Category: My Fiction


The Infinite Loop: 4-15-2012

The Gladiator Book IV

 

Donald Bauer gulped more than sipped his brandy. It was the most expensive they had and he kept having it, he needed it now. The door opened when a young couple came entered bringing in the cold and drizzle with them. After they had entered it shut leaving the elements out and letting the lounge be warm again, Harold wished the guilt and memories, could be so easily kept outside, out there, in the cold as well. It was raining that night too he remembered, it was a night in many ways like this one, in many ways not. On that night he was the young man for whom an old man waited. He could still remember the hum of the old Mercedes-Benz electric as it stopped with a jerk at the curb to let him out. Those old cars sat too low to the ground making it difficult to get out without pushing himself up from the seat with his arms. Not like the maglev cars they had now, that you could just float right up to the door and get out without having to straighten your legs to get up. In those days the cars were old and he was young, but today that ratio is inverted. With that shift of perspective laboring with youthful legs to lift his fit body out of the car didn’t seem so bad. Yes he was a young man then, but even then Harry was very, very old. He was sitting right here at the same table, just 29 years old with a PhD and all of his tomorrows in front of him. Now all of his tomorrows are yesterday’s and is only future is wrapped tightly in his legacy. A legacy which depends on the answer, carried by, another young man with his tomorrows in front of him about to come through the door of his favorite restaurant and deliver an answer to the same question to a slightly different decrepit old man. This was an informal ritual which had developed from necessity over the years. Now it had become a changing of the guard, a passing of information from the keepers of secrets to their chosen ones. He and Harry were both 50 years older. To him it was the end of a life, but for Harry what had it been, a second, a lifetime, and eternity? All anyone knew is that Harry had lived hundreds of lifetimes and would perhaps live a 1000 more, which is what Harold was waiting to know. What to do with Harry? That was the question that came up at the end of every loop. But this time the advent of quantum computing created a huge auxiliary problem and outsiders were being brought in. Who were they? The young man who opened the door letting in the wet cold and again, had the answer, it was his postdoc Alan Reid, Allen’s long mop of blond hair which hung over his piercing blue eyes gave the appearance of a man nowhere near his 30s. And yet Alan Reid, one of the world’s most promising quantum biologists is every bit the 30 years old and on this day older. Allen made immediately for him saying, “It’s going to be psychiatry.” “Who, who for Christ sake, who from psychiatry is it going to be,” Said Bauer in his slow, southern, and raspy old voice that he was unaccustomed to having to raise. “Bill Stepford,” Reid replied when he got to the chair that Bauer was still rising from. “He and some of the others are on their way over here right now,” he continued. Donald Bauer was still getting up and wrapping his coat around him and motioned to Alice the maître d’. “Alice will take our private meeting room now.” “I will have it prepared immediately,” she responded dutifully. Once on his feet he said, “Alan would you wait for our guests in there, I have to go to the men’s room.” Donald Bauer had no desire to go to the men’s room, but he had pathological need to be in control, especially now when he was not. That meant not waiting alone in the room for those in control to come in. That is what postdocs are for.  Until this moment Donald Bauer knew everyone who even knew about the project, about Harry as they called it. He knew them all and was owed favors by most of them, a physicist and those two slime balls on the ethics committee. But who were the psychiatrists, did he have anything on them? This is what he burned to know. The stakes were high for him and he was not in control. The stakes were high for Alan Reid too, who waited for them in the luxurious paneled conference room with its red leather seats and old-style green banker lights adorning the long, grained conference table. When Donald Bauer was sure that everyone must be there by now he left the men’s room and walked directly to the old conference room. He paused only briefly at the door, and entered only after he was certain there was nothing he could overhear from the outside. Inside people were talking informally as waiters stacked the table with hors d’oeuvres. Bauer scanned the room like radar for Bill Stepford. He found him almost instantly, he was the tallest man in the room and the only one that Bauer had never met. He recognized him from pictures as the chairman of the department of psychiatry, but he was a quantum biologist, and quantum biologists have very little in common with psychiatrists. So, it was with trepidation that Donald Bauer made his way, against the traffic of departing servants, around the table and took a seat not at the table, but in a chair but against the wood grained wall from where he could better study the room. Who was this Bill Stepford, a psychiatrist, why was he in charge? Psychiatry isn’t even a hard science, Bauer thought contemptuously. But here they all were at the mercy of the touchy, feely pseudo scientist. Although no one had formally opened the meeting people were now beginning to discuss business. Ted Stepford sat on the conference table with one foot on the floor and his back to him. “Who’s it going to be,” he could hear someone ask. “Yeah Ted who is it,” someone else asked. Now Donald Bauer stood up and made his way to his seat at the conference table. “Why don’t we all take our seats,” he said as he ambled to his. To his surprise no one obeyed, only a few even bothered to turn their eyes toward him. Bauer, nearing retirement was not accustomed to not getting his way. Instead everyone pressed in on Ted Stepford as Bauer stood behind his chair with one hand on the head rest as if to keep his balance. “All right, all right everybody I think that’s a good idea. Why don’t we all just take our seats now,” Ted Stepford said. Aerfect little prick Bauer thought as Stepford was speaking. He lives in some perfect little house, with a perfect little wife and kids. Well I’ll blow his perfectness to shit and back. But when everyone did as Stepford had suggested another thought came to Bauer’s mind that he’s going to be a problem.

He is going to be a problem Bauer thought. He has a natural command of the room, but how, what did he have on them? Bauer knew all about commanding a room. He had terrorized an entire department for decades. He couldn’t understand any other leadership quality. It never occurred to him that someone could command a room full of people just because they want to. So, why was everyone taking their seats at Stepford’s request when they had just ignored his own.  Stepford sat down, not at the head of the table, but somewhere in between, just to the right of himself. ” Who’s it going to be for God sakes,” Phil Straub asked plaintively. “It’s going to be Bonnie Weissberg,” said Stepford said in an unwavering clear voice. The room grew quiet.

“Who is she?” Someone asked. “I’ve never heard of her,” another one said. “Does she even have tenure?” Donald Bauer asked in an accusing tone and volume that Bill Stepford could not miss. “Of course she has tenure,” he answered smiling. “She is a full professor and highly regarded. She has my full confidence,” he offered. “I don’t care about your damn confidence,” Bauer scolded, “I want to know if she’ll keep quiet.” “I’ve heard about her,” Brian Potter declared simultaneously. “She developed her own method of psychoanalysis, but then she got religion and fell off the deep end. They said she disappeared.” “That is not remotely accurate, Dr. Potter ,” Stepford corrected. “She is the one person singularly qualified for this assignment, eh task,” he continued. “You are correct Dr. Potter, Bonnie Weissberg has developed a new method of psychoanalysis. It has been successful and I believe it will be successful here.” “What will be successful,” Potter quizzed? “Yeah, what are you going to do,” others chimed in unison? “Oh, no one has informed you yet,” Stepford said apologetically.”No, no one’s told us, no,” others murmured. “Okay maybe I should say something first,” he said. “Well by all means please fill us in,” they insisted and rushed him simultaneously. “Okay, okay everyone just calm down and listen,” Stepford said motioning everyone with his hands to sit down. Everyone sat down and waited with bated breath for Stepford’s next words, words their fates hung on like the gallows.

Stepford began:

“In 2058 I accepted a position as department head of the Department of psychiatry in the university’s medical school. One of my first duties as department head, was to hire a research psychiatrist. In the process of the search I hired Dr. Bonnie Weissberg. Bonnie and I worked together very closely for the next 10 years , on a number of academic, clinical, and professional issues. We co-authored a number of papers and sometimes taught courses together. For the most part I would say that we worked together quite efficiently. Efficiently in the sense a good final product was produced and as short a time as possible. But in the process we fought bitterly. We were equally headstrong, but with Bonnie was a very complex person. On the one hand she was obviously brilliant with a very dedicated research orientation. On the other hand there was a central sense of searching for purpose, you might say that it was her purpose. The way she always marched from one place to another, weather across the room or across campus, with an intense stare piercing everything in front of her she reminded me strongly of a soldier looking for a battle, no make that a war. I wondered if she ever found a purpose could she even recognize it. But it took me a while to realize that that impression whether accurate or not was immaterial. That any question I asked her elicited a very thoughtful response.

Bonnie related professionally with patients and could do naturally what cannot be taught, namely she could tune in immediately, she could see through their defenses and empathize while withholding judgment. As a therapist she is a natural. We worked together and accomplished much right up until 2065, but it seemed that the more successful we were as collaborators the more bitterly we became with each other. One day after working together on a particularly difficult project I said, whispered really out loud, there must be a better way. I wasn’t even looking at her when I said it, and certainly expected no reply. But to my surprise she said, you’re right Bill and I’ll help you find it. And that was the beginning of a joint commitment that led to what Dr. Potter called her method of psychoanalysis.”The question is Bauer interrupted, “What are we going to do with it?” “It,” said Elizabeth Madison the head of the University legal team and the Dean of the University’s law school. She and Bauer disliked each other since way back. “It,” she continued. “It is a human being whom you plagiarized your entire career from”.

“For the record Elizabeth, that is not entirely a factual statement.  It depends on your definition of human being,” Bauer said in a lawyerly way. Then he scowled, “It’s a thing.” “Oh I’m very sure that you are proud of yourself for that one,” Madison snapped back. They were zeroing in on each other when Stepford interceded. “No one is judging anyone of anything,” he said looking first and at Madison and then at Bauer. “Then Bauer placing both arms squarely on the table and bending his arms just enough to bring his eyes level with Ted Stepford’s. Then with his face nearly twisted he said, “What the hell do you have to judge me for Stepford?” Elizabeth Madison could barely restrain herself, but Stepford was able to stop her by holding his hand in the air. Then he said trying not to sound authoritarian, “okay people, this is what we are going to do. We are going to make contact with Harry. That’s all were going to do.”

“That will ruin us,” Bauer scoffed. “He will ruin us,” he continued walking away and looking back as he did. “How do you know that, how can you be so sure,” Stepford asked? “Because,” Bauer continued but stopped. “Because that’s what you would do in his situation,” Madison accused.  ”That’s called projection. . Assumed guilt, assumes punishment,” Bill Stepford thought dryly. “I am not guilty of the God damned thing, Madison,” Bauer said dragging it out MAD-I-SON, with a twisted face.

“I want to know about this Bonnie Weissberg,” Brian Potter demanded. “They say she only cares about her patient,” Elizabeth Madison shot out. “Well I don’t give a damn about the patient,” Potter said. “Yes, all of you have made that abundantly clear,” Madison replied. Stepford had to wait again for the room to calm down. “Well, I think Bonnie Weissberg is uniquely qualified for this. In fact she’s the only one who is,” Stepford said.

“We can always throw the switch,” someone said. “You do that and I’ll be certain you want go straight to jail,” Madison said, coming to her feet. “How,” Potter asked? “How are you going to see us to jail, who is the victim? It’s certainly not a human being.” “No, you guys made certain of that,” Madison said accusingly while looking at Bauer. Bauer could feel the eyes of the room upon him, going through him, waiting for a response, his response. He sensed that now he needed a response like he had no other time in his life. If he had it, he might be saved for time, but in lieu of one they would see him for what he thought he was, as a fraud. Of course all of them were frauds too. All of them, and all of their predecessors, and all of their predecessors as well, it goes back for at least 100 years. It was 100 years ago that an 18-year-old sorority girl who through the University student employment office got a part-time job as a clerk in the department, and made an astonishing discovery without ever knowing it. There was a file on her department issued laptop, a text file that seemed to have a life of its own. It was a file which seemingly updated itself. It was the file of a professor Roderick Harrison and it was of a most peculiar nature. As best as she could make out the file always started at the same, but added to itself with each new copy. When she went to the directory to try to delete it she noticed that she did not have administrative privileges. So, she reported it to her superior on several occasions, but no action was taken. She concluded that the laptop had been hacked and took no further action herself, until just before the end of her freshman year. The computer itself oddly had been issued to her had belonged to a faculty member. It was a very famous professor Fortunato who preceded Donald Bauer as chairman by many decades. Just before returning the laptop she saved iteration 11,019 to the laptop’s hard disk. Unable to think of a title she simply saved the document as Harry’s log. That was over 100 years ago. Harry’s log was beyond 20,000 iterations by this time, but no one ever dare mentioned. They might mention Harry, but they didn’t dare touch the log. But the log now seemed to find a voice of its own.

“You see you are no longer the brilliant scientist,” Madison began, “you’re a fraud,” and a particularly accusatory tone. Bill Stepford tried to repair the damage, but Bauer was so angry as he made for Madison that he nearly had a stroke, he was unconscious before he hit the ground. The meeting was adjourned.

How could I have been so stupid, Bill Stepford thought? “That’s called projection, did I really think that,” he asked aloud? Then he wondered could that have gone any worse. Maybe somebody could have brought a handgun he thought. He was rubbing his temples about to pour himself a drink when he leaned back in his chair with his hands on his knees, looked up at the ceiling and smiled. His mind was really winding up this time and once again he had caught it in time. And what a nice catch it was. The old Bill Stepford, the one that fought Bonnie Weissberg tooth and nail for a decade would be beating himself up pretty good right now. But this Bill Stepford caught on to what his brain was doing he would have none of it. Once he recognized his folly he could only smile.

The speaker phone sounded. “Yes, oh hi Bob. He has regained consciousness. So, he is going to be fine, are you sure? Good enough then, thanks Bob. By now, bye.” So, Bauer had not died of a temper tantrum after all, he had only fainted.

Having Bauer dead or alive didn’t change anything. Bill Stepford knew that there was going to be serious pushback from everyone, every inch of the way on this one. His main job was to deal with the administration and shield Bonnie Weissberg to let her do her work her miracles. It would be just like when he was on the high school basketball team. When he left the star player from the other team and beat the crap out of him for the whole game, while his team’s star player lit up the scoreboard. Bill Stepford had been running interference for people or causes his entire life. But now for Bonnie Weissberg of all people, he never saw that one coming.

When he first saw Bonnie Weissberg she was a stunning 25-year-old beauty with silk black hair that reminded him of a young Cher. He used to watch her remove her helmet, shake and let it fall to the back of her knees when she used to drive her maglev motorcycle to work in the morning. She was a brand-new associate professor and he wondered how she would ever make it here. After working with her for less than a year he wondered if she would leave anything standing in her wake. Such is the world of judgment.

 

Bill Stepford removed his Photovoltaic Glasses and placed them upside down on his desktop. Bauer could be forgiven for thinking that Stepford had an idyllic little life. Even under stress he looked young and every bit like such a man. His lean and fit frame was matched with skin taunt around the face and a full head of curly black hair that had just begun to turn gray at the temples. One would expect that the professor had a beautiful wife, perfect kids, living in a picturesque home. But that was another Bill Stepford, one living in an alternate universe of unparalleled possibilities. The universe of the life he was meant to live and the one he was destined to share with. In that picturesque universe he had many kids with, a beautiful wife whose silky black hair was always reminded him of Cher. That was before Bonnie Weissberg was even in grade school. In that universe she could easily have been the daughter that he had never had. That universe was the one that Sharon inhabited but to him was unreachable. This universe was the one that she haunted, haunting him with the possibilities of what could have been. Is what could have been being done just out there, just infinitely close in another dimension? The answer was probably no, but he knew, mine worked, he knew when he became aware of the other universe. But if that of the universe is out there Bill Stepford knew exactly when he changed course and crashed headlong into this one. He knew that it was done by events as indifferent as they are callous, but also of his doing. It didn’t seem like much, such things never do at the time.

They had gotten married shortly after his appointment at the University. The damp and cold of the University was a shock to Sharon, but she tolerated it because she loved him. Besides providing her with a house that had a fireplace in almost every room, he surprised her one Christmas when he offered to take her on vacation anywhere she wanted to go. He could never forget the way sitting on her knees on the sofa and staring at him work with complete acceptance she answered him, “Anywhere hot and dry as long as we’re together,” she answered adoringly. He looked at her looking at him and felt as innocent as a child. In that second, nanosecond, he could never have imagined the guilt and deep remorse that he would soon be deservedly swimming in.

Instead of going to the Middle East as they decided initially, Bill suggested that they go to the rainforest. Why, why did I say rainforest? He played that over a million times in his mind, trying to change the outcome each time. They had been there less than a week hiking and climbing, and being young and in love. Then, literally overnight Sharon was gone. He remembered they had just made love in the room and Sharon put on his T-shirt and gone to the table to get a bottle of wine. She never made it there, she fell with a thud to the floor not quite as loud as Bauer, but dead, dead, no reason, no remorse and absolutely no second chances. Somewhere out on the trail Sharon had been infected with a brain eating parasite. When asked if that parasite existed in the Middle East the doctor shook his head no, and Bill Stepford never forgave himself.

After they spread Sharon’s ashes across the ocean, Bill could not go back inside what had been their home, but he couldn’t stay anyplace else either. So, he returned. The first two years were the most difficult. It was then that Bill developed dull eyes that never look directly into anyone else’s. He taught his classes, did his research, and performed his job well enough. But he walked bent over with hunched shoulders as his feet slapped the ground with a flat thud. One night as he returned from the office and fumbled with the mailbox at the curb and he looked up the long walk way to his dark windows he wondered, what it would be like if they had just gone to the Middle East. A researcher might ask himself why would a mind torment itself in such a way? But the grieving husband Bill Stepford began a process he thought he would never rid himself of. Every night that he walked up the lonely walkway to the darkened house he imagined an alternate universe where they had just gone to the God damned Middle East. In that universe is walking up a lighted walkway to warm home the woman he loved and who knows how many kids, instead of darkened rooms in an empty house. For two years Bill could not stop himself from thinking about coming home every night. Eventually Sharon’s scents and the memories faded into something bearable, but for Bill Stepford his home has been empty since and life would never be idyllic again.

Another kind of man, neither greater nor lesser, just another kind of man would have turned to drugs and alcohol, or suicide. But Bill Stepford persevered because it was his nature to. And even though he never expected life to get better he continued to slump through it. In that of the universe he could have a daughter who looked much like Bonnie Weissberg, only she would have been much less combative he thought, coming from a mother such as Sharon. He wondered why Bonnie Weissberg was so combative with him. Was it her parents? He wondered if she was competitive with others, but he was the only one that she worked with, could work with.

“You don’t get to choose your mother or your father,” he once said to Bonnie Weissberg. It was an offhanded remark that led to major research collaboration between them. “You don’t choose your mother, your father, or anyone who has a significant impact on you. You are influenced most by the input you accept unquestioningly.” It was a habit that Bill Stepford had of being able to state the obvious in a revealing new way. Bonnie Weissberg liked that habit instantly. She revealed to him a dream that she had as a child and never forgot. She was playing in front of the fireplace with her mother and father. It was very warm and she felt much loved and very beautiful. Then inexplicably her parents left her there. They went to bed and left there all alone on the floor. After a while the fire burned out and it got dark and very cold. “Then,” she said throwing back a long jet black hair crossing her leg straightening her arms on the bench and turning her head 90° to look at him, “Then I did something every child does, but shouldn’t. I tried to make sense of it.” Bill nodded. The extreme bewilderment and confusion of infants and young children who are abused or abandoned is well-known to psychiatrists. Children who are attacked by the ones who love them the most is overwhelming. They are wholly incapable of coping with such intensely conflicting signals. They are at once helpless and desperate to do something, anything. So, they do the only thing they can, make sense of it all. Unfortunately, in their young minds the only sense they can make of it is that, it’s their fault. It’s not that mommy and daddy are poor parents, or mommy and daddy need help, it’s your fault. Bonnie continued, “I decided that I must be very ugly, too ugly to be lovable. Can you imagine that? I made an assumption based not on a real event, but I dream I was having.” Together they teased out the concepts and published by highly regarded paper that extended rather than challenged contemporary personality theory. What you accept as truth makes up who you are. The problem is you accept all your truths in childhood unquestioningly. “I wonder what I would be like if I had accepted different truths I childhood,” Bonnie Weissberg said to him after they had published a paper. “I have often wondered that myself,” he said and they both burst out laughing. Even early on their relationship was strained.

Bill and Bonnie shook their heads at each other, but neither of them knew at the time that they were dreaming even then.

Before the happenings Bonnie Weissberg was very confused about a relationship with Bill Stepford. On the one hand he was an intelligent insightful colleague, and older brother or father figure with whom she felt, or must have felt safe. His ideas were similar to hers and he had a way of helping her focus, crystallize her thoughts on a particular topic from which she was able to derive results. But he spent much of the time being defensive and aloof. She couldn’t understand that Bill was aloof when he was defensive and that he was constantly defensive with her, that she was constantly lashing out at him. Bill thought that Bonnie was constantly attacking the world around her hoping desperately that it would counterattack. Later he realized that she was desperately in search of a very particular mission, but in lieu of finding it any war would do.

Bonnie Weissberg didn’t know that she was desperate, but she felt desperate. She had no strong opinions of the world and she was equally unconcerned of the world’s opinions. Politics and religion were meaningless to her. Even after the happenings, she still felt that there was more to do. But what God dammit, what? She couldn’t realize how soon it would be.

They were sitting at the circular conference table in Bill’s office. They had successfully completed another paper, but it had been another, a particularly difficult task, the task of working with each other. They were finished and Bonnie was standing up to leave when she heard Bill almost whispering something. She couldn’t make out most of what he said, but the last part she heard perfectly well. It was Bill’s plaintive call for peace, “there must be another way,” she heard him say. Bill didn’t realize that he was giving a speech, it wasn’t really a speech as much as an observation or statement of fact. He didn’t even expect a response let alone the one that he got. He had just straightened up when Bonnie stopped everything for it. Then looking up at him and she said, “You’re right Bill, there must be a better way and I’ll help you find it.” Then she turned and walked out. As she did she was surprised at herself. What had possessed her to say that? Now she wondered if she meant it, she would soon find out.

The buzzer rang and the photovoltaic glasses glowed in the dark bedroom. Bill Stepford couldn’t be sure if he was dreaming that the phone was buzzing or if it was. But when he saw that it was Bonnie Weissberg calling he reached out with a groan and put them on. Before he could say anything she started, “Bill I am sorry to bother you, but I just have to tell somebody and you’re the only one I trust.” Bill rolled from side to his back then propped himself up against the pillows. “Bonnie,” he moaned, “What’s the matter, are you all right?” She continued apologizing profusely not so much apologizing Bill thought as avoiding the issue. “Bonnie,” he demanded, “It’s three o’clock in the morning what’s wrong?” There was another long pause a couple of false starts until finally she blurted out, “Bill I am hearing the voices.” Bill straightened himself in bed. “What kind of voices,” he asked? “Well it’s just one voice and it’s coming from inside my head not from the outside. It keeps repeating the same thing over and over. It says this is a better way, please take notes.” Bill Stepford was wide awake. He adjusted the glasses and for Bonnie’s sake spoke very clearly and calmly as if nothing was wrong. “Bonnie, it only logical thing to do is to write it down. Just to write it down and send it to me. We can go over it together and we don’t have to tell anyone else about it. It doesn’t matter how crazy it sounds we will be the only two to hear it.” Suddenly the course of action seemed so obvious to Bonnie that she wondered why she hadn’t come up with it herself. “Of course, of course you’re right Bill. That is the thing to do. I’m so sorry to have bothered you like this.” “Don’t worry about it Bonnie,” he said, “just write it down and let’s talk about it tomorrow.” Bonnie didn’t even say goodbye, she just disconnected. Curious, he thought. He left his glasses on in the darkened room sifting through e-mail and trying to fall back to sleep, but sleep would not come to Bill Stepford that night. In 30 min. he got the most unexpected message especially considering the source.

Nothing real can be taken down. Nothing unreal is put up. Herein lies the truth of God.

Bill could believe that the words were written by someone other than Bonnie Weissberg. Then he began to struggle with it. Bonnie Weissberg was the only child of non-observance Jews. She was not religious. To his knowledge she had no religious verbiage at her disposal.  In fact she scoffed at the religious for believing in things for which there was utterly no evidence. She was an indignant if not angry atheist. Furthermore she prided herself as a research psychiatrist, not as someone who heard voices, who had heightened visual imagery, or a psychic.

Nothing real can be taken down. Nothing unreal is put up. Herein lies the truth of God.

It’s not something that she would have written.

The following morning Bonnie Weissberg walked into Ted’s office a tattered wreck. She could hardly talk and what little she did say was almost inaudible. “There’s more, there’s more, but I wrote it down because I don’t want to take the chance that it gets scanned by government or university surveillance and they think I’m crazy.” “You are crazy,” Ted said. “Government surveillance only covers one out of 1000 e-mails,” Ted said. “I don’t care, I don’t care, I can’t take the chance, she protested.”  “Okay Ted said, “Read it to me.” “I can’t Bonnie said hysterically it doesn’t make any sense.” “Don’t worry about what it says just read it to me. We can look at it later if it doesn’t make any sense we can throw it out and no one will ever know what it said.” Bonnie coughed and stuttered and made several false starts while Ted kept repeating over and over to her, “Don’t worry about what it says.” Finally Ted had to take her papers and read it for himself. It was the most astonishing thing he’d ever read.

This is a course in miracles. It is the only course you will ever need and you have already taken it. The course does not aim at teaching the meaning of love for that is beyond what can be taught. It does aim, however, that removing the blocks to the awareness of love’s presence, which is your natural inheritance. The opposite of love is fear, but what is all-encompassing can have no opposite.

Nothing unreal has been put up.

Nothing real can be taken down.

Herein lies the truth of God.

Bill Stepford could not conceal his astonishment. “You wrote this,” he asked her even though he knew that she did. “Am I crazy she asked pensively?”This is unexpected, shocking even, coming from you, but never confuse unexpected with crazy.

“What is a miracle? And what does it mean that, “It’s the only course you will need and you have already taken it,”? Bill was actually considering what she had written. He had not dismissed it out of hand.

Bonnie Weissberg unclenched her fists, exhaled, and straightened her legs that she had curled tightly under her chair. She could see the indentation her fingernails had left in her palms. This was the first time in more than 12 hours that she had relaxed her body. “You have to continue to dictate this.” “Okay I will,” she said. “But if it starts to sound too crazy, or makes even a grammatical error, then I’m going to stop,” she insisted. So, began the process where Bonnie would scribe dictation from an unknown source and in the following morning Bill would type it into a PDF on a remote laptop that only he had access to.

Bill wondered what it said about Bonnie Weissberg. A sudden shift in religious beliefs was a classic sign of an inner struggle. But then it occurred to him that a gradual shift in religious beliefs was a classic sign of being healed. He thought seriously and wondered why he had not seen it before. Every one of his successful patients, those that had been healed, experienced a shift in religious beliefs during their course of therapy with him. He could not explain this or why it had not occurred to other therapists. But the data was conclusive. Every single patient who successfully completed therapy had undergone a radical change in religious beliefs. Let’s just keep the door open on this one, he thought to himself.

Then there was Bonnie Weissberg herself. Bill wondered if she would make it. For the next few months she would come into his office every morning in tatters. She was finally able to read it herself, but she would often have to hold her with one hand while dictating with the other. Whether this was a personal internal struggle for Bonnie or dictation from an outside source it was taking a toll on her. How much longer could she take it he wondered.

All of the material that he dictated from Bonnie had a strong Christian terminology. Bill was especially bothered by the term miracle. To a scientist miracle had no meaning. A miracle was an event which simply could not occur, yet somehow did. And where Bill was bothered by the term miracle Bonnie Weissberg was absolutely disgusted by the notion of an entire course in miracles. Then one day Bonnie Weissberg dictated, “Miracles remove the barriers to our awareness of love’s presence.” Bill stopped typing, and Bonnie stopped dictating. Looking at her for the longest second he said, “This is the sanest material that there is.” Then Bonnie continued dictating, now there was a subtle difference that neither would notice until much later. Bonnie’s fists were just a little less tightly clinched, there was a little less fear in her voice. From then on the acceptance of the material as new knowledge from an unknown source by gradual degrees overtook them both.

After each session of dictation Bill and Bonnie would review what they had written down. Bill was impressed by the fidelity Bonnie showed to copying each word exactly as it was given her. Bill once suggested changing the word because it didn’t seem to make sense. But Bonnie realized that if they changed it that it wouldn’t make sense later on.

Bonnie would feel the writing coming on daily, often several times today. Initially she resented it and one night she stubbornly refused to write. She fell into a deep sleep, and then in a dream she heard the words, “Why do you persecute yourself so? Write or don’t, you are still loved. It is you who compels you to write. Write or don’t write, it has all been done, it has all been undone.”   What does it mean that it has all been undone, she wondered waking from a dream.  But then she wrote, he for the remainder of that night and she never refused to write again. She never knew how a sentence would end and the ideas came so quickly she had trouble keeping up with them. On the other hand she could start and stop as she chose. She could pick up in midsentence without having to reread what she had written hours before.

Before the course began both Bonnie and Bill were strong atheists, but they were also aware of the deficiencies in psychoanalytic theory, especially personality theory. A cornerstone of personality theory is that a person is only responsible for what they do, not responsible for what they think. But Bonnie’s course said differently.

You may believe that you are responsible for what you do, but not what you think. The truth is that you are responsible for what you think, because it is only at this level that you can exercise choice. What you do comes from what you think. Do not try to look beyond yourself for truth, for truth can only be within you.

You have the two emotions love and fear. One you made and one was given you. Each is a way of seeing in different worlds emerge from their different sites. See the love of God in you and you will see it everywhere, because it is everywhere. With love in you, you have no need except to extend it.

Bonnie and Bill both realized that fear and love that the course talked about were the only two emotions that mattered. That if you could let go of fear then only love would remain. They both realize that the course was about undoing rather than doing. And they both wondered if psychotherapy can be the same way.

 

The Story of A Course In Miracles 5/16

 

The next thing they wanted was where did the course come from? Bonnie could not understand nor communicate to Bill the calm but impressive authority with which it dictated. The power of that dictation caused Bonnie to refer to it with a capital V, it became a shorthand for the voice. But rather than hide the voice reveals itself in no uncertain terms, Jesus. This was astonishing to both of them initially. Eventually the shock and amazement increased in intensity to the point they could both accept it. At that point it seemed not so surprising after all.

There was a beauty and flow to the words, a style alien to Bonnie Weissberg’s dry scientific one. Hundreds of pages came in iambic pentameter. Even the most skeptical scientist would be forced to consider the words had come from someone other than Bonnie Weissberg. But that someone being Jesus was quite a stretch. “Bonnie, nothing has changed,” he told her sternly. “You are going to write everything down and I am going to transcribe it to the last word. We can do what we want with it later, but until it’s done just keep writing.” The composed confidence of Bill’s words gave Bonnie confidence. It was not unlike the writer claiming to be Jesus.

Through all of the transcribing Bonnie and Bill could not help noticing the improvement in their relationship. They speculated as to whether it was attributable to the normal course of human interactions, or the material on which they concentrated, or if in fact it was that better way promised by Jesus. Then one day when they were both out of town Bill received an e-mail with another most interesting message from Bonnie.

Bill, you know how I hate to discuss this by e-mail, because of the electronic surveillance state. But I just can’t wait until we get back. Jesus is discussing the ego. It is not the ego that we studied from Freud. I’m not exactly sure what it is, that’s why I can’t wait to get together again and try to figure out what this all means. Here is a sample. http://courseinmiracles.com/urtext/chapter_3/section_6.htm

Consciousness was the first split that man introduced into himself. He became a PERCEIVER rather than a creator in the true sense.

Consciousness is correctly identified as the domain of the ego. Jung was right indeed in insisting that the ego is NOT the self, and that the self should be regarded as an achievement. He did not RECOGNIZE (a term we now understand) that the Achievement was God’s. In a sense, the ego was a man-made attempt to perceive himself as he wished, rather than as he IS. This is an example of the created/creator confusion we spoke of before. He can only KNOW himself as he IS, because that is all he can be SURE of. Everything else IS open to question.

The ego is the questioning compartment in the post-Separation psyche which man created for himself. It is capable of asking valid questions, but not of perceiving wholly valid answers, because these are cognitive, and cannot BE perceived. The endless speculation about the meaning of mind has led to considerable confusion because the mind IS confused. Only One-Mindedness is without confusion. A separate, or divided, mind MUST be confused. A divided mind is uncertain by definition. It HAS to be in conflict because it is out of accord with itself.

Bonnie.

Interesting Bill thought, Jesus discussing Freud, Young, and the ego.

Eventually they wondered when it would stop. They both agreed that when the time was right it would be obvious, or they would be given a sign. Then Bonnie Weissberg reported that she had not been given to writing for a couple of days. The following night she had a dream that told her that her writing days were through. The following morning she went as she did most mornings to Bill’s office, but instead of reading she reported the dream she had. She wasn’t sure if it was her in the dream or someone else, but she dreamed of a woman. She was in a cave and came across a scroll which had on it the words “God is”.     In the dream she was tempted to look at the rest of the scroll which would show her the past and future, but she resisted. In the dream she said, “I don’t care about the past or the future, I only want to see this.” That was when she heard a voice say, “Well done you made it that time.”  Then between them was stone silence.

 

At the end of dictating the course Bonnie Weissberg has the dream in the cave.

 

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What she would have said was don’t blame yourself.

The personality covers us like a cloud in the night Walter. It covers us unseen and creates our reality being unknown to us.

And once found it would never be lost again.

No matter how unexpected.

