world- it amuses them to play with world. Fifth, the Illuminati do rule the world and everything that happens, happens by their sufferance."

"Those reasons contradict each other," said George.

"That's the nature of logical thought. AH propositions are true in some sense, false in some sense and meaningless in some sense." Hagbard didn't smile.

The submarine had described a great arc as they talked and now the Pyramid of the Eye was far behind them. The eye itself, since it faced eastward, was no longer visible. Below, George could see the ruins of several small cities at the edges of tall cliffs that fell away into darker depths- cliffs that doubtless had been the seacoast of Atlantis at one time.

Hagbard said, "I've got a job for you, George. You're going to like it, and you're going to want to do it, but it is going to make you shit a brick. We'll talk about it when we get to Chesapeake Base. Now, though, let's go down into the hold and have a look at our acquisitions." He flicked a switch. "FUCKUP, get your finger out of your ass and drive this thing for a while."

"I'll see the statues later," said Mavis. "I've got other things to do just now."

George followed Hagbard down carpeted staircases and halls paneled in glowing, polished oak. At last they came to a large hall which was apparently paved with marble flagstones. A group of men and women wearing horizontally striped nautical shirts similar to Hagbard's were clustered around four tall statues in the center of the room. When Hagbard entered the room they stopped talking and stepped away to give him a clear look at the sculptures. The floor was covered with puddles of water and the statues themselves were dripping.

"No wiping them dry," Hagbard said. "Every molecule is precious just as it is, and the less disturbed the better." He stepped closer to the nearest one and looked at it for a long moment. "What do you say about a thing like this? It's beyond exquisite. Can you imagine what their art was like before the disaster? And to think the Unbroken Circle destroyed every trace of it, except for that crude, stupid pyramid."

"Which is the greatest piece of ceramic technology in the history of the human race," said one of the women. George looked around for Stella Maris, but she wasn't there.

"Where's Stella?" he asked Hagbard.

"Upstairs minding the store. She'll see them later."

The sculptures were unlike the work of any culture George knew, which was to be expected, after all. They were at once realistic, fanciful and abstractly intellectual. They bore resemblance to Egyptian and Mayan, Classical Greek, Chinese and Gothic, combined with a surprisingly modern-looking note. There were some qualities in the statues that were totally unique, though, qualities doubtless lost by the civilizations to which Atlantis was ancestral, but that might have been found in known world art, had there been other civilizations to preserve and emphasize them. This, George realized, was the Ur-Art; and looking at the statues was like hearing a sentence in the first language spoken by men.

An elderly sailor pointed at the statue farthest from where they were standing. "Look at that beatific smile. A woman thought of that statue, I'll bet. That's every woman's dream- to be totally self-sufficient."

"Some of the time, Joshua," said the Oriental woman who had spoken before, "but not all of the time. Now what I prefer is that." She pointed to another statue.

Hagbard laughed. "You think that's just nice, healthy oragenitalism, Tsu-Hsi. But the child in the woman's arms is the Son Without a Father, the Self-Begotten, and the couple at the base represent the Unbroken Circle of Gruad. Usually it's a serpent with its tail in its mouth, but in some of the earlier representations the couple in oral intercourse symbolizes sterile lust. The Unloved Mother has her foot on the man's head to indicate that she conquers lust. The whole sculpture is the product of the foulest cult to come out of Atlantis. They originated human sacrifice. First they practiced castration, but then they escalated to killing men instead of just cutting off their balls. Later, when women were subjugated, the sacrifice became a virgin female, supposedly to give her to the Unloved Ones while she was still pure."

"That halo around the child's head looks like the peace symbol," said George.

"Peace symbol, my ass," said Hagbard. "That's the oldest symbol of evil there is. Of course, in the cult of the Unbroken Circle it was a symbol of good, but that's the same difference."

"They can't have been so vicious if they produced that statue," said the Oriental woman stubbornly.

"Could you deduce the Spanish Inquisition from a painting of the manger at Bethlehem?" said Hagbard. "Don't be naive, Miss Mao." He turned to George, "The value of any one of these statues is beyond calculation. But not many people know that. I'm sending you to one who does-Robert Putney Drake. One of the finest art connoisseurs in the world, and the head of the American branch of the world crime syndicate. You're going to see him with a gift from me- these four statues. The Illuminati were planning to buy his support with gold from the Temple of Tethys. I'm going to get to him first."

"If they only needed four statues, why were they trying to raise the whole temple?" George asked.

"I think they wanted to remove the temple to Agharti, their stronghold under the Himalayas, for safekeeping. I haven't been any closer to the Temple of Tethys than we were today, but I suspect it's a treasure-house of evidence of High Atlantis. As such, it would be something the Illuminati would want to remove. Until now there was no reason to, because no one had access to the sea bottom other than the Illuminati. Now I can get around down here just as well, better in fact, than they can, and pretty soon others will be following. Several nations and many groups of private persons are exploring the undersea world. It's time for the Illuminati to finish taking away whatever tells of High Atlantis."

"Will they destroy that city we saw? And what about the Pyramid of the Eye?"

Hagbard shook his head. "They'd be willing to let later Atlantean ruins to be found. That wouldn't say anything about their existence. As for the Pyramid of the Eye, I suspect they have a real problem with that. They can't destroy it, and even if they could they wouldn't want to. But it's a dead giveaway to the existence of a supercivilization in the past."

"Well," said George, not at all wanting to meet the head of the American crime syndicate, "what we ought to do is go back and raise the Temple of Tethys ourselves, before the Illuminati grab it."

"Good grief," said Miss Mao. "This happens to be the most critical moment in the history of this civilization. We don't have time to fiddle-fuck around with archeology."

"He's just a legionnaire," said Hagbard. "Though after this mission he'll know the Fairest and become a deacon. He'll understand more then. George, I want you to act as a go-between for the Discordian movement and the Syndicate. You're going to bring these four statues to Robert Putney Drake and tell him there are more where they came from. Ask Drake to stop working for the Illuminati, to take the heat off our people, wherever he's after them, and to drop the assassination project the Illuminati have been working on with him. And as an earnest of good faith, he's to snuff twenty-four Illuminati agents for us in the next twenty-four hours. Their names will be contained in a sealed envelope which you'll give him."

FIVES. SEX. HERE is WISDOM. The mumble of the breast is the mutter of man.

State's Attorney Milo A. Flanagan stood on the roof of the high rise condominium on Lake Shore Drive in which he lived, scanning blue-gray Lake Michigan with powerful binoculars. It was April 24, and Project Tethys should be completed. At any moment Flanagan expected to sight what would look like another Great Lakes freighter heading for the Chicago River locks. Only this one would be carrying a dismantled Atlantean temple crated in its hold. The ship would be recognizable by a red triangle painted on the funnel.

After being inspected by Flanagan (whose name in the Order was Brother Johann Beghard) and after his report had been sent on to Vigilance Lodge, the North American command center, the crated temple would be moved downriver to Saint Louis, where, by prior agreement with the President of the United States, it would be trucked overland to Fort Knox under the guard of the U.S. Army. The President didn't know with whom he was dealing. The CIA had informed him that the source of the artifacts was the Livonian Nationalist Movement, now behind the Iron Curtain, and that the crates would contain Livonian art treasures. Certain high officers in the CIA did know the real nature of the organization which the U.S. was helping, because they were members of it. Of course, the Syndicate (without even a cover story) was keeping three-quarters of its gold in with the government store at Fort Knox these days. "Where could you find a safer place?" Robert Putney Drake once asked.

But the freighter was behind schedule. The wind battered at Flanagan, whipping his wavy white hair and the well-tailored jacket sleeves and trouser legs. The goddamned Chicago wind. Flanagan had been fighting it all his life. It had made him the man he was.

Police Sergeant Otto Waterhouse emerged from the doorway to the roof. Waterhouse was a member of Flanagan's personal staff, which meant he was on the Police Department payroll, the Syndicate payroll, and another payroll that regularly deposited a fixed sum in the account of Herr Otto Wasserhaus in a Bavarian bank. Waterhouse was a six-and-a-half-foot-tall black man who had made a career for himself in the Chicago Police Department by being more willing and eager to harass, torture, maim, and kill members of his race than the average Mississippi sheriff. Flanagan had early spotted Waterhouse's ice-cold, self-hating love affair with death, and had attached him to his staff.

"A message from CFR communications center in New York," said Waterhouse. "The word has come through from Ingolstadt that Project Tethys was aborted."

Flanagan lowered his binoculars and turned to look at Waterhouse. The State's Attorney's florid face with its bushy pepper-and-salt eyebrows was shrewd and distinguished, the sort of face people vote for, especially in Chicago. It was a face that had once belonged to a kid who had run with the Hamburgers in Chicago's South Side Irish ghetto and bashed out the brains of black men with cobblestones for the fun of it. It was a face that had come from that primitive beginning to knowing about ten-thousand-year-old sunken temples, spider ships, and international conspiracies. It was stamped indelibly with the lines of Milo A. Flanagan's ancestors, the ancestors of the Gauls, Britons, Scots, Picts, Welsh, and Irish. Around the time the Temple of Tethys was sinking into the sea, they had been driven forth on orders from Agharti from that thick ancient forest that is now the desert country of Outer Mongolia. But Flanagan was only a Fourth-degree Illuminatus and not fully instructed in the history. Though he did not display much emotion there were blue-white flames of murderous madness burning deep in his eyes. Water-house was one of the few people in Chicago who could meet Flanagan's baleful stare head-on.

"How did it happen?" Flanagan asked.

"They were attacked by porpoises and an invisible submarine. The spider craft were all blown to bits. The Zwack came in and counterattacked, was damaged by a laser beam and forced to disengage."

"How did they find out we had spider ships at the temple site?"

"Maybe the porpoises told them."

Flanagan looked at Waterhouse coldly and thoughtfully. "Maybe it leaked at this end, Otto. There are JAMs active in this town, more here than anywhere in the country right now. Dillinger has been spotted twice in the last week. By Gruad, how I'd like to be the one to really get him, once and for all! What would Hoover's ghost say then, huh, Otto?" Flanagan grinned, one of his rare genuine smiles, exposing prominent canine teeth. "We know there's a JAM cult center somewhere on the North Side. Someone's been stealing hosts from my brother's church for the past ten years- even at times when I've had as many as thirty men staked out there. And my brother says that there have been more cases of demonic possession in his parish in the last five years than in all of Chicago in all its previous history. One of our sensitives has reported emanations of the Old Woman in this area at least once a month during the past year. It's long past time we found them. They could be reading our minds, Otto. That could be the leak. Why haven't we got a fix on them?"

Waterhouse, who only a few years ago had known nothing more unconventional than how to turn a homicide into "killed while resisting arrest," looked back calmly at Flanagan and said, "We need ten sensitives of the fifth grade to form the pentacle, and we've only got seven."

Flanagan shook his head. "There are seventeen fifth graders in Europe, eight in Africa, and twenty-three scattered around the rest of the world. You'd think they could spare us three for a week. That's all it would take."

Waterhouse said, "Maybe you've got enemies in the higher circle. Maybe somebody wants to see us get it."

"Why the hell do you say things like that, Waterhouse?"

"Just to fuck you up, man."

Eight floors below, in an apartment which was regularly used for black masses, a North Clark street hippie named Skip Lynch opened his eyes and looked at Simon Moon and Padre Pederastia. "Time's getting very short," he said. "We've got to finish off Flanagan soon."

