DEFINITIONS AND DISTINCTIONS
FREE MARKET: That condition of society in which all economic transactions result from voluntary choice without coercion.
THE STATE: That institution which interferes with the Free Market through the direct exercise of coercion or the granting of privileges (backed by coercion).
TAX: That form of coercion or interference with the Free Market in which the State collects tribute (the tax), allowing it to hire armed forces to practice coercion in defense of privilege, and also to engage in such wars, adventures, experiments, "reforms," etc., as it pleases, not at its own cost, but at the cost of "its" subjects.
PRIVILEGE: From the Latin privi, private, and lege, law. An advantage granted by the State and protected by its powers of coercion. A law for private benefit.
USURY: That form of privilege or interference with the Free Market in which one State-supported group monopolizes the coinage and thereby takes tribute (interest), direct or indirect, on all or most economic transactions.
LANDLORDISM: That form of privilege or interference with the Free Market in which one State-supported group "owns" the land and thereby takes tribute (rent) from those who live, work, or produce on the land.
TARIFF: That form of privilege or interference with the Free Market in which commodities produced outside the State are not allowed to compete equally with those produced inside the State.
CAPITALISM: That organization of society, incorporating elements of tax, usury, landlordism, and tariff, which thus denies the Free Market while pretending to exemplify it.
CONSERVATISM: That school of capitalist philosophy which claims allegiance to the Free Market while actually supporting usury, landlordism, tariff, and sometimes taxation.
LIBERALISM: That school of capitalist philosophy which attempts to correct the injustices of capitalism by adding new laws to the existing laws. Each time conservatives pass a law creating privilege, liberals pass another law modifying privilege, leading conservatives to pass a more subtle law recreating privilege, etc., until "everything not forbidden is compulsory" and "everything not compulsory is forbidden."
SOCIALISM: The attempted abolition of all privilege
by restoring power entirely to the coercive agent behind privilege, the State, thereby converting capitalist oligarchy into Statist monopoly. Whitewashing a wall by painting it black.
ANARCHISM: That organization of society in which the Free Market operates freely, without taxes, usury, landlordism, tariffs, or other forms of coercion or privilege. RIGHT ANARCHISTS predict that in the Free Market people would voluntarily choose to compete more often than to cooperate. LEFT ANARCHISTS predict that in the Free Market people would voluntarily choose to cooperate more often than to compete.
Drake, now totally absorbed, turned the page. What he found seemed to be an anthropological report on an obscure tribe he had never heard of; he quickly recognized it as a satire and a parable. Putting it aside for a moment, he buzzed his secretary and asked to be connected with Gold and Appel Transfers.
In a moment a voice said, "G and A T. Miss Maris."
"Mr. Drake calling Mr. Celine," Drake's secretary said.
"Mr. Celine is on an extended voyage," Miss Maris replied, "but he left a message in case Mr. Drake called."
"I'll take it," Drake said quickly. There was a click as his secretary went off the line.
"Mr. Celine will send an emissary to you at the appropriate time," Miss Maris said. "He says that you will recognize the emissary because he will bring with him certain artworks of the Gruad era. I'm afraid that is all, sir."
"Thank you," Drake said hollowly, hanging up. He knew the technique: he had used it himself in moving in on the Syndicate back in 1936.
"You were fucking Stella?"
"Who says I was fucking anybody?"
Joe went in. The tent was as richly hung as that of any Moorish chieftain. At one end was a diaphanous veil, behind it a figure on a pile of cushions. The figure was light-skinned, so Hagbard had been lying about being in here with Stella. Joe went over and pulled the veil aside.
It was Mavis, all right, just as Joe had guessed. She was wearing harem pajamas, red but translucent, through which he could see her dark nipples and the full bush of hair between her legs. At the expectation of making love to her, Joe could feel his cock begin to swell. But he was determined to impose his head trip on this scene.
"Why am I here?" he said, still holding the curtain back with one hand, trying to assume a casual pose. Mavis smiled faintly and motioned him to sit down on the cushions beside her. He did so, and found himself automatically sliding to a half-reclining position. There was a faint suggestion of perfume from Mavis, and he felt the tension in his loins build up a little more.
"I need all the energies we can set in motion to defeat the Illuminati," said Mavis. "Help me, Joe." She held out her arms.
"Were you fucking Hagbard? I never did like sloppy seconds."
Mavis gave a little snarl and threw herself on him. She slathered her drooling lips over his and plunged her tongue deep into his mouth, at the same time pressing her thigh between his legs. Joe fell back and gave up struggling against her. She was just too goddamned attractive. In a minute she had his pants open and his stiff hot prick throbbing in her hand. She lowered her head over it and began sucking it rhythmically.
"Wait," said Joe. "I'm going to go off in your mouth. It's been a week since I got laid, and I'm on a hair trigger."
She looked up at him with a smile. "Eat me, then. I hear you're good at that."
"Who'd you hear that from?" asked Joe.
"A gay priest friend of mine," she said with a laugh as she undid the drawstring of her red trousers.
Joe explored the lips of her vulva with his tongue, reveling in the acrid, musky odor of her bush. He began a businesslike up-and-down, up-and-down motion with his tongue over her clitoris. After a moment he felt her body tensing. It grew more and more rigid. Her pelvis began to buck, and he clamped both hands on her hips and lapped away inexorably. At last she gave a small shriek and tried to drive her whole mons veneris into his mouth.
"Now fuck me, quickly, quickly," she said, and Joe, his pants pulled down and his shirttail flapping, mounted her. He came in a series of exquisite spasms and dropped his head to the pillow, beside hers. She let him rest that way for a few minutes, then gently nudged him to pull out and rolled to her side to face him.
"Am I dismissed?" Joe said. "Have I done my job? Released the energies, or whatever?"
"You sound bitter," said Mavis, "and sad. I'd like you to stay with me a while longer. What's bothering you?"
"A lot of things. I feel like I did the wrong thing. George is obviously in love with you, and you and Hagbard treat it as a joke. And Hagbard treats me as a joke. And both of you are quite obviously using me. You're using me sexually, and I'm beginning to think Hagbard is using me in other ways. And I think you know about it."
"You didn't take the acid, did you?" she said, looking at him sadly.
"No. I knew what Hagbard was doing. This is too serious a moment to play games about the Passion of Christ."
Mavis smiled. She pressed her body closer to him and began playing with his limp penis, rubbing the head gently into her bush. "Joe, you were raised as a Catholic. Catholics have a finer appreciation of blasphemy than anybody. That's why Hagbard chose you. How's your passion, Joe? Is it mounting?" Pressing her naked body against his, she whispered, "How'd you like to fuck the Virgin Mary?"
Joe saw his mother's face, and he felt the blood throbbing in his penis. Now he thought perhaps he knew what Hagbard meant when he said his mother was in the tent.
A little later, when he was in her, she said, "I am a perpetual virgin, Joe. And every woman is, if only you have eyes to see. We wanted to give you eyes tonight. But you refused the Sacrament. You've chosen the hardest way of all, Joe. If you're going to make it through this night you're going to have to find a way to see for yourself. By other means than the one Hagbard provided. You'll have to find your own Sacrament."
And after she came, and he came, she whispered, "Was that the Sacrament?"
He pushed himself up and looked down at the triangular red tattoo between her breasts. "No. You're not the Virgin Mary. You're still Mavis."
"And you still have to make the decision," she said. "Good-bye, Joe. Send George to me."