 

 

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%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%   Begin Harry’s Log %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Dark, so dark in here, darker than the deeds which thoughts provoked, the thoughts of a monster, the thoughts which led to the deeds that did this to me. Surely such thoughts can come only from the mind of a monster. And if it be the mind of a monster then a monster it must be, for what are we if not a mind? What then is a mind? Is it that thing we think we are, or does it hide us from that. On the surface it conducts our behavior “appropriately”, while down in the foul depths, far from human inspection, it runs amuck. Down there murderous, unmitigated rage mixes with desires, uncontrollable, and insatiable. Down there, in the pestilent places we never speak about, the brain secretes thoughts like bile from the liver. Yet the thoughts unlike the brain from which they drip are not mine, rather they pass through me. Me, what is it?

It is the answer to this question to which I have devoted my professional career. My reputation as a researcher is that of being as radical as rampageous. Fortunato on the other hand is considered to be as meticulous as he is pedestrian, mercilessly berating his graduate students with the necessity of meticulousness, whittling away at them, bringing them inexorably down to his level. For scientists without imagination what else remains but organization and orthodoxy, skills which could be acquired by a janitor. Where Fortunato spent his career building devices for dissecting brains, I spent mine discovering what a mind really is. What Fortunato and those of his ilk will never understand is that a brain cannot comprehend the mind. And I say the mind for as I have shown, there is only one. But before I present my data let me tell you something of how this came to be. As you will quickly see I’m unlike any other scientist. Whereas most scientists build walls to separate their personal lives from their scientific research, my life, my personality, myself is inexorably woven within the fabric of my research. For me there could have been no other way. To understand one you must understand the other, neither stands on its own.

I was a sickly single child, bed ridden until the age of nine I was unable to attend school. So, I was afforded the finest tutors which my able and financially generous parents could produce. After the hours attended by the tutors I did not tire, instead I spent many more studying by myself. That at such an early age I could concentrate for such long periods on end was considered remarkable. But it could have just as easily and more factually been termed a disorder. I say a disorder, but I should say symptom of a disorder. It’s not so much that I focused on my studies as it is that they distracted me from what I grew accustomed to at an early age, my loneliness. In my studies I attempted to fill the void of my absent parents. The disorder was unsuccessful in that purpose, but it did produce a finely honed scientific mind nonetheless. Fortunato should have been so lucky to have had such a disorder. But where my rational mind was impeccable and unconstrained by personal or institutional inhibitions, my emotional mind was as feeble and helpless as my body.

What else could it have been, raised as I was by attendants and servants? I sensed even then that my well-to-do parents were too preoccupied with their own lives to care about mine. It was not the case you understand, but it was my interpretation of the facts. As we shall see the error is always one of interpretation. Yet I was raised by the tutors and servants. The servants were dutifully attentive, but they were not parents. The difference cannot be precisely stated, or denied. But even then I knew that there was a difference, that parents are with you because they love you unconditionally, where as servants are with you because they are paid. I could not help asking myself why am I parents not with me.

Unable to play or associate with other children and separated long periods from my parents, I spent a solitary childhood alone with my mind and the dreams it made up, becoming socially awkward and an interpersonal misfit in the process. I took great delight in playing with a wooden gladiator set which I designed and constructed myself. I constructed miniatures of all the gladiator types, the Thracian, the retiarius, all of them. Why I should be so infatuated with gladiators I have no idea, but I played with them for hours on end, indeed it was the only non-sleeping diversion to my studies.

In fact my parents were concerned very concerned, not with the excess devotion to my studies, rather it was the excess solitude, indeed solitude seeking nature of my existence. So, they enrolled me when health permitted at age 10 into an advanced charter school. I disdained it intensely. Moreover I interpreted the maneuver by my parents as a direct attack on me. I could not understand at the time, that it was my parent’s poor parenting ability that was responsible not their desire to contradict my wishes. It was another error of interpretation.

My abilities far exceeded the school’s reputation and I was ostracized from the outset. I was harassed, verbally abused, physically beaten. That they should attack one so weak was incomprehensible to me. But again attacked is but my interpretation. None of us could understand at the time that what I interpreted as an attack was actually fear on their part.

Instead I sought solace in solitude. I would return home from school sequester myself in my closed room and study in the near dark. Only the light from the computer screen would spot the room. I continued in this manner for the remainder of the school year. Brick by brick I built a wall around myself. By the time I was 11 years old I was lonely, suspicious of others, and frightened. Despite my advanced intellect I had not a clue as to the spring from which these disturbed feelings flowed. Indeed I was scarcely aware that I had them at all. There was always a gnawing in my stomach what they call butterflies, day by day, hour by hour, constantly, there. I of course lacking a frame of reference didn’t realize that I was different in this regard. In fact it seemed to me that all was as it should be. So, when I ran away from home no one, least of all me understood. My parents love me didn’t they? They provided me a good home with the best of comforts. When they were there I wanted to be with them, when they were there.

If it was a ploy to gain their attention, then it worked, for they promised that we would spend the entire Christmas vacation together that year. Now I had been accustomed to broken promises, as well as the ones never intended to be kept. But this time I had cause to believe, this time I did believe that they were true. I so looked forward to those two weeks. It was as though those two weeks were the rest of my life and nothing beyond that mattered. There was nothing beyond them. In reality they never came at all.

 

I received the news by e-mail, that my parents private airplane had crashed killing all aboard. It was obviously an e-mail that was sent prematurely, but that is how I learned nonetheless. An e-mail, how contemptuous life can be that I the most impersonal of persons found that to be too impersonal. The sudden death of my parents was the greatest disaster that could befall me. Suddenness and shock swarmed over me as I was possessed with feelings that I had not been emotionally vocabulary to begin to understand. Something else also occurred to me. It had not escaped my sharp mind that my parents had chartered the private plane so that they could fulfill their promise to be with me at Christmas. In other words if not for me, they would still be alive. This was the thought that was the weight of the world around my neck. I am a world renowned scientist with the keenest powers of observation, but it is futile to attempt to use them to describe the strange way I felt following the death of my parents, all of my thoughts swarming everywhere, but coalescing nowhere. Such a strange and singular state of mind was unfathomable to me. So, to bring familiarity back to my life I summoned my rational mind to do what it always did. Concentrate, I went into my dark room and studied by the faintest light of the computer screen. Again my powers of concentration I attribute not so much to devotion as to disorder. Until then I had known the love of my parents. Even in their absence I sensed that I possessed their total acceptance. I returned each night from a world in which I was scorned to their total acceptance. I had success in my studies along with failures to find any friends, but until that moment I had never known true deep heartbreak. My loving parents, the only ones who loved and accepted me were gone. Suddenly I was no one’s son. I would have aunts and uncles arriving soon to fend for me, but I would never again be a son.

It was this realization that crept into my rational mind and slowly strangled it after many hours, so that I could concentrate no more. I looked up and stared for a long time at the desktop, thoughtless. Indeed I have never spent so much time without holding a thought in my brain either before or since. Not a single thought, consider the significance of that if you will. Can any of you make a similar claim? Without the circumstances I could never have accomplished it. But in my deep anguish thoughtlessness came naturally. Indeed it was the only thing that could come. My only regret is that I could not hold it. Against my will feelings returned like a symphony to my mind and flushed through my body in streams, as the snow fell in the darkness outside I wept until my sides hurt. I was 11 years old and it was far from the first time I had ever cried, but until then it was the hardest.

This emotional experience wasn’t simply new to me, it was incomprehensible. It was not something with which my rational mind could cope. My emotional vocabulary was totally incomplete. But there was something beyond the unfamiliar, beyond the sheer trauma, something which even now I cannot explain. It was something that I could not see nor experience even, but it was in the room with me, closing in on me. In an instant I went from the depths of despair, to being on alert. I dried my eyes on my sleeve and looked around my familiar room in 360°. But about it there was something definitely unfamiliar.

As usual the only light in the room was that of my desktop. Now the light from the computer screen though frail, could always illuminate the entire room, even the walls when it was the only source of light. But for some reason on this occasion it could not even illuminate the walls within. It was as if the light went out, but did not return. Such was the depth of the blackness of the cloud enveloping me.

And in that darkness from which light did not return was something I cannot trust my senses to explain as they occurred seemingly outside of space and time. Things outside of space and time can neither be perceived or experience, they can only be realized and that is what I did. Looking, observing, in a thoughtless state I began to notice an ever so subtle shift in perception. Before this moment I perceived reality for what I believed was there. But now I was becoming aware of what wasn’t there. Like Buonarroti who, “ saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” But there was no angel in the marble, there was only what was, being swallowed up by what wasn’t. This inverse reality I was wholly unequipped to deal with and I was beginning to panic.

I massaged my eyes and examined my room again, but I still could not see the walls. I knew very well where the door was and I focused my eyes in that direction, but I could not see it, it was just too dark. The light from the desktop emanated in a half circle of definite radius beyond which there once was a door and the rest of the world. But I could not see any light beyond the aforementioned radius, nor can I safely conclude that the rest of the universe was, “out there”. Now my burgeoning sense of panic exploded as I became acquainted with another previously unknown emotion, stark raving terror.

Now you will not suppose that because of my diminutive stature that I frightened easily and you would be wrong. I had been stoic in the face of bullying my entire life. But this was unknown, indeed I was unsure that anything really was the matter. I approached the rim of the darkness with my hands out in the manner of a man in a dark room looking for the lights. I extended my hands and lost them in the darkness to the elbows. Terror struck I withdrew my arms and threw myself back into the chair immediately. Now it was confirmed there was something very, very seriously the matter. Either it was with me or something outside of me. Of course there is nothing outside of me, but I did not know it yet. I resolved to bury myself again in my studies. I was sure that a few more hours studying and all would return to normal. Perhaps I was simply misperceiving things. Perhaps I would study a few more hours and all would be right, perhaps even my parents would come home and my mother would walk through my bedroom door, breaking the seal of darkness that enveloped me within, revealing that all was well and this is but a terrible nightmare. But terror prevented me from turning my back to the darkness there. So, I held my computer screen in front of me and pointed it towards the door, but light did not reach to there. The light from the computer screen went no farther than it did when it was on the desk.

As I have said these sensations and my feelings regarding them I cannot explain. They are outside of space and time. But when the semicircle of light began to shrink I felt as would a scuba diver watching the jaws of a great white shark opening and coming toward him, trapped, as the shark came ever closer and challenged all that I had previously assumed to be true. Was reality here inside the semicircle of light, or out there in the darkness beyond? Perhaps the scuba diver would have similar such thoughts.

 

Can darkness really be carved out the light, I wondered. I would soon know the answer for the darkness was nipping at carpet at my toes. Then I heard a familiar voice calling my name. It wasn’t my mother and was my aunt who broke the darkness. She entered the room followed closely by my uncle. They came and threw her arms around me. My aunt and uncle were familiar and the familiarity allowed me to remember reality, my reality. My aunt and uncle stayed with me for nearly four years until I was ready to attend university.

I don’t know how my aunt’s voice broke my trance. Was I in a trance, were seeing, perceiving reality for what it was? Is this reality the trance? In this event did two things, one it set me upon my course of study in consciousness theory, and two and it gave me a knowledge that no other scientist in my field could have acquired unless they had the same experience. I realized that reality was not what it seemed to be. I could no sooner prove that assertion than I could prove that UFOs exist even after seeing one. But I would have confidence in their existence and that would make all the difference. Unlike my colleagues, I know that this world is an illusion and that knowledge has made all the difference.

Based on my preparatory education I entered university as a graduate student specializing in neurophysiology of the brain, although I had no interest whatever in the neurophysiology of the brain. I was interested solely in consciousness.

At the time consciousness theory was not a formal discipline. It was discussed only by physicians who were interested solely in its effects on the brain. They considered it as a byproduct of the brain. It requires a brain for consciousness, but few ever asked what consciousness is by itself. So, I chose to study neurophysiology of the brain because I thought it to be the closest discipline which could supply my answers while being, “academically acceptable”. In the end however it was not academic acceptability I sought, rather scientific revolution. Fortunato was assigned to be my PhD advisor. I was aware from the moment we met that I was greatly his superior. Perhaps it was only an assumption which later proved to be true. In any event Fortunato was an extraordinarily ordinary scientist with a jaundiced eye for genius and since I was a genius it did seem to be a perfect match for me, for as I predicted he was unable to control me, leaving me the freedom to do as I please. And what pleased me to do was the same thing that I had always done even as I play with my miniature gladiators. I continued to ask the childhood questions that Fortunato had probably never asked. Why do we live, what happens when we die?

To say that I excelled in graduate school as I had in preparatory school is an understatement. I was by far the best student they had ever seen, and I knew it. By now you have heard this familiar refrain several times, that among my peers I had none. You will not suppose me boastful anymore than you would call me modest. My scientific mind demands accuracy only. I do not appreciate modesty anymore or any less than boastfulness, genuine or otherwise. Suffice it to say that when I did graduate I was the best of the best, you can ask anyone there and they will tell you. And it was there in graduate school that I first broke ground into consciousness theory. My dissertation is considered seminal and was the first in the field we now call consciousness theory. Indeed it is the first place consciousness is defined in the literature.

Before my dissertation consciousness was thought of as religion, outside the field of science, which I viewed more as a scientific blind spot. Only Alan Turing proposed more when he considered how to transfer the consciousness from an animate brain to an inanimate object such as a computer, if such a thing were possible then it would prove that consciousness does not depend upon a brain. On what then does it depend? The first step to understanding something is to define it.

Early researchers noticed that we are only conscious when the synapses of our brain are firing across the brain’s hemispheres. And that is how they define consciousness. Under this model consciousness is nothing more than a unity of all the separate active circuits across brain hemispheres at that moment. They accepted my premise that since all this synaptic firing is contained within the well defined neural network of the brain they conjectured that consciousness is confined to the organ as well. So, consciousness is a non-global phenomenon and dependent on time. Only certain kinds or patterns of information give rise to consciousness, but that’s all consciousness is.

Researcher Joseph E Ledoux stated the orthodoxy best.

Specifically he stated that:

 

“All subconscious behavior is the result of a vastly parallel distributed system in our brain. There is no specific center of consciousness, the appearance of a unity is, in fact, each of these separate circuits being enabled at one particular moment in time.

 

It was disquieting to some to realize that there is no core self, just as pixels on the screen can converge to make themselves a recognizable image so can the convergence of neural interaction become consciousness. That the self is something which can be turned on and off by brain activity just like flipping a light switch, was unacceptable. But this is not why I objected to it. Scientific truth not patronizing sensibilities is my only goal. Indeed this does seem to be a reasonable first approximation for lesser researchers. The reason that the conclusion is so believable is because it seems to be so utterly true. The earth after all does seem to be flat to an ant traversing its surface.

But by gradual degrees I began to doubt this conclusion. It is undeniable that consciousness is in the brain, but why is it confined there? Furthermore this is less than a definition, it is merely a description of what consciousness does. What I wanted was something that grabbed at the essence of what consciousness is. What is consciousness? I came to define and to understand it in successive iterations.

When I was still a young child I used to play a game which could be called, “what am I?” I would look at my foot and ask myself, am I a foot? If I cut off my foot however I am still me. So, I am not a foot. Then I would look at my hand and ask am I hand. Then arriving at the same conclusion we move on to other parts of my body. The object of the game was to whittle away at the things that I am not, to reveal that which I am. Like Buonarroti who, “ saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” But what was it that I set free? Whatever it was, it apparently had no size no shape no weight no physical characteristics detectable on the Newtonian scale. Therefore I said about to investigate on the quantum scale. To understand the consciousness on the quantum scale we must first dispense with a prerequisite, the seeming paradox of quantum entanglement.

 

To understand this seeming paradox one must solve another riddle, that of quantum entanglement. Let me say at the outset that this issue of quantum entanglement irritates me to no small degree. This seeming paradox has been around for nearly 100 years and I tire of it, it is not worthy of me. I solved it as a child merely by realizing it. I shall treat it as the child’s play it is and for all dispense with it immediately here. What will be revealed is not such an astonishing revelation on the nature of reality, rather on the degree to which humans are incapable of interpreting it, or interpreting it falsely, such as the sun orbiting the earth. Once this basic nature of reality is realized all correct theories no matter how seemingly fantastic fall into place.

The problem as I have said always is not of perception, but of interpretation. The colorblind observer can perceive color, but interpret only the shapes. Imagine then, for the purpose of this thought experiment, that a mass less particle is accelerated along the real line, from the origin in the positive direction. Since the particle is mass less there are no effects of inertia to overcome, and therefore we may accelerate it beyond the speed of light. Now ask yourself what happens to the position of the particle in the limit as the velocity approaches infinity. It’s obvious that as the velocity approaches infinity the position approaches everywhere in the infinite open ray.

Perhaps we could consider the same event on the unit interval. Imagine the particle is a mass less photon and that we have placed mirrors at zero and one. The particle Begins at zero goes to one is reflected back to zero and then reflected to one again. Is it clear that as the particles velocity approaches infinity the particles position approaches everywhere between zero and one? Of course it is.

 

Humans cannot perceive everywhere. When we look for the ever accelerating particle bouncing between the endpoints we can perceive only smaller and smaller sub intervals of the “blur” of the wave function. When at last we take a small enough sub interval to see the particle, we interpreted it as the particle. But alas it is just our faulty interpretation for the particle is still everywhere between zero and one.

Suppose we use a camera with an infinite shutter speed to take a picture of the particle. At a random time the camera takes a picture at a random point of the unit interval. In other words it collapses the wave function. In doing so information about the wave is lost, we can’t tell which way it’s moving for instance to the left or to the right. The camera takes the entire wave and interprets it as a separate particle, it is an error of interpretation, for the wave which is the “everywhere ness” of the particle remains. Indeed it is the particle which does not exist. For a particle must exist at a point and there is no point, there is only everywhere.

 

Let me explain another way. Suppose we use an intelligent camera to observe an infinite ruler representing the real line. Without focusing the camera can only observe the ruler as a blur, it cannot identify what numbers are on it, only that there seem to be some markings. Suppose now that the camera decides to observe entire ruler. In order to do this it must focus on a portion of the ruler i.e. collapse the wave function, to take the picture. Just as a human being in the example above, the camera is incapable of observing the everywhere-ness of the infinite ruler, so it concludes from its observation that the ruler is just an interval. This is paradoxical to the camera because it knows that the ruler is infinite in both directions. So, the camera interprets events the only way it knows how to, concluding that there is an interval i.e. particle, infinite i.e. wave duality to the ruler. Of course there is no duality whatsoever the ruler is always infinite it is never just an interval.

 

What does this have to do with quantum entanglement? Let’s introduce another intelligent camera. Suppose that these cameras introduce a force at zero which moves the entire ruler one unit to the right. Suppose the other camera notices that as the interval from -1/2 to 1/2 moves toward one, the interval 3/2 to 5/2 moves toward three instantaneously. This would be amazing because it seemingly violates relativity in the sense that information is sent from one interval to another faster than the speed of light. Of course there is no violation of anything since what you are really observing is just the same ruler. But the cameras interpret the infinite ruler as two separate finite intervals. This is the one-dimensional case.

In higher dimensions instead of an infinite ruler, we have a wave function, which we may move, spin any portion of and the entire wave moves as one. What appears to be the instantaneous reaction of one particle to the force applied to one at a distance is nothing more than observing the same particle at two different places. There is no paradox. I say two different places but even the concept of space is not entirely correct as we shall see later.

What I was able to show theoretically is that quantum information related to consciousness inside the brain via quantum entanglement gets mixed up with quantum information related to consciousness outside the brain and exists everywhere. In so doing I set the Angel free and in that process I turned childhood question into a research question giving birth to the field we call today, consciousness theory.

My dissertation had made consciousness theory a respectable field and me somewhat of a hot scientific commodity, if such a thing is possible. Therefore, after graduating I had my choice universities at which to work at the age of just 21. Now the University of my choice was that from which I had recently graduated. Usually this is a problem since the hiring of one of its own is considered academically incestuous. But in my case the exception was made at once. Officially I was a professor of neurobiology, but in reality I would be the first consciousness theorists.

Fortunato of course was, despite his modest accomplishments, already a tenured professor. Given that I had outwitted him constantly when I was a graduate student, now that I was an associate professor I expected little trouble from him. It seems that to the very degree to which I had grown to be a feeble man in an attenuated frame, in matters of the intellect I had been overly compensated. And with so much success often come certain arrogance, and the accompanying jealousy. I do not defend this, I simply mention it as a matter of fact. Fortunato was not of my caliber. Indeed he was many rungs below others who were farther down the ladder.

My dissertation had made studies of consciousness respectable, and some researchers were doing studies of it, but I alone was developing a theory of consciousness.  I alone had the foresight to make conjectures and the ability to prove them. While I developed my consciousness theory Fortunato boldly demanded that I provide an experiment with which to verify theoretical results. Now if one’s theory is correct, then one need never perform an experiment. Indeed experiments are for those who do not trust their own theory, or were incapable of understanding the theory of another. Fortunato could no sooner understand my theory than he could develop one superior to it. He busied himself building machines for the multi-dimensional mapping of the brain, digital dissection, or electronic masturbation if you will. I find such things are boring and beneath me. I concentrated not on technological gimmicks, rather on theoretical substance. My theory was as advanced as the questions that it answered are basic. It centered among the most basic of questions, questions we all asked as a child until outgrowing them. What child (save possibly for Fortunato) has not asked himself, what am I? So, I designed an experiment by which to test the theory that experimentalists like Fortunato would accept.

The physicists know that on any scale information is ubiquitous throughout the universe. Even in the emptiest of empty space there is information. In the process I designed a device which would read the quantum information in the empty space in the neurons in the brain. Information right down to the smallest unit the Planck scale.

I did not mind designing the machine, but I did not want to build it. For this I felt it was suitable to downsource to Fortunato. But in addition to his seething jealousy of my talents he had previously sided with those “flat earth theorists” and this device was designed to prove my theory correct counter to his desires. This afforded me infinite distress; because even though I had designed it I could know better build it then I could repair a computer. For such things lesser minds could spend more time to become specialists. This was my dilemma, to lower myself to ask Fortunato to do the task which was beneath me. As I said it was arrogant, but not to a fault. I was sure of my results and the truth of my conjecture, I just needed this machine built to obtain the experimental results that others would believe. The issue was simply to convince Fortunato to do it. Furthermore despite my copious theoretical calculations since gaining acclaim for my PhD dissertation, I had failed until now to publish a paper. Publish or perish, even I was not above it. So, with the pressure on, as they say, I sought out Fortunato.

I surmised that Fortunato was as uncomfortable speaking to me as I to him, although for diametrically opposite reasons. So, I was surprised when he agreed to build it for me. I say surprised, but it was really something a little different, it was surprised with something more, something which I could not identify at the time. Indeed so diffuse was it that it’s light fell upon me only in hindsight. It was something like, or I should say like there was something wrong. Yes, I think that was it. I called a slight whiff of that which I could not recognize, but if I could my mind would have said to me, be cautious.

As promised Fortunato completed the device in time for me to select subjects and collect data. I still remember the day when I first saw it. Fortunato called me with exceeding alacrity and told me I could come to see it at my convenience. The device was worn over the head, it looked in every manner like one of the old virtual reality helmets. Fortunato was extremely deferential and excited as he explained the device to me. I got the feeling he was bragging not to show off, rather seeking my approval. I can’t say that I was impressed, but I was certainly relieved and thank him for his trouble. I had the helmet in my hand and the only thing remaining to do was to calibrate and synchronize the settings. Fortunato had graciously offered to find one of his graduate students and bring it to my office when he was done, but it being late on a Friday at afternoon I volunteered to let him calibrate it on me. “Oh no, oh no, not you,” he protested. “The graduate student, let it be calibrated on the graduate student, then I will bring it to your office or your mailbox personally.” “Nonsense I replied, I am right here and it’s past four o’clock.” “This is beneath you Harrison,” he shrilled. But I was strangely feeling guilty imagining that I had made him work late for several weeks and now that he seemed to have found his place I actually was beginning to feel bad for him. “Look, let’s just do it,” I said putting it on my head. “No, no, no”, I could hear him say as he physically removed the device from my head and took it from me. We moved it in such a way as to leave me a slight cut on my chin. This did enrage me initially, but following Fortunato’s grotesque apologies I was able to excuse the incident as a combination of my frail physique combined with his overzealousness to acquiesce to me. But there was something that bothered me very deeply which I can’t precisely put my finger on. There was a speck of my blood on his white lab coat, just a spec that’s all. But what was he doing there, my blood on his lab coat? It didn’t belong there did it? Strange that it should bother me so, yet it did, that something of mine was now his. I maintained my composure, but I reprimanded him, “Now this is getting ridiculous. You said you’re graduate student won’t be back for an hour and it will only take us 15 min. to do this. Now I insist that we do this immediately.” With that there was a long pause and Fortunato at last yielded.

Finally, I thought as a slipped the helmet over my head and reclined back in the leather chair. The calibration consisted of setting up an infinite feedback loop. I connected a video camera to the device goggles and videotaped myself videotaping myself. The entire procedure took barely a minute and was hardly worth all the fuss Fortunato made of it. I should have been irritated, but I was pleased to have the device at my disposal now, and thanked Fortunato for it. The next step was now to randomize some subjects and collect the data. But for purposes of completeness and fairness I should describe this device now. In short it was a machine which was inexorably being constructed by all of mankind ever since the idea was first proposed by Alan Turing hundreds of years ago, namely that of preserving the consciousness of an animate person within the confines of an inanimate structure. I cannot claim sole credit for design of the device since as has been mentioned, it has been underway for centuries. Progress escaped researchers until they capitulated in their efforts with electronic micro circuitry and began human synapses and nerve fiber. In desperation some researchers even cloned entire human brains. Indeed there were farms of such brains and a great scandal arose after they were discovered. Although all of the cells of these brains were alive none ever attain consciousness. But none of these brains were anymore conscious than a calculator. Why not? Obviously it requires more than a brain to acquire consciousness. Perhaps this explains why that to this day neither has there been a successful brain transplant nor has any artificial intelligence device ever gained consciousness. What is the nature of these failures? Is the brain a necessary, but not sufficient condition for consciousness?

 

Fortunato for his part contributed by succeeding in building the actual  device which as has been mentioned escaped his predecessors for hundreds of years a thousand even, if you go all the way back to Alan Turing who first proposed it.

This machine succeeds by collecting the quantum information inside of the subject’s brain, and holding onto it if you will. By other means we create a digital image of the quantum information surrounding the subject. Then we abstract the digital data into mathematical sets. When I showed that there was a mapping from one set on to the other in a one-to-one manner it proved that my theory was correct. There was an informational fingerprint outside of the brain of the information contained within it. Of course my theory was correct. The experiment was as my calculations predicted. Namely that consciousness left a residual informational footprint throughout all of space. This verified experimentally what I already knew and had stated, that, while consciousness was constantly changing as neurons turned on and off within the brain, it was not confined to there.

 

Amanda

 

With that I had widened my acclaim, gained tenure, and bent my former nemesis Fortunato to my will. I have also unified two seemingly contradictory theories into one. I was a scientific sensation and should have been celebrating like a rock star, but I was deeply depressed and pondering suicide, again. Everything seemed so meaningless, again. I concluded that there is no objective standard to say what is meaningful or what isn’t, and this disturbed me greatly. What is the point, I thought? Life is too short to matter, in 100 years we’ll all be dead. Why not hasten the process and spare myself the anguish of the years in between. I was also still young, perhaps 25 or 26, but I had already lost hope and was not looking for it when quite unexpectedly it found me. For me hope came with striking blue eyes and strawberry red hair and answered to the name Amanda.

 

Amanda came to my office one drizzly day as I considered my above described predicament and it was as if someone suddenly turned on the sun. Until now my narrative has contained personal events but no romantic ones yet in that respect it remains entirely inclusive.

 

I had never given it much thought, my lack of female companionship that is. I had never thought my lack of companionship in general to be any kind of issue. Yet my overwhelming depression was clear evidence that I was in denial.  It’s not surprising that I am no Don Juan. I had been for all of my life a strict recluse, clumsy and awkward in manner of social situations. I had never spoken to a woman that I didn’t know let alone asked one out on a date. My only prior sexual experience was with another ugly misfit in high school who shared quantum mechanics with me. Mallory was only slightly overweight, but she had many more pimples on her but that she did even on her face. She must’ve been very desperate. I used to go to her home in the afternoons after school and before her parents returned from work. Before hand I wanted sex, afterwards I never wanted it again. Everything seemed so messy, the mingling of juices disgusted me. I’m sure that she was equally scarred, for we never spoke to each other again.

There was something more than clumsiness and play however I wasn’t aware of it at the time. It was cowardice, to expose myself to the risk of a heart break was unthinkable. On some level I was aware that such a thing would be impossible to recover from. So, the combination of fear and clumsiness conspired to keep me far from such things. Amanda hadn’t even completely entered the room and she changed all that.

 

It was the scent of an undeniably beautiful young woman that made me look up from my desk. And there was Amanda coming toward me, dressed with a long sleeved white blouse which was tucked neatly into a skirt, just tight enough to reveal the outline of the thighs of what must be a delicious young lap. She walked up to my desk and introduced herself and I replied with stunned silence.

She informed me that she was a graduate student in search of a major professor. Was it really time for me to have graduate students I mused. When I finally found my tongue I told her that I was still relatively new to the department and had never had a graduate student before. What I really meant was that I had no friends, that I didn’t like people and they didn’t like me, that she wouldn’t like me. And so I actually did my best to dissuade her. But I guess that I couldn’t resist leaving the door halfway open, telling her as she left, “If you are unable to find major professor please come see me and we will revisit the matter.” She left with such a bright smile that there was no need for lights in the room.

 

I could not stop thinking about her for the rest of the day. Nor did it occur to me that I had never thought of anyone or anything outside of my work for such a period of time. This was unusual, amazing even. But I had done everything in my power to dissuade her so; I shouldn’t be surprised that she didn’t return.

 

I was still absorbed in her as I walked past a motorcycle shop and another odd thought, and impulse really; I was going to buy a motorbike. Now this was ridiculous on the face of it. I had always criticized motorcycle riders as reckless even more so in the wet slippery environment of the University, where it rains more than 60% of the time. But I knew I could afford one so I walked in on two feet and rode out on a motorcycle.

 

I can’t say what it was that made me make such a drastic break with normality. Was it the strong influence of the site and sent of Amanda, was I suddenly at long last so weary of my dreary existence that I took action to alter it. I cannot say. But it was an interesting relationship that I was unknowingly about to undertake.

 

You see the motorcycle was physically the antithesis to me. Where I was weak and awkward the motorbike was powerful and sleek. I was afraid of the beast. It seemed that if I even looked at the throttle it would yank me uncontrollably down the street against my will. Finally I had met something that I had to adjust to rather than it to me, and that thing was a machine. But in surprisingly little time to adjust to it I did, becoming familiar with its sounds and feels. I learned to anticipate the turn and lean with the machine, feeling myself more and more at one with it, until we were not man and machine, but a single being, part man and part machine. Getting on and off the bike is much like going in between consciousness and unconsciousness. When I was riding it the singular man beast was alive and when I got off it that beast simply systems ceased to exist until I rode it again. I wondered if I could learn to adjust to the machine would it be possible to do the same with Amanda.

 

Amanda was now officially my graduate student. I was not supposed to have any romantic attraction to her nor did I exhibit any to the best of my knowledge. But I could hardly breathe and had heart palpations when she drew near. This was hardly objective. The only objective observation I could make was that her mathematics was weak, perhaps too weak to be a graduate student, my graduate student. This made no more of a difference to me than the policy precluding professors from being romantically involved with their students. The practice was as forbidden as it was universal. I cannot accurately describe what it was like to be with Amanda, to be near enough to touch her without touching her. Like the motorcycle Amanda aroused feelings and sensations unknown to me and to this day unexplainable. Unlike the motorcycle however I could not adjust to her, could not read her mannerisms. Was she being flirtatious or was it just my imagination, should I make my intentions known or keep my distance. Unlike anything else that I was accustomed to there was no reasoning it out. Nor did I have friends with whom to consult. I was as friendless as an adult as it was as a child. In fact I was the same friendless child. It was becoming painfully obvious that if I was going to know whether or not Amanda could be mine, then I would have to take a chance.

 

Yes I would have to take the chance one way or another. Thoughts of Amanda were taking up huge blocks of my day and I was accomplishing no science. Beyond that I simply couldn’t bear the torture any longer. And yet I was a coward. In fact it was she who was the aggressor. I suppose there was really no other way. I was as inadequate at romance as I was a genius as a scientist.

 

It all happened very simply. We were in the lab alone together when either by accident or on purpose she dropped a beaker. Now the laboratory floors are rubber so there was no danger of it breaking, but together we rushed to catch it before it hit. Instead it bounced with a mutter thud against the will rubber matting. She laughed a girlish little left that like everything else she did lit up the room. She was the only light in my life, but the only light I needed. We reached for the beaker together and for the first time I touched the softness that was her hands. I paused to look at them, they were small even with respect to my own and her fingers long and perfectly sculpted. I examined them enraptured and unexpectedly I felt her soft kiss on my cheek. That could easily have been the finest moment of my life. Then she stood up smiling and laughing replaced the beaker on the counter as if nothing had happened just as other graduate students arrived.

 

I will divulge my brief relationship with Amanda, or was it a lengthy one? I don’t know, I have trouble remembering now, but I shall divulge only as much as it is pertinent to the main discourse. Indeed I am incapable of divulging anymore it being of such a personal nature and I being such an impersonal one. But our relationship did go on, I’m just not sure anymore for how long.

 

I remember after that first kiss looking forward to a conference at one of the universities where the weather was warm. I had been so distracted by Amanda that I hadn’t even a new paper to present; fortunately for me I was able to conjure up something on the spot that was more than adequate. I imagined that after the conference Amanda and I could spend the week there, going to the beach in the day and making love in our room at night. I had never had good sex before, they say there is no other kind, but I can attest otherwise. So, as I straddled my motorcycle for the ride south to the beaches warm weather and Amanda, the only thing is high as my spirits was my expectations. Amazingly I was not to be disappointed.