"It can't be too soon for me," said Padre Pederastia. "If Daddy hadn't favored him so outrageously he'd be the priest today and I'd be State's Attorney."

Simon nodded. "But then we'd be snuffing you instead of Milo. Anyway, I believe George Dorn will be taking care of the problem for us right now."

Squinks? It all began with the squinks- and that sentence is more true than you will realize until long after this mission is over, Mr. Muldoon.

It was the night of February 2, 1776, and it was dark and windy in Ingolstadt; in fact, Adam Weishaupt's study looked like a set for a Frankenstein movie, with its windows rattling and candles flickering, and old Adam himself casting terrifying shadows as he paced back and forth with his peculiar lurching gait. At least the shadows were terrifying to him, because he was flying high on the new hemp extract that Kolmer had brought back from his last visit to Baghdad. To calm himself, he was repeating his English vocabulary-building drill, working on the new words for that week. "Tomahawk Succotash Squink. Squink?" He laughed out loud. The word was "skunk," but he had short-circuited from there to "squid" and emerged with "squink." A new word: a new concept. But what would a squink look like? Midway between a squid and a skunk, no doubt: it would have eight arms and smell to hoch Himmel. A horrible thought: it reminded him, uncomfortably, of the shoggoths in that damnable Necronomicon that Kolnier was always trying to get him to read when he was stoned, saying that was the only way to understand it.

He lurched over to the Black Magic and Pornography section of his bookshelves- which he kept, sardonically, next to his Bible commentaries- and took down the long-forbidden volume of the visions of the mad poet Abdul Alhazred. He turned to the first drawing of a shoggoth. Strange, he thought, how a creature so foul could also, from certain angles and especially when you were high, look vaguely like a crazily grinning rabbit. "Du haxen Hase," he chortled to himself

Then his mind made the leap: five sides on the borders on the shoggoth sketches five sides, always, on all the shoggoth sketches and "squid" and "skunk" both had five letters in them

He held up his hands, looked at the five fingers on each, and began to laugh. It was all clear suddenly: the Sign of the Horns made by holding up the first two fingers in a V and folding the other three down: the two, the three and their union in the five. Father, Son and Holy Devil the Duality of good and evil, the Trinity of the Godhead the bicycle and the tricycle He laughed louder and louder, looking- despite his long, thin face- like the Chinese statues of the Laughing Buddha.

While the gas chambers were operating, other features of life in the camps were also contributing to the Final Solution. At Auschwitz, for instance, many perished from beatings and other forms of ill treatment, but the general neglect of elementary sanitary and health precautions had the most memorable results. First there was spotted fever, then paratyphoid fever and abdominal typhus erysipelas. Tuberculosis, of course, was rampant, and- particularly amusing to certain of the officers- incurable diarrhea brought death to many inmates, degrading as it killed. No attempt was made, either, to prevent the ubiquitous camp rats from attacking those too ill to move or defend themselves. Never before witnessed by twentieth-century doctors, noma also appeared and was recognized only from the descriptions in old textbooks: it is the complication of malnutrition which eats holes in the cheeks until you can see right through to the teeth. "Vernichtung," a survivor said later, "is the most terrible word in any language."

Even so, the Aztecs grew more frantic toward the end, increasing the number of sacrifices, doubling and tripling the days of the year that called for spilled blood. But nothing saved them: just as Eisenhower's army advanced across Europe to end the ovens of Auschwitz, Cortez and his ships moved toward the great pyramid, the statue of Tlaloc, the confrontation.

Seven hours after Simon spoke of George Dorn to Padre Pederastia, a private jet painted gold landed at Kennedy International Airport. Four heavy crates were moved by crane from the belly of the plane into a truck which bore on its side the sign "GOLD amp; APPEL TRANSFERS." A young man with shoulder-length blond hair, wearing a fashionable cutaway and knee breeches of red velvet with bottle-green silk stockings, stepped down from the plane and climbed into the cab of the truck. Holding an alligator briefcase in his lap, he sat silently beside the driver.

Tobias Knight, the driver, kept his thoughts to himself and asked no questions.

George Dorn was frightened. It was a feeling he was getting used to, so accustomed in fact that it no longer seemed to stop him from doing insane things. Besides, Hagbard had given him a talisman against harm, assuring him that it was 100 percent infallible. George slipped it out of his pocket and glanced at it again, curiously and with a wan hope. It was gold-tinted card with the strange glyphs:

The Illuminatus! Trilogy

It was probably another of Hagbard's jokes, George decided. It might even be Etruscan for "Kick this boob in the ass." Hagbard's refusal to translate it suggested some such Celinean irony, and yet he had seemed very sober- almost religious- about the symbols.

One thing was sure: George was still frightened, but the fear was no longer paralyzing. If I was this casual about fear a few years ago, he thought, there'd be one less cop in New York. And I wouldn't be here either, probably. No, that's not right, either. I would have told Carlo to go fuck himself. I wouldn't have let the fear of being called a copout stop me. George had been scared when he went to Mad Dog, when Harry Coin tried to fuck him up the ass, when Harry Coin was killed, when he escaped from the Mad Dog jail, when he saw his own death just as he was coming, and when the Illuminati spider ships had attacked the Lief Erickson. Being scared was beginning to seem a normal condition to him.

So now he was going to meet the men who ran organized crime in the U.S. He knew practically nothing about the Syndicate and the Mafia, and what little he did know he tended to disbelieve on the grounds that it was probably myth. Hagbard had sketched in a little additional information for him while he was preparing for this flight. But the one thing that George was absolutely certain about was that he was going unprotected among men who killed human beings as easily as a housewife kills silverfish. And he was supposed to negotiate with them. The Syndicate had been working with the Illuminati until now. Now they were supposed to switch over to the Discordians, on George's say-so. With, of course, the help of four priceless statues. Except, what were Robert Putney Drake and Federico Maldonado going to say when they heard these statues had been dredged up from the bottom of the ocean floor out of the ruins of Atlantis? They would probably express their skepticism with pistols and send George back to the place he claimed the statues came from.

"Why me?" George had asked Hagbard earlier that day.

"Why me?" Hagbard repeated with a smile. "The question asked by the soldier as the enemy bullets whistle around him, by the harmless homeowner as the homicidal maniac steps through the kitchen door hunting knife in hand, by the woman who has given birth to a dead baby, by the prophet who has just had a revelation of the word of God, by the artist who knows his latest painting is a work of genius. Why you? Because you're there, schmuck. Because something has to happen to you. OK?"

"But what if I fuck it up? I don't know anything about your organization or the Syndicate. If times are as crucial as you say, it's silly to send somebody like me on this mission. I have no experience meeting people like this."

Hagbard shook his head impatiently. "You underrate yourself. Just because you're young and afraid you think you can't talk to people. That's stupid. And it's not typical of your generation, so you should be all the more ashamed of yourself. Furthermore, you are experienced with even worse people than Drake and Maldonado. You spent part of a night in a cell with the man who killed John F. Kennedy."

"What?" George felt the blood rush out of his face and he thought he might faint.

"Oh, sure," said Hagbard casually. "Joe Malik was on the right track when he sent you to Mad Dog, you know."

After all that, Hagbard told George he was perfectly free to turn down the mission if he didn't want to go. And George said he would go for the same reason he had agreed to accompany Hagbard on his golden submarine. Because he knew that he would have been a fool to pass up the experience.

A two-hour drive brought the truck to the outskirts of Blue Point, Long Island, to the gates of an estate. Two heavy-set men in green coveralls searched George and the driver, pointed the bell-shaped nozzle of an instrument at the truck and studied some dials, and then waved them through. They drove up a winding, narrow asphalt road through woods just beginning to show the light green budding of early spring. Shadowy figures prowled among the trees. Suddenly the road burst out of the woods and into a meadow. From here there was a long gentle rising slope to the top of a hill that was crowned by houses. From the edge of the woods George could see four large, comfortable-looking cottages, each three stories high, a little smaller than Newport, a little larger than Atlantic City. They were made of brick painted in seaside pastel colors and formed a semicircle on the crest of the hill. The grass of the meadow was cut very short, and halfway up the hill it became a beautifully manicured lawn The woods screened the houses from the road, the meadow made it impossible for anyone emerging from woods to approach the houses without being seen, and the houses themselves constituted the elements of a fortress.

The Gold amp; Appel truck followed the driveway, which led between two of the houses, rolling over slots in the driveway where a section might be hydraulically raised to form a wall. The driver stopped at a gesture from one of two men in khakis who approached. George could now see the Syndicate fortress consisted of eight separate houses forming an octagon around a lawn. Each house had its own fenced-in yard, and George noticed with surprise that there was play equipment for children in front of several cottages. In the center of the compound was a tall white pole from which Sew an American flag.

George and the driver stepped down from the cab of the truck. George identified himself and was ushered to the far side of the compound. The hill was much steeper on this side, George saw. It sloped down to a narrow boulder-strewn beach drenched by huge Atlantic waves. A nice view, George thought. And eminently secure. The only way Drake's enemies could get at him would be to shell his home from a destroyer.

A slender, blond man- at least sixty and maybe a well-preserved seventy- came down the steps of the house George was approaching. He had a concave nose that ended in a sharp point, a strong, cleft chin, ice-blue eyes. He shook hands vigorously.

"Hi. I'm Drake. The others are inside. Let's go. Oh- is it OK with you if we go ahead and unload your truck?" He gave George a sharp, birdlike look. George realized with a sinking feeling that Drake was saying that they would take the statues regardless of whether any deal went through. Why, then, should they inconvenience themselves by changing sides in this underground war? But he nodded in acquiescence.

"You're young, aren't you?" said Drake as they went into the house. "But that's the way it is nowadays. Boys do men's work." The house was handsome inside, but not as one might expect, incredible. The carpets were thick, the woodwork heavy, dark and polished, the furnishings probably genuine antiques. George didn't see how Atlantean statues would fit into the decor. There was a painting at the top of the stairs to the second floor of a woman who looked slightly like Queen Elizabeth II. She wore a white gown with diamonds at her neck and wrists. Two small, fragile-looking blond boys in navy blue suits with white satin ties stood with her, staring solemnly out of the painting.

"My wife and sons," said Drake with a smile.

They entered a large study full of mahogany, oak paneling, leather bound books and red and green leather furniture. Theodore Roosevelt would have loved it, George thought. Over the desk hung a painting of a bearded man in Elizabethan costume. He was holding a bowling ball in his hand and looking superciliously at a messenger type who pointing out to sea. There were sailing ships in the distant background.

"An ancestor," said Drake simply. He pressed a button in a panel on the desk. A door opened and two men came in, the first a tall young Chinese with a bony face and unruly black hair, the second a short, thin man who bore a faint resemblance to Pope Paul VI.

"Don Federico Maldonado, a man of the greatest respect," said Drake. "And Richard Jung, my chief counselor." George shook hands with both of them. He couldn't understand why Maldonado was known as "Banana-Nose"; his proboscis was on the large side, but bore little resemblance to a banana. It was more like an eggplant. The name must be a sample of low Sicilian humor. The two men took seats on a red leather couch. George and Drake sank into armchairs facing them.

"And how are my favorite musicians doing?" Jung said genially.

Was this some kind of password? George was sure of one thing: his survival depended on sticking absolutely to truth and sincerity with these people, so he said, very sincerely, "I don't know. Who are your favorite musicians?"