As Joe was dressing, feeling the weight of the pistol in his trouser pocket, Mavis rolled over so that she was lying on her stomach, not looking at him. Her naked buttocks seemed utterly defenseless. He looked at the pillow on which her bottom had been resting during their lovemaking. It was a cloth-of-gold pillow, and embroidered on it in swirling letters was the word KALLISTI. Joe shook his head and left the tent.
As he emerged, Hagbard was saying in a low voice to Otto Waterhouse, "… would have been up your alley if we hadn't had other work for you. Anthrax Leprosy Pi can wipe out the whole population of the earth in a matter of days."
Suddenly, the white of Hagbard's shirt, the gold of the tent cloth, the blazing spotlights of the festival, 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 was so keyed up that it was a trip.
"Hello, Joe," said Hagbard softly. Joe suddenly realized that his hand was clenched around the pistol. Hagbard smiled at him, and Joe felt like a little boy caught playing with himself, with his hand in his pocket. He took his hand out quickly.
"She wants George," Joe said weakly. He turned his back on Hagbard to look down at the stage, where the sign, glowing in the darkness, said LOAF AND THE FISHES. They were singing, "I circle around, I circle around, the borders of the earth…"
On a pile of cushions behind a diaphanous veil at one end of the tent lay Stella, wearing nothing but a red chiffon pajama top.
"Were you letting Joe fuck you?" George said. "Joe has never fucked me," Stella replied. "You'll be the first person to do that tonight. Look, George, we've got to get every bit of available energy flowing to combat the Illuminati. Come over here and get the energies going with me."
"This is Danny Pricefixer," Doris Horus said. "I met him on the plane coming over."
("Holy Jesus," said Maria Imbrium, vocalist with the Sicilian Dragon Defense, "there are angels coming out of the lake. Angels in golden robes. Look!")
("You're tripping on that Kabouter Kool-Aid, baby," a much-bandaged Hun told her. "There's nothing coming out of the lake.")
("Something is coming out of the lake," the drummer with the Sicilian Dragons said, "and you're so stoned you don't see it.")
("And what is it, if it isn't angels?" Maria demanded.)
("Christ, I don't know. But whoever they are, they're walking on the water.")
Wearing my long green feathers, as I fly,
I circle around, I circle around…
("Jesus. Walking on the water. You people are zonked out of your skulls.")
("It's just a bunch of surfers, wearing green capes for some crazy reason.")
("Surfers? My ass! That's some kind of gang of Bavarian demons. They all look like the Frankenstein monster wrapped up in seaweed.")
"Pricefixer?" said Kent. "Didn't 1 meet you five or six years ago in Arkham? Aren't you a cop?"
("It's a gigantic green egg… and it loves me…")
John Dillinger muttered to Hagbard, "That red-headed guy over there- the one with the black musician and the girl with the fantastic boobs. He's a cop on the New York Bomb Squad. Wanta bet he's here investigating the Confrontation bombing?"
"He must have been talking to Mama Sutra," Hagbard said thoughtfully.
SHE'LL BE WEARING RED PAJAMAS SHE'LL BE WEARING RED PAJAMAS WHEN SHE COMES
When Otto Waterhouse entered the tent, it was Miss Mao who was waiting for him. "I never fucked a Chinese broad," said Otto, stripping off his clothing. "I don't think Stella is going to like this."
"It will be okay with Stella," said Miss Mao. "We need to get all the energies moving to combat the Illuminati. And we need your help." She held out her arms.
"You don't have to ask twice," said Otto, crouching over her.
At 5:45 in Washington, D.C., the switchboard at the Pentagon was warned that bombs planted somewhere in the building would go off in ten minutes. "You killed hundreds of us today in the streets of Washington," said the woman's voice. "But we are still giving you a chance to evacuate the building. You do not have time to find the bombs. Leave the Pentagon now, and let history be the judge of which side truly fought for life and against death."
The highest-ranking personnel in the Pentagon (and, with revolution breaking out in the nation's capital, everybody was there) were immediately moved to underground bombproof shelters. The Secretary of Defense, after consulting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, declared that there was a 95 percent probability that the threat was a hoax, intended to disrupt the job of coordinating the suppression of revolution across the nation. A search would be instituted, but meanwhile work would go on as usual. "Besides," the Secretary of Defense joked to the Chief of Staff, Army, "one of those little radical bombs would do as much damage to this building as a firecracker would to an elephant."
Somehow the fact that the caller had said bombs (plural) had not gotten through. And the actual explosions were far more powerful than the caller had implied. Since a proper investigation was never subsequently undertaken, no one knows precisely what type of explosive was used, how many bombs there were, how they were introduced into the Pentagon, Where they were placed, and how they were set off. Nor was the most interesting question of all ever satisfactorily answered: Who done it? In any case, at 5:55 P.M., Washington time, a series of explosions destroyed one-third of the river side of the Pentagon, ripping through all four rings from the innermost courtyard to the outermost wall.
There was great loss of life. Hundreds of people who had been working on that side of the building were killed. Although the explosion had not visibly touched their bombproof shelter, the Secretary of Defense, the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and numerous other high-ranking military persons were found dead; it was assumed that the concussion had killed them, and in the ensuing chaos nobody bothered to examine the bodies carefully. After the explosions the Pentagon was belatedly evacuated, in the expectation that there might be more of the same. There was no more, but the U.S. military establishment was temporarily without a head.
Another casualty was Mr. H. C. Winifred of the U.S. Department of Justice. A civil servant with a long and honorable career behind him, Winifred, apparently deranged by the terrible events of that day of infamy, took the wheel of a Justice Department limousine and drove wildly, running twenty-three red lights, to the Pentagon. He raced to the scene of the explosion brandishing a large piece of chalk, and was trying to draw a chalk line from one side of the gap in the Pentagon wall to the other when he collapsed and died, apparently of a heart attack.
At 11:45 Ingolstadt time the loudspeakers and the sign over the stage announced the American Medical Association. After a ten-minute ovation, the four strange-eyed, ash-blond young people began to play their most popular song, "Age of Bavaria." (In Los Angeles the Mercalli scale on the UCLA seismograph jumped abruptly to grade 1. "Gonna be a little disturbance," Dr. Vulcan Troll said calmly, noting the rise. Grade 1 wasn't serious.) "What made you think we'd find him down here?" Saul asked.
"Common sense and psychology," Dillinger said. "I know pimps. He'd shit purple before he'd get the guts to try to cross a border. They're strictly mama's boys. The first place I looked was his own cellar, because he might have a hidden room there."
Barney laughed. "That's the first place Saul looked, too."
"We seem to think alike, Mr. Dillinger," Saul said drily.
"There isn't much difference between a cop and a crook, psychologically speaking," Dillinger mused.
"One of my own observations," Hagbard agreed. "What conclusion do you draw from it?"
"Well," Dillinger said. "Pricefixer didn't just pick up that girl because he wanted a lay. She has to fit somehow."
"The musician doesn't know that," Hagbard commented. "Watch his hands. He's repressing a fight impulse; in a few minutes he'll start a quarrel. He and the lady were lovers once- see the way her pelvis tilts when she talks to him?- and he wants Whitey to go away. But Whitey won't go away. He has her linked with the case he's working on."
"I used to be a cop," Danny said with an engaging imitation of frankness. "But that was years ago, and the work really didn't appeal to me. I'm a salesman for Britannica now. Better hours, and people only slam doors in my face - they don't shoot at me through them."