 

I have no idea what talk I gave at the seminar, but I will never forget Amanda’s loving blue eyes in the first row and her face flushing with approval of me. There she was, beautiful Amanda waiting for me. We had planned not to commence our interlude until the seminar had finished, but that night after my talk there was no waiting. I sent a message to Amanda feigning some work for her to do. But when she arrived in my suite she didn’t leave it until the morning. My first lovemaking must have been a bit awkward to her; I’m sure I was jerky and rushed things a bit. But she, her body felt exquisite. As I sank my loins between her thighs I wanted to stop time. I never did fall asleep that night, instead just watched her sleeping in disbelief of the beauty lying in my bed.

 

On the following day, the last day of the seminar, I was not scheduled to speak, so I took Amanda to the beach. As I massage oil into her silky pure skin I realized that not only had I not ever been this happy, that I had never until this moment been happy. I spent at least 15 min. caressing her stomach between her belly button to her bikini bottoms, then a little lower. All I could think about was getting her back to the room to make love with her again. But amazingly we were the only ones on the beach. A city beach on a sunny day, it should be crowded I thought, but except for us there was no one. I did not ponder the issue for long, but wondered with anticipation whether she would accept me inside her right here. She was instantly terrified, and pushed on my hips with her soft hands, but after her cursory inspection of the beach her expression turned to that of the shy schoolgirl that she was. Her hands slipped my swimsuit below my waist and rested on my lower back rather than pulled as I slid inside her. There it was again, the exquisite feel to her body that I could never have imagined on my own. But this time with each push I wanted to get closer to her, to get not just inside her, to be one with her. I can’t be any more specific than that. I’m sure it has something to do with the dissolution of ego boundaries, but the only way I can describe what I wanted is to say I wanted to be one with her. In fact I think I achieved it for however fleeting of a second it was that we orgasm together there on what should have been a crowded beach on a sunny day.

I rolled to my side and we were still huffing and puffing. I could see our sweat mingling there on her breasts in my sweat pooled in her flat naval and I imagined our juices were inside her.  I was getting really carried away now the remainder of the week must have continued in much the same way. I say it, “must have,” because I really can’t remember. From then on our lives mingle as our juices had on that day, I kept in my apartment, but spent all my free time with her the dorm at the University. I don’t know if colleagues and students were aware of our relationship nor did I care. All I knew was that, if this is love then how is it possible I have lived this many years without it.

I was shaving one and the hot water steamed up her mirror. I could not resist writing with my finger: I am you, in the fog, in doing so I managed to cut myself. It was just a minor cut just like the one Fortunato had inflicted upon me. Such a minor cut but hardly worth mentioning, but it did return the thought to me that I had when I saw my blood on his lab coat, that something that was once mine was now his. I dismissed the thought immediately, but when I looked back at the mirror, what I had written there had faded away.

 

There are many things about Amanda that I cannot remember clearly. Her purity and her beauty are not among them, but I can’t remember for how long we were in love or even knew each other. It seems to me by the strength of my attachment to her that it was a long time. But it may not have been. We only have our memories to be sure of what has happened to us and I have scantly few remaining. I think it must have been some time, or was it a short time after that, I am not sure, but things changed.

I was still a stranger to love, unaware that this feeling of love that she had made me discover was capable of changing. I was unaware that there was duality to it, that the blade cut both ways. I began to feel the sting of that duality when I saw her one day walking out of Fortunato’s office, smiling and laughing. Not just smiling and laughing, but in that giggle-ish schoolgirl way that was reserved for me. But I’m sure it was much more to do with Fortunato than Amanda.

That’s all it was, just her coming from his office. Fortunato that treacherous wretch my mind said aloud. When Amanda came into my office I asked her immediately what the meaning of being in his office was. It was nothing she replied innocently, and sweetly. But I suspected more, and admonished her not to go in there again. “You are either his graduate student or mine, not both of ours.” She seemed genuinely perplexed and I thought that I had been too harsh. I think that was the end of the matter. No, no, wait, there was more, and there must have been more. I can’t recall if it was the same incident or if I caught her once again in his office. But those sweet loving feelings I held for her just seconds ago were banished completely, replaced by hateful ones. What was once completely beautiful was now completely ugly, without gradation without warning. I couldn’t remember anything like it since I was an infant. Once as my mother was feeding me for some unknown reason she put me down. At that moment I remember clearly the rage and hate I felt for her. My sainted mother yet I remember that rage and hatred clearly and it lasted until she picked me up and help me to her breast again. Then as instantaneously she was my sweet loving mother and all was well again. Is this what love is like, then I want none of it. Ha, I want none of it but I want to chase Amanda out of my office and beg her to come back. Whatever I said sent her away and I felt such misery I cannot explain. I vacillated violently between keeping my pride in standing firm and chasing her down and begged her to forgive me.

I was totally new to this storm, to my heart pounding, to being completely vulnerable. My body had been weak and crippled, but my mind was keen and my heart always in my grasp. Now it was controlled by another. So, I sank into my office chair to try to do what the entire human race has tried and failed at one time or another, to make sense of love.

I say I set out to try to make sense of love, but I wondered out to somewhere else. I relived everything, all of my experiences with Amanda as best as I could. Remembering every physical detail, every sound every scent. I did not make sense of love, but I settled upon an inescapable and unsettling conclusion. The conclusion was that I had never really touched Amanda. Oh sure, my body had touched her body many times. I have described her soft skin, her beautiful eyes, and her luscious loins. But all that I experienced of her I experience within the well defined perimeter of my brain.

When I say that I saw her, what do I really mean?  What I mean of course is that the light reflected from her body into my eye and it was focused at a spot on the back of my brain. That is where I experienced her. So, I perceived to her as “out there,” but I experience her “in here.” But none of that mattered, for when the department secretary notified me that Amanda was no longer my graduate student I could not have restrained myself for a second.

It was drizzling and cold as I straddled my bike, to go to her apartment and begged her to, “remain as my graduate student.” I did not consider what would happen if she refused. The suspense alone was killing me. It did not, but a car nearly did.

 

End Amanda

 

I still don’t know how this happened, but I had just gotten on my bike when a car, impossible he jumped off of its maglev track and crashed into the car parked in front of me, which pinned me and my bike to the car parked behind me. The pain was as excruciating as a shock. The whole incident seemed to materialize on top of me. Where did this car come from, how did it jump off its track and how was I taken so unaware? Now my leg was pinned between the two vehicles above the left knee and I could think of nothing, nothing not even Amanda I could think of nothing save the pain until I went unconscious.

Although it was Amanda’s face that I lost consciousness to, Fortunato’s was the first I saw upon regaining consciousness. At the same instant that I gained consciousness and saw Fortunato’s face I felt agonizing pain in my leg, pain so bad that I checked to see if my left leg had not been amputated above the knee. I felt there with my hand, then I crossed my feet and feeling my left foot with my right was assured that all of my leg was still there. But for the pain I almost wished it wasn’t. When I could finally look, all I could see was an ugly mangled mess that had once been my leg. So, it was a long time before I looked at it again.

I languished in the hospital for many weeks, in and out of consciousness, but constantly in pain. Amanda was never there, I had no friends or family my only relations were with colleagues and not one of them save for Fortunato came to visit. Fortunato astonishingly was my constant companion during this time. Indeed becoming of my cheerleader and good spirits coach all through the agonizing rehabilitation process. I can’t begin to explain the intensity of that pain. It was unnaturally intense it seems. It was worse than the initial injury itself which I had thought impossible.

But eventually and again I am confused as to the length of time, but eventually my leg did heal to the point that I could at least walk. By that time I had come to consider Fortunato as my friend and it was he drove me home from the hospital. He offered to stay with me in my apartment, but the dark confines of that place were, especially in my post Amanda life, mine alone. So, I bade him goodbye at the curb, and went in there alone, to be alone.

I did not wish to be alone, I wished to be alone with Amanda. But she seemingly vanished without a trace, I was unable to contact her or find any information about her, indeed it was as if she never existed at all.

 

I was still less than 30 years old I think, and I suppose it was as good a time as any for my first midlife crisis. My leg had been crushed, my girlfriend gone, and I had contributed nothing to the literature since, before the accident and I don’t know how long that is. Although my leg hurt badly, it was a pain with which I can deal and I could at least still walk. As for my career I could not have cared less if I never had another thought about consciousness theory or ever published again. But Amanda, well missing her hurt just like my leg at its worst. But unlike my leg it wasn’t getting any better with time. This was perplexing indeed for in matters of the heart time is like distance. The further away you are the less devastating the effects of the blast. Yet what did I know of matters of the heart? All I knew for certain was that I wasn’t getting any better, nor was I hopeful that I would improve. Seeing no other way out I resolved to end my misery on the spot. How was I going to accomplish it? The answer was immediately obvious, there were many methods available to me in my laboratory. So, I rushed as fast as I could with my dangling injured leg dragging behind to my lab, considering as I went what I was about to do. By the time I arrived at the lab I was more resolved than ever to do it, but when I opened the door and went in I could see the spot on the workbench where Amanda and I first kissed. There on the floor was the rubber mat where the beaker fell and we both rushed to get it. A sudden sense of loss such as I have never known crashed over me like a tsunami , I felt my heart ripped from my chest and got shortness of breath. And I thought I was going to die on the spot and be spared the trouble of killing myself. But in the end all I did was fall to the mat and cry. I was more resolved than ever to end myself in my misery immediately and was set to do it appropriately on the spot. But then something happened, a subtle shift in perspective I suppose, but I saw myself. It was a clear and vivid, not an outer body experience, but perfect forgetting of my body. Then I asked the strangest of questions, who is looking at me?

It was a question as simple as it was curious. In the seeing of myself, am I the subject or the object , or both? I have been asking the question who am I for my entire life, but I never thought about it as I did that one time. I had never seen the self-referential error of my reasoning until that moment. What a strange moment to have a breakthrough. It was however I have no doubt the only thing that stayed my hand. Then I reconsidered my relationship with Amanda, how I would get her back. It was the answer to that question which would bring her back to me. For it had not been with my heart, nor certainly my masculine good looks, that had brought Amanda to me in the first place. No, I had won her with my rational mind and it was with that that I should win her back. So, it was to mend my broken heart that I resolved to do my greatest work.

 

My previous work concentrated on the space inside the brain, to the quantum mechanical forces within the neuron itself. It’s conclusion was that, I am my thoughts and they are temporary. Yet my experiences with Amanda made me doubt this. I am my thoughts, but there was a second when I was her thoughts as well. Indeed there were moments, just nanoseconds when I imagined we were one. After all, I had written it in the steam on the mirror, I am you. So, the idea that I change the, “I that I am,” whenever I change my thoughts seemed scientifically unintuitive. Also a calculator or circuit board has electrical firing across the circuits but it is not conscious. But what’s the difference?

I pondered these questions often, alone in my dank apartment, alone in my office, alone walking in the rain. When night as it drizzled drearily outside, I wrote down the words, who am I, I strip of paper and manipulated it between my fingers. I turned it upside down, folded it and twisted it into a Mobius band, which I was able to do without tearing the strip of course. In doing so I observed the words which represent the single thought, who am I? Then I had another subtle shift in perception. I realized that I had always asked the question, who am I like ant on the paper scribbling down the words which represent the thought.  I had always been the one asking and the one being asked about, but I had not realized it. But now I perceived that I was simply the observer of the thought which I observed from the outside the piece of paper on which it was written. I was afforded a higher perspective, from above the battle field if you will. Now I was the observer who was neither the subject nor the object of being. My subtle shift had given me an entirely new direction in which to search for consciousness.

 

In 1913 Bertrand Russell posed the following question. If a barber in a town shaves all men who do not shave themselves, who shapes the barber? The paradox is obvious, if the barber shaves himself then he does not shave himself because he shaves only those men who do not. If he does not shave himself he must shave himself by definition. To remedy the paradox you must remove the barber from the set, i.e. the town. Let us add an additional requirement to the above question. Suppose the barber is the only man in the town. You can see the impossibility of the situation immediately. So it is with the question, who am I?  Am I the one asking the question, or am I the one who the question is being asked about? You see with consciousness you must remove yourself from the set, i.e. the body, because until you do your frame of reference is self-referential. But how do you remove yourself?

We turn to Kirk Godel’s incompleteness theorem, which proves that there are systems and theorems within them which are true but cannot be proven within the system. They can be proven only by going outside the system. Thomas Hora proved that reality is such a system. Reality cannot be experienced it can only be realized. Since consciousness is a subset of reality then it too can only be realized. Reality can only be realized and by realizing it one goes outside of the system, i.e. the body. From that point on I stopped looking for consciousness in the neurons for I realized that only thoughts drip from the brain, but that there was no consciousness to be found down there. I am not the one asking nor the one being asked about, rather I am the observer who is neither. I am the observer and I do not reside within the body.

Now that I had a working hypothesis, I was still very far removed from a proof. What I realized is that what I had thought was consciousness was just a representation of the world via our senses in the brain. If there is an external reality to consciousness, then all that perceived reality may be an illusion. I stumbled off looking for a direction and fell upon meditation. I not only meditated, but I studied meditation. John Dunne showed that consciousness itself is only momentary. It is a sequence or quanta if you will, of moments of consciousness, with each quanta lasting less than 1/64 of a second. A very advanced mediator is capable of detecting the switch from quanta to quanta. I conjecture that it may continue right down to the plank scale.

Is consciousness quantized or continuous? It seems to me that it didn’t matter. I thought the answer would come out in the wash so to speak if I could just show that consciousness was not confined to the body.

I would build upon the work of Italian astrophysicist Paloa Zizzi, who calculated that the universe itself may have had a conscious moment within nanoseconds of the Big Bang. I found this Big WOW theory an attractive proposition because I had already shown that consciousness was ubiquitous throughout the universe. What I wanted to do now was prove that the universe itself was conscious and that the observer of each of us is part of the universe at large and remains so even when our individual bodies are gone. This would certainly prove that the observer was not the body.

As I progressed Fortunato was constantly at my side, pestering me for clues as to my progress and with some of his own ridiculous proposals as well. I say ridiculous not because they are provably false, recall Godel , rather there is just no reason what so ever to assume that they are true. The most prevalent one comes from none other than Descartes who theorized in the 16th century that, “We could be all nothing more than brains in a vat, manipulated by an evil genius.” I conceded to Fortunato that this could be an in fact the case, but barring any evidence that it was the case, I implored him to leave me in peace so that I could progress on my work. But right until the end Fortunato would not relent. He would call or e-mail every, on odd days he would quiz me about my progress, indeed on some days he would aggressively engage me in debate about the, brains in a vat scenario. I’m afraid I lost my temper with him on more than one occasion. I feel sorry about it now, but he was so persistent, that I felt I should never get any work done otherwise.

Eventually I did get my work done. I did not exactly discover what the observer is, but by proving that the brain is just an organ through which consciousness is detected, the same way the eyes are organs which detect light, I made my great scientific contribution. It was my greatest paper to date and I won much acclaim and many academic prizes for it. I also won another prize, a prize not described by the usual metrics of academia or science, Amanda.

I noticed that Amanda was among the invited guests where I was to give a presentation. She had received her PhD in consciousness theory and I was certain she was attending as much to be with me as to hear the presentation of my work.

As we have discussed I am an arrogant man. But prior to this presentation I was not so sure of myself. Of course the science was beyond reproach, but I kept rehearsing and re-rehearsing my presentation to make it better than perfect, better to impress her with. I remember listening nervously as I was introduced to people who already knew me or of me, wondering as I rose and limped to the podium to speak whether I would be in her eyes a failure or triumphant. But I could never have believed what happened when I finally delivered my speech.

 

The first thing I did at the podium was search for Amanda. Her beautiful blue eyes stood out even in all those faces but I could not tell if they even gazed upon me, I could not tell if she was impressed with me at all. But as I got into my presentation I began to relax, I even forgot about the constant pain in my knee. I wasn’t even looking for Amanda, but she seemed to have turned her blue eyes on like a flashlight aimed straight at me. I looked at her and each time those eyes were upon me in a way which I imagined could only say, come hither. I was so delighted that I nearly skipped from one end of the whiteboard to the other. I could hardly wait to mingle afterward, mingle my colleagues immediately after and caress Amanda later.

But there in the middle of my presentation just as I removed my eyes from hers for the umpteenth time I noticed something that I had not seen since the night my parents died. Something in the room above the audience, something dark beyond dark, but that cannot be explained, something growing and coming toward me. I was as terrified as I was confused, for no one else seemed to perceive it but me. What they could not perceive I could not ignore, you are about to fall in, my mind screamed. The self talk bounced from denial to acceptance of what I thought I saw, and reverberated violently in my mind. The last thing I looked for before the darkness engulfed me was Amanda, but she was not there. I put my arms over my head and fell down.

 

I have a strange sense that much more when time, but that’s all that I can remember. I say that I had a strange sense, but in reality I think it’s more correct to say that I just felt strange. The next memory I have is sitting alone at my desk with just the dim light coming from outside to illuminate my office. The screen on my desktop was black and I could see in its pale reflection the site of a very old man. How old am I, I thought. I had the strangest thought then that I would find someone and ask. That’s when I noticed that it must’ve been very late because there was no one else there. There was no one in the office suite. I looked outside of my office window, no one. No one at all on campus, that’s strange I thought, getting up to investigate. But as I rose to my feet I did so slowly in great pain, the kind of pain an old man would feel. I began to wonder if I was dreaming. I determined to go outside and find someone, a student, a police officer, anyone.

My knee was throbbing and I noticed as I passed a mirror the shriveled skin and stark white hair that was now mine. How do they age so abruptly? How old am I? Did I have some strange neurological affliction, like anterograde amnesia that prevented me from remembering daily events, for more than a couple of minutes? Then a new thought came to mind, that my old enemy the darkness had come and this time taken me. That now I was alone in some dark alternate universe at the bottom of the black hole. But how could I have imagined that what was happening to me was much, much worse than any of that?

I walked outside and it was with some pain that I descended the steps of the building to my office. The trees and grass were green, but as I have said there was no one, no one in the other buildings no cars, no airplanes in the sky. There were street lights and lights in other buildings, but none of their light fell upon me. Strangely though there was a dim light dedicated solely to me. It was as if I walked around inside and out with a spotlight shining din around me. I walked over to a bench and sat down to consider my predicament.

Although I was alone, I appeared to be in the familiar surroundings of the University. Very well I thought classes will commence in the morning and surely people will be around. Then I can find someone, hopefully someone I knew and inquire as to what was going on. Then it occurred to me that perhaps there was no time in this new universe. According to my watch it was 3 AM. I waited until it read 3:01 AM to see if time passed. Then I spit in the grass just to be certain that it did. Once I verified that time passed I resolved to stubbornly wait for sunrise to bring if not people, then at least daylight.

But when 8:30 AM came neither without the sun, nor of another person I gave up. So, where am I now, what am I now? I went to my lab. Walking indoors I noticed that the corridors were lit where I walked, but not in front or behind me, or around the corners. I began to fancy again that I was in this alternate dark universe of my lifelong nightmares, again if only I could have been so lucky. Then I heard the sound of a single drop of water hitting the floor, amplified. The sound repeated at regular intervals fading off in a certain direction which I could not help following.

I was tired when I got to the lab. The exertion was much for the old man that I suddenly become. My body had not changed so much since my motorcycle accident. I wasn’t afraid yet, my inquisitive mind was still more curious than cowed.

What I noticed immediately was that the lab looks different. It hasn’t looked this way for at least a decade. It looked exactly the same as it did that day Fortunato and I calibrated my consciousness mapping device. In fact there it was, on the lab bench. Odd, I haven’t seen that in years. I reached for it with my aged and decrepit hands. I ran my fingers along the inner rim, there was blood where it fit over the chin. My blood I thought for some reason. Then I looked down on the floor and there was a pool of blood. The blood gushed out from some unknown source deep beneath the floor. Staggering back against the workbench I noticed that the light was now coming from the back corner of the laboratory. I went to investigate unconsciously taking the device with me. I went slowly, there seemed to be much in the way, forcing me to navigate around desks, boxes of beakers and such, and other such light equipment. The lab seemed to be much larger than it ever had before, but there at its farthest recesses in a tank about 4 mł illuminated by a light from I know not where was a brain and spinal cord. Curious, I wonder, who left this here, was all that I could think. Then I glanced down at the device in my hands I had almost forgotten it. It was still dripping blood, my blood. Presently I placed it on. Playing was an old, old digital recording. It was of me the day Fortunato and I first calibrated it and that’s odd. It looks different than I remember. I can see myself placing the device over my head. I remember that Fortunato and I quarreled over who would calibrate it. I remember that he had pulled it off me quite forcefully at some point cutting my chin. But this is not what was being shown me at all. Ah, but I am still smart and have already put it together. I need to watch it no further to know it all, but how can I watch it no further. I see Fortunato not removing the device from my head, but punching me in the chin instead. I was knocked unconscious and have never regained it since.

I was so physically weak and feeble that even Fortunato could overpower me and overpower me he did. It seems unnatural that one such as I could be out done by likes of Fortunato. But it appears to be so, that a slave in intellect be the master of treachery. For I realize that the brain that I look upon is me and that for all these many years it has been. There was no Amanda, there was no motorcycle wreck, no conference, no nothing since the afternoon that long ago when seemingly nothing happened. I see that all of my experiences were given me by Fortunato. But he could not resist before he died revealing his treachery, his superiority to me. It is an infinite loop that I am in. How long between one and the next one, why do I ask? How do I get out? I don’t know, I know only that the loop is to begin again. I see all so clearly now and it is dark, so dark.

 

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Conciousness is all there is in the universe. information in the brain gets mixed up with information outside the brain. when the body dies, the information or conscioness that was in the body is preserved outside of the body.

The spirit, not the body is the altar of truth.

Trials are lessons that you failed to learn presented once again. All distress and any difficulty is but a chance to choose again.

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I because of my superior capabilities, or perhaps only for my life experiences, for I must be factual and include this possibility, am able to take the view from above. I can see the forest without being blinded by the trees.

 

 

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everything dies, where I wrote in the frost I am you

 

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http://www.activistpost.com/2012/02/911-foreknowledge-caught-on-computers.html

 

information comes in bits, discrete units.it can not bedestroyed. when you erase files from the computer they are not destroyed rather are transferred to another environment.

The position and velocity of molecules in space is information. The information is inaccessible because it’s stored with too many degrees of freedom, information that is hitting are inaccessible is called entropy.

 

 

 

You must not do you must undo.

 

the thing that you are is without form.

 

Should we erase painful memories?

 

http://www.salon.com/2011/12/31/should_we_erase_painful_memories/

 

 

 

 

Reincarnation is just atomic recycling. For example, if one particle, such as an electron, is switching from one quantum state to another, it may be the same as if a bit is changed from one value (0, say) to the other (1). A single bit suffices to describe a single quantum switch of a given particle. As the universe appears to be composed of elementary particles whose behavior can be completely described by the quantum switches they undergo, that implies that the universe as a whole can be described by bits. Every state is information, and every change of state is a change in information (requiring the manipulation of one or more bits). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_physics

 

Our judgments color the way we see. We cannot know truth through judgment. Willingness to let go of judgment reveals our habitual ways of thinking, so we can choose to let go of that thinking and see through a purified mind. That allows us to see purely.

 

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The personality covers us like a cloud in the night Walter. It covers us unseen and creates our reality being unknown to us.

The ego does not exist

jesus, spurrio and the money changers. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdMkTejZzzc&NR=1

Tell yourself when you make a mistake that was just another silly mistake I must be really afraid of love today.

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Desperate, so desperate to save that which will remain of me. But what is the point for tomorrow I die why should it matter tonight what shall become of the memory of me?

 

 

 

 

 

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The Infinite Loop: 4-15-2012

 

 

The Infinite Loop: 4-15-2012

The Gladiator Book IV

 

Donald Bauer gulped more than sipped his brandy. It was the most expensive they had and he kept having it, he needed it. The door opened when a young couple came entered bringing in the cold and drizzle with them. After they had entered it shut leaving the elements out again, Harold wished the guilt and memories, could be so easily kept outside there, in the cold as well. It was raining that night too, only he was the young man then. He remembered like it was yesterday, the hum of the old Mercedes-Benz electric as it stopped with a jerk at the curb to let him out. Those old cars sat too low to the ground making it difficult to get out without pushing himself up from the seat with his arms. Not like the maglev cars they had now, that you could just float right up to the door and get out without having to straighten your legs to get up. In those days the cars were old and he was young, but today that ratio is inverted. With that shift of perspective laboring with youthful legs to lift his fit body out of the car didn’t seem so bad. Yes he was a young man then, but even then Harry was very, very old. He was sitting right here at the same table, just 29 years old with a PhD and all of his tomorrows in front of him. Now all of his tomorrows are yesterday’s and is only future is wrapped tightly in his legacy. A legacy which depends on the answer, carried by, another young man with his tomorrows in front of him about to come through the door of his favorite restaurant and deliver an answer to the same question to a slightly different decrepit old man. This was an informal ritual which had developed from necessity over the years. Now it had become a changing of the guard, a passing of information from the keepers of secrets to their chosen ones. He and Harry were both 50 years older. To him it was the end of a life, but for Harry what had it been, a second, a lifetime, and eternity? All anyone knew is that Harry had lived hundreds of lifetimes and would perhaps live a 1000 more, which is what Harold was waiting to know. What to do with Harry? That was the question that came up at the end of every loop. But this time the advent of quantum computing created a huge auxiliary problem.

But this time there had been a big development. Outsiders were being brought in. Who were they? The young man who opened the door opened letting in the wet cold and again, had the answer. It was his postdoc Alan Reid, Allen’s long mop of blond hair which hung over his piercing blue eyes gave the appearance of a man nowhere near his 30s. And yet Alan Reid, one of the world’s most promising quantum biologists is every bit the 30 years old and on this day older. Allen made immediately for him saying, “It’s going to be psychiatry.” “Who, who for Christ sake, who from psychiatry is it going to be,” Said Bauer in his slow, southern, and raspy old voice that he was unaccustomed to having to raise. “Bill Stepford,” Reid replied when he got to the chair that Bauer was still rising from. “He and some of the others are on their way over here right now,” he continued. Donald Bauer was still getting up and wrapping his coat around him and motioned to Alice the maître d’. “Alice will take our private meeting room now.” “I will have it prepared immediately,” she responded dutifully. “Alan would you wait for our guests in there, I have to go to the men’s room.” Donald Bauer had no desire to go to the men’s room, but he had pathological need to be in control, especially now when he was not. That meant not waiting alone in the room for those in control to come in. That is what postdocs are for.  Until this moment Donald Bauer knew everyone who even knew about the project, about Harry as they called it. He was owed favors by most of them, a physicist and those two slime balls on the ethics committee. But who were the psychiatrists, did he have anything on them? This is what he burned to know.

They held some important keys for Alan Reid too, who waited for them in the luxurious paneled conference room with its red leather seats and old-style green banker lights adorning the long, grained conference table. When Donald Bauer was sure that everyone must be there by now he left the men’s room and walked directly to the old conference room. He paused only briefly at the door, and entered only after he was certain there was nothing he could overhear from the outside. Inside people were talking informally as waiters stacked the table with hors d’oeuvres. Bader scanned the room like radar for Bill Stepford. He found him almost instantly, he was the tallest man in the room and the only one that Bauer had never met. He recognized him from pictures as the chairman of the department of psychiatry, but he was a quantum biologist, and quantum biologists and psychiatrists had very little in common. So it was with trepidation that Donald Bauer made his way, against the traffic of departing servants, around the table and took a seat not at the table, but in a chair but against the wood grained wall from where he could better study the room. Who was this Bill Stepford, a psychiatrist, why was he in charge? Psychiatry isn’t even a hard science, Bader thought contemptuously. But here they all were at the mercy of the touchy, feely pseudo scientist. Although no one had formally opened the meeting people were now beginning to discuss business. Ted Stepford sat on the conference table with one foot on the floor and his back to him. “Who’s it going to be,” he could hear someone ask. “Yeah Ted who is it,” someone else asked. Now Donald Bader stood up and made his way to his seat at the conference table. “Why don’t we all take our seats,” he said as he ambled to his. To his surprise no one obeyed, only a few even bothered to turn their eyes toward him. Bader, even in retirement was not accustomed to not getting his way. Instead everyone pressed in on Ted Stepford as Bader stood behind his chair with one hand on the head rest as if to keep his balance. “All right, all right everybody I think that’s a good idea. Why don’t we all just take our seats now,” Ted Stepford said, and everyone did.

He is going to be a problem Bader thought. He has a natural command of the room, but how, what did he have on them? Bader knew all about commanding a room. He had terrorized an entire department for decades. He couldn’t understand any other leadership quality. It never occurred to him that someone could command a room full of people just because they want to. So, why was everyone taking their seats at Stepford’s request when they had just ignored his own.  Stepford sat down, not at the head of the table, but somewhere in between, just to the right of himself. ” Who’s it going to be for God sakes,” Phil Straub asked plaintively. “It’s going to be Bonnie Weissberg,” said Stepford said in an unwavering clear voice. The room grew quiet.

“Who is she?” Someone asked. “I’ve never heard of her,” another one said. “Does she even have tenure?” Donald Bader asked in an accusing tone and volume that Bill Stepford could not miss. “Of course she has tenure,” he answered smiling. “She is a full professor and highly regarded. She has my full confidence,” he offered. “I’ve heard about her,” said Brian Potter. “She developed her own method of psychoanalysis, but then she got religion and fell off the deep end. They said she disappeared.” “That is not remotely accurate, Dr. Potter ,” Stepford corrected. “Well by all means please fill us in,” Potter insisted. “Okay, okay everyone just calm down and listen,” Stepford said motioning everyone with his hands to sit down.

Everyone sat down and waited with bated breath for Stepford’s next words, words their fates hung on like the gallows.

Stepford began:

“In 2058 I accepted a position as department head of the Department of psychiatry in the university’s medical school. One of my first duties as department head, was to hire a research psychiatrist. In the process of the search I hired Dr. Bonnie Weissberg. Bonnie and I worked together very closely for the next 10 years , on a number of academic, clinical, and professional issues. We co-authored a number of papers and sometimes taught courses together. For the most part I would say that we worked together quite efficiently. Efficiently in the sense a good final product was produced and as short a time as possible. But in the process we fought bitterly. We were equally headstrong, but with Bonnie was a very complex person. On the one hand she was obviously brilliant with a very dedicated research orientation. On the other hand there was a central sense of searching for purpose, you might say that it was her purpose. The way she always marched from one place to another, weather across the room or across campus, with an intense stare piercing everything in front of her she reminded me strongly of a soldier looking for a battle, no make that a war. I wondered if she ever found a purpose could she even recognize it. But it took me a while to realize that that impression whether accurate or not was immaterial. That any question I asked her elicited a very thoughtful response.

Bonnie related professionally with patients and could do naturally we cannot be taught, namely she could tune in immediately, she could see through their defenses and empathize while withholding judgment. As a therapist she is a natural. We worked together and accomplished much right up until 2065, but it seemed that the more successful we were as collaborators the more bitterly we became with each other. One day after working together on a particularly difficult project I said, whispered really out loud, there must be a better way. I wasn’t even looking at her when I said it, and certainly expected no reply. But to my surprise she said, you’re right Bill and I’ll help you find it. And that was the beginning of a joint commitment that led to what Dr. Potter called her method of psychoanalysis.”The question is Bader began “What are we going to do with it?” “It,” said Elizabeth Madison the head of the University legal team and the Dean of the University’s law school. She and Bader disliked each other since way back. “It,” she continued. “It is a human being whom you plagiarized your entire career from”. To Elizabeth Madison this was a statement of fact, Donald Bauer it was a deeply personal attack revealing him to be the fraud he believed himself to be. So, he counterattacked at any conceivable weak point. “For the record Elizabeth it is not a human being. It is a thing.” “Oh I’m very sure that you are proud of yourself for that one,” Madison snapped back. They were zeroing in on each other when Stepford interceded. “No one is accusing anyone of anything,” he said looking at Madison. “And no one is accusing anyone of anything,” he said looking at Donald Bauer.

 

Bauer placing both arms squarely on the table he bent his arms just enough to bring his eyes level with Ted Stepford’s. Then with his face nearly twisted he said, “What the hell do you have to judge me for Stepford?” Elizabeth Madison could barely restrain herself, but Stepford was able to stop her by holding his hand in the air. Then he said trying not to sound authoritarian, “okay people, this is what we are going to do. We are going to make contact with Harry. That’s all were going to do.” “That will ruin us,” Bauer scoffed. “He will ruin us,” he continued walking away and looking back as he did. “How do you know that, how can you be so sure,” Stepford asked? “Because,” Bauer continued but stopped. “Because that’s what you would do in his situation,” said Stepford. “That’s called projection,” Bill Stepford said dryly. “Assumed guilt, assumes punishment,” Stepford continued. “I am not guilty of the God damned thing, Stepford,” Bauer said dragging it out Step-Ford.

“I want to know about this Bonnie Weissberg,” Brian Potter demanded. “They say she only cares about her patient,” Elizabeth Madison shot out. “Well I don’t give a damn about the patient,” Potter said. “Yes, you made that abundantly clear,” Madison replied. Stepford had to wait again for the room to calm down. “Well, I think Bonnie Weissberg is uniquely qualified for this. In fact she’s the only one who is,” Stepford said.