Jung smiled back, saying nothing, until George, his heart racing inside his chest like a hamster determined to run clear off the treadmill, reached into his briefcase and took out a parchment scroll.

"This," he said, "is the fundamental agreement proposed by the people I represent." He handed it to Drake. Maldonado, he noticed, was staring fixedly, expressionlessly, at him in the most unnerving way. The man's eyes looked as if they were made of glass. His face was a waxen mask. He was, George decided, a wax dummy of Pope Paul VI which had been stolen from Madame Tussaud's, dressed in a business suit, and brought to life to serve as the head of the Mafia. George had always thought there was something witchy about Sicilians.

"Do we sign this in blood?" said Drake, removing the cloth-of-gold ribbon from the parchment and unrolling it.

George laughed nervously. "Pen and ink will do fine."

Saul's angry, triumphant eyes stare into mine, and I look away guiltily. Let me explain, I say desperately. I really am trying to help you. Your mind is a bomb.

"What Weishaupt discovered that night of February second, seventeen seventy-six," Hagbard Celine explained to Joe Malik in 1973, on a clear autumn day in Miami, about the same time that Captain Tequilla y Mota was reading Luttwak on the coup d'etat and making his first moves toward recruiting the officer's cabal that later seized Fernando Poo, "was basically a simple mathematical relationship. It's so simple, in fact, that most administrators and bureaucrats never notice it. lust as the householder doesn't notice the humble termite, until it's too late Here, take this paper and figure for yourself. How many permutations are there in a system of four elements?"

Joe, recalling his high school math, wrote 4x3x2x1, and read aloud his answer "Twenty-four."

"And if you're one of-the elements, the number of coalitions- or to be sinister, conspiracies- that you may have to confront would be twenty-three. Despite Simon Moon's obsessions, the twenty-three has no particularly mystic significance," Hagbard added quickly. "Just consider it pragmatically- it's a number of possible relationships which the brain can remember and handle. But now suppose the system has five elements?."

Joe wrote 5x4x3x2x1 and read aloud, "One hundred and twenty."

"You see? One always encounters jumps of that size when dealing with permutations and combinations. But, as I say, administrators as a rule aren't aware of this. Korzybski pointed out, back in the early thirties, that nobody should ever directly supervise more than four subordinates, because the twenty-four possible coalitions ordinary office politics can create are enough to tax any brain. When it jumps up to one hundred and twenty, the administrator is lost. That, in essence, is the sociological aspect of the mysterious Law of Fives. The Illuminati always has five leaders in each nation, and five international Illuminati Primi supervising all of them, but each runs his own show more or less independent of the other four, united only by their common commitment to the Goal of Gruad." Hagbard paused to relight his long, black Italian cigar.

"Now," he said, "put yourself in the position of the head of any counterespionage organization. Imagine, for instance, that you're poor old McCone of the CIA at the time of the first of the New Wave of Illuminati assassinations, ten years ago, in sixty-three. Oswald was, of course, a double agent, as everybody always knew. The Russians wouldn't have let him out of Russia without getting a commitment from him to do 'small jobs,' as they're called in the business, although he'd be a 'sleeper.' That is, he'd go about his ordinary business most of the time, and only be called on occasionally when he was in the right place at the right time for a particular 'small job.' Now, of course, Washington knows this; they know that no expatriate comes back from Moscow without some such agreement And Moscow knows the other side: that the State Department wouldn't take him back unless he accepted a similar status with the CIA. Then, November twenty-second, Dealy Plaza-blam! the shit hits the fan. Moscow and Washington both want to know, the sooner the quicker, who was he working for when he did it, or was it his own idea? Two more possibilities loom at once: could a loner with confused politics like him have been recruited by the Cubans or the Chinese? And, then, the kicker: could he be innocent? Could another group- to avoid the obvious, let's call them Force X- have stage-managed the whole thing? So, you've got MVD and CIA and FBI and who-all falling over each other sniffing around Dallas and New Orleans for clues. And Force X gets to seem more and more implausible to all of them, because it is intrinsically incredible. It is incredible because it has no skeleton, no shape, no flesh, nothing they can grab hold of. The reason is, of course, that Force X is the Illuminati, working through five leaders with five times four times three times two times one, or one hundred and twenty different basic vectors. A conspiracy with one hundred and twenty vectors doesn't look like a conspiracy: it looks like chaos. The human mind can't grasp it, and hence declares it nonexistent. You see, the Illuminati is always careful to keep a random element in the one hundred and twenty vectors. They didn't really need to recruit both the leaders of the ecology movement and the executives of the worst pollution-producing corporations. They did it to create ambiguity. Anybody who tries to describe their operations sounds like a paranoid. What clinched it," Hagbard concluded, "was a real stroke of luck for the Weishaupt gang: there were two other elements involved, which nobody had planned or foreseen. One was the Syndicate."

"It always starts with nonsense," Simon is telling Joe in another time-track, between Los Angeles and San Francisco, in 1969. "Weishaupt discovered the Law of Fives while he was stoned and looking at one of those shoggoth pictures you saw in Arkham. He imagined the shoggoth was a rabbit and said, 'du hexen Hase,' which has been preserved as an in-joke by Illuminati agents in Hollywood. It runs through the Bugs Bunny cartoons: 'You wascal wabbit!' But out of that schizzy mixture of hallucination and logomania, Weishaupt saw both the mystic meaning of the Five and its pragmatic application as a principal of international espionage, using permutations and combinations that I'll explain when we have a pencil and paper. That same mixture of revelation and put-on is always the language of the supra-conscious, whenever you contact it, whether through magic, religion, psychedelics, yoga, or a spontaneous brain nova. Maybe the put-on or nonsense part comes by contamination from the unconscious, I don't know. But it's always there. That's why serious people never discover anything of real importance."

"You mean the Mafia?" Joe asks.

"What? I didn't say anything about the Mafia. Are you in another time-track again?"

"No, not the Mafia alone," Hagbard says. "The Syndicate is much bigger than the Maf." The room returns to focus: it is a restaurant. A seafood restaurant. On Biscayne Avenue, facing the bay. In Miami. In 1973. The walls are decorated with undersea motifs, including a huge octopus. Hagbard, undoubtedly, had chosen this meeting place just because he liked the decor. Crazy bastard thinks he's Captain Nemo. Still: we've got to deal with him. As John says, the JAMs can't do it alone. Hagbard, grinning, seemed to be noting Joe's return to present time. "You're reaching the critical stage," he said changing the subject. "You now only have two mental states: high on drugs and high without drugs. That's very good. But as I was saying, the Syndicate is more than just the Maf. The only Syndicate, up until October twenty-third, nineteen thirty-five, was nothing more than the Mafia, of course. But then they killed the Dutchman, and a young psychology student, who also happened to be a psychopath with a power drive like Genghis Khan, was assigned to do a paper on how the Dutchman's last words illustrate the similarity between somatic damage and schizophrenia. The Dutchman had a bullet in his gut while the police interviewed him, and they recorded everything he said, but on the surface it was all gibberish. This psychology student wrote the paper that his professor expected, and got an A for the course- but he also wrote another interpretation of the Dutchman's words, for his own purposes. He put copies in several bank vaults- he came from one of the oldest banking families in New England, and he was even then under family pressure to give up psychology and go into banking. His name was (Robert Putney Drake visited Zurich in 1935. He personally talked to Carl Jung about the archetypes of the collective unconscious, the I Ching, and the principle of synchronicity. He talked to people who had known James Joyce before that drunken Irish genius had moved to Paris, and learned much about Joyce's drunken claims to be a prophet. He read the published portions of Finnegans Wake and went back for further conversations with Jung. Then he met Hermann Hesse, Paul Klee and the other members of the Eastern Brotherhood and joined them in a mescaline ritual. A letter from his father arrived about then, asking when he was going to give up wasting his time and return to Harvard Business School. He wrote that he would return for the fall semester, but not to study business administration. A great psychologist was almost born then, and Harvard might have had its Timothy Leary scandal thirty years earlier. Except for Drake's power drive.)

I. THE FAUST PARSON, SINGULAR. Napalm sundaes for How Chow Mein, misfortune's cookie.

Josephine Malik lies trembling on the bed, trying to be brave, trying to hide her fear. Where, now, is the mask of masculinity?

This delusion that you are a man trapped in a woman's body can only be cured one way. I might be kicked out of the American Psychoanalystical Association if they knew about my methods. In fact, already had a spot of bother with them when one of my patients cured his Oedipus complex by actually fucking his mother, convincing himself extensionally as the semanticists would say that she really was an old lady and not the woman he remembered from infancy. Nevertheless, the whole world is going bananas as you must have observed, my poor girl, and we have to use heroic measures to save whatever sanity remains in any patient we encounter. (The psychiatrist is now naked. He joins her on the bed.) Now, my little frightened dove, I will convince you that you really are a true-born, honest-to-God woman

Josephine feels his finger in her cunt and screams. Not at the touch: at the reality of it. She hadn't believed until then that the change was real.

Weishaupt bridge is falling down Falling down Falling down

And modern novels are the same: in the YMCA on Atlantic Avenue in Brooklyn, looking out the window at the radio tower atop Brooklyn Technical High School, a man named Chancy (no relative of the movie family) spreads his pornographic tarot cards across the bed. One of them, he notes, is missing. Quickly, he arranges them in suits, and hunts for the lost card: it is the Five of Pentacles. He curses softly: that was one of his favorite orgy tableux.

Rebecca. The Saint Bernard.

"It's probably all jumbled in your head," I went on, furious that our plan was falling apart, that I needed his trust now but had no way to earn it. "We've been disintoxicating and dehypnotizing you, but you almost certainly can't tell where the Illuminati left off and we rescued you and started reversing the treatment. You're due to explode into psychosis within twenty-four hours and we're using the only techniques that can defuse that process."

"Why am I hearing everything twice?" Saul asked, balancing between wary skepticism and a sense that Malik was not playing games any more but urgently trying to help him.

"The stuff they gave you was an MDA derivative- very high on mescaline and methedrine both. It has an echo effect for seventy-two hours minimum. You're hearing what I'm going to say before I say it and then again when I do say it. That'll pass in a few minutes, but it'll be back, every half hour or so, for the next day yet. The end of the chain is psychosis, unless we can stop it."

"Unless we can stop it."

"It's easing up now," Saul said carefully, "Less of an echo that time. I still don't know whether to trust you. Why were you trying to turn me into Barney Muldoon?"

"Because the psychic explosion is on Saul Goodman's time-track, not on Barney Muldoon's."

Ten big rhinoceroses, eleven big rhinoceroses

"You Wascal Wabbit," Simon whispers through the Judas Window. Immediately the door opens and a grinning young man with the Frisco-style Jesus Christ hair-and-beard says, "Welcome to the Joshua Norton Cabal." Joe sees to his relief that it was a normal but untypically clean hippie hangout, and there are none of the sinister accoutrements of the Lake Shore Drive coven. At the same time, he hears the strange man in the bed asking, "Why were you trying to turn me into Barney Muldoon?" My God, now it's happening when I'm awake as well as when I'm asleep. Simu-multi-taneously, he hears the alarm and cries, "The Illuminati must be attacking!"

"Attacking this building?" Saul asks confusedly.

"Building? You're on a submarine, man. The Lief Erickson, on its way to Atlantis!"

Twenty big rhinoceroses, twenty-one big rhinoceroses.