"Listen," Doris said excitedly. "The AMA is playing 'Age of Bavaria.' " It was the song that, more than any other, both expressed and mocked the aspirations of youth around the world, and the accuracy with which it expressed their yearnings and the savagery with which it denied them had won them over.
It started almost the instant the music began. A mile below the surface of the lake, near the opposite shore, an army began to rise from the dead. The black-uniformed corpses broke loose from their moorings, rose to the surface, and began to drift toward shore. As more and more of the semblance of life returned, the drifting became swimming motions, then wading. They fell into ranks on the shore. Under the steel helmets their complexions were greenish, their eyes heavily lidded, their black lips drawn back in wide grimaces. The mouths of the officers and non-coms moved, forming words of command, though no sound came forth. No sound was needed, it seemed, for the orders were instantly obeyed. Once again the power that had been granted to Adolf Hitler by the Illuminated Lodge in 1923 ("Because you are so preposterous," they told him at the time)- the power that had manifested itself in steel-helmed armies that had won Hitler an empire stretching from Stalingrad to the Atlantic, from the Arctic Circle to the Sahara Desert-once again that power was visible on the earth.
"They are coming. I can feel it," Werner whispered to his twin, Wilhelm, as Wolfgang thundered on the drums and Winifred belted out:
This is the dawning of the Age of Bavaria- Age of Bavaria- Bavaria-Bavaria!
The tanks and artillery were rolling into position. The caterpillar treads of the troop carriers were churning. Motorcycle couriers sped up and down the beach. A squadron of partially dismantled Stukas was lined up in the road. After the festivalgoers had been massacred and Ingolstadt had been overrun, the planes would be trucked to the nearby Ingolstadt Aerodrome, where they would be assembled and ready to fly by morning.
The dead men removed black rubber sheaths from rolled up red-white-and-black banners and unfurled them. Many of them were the familiar swastika flags and banners of the Third Reich, with one addition: a red eye-and-pyramid device superimposed on the center of each swastika. Other banners carried Gothic-lettered mottos such as DRANG NACH OESTEN and HEUTE DIE WELT, MORGENS DAS SONNENSYSTEM.
At last all was in readiness. The blue-black lips of General-of-the-SS Rudolf Hanfgeist, thirty years dead, shaped the command to march, which was relayed in similar fashion from the higher-ranking officers to the lower-ranking officers to the men. The lights and music on the opposite shore beckoned across the dark, bottomless waters. Moonlight glinting on the death's heads on their caps and runic SS insignia on their collars, the soldiers moved out, company by company. The only sound was the growl of the diesel engines of troop carriers and the clank of weapons.
"They're coming," said the woman under Hagbard, who was neither Mavis nor Stella nor Mao, but a woman with straight black hair, olive skin, fierce black eyebrows, and a bony face.
"Coming, Mother," said Hagbard, giving himself up to the irresistible onward sweep of sensation to the brink of orgasm and over.
"I'm not your mother," said the woman. "Your mother was a blond, blue-eyed Norweigian. And I look Greek now, I think."
"You're the mother of all of us," said Hagbard, kissing her sweat-damp neck.
"Ah," said the woman. "Is that who I am? Then we're getting somewhere."
Then I started to flip, Malik eclipsed by Malaclypse and Celine hardly serene, Mary Lou I Worship You, the Red Eye is my own Mooning, what is the meaning of moaning? and suchlike seminal semantic antics (my head is a Quick-tran quicksand where The Territorial Imperative always triggers Stay Off My Turf, the Latin and the Saxon at' war in poor Simon's synapses, dead men fighting for use of my tongue, turning Population Explosion into We're Fucking Overcrowded and backward also, so it might emerge Copulation Explosion, and besides Hag barred straights from this Black-and-White Mass, the acid was in me, I was tripping, flipping, skipping, ripping, on my Way with Maotsey Taot-sey for the number of Our Lady is an hundred and fifty and six- there is Wiccadom!), but I never expected it this way.
"What do you see?" I asked Mary Lou.
"Some people who were swimming, coming out of the lake. What do you see?"
"Not what I'm supposed to see."
For the front line, clear as claritas, was Mescalito from my peyote visions and Osiris with enormous female breasts and Spider Man and the Tarot Magus and Good Old Charlie Brown and Bugs Bunny with a Tommy gun and Jughead and Archie and Captain America and Hermes Thrice-Blessed and Zeus and Athene and Zagreus with his lynxes and panthers and Micky Mouse and Superman and Santa Claus and Laughing Buddha Jesus and a million million birds, canaries and budgies and, gaunt herons and holy crows and crowly hose and eagles and hawks and mourning doves (for mourning never ends), and they'd all been stoned since the late Devonian period, when they first started eating hemp seeds, no wonder Huxley found birds "the most emotional class of life," singing all the time, stoned out of their bird-brained skulls, all singing "I circle around, I circle around," except the mynah Birds squawking "Here, kitty-kitty-kitty!" and I remembered again that existence isn't sensible any more than it's hot or red or high or sour, only parts of existence have those qualities, and then there was the Zig-Zag man and my God my god my father leading them in singing
THE UNION MAKES US STRONG
"I say," said an Englishman, "I thought he was a monster, and he's only Toad of Toad Hall… with Rat… and Tinker Bell… and Wendy… and Bottom…"
"That's who you are," said Hagbard, "if you can call that any kind of a fucking identity."
"I think it's time you went up on stage and made our little announcement," said the woman. "I think everyone is ready for that."
"I'll send Dillinger in to you."
"It's not true, you know. That was the other guy, Sullivan."
"I wasn't thinking about that. I don't care if it's no bigger than my little finger. It's just the idea of fucking with John Dillinger. If that doesn't put me over, nothing will."
Hagbard stood up and laughed. "You're starting to look and sound like Mavis again. I think you're slipping, Super-bitch."
The American Medical Association had left the stage, and Clark Kent and His Supermen were playing as Hag-bard, accompanied by George, Harry, Otto, and Malaclypse, made his way down their own hill and up to the crest of the hill where the stage was erected. The journey took a half-hour as they picked their way through groups of people engaged in Mongolian clusterfuck, sitting Za-Zen, or just listening to the music. At the stage Hagbard took out a gold card, which he showed to a group of marshals guarding the area from intrusion. "I have an announcement to make," he said firmly. The marshals allowed him to climb on stage, and told him to wait till the Supermen had finished their set.
As soon as Pearson saw Hagbard he motioned his men to stop playing. A murmur arose from the audience. "Well, all right, Hagbard," said Robert Pearson, "I was wondering if you were ever going to show up." He walked over to the side of the stage where Hagbard and his group were standing.
"Good evening, Waterhouse," said Pearson. "How's my gal, Stella?"
"Where the fuck do you get off calling her your girl?" said Waterhouse, his tone containing nothing but menace.
"The acid only opens your eyes, George. It doesn't work miracles."
And it shall come to pass, that whosoever call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
"Wonder what the hell is in that suitcase," Dillinger murmured.
"I'll open it," Saul said. "We'll all have to take the antidote anyway, after this. I have a supply out in the car." And he leaned forward, parted Carmel's stiff blue hands, and tugged the suitcase free. Barney, Dillinger, and Markoff Chancy crowded close to look as he snapped the lock and lifted the top.
"I'll be damned and double damned," Barney Muldoon said in a small, hollow voice.