“We can always throw the switch,” someone said. “You do that and I’ll be certain you want go straight to jail,” Madison said, coming to her feet. “How,” Potter asked? “How are you going to see us to jail, who is the victim? It’s certainly not a human being.” “No, you guys made certain of that,” Madison said accusingly while looking at Bauer. Bauer could feel the eyes of the room upon him, going through him, seeing him as a fraud. Of course most of them were frauds too. Most of them, and most of their predecessors, and most of their predecessors as well, it goes back for at least 100 years. It was 100 years ago that an 18-year-old sorority girl who through the University student employment office got a part-time job as a clerk in the department, and made an astonishing discovery without ever knowing it. There was a file on her department issued laptop, a text file that seemed to have a life of its own. It was a file which seemingly updated itself. It was the file of a professor Mortimer Harrison and it was of a most peculiar nature. As best as she could make out the file always started at the same, but added to itself with each new copy. When she went to the directory to try to delete it she noticed that she did not have administrative privileges. So, she reported it to her superior on several occasions, but no action was taken. She concluded that the laptop had been hacked and took no further action herself, until just before the end of her freshman year. The computer itself oddly had been issued to her had belonged to a faculty member. It was a very famous professor Fortunato who preceded Donald Bauer as chairman by many decades. Just before returning the laptop she saved iteration 11,019 to the laptop’s hard disk. Unable to think of a title she simply saved the document as Harry’s log. Harry’s log was beyond 20,000 iterations by this time, but no one ever dare mentioned. They might mention Harry, but they didn’t dare touch the log. But the log now seemed to find a voice of its own. “You see it no longer the brilliant scientist,” Madison began, “you’re a fraud,” and a particularly accusatory tone.

Bill Stepford tried to repair the damage, but Bauer was so angry as he made for Madison he burst a blood vessel in his brain and was dead before he hit the ground.

How could I have been so stupid, Bill Stepford thought? “That’s called projection, did I really say that,” he asked aloud? Then he wondered could that have gone any worse. Maybe somebody could have brought a handgun he thought. He was rubbing his temples about to pour himself a drink when he leaned back in his chair with his hands on his knees, looked up at the ceiling and smiled. His mind was really winding up this time and once again he had caught it in time. And what a nice catch it was. The old Bill Stepford, the one that fought Bonnie Weissberg tooth and nail for a decade would be beating himself up pretty good right now. But this Bill Stepford caught on to what his brain was doing he would have none of it. Once he recognized his folly he could only smile.

The speaker phone sounded. “Yes, oh hi Bob. An aneurysm, are you sure? Good enough then, thanks Bob. By now, bye.” So, Bauer died of an aneurysm instead of a temper tantrum after all. That didn’t change anything. Bill Stepford knew that there was a lot more to do than just improving his style. There was going to be pushed back, serious pushback every inch of the way on this one. His main job was to deal with the administration and shield Bonnie Weissberg to let her do her work her miracles. It would be just like when he was on the high school basketball team. When he left the star player from the other team and beat the crap out of him for the whole game, while his team’s star player lit up the scoreboard. Bill Stepford had been running interference for people or causes his entire life. But now for Bonnie Weissberg of all people, he never saw that one coming.

When he first saw Bonnie Weissberg she was a stunning 25-year-old beauty with jet black hair to the back of her knees and he wondered how she would ever make it here. Ten years later he wondered if she would leave anything standing in her wake. Such is the world of judgment.

 

Bill Stepford removed his Photovoltaic Glasses and placed them upside down on his desktop. Even under stress he looked young and every bit the man living in an idyllic lifestyle. His lean and fit frame was matched with skin taunt around the face and a full head of curly black hair that had just begun to turn gray at the temples. One would expect that he had a beautiful wife, perfect kids, living in a picturesque home. But there was nothing picturesque about Bill Stepford’s life. He had a beautiful wife once, but that was before Bonnie Weissberg was even in grade school.

Sharon was the beautiful loving wife with whom he would have had a most picturesque life. But those beautiful loving the colors were snuffed out by events random and callous and partly of his doing.

They had gotten married shortly after his appointment at the University. The damp and cold of the University was a shock to Sharon, but she tolerated it because she loved him. Besides providing her with a cozy home, he surprised her one Christmas when he offered to take her on vacation anywhere she wanted to go. He could never forget the way sitting on her knees on the sofa and staring at him work with complete acceptance she answered him, “Anywhere hot and dry as long as we’re together,” she answered adoringly. He looked at her looking at him and felt as innocent as a child. But he seemed to feel guilt that he had never have believed. Instead of going to the Middle East as they decided initially, Bill suggested that they go to the rainforest. Why, why did I say rainforest? He played that over a million times in his mind, trying to change the outcome each time. They had been there less than a week hiking and climbing, and being young and in love. Then, literally overnight Sharon was gone. He remembered they had just made love in the room and Sharon put on his T-shirt and gone to the table to get a bottle of wine. She never made it there, she fell with a thud to the floor not quite as loud as Bauer, but just as dead. Somewhere out on the trail Sharon had been infected with a brain eating parasite. When asked if that parasite existed in the Middle East the doctor shook his head no, and Bill Stepford never forgave himself.

After they spread Sharon’s ashes across the ocean, Bill could not go back inside what had been their home, but he couldn’t stay anyplace else either. So, he returned. The first two years were the most difficult. It was then that Bill developed dull eyes that never look directly into anyone else’s. He taught his classes, did his research, and performed his job well enough. But he walked bent over with hunched shoulders as his feet slapped the ground with a flat thud. One night as he returned from the office and fumbled with the mailbox at the curb and he looked up the long walk way to his dark windows he wondered, what it would be like if they had just gone to the Middle East. A researcher might ask himself why would a mind torment itself in such a way? But the grieving husband Bill Stepford began a process he thought he would never rid himself of. Every night that he walked up the lonely walkway to the darkened house he imagined an alternate universe where they had just gone to the God damned Middle East. In that universe is walking up a lighted walkway to warm home and a loving woman and who knows how many kids, instead of darkened rooms in an empty house. For two years Bill could not stop himself from thinking about coming home every night. Eventually Sharon’s scents and the memories faded into something bearable, but for Bill Stepford his home has been empty since and life would never be idyllic again.

Another kind of man, neither greater nor lesser, just another kind of man would have turned to drugs and alcohol, or suicide. But Bill Stepford persevered because it was his nature to. And even though he never expected life to get better he continued to slump through it. In that of the universe he could have a daughter who looked much like Bonnie Weissberg, only she would have been much less combative coming from a mother such as Sharon.

“You don’t get to choose your mother,” he once said to Bonnie Weissberg. It was an offhanded remark that led to major research collaboration between them. “You don’t choose your mother, your father, or anyone who has a significant impact on you. You are influenced most by the input you except unquestioningly.” It was a habit that Bill Stepford had of being able to state the obvious in a revealing new way. Bonnie Weissberg liked that habit instantly. She revealed to him a dream that she had as a child and never forgot. She was playing in front of the fireplace with her mother and father. It was very warm and she felt much loved and very beautiful. Then inexplicably her parents left her there. They went to bed and left there all alone on the floor. After a while the fire burned out and it got dark and very cold. “Then,” she said throwing back a long jet black hair crossing her leg straightening her arms on the bench and turning her head 90° to look at him, “Then I did something every child does, but shouldn’t. I tried to make sense of it.” Bill nodded. The extreme bewilderment and confusion of infants and young children who are abused or abandoned is well-known to psychiatrists. Children who are attacked by the ones who love them the most is overwhelming. They are wholly incapable of coping with such intensely conflicting signals. They are at once helpless and desperate to do something, anything. So, they do the only thing they can, make sense of it all. Unfortunately, in their young minds the only sense they can make of it is that, it’s their fault. It’s not that mommy and daddy are poor parents, or mommy and daddy need help, it’s your fault. Bonnie continued, “I decided that I must be very ugly, too ugly to be lovable. Can you imagine that? I made an assumption based not on a real event, but I dream I was having.” Together they teased out the concepts and published by highly regarded paper that extended rather than challenged contemporary personality theory.

 

What you accept as truth makes up who you are.

 

 

Bill and Bonnie shook their heads at each other, but neither of them knew at the time that they were dreaming even then.

 

Before the happenings Bonnie Weissberg was very confused about a relationship with Bill Stepford. On the one hand he was an intelligent insightful colleague, and older brother or father figure with whom she felt, or must have felt safe. His ideas were similar to hers and he had a way of helping her focus, crystallize her thoughts on a particular topic from which she was able to derive results. But he spent much of the time being defensive and aloof. She couldn’t understand that Bill was aloof when he was defensive and that he was constantly defensive with her, that she was constantly lashing out at him. Bill thought that Bonnie was constantly attacking the world around her hoping desperately that it would counterattack. Later he realized that she was desperately in search of a very particular mission, but in lieu of finding it any war would do.

Bonnie Weissberg didn’t know that she was desperate, but she felt desperate. She had no strong opinions of the world and she was equally unconcerned of the world’s opinions. Politics and religion were meaningless to her. Even after the happenings, she still felt it was more to do. But what God dammit, what? She couldn’t realize how soon it would be.

They were sitting at the circular conference table in Bill’s office. They had successfully completed another paper, but it had been a particularly difficult task, the task of working with each other. They were finished and Bonnie was standing up to leave when she heard Bill almost whispering something. She couldn’t make out most of what he said, but the last part she heard perfectly well. It was Bill’s plaintive call for peace, “there must be another way,” she heard him say. Bill didn’t realize that he was giving a speech, it wasn’t really a speech as much as an observation or statement of fact. He didn’t even expect a response but alone the one that he got. He had just straightened up when Bonnie stopped everything for it. Then looking up at him and she said, “You’re right Bill, there must be a better way and I’ll help you find it.” Then she turned and walked out. As she did she was surprised at herself. What had possessed her to say that? Now she wondered if she meant it, she would soon find out.

The buzzer rang and the photovoltaic glasses glowed in the dark bedroom. Bill Stepford couldn’t be sure if he was dreaming that the phone was buzzing or if it was. But when he saw that it was Bonnie Weissberg calling he reached out with a groan and put them on. Before he could say anything she started, “Bill I am sorry to bother you, but I just have to tell somebody and you’re the only one I trust.” Bill rolled from side to his back then propped himself up against the pillows. “Bonnie,” he moaned, “What’s the matter, are you all right?” She continued to apologize profusely not so much apologizing Bill thought as avoiding the issue. “Bonnie,” he demanded, “It’s three o’clock in the morning what’s wrong?” There was another long pause a couple of false starts until finally she blurted out, “Bill I am hearing the voices.” Bill straightened himself in bed. “What kind of voices,” he asked? “Well it’s just one voice and it’s coming from inside my head not from the outside. It keeps repeating the same thing over and over. It says this is a better way, please take notes.” Bill Stepford was wide awake. He adjusted the glasses and for Bonnie’s sake spoke very clearly and calmly as if nothing was wrong. “Bonnie, it only logical thing to do is to write it down. Just to write it down and send it to me. We can go over it together and we don’t have to tell anyone else about it. It doesn’t matter how crazy it sounds we will be the only two to hear it.” Suddenly the course of action seemed so obvious to Bonnie that she wondered why she hadn’t come up with it herself. “Of course, of course you’re right Bill. That is the thing to do. I’m so sorry to have bothered you like this.” “Don’t worry about it Bonnie,” he said, “just write it down and let’s talk about it tomorrow.” Bonnie didn’t even say goodbye, she just disconnected. Curious, he thought. He left his glasses on in the darkened room sifting through e-mail and trying to fall back to sleep, but sleep would not come to Bill Stepford that night. In 30 min. he got the most unexpected message especially considering the source.

Nothing real can be taken down. Nothing unreal is put up. Herein lies the truth of God.

Bill could believe that the words were written by someone other than Bonnie Weissberg. Then he began to struggle with it. Bonnie Weissberg was the only child of non-observance Jews. She was not religious. To his knowledge she had no religious verbiage at her disposal.  In fact she scoffed at the religious for believing in things for which there was utterly no evidence. She was an indignant if not angry atheist. Furthermore she prided herself as a research psychiatrist, not as someone who heard voices, who had heightened visual imagery, or a psychic.

Nothing real can be taken down. Nothing unreal is put up. Herein lies the truth of God.

It’s not something that she would have written.

The following morning Bonnie Weissberg walked into Ted’s office a tattered wreck. She could hardly talk and what little she did say was almost inaudible. “There’s more, there’s more, but I wrote it down because I don’t want to take the chance that it gets scanned by government or university surveillance and they think I’m crazy.” “You are crazy,” Ted said. “Government surveillance only covers one out of 1000 e-mails,” Ted said. “I don’t care, I don’t care, I can’t take the chance, she protested.”  “Okay Ted said, “Read it to me.” “I can’t Bonnie said hysterically it doesn’t make any sense.” “Don’t worry about what it says just read it to me. We can look at it later if it doesn’t make any sense we can throw it out and no one will ever know what it said.” Bonnie coughed and stuttered and made several false starts while Ted kept repeating over and over to her, “Don’t worry about what it says.” Finally Ted had to take her papers and read it for himself. It was the most astonishing thing he’d ever read.

This is a course in miracles. It is the only course you will ever need and you have already taken it. The course does not aim at teaching the meaning of love for that is beyond what can be taught. It does aim, however, that removing the blocks to the awareness of love’s presence, which is your natural inheritance. The opposite of love is fear, but what is all-encompassing can have no opposite.

Nothing unreal has been put up.

Nothing real can be taken down.

Herein lies the truth of God.

Bill Stepford could not conceal his astonishment. “You wrote this,” he asked her even though he knew that she did. “Am I crazy she asked pensively?”This is unexpected, shocking even, coming from you, but never confuse unexpected with crazy.

“What is a miracle? And what does it mean that, “It’s the only course you will need and you have already taken it,”? Bill was actually considering what she had written. He had not dismissed it out of hand.

Bonnie Weissberg unclenched her fists, exhaled, and straightened her legs that she had curled tightly under her chair. She could see the indentation her fingernails had left in her palms. This was the first time in more than 12 hours that she had relaxed her body. “You have to continue to dictate this.” “Okay I will,” she said. “But if it starts to sound too crazy, or makes even a grammatical error, then I’m going to stop,” she insisted. So, began the process where Bonnie would scribe dictation from an unknown source and in the following morning Bill would type it into a PDF on a remote laptop that only he had access to.

Bill wondered what it said about Bonnie Weissberg. A sudden shift in religious beliefs was a classic sign of an inner struggle. But then it occurred to him that a gradual shift in religious beliefs was a classic sign of being healed. He thought seriously and wondered why he had not seen it before. Every one of his successful patients, those that had been healed, experienced a shift in religious beliefs during their course of therapy with him. He could not explain this or why it had not occurred to other therapists. But the data was conclusive. Every single patient who successfully completed therapy had undergone a radical change in religious beliefs. Let’s just keep the door open on this one, he thought to himself.

Then there was Bonnie Weissberg herself. Bill wondered if she would make it. For the next few months she would come into his office every morning in tatters. She was finally able to read it herself, but she would often have to hold her with one hand while dictating with the other. Whether this was a personal internal struggle for Bonnie or dictation from an outside source it was taking a toll on her. How much longer could she take it he wondered.

All of the material that he dictated from Bonnie had a strong Christian terminology. Bill was especially bothered by the term miracle. To a scientist miracle had no meaning. A miracle was an event which simply could not occur, yet somehow did. And where Bill was bothered by the term miracle Bonnie Weissberg was absolutely disgusted by the notion of an entire course in miracles. Then one day Bonnie Weissberg dictated, “Miracles remove the barriers to our awareness of love’s presence.” Bill stopped typing, and Bonnie stopped dictating. Looking at her for the longest second he said, “This is the sanest material that there is.” Then Bonnie continued dictating, now there was a subtle difference that neither would notice until much later. Bonnie’s fists were just a little less tightly clinched, there was a little less fear in her voice. From then on the acceptance of the material as new knowledge from an unknown source by gradual degrees overtook them both.

After each session of dictation Bill and Bonnie would review what they had written down. Bill was impressed by the fidelity Bonnie showed to copying each word exactly as it was given her. Bill once suggested changing the word because it didn’t seem to make sense. But Bonnie realized that if they changed it that it wouldn’t make sense later on.

Bonnie would feel the writing coming on daily, often several times today. Initially she resented it and one night she stubbornly refused to write. She fell into a deep sleep, and then in a dream she heard the words, “Why do you persecute yourself so? Write or don’t, you are still loved. It is you who compels you to write. Write or don’t write, it has all been done, it has all been undone.”   What does it mean that it has all been undone, she wondered waking from a dream.  But then she wrote, he for the remainder of that night and she never refused to write again. She never knew how a sentence would end and the ideas came so quickly she had trouble keeping up with them. On the other hand she could start and stop as she chose. She could pick up in midsentence without having to reread what she had written hours before.

Before the course began both Bonnie and Bill were strong atheists, but they were also aware of the deficiencies in psychoanalytic theory, especially personality theory. A cornerstone of personality theory is that a person is only responsible for what they do, not responsible for what they think. But Bonnie’s course said differently.

You may believe that you are responsible for what you do, but not what you think. The truth is that you are responsible for what you think, because it is only at this level that you can exercise choice. What you do comes from what you think. Do not try to look beyond yourself for truth, for truth can only be within you.

You have the two emotions love and fear. One you made and one was given you. Each is a way of seeing in different worlds emerge from their different sites. See the love of God in you and you will see it everywhere, because it is everywhere. With love in you, you have no need except to extend it.

 

Bonnie and Bill both realized that fear and love that the course talked about were the only two emotions that mattered. That if you could let go of fear then only love would remain. They both realize that the course was about undoing rather than doing. And they both wondered if psychotherapy can be the same way.

The Story of A Course In Miracles 5/16

Iambic pentameter

 

At the end of dictating the course Bonnie Weissberg has the dream in the cave.

 

What she would have said was don’t blame yourself.

 

And once found it would never be lost again.

No matter how unexpected.

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Bader was impressed with Stepford, with the way he analyzed the situation as would an engineer. With the way that he could be appropriately dictatorial as a man in his position should be.

To Bill Stepford Bonnie Weissberg is the daughter that could have been.

 

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%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%   Begin Harry’s Log %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Dark, so dark in here, darker than the deeds which thoughts provoked, the deeds of a monster, the deeds that did this to me. Surely it must be the mind of a monster. And if it be the mind of a monster then a monster it must be, for what are we if not a mind? What then is a mind? Is it that thing we think we are, or does it hide us from that. On the surface it conducts our behavior “appropriately”, while down in the foul depths, far from human inspection, it runs amuck. Down there murderous, unmitigated rage mixes with desires, uncontrollable, and insatiable. Down there, in the pestilent places we never speak about, the brain secretes thoughts like bile from the liver. Yet the thoughts unlike the brain from which they drip are not mine, rather they pass through me. Me, what is it?

 

It is the answer to this question to which I have devoted my professional career. My reputation as a researcher is that of being as radical as rampageous. Fortunato on the other hand is considered to be as meticulous as he is pedestrian, mercilessly berating his graduate students with the necessity of meticulousness, whittling away at them, bringing them inexorably down to his level. For scientists without imagination what else remains but organization and orthodoxy, skills which could be acquired by a janitor. Where Fortunato spent his career building devices for dissecting brains, I spent mine discovering what a mind really is. What Fortunato and those of his ilk will never understand is that a brain cannot comprehend the mind. And I say the mind for as I have shown, there is only one. But before I present my data let me tell you something of how this came to be. As you will quickly see I’m unlike any other scientist. Whereas most scientists build walls to separate their personal lives from their scientific research, my life, my personality, myself is inexorably woven within the fabric of my research. For me there could have been no other way. To understand one you must understand the other, neither stands on its own.

 

 

 

I was a sickly single child, bed ridden until the age of nine I was unable to attend school. So, I was afforded the finest tutors which my able and financially generous parents could produce. After the hours attended by the tutors I did not tire, instead I spent many more studying by myself. That at such an early age I could concentrate for such long periods on end was considered remarkable. But it could have just as easily and more factually been termed a disorder. I say a disorder, but I should say symptom of a disorder. It’s not so much that I focused on my studies as it is that they distracted me from what I grew accustomed to at an early age, my loneliness. In my studies I attempted to fill the void of my absent parents. The disorder was unsuccessful in that purpose, but it did produce a finely honed scientific mind nonetheless. Fortunato should have been so lucky to have had such a disorder. But where my rational mind was impeccable and unconstrained by personal or institutional inhibitions, my emotional mind was as feeble and helpless as my body.

 

What else could it have been, raised as I was by attendants and servants? I sensed even then that my well-to-do parents were too preoccupied with their own lives to care about mine. It was not the case you understand, but it was my interpretation of the facts. As we shall see the error is always one of interpretation. Yet I was raised by the tutors and servants. The servants were dutifully attentive, but they were not parents. The difference cannot be precisely stated, or denied. But even then I knew that parents are with you because they love you unconditionally, where as servants are with you because they are paid.

 

Unable to play or associate with other children and separated long periods from my parents, I spent a solitary childhood alone with my mind and the dreams it made up, becoming socially awkward and an interpersonal misfit in the process. I took great delight in playing with a wooden gladiator set which I designed and constructed myself. I constructed miniatures of all the gladiator types, the Thracian, the retiarius, all of them. I played with them for hours on end, indeed it was the only non-sleeping diversion to my studies.

 

In fact my parents were concerned very concerned, not with the excess devotion to my studies, rather it was the excess solitude, indeed solitude seeking nature of my existence. So, they enrolled me when health permitted at age 10 into an advanced charter school. I disdained it intensely. Moreover I interpreted the maneuver by my parents as a direct attack on me. I could not understand at the time, that it was my parent’s poor parenting ability that was responsible not their desire to contradict my wishes. It was another error of interpretation.

 

My abilities far exceeded the school’s reputation and I was ostracized from the outset. I was harassed, verbally abused, physically beaten. That they should attack one so weak was incomprehensible to me. But again attacked is but my interpretation. None of us could understand at the time that what I interpreted as an attack was actually fear on their part.

Instead I sought solace in solitude. I would return home from school sequester myself in my closed room and study in the near dark. Only the light from the computer screen would spot the room. I continued in this manner for the remainder of the school year. Brick by brick I built a wall around myself. By the time I was 11 years old I was lonely, suspicious of others, and frightened. Despite my advanced intellect I had not a clue as to the spring from which these disturbed feelings flowed. Indeed I was scarcely aware that I had them at all. There was always a gnawing in my stomach what they call butterflies, day by day, hour by hour, constantly, there. I of course lacking a frame of reference didn’t realize that I was different in this regard. In fact it seemed to me that all was as it should be. So, when I ran away from home no one, least of all me understood. My parents love me didn’t they? They provided me a good home with the best of comforts. When they were there I wanted to be with them, when they were there.

If it was a ploy to gain their attention, then it worked, for they promised that we would spend the entire Christmas vacation together that year. Now I had been accustomed to broken promises, and ones he never intended to be kept. But this time I had cause to believe, this time I did believe that they were true. I so looked forward to those two weeks. It was as though those two weeks were the rest of my life and nothing beyond that mattered. There was nothing beyond them. In reality they never came at all.

 

I received the news by e-mail, that my parents private airplane had crashed killing all aboard. It was obviously an e-mail that was sent prematurely, but that is how I learned nonetheless. An e-mail, how contemptuous life can be that I the most impersonal of persons found that to be too impersonal. The sudden death of my parents was the greatest disaster that could befall me. Suddenness and shock swarmed over me as I was possessed with feelings that I had not been emotionally vocabulary to begin to understand. So, to bring familiarity back to my life I summoned my rational mind to do what it always did. Concentrate, I went into my dark room and studied by the faintest light of the computer screen. Again my powers of concentration I attribute not so much to devotion as to disorder. Until then I had known the love of my parents. Even in their absence I sensed that I possessed their total acceptance. I returned each night from a world in which I was scorned to their total acceptance. I had success in my studies along with failures to find any friends, but until that moment I had never known true deep heartbreak. My loving parents, the only ones who loved and accepted me were gone. Suddenly I was no one’s son. I would have aunts and uncles arriving soon to fend for me, but I would never again be a son.

 

It was this realization that crept into my rational mind and slowly strangled it after many hours, so that I could concentrate no more. I looked up and stared for a long time at the desktop, thoughtless. Indeed I have never spent so much time without holding a thought in my brain either before or since. Not a single thought, consider the significance of that if you will. Can any of you make a similar claim? Without the circumstances I could never have accomplished it. But in my deep anguish thoughtlessness came naturally. Indeed it was the only thing that could come. My only regret is that I could not hold it. Against my will feelings returned like a synonymy to my mind and flushed through my body in streams, as the snow fell in the darkness outside I wept until my sides hurt. I was 11 years old and it was far from the first time I had ever cried, but until then it was the hardest.

 

This emotional experience wasn’t simply new to me, it was incomprehensible. It was not something with which my rational mind could cope. My emotional vocabulary was totally incomplete. But there was something beyond the unfamiliar, beyond the sheer trauma, something which even now I cannot explain. It was something that I could not see nor experience even, but it was in the room with me, closing in on me. In an instant I went from the depths of despair, to being on alert. I dried my eyes on my sleeve and looked around my familiar room in 360°. But about it there was something definitely unfamiliar.

As usual the only light in the room was that of my desktop. Now the light from the computer screen though frail, could always illuminate the entire room, even the walls when it was the only source of light. But for some reason on this occasion it could not even illuminate the walls within. It was as if the light went out, but did not return. Such was the depth of the blackness of the cloud enveloping me.

And in that darkness from which light did not return was something I cannot trust my senses to explain as they occurred seemingly outside of space and time. Things outside of space and time can neither be perceived or experience, they can only be realized and that is what I did. Looking, observing, in a thoughtless state I began to notice an ever so subtle shift in perception. Before this moment I perceived reality for what I believe was there. But now I was becoming aware of what wasn’t there. Like Buonarroti who, “ saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” But there was no angel in the marble, there was only what was, being swallowed up by what wasn’t. This inverse reality I was wholly unequipped to deal with and I was beginning to panic.

I massaged my eyes and examined my room again, but I still could not see the walls. I knew very well where the door was and I focused my eyes in that direction, but I could not see it, it was just too dark. The light from the desktop emanated in a half circle of definite radius beyond which there once was a door and the rest of the world. But I could not see any light beyond the aforementioned radius, nor can I safely conclude that the rest of the universe was, “out there”. Now my burgeoning sense of panic exploded as I became acquainted with another previously unknown emotion, stark raving terror.

Now you will not suppose that because of my diminutive stature that I frightened easily and you would be wrong. I had been stoic in the face of bullying my entire life. But this was unknown, indeed I was unsure that anything really was the matter. I approached the rim of the darkness with my hands out in the manner of a man in a dark room looking for the lights. I extended my hands and lost them in the darkness to the elbows. Terror struck I withdrew my arms and threw myself back into the chair immediately. Now it was confirmed there was something very, very seriously the matter. Either it was with me or something outside of me. Of course there is nothing outside of me, but I did not know it yet. I resolved to bury myself again in my studies. I was sure that a few more hours studying and all would return to normal. Perhaps I was miss perceiving things. Perhaps I would study a few more hours and all would be right, perhaps even my parents would come home and my mother would walk through my bedroom door, breaking the seal of darkness that enveloped me within, revealing that all was well and this is but a terrible nightmare. But terror prevented me from turning my back to the darkness there. So, I held my computer screen in front of me and pointed it towards the door, but light did not reach to there. The light from the computer screen went no farther than it did when it was on the desk.

 

As I have said these sensations and my feelings regarding them I cannot explain. They are outside of space and time. But when the semicircle of light began to shrink I felt as would a scuba diver watching the jaws of a great white shark opening and coming toward him, trapped, as the shark came ever closer and challenged all that I had previously assumed to be true. Was reality here inside the semicircle of light, or out there in the darkness beyond? Perhaps the scuba diver would have similar such thoughts.

 

Can darkness really be carved out the light, I wondered. I would soon know the answer for the darkness was nipping at carpet at my toes. Then I heard a familiar voice calling my name. It wasn’t my mother and was my aunt who broke the darkness. She entered the room followed closely by my uncle. They came and threw her arms around me. My aunt and uncle were familiar and the familiarity allowed me to remember reality, my reality. My aunt and uncle stayed with me for nearly four years until I was ready to attend university.

I don’t know how my aunt’s voice broke my trance. Was I in a trance, were seeing, perceiving reality for what it was? Is this reality the trance? In this event did two things, one it set me upon my course of study in consciousness theory, and two and it gave me a knowledge that no other scientist in my field could have acquired unless they had the same experience. I realized that reality was not what it seemed to be. I could no sooner prove that assertion than I could prove that UFOs exist even after seeing one. But I would have confidence in their existence and that would make all the difference. Unlike my colleagues, I know that this world is an illusion and that has made all the difference.

 

 

Based on my preparatory education I entered university as a graduate student specializing in neurophysiology of the brain, although I had no interest whatever in the neurophysiology of the brain. I was interested solely in consciousness.

At the time consciousness theory was not a formal discipline. It was discussed only by physicians who were interested solely in its effects on the brain. They considered it as a byproduct of the brain. It requires a brain for consciousness, but few ever asked what consciousness is by itself. So, I chose to study neurophysiology of the brain because I thought it to be the closest discipline which could supply my answers while being, “academically acceptable. In the end however it was not academic acceptability I sought, rather scientific revolution. Fortunato was assigned to be my PhD advisor. I was aware from the moment we met that I was greatly his superior. Perhaps it was only an assumption which later proved to be true. In any event Fortunato was an extraordinarily ordinary scientist with a jaundiced eye for genius and I was a genius. It seemed a perfect match for me, for as I predicted he was unable to control me, leaving me the freedom to do as I please. And what pleased me to do was the same thing that I had always done even as I play with my miniature gladiators. I continued to ask the childhood questions that Fortunato had probably never asked. Why do we live, what happens when we die?

To say that I excelled in graduate school as I had in preparatory school is an understatement. I was by far the best student they had ever seen, and I knew it. By now you have heard this familiar refrain several times, that among my peers I had none. You will not suppose me boastful anymore than you would call me modest. My scientific mind demands accuracy only. I do not appreciate modesty anymore or any less than boastfulness, genuine or otherwise. Suffice it to say that when I did graduate I was the best of the best, you can ask anyone there and they will tell you. And it was there in graduate school that I first broke ground into consciousness theory. My dissertation is considered seminal and was the first in the field we now call consciousness theory. Indeed it is the first place consciousness is defined in the literature.

 

Before my dissertation consciousness was thought of as religion, outside the field of science, which I viewed more as a scientific blind spot. Only Alan Turing proposed more when he considered how to transfer the consciousness from an animate brain to an inanimate object such as a computer, if such a thing were possible then it would prove that consciousness does not depend upon a brain. On what then does it depend? The first step to understanding something is to define it.

 

Early researchers noticed that we are only conscious when the synapses of our brain are firing across the brain’s hemispheres. And that is how they define consciousness. Under this model consciousness is nothing more than a unity of all the separate active circuits across brain hemispheres at that moment. They accepted my premise that since all this synaptic firing is contained within the well defined neural network of the brain they conjectured that consciousness is confined to the organ as well. So, consciousness is a non-global phenomenon and dependent on time. Only certain kinds or patterns of information give rise to consciousness, but that’s all consciousness is.

Researcher Joseph E Ledoux stated the orthodoxy best.

Specifically he stated that:

 

“All subconscious behavior is the result of a vastly parallel distributed system in our brain. There is no specific center of consciousness, the appearance of a unity is, in fact, each of these separate circuits being enabled at one particular moment in time.

 

 

It was disquieting to some to realize that there is no core self, just as pixels on the screen can converge to make themselves a recognizable image so can the convergence of neural interaction become consciousness. That the self is something which can be turned on and off by brain activity just like flipping a light switch, was unacceptable. But this is not why I objected to it. Scientific truth not patronizing sensibilities is my only goal. Indeed this does seem to be a reasonable first approximation for lesser researchers. The reason that the conclusion is so believable is because it seems to be so utterly true. The earth after all does seem to be flat to an ant traversing its surface.

But by gradual degrees I began to doubt this conclusion. It is undeniable that consciousness is in the brain, but why is it confined there? Furthermore this is less than a definition, it is merely a description of what consciousness does. What I wanted was something that grabbed at the essence of what consciousness is. What is consciousness? I came to define and to understand it in successive iterations.

When I was still a young child I used to play a game which could be called, “what am I?” I would look at my foot and ask myself, am I a foot? If I cut off my foot however I am still me. So, I am not a foot. Then I would look at my hand and ask am I hand. Then arriving at the same conclusion we move on to other parts of my body. The object of the game was to whittle away at the things that I am not, to reveal that which I am. Like Buonarroti who, “ saw the angel in the marble and carved until I set him free.” But what was it that I set free? Whatever it was, it apparently had no size no shape no weight no physical characteristics detectable on the Newtonian scale. Therefore I said about to investigate on the quantum scale. To understand the consciousness on the quantum scale we must first dispense with a prerequisite, the seeming paradox of quantum entanglement.

 

To understand this seeming paradox one must solve another riddle, that of quantum entanglement. Let me say at the outset that this issue of quantum entanglement irritates me to no small degree. This seeming paradox has been around for nearly 100 years and I tire of it, it is not worthy of me. I sold it as a child merely by realizing it. I shall treat it as the child’s play it is and for all dispense with it immediately here. What will be revealed is not such an astonishing revelation on the nature of reality, rather on the degree to which humans are incapable of interpreting it, or interpreting it falsely, such as the sun orbiting the earth. Once this basic nature of reality is realized all correct theories no matter how seemingly fantastic fall into place.