"Number Seventeen," read Professor Curve, "Law and anarchists will give the American people a speedy Cadillac."

All the Helen Hokinson types are out today. Another one just hit me for the Mothers March Against Dandruff. I gave her a nickel.

1923 was a very interesting year for the occult, by the way. Not only did Hitler join the Illuminati and attempt the Munich putsch, but, glancing through the books of Charles Fort, I found quite a few suggestive events. On March 17th- which not only fits our IT-23 correlation but is also the anniversary of the defeat of the Kronstadt rebellion, the day the Lord Nelson statue was bombed in Dublin in 1966 and, of course, good Saint Patrick's holy day- a naked man was seen mysteriously running about the estate of Lord Caernarvon in England. He appeared several times in the following days, but was never caught. Meanwhile, Lord Caernarvon himself died in Egypt- some said he was a victim of the curse of Tut-Ankh-Amen, whose tomb he had burglarized. (An archaeologist is a ghoul with credentials.) Fort also records two cases that May of a synchronistic phenomenon he has traced through the centuries: a volcanic eruption coinciding with the discovery of a new star. In September, there was a Mumiai scare in India-Mumiais are invisible demons that grab people in broad daylight. Throughout the year, there were reports of exploding coal in England; some tried to explain this by saying the embittered miners (it was a time of labor troubles) were putting dynamite in the coal, but the police couldn't prove this. The coal went on exploding. In the summer, French pilots began having strange mishaps, whenever they flew over Germany, and it was suggested that the Germans were testing an invisible ray machine. Considering the last three phenomena together- invisible demons in India, exploding coal in England, invisible rays over Germany- I guess somebody was testing something

You can call me Doc Iggy. My full name, at present, is Dr. Ignotum P. Ignotius. The P. stands for Per. If you're a Latinist, you'll realize that translates as "the unknown explained by the still more unknown." I think it's a quite appropriate name for my function tonight, since Simon brought you here to be illuminized. My slave name, before I was turned on myself, is totally immaterial. As far as I'm concerned, your slave name is equally pointless, and I'll call you by the password of the Norton Cabal, which Simon used at the door. Until tomorrow morning, when the drug starts wearing off, you are U. Wascal Wabbit. That's U., the initial, not why-oh-you, by the way.

We accept Bugs Bunny as an exemplar of Mummu here, too, but otherwise we have little in common with the SSS. That's the Satanist, Surrealists and Sadists- the crew who began your illuminization in Chicago. All we share with them actually is use of the Tristero anarchist postal system, to evade the government's postal inspectors, and a financial agreement whereby we accept their DMM script-Divine Marquis Memorial script- and they accept our hempscript and the flaxscript of the Legion of Dynamic Discord. Anything to avoid Federal Reserve notes, you know.

It'll be a while yet before the acid starts working, so I'll just chat like this, about things that are more or less trivial- or quadrivial, or maybe pentivial-until I can see that you're ready for more serious matters. Simon's in the chapel, with a woman named Stella who you'll really dig, getting things ready for the ceremony.

You might wonder why we're called the Norton Cabal. The name was chosen by my predecessor, Malaclypse the Younger, before he left us to join the more esoteric group known as ELF-the Erisian Liberation Front. They're the Occidental branch of the Hung Mung Tong Cong and all their efforts go into a long-range anti-Illuminati project known only as Operation Mindfuck. But that's another, very complicated, story. One of Malaclypse's last writings, before he went into the Silence, was a short paragraph saying, "Everybody understands Mickey Mouse. Few understand Hermann Hesse. Hardly anyone understands Albert Einstein. And nobody understands Emperor Norton." I guess Malaclypse was already into the Mindfuck mystique when he wrote that.

(Who was Emperor Norton? Joe asks, wondering if the drug is beginning to work already or Dr. Ignotius just has a tendency to speak more slowly than most people.)

Joshua Norton, Emperor of the United States and Protector of Mexico. San Francisco is proud of him. He lived in the last century and got to be emperor by proclaiming himself as such. For some mysterious reason, the newspapers decided to humor him and printed his proclamations. When he started issuing his own money, the local banks went along with the joke and accepted it on par with U.S. currency. When the Vigilantes got into a lynching mood one night and decided to go down to Chinatown and kill some Chinese, Emperor Norton stopped them just by standing in the street with his eyes closed reciting the Lord's Prayer. Are you beginning to understand Emperor Norton a little, Mr. Wabbit?

(A little, Joe said, a little)

Well, chew on this for a while, friend: there were two very sane and rational anarchists who lived about the same time as Emperor Norton across the country in Massachusetts: William Green and Lysander Spooner. They also realized the value of having competing currencies instead of one uniform State currency, and they tried logical arguments, empirical demonstrations and legal suits 'to get this idea accepted. They accomplished nothing. The government broke its own laws to find ways to suppress Green's Mutual Bank and Spooner's People's Bank. That's because they were obviously sane, and their currency did pose a real threat to the monopoly of the Illuminati. But Emperor Norton was so crazy that people humored him and his currency was allowed to circulate. Think about it. You might begin to understand why Bugs Bunny is our symbol and why our currency has the ridiculous name hempscript. Hagbard Celine and his Discordians, even more absurdly, call their money flaxscript. That commemorates the Zen Master who was asked, "What is the Buddha?" and replied, "Five pounds of flax." Do you begin to see the full dimensions of our struggle with the Illuminati?

At least, for now, you can probably grasp this much: their fundamental fallacy is the Aneristic Delusion. They really believe in law n' order. As a matter of fact, since everybody in this crazy, millennia-old battle has his own theory about what the Illuminati are really aiming at, I might as well tell you mine. I think they're all scientists and they want to set up a scientific world government. The Jacobins were probably following precise Illuminati instructions when they sacked the churches in Paris and proclaimed the dawn of the Age of Reason. You know the story about the old man who was in the crowd when Louis XVI went to the guillotine and who shouted as the king's head fell, "Jacques De Molay, thou art avenged"? All the symbols that De Molay introduced into Masonry are scientific implements- the T-square, the architect's triangle, even that pyramid that has caused so much bizarre speculation. If you count the eye as part of the design, the pyramid has 73 divisions, you know, not 72. What's 73 mean? Simple: multiply it by five, in accordance with Weishaupt's funfwissenschaft, the science of fives, and you get 365, the days of the year. The damn thing is some kind of astronomical computer, like Stonehenge. The Egyptian pyramids are facing to the East, where the sun rises. The great pyramid of the Mayans has exactly 365 divisions, and is also facing to the East. What they're doing is worshipping the "order" they have found in Nature, never realizing that they projected the order there with their own instruments.

That's why they hate ordinary mankind- because we're so disorderly. They've been trying for six or seven thousand years to reestablish Atlantis-style high civilization- law 'n' order- the Body Politic, as they like to call it. A giant robot is what their Body Politic really amounts to, you know. A place for everything and everything in its place. A place for everybody and everybody in his place. Look at the Pentagon- look at the whole army, for Goddess's sake! That's what they want the planet to be like Efficient, mechanical, orderly- very orderly- and inhuman. That's the essence of the Aneristic Delusion: to imagine you have found Order and then to start manipulating the quirky, eccentric chaotic things that really exist into some kind of platoons or phalanxes that correspond to your concept of the Order they're supposed to manifest. Of course, the quirkiest, most chaotic things that exist are other people- and that's why they're so obsessed with trying to control us.

Why are you staring like that? Am I changing colors or growing bigger or something? Good: the acid is starting to work. Now we can really get to the nitty-gritty. First of all, most of what I've been telling you is bullshit. The IIluminati have no millennia-old history; neither do the JAMs. They invented their great heritage and tradition- Jacques De Molay and Charlemagne and all of it- out of whole cloth in 1776, picking up all sorts of out-of-context history to make it seem plausible. We've done the same. You might wonder why we copy them, and even deceive our own recruits about this. Well, part of illumination- and we've got to be illuminized ourselves to fight them- is in learning to doubt everything. That's why Hagbard has that painting in his stateroom saying "Think for yourself, schmuck," and why Hassan i Sabbah said "Nothing is true." You've got to learn to doubt us, too, and everything we tell you. There are no honest men on this voyage. In fact, maybe this part is the only lie I've told you all evening, and the Illuminati history before 1776 really is true and not an invention. Or maybe we're just a front for the Illuminati to recruit you indirectly

Feeling paranoid? Good: illumination is on the other side of absolute terror. And the only terror that is truly absolute is the horror of realizing that you can't believe anything you've ever been told. You have to realize fully that you are "a stranger and afraid in a world you never made," like Houseman says.

Twenty-two big rhinoceroses, twenty-three big. rhinoceroses

The Illuminati basically were structure-freaks. Hence, their hangup on symbols of geometric law and architectural permanence, especially the pyramid and the pentagon. (God's Lightning, like all authoritarian Judeo-Christian heresies, had its own share of this typically Occidental straight-line mystique, which was why even the Jews among them, like Zev Hirsch, accepted the symbol first suggested by Atlanta Hope: that most Euclidean of all religious emblems: the Cross.) The Discordians made their own sardonic commentary on the legal and scientific basis of law V order by using a 17-step pyramid-17 being a number with virtually no interesting geometric, arithmetic or mystic properties, outside of Java, where it was the basis of a particularly weird musical scale- and topping it with the Apple of Discord, symbol of the un-rational, un-geometrical, and thoroughly disorderly spontaneity of the vegetable world of creative evolution. The Erisian Liberation Front (ELF) had no symbol, and when asked for one by new recruits, replied loftily that their symbol could not be pictured, since it was a circle whose circumference was everywhere and its center nowhere. They were the most far-out group of all, and only the most advanced Discordians could begin to understand their gibberish.

The JAMs, however, had a symbol that anyone could understand, and, just as Harry Pierpont showed it to John Dillinger midway through a nutmeg high in Michigan City prison, Dr. Ignotius showed it to Joe midway through his first acid trip.

"This," he said dramatically, "is the Sacred Chao."

The Illuminatus! Trilogy

"That's a symbol of technocracy," Joe said, giggling.

"Well," Dr. Ignotius smiled, "at least you're original. Nine out of ten new members mistake it for the Chinese yin-yang or the astrological symbol of Cancer. It's similar to both of them- and also to the symbols of the Northern Pacific Railroad and the Sex Information and Education Council of the United States, all of which is eventually going to lead to some interesting documents being produced at John Birch headquarters, I'm sure, proving that sex educators run the railroads or that astrologers control the sex educators or something of that sort. No, this is different. It is the Sacred Chao, symbol of Mummu, God of Chaos.

"On the right, O nobly born, you will see the image of your 'female' and intuitive nature, called yin by the Chinese. The yin contains an apple which is the golden apple of Eris, the forbidden apple of Eve, and the apple which used to disappear from the stage of the Flatbush Burlesque House in Brooklyn when Linda Larue did the split on top of it at the climax of her striptease. It represents the erotic, libidinal, anarchistic, and subjective values worshiped by Hagbard Celine and our friends in the Legion of Dynamic Discord.

"Now, O nobly born, as you prepare for Total Awakening, turn your eyes to the left, yang side of the Sacred Chao. This is the image of your 'male,' rationalistic ego. It contains the pentagon of the Illuminati, the Satanists, and the U.S. Army. It represents the anal, authoritarian, structural, law 'n' order values which the Illuminati have imposed, through their puppet governments, on most of the peoples of the world.