"Hagbard has been putting us on all along," Simon says dreamily. (It doesn't matter in the First Bardo.) "Those Nazis have been dead for thirty years, period. He just brought us here to put us on a Trip. Nothing is coming out of the lake. I'm hallucinating everything."
"Something is happening," Mary Lou insisted vehemently. "It's got nothing to do with the lake- that's a red herring to distract us from the real battle between your Hagbard and those crazy musicians up there. If I wasn't tripping my head would work better, damn it. It's got something to do with sound waves. The sound waves are turning solid in the air. Whatever it is, the rest of us aren't supposed to understand it. This lake thing is just to give us something we can understand, or almost understand." Her black face was intense with intelligence battling against the ocean of undigestible information pouring in through all of her senses.
"Dad!" Simon cried, weeping happily. "Tell me the Word. You must know now. What is the Word?"
"Kether," said Tim Moon blissfully.
"Kether? That's all? Just Cabalism?" Simon shook his head. "It can't be that simple."
"Kether," Tim Moon repeats firmly. "Right here in the middle of Malkuth. As above, so below."
I see the throne of the world. One single chair twenty-three feet off the ground, studded with seventeen rubies, and brooding over it the serpent swallowing its tail, the Rosy Cross, and the Eye.
"Who was that nice man?" Mary Lou asked.
"My father," Simon said, really weeping now. "And I may never see him again. Mourning never ends."
And then I understood why Hagbard had given us the acid- why the Weather Underground and Morituri used it constantly- because I started to die, I literally felt myself dwindling to a point and approaching absolute zero. I was so shit-scared I grabbed Simon's hand and said "help" in a weak voice, and if he had said "Admit you're a cop first, then I'll help," I sure as hell would have told him everything, blurted it all out, but he just smiled, squeezed my hand gently, and murmured, "Its alive!"- and it was, the point was giving off light and energy, my light and my energy but God's also, and it wasn't frightening because it was alive and growing. The word "omnidirectional halo" came to me from somewhere (was it Hagbard talking to Dillinger?), and I looked, holy Key-rizt, Dillinger split in two as I watched. That was the answer to one question: There were two Dillingers, twins, in addition to the fake Dillinger who got shot at the Biograph, 0 = 2, I thought, feeling some abstract eternal answer there, along with the answer to some of the questions that had bugged so many writers about Dillinger's criminal career (like why some witnesses claimed he was in Miami on that day in 1934 when other witnesses claimed he was robbing a bank and killing a bank guard in East Chicago, and why Hagbard had said something about him being in Las Vegas when I could see him right here in Ingolstadt), but it was all moving, moving, a single point, but everything coming out of it was moving, a star with swords and wands projecting outward as rays, a crown that was also a cup and a whirling disc, a pure white brilliance that said "I am Ptah, come to take you from Memphis to heaven," but I only remembered the cops who beat Daddy up in Memphis and made him swear when he got back that he'd never go south again (and how did that tie in with why I became a cop?), and Ptah became Zeus, lacchus, Wotan, and it didn't matter, all were distant and indifferent and cold, not gods of humanity but gods above humanity, gods of the void, brilliant as the diamond but cold as the diamond, the three whirling in the point until they became a turning swastika, then the face of the doctor who gave me the abortion that time I got knocked up by Hassan i Sabbah X, saying, "You have killed the Son of God in your womb, black woman," and I started to weep again, Simon holding my hand and repeating, "Its alive," but I felt that it was dying and I had somehow killed it. I was Otto Waterhouse in reverse: I wanted to castrate Simon, to castrate all white men, but I wouldn't; I would go on castrating black men- the Nightmare Life-in-Death am I.
"It's alive, baby," Simon repeated, "it's alive. And I love you, baby, even if you are a cop."
("The whole lake is alive," the vibe man with the Fillet of Soul was trying to explain to the rest of that group, "one big spiral rising and turning, like the DNA molecule, but with a hawk's head at the top…")
"Good evening, Waterhouse," said Pearson. "How's my gal, Stella?"
"Where the fuck do you get off calling her your girl?" said Waterhouse, his tone containing nothing but menace.
"Cool it brother," said Pearson reasonably.
"Don't hand me that brother shit. I asked you a question."
"You and your question come out of a weak, limp bag," said Pearson.
Hagbard said, "Robert only fucks white women, Otto. I'm sure he's never laid Stella Maris."
"Don't be too sure," said Pearson.
"Don't play with Otto, Robert," said Hagbard. "He specializes in killing black men. In fact, he's only just killed his first white man, and he's not at all sure he enjoyed it."
"I never knew what killing was before," said Waterhouse. "I was crazy all those years, and I enjoyed what I did because I didn't know what I was doing. After I killed Flanagan I understood what I'd been doing all along, and it was like I killed all the others all over again." His cheeks were wet, and he turned away.
Pearson stood looking at him for a moment, then said softly, "Wow. Come on, Hagbard. Let's get you on stage." They walked out to the microphone together. A few people in the audience had begun clapping rhythmically for more music. Most, though, had been waiting silently, happily, for whatever might happen next.
What happened was that Robert Pearson said to them, "Brothers and sisters, this is Freeman Hagbard Celine, my ace, and the heaviest dude on the planet Earth. Listen while he runs it down to you what's happening."
He stepped aside and deferentially ushered Hagbard to the microphone.
Into the silence Hagbard said, "My name, as Clark Kent just told you, is Hagbard Celine…"
(In Mad Dog, Texas, John Dillinger and Jim Cartwright looked up from the chess board as the radio music stopped and an announcer's voice said, "We interrupt this show to bring you a special message from Washington." John moved a knight and said softly, "Checkmate. That'll be the President, I bet. I hope to hell my brother finds that missing pimp before things get much worse." Cartwright surveyed the board dismally. "Checkmate," he agreed finally. "I hope your other brother, and Hagbard, are handling things right in Ingolstadt," he added, as they both turned, with a reflex acquired from TV watching, and looked at the radio…)
Being a woman is bad enough, but being a black woman is even worse. I always feel split in two, a divided lion (I'm thinking like Simon) with a hole in the middle (and that's all men are interested in, the hole in the middle), but the acid was making the split into a conscious agony and then was healing it, I was a whole Lion, ready to devour my enemies: I understood my father and why he felt he finally had to stand up to the whites even if it killed him. A knight moved across a wasteland, the desert around Las Vegas, but it was laid out in squares like a chess board; he raised a fiery wand, crying "Black Power," and it was Hassan i Sabbah, my lover, my enemy, a Black Christ and yet also a baboon with a crazy grin, all blue pearl gray like semen, inside every woman there's an angry man trying to get out, a man-woman with the eyes of an owl, and the joy came over me as my clit got hot and grew into a penis; I was my father; I was afraid of nothing; I could destroy the world without caring, with one angry flash of my eye, like Shiva. MY PENIS IS THE INVISIBLE STAR RUBY AND MEN CONSPIRE TO MAKE ME HIDE IT; THAT'S WHY I MUST TAKE THEIRS. I am two-faced, always deceiving, like all women; deception is our only defense, I understand it more clearly as the wisdom of my insanity increases, and the musky smell of hashish coming from the Plastic Canoe trailer is like me, a female plant with male strength, they are nailing me to the cross (literally) but the cross is inside a spinning wheel of flame, oh Holy Moses, I'm finding Buddha not Eris in my pineal gland, the third eye is opening, I am the earth beneath your feet, I am Billie Freshette, I am legion, there are millions of me, a plague of locusts to devour your White Male Technology, "My name is Hagbard Celine" he is saying, they sold heroin in my grammar school (that's the way a Chicago black gets educated), Simon is still trying to bring me through it saying now "Death shall have no dominion," and I try to believe Love shall have the dominion but first I must spend my hate to the last penny, they made me kill my baby, I really am going to go crazy because I have the hots again and want Simon's lance in my cup but I also know the real God is beyond God and the real Illuminati is beyond the Illuminati, there's a secret society behind the secret society: The Illuminati we're fighting are puppets of another Illuminati and so are we.