The problem as I have said always is not of perception, but of interpretation. The colorblind observer can perceive color, but interpret only the shapes. Imagine then, for the purpose of this thought experiment, that a mass less particle is accelerated along the real line, from the origin in the positive direction. Since the particle is mass less there are no effects of inertia to overcome, and therefore we may accelerate it beyond the speed of light. Now ask yourself what happens to the position of the particle in the limit as the velocity approaches infinity. It’s obvious that as the velocity approaches infinity the position approaches everywhere in the infinite open ray.

 

Perhaps we could consider the same event on the unit interval. Imagine the particle is a mass less photon and that we have placed mirrors at zero and one. The particle Begins at zero goes to one is reflected back to zero and then reflected to one again. Is it clear that as the particles velocity approaches infinity the particles position approaches everywhere between zero and one? Of course it is.

 

Humans cannot perceive everywhere. When we look for the ever accelerating particle bouncing between the endpoints we can perceive only smaller and smaller sub intervals of the “blur” of the wave function. When at last we take a small enough sub interval to see the particle, we interpreted it as the particle. But alas it is just our faulty interpretation for the particle is still everywhere between zero and one.

Suppose we use a camera with an infinite shutter speed to take a picture of the particle. At a random time the camera takes a picture at a random point of the unit interval. In other words it collapses the wave function. In doing so information about the wave is lost, we can’t tell which way it’s moving for instance to the left or to the right. The camera takes the entire wave and interprets it as a separate particle, it is an error of interpretation, for the wave which is the “everywhere ness” of the particle remains. Indeed it is the particle which does not exist. For a particle must exist at a point and there is no point, there is only everywhere.

 

Let me explain another way. Suppose we use an intelligent camera to observe an infinite ruler representing the real line. Without focusing the camera can only observe the ruler as a blur, it cannot identify what numbers are on it, only that there seem to be some markings. Suppose now that the camera decides to observe entire ruler. In order to do this it must focus on a portion of the ruler i.e. collapse the wave function, to take the picture. Just like a human being in the example above the camera is incapable of observing the everywhere Ness of the infinite ruler, so it concludes from its observation that the ruler is just an interval. This is paradoxical to the camera because it knows that the ruler is infinite in both directions. So, the camera interprets events the only way it knows how to, concluding that there is an interval i.e. particle, infinite i.e. wave duality to the ruler. Of course there is no duality whatsoever the ruler is always infinite it is never just an interval.

 

What does this have to do with quantum entanglement? Let’s introduce another intelligent camera. Suppose that these cameras introduce a force at zero which moves the entire ruler one unit to the right. Suppose the other camera notices that as the interval from -1/2 to 1/2 moves toward one, the interval 3/2 to 5/2 moves toward three instantaneously. This would be amazing because it seemingly violates relativity in the sense that information is sent from one interval to another faster than the speed of light. Of course there is no violation of anything since what you are really observing is just the same interval. But the cameras interpret the infinite ruler as two separate finite intervals. This is the one-dimensional case.

 

In higher dimensions instead of an infinite ruler, we have a wave function, which we may move, spin any portion of and the entire wave moves as one. What appears to be the instantaneous reaction of one particle to the force applied to one at a distance is nothing more than observing the same particle at two different places. I say two different places but even the concept of space is not entirely correct as we shall see later.

What I was able to show theoretically is that quantum information related to consciousness inside the brain via quantum entanglement gets mixed up with quantum information related to consciousness outside the brain and exists everywhere. In so doing I set the Angel free and in that process I turned childhood question into a research question giving birth to the field we call today, consciousness theory.

My dissertation had made consciousness theory a respectable field and me somewhat of a hot scientific commodity, if such a thing is possible. Therefore, after graduating I had my choice universities at which to work at the age of just 21. Now the University of my choice was that from which I had recently graduated. Usually this is a problem since the hiring of one of its own is considered academically incestuous. But in my case the exception was made at once. Officially I was a professor of neurobiology, but in reality I would be the first consciousness theorists.

Fortunato of course was, despite his modest accomplishments, already a tenured professor. Given that I had outwitted him constantly when I was a graduate student, now that I was an associate professor I expected little trouble from him. It seems that to the very degree to which I had grown to be a feeble man in an attenuated frame, in matters of the intellect I had been overly compensated. And with so much success often come certain arrogance, and the accompanying jealousy. I do not defend this, I simply mention it as a matter of fact. Fortunato was not of my caliber. Indeed he was many rungs below others who were farther down the ladder.

My dissertation had made studies of consciousness respectable, and some researchers were doing studies of it, but I alone was developing a theory of consciousness.  I alone had the foresight to make conjectures and the ability to prove them. While I developed my consciousness theory Fortunato boldly demanded that I provide an experiment with which to verify theoretical results. Now if one’s theory is correct, then one need never perform an experiment. Indeed experiments are for those who do not trust their own theory, or were incapable of understanding the theory of another. Fortunato could no sooner understand my theory than he could develop one superior to it. He busied himself building machines for the multi-dimensional mapping of the brain, digital dissection, or electronic masturbation if you will. I find such things are boring and beneath me. I concentrated not on technological gimmicks, rather on theoretical substance. My theory was as advanced as the questions that it answered are basic. It centered among the most basic of questions, questions we all asked as a child until outgrowing them. What child (save possibly for Fortunato) has not asked himself, what am I? So, I designed an experiment by which to test the theory that experimentalists like Fortunato would accept.

The physicists know that on any scale information is ubiquitous throughout the universe. Even in the emptiest of empty space there is information. In the process I designed a device which would read the quantum information in the empty space in the neurons in the brain. Information right down to the smallest unit the Planck scale.

I did not mind designing the machine, but I did not want to build it. For this I felt it was suitable to downsource to Fortunato. But in addition to his seething jealousy of my talents he had previously sided with those “flat earth theorists” and this device was designed to prove my theory correct counter to his desires. This afforded me infinite distress; because even though I had designed it I could know better build it then I could repair a computer. For such things lesser minds could spend more time to become specialists. This was my dilemma, to lower myself to ask Fortunato to do the task which was beneath me. As I said it was arrogant, but not to a fault. I was sure of my results and the truth of my conjecture, I just needed this machine built to obtain the experimental results that others would believe. The issue was simply to convince Fortunato to do it. Furthermore despite my copious theoretical calculations since gaining acclaim for my PhD dissertation, I had failed until now to publish a paper. Publish or perish, even I was not above it. So, with the pressure on, as they say, I sought out Fortunato.

I surmised that Fortunato was as uncomfortable speaking to me as I to him, although for diametrically opposite reasons. So, I was surprised when he agreed to build it for me. I say surprised, but it was really something a little different, it was surprised with something more, something which I could not identify at the time. Indeed so diffuse was it that it’s light fell upon me only in hindsight. It was something like, or I should say like there was something wrong. Yes, I think that was it. I called a slight whiff of that which I could not recognize, but if I could my mind would have said to me, be cautious.

As promised Fortunato completed the device in time for me to select subjects and collect data. I still remember the day when I first saw it. Fortunato called me with exceeding alacrity and told me I could come to see it at my convenience. The device was worn over the head, it looked in every manner like one of the old virtual reality helmets. Fortunato was extremely deferential and excited as he explained the device to me. I got the feeling he was bragging not to show off, rather seeking my approval. I can’t say that I was impressed, but I was certainly relieved and thank him for his trouble. I had the helmet in my hand and the only thing remaining to do was to calibrate and synchronize the settings. Fortunato had graciously offered to find one of his graduate students and bring it to my office when he was done, but it being late on a Friday at afternoon I volunteered to let him calibrate it on me. “Oh no, oh no, not you,” he protested. “The graduate student, let it be calibrated on the graduate student, then I will bring it to your office or your mailbox personally.” “Nonsense I replied, I am right here and it’s past four o’clock.” “This is beneath you Harrison,” he shrilled. But I was strangely feeling guilty imagining that I had made him work late for several weeks and now that he seemed to have found his place I actually was beginning to feel bad for him. “Look, let’s just do it,” I said putting it on my head. “No, no, no”, I could hear him say as he physically removed the device from my head and took it from me. We moved it in such a way as to leave me a slight cut on my chin. This did enrage me initially, but following Fortunato’s grotesque apologies I was able to excuse the incident as a combination of my frail physique combined with his overzealousness to acquiesce to me. But there was something that bothered me very deeply which I can’t precisely put my finger on. There was a speck of my blood on his white lab coat, just a spec that’s all. But what was he doing there, my blood on his lab coat? It didn’t belong there did it? Strange that it should bother me so, yet it did, that something of mine was now his. I maintained my composure, but I reprimanded him, “Now this is getting ridiculous. You said you’re graduate student won’t be back for an hour and it will only take us 15 min. to do this. Now I insist that we do this immediately.” With that there was a long pause and Fortunato at last yielded.

Finally, I thought as a slipped the helmet over my head and reclined back in the leather chair. The calibration consisted of setting up an infinite feedback loop. I connected a video camera to the device goggles and videotaped myself videotaping myself. The entire procedure took barely a minute and was hardly worth all the fuss Fortunato made of it. I should have been irritated, but I was pleased to have the device at my disposal now, and thanked Fortunato for it. The next step was now to randomize some subjects and collect the data. But for purposes of completeness and fairness I should describe this device now. In short it was a machine which was inexorably being constructed by all of mankind ever since the idea was first proposed by Alan Turing hundreds of years ago, namely that of preserving the consciousness of an animate person within the confines of an inanimate structure. I cannot claim sole credit for design of the device since as has been mentioned, it has been underway for centuries. Progress escaped researchers until they capitulated in their efforts with electronic micro circuitry and began human synapses and nerve fiber. In desperation some researchers even cloned entire human brains. Indeed there were farms of such brains and a great scandal arose after they were discovered. Although all of the cells of these brains were alive none ever attain consciousness. But none of these brains were anymore conscious than a calculator. Why not? Obviously it requires more than a brain to acquire consciousness. Perhaps this explains why that to this day neither has there been a successful brain transplant nor has any artificial intelligence device ever gained consciousness. What is the nature of these failures? Is the brain a necessary, but not sufficient condition for consciousness?

 

Fortunato for his part contributed by succeeding in building the actual  device which as has been mentioned escaped his predecessors for hundreds of years a thousand even, if you go all the way back to Alan Turing who first proposed it.

This machine succeeds by collecting the quantum information inside of the subject’s brain, and holding onto it if you will. By other means we create a digital image of the quantum information surrounding the subject. Then we abstract the digital data into mathematical sets. When I showed that there was a mapping from one set on to the other in a one-to-one manner it proved that my theory was correct. There was an informational fingerprint outside of the brain of the information contained within it. Of course my theory was correct. The experiment was as my calculations predicted. Namely that consciousness left a residual informational footprint throughout all of space. This verified experimentally what I already knew and had stated, that, while consciousness was constantly changing as neurons turned on and off within the brain, it was not confined to there.

 

Amanda

 

With that I had widened my acclaim, gained tenure, and bent my former nemesis Fortunato to my will. I have also unified two seemingly contradictory theories into one. I was a scientific sensation and should have been celebrating like a rock star, but I was deeply depressed and pondering suicide, again. Everything seemed so meaningless, again. I concluded that there is no objective standard to say what is meaningful or what isn’t, and this disturbed me greatly. What is the point, I thought? Life is too short to matter, in 100 years we’ll all be dead. Why not hasten the process and spare myself the anguish of the years in between. I was also still young, perhaps 25 or 26, but I had already lost hope and was not looking for it when quite unexpectedly it found me. For me hope came with striking blue eyes and strawberry red hair and answered to the name Amanda.

 

Amanda came to my office one drizzly day as I considered my above described predicament and it was as if someone suddenly turned on the sun. Until now my narrative has contained personal events but no romantic ones yet in that respect it remains entirely inclusive.

 

I had never given it much thought, my lack of female companionship that is. I had never thought my lack of companionship in general to be any kind of issue. Yet my overwhelming depression was clear evidence that I was in denial.  It’s not surprising that I am no Don Juan. I had been for all of my life a strict recluse, clumsy and awkward in manner of social situations. I had never spoken to a woman that I didn’t know let alone asked one out on a date. My only prior sexual experience was with another ugly misfit in high school who shared quantum mechanics with me. Mallory was only slightly overweight, but she had many more pimples on her but that she did even on her face. She must’ve been very desperate. I used to go to her home in the afternoons after school and before her parents returned from work. Before hand I wanted sex, afterwards I never wanted it again. Everything seemed so messy, the mingling of juices disgusted me. I’m sure that she was equally scarred, for we never spoke to each other again.

There was something more than clumsiness and play however I wasn’t aware of it at the time. It was cowardice, to expose myself to the risk of a heart break was unthinkable. On some level I was aware that such a thing would be impossible to recover from. So, the combination of fear and clumsiness conspired to keep me far from such things. Amanda hadn’t even completely entered the room and she changed all that.

 

It was the scent of an undeniably beautiful young woman that made me look up from my desk. And there was Amanda coming toward me, dressed with a long sleeved white blouse which was tucked neatly into a skirt, just tight enough to reveal the outline of the thighs of what must be a delicious young lap. She walked up to my desk and introduced herself and I replied with stunned silence.

She informed me that she was a graduate student in search of a major professor. Was it really time for me to have graduate students I mused. When I finally found my tongue I told her that I was still relatively new to the department and had never had a graduate student before. What I really meant was that I had no friends, that I didn’t like people and they didn’t like me, that she wouldn’t like me. And so I actually did my best to dissuade her. But I guess that I couldn’t resist leaving the door halfway open, telling her as she left, “If you are unable to find major professor please come see me and we will revisit the matter.” She left with such a bright smile that there was no need for lights in the room.

 

I could not stop thinking about her for the rest of the day. Nor did it occur to me that I had never thought of anyone or anything outside of my work for such a period of time. This was unusual, amazing even. But I had done everything in my power to dissuade her so; I shouldn’t be surprised that she didn’t return.

 

I was still absorbed in her as I walked past a motorcycle shop and another odd thought, and impulse really; I was going to buy a motorbike. Now this was ridiculous on the face of it. I had always criticized motorcycle riders as reckless even more so in the wet slippery environment of the University, where it rains more than 60% of the time. But I knew I could afford one so I walked in on two feet and rode out on a motorcycle.

 

I can’t say what it was that made me make such a drastic break with normality. Was it the strong influence of the site and sent of Amanda, was I suddenly at long last so weary of my dreary existence that I took action to alter it. I cannot say. But it was an interesting relationship that I was unknowingly about to undertake.

 

You see the motorcycle was physically the antithesis to me. Where I was weak and awkward the motorbike was powerful and sleek. I was afraid of the beast. It seemed that if I even looked at the throttle it would yank me uncontrollably down the street against my will. Finally I had met something that I had to adjust to rather than it to me, and that thing was a machine. But in surprisingly little time to adjust to it I did, becoming familiar with its sounds and feels. I learned to anticipate the turn and lean with the machine, feeling myself more and more at one with it, until we were not man and machine, but a single being, part man and part machine. Getting on and off the bike is much like going in between consciousness and unconsciousness. When I was riding it the singular man beast was alive and when I got off it that beast simply systems ceased to exist until I rode it again. I wondered if I could learn to adjust to the machine would it be possible to do the same with Amanda.

 

Amanda was now officially my graduate student. I was not supposed to have any romantic attraction to her nor did I exhibit any to the best of my knowledge. But I could hardly breathe and had heart palpations when she drew near. This was hardly objective. The only objective observation I could make was that her mathematics was weak, perhaps too weak to be a graduate student, my graduate student. This made no more of a difference to me than the policy precluding professors from being romantically involved with their students. The practice was as forbidden as it was universal. I cannot accurately describe what it was like to be with Amanda, to be near enough to touch her without touching her. Like the motorcycle Amanda aroused feelings and sensations unknown to me and to this day unexplainable. Unlike the motorcycle however I could not adjust to her, could not read her mannerisms. Was she being flirtatious or was it just my imagination, should I make my intentions known or keep my distance. Unlike anything else that I was accustomed to there was no reasoning it out. Nor did I have friends with whom to consult. I was as friendless as an adult as it was as a child. In fact I was the same friendless child. It was becoming painfully obvious that if I was going to know whether or not Amanda could be mine, then I would have to take a chance.

 

Yes I would have to take the chance one way or another. Thoughts of Amanda were taking up huge blocks of my day and I was accomplishing no science. Beyond that I simply couldn’t bear the torture any longer. And yet I was a coward. In fact it was she who was the aggressor. I suppose there was really no other way. I was as inadequate at romance as I was a genius as a scientist.

 

It all happened very simply. We were in the lab alone together when either by accident or on purpose she dropped a beaker. Now the laboratory floors are rubber so there was no danger of it breaking, but together we rushed to catch it before it hit. Instead it bounced with a mutter thud against the will rubber matting. She laughed a girlish little left that like everything else she did lit up the room. She was the only light in my life, but the only light I needed. We reached for the beaker together and for the first time I touched the softness that was her hands. I paused to look at them, they were small even with respect to my own and her fingers long and perfectly sculpted. I examined them enraptured and unexpectedly I felt her soft kiss on my cheek. That could easily have been the finest moment of my life. Then she stood up smiling and laughing replaced the beaker on the counter as if nothing had happened just as other graduate students arrived.

 

I will divulge my brief relationship with Amanda, or was it a lengthy one? I don’t know, I have trouble remembering now, but I shall divulge only as much as it is pertinent to the main discourse. Indeed I am incapable of divulging anymore it being of such a personal nature and I being such an impersonal one. But our relationship did go on, I’m just not sure anymore for how long.

 

I remember after that first kiss looking forward to a conference at one of the universities where the weather was warm. I had been so distracted by Amanda that I hadn’t even a new paper to present; fortunately for me I was able to conjure up something on the spot that was more than adequate. I imagined that after the conference Amanda and I could spend the week there, going to the beach in the day and making love in our room at night. I had never had good sex before, they say there is no other kind, but I can attest otherwise. So, as I straddled my motorcycle for the ride south to the beaches warm weather and Amanda, the only thing is high as my spirits was my expectations. Amazingly I was not to be disappointed.

 

I have no idea what talk I gave at the seminar, but I will never forget Amanda’s loving blue eyes in the first row and her face flushing with approval of me. There she was, beautiful Amanda waiting for me. We had planned not to commence our interlude until the seminar had finished, but that night after my talk there was no waiting. I sent a message to Amanda feigning some work for her to do. But when she arrived in my suite she didn’t leave it until the morning. My first lovemaking must have been a bit awkward to her; I’m sure I was jerky and rushed things a bit. But she, her body felt exquisite. As I sank my loins between her thighs I wanted to stop time. I never did fall asleep that night, instead just watched her sleeping in disbelief of the beauty lying in my bed.

 

On the following day, the last day of the seminar, I was not scheduled to speak, so I took Amanda to the beach. As I massage oil into her silky pure skin I realized that not only had I not ever been this happy, that I had never until this moment been happy. I spent at least 15 min. caressing her stomach between her belly button to her bikini bottoms, then a little lower. All I could think about was getting her back to the room to make love with her again. But amazingly we were the only ones on the beach. A city beach on a sunny day, it should be crowded I thought, but except for us there was no one. I did not ponder the issue for long, but wondered with anticipation whether she would accept me inside her right here. She was instantly terrified, and pushed on my hips with her soft hands, but after her cursory inspection of the beach her expression turned to that of the shy schoolgirl that she was. Her hands slipped my swimsuit below my waist and rested on my lower back rather than pulled as I slid inside her. There it was again, the exquisite feel to her body that I could never have imagined on my own. But this time with each push I wanted to get closer to her, to get not just inside her, to be one with her. I can’t be any more specific than that. I’m sure it has something to do with the dissolution of ego boundaries, but the only way I can describe what I wanted is to say I wanted to be one with her. In fact I think I achieved it for however fleeting of a second it was that we orgasm together there on what should have been a crowded beach on a sunny day.

I rolled to my side and we were still huffing and puffing. I could see our sweat mingling there on her breasts in my sweat pooled in her flat naval and I imagined our juices were inside her.  I was getting really carried away now the remainder of the week must have continued in much the same way. I say it, “must have,” because I really can’t remember. From then on our lives mingle as our juices had on that day, I kept in my apartment, but spent all my free time with her the dorm at the University. I don’t know if colleagues and students were aware of our relationship nor did I care. All I knew was that, if this is love then how is it possible I have lived this many years without it.

I was shaving one and the hot water steamed up her mirror. I could not resist writing with my finger: I am you, in the fog, in doing so I managed to cut myself. It was just a minor cut just like the one Fortunato had inflicted upon me. Such a minor cut but hardly worth mentioning, but it did return the thought to me that I had when I saw my blood on his lab coat, that something that was months once mine was now his. I dismissed the thought immediately, but when I looked back at the mirror, what I had written there had faded away.

 

There are many things about Amanda that I cannot remember clearly. Her purity and her beauty are not among them, but I can’t remember for how long we were in love or even knew each other. It seems to me by the strength of my attachment to her that it was a long time. But it may not have been. We only have our memories to be sure of what has happened to us and I have scantly few remaining. I think it must have been some time, or was it a short time after that, I am not sure, but things changed.

I was still a stranger to love, unaware that this feeling of love that she had made me discover was capable of changing. I was unaware that there was duality to it, that the blade cut both ways. I began to feel the sting of that duality when I saw her one day walking out of Fortunato’s office, smiling and laughing. Not just smiling and laughing, but in that giggle-ish schoolgirl way that was reserved for me. But I’m sure it was much more to do with Fortunato than Amanda.

That’s all it was, just her coming from his office. Fortunato that treacherous wretch my mind said aloud. When Amanda came into my office I asked her immediately what the meaning of being in his office was. It was nothing she replied innocently, and sweetly. But I suspected more, and admonished her not to go in there again. “You are either his graduate student or mine, not both of ours.” She seemed genuinely perplexed and I thought that I had been too harsh. I think that was the end of the matter. No, no, wait, there was more, and there must have been more. I can’t recall if it was the same incident or if I caught her once again in his office. But those sweet loving feelings I held for her just seconds ago were banished completely, replaced by hateful ones. What was once completely beautiful was now completely ugly, without gradation without warning. I couldn’t remember anything like it since I was an infant. Once as my mother was feeding me for some unknown reason she put me down. At that moment I remember clearly the rage and hate I felt for her. My sainted mother yet I remember that rage and hatred clearly and it lasted until she picked me up and help me to her breast again. Then as instantaneously she was my sweet loving mother and all was well again. Is this what love is like, then I want none of it. Ha, I want none of it but I want to chase Amanda out of my office and beg her to come back. Whatever I said sent her away and I felt such misery I cannot explain. I vacillated violently between keeping my pride in standing firm and chasing her down and begged her to forgive me.

I was totally new to this storm, to my heart pounding, to being completely vulnerable. My body had been weak and crippled, but my mind was keen and my heart always in my grasp. Now it was controlled by another. So, I sank into my office chair to try to do what the entire human race has tried and failed at one time or another, to make sense of love.

I say I set out to try to make sense of love, but I wondered out to somewhere else. I relived everything, all of my experiences with Amanda as best as I could. Remembering every physical detail, every sound every scent. I did not make sense of love, but I settled upon an inescapable and unsettling conclusion. The conclusion was that I had never really touched Amanda. Oh sure, my body had touched her body many times. I have described her soft skin, her beautiful eyes, and her luscious loins. But all that I experienced of her I experience within the well defined perimeter of my brain.

When I say that I saw her, what do I really mean?  What I mean of course is that the light reflected from her body into my eye and it was focused at a spot on the back of my brain. That is where I experienced her. So, I perceived to her as “out there,” but I experience her “in here.” But none of that mattered, for when the department secretary notified me that Amanda was no longer my graduate student I could not have restrained myself for a second.

It was drizzling and cold as I straddled my bike, to go to her apartment and begged her to, “remain as my graduate student.” I did not consider what would happen if she refused. The suspense alone was killing me. It did not, but a car nearly did.

 

End Amanda

 

 

I still don’t know how this happened, but I had just gotten on my bike when a car, impossible he jumped off of its maglev track and crashed into the car parked in front of me, which pinned me and my bike to the car parked behind me. The pain was as excruciating as a shock. The whole incident seemed to materialize on top of me. Where did this car come from, how did it jump off its track and how was I taken so unaware? Now my leg was pinned between the two vehicles above the left knee and I could think of nothing, nothing not even Amanda I could think of nothing save the pain until I went unconscious.

 

Although it was Amanda’s face that I lost consciousness to, Fortunato’s was the first I saw upon regaining consciousness. At the same instant that I gained consciousness and saw Fortunato’s face I felt agonizing pain in my leg, pain so bad that I checked to see if my left leg had not been amputated above the knee. I felt there with my hand, then I crossed my feet and feeling my left foot with my right was assured that all of my leg was still there. But for the pain I almost wished it wasn’t. When I could finally look, all I could see was an ugly mangled mess that had once been my leg. So, it was a long time before I looked at it again.

 

I languished in the hospital for many weeks, in and out of consciousness, but constantly in pain. Amanda was never there, I had no friends or family my only relations were with colleagues and not one of them save for Fortunato came to visit. Fortunato astonishingly was my constant companion during this time. Indeed becoming of my cheerleader and good spirits coach all through the agonizing rehabilitation process. I can’t begin to explain the intensity of that pain. It was unnaturally intense it seems. It was worse than the initial injury itself which I had thought impossible.

 

But eventually and again I am confused as to the length of time, but eventually my leg did heal to the point that I could at least walk. By that time I had come to consider Fortunato as my friend and it was he drove me home from the hospital. He offered to stay with me in my apartment, but the dark confines of that place were, especially in my post Amanda life, mine alone. So, I bade him goodbye at the curb, and went in there alone, to be alone.

I did not wish to be alone, I wished to be alone with Amanda. But she seemingly vanished without a trace, I was unable to contact her or find any information about her, indeed it was as if she never existed at all.

 

I was still less than 30 years old I think, and I suppose it was as good a time as any for my first midlife crisis. My leg had been crushed, my girlfriend gone, and I had contributed nothing to the literature since, before the accident and I don’t know how long that is. Although my leg hurt badly, it was a pain with which I can deal and I could at least still walk. As for my career I could not have cared less if I never had another thought about consciousness theory or ever published again. But Amanda, well missing her hurt just like my leg at its worst. But unlike my leg it wasn’t getting any better with time. This was perplexing indeed for in matters of the heart time is like distance. The further away you are the less devastating the effects of the blast. Yet what did I know of matters of the heart? All I knew for certain was that I wasn’t getting any better, nor was I hopeful that I would improve. Seeing no other way out I resolved to end my misery on the spot. How was I going to accomplish it? The answer was immediately obvious, there were many methods available to me in my laboratory. So, I rushed as fast as I could with my dangling injured leg dragging behind to my lab, considering as I went what I was about to do. By the time I arrived at the lab I was more resolved than ever to do it, but when I opened the door and went in I could see the spot on the workbench where Amanda and I first kissed. There on the floor was the rubber mat where the beaker fell and we both rushed to get it. A sudden sense of loss such as I have never known crashed over me like a tsunami , I felt my heart ripped from my chest and got shortness of breath. And I thought I was going to die on the spot and be spared the trouble of killing myself. But in the end all I did was fall to the mat and cry. I was more resolved than ever to end myself in my misery immediately and was set to do it appropriately on the spot. But then something happened, a subtle shift in perspective I suppose, but I saw myself. It was a clear and vivid, not an outer body experience, but perfect forgetting of my body. Then I asked the strangest of questions, who is looking at me?

It was a question as simple as it was curious. In the seeing of myself, am I the subject or the object , or both? I have been asking the question who am I for my entire life, but I never thought about it as I did that one time. I had never seen the self-referential error of my reasoning until that moment. What a strange moment to have a breakthrough. It was however I have no doubt the only thing that stayed my hand. Then I reconsidered my relationship with Amanda, how I would get her back. It was the answer to that question which would bring her back to me. For it had not been with my heart, nor certainly my masculine good looks, that had brought Amanda to me in the first place. No, I had won her with my rational mind and it was with that that I should win her back. So, it was to mend my broken heart that I resolved to do my greatest work.

 

My previous work concentrated on the space inside the brain, to the quantum mechanical forces within the neuron itself. It’s conclusion was that, I am my thoughts and they are temporary. Yet my experiences with Amanda made me doubt this. I am my thoughts, but there was a second when I was her thoughts as well. Indeed there were moments, just nanoseconds when I imagined we were one. After all, I had written it in the steam on the mirror, I am you. So, the idea that I change the, “I that I am,” whenever I change my thoughts seemed scientifically unintuitive. Also a calculator or circuit board has electrical firing across the circuits but it is not conscious. But what’s the difference?

I pondered these questions often, alone in my dank apartment, alone in my office, alone walking in the rain. When night as it drizzled drearily outside, I wrote down the words, who am I, I strip of paper and manipulated it between my fingers. I turned it upside down, folded it and twisted it into a Mobius band, without tearing the strip of course. In doing so I observed the words which represent the single thought, who am I? Then I had another subtle shift in perception. I realized that I had always asked the question, who am I like ant on the paper scribbling down the words which represent the thought.  I had always been the one asking and the one being asked about, but I had not realized it. But now I perceived that I was simply the observer of the thought which I observed from the outside the piece of paper on which it was written. I was afforded a higher perspective, from above the battle field if you will. Now I was the observer who was neither the subject nor the object of being. My subtle shift had given me an entirely new direction in which to search for consciousness.

 

In 1913 Bertrand Russell posed the following question. If a barber in a town shaves all men who do not shave themselves, who shapes the barber? The paradox is obvious, if the barber shaves himself then he does not shave himself because he shaves only those men who do not. If he does not shave himself he must shave himself by definition. To remedy the paradox you must remove the barber from the set, i.e. the town. Let us add an additional requirement to the above question. Suppose the barber is the only man in the town. You can see the impossibility of the situation immediately. So it is with the question, who am I?  Am I the one asking the question, or am I the one who the question is being asked about? You see with consciousness you must remove yourself from the set, i.e. the body, because until you do your frame of reference is self-referential. But how do you remove yourself?

We turn to Kirk Godel’s incompleteness theorem, which proves that there are systems and theorems within them which are true but cannot be proven within the system. They can be proven only by going outside the system. Thomas Hora proved that reality is such a system. Reality cannot be experienced it can only be realized. Since consciousness is a subset of reality then it too can only be realized. Reality can only be realized and by realizing it one goes outside of the system, i.e. the body. From that point on I stopped looking for consciousness in the neurons for I realized that only thoughts drip from the brain, but that there was no consciousness to be found down there. I am not the one asking nor the one being asked about, rather I am the observer who is neither. I am the observer and I do not reside within the body.

Now that I had a working hypothesis, I was still very far removed from a proof. What I realized is that what I had thought was consciousness was just a representation of the world via our senses in the brain. If there is an external reality to consciousness, then all that perceived reality may be an illusion. I stumbled off looking for a direction and fell upon meditation. I not only meditated, but I studied meditation. John Dunne showed that consciousness itself is only momentary. It is a sequence or quanta if you will, of moments of consciousness, with each quanta lasting less than 1/64 of a second. A very advanced meditator is capable of detecting the switch from quanta to quanta. I conjecture that it may continue right down to the plank scale.

Is consciousness quantized or continuous? It seems to me that it didn’t matter. I thought the answer would come out in the wash so to speak if I could just show that consciousness was not confined to the body.

I would build upon the work of Italian astrophysicist Paloa Zizzi, who calculated that the universe itself may have had a conscious moment within nanoseconds of the Big Bang. I found this Big WOW theory an attractive proposition because I had already shown that consciousness was ubiquitous throughout the universe. What I wanted to do now was prove that the universe itself was conscious and that the observer of each of us is part of the universe at large and remains so even when our individual bodies are gone. This would certainly prove that the observer was not the body.

As I progressed Fortunato was constantly at my side, pestering me for clues as to my progress and with some of his own ridiculous proposals as well. I say ridiculous not because they are provably false, recall Godel , rather there is just no reason what so ever to assume that they are true. The most prevalent one comes from none other than Descartes who theorized in the 16th century that, “We could be all nothing more than brains in a vat, manipulated by an evil genius. I conceded to Fortunato that this could be an in fact the case, but barring any evidence that it was the case, I implored him to leave me in peace so that I could progress on my work. But right until the end Fortunato would not relent. He would call or e-mail every, on odd days he would quiz me about my progress, I need even days he would aggressively engage me in debate about the, brains in a vat scenario. I’m afraid I lost my temper with him on more than one occasion. I feel sorry about it now, but he was so persistent, that I felt I should never get any work done otherwise.

Eventually I did get my work done. I did not exactly discover what the observer is, but by proving that the brain is just an organ through which consciousness is detected, the same way the eyes are organs which detect light, I made my great scientific contribution. It was my greatest paper to date and I won much acclaim and many academic prizes for it. I also won another prize, a prize not described by the usual metrics of academia or science, Amanda.

I noticed that Amanda was among the invited guests where I was to give a presentation. She had received her PhD in consciousness theory and I was certain she was attending as much to be with me as to hear the presentation of my work.

 

As we have discussed I am an arrogant man. But prior to this presentation I was not so sure of myself. Of course the science was beyond reproach, but I kept rehearsing and re-rehearsing my presentation to make it better than perfect, better to impress her with. I remember listening nervously as I was introduced to people who already knew me or of me, wondering as I rose and limped to the podium to speak whether I would be in her eyes a failure or triumphant. But I could never have believed what happened when I finally delivered my speech.