"This is what you must understand, O newborn Buddha: neither side is complete, or true, or real. Each is an abstraction, a fallacy. Nature is a seamless web in which both sides are in perpetual war (which is another name for perpetual peace). The equation always balances. Increase one side, and the other side increases by itself. Every homosexual is a latent heterosexual, every authoritarian cop is the shell over an anarchistic libido. There is no Vernichtung, no Final Solution, no pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and you are not Saul Goodman, when you're lost out here."

Listen: the chaos you experience under LSD is not an illusion. The orderly world you imagine you experience, under the artificial and poisonous diet which the Illuminati have forced on all civilized nations, is the real illusion. I am not saying what you are hearing. The only good fnord is a dead fnord. Never whistle while you're pissing. An obscure but highly significant contribution to sociology and epistemology occurs in Malignowski's study "Retroactive Reality," printed in Wieczny Kwiat Wtadza, the journal of the Polish Orthopsychiatric Psociety, for Autumn 1959.

"All affirmations are true in some sense, false in some sense, meaningless in some sense, true and false in some sense, true and meaningless in some sense, false and meaningless in some sense, and true and false and meaningless in some sense. Do you follow me?"

(In some sense, Joe mutters)

The author, Dr. Malignowski, was assisted by three graduate students named Korzybski-1, Korzybski-2, and Korzybski-3 (Siamese triplets born to a mathematician and, hence, indexed rather than named). Malignowski and his students interviewed 1,700 married couples, questioning husband and wife separately in each case, and asked 100 key questions about their first meeting, first sexual experience, marriage ceremony, honeymoon, economic standing during the first year of marriage, and similar subjects which should have left permanent impressions on the memory. Not one couple in the 1,700 gave exactly the same answers to 100 questions, and the highest single score was made by a couple who gave the same answers to 43 of the questions.

"This study demonstrated graphically what many psychologists have long suspected: the life-history which most of us carry around in our skulls is more our own creation (at least seven percent more) than it is an accurate recording of realities. As Malignowski concludes, 'Reality is retroactive, retrospective and illusory.'

"Under these circumstances, things not personally experienced but recounted by others are even more likely to be distorted, and after a tale passes through five tellers it is virtually one hundred percent pure myth: another example of the Law of Fives.

"Only Marxists," Dr. Iggy concluded, opening the door to usher Joe into the chapel room, "still believe in an objective history. Marxists and a few disciples of Ayn Rand."

Jung took the parchment from Drake and stared at it "It's not to be signed in blood? And what the hell is this yin-yang symbol with the pentagon and the apple? You're a fucking fake." His lips curled tightly in against his teeth.

"What do you mean?" said George through a throat that was rapidly closing up.

"I mean you're not from the goddam Illuminati," said Jung. "Who the hell are you?"

"Didn't you know that before I came here- that I'm not from the Illuminati?" said George. "I'm not trying to fake anybody out. Honest, really, I thought you knew the people who sent me. I never said I was from the Illuminati."

Maldonado nodded, a slight smile bringing his face to life. "I know who he is. The people of the Old Strega. The Sybil of Sybils. All hail Discordia, kid. Right?"

"Hail Eris," said George with a slight feeling of relief.

Drake frowned. "Well, we seem to be at cross purposes. We were contacted by mail, then by telephone, then by messenger, by parties who made it quite clear that they knew all about our business with the Illuminati. Now, to the best of my knowledge- perhaps Don Federico knows better- there is only one organization in the world that knows anything about the AISB, and that is the AISB itself." George could tell he was lying.

Maldonado raised a warning hand. "Wait. Up, everybody. To the bathroom."

Drake sighed. "Oh, Don Federico! You and your tired notions of security. If my house isn't safe, we're all dead men as of this moment. And if the AISB is as good as it's said to be, an old trick like running water will be no obstacle to them. Let's conduct this discussion like civilized men, for God's sake, and not huddled around my shower stall."

"There are times when dignity is suicide," said Maldonado. He shrugged. "But, I yield. I'll settle the question with you in hell if you're wrong."

"I'm still in the dark," said Richard Jung. "I don't know who this guy is or where he's from."

"Look, Chinaman," said Maldonado. "You know who the Ancient Illuminated Seers of Bavaria are, right? Well, every organization has opposition, right? So do the Illuminati. Opposition that's like them, religious, magical, spooky stuff. Not simply interested in becoming rich, as is our gentlemanly aim in life. Playing supernatural games. Capeesh?"

Jung looked skeptical. "You could be describing the Communist party, the CIA, or the Vatican."

"Superficial," said Maldonado scornfully. "And upstarts, compared with the AISB. Because the Bavarian Illuminati aren't Bavarians, you understand. That's just a recent name and manifestation for their order. Both the Illuminati and their opposition, which this guy represents, go back a long ways before Moscow, Washington or Rome. A little imagination is called for to understand this, Chinaman."

"If the Illuminati are yang," George said helpfully, "we're yin. The only solution is a Yin Revolution. Dig?"

"I am a graduate of Harvard Law School," said Jung loftily, "and I do not dig it. What are you, a bunch of hippies?"

"We never made a deal with your bunch before," said Maldonado. "They never had enough to offer us."

Robert Putney Drake said, "Yes, but wouldn't you like to, though, Don Federico? Haven't you had a bellyfull of the others? I know I have. I know where you're from now, George. And you people have been making giant strides in recent decades. I'm not surprised that you're able to tempt us. It's worth our lives- and we are supposedly the most secure men in the United States- to betray the Illuminati. But I understand you offer us statues from Atlantis. By now they should be uncrated. And that there are more where these came from? Is that right, George?"

Hagbard had said nothing about that, but George was too worried about his own survival to quibble. "Yes," he said. "There are more."

Drake said, "Whether we want to risk our lives by working with your people will depend on what we find when we examine the objets d'art you are offering. Don Federico, being a highly qualified expert in antiquities, particularly in those antiquities which have been carefully kept outside of the ken of conventional archaeological knowledge, will pronounce on the value of what you've brought. As a Sicilian thoroughly versed in his heritage, Don Federico is familiar with things Atlantean. The Sicilians are about the only extant people who do know about Atlantis. It is not generally realized that the Sicilians have the oldest continuous civilization on the face of the planet. With all due respects to the Chinese." Drake nodded formally to Jung.

"I consider myself an American," said Jung. "Though my family knows a thing or two about Tibet that might surprise you."

"I'm sure," said Drake. "Well, you shall advise, as you are able. But the Sicilian heritage goes back thousands of years before Rome, as does their knowledge of Atlantis. There were a few things washed up on the shores of North Africa, a few things found by divers. It was enough to establish a tradition. If there were a museum of Atlantean arts, Don Federico is one of the few people in the world qualified to be a curator."

"In other words," said Maldonado with a ghastly smile, "those statues better be authentic, kid. Because I will know if they are not."

"They are," said George. "I saw them picked up off the ocean bottom myself."

"That's impossible," said Jung.

"Let's look," said Drake.

He stood up and placed the palm of his hand flat against an oak panel which immediately slid to one side, revealing a winding metal staircase. Drake leading the way, the four of them descended what seemed to George five stories to a door with a combination lock. Drake opened the door and they passed through a series of other chambers, ending up in a large underground garage. The Gold amp; Appel truck was there and beside it the four statues, freed of their crates. There was no one in the room.

"Where did everybody go?" said Jung.

"They're Sicilians," said Drake. "They saw these and were afraid. They did the job of uncrating them and left." His face and Maldonado's wore a look of awe. Jung's craggy features bore an irritated, puzzled frown.

"I'm beginning to feel that I've been left out of a lot," he said.

"Later," said Maldonado. He took a small jeweler's glass out of his pocket and approached the nearest statue. "This is where they got the idea for the great god Pan," he said. "But you can see the idea was more complicated twenty thousand years ago than two thousand." Fixing the jeweler's glass in his eye, he began a careful inspection of a glittering hoof.

At the end of an hour, Maldonado, with the help of a ladder, had gone over each of the four statues from bottom to top with fanatical care and had questioned George about the manner of their seizure as well as what little he knew of their history. He put his jeweler's glass away, turned to Drake and nodded.

"You got the four most valuable pieces of art in the world."

Drake nodded. "I surmised as much. Worth more than all the gold in all the Spanish treasure ships there ever were."

"If I have not been dosed with a hallucinogenic drug," said Richard Jung, "I gather you are all saying these statues come from Atlantis. I'll take your word for it that they're solid gold, and that means there's a lot of gold there."

"The value of the matter is not worth one one ten-thousandth the value of the form," said Drake.

"That I don't see," said Jung. "What is the value of Atlantean art if no reputable authority anywhere in the world believes in Atlantis?"

Maldonado smiled. "There are a few people in the world who know that Atlantis existed, and who know there is such a thing as Atlantean art. And believe me, Richard, those few got enough money to make it worth anyone's while who has a piece from the bottom of the sea. Any one of these statues could buy a middle-sized country."

Drake clapped his hands with an air of authority. "I'm satisfied if Don Federico is satisfied. For these and for four more like them- or the equivalent if four such statues simply don't exist- my hand is joined with the hand of the Discordian movement. Let us go back upstairs and sign the papers- in pen and ink. And then, George, we would like you to be our guest at dinner."

George didn't know if he had the authority to promise four more statues, and he was certain that total openness was the only safe approach with these men. As they were climbing the stairs, he said to Drake, who was above him, "I wasn't authorized by the man who sent me to promise anything more. And I don't believe he has any more at the moment, unless he has a collection of his own. I know these four statues are the only ones he captured on this trip."

Drake let out a small fart, an incredible thing, it seemed to George, for the leader of all organized crime in the United States to do. "Excuse me," he said. "The exertion of these stairs is too much for me. Would love to put in an elevator, but that wouldn't be as secure. One of these days my heart will give out, going up and down those stairs." The fart smelled moderately bad, and George was glad when he had climbed out of its neighborhood. He was surprised that a man of Drake's importance would acknowledge that he farted. Perhaps that kind of straightforwardness was a factor in Drake's success. George doubted that Maldonado would admit to a fart. The Don was too devious. He was not your earthy sort of Latin- he was paper-thin and paper-pale, like a Tuscan aristocrat of attenuated bloodline.

They reentered Drake's office, and Drake and Maldonado each signed the parchment scroll. After the phrase, "for valuable considerations received," Drake inserted the words, "and considerations of equal value yet to come."

He smiled at George. "Since you can't guarantee the additional objects, I'll expect to hear from your boss within twenty-four hours after you leave here. This whole deal is contingent upon the additional payment from you."


ORGASM. HER BUBBIES FRITCHID BY THE GYNING DEEP SEADOODLER.


All in a lewdercrass chaste for a moulteeng fawkin. In fact, hearing Drake say that he was to be leaving the Syndicate fortress made George feel a bit better. He signed in behalf of the Discordians and Jung signed as a witness.

Drake said, "You understand, there is no way the organizations which Don Federico and I represent can be bound by anything we sign. What we agree to here is to use our influence with our many esteemed colleagues and to hope that they will grant us the favor of cooperation in the mutual enterprise."

Maldonado said, "I couldn't have said it better myself. We, of course, personally pledge our lives and our honor to further your purposes."