MY NAME IS HAGBARD CELINE, AND THE CARNIVAL IS OVER. REMOVE YOUR MASKS ALL PLAYERS.
"That's a funny thing for Toad of Toad Hall to say," muttered Fission Chips to nobody in particular. But the voice came booming back MY NAME IS HAGBARD CELINE. PLEASE DON'T PANIC WHEN YOU HEAR WHAT I'VE GOT TO SAY TO YOU and Chips saw that it wasn't Toad of Toad Hall or even the sinister Saint Toad but just a well-dressed wop with two faces, one smiling and one frowning in wrath. "You know," 00005 said aloud, "I do believe there was a fucking drug in that water."
MY NAME IS HAGBARD CELINE. PLEASE DON'T PANIC WHEN YOU HEAR WHAT I HAVE TO SAY TO YOU. PAY CLOSE ATTENTION. I HAVE COME TO TELL YOU THAT YOUR LIVES ARE IN GRAVE DANGER. AT THIS MOMENT AN ARMY IS MARCHING AROUND THE SHORE OF LAKE TOTENKOPF FOR THE PURPOSE OF MASSACRING ALL THE PEOPLE ATTENDING THIS FESTIVAL.
"Jesus," said George, "this is never going to work. He's putting it so badly. They'll never believe him. They'll laugh at him. Three-quarters of them don't even understand English."
"Is that how it sounds to you?" said Malaclypse. "As if he's speaking in English? It also sounds to me as if he's saying everything in a flat, direct way. But I hear him speaking in the Greek dialect of Athens in the fifth century B.C.E."
"What do you mean?"
"He's actually talking in Norwegian or Italian, whichever language he knows best. He's using what I call the Pentecost Gimmick. It's described in the Acts of the Apostles as the gift of tongues. After the death of Jesus the Apostles were sitting together on the feast of Pentecost, when tongues of fire appeared over their heads. Then they went out and preached to a crowd of people from many different countries, and each person heard the sermons in his own language and in the form most likely to persuade him. They made tens of thousands of converts to Christianity that way. I was the one who laid the trick on them, though they never knew that."
"Speaking in tongues!" said George in wonderment "They used to preach about it in Bible class: 'And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions and your old men shall dream dreams.' "
("Don't play games with yourself, George. You know perfectly well that a moment ago I was Mavis.")
"It's a giant black woman… it's Goethe's Mother Night," somebody was saying, but I was thinking of 69ing with Simon oh the tricks that cat knows to please a woman to make you feel like a queen on a throne and I don't care if he knows I'm a cop there's always a sorrow after a joy on this plane yes I will always be split in two the void will always be there at the center God yes the mask of night is on my face like I read in Shakespeare in school I am the river yellow with sewage and cocksucker is a dirty word but what else is the sign of cancer or that yin-yang all about Christ I loved doing it women who claim they don't are just liars I hate him and I love him the ambiguity is always there that detective who wanted to praise me that time said "You've got balls for a woman" but how would it sound if I said to him "You've got tits for a man" throne after throne cast down into the void and yet I have the power all they're worshipping in their trinities and pyramids are symbols of the cunt and it's hot again but I just want him to hold me I can't ball now I can't speak I see my father's face but it's silver instead of tlack and all of a sudden I knew Joe Malik had a gun and even that he had a silver bullet in it Mother of God does he think Hagbard is something inhuman and I smelled opium mixed with the hash those are heavy cats in the Plastic Canoe I could feel the energy surging through me I'm in the tent and I'm being fucked by all the men I'm Mavis and Stella and I'm the mother of all of them I am Demeter and Frigga and Cybelle as well as Eris and I am Napthys the Black Sister of Isis of whom none dare, speak and I can even see why Joe Malik blew up his own office it was a trap and Hagbard fell into it Joe knows his secret now.
"They used to preach about it in Bible class: 'And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy and your young men shall see visions and your old men shall dream dreams.' And 'All flesh will see it in one instant.'"
Malaclypse smiled. " 'To conceive of pentecostal training it is necessary to die. These are the words of the first, last, and between, Kallisti.' You must have won the prize for memorizing verse in that Bible class, George."
"I would have, only the teacher didn't like my attitude."
"Good," said Malaclypse. "I also taught the Pentecost Gimmick to Hagbard. What he's saying sounds flat to you, because you don't need to be persuaded. Everybody else is hearing as much emotion and rhetoric as is needed to motivate them. It's a good gimmick, the Pentecost Gimmick." It all came in solid and three-dimensional and I felt mercy flowing from me like some psychological monthly with water instead of blood I even forgave the American Medical Association all four of them separately and distinctly I was Isis all purple and blue and veiled and even if Poseidon was rising in that lake I could forgive him too He was covered with olives and shamrocks a green water god glistening like amethyst with one huge unicorn horn and then he was Indra the rainmaker whose voice of thunder was only a disguised blessing I obeyed him and put the doll in the tetrahedron there was nothing to fear for all that would happen were blessings and good things.as the Brilliant Ones descended bringing their white fire to the red earth the work would be perfected in pleasure not pain for I even knew that Joe found out Pat Walsh's memos were misleading because Hagbard wanted him to find out and wanted him to plant the bomb and even wanted him to come here tonight with the gun so it all makes sense if you had a model of the globe with a black light flashing for every death and a white light for everytime somebody comes it would seem to be glowing all the time that's what's so good about being a woman I can come and come and come oh God as many times as I want and men even Simon hardly ever come more than once in a night that mean Miss Forbes in first grade she needed a good lay but I can even forgive her.
LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.
"Everyone must leave the festival area," Hagbard was saying. "The resurrected Nazis intend to slaughter all of you. Fortunately, we have had time to build you a pathway to safety. Behold!" He stretched out his arm and the spotlight moved beyond him to the lake, illuminating a great pontoon bridge stretching from the festival area on the eastern shore diagonally to the lake's northwest corner. It had been silently erected by Hagbard's crew, with the indispensable help of Howard and the dolphins, during the last hour.
"Wow," George said to Malaclypse. "I suppose you'd call that the Red Sea Gimmick."
Hagbard lifted his hands. "I name that the Adam Weishaupt Bridge. Everyone will now rise and proceed in an orderly fashion to walk across the lake."
MY FELLOW AMERICANS, IT IS WITH A HEAVY HEART THAT I COME BEFORE YOU FOR THE SECOND TIME TODAY. MANY IRRESPONSIBLE ELEMENTS HAVE REACTED TO THE NATIONAL EMERGENCY WITH MAD, ANIMAL PANIC, AND THEY ARE ENDANGERING ALL THE REST OF US. I ASSURE YOU AGAIN, IN THE WORDS OF A GREAT FORMER LEADER, THAT WE HAVE NOTHING TO FEAR BUT FEAR ITSELF.
The face on the TV screen expressed absolute confidence, and many citizens felt a slight upsurge in hope; actually, he was totally around the bend on Demerol, and when the White House had burned earlier in the day his most constructive suggestion had been "Let's toast some marshmallows before we leave."