 

The first thing I did at the podium was search for Amanda. Her beautiful blue eyes stood out even in all those faces but I could not tell if they even gazed upon me, I could not tell if she was impressed with me at all. But as I got into my presentation I began to relax, I even forgot about the constant pain in my knee. I wasn’t even looking for Amanda, but she seemed to have turned her blue eyes on like a flashlight aimed straight at me. I looked at her and each time those eyes were upon me in a way which I imagined could only say, come hither. I was so delighted that I nearly skipped from one end of the whiteboard to the other. I could hardly wait to mingle afterward, mingle my colleagues immediately after and caress Amanda later.

 

But there in the middle of my presentation just as I removed my eyes from hers for the umpteenth time I noticed something that I had not seen since the night my parents died. Something in the room above the audience, something dark beyond dark, but that cannot be explained, something growing and coming toward me. I was as terrified as I was confused, for no one else seemed to perceive it but me. What they could not perceive I could not ignore, you are about to fall in, my mind screamed. The self talk bounced from denial to acceptance of what I thought I saw, and reverberated violently in my mind. The last thing I looked for before the darkness engulfed me was Amanda, but she was not there. I put my arms over my head and fell down.

 

I have a strange sense that much more when time, but that’s all that I can remember. I say that I had a strange sense, but in reality I think it’s more correct to say that I just felt strange. The next memory I have is sitting alone at my desk with just the dim light coming from outside to illuminate my office. The screen on my desktop was black and I could see in its pale reflection the site of a very old man. How old am I, I thought. I had the strangest thought then that I would find someone and ask. That’s when I noticed that it must’ve been very late because there was no one else there. There was no one in the office suite. I looked outside of my office window, no one. No one at all on campus, that’s strange I thought, getting up to investigate. But as I rose to my feet I did so slowly in great pain, the kind of pain an old man would feel. I began to wonder if I was dreaming. I determined to go outside and find someone, a student, a police officer, anyone.

My knee was throbbing and I noticed as I passed a mirror the shriveled skin and stark white hair that was now mine. How do they age so abruptly? How old am I? Did I have some strange neurological affliction, like anterograde amnesia that prevented me from remembering daily events, for more than a couple of minutes? Then a new thought came to mind, that my old enemy the darkness had come and this time taken me. That now I was alone in some dark alternate universe at the bottom of the black hole. But how could I have imagined that what was happening to me was much, much worse than any of that?

I walked outside and it was with some pain that I descended the steps of the building to my office. The trees and grass were green, but as I have said there was no one, no one in the other buildings no cars, no airplanes in the sky. There were street lights and lights in other buildings, but none of their light fell upon me. Strangely though there was a dim light dedicated solely to me. It was as if I walked around inside and out with a spotlight shining din around me. I walked over to a bench and sat down to consider my predicament.

Although I was alone, I appeared to be in the familiar surroundings of the University. Very well I thought classes will commence in the morning and surely people will be around. Then I can find someone, hopefully someone I knew and inquire as to what was going on. Then it occurred to me that perhaps there was no time in this new universe. According to my watch it was 3 AM. I waited until it read 3:01 AM to see if time passed. Then I spit in the grass just to be certain that it did. Once I verified that time passed I resolved to stubbornly wait for sunrise to bring if not people, then at least daylight.

But when 8:30 AM came neither without the sun, nor of another person I gave up. So, where am I now, what am I now? I went to my lab. Walking indoors I noticed that the corridors were lit where I walked, but not in front or behind me, or around the corners. I began to fancy again that I was in this alternate dark universe of my lifelong nightmares, again if only I could have been so lucky. Then I heard the sound of a single drop of water hitting the floor, amplified. The sound repeated at regular intervals fading off in a certain direction which I could not help following.

I was tired when I got to the lab. The exertion was much for the old man that I suddenly become. My body had not changed so much since my motorcycle accident. I wasn’t afraid yet, my inquisitive mind was still more curious than cowed.

What I noticed immediately was that the lab looks different. It hasn’t looked this way and at least a decade. It looked exactly the same as it did that day Fortunato and I calibrated my consciousness mapping device. In fact there it was, on the lab bench. Odd, I haven’t seen that in years. I reached for it with my aged and decrepit hands. I ran my fingers along the inner rim, there was blood where it fit over the chin. My blood I thought for some reason. Then I looked down on the floor and there was a pool of blood. The blood gushed out from some unknown source deep beneath the floor. Staggering back against the workbench I noticed that the light was now coming from the back corner of the laboratory. I went to investigate unconsciously taking the device with me. I went slowly, there seemed to be much in the way, forcing me to navigate around desks, boxes of beakers and such, and other such light equipment. The lab seemed to be much larger than it ever had before, but there at its farthest recesses in a tank about 4 mł illuminated by a light from I know not where was a brain and spinal cord. Curious, I wonder, who left this here, was all that I could think. Then I glanced down at the device in my hands I had almost forgotten it. It was still dripping blood, my blood. Presently I placed it on. Playing was an old, old digital recording. It was of me the day Fortunato and I first calibrated it and that’s odd. It looks different than I remember. I can see myself placing the device over my head. I remember that Fortunato and I quarreled over who would calibrate it. I remember that he had pulled it off me quite forcefully at some point cutting my chin. But this is not what was being shown me at all. Ah, but I am still smart and have already put it together. I need to watch it no further to know it all, but how can I watch it no further. I see Fortunato not removing the device from my head, but punching me in the chin instead. I was knocked unconscious and have never regained it since.

 

I was so physically weak and feeble that even Fortunato could overpower me and overpower me he did. It seems unnatural that one such as I could be out done by likes of Fortunato. But it appears to be so, that a slave in intellect be the master of treachery. For I realize that the brain that I look upon is me and that for all these many years it has been. There was no Amanda, there was no motorcycle wreck, no conference, no nothing since the afternoon that long ago when seemingly nothing happened. I see that all of my experiences given me by Fortunato. But he could not resist before he died revealing his treachery, his superiority to me. It is an infinite loop that I am in. How long between one and the next one, why do I ask? How do I get out? I don’t know, I know only that the loop is to begin again. I see all so clearly now and it is dark, so dark.

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Conciousness is all there is in the universe. information in the brain gets mixed up with information outside the brain. when the body dies, the information or conscioness that was in the body is preserved outside of the body.

The spirit, not the body is the altar of truth.

Trials are lessons that you failed to learn presented once again. All distress and any difficulty is but a chance to choose again.

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I because of my superior capabilities, or perhaps only for my life experiences, for I must be factual and include this possibility, am able to take the view from above. I can see the forest without being blinded by the trees.

 

 

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everything dies, where I wrote in the frost I am you

 

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http://www.activistpost.com/2012/02/911-foreknowledge-caught-on-computers.html

 

information comes in bits, discrete units.it can not bedestroyed. when you erase files from the computer they are not destroyed rather are transferred to another environment.

The position and velocity of molecules in space is information. The information is inaccessible because it’s stored with too many degrees of freedom, information that is hitting are inaccessible is called entropy.

 

 

 

You must not do you must undo.

 

the thing that you are is without form.

 

Should we erase painful memories?

 

http://www.salon.com/2011/12/31/should_we_erase_painful_memories/

 

 

 

 

Reincarnation is just atomic recycling. For example, if one particle, such as an electron, is switching from one quantum state to another, it may be the same as if a bit is changed from one value (0, say) to the other (1). A single bit suffices to describe a single quantum switch of a given particle. As the universe appears to be composed of elementary particles whose behavior can be completely described by the quantum switches they undergo, that implies that the universe as a whole can be described by bits. Every state is information, and every change of state is a change in information (requiring the manipulation of one or more bits). http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Digital_physics

 

Our judgments color the way we see. We cannot know truth through judgment. Willingness to let go of judgment reveals our habitual ways of thinking, so we can choose to let go of that thinking and see through a purified mind. That allows us to see purely.

 

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Desperate, so desperate to save that which will remain of me. But what is the point for tomorrow I die why should it matter tonight what shall become of the memory of me?

 

 

 

 

 

The Gladiator Book I 3rd draft 11-30-2011
Start on page xx to xx

jesus, spurrio and the money changers. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdMkTejZzzc&NR=1


Tell yourself when you make a mistake that was just another silly mistake I must be really afraid of love today.
i am telling you the truth, no master is greater than his slave, no master is free of his slave.
Nothing true can be taken down, Nothing untrue can be put up, Herein lies the peace of God.

The Gladiator — Book 1

The Gladiator was exhausted, but was still able to bring his shield up to parry the triad as though he were reaching for an apple from a bowl of fruit. Though the body was depleted the mind was disciplined, he did not panic. This block had been in time, but he was slowing down. He felt it absorbed into his forearm then glance off of his shield, instantly he countered with the gladius in his right hand bringing it down and across at a 45 degree angle, lurching forward with his right foot after the swing, too late, the Retiarius was far removed. He circled around to Spurio Pompili ‘s left side, feigned another thrust, stepped back, then thrust the triad at his face with lightening speed, Spurio Pompili was barely able to avoid it with a combination of a rising block with his shield and bending his knees while ducking his head under it. Close! There was no counter this time, he was too exhausted. The two combatants circled each other warily in sand that burned under the scorching sun. Spurio Pompili , sweating profusely was losing the battle of attrition. He was the heaver and more powerful of the two, but was less agile. He was well accustomed to suffering the wounds of combat under the intense heat of Roma’s sun, he had been trained well. Discipline and indifference wove a sturdy pattern in the Gladiator’s psyche, but training also taught that the body had its limits and Spurio Pompili knew that his was fast approaching its own. Sweat stung his eyes and he could no longer ignore the screaming cramps in his legs, making them ever heavier by the second. The Retiarius feigned to his head again which brought his shield high again, but the effort was enormous, his left shoulder burned. When he dropped the shield too low a point of the triad found its mark again piercing the forehead, making it bloodier. He was locked in a downward spiral toward a slow death of a thousand cuts. Spurio would make a life or death decision, on his feet, with blood burning his eyes and cramps setting in. He would likely regret either action, but he had to decide and training took over again, he dropped the shield, it fell with a muffled sound, pushing into the sand like a stone in the water.
Without his shield Spurio Pompili was free to move about, but was exposed to the Trident. Now the retirarius swung the net at his head, forcing Spurio Pompili to duck his head, but now he saw an opening as the retirarius’s follow through exposed his rib cage and Spurio did not hesitate he jabbed his gladius at the open ribs like it was a piece of meat. As the blood poured, Spurio Pompili hoped he had broken a rib, but he had only bruised it. The retirarius feeling as though all of his ribs were broken brought both elbows in to protect the badly punctured ribs. It was involuntary leaving him momentarily rooted, exposed to Spurio Pompili ‘s sword, but he was too exhausted to follow-up. Instead he moved around to his right, keeping a safe distance while desperately trying to take control of his breathing. It was something he would not regain until one of them was dead. The Retirarius however seemed already to have endured the worst of it as he cast the net over Spurio Pompili’s head and moved closer with the Trident while the net was still in the air. Spurio Pompili sliced at the open net, collecting up harmlessly to the ground and in one move parried the Trident at the last second. The retirarius deftly spun back, reached his net on the ground, and returned to face Spurio Pompili squarely. The near misses were taking their toll.
Exhausted Spurio Pompili moved back, circling to his right trying to buy time, but the retirarius had much different intentions, he pressed the attack. Stepping backward Spurio Pompili felt the net wrapping around his left ankle, calmly he lifted his leg stepped in and thrust his sword, but the Retiarius moved back out of range and deftly countered with his three-pronged spear. Spurio with his shield long since dropped could only block it by jamming the point of his sword in it between two of the three prongs. It was a close call and he could feel the clinging of the three-pronged sphere against the iron anklet of his left leg. Spurio clenched his free left fist and delivered a crushing blow to the Retirarius’s jaw. The Retirarius staggered back and dropped his spear. The instinct was now for Spurio to plunge his gladius deep into his opponent’s chest, but fatigue from an hour of combat beneath the scorching Roman sun made him hesitate. It was fatigue that forced him to drop his shield, and it now intensified allowing the swifter Retiarius to roll on the ground toward his trident and come up with it standing. Spurio was as disheartened as he was astonished. He had to retrieve his shield. Facing his opponent squarely, in a left forward stance with his sword firmly in his right hand Spurio shifted to his left, the Retiarius would not so easily allowing him to. This time the when the fishermen threw his net around Spurio’s left ankle it latched on, and he pulled it straight. Spurio staggered but caught himself. But the fishermen buried the center prong of his Trident into Spurio’s straightened left knee. The excruciating pain electrified him, but it lasted only long enough to intensify his pain. Spurio looked at the blood gushing from his leg that was bent backwards and fell back hard between his shoulder blades. He lay on the ground in the position of a man being crucified. He was going to be skewered. The Retiarius moved to Spurio’s left and was standing between him and his shield. He moved in cautiously for the kill, making sure that Spurio was too injured and fatigued to counter him. Satisfied he began his approach, but when he moved in Spurio saw something that made him fear both life and death and doubt all that he had till this moment believed and known. It made him lift his head and through distraction and fatigue his training held sway, the gladius was still in his hand. So, as the sky behind the Retiarius began to drop out of existence Spurio had to make a split second decision, was death the greater disaster or was it life. When a black lightning bolt sliced across the late afternoon sky it seemed that death, was more welcome, but a second after when whole black chunks of the sky were ripped away showing only starless space behind, that was most uncertain. From his back Spurio brought his sword across his body and the Retiarius lost his left leg above the knee, on the backstroke it was the right leg that ripped away, just below the kneecap. Spurio never saw that which he had done in less than a second, focused as he was on the sky falling away in slabs, as though the earth were a room in the sky, whose walls came down like papaya in a storm to reveal a darkness so total that all light was taken in there and from there none returned. Then as the advancing darkness opened it’s ugly mouth and drew near he put his head back down and clenched the sand with all that remained of him feeling the light sprinkle of blood that dappled around his body. Then he turned away and shut his eyes tight hoping that the darkness inside his lids could protect him from the darkness on the other side of them.
Lucilla couldn’t unclench her eyes, fully expecting that when she opened them the Retirarius would have skewered her husband to death. She never would have reopened them, except for the faint cries of her husband’s name. Pompili, Pompili. She could believe that he had won again even less than the crowd. Slowly, cautiously, not to be deceived she opened them focused. Her jaw shuddered as she strained in the distance to see the unthinkable, her husband, alive. She was in no condition for rational thought as tears streamed down her face and drool unabashedly dribbled from the corner of her mouth, her love for her husband matched only by her pure joy to see him alive. She brushed back tears only to confirm the vision. Then as he lay there prostrate on the ground about the length of her thumb writhing in agony her joy became enmeshed with his pain. His pain, it was an altogether new experience for her, to him for that matter. The joy was not subdued, but added to by his pain becoming hers. She could see her husband’s body and feel his pain, but she could not see the darkness he had just seen, could not know that for him everything had changed, and changed much more than if the Retiarius had just killed him.
She was on her feet, moving down to where they were taking her husband. Her only thought was to rush to her husband, to tend to his wounds. She needed to comfort and take care of him, though even that was as much for herself as for his needs. But for now the Romans and iron gates still separated her from him. Yet Lucilla blamed Jesus not the Romans for her husband’s slavery, her separation from him, and the horrendous tortures he endured, suffering which she could not even think about, along the brutal trail that led him from intellectual discussions on to spiritual enlightenment in Judea, to a bloody gladiator pit in Rome. Now, angry, grieving, and terrified for the life of her husband she was pleased that he had been crucified; now she felt he was deserving of it, making it less painful to her. Even in death it was Jesus not the Romans separating her from her husband. But just one more victory and that would be no more, Vettius had sworn it personally and contracted legally. Just one more victory and her husband was again a free man to be with her forever. That sweet thing, she and her husband together again, it was so close that it was almost real, she could almost touch it, but with tears still streaming and her body wracked at once by both agony and rapture, as she watched her husband screaming being carried away she knew that for now forever would have to wait.
Moving down she kept her eyes only on the stones beneath her feet. She bumped shoulders and slipped in between one faceless person, then another. Moving in and out of the light as she descended, men stared at her as she passed unaware. Someone else moved her body through the maze of debauched fanatics intoxicated by wine and blood of the games; she was merely a passenger in it.
She was completely in the shade now, though the air was still hot having been cooked by the sun all day. A fight broke out between two men gambling, but it sounded vicious, guttural, like the lions that had been fighting in the arena earlier. She looked up just in time to see one man’s face ripped open by the club brought down from the heavens. Blood splashed like a rock thrown into a still pond. Then others gathered round as the violence spread. She fell back against a wall, scarcely able to stand and stared hypnotically at the conflict before her, unable to comprehend it, unable to take her eyes from it.
There was violence that day too, that day in Judea when they first saw Jesus in the Temple where the money changers plied their trade. There was always a foul air about them she thought, the cloud of discontent which they breathed out as they took advantage of one group or another. On this day they exploited the Jews who had to buy their silver coins to pay the temple tax. The Temple tax gave the money changers a monopoly which is used to bleed the market for all that it would bear. Eventually the poorest Jews became desperate and then angry and they raised their voices, when they had to give over all of their possessions to the money changers, for which to pay the temple tax.
She remembered how suddenly, Spurio took action, turning over their tables and letting their coins spread around. Then he made a whip out of cords, and drove all from the temple area, both sheep and cattle; he scattered the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables. To those who sold doves he said, “Get these out of here! How dare you turn this temple into a market!”
Spurio was a giant who towered over all men there in the market, in all of Judea. She felt proud and righteous watching her strong, good husband doing the right thing. And it was the right thing, what could be more right, what else could a right thing be. That was when everything that she thought she knew about right and wrong changed, that was when Jesus came.
Absorbed in the actions of her husband she didn’t notice another man of slight build who was also watching until that man had walked over to where her husband was scattering the coins and driving both the sheep and the cattle from the Temple. She could see him then, but could not hear him. But whatever he said to her husband it stopped him there like a stone statue. Then in what seemed like the longest second later for reasons Lucilla couldn’t understand Spurio let the money changer’s coin box slip out of his large grasp and fall with a clunk to the temple’s stone floor. That was the first that she had laid eyes upon Jesus, the only time she had seen her husband do violence. But that violence was nothing like this, nothing that she had ever known was like this.
She was at pit level now, the clanging of slaves in their shackles, grunting gladiators clashing, and from down the long corridor beneath the seats she could hear the anguished sounds of men in pain. In her heart, there raised the sickening certainty that somewhere down there, her husband languished in agony. She wrapped her slender fingers around the bars that separated her from the long corridor, which separated her from her husband. She struggled to peer into the darkness and around the corner to glimpse a piece of Spurio, or isolate a fragment of his agonizing cries from the ensemble, the vain attempt making her heartbreak even more bitter. She remained there, hopeful and heartbroken, until there were no more slaves clanging in the shackles, until the sounds of men suffering subsided, until the day waned and she finally realized her husband was no longer down there, there was no one else down there. She was alone.
Pensively she left the arena, and walked alone down the cobblestone street. It was nearly dark now, but all of Rome seemed to be out, still intoxicated by wine and blood of the games that ended hours ago. There were more faceless people to not look at, and more lusting men to not see. She paid less attention to the outside world than she did even her own body, which was now she was vaguely aware hungry for not having eaten in more than a day. Nothing else registered until the street opened into a large courtyard, the far side of which was a wedding. She remembered instantly her own wedding Spurio.
Spurio was all that Lucilla ever wanted from the second she first laid eyes on him. Her mother told her that when she loved the man at first sight it meant that she had loved him before in other lifetimes. That may be true she thought, but it was not so easy to gain his love in this lifetime. So, it was that on her wedding night she savored her prize, the greatest prize in all of Judea, the handsome and wealthy Spurio Pompei. He was a prize worth fighting for now she had won him. Oddly though there was no competition, she had come to wonder. Indeed there was a moment a very short time where she actually thought the impossible was real, and that he cared not for her. Their early courtship was a series of prearranged accidental meetings at the market or in the Temple. And even after he noticed her and courted her it was too long it seemed before at long last he married her.
But then it did seem to have been worth it especially when he came towards her on their wedding night. All of her fears and doubts washed away by delicious mingling of wine and the mixed juices of their lovemaking which lasted until the morning. And as the sun rose that day it rose on new, on a deeper level of her love for him than even she could fathom. Before Jesus, in spite of herself, Spurio made her deliriously joyful.
And while she never doubted his love for her and despite her joyful delirium, she did doubt her place with him. She sensed that she would always be second, but second to what for whom. It was a subtle, subconscious doubting that she was not wholly aware of. It gnawed at her, unseen. Spurio was a man in search of something other than her, in search of what he knew not. But when she saw Jesus standing there with him, she knew that Spurio had found exactly that which he was unaware that he sought.
The time with him before their wedding was as labor before childbirth, horrible but would be instantly forgotten as soon as a new child is brought into the world. The time after Jesus was like a mother whose child is snatched up suddenly by death. Now consumed in the agony of missing him, it was as though he made her life unbearable. And yet she would have to bear it until Spurio could win one more match, if he could win one more match. She looked away from the wedding and making her sorrowfully way down the narrow street alone, and got lost.
She had taken the wrong road by which to leave the courtyard and didn’t notice until it was well past dark, didn’t notice it until the Romans nearly ran her down. Immersed in her sorrows she couldn’t hear the horses galloping down the narrow cobblestone. But as she entered into the crossway, they appeared as if instantaneously. She leapt back but not in time to avoid a violent encounter with the hairy front shoulder of the onrushing beast. It spun her around in midair threw her hard to the cobblestone on her hands and knees. The second rider cursed at her as he rushed past. She crawled away as best as she could, but it was slow it was the most physical pain she’d ever experienced in her life. Her knees were black and blue in her palms were bleeding. She leaned back against the wall curled her legs up like a child and cried. She cried not the deep sobs of anguish, but the gentle ones of despair. Sitting there, knowing not what to do she shut her eyes hard, as if trying to awaken from a nightmare. As though she would open them and be safe in bed beside her big gentle husband. Instead she opened her eyes she saw that her palms were bleeding.
She waited there, waited for the bleeding to stop, waited for the pain to subside. But just like waiting for the return of Spurio, it was hopeless. When the rain began falling she got up to find her way home.
By the time Lucilla entered the apartment that Vettius had provisioned for her, she was drenched in cold. Roma, was the center of the world, the hub to which all roads lead, but here in her dark apartment on the top floor corner of a stone building Rome, disappeared and the anguish of her broken heart was all she had fill the emptiness. She walked past the fireplace, which she had never seen burn to light a candle on the bedside. She hesitated at the edge of the bed, staring as if not sure what to do, as one would test the temperature before entering a bath. Gradually, ineptly she curled her tiny body into its center and stared blankly at the flickering shadows in the room.
The last time she could remember curled up in bed like this, it was with her husband’s big, safe body behind her. She remembered gently caressing the hairs on his arm about her waist, and feeling is comforted by his presence as she was frustrated by Jesus’ message. “I try, I try” she explained,” but try as I might, I can’t get it, I can’t understand. Jesus is the tiny mad idea”. Then her husband, as though he were moving a pillow, effortlessly turned her to her back, brushed the hair away from her cheek, “you will, you will” he said in a tone that was as gentle as any she had ever heard, and then she looked up, catching his eyes, that revealed a certainty, and the seriousness that his voice did not. That view of Spurio she’d had a thousand times, had it burned into memory. His dark eyes were white, with tapered brows riding a finely sculptured ridge that balanced a nose of the gentle Hebrew variety. He was the one who understood Jesus better than anyone. And then they made tender love. She didn’t care one bit about Jesus, but oh god, how she needed Spurio now. But on this night she wasn’t reassured, nor did she make love to her husband, Lucilla was just beginning to learn to hurt.
But for one who had hurt for so long, Lucilla still had much to hurt about.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% Begin Jesus %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
Just as in the beginning of the universe, there was not a soul to see it. What began as just a tiny eddy barely able to stir the dust in the desert outside of Cairo, became a vortex that carried the burning sand to the sea, there it turned to clay and then stone until finally the stone to living bone. The spirit made the body seem real. By the time the body was first seen by John who was baptizing on the east bank of the Jordan River it had walked thousands of miles under a scorching sun and freezing night without water or warmth or the need for either. When John looked up and saw Jesus standing on the bank he knew instantly that this was the light that he had in searching for had found him instead.
John a self-righteous man had heard many confessions and done many baptisms by then, saying “confess your sins and God will forgive them.” But John the Baptist believed in sin and so he condemned it. He had no idea what true forgiveness really was or that sin was not at all. John watched as Jesus stepped into the water and came towards him. “Lord I cannot hear your confession as you have none to make,” John said. “Nor does any of us,” said Jesus. Then Jesus took John’s hands and put them on his head and went under the water. When he came up again, John understood that he did not understand. Jesus smiled and he watched as Jesus walked out of the river and up the bank, then out of sight, leaving John with the peace of God which he had never experienced before. But it was the last time that John the Baptist walked out of the river Jordan, nor did he ever baptize again.
Jesus went on to Nazareth to find Mary and Joseph who had lost their only son during the slaughter of King Herod more than 30 years before. They had remained childless since, unable to have children, living still in the insufferable sadness of what could have been, and the crushing guilt for not stopping that which could not have prevented.
When word reached her of King Herod’s mass execution order she took up her son and fled into the sparse woods outside of Nazareth. She hid there for two days. Heat and cold. She ignored the raging thirst in her own mouth could not ignore the suffering of her child. She had to get him water or he would die. So, she put the child in a basket and carried it boldly back into the city, to the water well. There were two Romans on horseback in the street and as the child lay silently in the basket she began to draw the water. Then a horrible realization came over her, that she had brought no jar to carry the water away with. So, she had to expose the child to the light in order to let him drink. It was a fatal mistake. Two Roman soldiers with their swords and cloaks already bloodied from prior hours of infanticide closed in swiftly. She clutched the child desperately to her breast, but one of the soldiers violently straightened her arms and the child fell from held them. Miraculously she caught him in the air and fell back hitting her head hard against the well with the child in her lap. The soldier, as though he were standing at a leaf on the ground in order to pick it up thrust his sword at her child.
The blade skewered her left arm went through the child’s heart and didn’t stop until it had cut her through the womb . The last thing that Mary remembered before she fell to the dirt was the faint sound of a limp child splashing into the water far below. She should have died there, instead the deep gouge through her womb barren.
Since she’d never seen the child actually be killed it was easy to pretend that some miracle had occurred. That she had not heard a dead infant splash into the water. Over the years she told herself this till she almost believed it was true. But she never drew another drop from that well.
Joseph suffered from a far more pernicious of self-attack, he blamed himself for not having been there when the Romans attacked his wife and son. But it was Joseph who drew the Romans away in the first place. It was he who hid a bundle under his coat and ran off in the other direction to draw the soldiers. It worked. When the soldiers discovered that it was aught but a log that he concealed from them they beat him within an inch of his life and that beating gave his wife and child time to get away. But the world, this world, takes away everything eventually.
Jesus felt their deep pain and was moved. He was still in Galilee when he told Mary that she would soon see him. She in turn told her husband Joseph that “our son is coming home.” She did not have to explain it to him. They decided to prepare a feast.
Jesus was followed there by Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Him.” These then were the 12 disciples.