Robert Putney Drake took a cigar out of a silver humidor. Slapping George on the back, he shoved the cigar into his mouth. "You know, you're the first hippie I've ever done business with. I suppose you'd like to have some marijuana. I don't keep any around the house, and as you probably know we don't deal much in the stuff. Too bulky to transport, considering the amount you can make on it. Aside from that, I think you'll like the food and drink here. We'll have a big dinner and some entertainment."

The dinner was steak Diane, and it was served to the four men at a long table in a dining room hung with large, old paintings. They were waited on by a series of beautiful young women, and George wondered where the gang leaders kept their wives and mistresses. In some sort of pur-dah, perhaps. There was something Arabic about this whole setup.

During the main course a blonde in a long white gown which left one breast bare played the harp in a corner of the room and sang. There was conversation with the coffee; four young women sat down briefly with the men and regaled them with witticisms and funny stories.

With the brandy came Tarantella Serpentine. She was an amazingly tall woman, at least six feet two, with long blond hair that was piled high on her head and fell below her shoulders. She was wearing tinkling gold bracelets around her wrists and ankles, and there were diaphonous veils wrapped around her slender body, and nothing else. George could see pink nipples and dark crotch hair. When she strode through the door Banana-Nose Maldonado wiped his mouth with his napkin and began applauding gleefully. Robert Putney Drake smiled proudly and Richard Jung swallowed hard.

George just stared. "The star of our little rural retreat," said Drake by way of introduction. "May I present- Miss Tarantella Serpentine." Maldonado's applause continued, and George wondered if he should join in. Music, Oriental but with a touch of rock, flooded the room. The sound reproduction equipment was excellent, nigh perfect. Tarantella Serpentine began to dance. It was a strange, hybrid sort of dance, a synthesis of belly-dancing, go-go, and modern ballet. George licked his lips and he felt his face get warm and his penis begin to throb and swell as he watched. Tarantella Serpentine's dance was even more sensuous than the dance Stella Maris had done when he was being initiated into the Discordian movement.

After she had done three dances, Tarantella bowed and left. "You must be tired, George," said Drake, resting his hand on George's shoulder.

Suddenly, George realized he had been going on almost no sleep except for the times he'd dozed off in the car on the way from Mad Dog to the Gulf. He had been under incredible physical, and even more important, emotional pressure.

He agreed that he was tired, and, praying that he would not be murdered in his sleep, he let Drake lead him to a bedroom.

The bed was an enormous four poster with a cloth-of-gold canopy. Naked, George slid between cool, crisp sheets, and clutching the top sheet around his neck, lay flat on his back, shut his eyes tight and sighed. That morning he had been on a beach in the Gulf of Mexico watching naked Mavis masturbate. He had fucked an apple. He had been to Atlantis. And now he was lying on a downy-soft mattress in the home of the chief of all organized crime in America. If he closed his eyes he might find himself back in the Mad Dog jail. He shook his head. There was nothing to fear.

He heard the bedroom door open. There was nothing to fear. To prove it, he kept his eyes closed. He heard a board squeak. Squeaky boards in this place? Sure- to warn the sleeper that there was someone sneaking up on him. He opened his eyes.

Tarantella Serpentine was standing over the bed. "Bobby-baby sent me," she said.

George closed his eyes again. "Sweetheart," he said, "you are beautiful. You really are. You're beautiful. Make yourself comfortable."

She reached down and turned on a bedside lamp. She was wearing a gold metallic bikini top with a short matching skirt. Her breasts were delightfully small, George thought. Although, on a five-foot-two girl they'd be ample. But Tarentella was built like a Vogue model. George liked her looks. He had always been partial to tall, slender boyish women.

"I'm not intruding on you, am I?" she asked. "You sure you wouldn't rather sleep?"

"Well it's not so much what Td rather do," said George. "I doubt that I can do anything other than sleep. I have had a very trying day." Masturbated once, he thought, had one blow job, and fucked one apple. Forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors. Plus been scared out of my wits 90 percent of the time.

Tarantella said, "My name is known in ratified circles for what I can achieve with men whose days are all trying. Presidents, kings, Syndicate heads- naturally- rock stars, oil billionaires, people like that. My thing is, I can make men come. Over and over and over and over again. Ten times, sometimes even twenty times, no matter how old or how tired. I get paid a lot. Tonight, Bobby-baby is paying for my services, and I'm to service you. Which I like very much, because most of my clientele is on the middle-aged side, and you're nice and young and have a firm body." She gently pulled the sheet loose from George's grip- he had forgotten he was still holding it up around his neck- and caressed his bare shoulder.

"How old are you, George- twenty-two?"

"Twenty-three," said George. "But I don't want to disappoint you. I'm willing and I'm interested. In fact, I'm curious about what you do. But I'm pretty tired."

"Honey, you can't disappoint me. The more limp you are, the more I like it. The more of a challenge you are to me. Let me show you my specialty."

Tarantella doffed her bra, skirt, and panties quickly but deliberately enough to let George enjoy watching her. Smiling at him, she stood before him, her legs spread wide apart. Her fingernails tickled her nipples, and George watched them swell up. Then, her left hand playing with her left breast, her right hand snaked down to her groin and began massaging the golden-brown hairs of her mons. Her middle finger disappeared between her legs. After a few moments a scarlet flush spread over her face, neck, and chest, her body arched backward, and she gave a single, agonized cry. Her skin, from head to toe, was glowing with a fine coating of sweat.

After a momentary pause she smiled and looked at him. Her right hand caressed his cheek and he felt the wetness on his face and smelled the Lobster Newburg aroma of a young cunt. Her fingers drifted to the sheets, and with a sudden movement she stripped them away from George's body. She grinned down at his stiff cock and in a moment was on top of him, holding his prick, inserting it into herself. Two minutes of smooth pistonlike movements on her part brought him to an unexpectedly pleasant orgasm.

"Baby," he said. "You could wake the dead."

He enjoyed his second orgasm about a half hour later, and his third a half hour after that. The second time Tarantella lay on her back and George lay on top of her, and the third time she was on her stomach and he was straddling her from the rear. There was something about the mood Tarantella created that was crucial to what she called her "specialty." Though she had boasted about her ability to make a man come repeatedly, when it came right down to doing things she made him feel that it didn't really matter what happened with him. She was fun-loving, playful, carefree. He did not feel obligated in any sense to stiffen, to come. Tarantella might view men as a challenge, but she made it clear that George was not to see her as a challenge.

After a short nap, he woke to find her sucking his rapidly hardening penis. It took much longer this time for him to come, but he enjoyed every second of mounting pleasure. After that they lay side by side and talked for a while. Then Tarantella went to the bedside table and took a tube of petroleum jelly out of a drawer. She began applying it to his penis, which grew erect during the process. Then she rolled over and presented him with her rosy asshole. It was the first time George had had a woman that way, and he came rather quickly after insertion from the novelty and excitement of it all.

They slept for a while and he awoke to find her masturbating him. Her fingers were very clever and seemed quickly to find their way to all the most sensitive parts of his penis- with special attention to that area just behind the crown of the head. He opened his eyes wide when he came and saw, after a few seconds, a small, pale, pearl-like drop of semen appear on the end of his dick. A wonder there was any at all.

It was getting to be a trip. His ego went away somewhere, and he was all body, letting it all happen. It was fucking Tarantella, and it was coming- and, judging by the sounds she was making and the wetness in which his penis was sloshing, she was coming, too.

There followed two more blow jobs. Then Tarantella pulled something that looked like an electric razor out of the bed-table drawer. She plugged it into the wall and began to stroke his penis with its vibrating head, pausing every so often to lick and lubricate the areas she was working on.

George closed his eyes and rolled his hips from side to side as he felt yet another orgasm coming on. From a great distance he heard Tarantella Serpentine say, "My greatness lies in the life I can generate in limp pricks."

George's pelvis began to pump up and down. It was really going to be that superorgasm Hemingway described. It began to happen. It was pure electricity. No juice- all energy pouring out like lightning through the magic wand at the center of his being. He wouldn't be surprised to discover that his balls and cock were disintegrating into whirling electrons. He screamed, and behind his tight-clenched eyes, he saw, very clearly, the smiling, face of Mavis.

He awoke in the dark, and his instinctive groping motion told him that Tarantella was gone.

Instead, Mavis, in a white doctor's smock, stood at the foot of the bed, watching him with large bright eyes. The darkened Drake bedroom had turned into a hospital ward, and was suddenly brightly lit.

"How did you get here?" he blurted. "I mean- how did I get here?"

"Saul," she said kindly, "it's almost all over. You've come through it."

And suddenly he realized that he felt, not twenty-three, but sixty-three years old.

"You've won," he admitted, "I'm no longer sure who I am."

"You've won," Mavis contradicted. "You've gone through ego loss and now you're beginning to discover who you really are, poor old Saul."

He examined his hands: old man's. Wrinkled. Goodman's hands.

"There are two forms of ego loss," Mavis went on, "and the Illuminati are masters of both. One is schizophrenia, the other is illumination. They set you on the first track, and we switched you to the other. You had a time bomb in your head, but we defused it."

Malik's apartment. The Playboy Club. The submarine. And all the other past lives and lost years. "By God," Saul Goodman cried, "I've got it. I am Saul Goodman, but I am all the other people, too."

"And all time is this time," Mavis added softly.

Saul sat upright, tears gleaming in his eyes. "I've killed men. I've sent them to the electric chair. Seventeen times. Seventeen suicides. The savages who cut off fingers or toes or ears for their gods are more sensible. We cut off whole egos, thinking they are not ourselves but separate. God God God," and he burst in sobs.

Mavis rushed forward and held him, cradling his head to her breast. "Let it out," she said. "Let it all out. It's not true unless it makes you laugh, but you don't understand until it makes you weep."

QUEENS. Psychoanalysts in living cells, moving in military ordure, and a shitty outlook on life and sex, dancing coins in harry's krishna. It all coheres, even if you approach it bass ackwards. It coheres.

"Gruad the grayface!" Saul screamed, weeping, beating his fist against the pillow as Mavis held his head, stroked his hair. "Gruad the damned! And I have been his servant, his puppet, sacrificing myselves on his electric altars as burnt offerings."

"Yes, yes," Mavis cooed in his ear. "We must learn to give up our sacrifices, not our joys. They have taught us to give up everything except our sacrifices, and those are what we must give up. We must sacrifice our sacrifices."

"The Grayface, the life-hater!" Saul shrieked. "The bastard motherfucker! Osiris, Quetzalcoatl, I know him under all his aliases. Grayface, Grayface, Grayface! I know his wars and his prisons, the young boys he shafts up the ass, the George Dorns he tries to turn into killers like himself. And I have served him all my life. I have sacrificed men on his bloody pyramid!"

"Let it out," Mavis repeated, holding the old man's trembling body "Let it all out, baby"

NOTHUNG. Woden you gnaw it, when you herd those flying sheeps with Wagner's loopy howls? Hassan walked this loony valley, he had to wake up by himself. August 23, 1966: before he ever heard of the SSS, the Discordians, the JAMs or the Illuminati: stoned and beatific, Simon Moon is browsing in a Consumer Discount store on North Clark street, digging the colors, not really intending to buy anything. He stops in a frieze, mesmerized by a sign above the timeclock:

NO EMPLOYEE MAY, UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES, PUNCH


THE TIME CARD FOR ANY OTHER EMPLOYEE.


ANY DEVIATION WILL RESULT IN TERMINATION.


THE MGT.


"God's pajamas," Simon mutters, incredulous.