EVEN AS I SPEAK TO YOU THE DIRECTOR OF THE FBI HAS ASSURED ME THAT HIS MEN ARE CLOSING IN ON THE ONE SINGLE PLAGUE-CARRIER WHO HAS CAUSED ALL THIS HYSTERIA. IF YOU STAY IN YOUR HOMES, YOU WILL BE SAFE, AND THE EMERGENCY WILL SOON BE OVER.
"We can send the army to the west side of the lake to intercept them," said Wilhelm.
("Rosebuds," cried John Dillinger. "Why the hell would he bring a suitcase full of rosebuds down here?")
Suddenly everybody was aroused and moving Simon was leading me gently along I was back in Time again there was a real fight going on between Hagbard and the American Medical Association and a fight means that somebody is going to lose the Gates of Hell were opening and I could hardly move my feet Daddy's head on the floor of that Memphis police station and those cops stomping him and stomping him why didn't they put a spear through his side while they were at it and how can I really forgive that's just the drug and underneath I'll always hate white men even Simon if this is the Last Judgment I know what Christ will do with every blue-eyed bastard among them they own all the power and make all the wars they've fucked the planet their only god is Death they destroy everything living a giant blond god Thor swinging his hammer and smashing
all the colored races red scarlet red blood on that hammer black blood especially but Hagbard is Horus this is the way it will always be fighting and killing to the end of time and women and children the chief victims only the flesh is holy and men are killers of the flesh cannibals.
"How many do you think there are?" the leader of the Closed Corporation asked dreamily.
"Six hundred and sixty-six," one of his group answered. "When you sacrifice a rooster in a pentagram on Walpurgis Night, you always get six sixty-six."
"And they're coming right toward us," the leader went on in his dreamy voice. "To bow down and serve us."
The Closed Corporation sat perfectly still, in silent ecstasy, awaiting the arrival of the 666 horned-and-tailed demons they saw approaching them… Outside Lehman Cave, Saul loads the antidote needle. "I'll go first," says John Herbert Dillinger, rolling up his sleeve… AT THIS HOUR WHEN YOUR GOVERNMENT NEEDS YOUR FAITH…
In a fusilade of bullets, the President sank beneath the podium, leaving only the Seal of the Chief Executive on the TV screens. The viewers saw the same confident expression on his face as he floated in Demerol tranquility toward death. "Oh my God!" said an announcer's voice off screen… In Mad Dog, John Hoover Dillinger looks at Jim Cartwright quizzically. "Whose conspiracy was behind that?" he asks as the announcer gibbers hysterically. "There seem to have been five people shooting from five different parts of the press corps, but the President may not be dead-" "They blew his fucking head to pulp," another voice near the microphone said, distinctly and hopelessly… In New York, August Personage, one of the few people neither rioting nor listening to TV, reads Atlas Shrugged with total absorption, getting Religion…
"Are you a turtle?" Lady Velkor asks.
"Huh?" Danny Pricefixer responds.
"Never mind," she says hurriedly. He hears her asking the next man on the right, "Are you a turtle?"
"We can send the army to the west side of the lake to intercept them," said Wilhelm.
"Nein," said Wolfgang, who was standing in the rear of the slowly moving command car, studying the situation through field glasses. "That verdammte bridge goes toward the northern shore of the lake. They can go straight, while our men go around. They'd all be across before we could reach them."
"We could shell the bridge from here," said Werner.
"We daren't use the artillery," said Wolfgang. "We'd have the whole West German army blundering down here, getting in the way of our drive to the east. If the West Germans start fighting us, the East Germans will not make the mistake we want them to make. They won't think we are an invading West German army. The Russians, in turn, will have plenty of warning. The whole plan will fall through."
"Let's skip this phase, then," said Winifred. "It's too much of a hassle. Let's head immediately eastward, and the hell with these kids."
"Nein again, dear sister, my love," said Wolfgang. "We have twenty-three candidates for transcendental illumination, including Hitler himself, waiting up there in the old Fuehrer Suite of the Donau Hotel. The speedy mass termination of all those lives is to translate them to eternal life on the energy plane. And I will not let that Scheisskopi Hagbard Celine thwart us at this juncture. I mean to show him once and for all which of us is master. And all the rest of those SchweinenDillinger, the Dealy Lama, Malaclypse, the old Lady herself, if she's here. If all of them are here, it's our chance to make a clean sweep and annihilate the opposition once and for all, at the beginning of the immanentizing of the Eschaton, rather than in the final stage."
"But we can't catch the kids," said Wilhelm.
"We can. We shall. It will take a long, long time to move them all across that pontoon bridge, and they are all on foot. We have vehicles and can catch up with them before half of them are even on the bridge. They'll all be bunched together, and those on the bridge will be a perfect target for machine guns. We shall simply sweep in on them, harvesting their lives as we go. We spent years building up our identity as the American Medical Association just so we could organize the Ingolstadt festival and trap masses of human beings on the shore of Lake Totenkopf, that our sacred lake might run red with their blood. Would you throw all that away?"
"I agree. A brilliant analysis," said Wilhelm.
"We must move on at full speed, then," said Wolfgang. He turned to the car behind him and shouted. "Vorwarts at maximum speed!" General-of-the-SS Hanfgeist stood up, turned toward his subordinates, and moved his blackened lips to form the same words. Immediately the tanks, halftracks, motorcycles, and armored cars began to rev up their engines and the troops started to trot down the road on the double.
A lookout in one of the festival light-and-sound towers spotted them and relayed a warning to the stage, where Robert Pearson spoke into a microphone. "It is my sad duty to inform you that the pigs are intensifying their approach. Now, don't run. But do quicken your pace with all deliberate speed."
Hagbard called in through the doorway of the gold tent, "John, you've had enough, for Discordia's sake. Come on out and let Malaclypse go in."
"I thought you were noncorporeal," said George.
"If you'd known me any length of time you would have noticed that I frequently pick my nose," said the Sartrelike apparition.
"Whew," said John-John Dillinger, emerging from the tent, "who would have thought the old man'd have so much come in him? She says she wants George in there after Mal."
The woman behind the veil was glowing. There was no light in the tent, save for the deep golden radiance that came from her body.
"Come closer, George," she said. "I don't want you to make love to me now- I only want you to learn the truth. Stand here before me."
The woman behind the veil was Mavis. "Mavis, I love you," said George. "I've loved you ever since you took me out of that jail in Mad Dog."
"Look again, George," said Stella.
"Stella! What happened to Mavis?"
I circle around, I circle around…
"Don't play games with yourself, George. You know perfectly well that a moment ago I was Mavis."
"It's the acid," said George.
"The acid only opens your eyes, George. It doesn't work miracles," said Miss Mao.
I circle around, I circle around…
"Oh, my God!" said George. And he thought: And it shall come to pass, that whosoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.
Mavis was there again. "Do you understand, George? Do you understand why you never saw all of us together at once? Do you understand why, all the time you wanted to fuck me, that when you were fucking Stella you were fucking me? And do you understand that I am not one woman or three women but an infinite number of women?" Before his eyes she turned red, yellow, black, brown, young, middle-aged, a child, an old woman, a Norwegian blonde, a Sicilian brunette, a wild-eyed Greek woman, a tall Ashanti, a slant-eyed Masai, a Japanese, a Chinese, a Vietnamese, and on and on and on.