When Mary and Joseph saw their son for the first time they recognized him instantly, it was as though he had simply left for a while and now was returning. Jesus had many ways of easing peoples anguish. For Joseph and Mary he used the simplest, he let them no longer think about what had happened. Whenever he did this it always worked. For as Jesus himself explained, “nothing in the past can hurt you now.” Jesus did not remove the memory of what had happened, he simply removed the parents habit of thinking about it at all. Being in such pain made them willing enough for, Jesus to give Mary and Joseph a gift which others would have to earn, the gift of now. To them nothing of the past was forgotten nor the future hidden, but for the once grieving parents rest of their days when were lived fully in the joy of the only instant that really existed, the instant which is now. For Jesus who was remembering a body remembered too the myriad of methods the human mind had to attack itself.
At the feast Mary and Joseph were in such bliss that they didn’t even notice when the wine had given out, but one of Jesus’s disciples did and said to him, “the wine has run out.” “What am I to do about this,” Jesus said? Then Jesus smiled and got up.
The Jews have strict rules about ritual washing. So, there were six large water jars there, each one large enough to hold between 20 and 30 gallons. “Fill these jars with water,” Jesus said to his disciples and they did it. When they were done Jesus paused for a second and then said, “Draw out the water and give it to the people.” They did and to their astonishment the water had turned to wine. The other guests did not see this but remarked it was the most delicious wine they had ever tasted. Not only the disciples, but a beautiful young girl named Mary Magdalene had seen this. They were all amazed especially Mary Magdalene.
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In those days there was great hatred toward the money changers. For they controlled all the wealth from Judea all the way to Capernaum. It was the money changers who told Caiaphas to turn the Temple into a marketplace and he made it so.
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A few days later, in time for the Passover Jesus and his disciples and Mary Magdalene traveled to Jerusalem. They entered the Temple there to a raucous and great commotion. When they moved close enough to the noise Jesus could see a huge man, the biggest man he had ever seen, who had made whip of chords and was chasing the animals away. Also had overturned the tables of the money changers and scattered their coins on the Temple floor. His disciples tried to persuade him out of it, but Jesus walked right up to the big man stopped a few feet away and waited. When the big man did notice him Jesus said to him, “Spurio my Brother, what are you doing there?”
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% Begin Jesus and Spurio %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
Mighty Spurio was so disarmed by the tiny Jesus that he froze in place, going at once from fearsome to comical. But he stammered and stopped there for seconds not because the words wouldn’t come, but because staring into the eyes of Jesus he remembered something that all save for Jesus had forgot. In a holy instant Spurio forgot about all symbols, words, his body, and symbols of symbols, but remembered the peace of God instead. It was a peace that he more remembered than discovered, but once remembered was known almost in full. So, despite the awkward outward appearances, Spurio was in that second far more enlightened than confused.
Jesus knew that Spurio believed himself to be a righteous man acting in a righteous manner, but just as John the Baptist he was confused about what righteousness was. Namely that there was no such thing. Jesus was aware of the man’s wife his wife scrutinizing himself as well as he was aware that there was much more to the big man then just his size.
Then the Jewish authorities appeared and wanted to seize Spurio who had said this is a temple, but you have turned it into a den of thieves. The Jewish authorities demanded that Spurio perform a miracle to prove that he had the right to do such a thing. But it was Jesus who answered them reciting the Scripture which said, “My devotion to your house oh God Burns in me like a fire.” The Jewish authorities looked at Jesus for a long time, then said amongst themselves, “Who is this man who recites our Scripture?” Then they looked at Spurio, but walked away without laying hand upon him. Spurio relaxed now, stood looking at them until Jesus put his hand on his shoulder. Then Spurio turned to see Jesus smiling up at him and smiled back down at him.
“How do you know my name”, Spurio asked Jesus. “I have not known you before, nor have you known me.” Then Jesus squeezed Spurio’s shoulder and answered him saying “Ah Spurio Pompei, you are a good man who wanted to be a physician, but for his father’s sake became a merchant instead. You who wanted to heal now give away your wealth and fight injustice wherever you see it.” Jesus walked away from Spurio toward the steps the money changers had just fled. Then he turned and came back toward Spurio saying loud enough for everyone to hear, “You now heal the world, finding that which was wrong and putting it to right.” But when Jesus drew near to Spurio again he said so that only he could hear, and said,
—***”Great Spurio, don’t you know that for all your righteous might that you can save not one lonely lamb. And Spurio was amazed. Who was this man he wondered to himself who knows my deepest secrets. Jesus said these words to Spurio because he knew that Spurio was the only child of a wealthy merchant who wanted for his only son to be like he. Spurio did not know how this stranger meant what he said. What does he mean by you cannot save even a single sheep. Does he say that it my fault he wondered to himself. But as the man drew closer to Spurio he could see great compassion in his eyes. Latter Spurio would say that never seen such compassion in a man’s eyes, never before nor since. Then he heard him say, “ You were just a small boy, who could never have stood up to the dogs. You cannot bring him back any more than you could have saved it. Can you not forgive yourself for it. And I tell you the truth, that you can no more save the world now, the large powerful man that you are, than you could have that lonely sheep when you were just a small boy.”
Then Spurio’s large hands dropped to his sides and he remembered. He remembered that he was a small boy who would rise before the sun to attend his father’s flock. His father had a hired man who came to attend them after the sun was up. The hired man was paid, but Spurio’s only reward was to be with the flock. He loved them since the first time he’d seen one of them born. First there was one sheep, then there were two, how. From where comes the baby lambs, from where comes life, from where come the world itself? These questions Spurio asked himself as a child and a man, with no answer. To young Spurio it was just magic, the magic of life and he wanted to be in that magic for the rest of his life. So, he stayed with the sheep all that he could. The flock knew the hired man, but out on the rocky slopes of his father’s pasture they came to him, to the sound of his young voice for they trusted it. And it was out there where only stubby grass grew on the rocky terrain that it happened.
A pack of hungry wild dogs attacked the flock and separated one of the sheep from the rest of them. The hired man was able to take the flock back to the pen. But he was a hired man and he would not try to save the one that was lost. Spurio left the hired man and went after the pack. He could not see them for they were hidden behind a small hill over which is tiny body could not see. But he could hear the sound of many dogs barking and single sheep’s panicked crying. When his tiny legs had finally carried him there the dogs were already biting into blood and flesh. The sheep cried in anguish, but the dogs, one with a bite on its throat with not let go. Spurio did the only thing he could he struck out with his stick. He hit the one with its teeth upon the sheep’s throat. Then he was overtaken by fear and fled. But the dog let go of the sheep’s throat and chased Spurio down from behind in it him on the leg. Spurio tripped, and all the dogs mauled him. As he lay on his stomach his hands find his head he could hear the animals growling, he feel the hot air and blood on their breath until he passed out.
Many hours later Spurio woke up. Somehow he knew to crawl to the edge of the cliff. When he looked over he saw the bloodstained rock below where the dogs had finished off the sheep. The image was seared into his mind from that moment on. This is what Spurio remembered as he stared at the curious stranger coming closer to him, wondering how does this man know everything I have ever done. When Jesus got close he put his hand Spurio’s shoulder and said, “Spurio my brother, forgive yourself or you will try to save that same sheep for the rest of your days”. This only Spurio could hear. %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
Now a larger crowd gathered around them and was filled with much agitation and discussion. ”Who is this man,” they demanded of one another. But no answer was to be provided there so they asked Jesus, “Who are you? ” Then one of them said, “Spurio was chasing the money changers from the Temple, but you said to him let them be.” And they accused Jesus of defending the money changers.
“I tell you what I told him, Judge them not, for they have harmed no one.”
Angered the crowd drew near to Jesus the disciples and Mary gathered around. Lucilla also came near to Spurio. The crowd was loud and accusatory, but they did quiet down and demanded of Jesus that he explain himself. So, Jesus did. As Jesus was waiting to speak, Lucilla was still sizing him up.
“But they (the money changers) are stealing from the poorest Jews, on their holiest ground, no less”, they replied. “They are evil”, others persisted. And now the fury was directed at the slender stranger. But Jesus gently corrected that no one is good or evil and that nobody could possibly be victimizing anybody, saying:
“I tell you the truth that everyone acts in service of their own perceived needs. Everyone acts selfishly. The money changers, attempting to maximize their profit on every single coin, as were the poorest Jews attempting to pay as little as possible, for each coin. To each his motives are moral, but each acted so that need his needs would be met first, each acted equally selfishly in service of those needs. And we each act equally selfishly, we each act completely selfish in the service of our needs. Even the martyr is totally selfish; there is nothing else that he can be.”
The point of view of Jesus was unexpected and unacceptable to all save for Spurio. Lucilla was especially critical Jesus because he could not understand that he had not acted in defense of the despicable money changers, it simply had not judge them. But even amongst the disciples themselves and Mary Magdalene it was Spurio who would struggle most to understand that good and bad were only what we called it.
And Spurio had more shocks in store for his wife, inviting Jesus and his disciples, and Mary to stay with them. “Please, you and your friends come and stay with me at my house, for I am a wealthy man and I have room enough for all of you.” Upon hearing this Lucilla jumped quietly out of her skin. But Spurio had not consulted her so, Jesus the disciples and Mary went and stayed there a while.
The idea of spending the night with these strangers and Jesus repulsed her. If asked she could not have said why, indeed she never pondered the question. But she had judged Jesus as a defender of the money changers and anything to do with him from then on was refracted through the lens of that judgment. That was exactly what Jesus was going to tell her, though she would not hear it. But Lucilla only thought that she was repulsed by the thought of Jesus and his disciples spending the night under her roof, she had no idea that she was truly threatened by Jesus, threatened because Spurio’s attention to him detracted from his attention toward her. But Lucilla a lot to learn about what a true distraction Jesus was going to be.
Spurio felt the gentle breeze wrap around his legs and watched it ruffle the cloth on the table with Jesus was drinking wine. He had learned by now that Jesus had turned the water into wine in Cana in Galilee. Spurio was not surprised that Jesus could perform miracles, for the slender stranger had told him everything that he had ever done. But he had provided a dinner in which the wine would not run out, for he knew that Jesus had not come here to perform miracles or magic. He had come to teach what a miracle really was. Yet to see and hear Jesus with the eyes and ears of the body could only be misleading he thought. Spurio realized early on that if you could understand Jesus at all, then it must be with the mind.
For Jesus was the answer to every question, to receive one just had to ask. Jesus was constantly trying to get through, one simply had to let him. Just now Spurio was attempting to do precisely that. Oddly he felt himself unable to think of a thought about which to ask the question. He was distracted slightly by children who had been playing at a distance but now drew closer to the adults.
Yet as he struggled for the question which eluded him, it was a small child who provided the question to the answer. It was in fact the answer from which all other answers sprang, the only question that need been asked, the only answer there really was. From a child, Lucilla’s young niece came the question about creation. For no seeming reason she asked, “Jesus where do we come from?” As Jesus began to answer Spurio could never have believed how different he would be when he was done. Spurio was familiar with the law as given by Moses and interpreted by the chief priests and the Pharisees. But until now he had never heard anyone speak with such a power, on that question. Before now no one had ever said where the world comes from, and more importantly why.
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% begin the tiny mad idea %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
The law says “In the beginning”, but there is no beginning or end or now, there is only Always. Always is forever and God is everything. The Son of Man was Always in heaven, in a state of eternal bliss and in perfect oneness with God. The oneness was so perfect that there was no place where one began or the other ended, oneness so perfect you could have no thought that was not thought of God, you could not imagine anything that was not God. There was no difference save one, that the Father is first cause, He created the Son. Yet was no thought of separation, you were one with God who created you. We are not separate from God, we are not part of God, each and everyone of us is God. God is everywhere and everything and we simply say God Is.
Then into the mind of the Son there crept a sick insane idea. The idea was silly because it was not of God, but the Son of Man remembered not to laugh. The idea, was, what would it be like to be apart from God? The Son waited for God to answer, but He didn’t. It was a sick insane idea because there is no such thing as separate from God. So, God not willing to make that which was unreal appear real, did not answer. The non-answer from God to the non-question, The Son mistook as rebuke. You now mistakenly believe that God is angry with you for your sick insane idea, your original sin. For his imagined sin, The Son expects real retribution.
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leaving him, this is original sin, for which all mankind feels deep, subconscious, abiding guilt and expects severe and merciless retribution for a crime that never was. The Son of Man becomes the prodigal son.
%%%%%
This is where Satan comes in and says, “I’ll help you, I’ll show you a place to hide” Satin is not a demon or a devil, Satan is not real, rather is just trick of the mind. Satin is the part of your mind that makes up and protects the illusion of separation from God. Satan makes the illusion seem real. Then the Son of Man, terrified, running scared from an angry pursuer that doesn’t exist, actually makes a deal with the devil himself. It is Satan, the Satanic part of the mind of the Son of Man that made the world seem to exist for him to hide himself from God. That is how the world came into being. How silly, could the Son really hide from God? But burdened by original sin and mistaken guilt the Son of Man sold his soul to Satan to deny the reality that God is.
To protect the mad dream Satan must preoccupy Son of Man with more illusions. So, the false world that we fill with cruelty, inhumanity and bloody wars, with friends and enemies, with money changers and Romans. All of them, all ought but distraction. So terrified is the Son of the Father that he runs to the devil to hide.
So, all the world all that you think you see with the eyes of the body comes from but a mind turned inside out and spilled onto a world outside of itself. A world outside of everything that’s real. A world outside of God in Heaven. A world that is nothing but a dream that we but make real with judgment.
The Son of Man is asleep and heaven dreaming the dreams of separation. Each lifetime you think you live in this world but a nightmare to a dreamer in heaven. To awaken from the dreams the Son must learn forgiveness. Not the kind of forgiveness that the world knows, but true forgiveness that knows the world is not. But it takes many dreams of many lifetimes to train the mind to ignore Evil and listen to only the Holy Spirit. And in the myriad of dreams and lifetimes in the multitude forums of joy and horror they bring, at one time or another we each play the others part, we are each master and slave, we are each predator and prey, we are each everything there is to be many millions of times over. The father has sent me to gently wake the Son from his dream, to ease his burden, to reduce the number of his nightmares, to free the master from the slave, and I have already done it. I have already undone all that was never done. But follow or ignore the word makes no difference, everyone wakes up, everyone makes it out, everyone already has. “
Wake to make it out of the dream. As Spurio seized on those words, on the symbol those words represented, he felt a burgeoning sense of purpose, and wondered openly if he could wake to make it out of his dream, and make it out this time.
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% end tiny mad idea %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Spurio never asked Jesus if he could follow him. He just assumed that he could, and he could. But Lucilla was stunned when he told her. She fell and had to catch herself on the table, and Spurio had to help her into the chair. Such a little girl he thought as she sat legs together hands twisting and writhing on her knees as she gently she gently sobbed. “It’s not as though you never see me again,” he said taking her tiny hands in his. He was as miffed by her severe reaction as she was by his desire to leave her. She tried to be angry with him, but when she looked up she could do aught but put her slender arms around his neck. He picked her up from there carried her gently to bed.
Spurio was patient with Lucilla as she protested with all her might. But there was no way to stop him. Spurio was leaving with Jesus no matter what the costs or consequences. And even had he known then just what those consequences would be, still Spurio would have followed Jesus.
The following morning Nicodemus came to visit Jesus. Nicodemus was a money changer. He had not fled when Spurio came through the market and heard Jesus speak. He came inside where Jesus was resting from the heat of the day and spoke alone to him. “Jesus we know that you are a spiritual man and speak the truth,” Nicodemus began. “We want to help you spread the truth all across Judea,” he continued. But Jesus perceived his treachery and interrupted him saying, “Nicodemus I do not judge usury, nor do I sanction it.” Then Jesus stood up and put his arm on Nicodemus shoulder and asked him, “Nicodemus was good does it do a man to gain the world and yet remain in it. Profit and loss are simply opposite sides of the scarcity coin designed keep the attention of the Son of Man on worldly things instead of the infinite treasures in heaven where no one has any need of scarcity or want.” But Nicodemus persisted saying, “Jesus we have not just wealth, but influence. Influence with the Jewish authorities and the Roman ones. We can do all manner of things to get our way.” Then Jesus stepped back from Nicodemus and looking him directly in the I said, “I am aware of all that you think you can do to me. You may to all manner of things to my body, but you cannot touch me for I am not a body. You can cause me no pain for the guiltless mind cannot suffer. Yet must you try, yet must it be done.” Nicodemus has caused much suffering in his life yet never felt remorse once. But just now he did feel pity for Jesus, for what he would do to Jesus.
Spurio watched Nicodemus leaving his house. He walked in quickly and found Jesus. He knew what Nicodemus wanted, but Jesus said with a light heart, “Worry not big man for nothing is being done only undone.”

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% End Jesus and Spurio %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
The next morning Jesus, his disciples, Mary Magdalene, and Spurio left Jerusalem. Jesus had been asked to return to Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water and wine. The people there remembered how he had turned the water into wine and wondered if he would try to heal a young girl sick possessed with demons. “Jesus,” protested Thomas. “It will take too long. By the time we get to Galilee the girl will be dead.” But Jesus smiling replied, “Have faith Thomas and she will be healed in this very moment.” And just as Jesus said that the young girl’s demons left her. And there was great joy among them as well for they believed and knew that she had been saved.
Later, along the way a Roman centurion with his men coming from Jerusalem approached them rapidly on horseback. He was oblivious to Jesus’s miraculous ability to cure, he was there to seize Jesus at the behest of Nicodemus the money changer. Spurio counted 20 mounted soldiers as they circled threateningly Jesus and his followers. The disciples and Mary were frightened and moved towards Jesus to protect him, but as Spurio anticipated Jesus brushed them side. Spurio was calm, he had already seen Jesus perform miracles, he already knew that nothing could happen lest Jesus let it happen. And so it was that when two soldiers put their hands on Jesus they stopped just before touching him. The horses stopped the dust stopped everything came to a dead still. And Jesus looking up at the captain said to him. “You are captain Aurelius Dalmaticus Marcellus, you act in service of the money changers, but you distrust them. So, why then do you do their work?” With that the soldiers stepped back from Jesus. And the captain was amazed, but when Jesus told him, “Your young son is afflicted with the fever,” the captain nearly fainted. “Go home and attend your son and leave the work of the money changers to the money changers.” With that the man dismounted and came towards Jesus. When he got close Jesus put his arm around the man’s shoulder looked him seriously in the eye and asked, “Do you believe I can do this?” Without delay the man said, “command me and I shall do it.” Then Jesus looked at the man smiling and said, “By your faith at this very moment your son is saved. ” The captain wept at Jesus’s feet, but Jesus lifted him up and told him to go.
Later that day they entered a town, and Jesus tired out by the trip sat on a wall, while the disciples went ahead of him. Spurio, who walked slower than them because of his huge size came up to Jesus and sat next to him. Jesus rested his hands on the top of the wall while his feet dangled off the ground, but Spurio more leaning than sitting, was too tall to get his feet off the ground. Spurio looking at the dirt cupped his hands and was about to speak when Jesus said, “did you walk these past miles frightened by the threats of the money changers?” Spurio smiled, he was not surprised that Jesus could perceive his thoughts. Then Spurio said, “my father was a wealthy and powerful man. He was unafraid of the Pharisees or the chief priests. But my father always feared the money changers.” Jesus put his hand on Spurio’s big shoulder and with a squeeze said, “Spurio you who wanted to be a doctor a healer, you are so close Spurio. You might just make it this time, but you still have an important lesson to learn, that you cannot save the world, not even yourself.” Then Jesus came down off the wall and went toward his disciples. They being led by Mary Magdalene with a bucket of water were coming towards Jesus. They reunited as though they had been separated from him for year rather than just a few minutes. Jesus stroked the side of Mary’s face and then hugged her before he drank. Then he touched all the disciples as they gathered round, on the arm or the shoulder or even the top of the head. Spurio noticed that Jesus had done it to him too. It was Jesus’s way of saying, I acknowledge you even though I am not looking at you speak directly to you right now. Spurio was not trying to fit into this group, but slowly stealthily they were growing on him. They were becoming part of what Jesus would call each other’s special relationships. Part of an especially dangerous trap.
Then they left that town and as the evening drew on found themselves at last in the cool dork aloneness of the desert. Spurio was tired, his big legs had carried his large body far and it felt good to rest them as he leaned back against a stone. He fell asleep briefly and when he had waken Jesus had just returned with his arms full of logs. He dropped them into a pile and then knelt on the ground and started putting them one at a time into the fire. Spurio didn’t exactly notice when it got completely dark or when Jesus was all he could see. He didn’t notice when Jesus went from chit chatting about when we would arrive, to teaching about healing. He didn’t even notice, that he didn’t notice the weariness in his legs any longer. All he noticed was what they all notice, was how Jesus became so much bigger when he was teaching, how they were completely absorbed in the now with Jesus, and each felt that he was speaking only to them, Spurio was sure of it. “When you are healing,” Jesus began, “remember this.
The acceptance of sickness as a decision of the mind, for any purpose for which it would use the body, is the basis of healing. And this is so for healing in all forms.” ACIM
“Notice that before I heal them I ask, do you have faith and I can do this? Then after I heal them I say by your faith I have cured thee. Who then is the physician?”
On the next day they arrived at Joseph and Mary’s house. They were the agonized parents who Jesus healed by returning them to their natural state, their true state of bliss. It was there that Jesus performed his first miracle of turning the water into wine to celebrate his becoming their son. This time he would create a feast to celebrate his marriage to Mary Magdalene.
Jesus did not wed Mary Magdalene in a way that the world understood. The ceremony took place when she anointed his feet with oil. Spurio was outside when he noticed the sweetest scent of perfume oil he had ever smelled. It floated out from the window and drew Spurio irresistibly inside. When Spurio Wednesday and he saw Mary Magdalene ever said caressing Jesus’s feet with her hands. Then she if put the end of her long beautiful hair into the oil and anointed his feet. None of them there realized that from that moment on Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married. This made Joseph and Mary extremely joyous.

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Judgment is what the mind made to separate us from other brothers and sisters and to create a different experience that is not true. To make real what is not real but I say, nothing real can be taken down, nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God.
different experience that is not true.
Judgment, coming from the mind, also turns within and attacks us, creating self-hate and unworthiness.
Instead of judging ourselves for having sick thoughts, realize it is just sickness, and turn to the love of Jesus in faith to show him your sick thoughts.
They may come up more often when you have decided to allow Jesus to do this healing work. Do not judge self.
%%%%%%%%%%%%% Jesus and Spurio on the open sea %%%%%%%%%%%%
After the wedding Jesus stayed in Cana for three days. Then he and his new bride and the disciples, and Spurio left Cana and went to Haifa. There they boarded a large boat to Sidron. For there was a great feud in that land and Jesus said he would go there to try to end it. When they left land it being in the middle of the day the single sail filled up fast in the afternoon heat. The mood was lighthearted. They were all happy to be done walking and alone together on their little island in the sea. Jesus and Mary danced on the foredeck while Thomas and Peter fished with nets off the rear deck. Everyone laughed when Thomas caught one. As he showed it to them flapping around in his hands they said, “don’t you see we have the greatest fishermen in the world right here and pointed to Jesus. Don’t you remember how he turned four fish into 4000. So, laughing Thomas through the fish back into the sea.
Spurio relished in and shared mutual joy of the moment, even as they teased him mercilessly for his ungainly bulk which could find no comfortable place to rest. The boat seemed much too small for him. Also after about an hour had passed he was becoming visibly sick. This was the reason, rather than his size, that Spurio stayed out of boats most of the time. Some of the disciples remarked that, if Jesus wanted to perform a real miracle then he should cure Spurio of his seasickness. But Spurio focusing his site back on the land said, “there is no need to annoy Jesus with little things, I will cure myself”. They all laughed again.
Jesus sat down and leaning back against some barrels offered to help Spurio. But Spurio waving his hand and said, “I am fine.” With that Mary Magdalene sat down in front of Jesus and he put his arms around her as she leaned back into him. Spurio lay down on his side of prop himself up with his right elbow, at the rear of the boat. From there he was both a watcher and a participant of the goings-on on the little island in the sea. Now what he wanted to was to observe his thoughts in the same way. He saw Mary Magdalene curl up and lean sideways into Jesus as he stretched out completely on the deck. He fell asleep to the rocking of the ocean and the raucous sound emanating from the pure joy of being with one another, of being with Jesus.
Spurio woke under a canopy of cacophonous colors that came all the way down to the water in 360°. The waves upon the sea seemed to be reflected in strips of clouds across the sky, bathed in orange and purple. And as the sun settle down somewhere in the West a blood red moon was rising, filling the eastern sky. Jesus, Peter and Mary Magdalene were cooking fish on the fore deck, the sent wafted back and deliciously tickled Spurio’s senses. Everyone woke and ate. The dinner was delicious.
When he was finished Spurio went to just behind the mass. It was dark by then, but the moon illuminated a huge swath of the sea and it seemed that their boat was flying on it like a cloud. Spurio looked to the east and was astounded. Where was the land? For all his worldliness Spurio had never been on the open sea away from land. It was amazing. The immense expanse of emptiness defeated his imagination. Lost in its awesomeness he was unaware of the goings-on in the boat, it took him a while to notice Jesus standing beside him. Jesus was looking up smiling, “you have never seen anything so grand have you Spurio,?” “Ha ha, drink it all in the entire experience Spurio, for the next time you see this shall not be half so grand. Nor half as much again the time after that.” Now it was Jesus that Spurio studied intently, wondering what could he mean by that. Jesus perceived his confusion and answered saying, “the grand new vista or experience is an example where the mind has no prior experience with which to compare. The mad mind searches the past frantically for reference with which it can explain the present experience which it cannot. The awestruck mind is speechless. You think that you are awestruck by something outside of you, yet it comes from aught but within you, and splashes on to the outside world like dye into the water. Just like the sunset at which you marveled earlier it is unreal. At times like this evil is speechless and unreality may be perceived. It is at times like this that the Holy Spirit can come in. But evil is quick, evil must have you believe that the world is real. So, the next time you have the experience, just beneath the surface of your cognizance evil lurks and replaces the second experience with memories of the first. This could keep real what is unreal and the Holy Spirit out.”
Spurio looked back up at the sky, then out to the sea, and finally back at Jesus, trying to take it all in. But before he could even get started Jesus gave him even more, saying, “And even the next time is an illusion just like tomorrow and yesterday Spurio. When the mind thinks about yesterday or tomorrow if thinks about that which does not exist. And when the mind thinks about what it thinks is now, it considers that which has no beginning and no and no between. So, it does not think at all. But the greatest illusion the mind is under, is that it thinks that it thinks at all.”
Jesus perceiving Spurio’s confusion yet added to it again. “There is no yesterday today nor tomorrow nor even this very moment, there is only always and the difference between always and now is everything.”
Spurio was no longer thinking about what Jesus saying, for it was too much for him all at once. Instead an odd thought came into his mind and it occurred to him that Jesus must have been alone with him for quite some time now and the rest of the disciples and Mary Magdalene would soon be coming to him. But when Spurio looked toward the bow of the boat he noticed that nothing had changed since Jesus had come to him. Even the moon had not climbed in the sky nor had even the sail made a ruffle. The whole world saved for he and Jesus seemed frozen. “Don’t be afraid Spurio, I’m just trying to show you how what is now for them is not now for us because there is no now, there is only always.”

Then Jesus turned and went to his disciples at the bow leaving Spurio to stare in wonderment. Exhausted he sat and leaned against the bulkhead. He hugged his one knee and left the other straight out and looked up at the stars.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% In Sidron %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
Jesus said, “ pay your taxes if you must, but do not levy them upon the Son of Man.”
Whenever any of us looks at the world we look at the world through our beliefs and our concept’s, there can be no exceptions. This is what happens when we observe the world through the eyes of the body and interpret with the mind that thinks it is a body. it is the mind of judgment.
The time is coming in and is already here when by the power of God’s Spirit
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There was no one on the shore when they landed in Sidron just south of the Saida Citadel. Jesus led his disciples and Mary Magdalene, and Spurio inland to the place in the mountains where the tribes were at war.
The war between the tribes was not like the war of armies. The tribes came into each other’s villages and killed each other’s wives and children, destroyed each other’s crops and animals. They threatened not just each other’s lives, but everything the other held dearer than life.
As Spurio looked down upon the Village in the throes of a vicious attack he overheard Simon Peter plead with Jesus to “Please stop the carnage, you and heal the injured her, and bring the dead back to life.” But Jesus looked at Simon Peter and told him the same thing he told Spurio before. “You cannot save that which is not Simon Peter,” Jesus said. “This all of this is aught but distraction. It is the purpose of the Io to keep the Holy Spirit out. It is not by good deeds that you get to heaven, it is by judgment of any deed that keeps you out. No deed done in a false world can be real, but by your judgment you make it seem so. This is what you must all learn, not how to save the world rather how to forgive it and to forgive it with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does not forgive as the world does. The world recognizes that one has done wrong to the other, that the wronged and the wrongdoer are separate and unequal. The wrongdoer acknowledges his guilt, and then the wronged will grant a pardon to the guilty one there by setting all that was wrong to right. But the Holy Spirit recognizes that no one is wronged, no one is guilty and that no one can done anything to anyone. Our bodies may do all manner of things to other bodies, but none of us is a body. Only when this truth is realized can true forgiveness begin, only when all forgiveness has been given can we awaken from the dream and make it back to Heaven.”
Spurio watched the disciples as they look questioningly amongst themselves. It was difficult for them to deny the seeming realness of the world. A world dressed up in all of its splendors and horrors to seize our attention, to seize us for all time. The Io can paint the world, but only we can Judge it to make it seem real. This is what Jesus was teaching. Then Jesus took the disciples and Mary Magdalene, and Spurio down to the village.
When they were in the village fighting was done, but the chaos remained. Jesus put his hand on the stomach of a young man dying from a sword which had stabbed him there. The young man grabbed Jesus his wrist as he did it but when Jesus pulled his hand away from the man’s side he was healed. A few of the people who saw this were amazed and they told others about it. Then Jesus walked to the dead body of one of the others had been killed by them. The limp body lay face first in the dirt with the club that had been used to kill him still buried in his skull. Jesus knelt, put his hands on the man’s head and in a moment the man got up and knew everything that had happened to him. Then the man tried to leave but those in the village wanted to seize him for he was one of the others. But Jesus knew their word and told them in their own language to let the man go so that he could return with his own leader so that they might make peace. Jesus pointed to the top of the hill between the two villages and told them after the sun does rise again we shall meet there. Then Jesus bade the man go. And even as the man was leaving Jesus was healing the injured and raising the dead.
Because he had saved so many of them Jesus now had great authority in that place. But one of their elders admonished Jesus for letting the enemy go. But Jesus said to him in his own words, “where were your men to protect the village by?” Jesus did not wait for an answer, but responded saying, “they were away attacking that the village. See not the spec in your brother’s eye until you remove the plank from thine own.”
When the sun had risen on the next day everyone from both villages climbed to the spot Jesus had pointed to. Each remained on the same side as their own village as Jesus and the disciples and Mary Magdalene and Spurio met the elders on the ridge line between the two. Spurio and the disciples studied Jesus and the goings-on, but understood it not. Jesus could speak all languages, they could not. But they all sensed great hatred between the tribes each for the other. If it were not that Jesus held great authority then surely he would be dead in the tribes locked in bloody conflict even at this moment.
They were all frustrated and fascinated over the several hours that Jesus worked a miracle seemingly greater than bringing the dead back to life. He was bringing peace to a region that had no none for the lifetimes of anyone there on the hill. But when all the elders threw down their swords and a pile and hugged, Spurio didn’t have to understand the intricacies of the language or the doctrine to realize that something amazing had happened. But Jesus said it was as natural as the sunrise.
On the hilly return to the coast the disciples and Spurio could not contain their curiosity. They implored Jesus to tell them how he had done what he had done. Jesus teach them saying, “I don’t know how I did it.” And he tapped Simon Peter on the four head as he said it. Everyone laughed. They walked and when it was dark made of fire in a hilly crevice and ate. Spurio could see the fire light Jesus’s face and the shadow of his head cast on the rock behind him. As always when Jesus began to talk nothing else seemed to matter.
“When you try to make peace always remember this. You deal with the world of dreams, and you deal with God. On the level of the world of dreams everybody acts feel a sense of lack. It’s just as with the money changers and the poor Jews in the Temple. Everyone is trying to satisfy their perceived needs, to fill a void. But in reality there is only one need, one for a test that need to be filled. And that is the loneliness the Son of Man feels because he thinks that he did the impossible and separated from God. It is the same sick insane idea of something that could never really be.”
Jesus looked back and forth at them as a member cracked and pop in the fire. “I spoke mostly with the chiefs and elders. I chose the chief form of one tribe and asked him ‘What do you want from them?’” Jesus said it as though he were pointing at someone reenacting the event. “He answered me saying, that man is a murderer, he murdered my son. I already knew that this was so, but I asked so that you might learn from his answer.” Then the disciples and Mary Magdalene looked around and questioned among themselves, “What can he mean by this?” But Spurio kept his eyes fixed directly on Jesus. “Notice that I asked, what do you want and received instead judgment and condemnation. So, I asked him again what do you want from this man? But he could not answer me. Do these men threaten you when they attack, do you need more security? You see, this was his need. You must go past judgment to perceived needs that are being threatened.
Then I asked the other chief the same question. What do you want of this man?” Jesus pointed to his other side still reenacting it. “They are dogs he told me. But what do you want from them? He could not answer me. Nor would he be able to answer me yet, for he was different from the first chief. His needs were different from the other chief.” They all looked at each other and Jesus, but Jesus looking at the ground shook his head then said, “You see this chief wanted nothing from the other chief. His needs could not be satisfied by the other tribe because he had no needs of them. His need stemmed from this false sense of worthiness to be chief. He was too young and too inexperienced in battle. His father a great warrior had died and he had become chief. In his own try he alone perceives his unworthiness. But he casts that unworthiness like paint upon a canvas onto his own tribe, and then attacks the other tried again and again for what it does not have, it cannot give, that he alone can give himself, through a simple shift in perspective. But now he sees himself through the eyes of the Holy Spirit, seeing himself as he Truly is, as we all truly are, the guiltless the Son of Man.
Again when you mediate conflict, he no attention to judgment, search for perceived lack and fill it. But even doing so realizing it too is illusion, for all lack as a result of a belief in the separation from God that never occurred.” This Jesus spoke to them regarding conflict.
They came the following day to rest in the shade of a large rock and there decided to eat. Spurio could smell the sea air, hidden by the hill to their west. On the other side the sloped gently to the sea. As they sat there Jesus said to them, “We return now to Jerusalem for the religious festival. There I will be taken up by the Romans at the behest of the money changers. And they will seemingly do all manner of things to me.” Spurio felt his stomach coming up through his throat and amongst the astonished disciples there was much agitated discussion. Mary Magdalene remained serene standing to Jesus’s side. Then Simon Peter rushed to Jesus saying, “No, no Jesus don’t go to the festival in Jerusalem, stay away from that place.” Then Jesus put his hand on Peter Simons head and said, “Get out of thee Satan.” Then Jesus turned to them all to say, “You yet lack the discipline so, I remind you that this is all a dream.” Jesus tugged at his arm as he said this. “It is important that you see this and that you forgive this as I have, which is with the eyes of the Holy Spirit. I forgive it realizing that it never happened. Though their bodies may crucify my body in the dream, in truth no one has done harm to anyone because no one is a body. This is the essence of true forgiveness.”
The mood of everybody save for Jesus was much different when they returned to the boat than it had been when they landed it. They had been gone for exactly 30 days and nothing about the world had changed, only their information about it. They each suffered now for separation that was about to come as though it had already happened. The anticipation making it seem real. Jesus reminded them that when the mind thinks about the future he thinks about that which is not and therefore nothing in the future could harm any of them now. But Spurio did not feel better. The same boat which had floated them merrily here seemed now to be a death ship.
They set sail in the late afternoon and Simon Peter sailed the boat directly east until they could see land no more before turning south towards Jerusalem. It became dark around then, but Spurio did not notice the full moon until it was almost straight up in the sky, did not notice it until the clouds came in to obscure it. Then he remembered what Jesus had told him that it would not seem half so grand the next time.
The storm moved in rapidly, the wind picked up and it grew cold. Jesus slept as the rest of them took down the sail threw up the tarps in the slanting rain. Spurio pulled a blanket around himself he thought about the future. The mind cannot think about that which isn’t. Therefore the mind doesn’t think about the future nor the past. And the now is so fleeting that the mind cannot grasp it either. So, there is only Always. That is what Jesus had said, but suddenly Always seemed so very fleeting. Jesus could so easily save himself. With his hand he could waive the Romans and the money changers into the sea. Why didn’t he do it? Spurio wanted to wake Jesus and beg him to do so just as Peter had. But to what end he questioned, merely to be rebuked.
But as Spurio deeply lamented over Jesus’s future, in the cold, as the rain dropped heavy into the hard canvas, a tiny idea of a different sort crept into his mind. It was an awareness of what Jesus wanted for them when he rebuked Simon Peter. It was something more important than the body of Christ, more important than all bodies altogether. Something more important than even happiness here in this world, it was that Jesus wants us to use this to practice our own forgiveness to get out of this world. Jesus was as indifferent to our happiness in this world as he was dedicated to our salvation. This Spurio realized as daylight came but not the sun through the clouds. Yet even as the storm intensified, the clouds did not block out the sun. Spurio lay his big body down on a bed of fishnet and slept.
He was awakened by Thaddeus when they disembarked at Yafo. Spurio looked around himself as he staggered out of the boat. To this see the clouds hung oppressively low to the horizon. To the east lies Jerusalem and somewhere between here and there Jesus would be taken up by the Romans at the behest of the money changers. Spurio felt his mind, he heard its voices. They told him, “You Are going to lose he and you love.” But Spurio neither obeyed nor resisted, neither did he listen to them. He did not notice when he could not hear them any longer. But the gray and melancholy that had seemed so oppressive just moments ago seemed now cool comfort and as he walked. It wasn’t a shift in perspective, but it was a single crucial step.
On the way to Jerusalem there came a man to them saying, “Are you the Christ whom we seek, or shall I ask another.” Jesus stopped walking but did not answer him. Then the man said, “I have a sister who is possessed and only the Christ can save her.” But Jesus perceived his treachery and answered him saying “Return to Nicodemus and tell him that you have found me.” So, the man turned to toward Jerusalem and ran there. To all of the disciples and Mary Magdalene and Spurio there came a grave fear. But Spurio as he had the night on the boat with neither accept nor deny his fear, he simply watched it.
When they came to Jerusalem it was on the day before the Passover festival. A man came to him and said, “You are Jesus the Christ, I saw you in the Temple which the money changers had turned into a market. Come, you and your friends to my home and we shall feast and drink wine.” So, Jesus, the disciples, Mary Magdalene and Spurio went with the man to supper.
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% the Last Supper %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
Spurio observed Jesus and his disciples and Mary Magdalene at supper. He was across the room from them, much as he had been on the boat. As he listened to the mingling sounds of the supper he pondered his own significance here. Unlike the other 13 Jesus had not chosen him, rather he had chosen Jesus. But when Jesus so inclusive so uniting would have declined no one, why was he the only one to choose Jesus. He couldn’t understand his own question. He was not separate from the group, but more like the object by which the group could observe itself. He was as the third eye by which sees in totality what the other two eyes cannot. As Spurio observed he watched Jesus rise say these words: “Love one another, not as the world knows love which is to gain love in return, but as the Holy Spirit does is simply to love, as I have loved you love the world. The world will not love you in return, but you do not need its love. You need only to forgive the world as it is, as it is not there, this is the way out of the dream. All of you all of your sad suffering brothers and sisters, will make it. Some of you this time, some of you will make it another time, but the Son of Man will make it, there is aught else he can do, he already has made it for by the Grace of the Father the dream is already over. Yet the dream seems to live on until the Son of Man remembers this time to laugh at his own tiny mad idea.
Until then forgive the world and its trespasses. Remember we are all of us figments of a guilt ridden dream. Share many dreams and many lifetimes we are both man and woman, predator and prey, teacher and student and master and slave. But I am telling you the truth that the time will come and is already here that the predator no longer hungers for the prey, and the master is free from his slaves.
Nothing real can be threatened, nothing unreal exists – herein lies the peace of God .”
This is what Spurio learned from Jesus, that what is real is real not that which is perceived to be real. A cloud does not put out the sun.
But when Jesus told them that his time had come, despite all his teachings that the world was a meaningless dream a pal was cast across the entire room and into the soul of each and every one of them. Judas Iscariot openly wept. Jesus went to him slowly knelt across the table from him and put his hand on his head. Then he told Judas take the money bag and returned with some wine, some supplies for the festival, then to go and get a prostitute to ease his pain. So, Judas took the money bag and left.
After Judas lacked much sadness remained in the room. So, Jesus took the rest of them and went to the other side of Kidron Brook. There was a garden in that place and Jesus and the disciples and Mary Magdalene went in. Meanwhile Judas found the wine and the supplies for the festival and return with them to where they had the Last Supper. When he found no one there he became very sad. But instead of finding a prostitute as he had thought to do now he thought to find Jesus and be with him. He knew that Jesus would likely be at the garden by Kidron Brook because the disciples had met there with him many times. But with Judas did not know is that the man whom they had passed on the road to Jerusalem was following him. The man whose treachery Jesus had perceived sent someone to fetch Nicodemus and the Romans and they followed Judas to where Jesus was.
The Romans came upon Jesus and the disciples and Mary Magdalene, and Spurio in the garden. Before he even saw them Spurio knew exactly their purpose. Of its own accord his body stood up to block off the Romans from Jesus. But Spurio understood Jesus’s purpose and so he stepped aside to let Jesus come to the front. Pointing to Jesus Nicodemus said, “ That is him there seize him.” Whereupon Jesus still walking forward said, “I am Jesus Christ, if you are looking for him, then you have found me.” He paused and then turning to the others said, “Let these others go.” But Nicodemus remembered what Spurio had done to his money changers in the market and he said to the Romans, “Let then go all of him except that one there, the big one.” And then Spurio as did Jesus allowed himself to be seized and taken away by the Romans. Spurio watched the Romans as they led Jesus away. Jesus disappeared down the road and Spurio never saw Jesus again, ever. The last thing he heard was Judas wailing aloud again and again into the night. They were taking Jesus to be crucified, but they had much different plans for Spurio. And as his ever deepening sadness of missing Jesus mingled with lamentation of the agony he knew that he would endure Spurio still would have lamented just as much over his own, if he could’ve had any idea what it was. For where money changers and the Jewish authorities take prisoners, Romans take slaves.
First they took Jesus to Caiaphas the high priest that year. Caiaphas question Jesus about his teachings. Jesus said About those teachings:
That nothing, in this world, save God in Heaven is real. God Is, the rest is not. Everything that you see, and feel, and know is illusion, all the world is but a dream within a dream a million times over. Jesus had never been sent to the world to suffer and pay for the sins of mankind. For mankind had no sins to pay for. He had been sent instead to teach forgiveness and shorten the journey that we had each of us completed before it was begun.
Caiaphas laughed, but he found no quarrel with Jesus’s teachings for Jesus never said that he was Lord or a king. But Caiaphas and the Temple were also under the domain of the money changers for that is why he had turned the Temple into a market. So, Caiaphas sent Jesus still tied up to Pontius Pilate.
It was early in the morning when Jesus arrived at the palace of Pontius Pilate. The Jews themselves could not enter the palace of Pontius Pilate for they wanted to keep themselves ritually pure so that they might eat the Passover meal that day. So, Pontius Pilate when out to them and asked, “What do you accuse this man of?” The Jewish authorities answered, “We would not have brought him to you if his crimes were not serious.”