"Pajamas? Aisle seven," a clerk says helpfully.

"Yes. Thanks," Simon speaks very distinctly, edging away, hiding his high. God's pajamas and spats, he thinks in a half-illuminated trance, either I'm more stoned than I think or that sign is absolutely the whole clue to how the show runs.

RAGS. Hail Ghoulumbia, her monadmen are fled and all she's left now is a bloody period. "The funny part," Saul said, smiling while a few tears still flowed, "is that I'm not ashamed of this. Two days ago I would have rather died than be seen weeping- especially by a woman."

"Yes," Mavis said, "especially by a woman."

"That's it- isn't it?" Saul gasped. 'That's their whole gimmick. I couldn't see you without seeing a woman. I couldn't see that editor, Jackson, without seeing a Negro. I couldn't see anybody without seeing the attached label and classification."

"That's how they keep us apart," Mavis said gently. "And that's how they train us to keep our masks on. Love was the hardest bond for them to smash, so they had to create patriarchy, male supremacy, and all that crap- and the 'masculine protest' and 'penis envy" in women came in as a result- so even lovers couldn't look at one another without seeing a separate category."

"O my God, my God," Saul moaned, beginning to weep heavily again. " 'A rag, a bone, a hank of hair.' O my God. And you were with them!" he cried suddenly, raising his head. "You're a former Illuminatus- that's why you're so important to Hagbard's plan. And that's why you have that tattoo!"

"I was one of the Five who run the U.S.," Mavis nodded. "One of the Insiders, as Robert Welch calls them. I've been replaced now by Atlanta Hope, the leader of God's Lightning."

"I've got it, I've got it!" Saul said, laughing, "I looked every way but the right way before. He's inside the Pentagon. That's why they build it in that shape, so he couldn't escape. The Aztecs, the Nazis and now us"

"Yes," Mavis said grimly. "That's why thirty thousand Americans disappear every year, without trace, and their cases end up in the unsolved files. He has to be fed."

" 'A man, though naked, may be in rags." Saul quoted. "Ambrose Bierce knew about it."

"And Arthur Machen," Mavis added. "And Lovecraft. But they had to write in code. Even so, Lovecraft went too far, mentioning the Necronomicon by name. That's why he died so suddenly when he was only forty-seven. And his literary executor, August Derleth, was persuaded to insert a note in every edition of Lovecraft's works, claiming that the Necronomicon doesn't exist and was just part of Lovecraft's fantasy."

"And the Lloigor?" Saul asked. "And the dols?"

"Real," Mavis said. "All real. That's what causes bad acid trips and schizophrenia. Psychic contact with them when the ego wall breaks. That's where the Illuminati were sending you when we raided their fake Playboy Club and short-circuited the process."

"Du hexen Hase," Saul quoted. And he began to tremble.

UNHEIMLICH. Urvater whose art's uneven, horrid be thine aim. Harpoons in him, corpus whalem: take ye and hate.

Fernando Poo was given prominent attention in the world press only once before the notorious Fernando Poo Incident. It occurred in the early 1970s (while Captain Tequilla y Mota was first studying the art of the Coup d'Etat and laying his first plans,) and was occasioned by the outrageous claims of the anthropologist J. N. Marsh, of Miskatonic University, that artifacts he had found on Fernando Poo proved the existence of the lost continent of Atlantis. Although Professor Marsh had an impeccable reputation for scholarly caution and scientific rigor before this, his last published book, Atlantis and Its Gods, was greeted with mockery and derision by his professional colleagues, especially after his theories were picked up and sensationalized by the press. Many of the old man's friends, in fact, blame this campaign of ridicule for his disappearance a few months later, which they suspect was the suicide of a broken-hearted and sincere searcher after truth.

Not only were Marsh's theories now beyond all scientific credibility, but his methods- such as quoting Allegro's The Sacred Mushroom and the Cross or Graves' The White Goddess as if they were as reputable as Boas, Mead, or Frazer- seemed to indicate senility. This impression was increased by the eccentric dedication "To Ezra Pound, Jacques De Molay and Emperor Norton I." The real scientific scandal was not the theory of Atlantis (that was a bee that had haunted many a scholarly bonnet) but Marsh's claim that the gods of Atlantis actually existed; not as supernatural beings, of course, but as a superior class of life, now extinct, which had preexisted mankind and duped the earliest civilization into worshiping them as divine and offering terrible sacrifices at their altars. That there was absolutely no archaeological or paleontological evidence that such beings ever existed, was the mildest of the scholarly criticisms aimed at this hypothesis.

Professor Marsh's rapid decline, in the few months between the book's unanimous rejection by the learned world and his sudden disappearance, caused great pain to colleagues at Miskatonic. Many recognized that he had acquired some of his notions from Dr. Henry Armitage, generally regarded as having gone somewhat bananas after too many years devoted to puzzling out the obscene metaphysics of the Necronomicon. When the librarian Miss Horus mentioned at a faculty tea shortly after the disappearance that Marsh had spent much of the past month with that volume, one Catholic professor urged, only half-jokingly, that Miskatonic should rid itself of scandals once and for all by presenting "that damned book" (he emphasized the word very deliberately) to Harvard.

Missing Persons Department of the Arkham police assigned the Marsh case to a young detective who had previously distinguished himself by tracing several missing infants to one of the particularly vile Satanist cults that have festered in that town since the witch-hunting days of 1692. His first act was to examine the manuscript on which the old man had been working since the completion of "Atlantis and Its Gods." It seemed to be a shortish essay, intended for an anthropological magazine, and was quite conservative in tone and concept, as if the professor regretted the boldness of his previous speculations. Only one footnote, expressing guarded and qualified endorsement of Urqhuart's theory about Wales being settled by survivors from Mu, showed the bizarre preoccupations of the Atlantis book. However, the final sheet was not related to this article at all and seemed to be notes for a piece which the Professor evidently intended to submit, brazenly and in total contempt of academic opinion, to a pulp publication devoted to flying saucers and occultism. The detective puzzled over these notes for a long time:

The usual hoax: fiction presented as fact. This hoax described here opposite to this: fact presented as fiction.

Huysmans' La-Bas started it, turns the Satanist into hero.

Machen in Paris 1880s, met with Huysman's circle.

"Dols" and "Aklo letters" in Machen's subsequent "fiction."

Same years: Bierce and Chambers both mention Lake of Hali and Carcosa. Allegedly, coincidence.

Crowley recruiting his occult circle after 1900.

Bierce disappears in 1913.

Lovecraft introduces Halt, dols, Aklo, Cthulhu after 1923.

Lovecraft dies unexpectedly, 1937.

Seabrook discusses Crowley, Machen, etc. in his "Witchcraft," 1940.

Seabrook's "suicide," 1942.

Emphasize: Bierce describes Oedipus Complex in "Death of Halpin Frazer," BEFORE Freud, and relativity in "Inhabitant of Carcosa," BEFORE Einstein. Lovecraft's ambiguous descriptions of Azathoth as "blind idiot-god," "Demon-Sultan" and "nuclear chaos" circa 1930: fifteen years before Hiroshima.

Direct drug references in Chambers' "King in Yellow," Machen's 'White Powder," Lovecraffs "Beyond the Wall of Sleep" and "Mountains of Madness."

The appetites of the Lloigor or Old Ones in Bierce's "Damned Thing." Machen's "Black Stone," Love-craft (constantly.)

Atlantis known as Thule both in German and Panama Indian lore, and of course, "coincidence" again the accepted explanation. Opening sentence for article: "The more frequently one uses the word 'coincidence' to explain bizarre happenings, the more obvious it becomes that one is not seeking, but evading, the real explanation." Or, shorter: "The belief in coincidence is the prevalent superstition of the Age of Science."

The detective then spent an afternoon at Miskatonic library, browsing through the writings of Ambrose Bierce, J-K Huysmans, Arthur Machen, Robert W. Chambers, and H. P. Lovecraft. He found that all repeated certain key words; dealt with lost continents or lost cities; described superhuman beings trying to misuse or victimize mankind in some unspecified manner; suggested that there was a cult, or group of cults, among mankind who served these beings; and described certain books (usually not giving their titles: Lovecraft was an exception) that reveal the secrets of these beings. With a little further research, he found that the occult and Satanist circles in Paris in the 1880s had influenced the fiction of both Huysmans and Machen, as well as the career of the egregious Aleistair Crowley, and that Seabrook (who knew Crowley) hinted at more than he stated outright in his book on Witchcraft, published two years before his suicide. He then wrote a little table:

Huysmans-hysteria, complaints about occult attacks, final seclusion in a monastery.

Chambers-abandons such subjects, turns to light romantic fiction.

Bierce-disappears mysteriously. Lovecraft-dead at an early age. Crowley-hounded into silence and obscurity. Machen-becomes a devout Catholic. (Huysmans' escape?) Seabrook-alleged suicide.

The detective then went back and reread, not skimming this time, the stories by these writers in which drugs were specifically mentioned, according to Marsh's notes. He now had a hypothesis: the old man had been lured into a drug cult, as had these writers, and had been terrified by his own hallucinations, finally ending his own life to escape the phantoms his own narcotic-fogged brain had created. It was a good enough theory to start with, and the detective conscientiously set about interviewing every friend on campus of old Marsh, leading into the subject of grass and LSD very slowly and indirectly. He made no headway and was beginning to lose his conviction when good fortune struck, in the form of a remark by another anthropology professor about Marsh's preoccupation in recent years with amanita muscaria, the hallucinogenic mushroom used in ancient Near Eastern religions.

"A very interesting fungus, amanita," this professor told the detective. "Some sensationalists without scholarly caution have claimed it was every magic potion in ancient lore: the soma of the Hindus, the sacrament used in the Dionysian and Eleusinian mysteries in Greece, even the Holy Communion of the earliest Christians and Gnostics. One chap in England even claims amanita, and not hashish, was the drug used by the Assassins in the Middle Ages, and there's a psychiatrist in New York, Puharich, who claims it actually does induce telepathy. Most of that is rubbish, of course, but amanita certainly is the strongest mind-altering drug in the world. If the kids ever latch onto it, LSD will seem like a tempest in a teapot by comparison."

The detective now concentrated on finding somebody- anybody- who had actually seen old Marsh when he was stoned out of his gourd. The testimony finally came from a young black student named Pearson, who was majoring in anthropology and minoring in music. "Excited and euphoric? Yeah," he said thoughtfully. "I saw old Joshua that way once. It was in the library of all places- that's where my girl works- and the old man jumped up from a table grinning about a yard wide and said out loud, but talking to himself, you know, 'I saw them- I saw the fnords!' Then he ran out like Jesse Owens going to get his ashes hauled. I was curious and went over to peek at what he'd been reading. It was the New York Times editorial page, and not a picture on it, so he certainly didn't see the fnords, whatever the hell they are, there. You think he was maybe bombed a little?"

"Maybe, maybe not," the detective said noncommittally, obeying the police rule of never accusing anyone of anything in hearing of a witness unless ready to make an arrest. But he was already quite sure that Professor Marsh would never reappear to be subject to arrest or any other harassment by those who had not entered his special world of lost civilizations, vanished cities, lloigors, dols, and fnords. To this day, the file on the Joshua N. Marsh case in the Arkham police department bears the closing line: "Probable cause of death: suicide during drug psychosis." Nobody ever traced the change in Professor Marsh back to a KCUF meeting in Chicago and a strangely spiked punch; but the young detective, Daniel Pricefixer, always retained a nagging doubt and a shapeless disquiet about this particular investigation, and even after he moved to New York and went to work for Barney Muldoon, he was still addicted to reading books on pre-history and thinking strange thoughts.