The paleface kept turning colors, the way people do when you're on peyote. Now he looked almost like an Indian. That made it easier to talk to him. Why shouldn't people turn colors? All the trouble in the world came from the fact that they usually stayed the same color. James nodded profoundly. As usual, peyote had brought him a big Truth. If whites and blacks and Indians were turning colors all the time, there wouldn't be any hate in the world, because nobody would know which people to hate.
Who the hell's mind was that? George wondered. The tent was dark. He looked around for the woman. He rushed out of the tent. No one was looking at him. They were all, Hagbard and the rest of them, staring in awe at a colossal figure that grew ever taller as it strode away from them. It was a golden woman in golden robes with wild gold, red, black hair flowing free. She stepped over the fence that guarded the festival grounds as casually as if it were the threshold of a door. She towered over the Bavarian pines. In her left hand she carried an enormous golden orb..
Hagbard put his hand on George's shoulder. "It is possible," he said, "to achieve transcendental illumination though a multiplicity of orgasms as well as through a multiplicity of deaths."
There were lights advancing down the road. The woman, now ninety-three feet tall, strode toward those lights. She laughed, and the laughter echoed across Lake Totenkopf.
"Great Gruad! What's that?" cried Werner.
"It's the Old Woman!" shouted Wolfgang, his lips falling away from his teeth in a snarl.
The sudden cry "Kallisti!" reverberated through the Bavarian hills louder than the music of the Ingolstadt festival had been. Trailing a cometlike cloud of sparks, the golden apple fell into the center of the advancing army.
The Supernazis might have been the living dead, but they were still human. What each man saw in the apple was his heart's desire. Private Heinrich Krause saw the family he had left behind thirty years ago- not knowing that his living grandchildren were at this moment on the pontoon bridge across Lake Totenkopf, fleeing his advance. Corporal Gottfried Kuntz saw his mistress (who in reality had been raped and then disemboweled by Russian soldiers when Berlin fell in 1945). Oberlieutenant Sigmund Voegel saw a ticket to the Wagner festival at Bayreuth. Colonel-SS Konrad Schein saw a hundred Jews lined up before a machine gun that awaited his hand on the trigger. Obergruppenfuehrer Ernst Bickler saw a blue china soup tureen standing in an empty fireplace at his grandmother's house in Kassel. It was brimful of steaming brown dogshit into which was plunged a silver spoon. General Hanfgeist saw Adolf Hitler, his face blackened, his eyes and tongue bulging out, his neck broken, spinning at the end of a hangman's rope.
All of the men who saw the apple, in whatever form, began to fight and kill one another for possession. Tanks smashed into one another head-on. Artillerymen lowered the barrels of their guns and fired point-blank into the center of the melee.
"What is it, Wolfgang?" said Winifred imploringly, her arms thrown in panic around his waist.
"Look into the center of the battle," said Wolfgang grimly. "What do you see?"
"I see the throne of the world. One single chair twenty-three feet off the ground, studded with seventeen rubies, and brooding over it the serpent swallowing its tail, the Rosy Cross, and the Eye. I see that throne and know that I alone am to ascend it and occupy it forever. What do you see?"
"I see Hagbard Celine's teufelschelss head on a silver platter," Wolfgang snarled, thrusting her from him with trembling hands. "Eris has thrown the Apple of Discord, and our Supernazis will fight and kill each other until we destroy it."
"Where did she go?" asked Werner.
"She's lurking about somewhere in some other form, no doubt," said Wolfgang. "As a toadstool or an owl or some such thing, cackling over the chaos she's caused."
Suddenly Wilhelm stood up, his fingers clawing at empty air. In a frightfully clumsy fashion, as if he were deaf, dumb, and blind, he clawed and clamored his way over the side of the Mercedes that had belonged to von Rundstedt. Once out of the car, he took a position about ten feet away from his brothers and sister, turned, and faced them. His eyes stared- every muscle in his body was rigid- the crotch of his trousers bulged.
The voice that came out of his mouth was deep, rich, oleaginous, and horrid: "There are long accounts to settle, children of Gruad."
Wolfgang forgot the sounds of battle that raged around him. "You! Here! How did you escape?"
The voice was like crude petroleum seeping through gravel, and, like petroleum, it was a fossil thing, the voice of a creature that had arisen on the planet when the South Pole was in the Sahara and the great cephalopods were the highest form of life.
"I took no notice. The geometries ceased to bind me. I came forth. I ate souls. Fresh souls, not the miserable plasma you have fed me all these years."
"Great Gruad! Is that your gratitude?" Wolfgang stormed. In a lower voice he said to Werner, "Find the talisman. I think it's in the black case sealed with the Seal of Solomon and the Eye of Newt." To the being that occupied Wilhelm's body he said, "You come at an opportune time. There will be much killing here, and many souls to eat."
"These around us have no souls. They have only pseudo-life. It sickens me to sense them."
Wolfgang laughed. "Even the lloigor can feel disgust, then."
"I have been sick for many hundreds of years, while you kept me sealed in one pentagon after another, feeding me not fresh souls but those wretched stored essences."
"We gave you much!" cried Werner. "Every year, just for you, thirty thousand- forty thousand- fifty thousand deaths in traffic accidents alone."
"But not fresh: Not fresh! Perhaps, though, you can settle your debt to me tonight. I sense many lives nearby- Lives you have somehow lured here. They can be mine."
Werner handed Wolfgang a stick with a silver pentagon at the tip. Wolfgang pointed it at the possessed Wilhelm, who shrieked and fell to his knees. For a moment there was silence, broken only by the sound of Winifred's terrified sobbing and the crack of rifles and the chatter of machine guns in the background.
"You shall not have those lives, Yog Sorhoth. They are for the transcendental illumination of our servants. Wait, though, and there shall be lives in plenty for all of us."
Werner said, "While we parley our army is destroying itself, and there will be no lives for anyone."
"Really?" said the thick voice. "How has your plan gone astray? Let me read you and learn." Wolfgang felt goose pimples break out all over his body. He shuddered as coarse, boneless fingers dripping with slime turned the pages of his mind.
"Mmm- I see. She is here, then. My ancient enemy. It would be good to meet her in battle once again."
"Are your powers equal to hers?" said Wolfgang eagerly.
"I yield to none," came the proud reply.
"Ask him why he's always getting trapped in pentagons, then," said Werner in a low voice.
"Shut up!" Wolfgang whispered savagely. To the lloigor he said, "Destroy her golden apple and release my army to move ahead, and I will withhold the power of this pentagon and give you all the lives you seek."
"Done!" said the voice. Wilhelm suddenly threw his head back, mouth wide open. A choking sound came from his throat. He collapsed on his back, spread-eagled. A strange, greenish, glowing gas rose from his throat.
Werner jumped from the car and rushed over to Wilhelm. "He's alive."
"Of course he's alive," said Wolfgang. "The Eater of Souls simply took possession of his body to communicate with us."
Winifred screamed, "Look!"
The same phosphorescent gas, a huge cloud of it, now obscured the heart of the battle. It seemed to take a shape like a spider with an uncountable number of legs, arms, antennae, and tentacles. Gradually the shape changed, glowing brighter and brighter. A nearby tower on the festival grounds was as visible in the reflected light as if it were day. Then the glow faded, and the tower was silhouetted in moonlight. A great silence fell over the hills around Lake Totenkopf, broken only by the glad cries of the last contingent of festivalgoers as they made it safely to the opposite shore.
"There's no time to lose," Wolfgang said to Werner and Wilhelm. "Round up some officers. See if you can find Hanfgeist."
Hanfgeist had disappeared. The highest-ranking officer surviving was Obergruppenfuehrer Bickler, visions of dog turds sadly fading in a mind that possessed only a horrid semblance of life. A quick survey showed the four Illuminati Prirni that the Apple of Discord had cost them half their army.
"Onward!" roared Wolfgang, and, tanks in the van, they smashed through the festival fence, raced over the hills, troops trotting double-time, and unhesitatingly charged out onto the bridge. Wolfgang stood in the back seat of the von Rundstedt Mercedes, his black-gloved hands gripping the back of the front seat, the wind blowing through his crew cut like a field of wheat. Suddenly, beside him, Wilhelm screamed.
"What is it now?" yelled Wolfgang over the roar of his advancing army.
"The lives we are about to take," the voice of the lloigor grated. "They are mine, yes? All mine?"
"Listen to me, you energy vampire. We have other debts to discharge, and other projects to complete. There are twenty-three of our faithful servants waiting in the Donau Hotel to be transcendentally illuminated. They come first. You'll get yours. Wait your turn."
"Farewell," said the lloigor. "I shall see you at the hour of your death."
"I will never die!"
"Fool!" the voice shrieked with Wilhelm's mouth. Suddenly Wilhelm stood up, threw open the door of the car, and hurled himself out into the lake. He struck with a huge splash, then sank like a stone. A greenish glow spread in the black water where he had gone down. And then there were four.
Hagbard stood atop a hill, watching the tanks roll across the bridge, followed by the black Mercedes, followed by troop carriers and artillery, followed by trotting foot soldiers. He knelt beside a detonator and shoved down the handle.
From end to end the bridge and those upon it disappeared in geysers of white water. The thunder of the explosions- demolition charges placed by the porpoise horde under the direction of Howard- echoed through the hills around the lake.
The tanks went under first. As the front end of the command car sank under water, Werner Saure screamed, "My foot's caught!" He went down with the car, while Wolfgang and Winifred, their tears mingling with the water of Lake Totenkopf, splashed about in the water with the few remaining Supernazis.
And then there were three.
Hagbard shouted, "I sank it! I sank the George Washington Bridge!"
"Is anything changed?" said George. "Of course," said Hagbard. "We've got them on the run. We'll be able to finish them off in a few more minutes. Then there'll be no more evil in the world. Everything will be ginger-peachy." His tone seemed sarcastic rather than victorious, George noted apprehensively.
"Now I'll admit," Fission Chips said reasonably, "that I'm under the influence of some bloody drug from the Kool-Aid. But this simply cannot all be hallucination. Very definitely, thirteen people took their clothes off and started dancing. I quite certainly heard them singing 'Blessed be, blessed be,' over and over. Then a simply gigantic woman rose up from somewhere and all the sirens and undines and mermaids went back into the water. If this was Armageddon, it was not precisely the way the Bible described it Is that a fair summary of the situation?" The tree he was talking to didn't answer. "Blessed be, blessed be," Lady Velkor sang on, as she and her hastily assembled coven danced widdershins in their circle. The spell had worked: With her own eyes she had seen the Great Mother, Isis, rise up and smite the evil spirits of the dead Catholic Inquisitors whom the Illuminati had tried to revive. She knew Hagbard Celine would later be boasting in all the most chic occult circles that he had performed the miracle, and giving the credit to that destructive bitch Eris- but that didn't matter. She with her own eyes had seen Isis, and that was enough.
"Now I ask you," Fission Chips went on, addressing another tree, who seemed more communicative, "what the sulphurous hell did you see happening here tonight?"
"I saw a master Magician," said the tree, "or a master con man- the two are the same- plant a few suggestions and get a bunch of acidheads running away from their own shadows." The tree, who was actually Joe Malik and only looked like a tree to poor befuddled 00005, added, "Or I saw the final battle between Good and Evil, with Horus on both sides."
"You must be drugged too," Chips said pettishly.
"You bet your sweet ass I am," said the tree, walking away.
… I don't know how the courts will ever untangle this. With five of them shooting at once, and the Secret Service shooting back right away, the best crime lab in the world will never get the trajectories of all the bullets right. Who, among the survivors, will be tried for murder and who for attempted murder? Thafs the sixty-four-thousand-dollar question and… what?… oh…And now, ladies and gentlemen, on this sad occasion… uh… in this tragic hour of our country's history, let us all pay especially close attention to the new President, who will now address us.
Who's that jig standing over there? the new Chief Exec was asking somebody off camera when he appeared on the TV screens.
The Chevrolet Stegosaurus drove into the empty concert grounds and came to a slow halt. The guitarist stuck his head out the window and yelled to Lady Velkor, "What the hell happened here?"
"There was some bad acid in me Kool-Aid," she told him gravely. "Everybody freaked out and ran off toward town."
"Hell," he said, "and this was going to be our first big audience. We're a new group, just formed. What lousy luck."
He turned and drove off, and she read the sign on the back of the car: THE FERNANDO POO INCIDENT.
"How are you now, baby?" Simon asked.
"I know who I am," Mary Lou said slowly, "and you might not like the results of that any more than the Chicago police force will." Her eyes were distant and pensive.
Wolfgang and Winifred were very near shore when the dark, humped shapes rose out of the water around them. Winifred shrieked, "Wolfgang! For the love of Gruad, Wolfgang! They're pulling me down!" Her long blond hair floated for a moment after her head went under; then that too disappeared.
And then there were two.
The porpoises have her, Wolfgang thought to himself. He continued to swim madly toward shore. Something caught his trouser leg, but he kicked free. Then he was in the shallows, too close in for the sea beasts to follow. He stood up and waded ashore. And came face to face with John Dillinger.
"Sorry, pal," said John, and squeezed the trigger of his Thompson submachine gun. Thirty silver bullets struck Wolfgang with the impact of clubs and threw him back into the water. All feeling was gone from his body, and he felt the foul tentacles closing around his mind and the murmuring, horrible laughter grew to a soundless roar, and the syrupy voice spoke to his mind: Welcome to the place prepared for you from everlasting to everlasting. Now truly you will never die. And the mind of Wolfgang Saure, imprisoned like a living fly in amber, knowing that it must remain so for billions upon billions of years, screamed and screamed and screamed.
And then there was one.
And Joe Malik, feeling as if he were sitting in an audience watching himself perform, walked over to that One and held out his hand. "Congratulations," he said icily. "You really did it."
Hagbard looked at the hand and said, "You were more intimate the last time around."
"Very well," said Joe. "My Lord, my enemy." He leaned forward and kissed Hagbard full on the mouth. Then he took the gun out of his pocket and carefully fired directly into Hagbard's brain. And then there were none.
It was quite real; Joe shook himself, stood up, and grinned. Walking over to Hagbard, he took out the gun and handed it to him.
"Surprise ending," he said. "I read all the clues, just like you wanted me to. I know you're the fifth Illuminatus Primus, and I know your motive for wiping out the other four is nothing like you've led us to believe. But I can't play my role. I still trust you. You must have a good reason."
Hagbard's mouth fell open in completely genuine surprise. "Well, sink me!" he said, beginning to laugh.
Dawn was breaking; the Nine Unknown Men, most mysterious of all rock groups, ceremonially donned their football helmets and faced the East to chant:
There is only ONE God: He is the SUN God: Ra! Ra! Ra!