SIMON MAGUS. You will come to know gods.

After the disappearance of Saul Goodman and Barney Muldoon, the FBI went over the Malik apartment with a fine-tooth comb. Everything was photographed, fingerprinted, analyzed, catalogued, and where possible shipped back to the crime laboratory in Washington. Among the items was a short note on the back of a Playboy Club lunch receipt, not in Malik's handwriting, which meant nothing to anybody and was included only for the sake of the completeness so loved by the Bureau.

The note said:

"Machen's dols = Lovecraft's dholes?"

VECTORS. You will come to no gods.

On April 25, most of New York was talking about the incredible event that had occurred shortly before dawn at the Long Island mansion of the nation's best-known philanthropist, Robert Putney Drake. Danny Pricefixer of the Bomb Squad, however, was almost oblivious of this bizarre occurrence, as he drove through heavy traffic from one part of Manhattan to another interviewing every witness who might have spoken to Joseph Malik in the week before the Confrontation explosion. The results were uniformly disappointing: aside from the fact that Malik had grown increasingly secretive in recent years, none of the interviews seemed to provide any useful information. A killer smog had again settled on the city, for the seventh straight day, and Danny, a nonsmoker, was very aware of the wheeze in his chest, which did nothing to improve his mood.

Finally, at three in the afternoon, he left the office of ORGASM at 110 West Fortieth Street (an associate editor there was an old friend of Malik's and frequently lunched with him, but had nothing substantial to offer in leads) and remembered that the main branch of the New York Public Library was only half a block away. The hunch had been in the back of his mind, he realized, ever since he glanced at Malik's weird Illuminati memos. What the hell, he thought, it'll only be a few more wasted minutes in a wasted day.

For once, the congestion at the window in the main reference room was not quite as bad as a Canal Street traffic jam. Atlantis and Its Gods by Professor J. N. Marsh was delivered to him in seventeen minutes, and he began leafing through it looking for the passage he vaguely remembered. At last, on page 123, he found it:

Hans Stefan Santesson points out the basic similarity of Mayan and Egyptian investiture rituals, as previously indicated in Colonel Churchward's insightful but wrongheaded books on the lost continent of Mu. As we have demonstrated, Churchward's obsession with the Pacific, based on his having received his first clues about our lost ancestors in an Asiatic temple, led him to attribute to the fictitious Mu much of the real history of the actual Atlantis. But this passage from Santesson's Understanding Mu (Paperback Library, New York, 1970, page 117) needs little correction:

Next he was taken to the Throne of Regeneration of the Soul, and the Ceremony of Investiture or Illumination took place. Then he experienced further ordeals before attaining to the Chamber of the Orient, to the Throne of Ra, to become truly a Master. He could see for himself in the distance the uncreated light from which was pointed out the whole happiness of the future In other words, as Churchward puts it, both in Egypt and in Maya the initiate had to "sustain" (i.e., survive) "the fiery ordeal" to be approved as an adept. The adept had to become justified. The justified must then become illuminate The destruction of Mu was commemorated by the possibly symbolic House of Fire of the Quiche Mayas and by the relatively later Chamber of Central Fire of the Mysteries which we are told were celebrated in the Great Pyramid.

Substituting Atlantis for Mu, Churchward and Santesson are basically correct. The god, of course, could choose the shape in which He would appear in the final ordeal, and, since these gods, or lloigor in the Atlantean language, possessed telepathy, they would read the initiate's mind and manifest in the form most terrifying to the specific individual, although the shoggoth form and the classic Angry Giant form such as appears in Aztec statues of Tlaloc were most common. To employ an amusing conceit, if these beings had survived to our time, as some occultists claim, they would appear to the average American as, say, King Kong or, perhaps, Dracula or the Wolf-Man.

The sacrifices demanded by these creatures evidently contributed significantly to the fall of Atlantis, and we can conjecture that the mass burnings practiced by the Celts at Beltain and even the Aztec religion, which turned their altars into abattoirs, were minor in comparison, being merely the result of persistent tradition after the real menace of the lloigor had vanished. We, of course, cannot fully understand the purpose of these bloody rituals, since we cannot fathom the nature, or even the sort of matter or energy, that comprised the lloigor. That the chief of these beings, is known in the Pnakotic Manuscripts and the Eltdown Shards as lok-Sotot, "Eater of Souls," suggests that it was some energy or psychic vibration of the dying victim that the lloigor needed; the physical body was, as in the case of the corpse-eating cult of Leng, consumed by the priests themselves, or merely thrown away, as among the Thuggee of India.

Thoughtfully and quietly, Danny Pricefixer returned the book to the clerk at the checkout window. Thoughtfully and quietly, he walked out on Fifth Avenue and stood between the two guardian lions. Who was it, he wondered, who had asked, "Since nobody wants war, why do wars keep happening?" He looked at the killer smog around him and asked himself another riddle, "Since nobody wants air pollution, why does air pollution keep increasing?"

Professor Marsh's words came back to him: "ifthese beings had survived to our time, as some occultists claim"

Walking toward his car, he passed a newsstand and saw that the disaster at the Drake Mansion was still the biggest headline even in the afternoon editions. It was irrelevant to his problem, however, so he ignored it.

Sherri Brandi continued the chant in her mind, maintaining the rhythm of her mouth movements fifty-three-big rhinoceroses, fifty-four big rhinoceroses, fifty-five-Camel's nails dug into her shoulders suddenly and the salty gush splashed hot on her tongue. Thank the Lord, she thought, the bastard finally made it. Her jaw was tired and she had a crick in her neck and her knees hurt, but at least the son-of-a-bitch would be in a good mood now and wouldn't beat her up for having so little to report about Charley and his bugs.

She stood up, stretching her leg and neck muscles to remove the cramps, and looked down to see if any of Car-mel's come had dribbled on her dress. Most men wanted her naked during a blow job, but not creepy Carmel; he insisted she wear her best gown, always. He liked soiling her, she realized; but, hell, he wasn't as bad as some pimps and we've all got to get our kicks some way.

Carmel sprawled back in the easy chair, his eyes still closed. Sherri fetched the towel she had been warming over the radiator and completed the transaction, drying him and gently kissing his ugly wand before tucking it back inside his fly and zippering him up. He does look like a gaddam frog, she thought bitterly, or a nasty-tempered chipmunk.

"Terrif," he said finally. The johns really get their money's worth from you, kid. Now tell me about Charley and his bugs."

Sherri, still feeling cramped, pulled over a footstool and perched on its edge. "Well," she said, "you know I gotta be careful. If he knows I'm pumping him, he might drop me and take up with some other girl"

"So you were too damn cautious and you didn't get anything out of him?" Carmel interrupted accusingly.

"Oh, he's over the loop," she answered, still vague. "I mean, really crazy now. That must be uh, important if you have to deal with him" She came back into focus. "How I know is, he thinks he's going to other planets in his dreams. Some planet called Atlantis. Do you know which one that is?"

Carmel frowned. This was getting stickier: first, find a commie: then, find out how to get the info out of Charley despite the FBI and CIA and all the other government people; and now, how to deal with a maniac He looked up and saw that she was out of focus again, staring into space. Dopey broad, he thought, and then watched as she slid slowly off the stool onto a neat sleeping position on the floor.

"What the hell?" he said out loud.

When he knelt next to her and listened for her heart, his own face paled. Jesus, Jesus, Jesus, he thought standing up, now I got to get rid of a fucking corpus delectus. The damned bitch went and died.

"I can see the fnords!" Barney Muldoon cried, looking up from the Miami Herald with a happy grin.

Joe Malik smiled contentedly. It had been a hectic day- especially since Hagbard had been tied up with the battle of Atlantis and the initiation of George Dorn- but now, at last, he had the feeling their side was winning. Two minds set on a death trip by the Illuminati had been successfully saved. Now if everything worked out right between George and Robert Putney Drake

The intercom buzzed and Joe answered, calling across the room without rising, "Malik."

"How's Muldoon?" Hagbard's voice asked.

"Coming all the way. He sees the fnords in a Miami paper."

"Excellent," Hagbard said dustractedly. "Mavis reports that Saul is all the way through, too, and just saw the fnords in the New York Times. Bring Muldoon up to my room. We've located that other problem- the sickness vibrations that FUCKUP has been scanning since March. It's somewhere around Las Vegas and it's at a critical stage. We think there's been one death already."

"But we've got to get to Ingolstadt before Walpurgia night" Joe said thoughtfully.

"Revise and rewrite," Hagbard said. "Some of us will go to Ingolstadt. Some of us will have to go to Las Vegas. It's the old Illuminati one-two punch- two attacks from different directions. Get your asses in gear, boys. They're immanentizing the Eschaton."

WEISHAUPT. Fnords? Prffft!

Another interruption. This time it was the Mothers March Against Muzak. Since that seems to be the most worthwhile cause I've been approached for all day, I gave the lady $1. I think that if Muzak can be stamped out, alot of our other ailments will disappear too, since they're probably stress symptoms, caused by noise pollution.

Anyway, it's getting late and I might as well conclude this. One month before our KCUF experiment- that is, on September 23, 1970- Timothy Leary passed five federal agents at O'Hare Airport here in Chicago. He had vowed to shoot rather than go back to jail, and there was a gun in his pocket. None of them recognized him And, oh, yes, there was a policeman named Timothy O'Leary in the hospital room where Dutch Schultz dies on October 23, 1935.

I've been saving the best for last. Aldous Huxley, the first major literary figure illuminated by Leary, died the same day as John F. Kennedy. The last essay he wrote revolved around Shakespeare's phrase, "Time must have a stop"- which he had previously used for the title of a novel about life after death. "Life is an illusion," he wrote, "but an illusion which we must take seriously." Two years later, Laura, Huxley's widow, met the medium, Keith Milton Rhinehart. As she tells the story in her book, This Timeless Moment, when she asked if Rinehart could contact Aldous, he replied that Aldous wanted to transmit "classical evidence of survival," a message, that is, which could not be explained "merely" as telepathy, as something Rinehart picked out of her mind. It had to be something that could only come from Aldous's mind.

Later that evening, Rinehart produced it: instructions to go to a room in her house, a room he hadn't seen and find a particular book, which neither he nor she was familiar with. She was to look on a certain page and a certain line. The book was one Aldous had read but she had never even glanced at; it was an anthology of literary criticism. The line indicated-I have memorized it- was: "Aldous Huxley does not surprise us in this admirable communication in which paradox and erudition in the poetic sense and the sense of humor are interlaced in such an efficacious form." Need I add that the page was 17 and the line was, of course, line 23?

(I suppose you've read Seutonius and know that the late J. Caesar was rendered exactly 23 stab wounds by Brutus and Co.)

Brace yourself, Joe. Worse attacks on your Reason are coming along. Soon, you'll see the fnords.

Hail Eris,

p.s. Your question about the vibes and telepathy is easily answered. The energy is always moving in us, through us, and out of us. That's why the vibes have to be right before you can read someone without static. Every emotion is a motion.


ILLUMINATI PROJECT: MEMO #19 8/9 | The Illuminatus! Trilogy | The Golden Apple



Loading...