Pontius Pilate too could find no wrong in Jesus. But Pilate was a politician and wanted to appease the money changers and the high priest. Just as Jesus had taught Pontius Pilate seeking to satisfy his own short-term needs gave Jesus to the Jews. When Pilate asked the Jews what he should do with Jesus the response was loud and immediate, they said, “Crucify him”.
Then Pontius Pilate took Jesus and had him whipped. The soldiers made a crown of thorny branches and put it on his head. And they found a purple rope and put it on him. Then they dragged Jesus back out before the crowd and the crowd said, “Crucify him.”

When the servants told Lucilla that there was someone at the door she had been expecting Spurio, but the man standing there instead was Judas. He was weeping and he was drunk and he dropped to his knees on the floor before her. “Where is my husband,” was all she could think to ask? Through tears that he could hold back for only seconds Judas told her that they had both been taken up by the Romans. Then Judas found his feet and left. Walking into the night what he didn’t tell Lucilla was that After they took Jesus away the Roman spy stood up and paid Judas 30 pieces of silver that he never wanted for doing what he’d never knew he had done. From there he went found a piece of rope and hang himself.
Lucilla heard Judas say that Jesus and Spurio were taken up by the Romans, but she thought he said they were taking up together. So, panicked she went off to find them. So terrified was she of losing Spurio to Jesus she never thought that he could be taken by the Romans instead. One thing that she could have never foreseen was that by the time Jesus was nailed to a blood soaked cross, Spurio would be shackled in the hold of the slave ship set sail for Rome.

When Lucilla arrived Pontius Pilate’s palace looking for Spurio she did not know that they were already separated by years and thousands of miles. She could only hear the throngs screaming about Jesus, “Crucify him,” It was not unlike the masses she would later hear in the gladiatorial arena. She moved eagerly to the front, but when she saw the bloody mess that Jesus had become standing next to Pontius Pilate and she fainted. It was only the sharp impact of her knee caps on the ground which woke her. She looked back up at Jesus whom she could barely recognize. “How could this happen’’, she asked herself? Grief for Jesus set in deep and instantly. Who would do such a thing to him, to anyone? But as she would see the Romans were just getting started with Jesus.

Lucilla somehow managed to capture Pontius Pilate attention, being beautiful had some advantage, yet it was impossible to change the course of some events once set in motion. She beseeched him to stay his hand, but he was just beginning to wash them. He looked directly into her eyes as he dipped them into the bowl. “You can wash the blood, not the deeds from your palm’s” she screamed though he didn’t hear her through the din of the mob. Then she looked at Jesus, he heard every word of it. The blood was thick and crusted around his eyebrows, but still oozing from the top of his head, and down beside his face. Though his lips never moved it sounded like he said to her, “I know.” She looked at her own palms, then buried her face in them and dropped to her knees unable to believe her eyes.

The guards pushed Jesus down the stone steps. She heard him groan, and fall off each level to the next one with a sickening bloody thud. Jesus was thrown to the stones in the center of the Villa and the people disbursed around him. Spread out on his stomach he was whipped, but not so much as to incapacitate him. He still had a cross to bear. Then the guards cleared away to the fountain, and taking Jesus by the feet dragged him to it. They set him up right and pushed him back against it. His head hung down in the guards grabbed it and set a crown of thorns upon it. Blood poured from newly opened wounds as they did. Next they threw him on his hands and knees and brought the cross. They put it across his back and wrapped and tied his hands around it. They commanded Jesus to carry it, but Jesus was weak. His right leg quivered and he put it down again. Lucilla heard a whip whistle through the wind and rip more flesh from Jesus side and back. Jesus felt the pain, but his body was too weakened to react. Slowly, unsteadily Jesus rose to his feet and slowly began to drag his cross behind him.

It’s quiet here Lucilla thought. She was on her knees when she opened her eyes. She could not believe that so much blood had come from one man. Even the water in the fountain was red. She pulled back her hair and put it behind her head, and then with her skirt tried to soak up Jesus’s blood as though she would give it back to him. She could hear the sounds of the tormenting crowd following Jesus up the hill to where he would be crucified. She wanted to hide, she wanted to die, she wanted to have never existed. Instead he came to her feet and staggered off after them. She walked through the streets then in much the same manner as she would later leave the arena. But it was the first time she had ever known such a feeling. Such a feeling as what, it was a strange to her as it was indescribable. She had not experienced anything like it. Soon it would become more than familiar, it would be her entire world.

She arrived to the place where they would crucify Jesus as he was being nailed by the palms. She thought he was already dead, but when the Roman drove the spike through Jesus woke up screaming. Lucilla could feel the friction of every inch of the nail in her own body. The anguish didn’t stop with the one hand, a guard rammed spike through the other. Standing at Jesus’s feet, Lucilia though that his suffering was so great that it encompassed the pain of all of mankind. Now she wanted so desperately to save the same man she had thought that she hated. But what could she do? She went towards him, but the guard pushed her back. Jesus lifted his head to look at her to speak. Then the soldier becoming indifferent to both of them let her through to Jesus. She put her year to his bloody lips so that she could hear him. His voice was a raspy whisper that said, “Do not surrender the peace of God for things of a dream. Instead of this I see peace.” Then the guard pushed her away again. She wondered, how can Jesus comfort me, how can anyone through all this see peace.

Then the guard crossed Jesus’s feet and drove the spike through them both. Initially his body tensed, but then Jesus gained forgave the pain and his body relaxed. Then Lucilla remembered that Jesus had said, “The guiltless mind cannot suffer.” And so it was that Jesus’s mind did not suffer even when they drove the huge silver spike through his side Jesus remained calm, his body did not flinch.

But when they hoisted the crucifix upright the wind blew cold from across the gorge behind it. Jesus looked up, but the sun was still in his eyes. Lucilla could not imagine his pain. Looking up at him she could only hope that he would soon give up the ghost. Behind her she saw Mary, the mother of Jesus weeping. The wind blew hard and it lifted Mary’s dress and pushed her back. She didn’t see the bolt of lightning but the sudden crash of thunder told her it was close. Besides she and Mary and the Romans there was almost no one else. She looked back up at Jesus, the sky behind the crucifix was black. The rain came sudden and hard. Another bolt of lightning struck diagonally across the sky and the thunder shuttered the ground. Jesus looked up and screamed something which she could not hear, and then he gave up the ghost. His body hung on his arms as limp as string. The rain splashed loud against the ground and was suddenly drowned by the wind. A guard stabbed Jesus with the spear. His body did not move but blood gushed from his side and ran down to the base of the crucifix in a torrent. It will never run dry she thought holding herself up against the wind is but she could. When she looked up the entire sky was raining blood red. What she heard next was louder than anything she ever had or would ever hear again. A thick powerful bolt of lightning electrified the air instantly before striking the crucifix. The blast lifted her into the air and threw her down 100 feet away. She looked back up at the crucifix as another lightning strike lit the night, and in the electric light all she saw was a silver spike on a bloody cross. The body of Christ was gone. For split-second there was a dark dead calm. Then the rain came down horizontally and ripped at her skin. She didn’t leave that place until it became impossible to stay. The wind seemed to push her back down the hill and so she went.

Lucilla returned to the temple in the same manner she left it, alone. She was soaked to the bone and shivering from the cold, but when she learned that Judas had hanged himself she got even colder. She staggered now rather than truly walked. Spurio she thought suddenly realizing that she hadn’t seen him all day. Where would he be? He wouldn’t be here in the temple. So, she went to where she knew he might be. There she found Peter and Paul and Mary Magdalene and others. From their manner she could tell that something was dreadfully wrong. After all that had occurred on this day Lucilla thought that she was emotionally broke, and could feel pain no more. She was certain that she was cursed by Jesus, and in that certainty expected and demanded punishment. But she never dreamed that Spurio would be taken from her and when she learned that he was a slave she discovered how badly she could truly hurt.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Lucilla was certain that she was cursed. In her certainty she expected even demand punishment, but she never expected for Spurio to be taken from her.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

At the same moment that Lucilla was looking up at an empty bloody cross, Spurio awoke gagging and coughing as the salt water went through his nose and down his throat. He had been knocked unconscious three days prior, but the water woke him instantly to panic. He found himself shackled to the bulkhead of a slave ship that was sinking. Already his lungs were burning and his only thought was that, “I need to breathe”. But then Spurio instantly remembered that, “I don’t need anything. My body needs to breathe, but I need nothing. Then he was at peace. The burning in his lungs intensified as did the anguished screams of men afraid to die. But Spurio was not afraid of anything realizing that he was not going to die, but rather had never been born at all. It would have been that way except that Jesus came and told him, “Spurio I have been crucified. I have made it, but you have lessons to learn if you wish to make it this time.” “Jesus”, Spurio asked, “How did you get here”? And Jesus replied in a light tone that asked don’t you already know, “I walked”. Spurio smiled as his head dipped under the water for the last time. Down there he remembered that all this was put there by his mind. All this could be removed by his mind. So, it was. Then he went to sleep again. Unconscious his head rose up and bobbled in the water against the bulkhead. The storm still raged and waves continued to break over the deck, but somehow the sailors managed to keep the ship afloat until it subsided. It took three more days for the ship to make Rome. They were three horrific days of starvation, disease and constant threat of sinking again. But Spurio knew of none of it, until he awoke in a rock quarry in Rome.
For most of Rome’s male slaves taken near and far, there are only two possibilities, swift and certain death by attempted escape or a slow death by slave labor in the rock quarries. For Spurio there was a third, yet unknown way.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ end end Captured +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
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But Lucilla was stunned when Jesus told her not to worry that he would never tell Spurio what she had done.

Spurio asks Jesus, why did you choose to be Jesus? Why did you choose to be just the last in a long line of false messiahs? Jesus answers saying I came to correct that long line. Spurio smiled.

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%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% The Quarry %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
To the workers concentrated there the quarries were a place of desperation, a hopeless pit from which none could emerge. The feeble and the old broke soon. The young and mighty took longer, providing more labor for the Romans. But starved and worked to death no one left the quarries, sooner or later all of their bodies all broke. For eleven months Spurio watched his body wintering. When he was arrested with Jesus, he was powerful and stocky, now he was tall skinny and starving. Spurio knew that the end for his body lay at the bottom of this pit, and he knew it would be soon. But Spurio also knew that he was not a body. That awareness made the destruction of his body acceptable. Spurio put his head down, nearly naked and completely exhausted, wondering, wondering how many more months, two or maybe three. He knew that he would be dead by now, had they not doubled the rations the past few days and he casually wondered why. He had no idea that the following morning he would find out.
The next morning there was a buzz in the camp. Today a Lanista would visit in search of gladiatorial talent. To some men it meant a way out, most simply meant a better way out, to all many things better than this. To all save Spurio. His body, though far from frail had been greatly emaciated. He doubted that any Lanista would choose him.
When the Lanista did arrive, all the men stood eagerly in line, while those with the strength, hoped. But the Lanista went up the line in front, and down the line behind, selecting no one. It was like he wasn’t really even looking, no one caught his eye. But one man intended to make him look.
Spurio was watching the Lanista leave, when he shockingly felt his head snapped back so far all he could see was blue sky as a charging bull slammed into him from behind. When he hit the ground his face was in the sand, but he had no idea what was happening.
He was able to get his arms up underneath him, and with dirt dripping off his face roll over to see Vibius raining down punches on his face. This was odd indeed. Vibius was the only man in camp nearly as large as he, they had never spoken, and every man in camp was worked too hard to engage in extraneous violence, until now.
Spurio bucked his hips wildly throwing Vibius forward, forcing his hands on the ground to keep himself righted. That allowed him to wiggle free, and get to his feet. Vibius stood and charged instantly, clenched tight fists at the end of windmilling arms, but seemingly made Vibius as dangerous to himself as anyone else. Spurio was able to duck under the first salvo, but he did so with his eyes closed. He could not react to Vibius second attack. Initially standing on his feet seemed to be the correct strategy, but when Vibius granite fists dug into his ribs Spurio rethought the ground strategy. So, Spurio wrapped his still massive arms around Vibius body, arms and all, and gave a mighty hug. It broke Vibius like a huge oak, and as he grunted they both crashed to the ground. And here they were again, but this time Spurio on top. He had an intuitive sense that it was the superior position, but no idea how to take advantage of it, and Vibius was wiggling free. Reflexively Spurio pinned the other man’s alarms under his knees, and then with his left hand he turned the other man’s head so that the right side of his face was pressed hard into the sand. This was well and good but control was tenuous so, with a sense of urgency Spurio drew back his huge left fist and prepared to drive it home, but someone pulled him from the elbow behind. It was the Lanista, he had decided to take a look after all.
It wasn’t until the horse-drawn cart rolled out of the quarry and up the chaotic Via Nomentana that Spurio got his first glimpse at the grandeur of Rome. The horse-drawn cart went slowly, almost deliberately so that period could see each intricate monument, fountain, and the awe-inspiring aqueducts. Spurio looked up as he passed through the shade of one of its broad archways. From its shade he could see the sunlight flowing, cascading as water around a dam. When he was thrust back into the naked rays of the sun again he found himself moving up the broad and spectacular Via Nomentana.
If all roads lead to Rome then he thought they all lead first to the Via Nomentana. And it seemed that today the whole world was on it. For surely Spurio wondered, how could there be one more person, one more body anywhere in the world. There was an ocean of people flowing and mixing on the broad and turbulent Via Nomentana. But Spurio was calm about all of this, for he remembered what Jesus had said to them in the boat on the way to Sidron. The mind sought to make much of things, especially those things which it had no experience of. Yet it was ought but distraction. But Spurio would not be distracted by world which did not exist anymore than the guilt which put it there. Knowing that nothing here was real, only that it seemed to be, he smiled, observing these thoughts, as he would puppets on a stage. He could see and hear them, but not go onstage nor become one of them. Thus he was not one of them, he was in the world, but not of the world. Spurio watched his mind thinking its thoughts,
Eventually just as the mountain gives way to foothills and they in turn to the flat plains, so to the wide Via Nomentana a thin strip of dirt worn into the grass. Soon after the cart turned West and headed to the sea.
Spurio rode in the rear of the cart with his hands hugging his knees, Vibius who had attacked him, sat front diagonally across, with his legs outstretched, suffering from cramps. The two men were not allowed to speak so Vibius glanced askance at Spurio for any clues, but Spurio was deep in consideration of what had happened between them. He had of course perceived Vibius’s motives, but what he contemplated now was his own. The attack was a complete surprise. He had defended himself reflexively and instinctually, the suddenness and ferocity of the attack left him no time to think. His body had taken over. But Spurio remembered what Jesus had said, that “forgivenesses is still and quietly does nothing, for in a world which is not nothing need be done.” So, through it all he had been at peace. He judged neither the attack nor the attacker. In fact he had forgiven it without judgment. In fact, in this moment riding in the back of an ox drawn cart with the man he had just fought, he was as indifferent to everything in the past as he was to what could be in the future, as indifferent to his own wellbeing it the fight as he was toward, gaining his freedom in the gladiatorial arena, or dying in the rock quarry. God’s will be done. Spurio did what Jesus had done, the only true thing there was to do, forgive.
The two didn’t speak until they stopped at a riverside, and Spurio assured him that all was well. Both men were too parched to urinate, but Vibius condition improved soon after he drank. Spurio was not thirsty, he was aware however that his body was so, he drank until it had enough.
When the cart finally stopped they were almost to the sea at Ostia, where the Tiber River split and the water which went one way from there would not meet up again with the water that went the other way until the Tyrrhenian Sea. It was in this place that the men’s new lives began.

***************************************The Ludus*************************************
When the two men arrived at the ludus they immediately swore their oath of loyalty to their new owner of that land, a stingy little nobleman named Vettius. The ludus was a laboratory to experiment with Jesus’s teachings, and verify the wisdom of following His way.
The ludus of Vettius was a two-story rectangular building on the western outskirts of Rome. In reality it was more of a rectangular collection of buildings. The main training area consisted of the sandy pit in the middle. Inside were the men’s quarters, a hospital, baths, beds and the kitchen which cooked up a steady diet of bland beans and barley. The Western Wall was several feet higher than the rest of the structure with a wide flat patio space where the men to gather and talk in the evenings. The Romans were extremely equitable and who they selected as slaves. There were slaves and criminals from the mines and quarries, mixed with former freemen who sold themselves to Vettius, to gain coin, or forgive debt. To Spurio the contrast could not have been starker. For men like Vibius, the baths and rub downs were luxurious, former freemen interpreted the same experience at the same time as an imprisonment, and a loss of everything they held dear. One group of men was ecstatic, the other dismayed. It had nothing to do with the men’s pasts, everything to do with what Jesus said. “Some will make a heaven of hell, others a hell of heaven.”
Both Spurio and Vibius were still exhausted from the rock quarry, but their training began promptly the next morning. Practicing with Vibius made one thing very clear to Spurio, which was that with a sword in his hand Vibius was much better. Vibius rather than being a political prisoner had been captured during battle by the Romans. He was a seasoned warrior, and it showed. Vibius liked Spurio, they trained often, and within weeks Vibius was showing him very sneaky little tricks. Spurio never thought of using them, but he genuinely appreciated the gesture.

All of the training took place under the stern eye of the “Doctore” or gladiator trainer. No one knew his name; they just called him Doctore. He was a fierce, mean Gaul who had won a wooden sword of the freedom with 23 victories in the arena. It was an astonishing feat, no one else had ever done it. It was said in the ludus that to be as good as Doctore was to gain one’s freedom, for then surely no one could defeat you in the arena. Under Doctore training was intense, but not cruel. To avoid this staggering heat training took place in two shifts of three hours each. The first was at sunrise, the second began at three hours after midday. The gladiators were a high valued investment, and Doctore meant to maximize Vettius’s returns.

Doctore was immediately impressed with Vibius, but he could not understand Spurio. The big man was not a trained fighter, neither was he fierce, nor aggressive. But he trained harder than any man he had ever seen, trained himself to exhaustion each session and was soon the best conditioned fighter that he had ever seen. Eleven months of labor in the quarries could not account for it. Such labor destroyed men rather than fortifying them. Once as punishment for poor performance, Doctore trained the entire ludus to the last man standing, it was Spurio. He was impervious to pain, and would absolutely not complain. Doctore concluded he must have been spiritual leader, because his mind was stronger than any man he’d ever known.
Still Doctore was concerned that Spurio might never become a gladiator. For all of his other attributes he was clumsy, and his bulk which was an advantage in unarmed combat was a disadvantage to a smaller man swiftly wielding a sharp gladius. Vibius was exceptional; hopefully his added tutorship might make the difference, hopefully.
Doctore was not the only warrior to notice something about Spurio, Vibius had himself noticed these traits. And more, Vibius had talked with Spurio, over many hours, more than any other man in the ludus.
>>>>>>>>>>>>> Put Vibius character sketch here– Asinius too <<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<<

During the cool of the dusk some men would sit on the patio and watch the sky turning hues as the sun set in the west. To the Spaniard Asinius it was ritual. One night Asinius spoke in awe of such beauty to Vibius and Spurio. But Spurio quietly explained that such judgments were unnecessary. “The sky”, he said, “is not out there. The sky is in your mind and you do put it out there. Then you do marvel at it, has being out there, distracting you from your godliness within. Vibius and Asinius stared at each other then at Spurio and smiled, understanding him less than Lucilla, and excepting him the same. And Vibius became aware as Lucilla had that events in the outside world did not change Spurio. With slavery and violence and viciousness swirling about him doing all manner of violence to his body nothing touched his soul. Vibius understanding him less than Lucilla could only think of the spokes of a rapidly turning wheel, in which Spurio was the center.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++
Three months into their training and it was time for Spurio and Vibius to be initiated into the gladiatorial ranks, or sent back to the quarry. The initiation was a solemn ritual. Each initiate must do battle with an established gladiator on a 9 x 6 foot platform ten feet off the ground. There they would do battle, until one of them was thrown to the ground or forced to surrender. Even Vettius who hardly glanced askance at the training sessions of his own investments, would attend.

In preparation for the event the gladiators were spared the two grueling training sessions, held by most days. Instead the men bathed, received physical therapy, and rested. And now the hot day had given way to dusk, a pleasant breeze from the East, and in the West there was blood red sky going down. The first two gladiators summarily dismissed first two initiates, but as Vibius scaled the ladder to the platform to fight, Doctore’s hopes began to rise, and not in vain.

Vibius did not attack instantly as an inexperienced fighter would. Rather he offered a low fake with his wooden blade. When the gladiator lowered his weapon to block Vibius grabbed the wrist with his free hand and brought the point of his blade to the man’s throat, holding it there, less than an inch away. In a live match it was a sure kill. Swift, efficient, and overwhelming, it was Vibius’s way.
Spurio’s way was much different. He could feel the ladder creek under his enormous weight as he climbed up to the platform to fight. Instead of being the aggressor, it was the gladiator who confidently attacked. Spurio blocked the thrust with his blade, but was slow. With his thrust blocked, the gladiator hit Spurio hard in the face with the butt of his weapon in a back fist motion. But it put him in too close. With blood flowing from above his eye, Spurio was able to wrap both of the gladiators arms in his free left arm from behind, then as if pointing to himself he was able to bring his wooden gladius up to the gladiators throat and hold it there. In the arena it would have forced the gladiator to appeal. Although he was indifferent to his fate, Spurio had won, he would be a gladiator.

Later Spurio joined Asinius and Vibius on the patio lying on their backs looking at the stars. “We are looking at the stars inside of our heads,” Asinius said. “Yes I am seeing stars inside of my own head, even when I close my eyes”, Spurio replied holding a blood soaked cloth to his bleeding eye as he sat down with a groan. All three men laughed. “Spain is out there somewhere”, Asinius said pointing to the west. “And were I to be there, I would be a king”. “But you were captured instead” Vibius retorted.” You could have fought to the death or killed yourself, but you let yourself be captured.” Asinius grew agitated at the obvious truth. To Asinius the world was unfair he was royalty forced into slavery. To Vibius the world was ruthless, but just. He had been captured in battle, and deserving of his fate as a result. “That is why he is so arrogant”, Vibius said to Spurio while pointing at Asinius. “His arrogance is your judgment of the form of his pain,” Spurio said still groaning. “But the true cause is his false belief in and guilt of separation from the Source. It is the true cause of the world’s pain.” Asinius in Vibius stared at each other and looked back up at the sky.
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One night shortly after their initiation, Vibius and Spurio were summoned from their quarters, and taken to a party of some Roman nobleman. When the guard informed them, that some important Romans wanted to meet them Vibius became agitated and suspicious, while Spurio was as always, clueless, but untouchable. The guards led them down too long rows of head high torches, that disperse light in waves rather than rays, that led to a lavish spread on the far end. Spurio was surprised to see Vettius, it was the first time he’d seen him up close. Vibius already knew what was up and paid no attention to the scowling old man. They were each handed a sword, and instructed to prepare themselves to do battle.

Vibius had felt this way many times before, blindsided, helpless. The first time when he was eight and watched his father killed on the battlefield. He was hiding with his mother, not fully comprehending, as she beseeched the gods to see her husband just once more. They did oblige. The battle had gone badly for their side. Vibius his father had come on horseback to rescue them, but so had the enemy tribe. He had barely dismounted when an arrow found him in the middle of the back, he fell dead with a muffled thud in the grass. Is that all little Vibius wondered? He could still hear the hiss of the arrow even though it was buried firmly between his father’s shoulder blades. Just one final gasp, where did his father go?
Tonight would be like that all over again. Spurio knew it too. He had not reasoned it out as Vibius had, rather he had revealed to him. It was a certainty that one of them would die by the hand of the other. How he wanted to console his friend, how he wanted to tell him, how unnecessary his anguish was, how much it didn’t matter. But it was Vibius who took control of the situation. They were allowed 10 minutes to stretch and prepare during which Vibius instructed Spurio, to fight as absolutely hard as he could. The reasoning was sound, if the men put on an entertaining bout, the losers appeal was more likely to be granted. If they both put on a near death performance, perhaps they both could live.

As the men proceeded to the center of the floor to fight, the only flaw Vibius could find in his plan was whether the big man would respond with the requisite aggression and fury, such fears were quickly allied. Before he could even get his sword pointed straight the big man was charging him, thrust, thrust, horizontal slash, thrust, vertical slash, thrust. All the while bringing his massive bulk forward at a speed Vibius had never imagined he possessed. Now Vibius found his sword arm pinned between his own body and Spurio’s. Spurio sword arm however was quite free, which posed a problem for Spurio as well. The last thing but Spurio wanted to do was kill his friend. In the same instant that Vibius connected with a stern left hook, Spurio shoved with all his might, freeing his friends sword arm, but sending him in mid air, crashing and sliding across the floor and the other side of the room. Spectators scattered as Spurio followed up. Vibius escaped the first downward slash, back clunked into the concrete, by rolling to his right. Spurio followed up with a second downward slash that Vibius partially blocked and by rolling to his left was able to stand. Vibius felt his counter attack stopped from behind, by the big dark hand of Doctore, who proceeded to instantly between the two men to keep them separate. It had worked, the crowd was mightily pleased, Vettius was proud as a peacock, and rather than let them destroy the place, he stopped the fight.
As soon as he was breathing normally the first curious thought Spurio had was that his premonition had not been fulfilled, the next one was, where is Vibius? It was just now he noticed that the guards were returning him to the ludus alone.
Back at the ludus Doctore informed him that Vibius had been sold. So, after all the invented drama, it was just a demonstration, just business. Had he known Vettius it would make perfect sense to him. As Doctore would later inform him, Vettius would’ve never pitted two of his investments against each other. But Spurio was soon to know Vettius well enough for himself.
Vibius was jolted, how easy it had been for him forget that he was chattel. Spurio following the way missed his friend just as fiercely, but in a completely different way, one that brought deep joy to him for each of the many memories of his friend. The mock battles during training, the long talks at night. No sorrow, just joy. “Some men make heaven from Hell, others make hell from heaven.” If Spurio had any regrets, it was that he never told Vibius about Jesus. It was not so much like regret as wondering what if.
*********************
Not bad Doctore thought, as Spurio deflected the opponent’s gladius in a crescent shaped block, then retrace same arc, and with his fist at the level of his own chin and blade vertical, sliced through the throat. The only sounds were banging of the wooden swords and the muffled sound of
Spurio’s own into the opponent’s flesh. Not bad at all. Vibius had been gone for six weeks and it seemed as though Spurio had suddenly learned everything he taught him, on top of Doctore’s own teachings. Most men learned their lessons little at a time, some learned them all at once. Doctore had seen this before, but Spurio was the most extreme.
Now Doctore considered Spurio worthy of him and he was set to let the big man from Judea know it. Doctore had a way of moving without being seen. It could only be experienced, all the men talked about it and mystified manner, even Vibius. Now Spurio saw that they were right. Most men lean, shift their weight ever so slightly, or flinch just before they attack. Not Doctore. Doctore hit Spurio on the head from 8 feet away before he could blink. There in the hot sun on the burning sand Doctore went at him, using the very same attack again and again and again. A choppy 45 ° diagonal cut, that Spurio, that no man could catch up to. “Block me”, Doctore demanded, attacking again and again with his right arm like the spokes of a chariot. And one-time Spurio did, the cracking of the wood against wood, and would against skull, Spurio’s. Again and again as it happened, then a block, then hit, then a block again. Doctore couldn’t believe it, Spurio never feigned. Never shied away, but Doctore had no idea what Spurio was looking at.
++++++++++++++++
Spurio had not seen the Vettius for nearly two months, since the night he fought Vibius at the party. Now, standing in his office watching the little man toil at the desk, Spurio wondered if he would ever speak to him. It was easy to see why the men thought he was so mean and cheap. He was not unlike the money changers. But he remembered what had Jesus said of them that,” We all act in service of our own needs.” It was a lesson that Vettius would bring Spurio back to. Once as they were gathered round, Jesus said to Peter, who had his legs folded in front of him, “why are you sitting in that way?” Peter, perplexed, Wondering what profound teaching would come from such an innocuously posed question, struggled to respond. So, Jesus answered for him saying, “you are sitting in such a manner because it pleases you to do so. You will change position as soon as you deem another more suitable.” And as if unable to help himself, Peter stretched out his legs, and put the palms of his hands on the ground behind him. Everyone laughed including Peter. And Jesus said, “Judge not neither the villainous nor the virtuous, for each acts selfishly as the other. It is not possible for any act in opposition of his perceived needs. We are all equally selfish. We are all totally selfish.”
++++++++++++++++
“I wish to congratulate you on your progress,” he finally offered. “Doctore tells me you’re progressing, and your battle with Vibius tells me it’s true.” Spurio were shocked to hear such a booming, baritone voice from such a diminutive frame. It was clear that this was a man who carried authority, who was accustomed to giving orders and having them obeyed, to having his way. It was also clear, by the way he had yet to look up at Spurio, that he was arrogant.
In reality we all suffer equally from the thought of separation, which hides itself in many different forms in the dream. Vettius suffered from one of the cruelest hoaxes, that of unrealizable parental expectations.
“Spurio let me come directly to the point.” Spurio thought he was already there, but the little man continued. “Doctore wants you to fight in some of the smaller venues outside of Rome, while I want to maximize my profits by having you fight in more lucrative events in Rome. But I want to know what you think.”
It was obvious to Spurio that the little man with the big voice was lying. He couldn’t care less Spurio thought, or his needs for that matter, but to Spurio that was okay, it was forgiven, which was Jesus’s way of making himself impervious to the world and its horrors. “Well Spurio he demanded, are you up to it?” “Dominus”, he began, “Doctore is a master instructor, it would be wise to obey his counsel, nor would I be profitable to you, dead after the first match.” Spurio had dutifully kept his eyes floor, but now reflexively, irresistibly, he raised them to look at his dominus. Vettius glared scornfully as he prepared a scolding, but it was never delivered. When his eyes met Spurio’s he sensed something he had never sensed before, something he had never even known he’d been missing, acceptance. And he realized that Spurio simply answered his question, truthfully. Then Vettius did something he hadn’t done in years, he chuckled.
Spurio realizing his mistake offered up his obedience, “Dominus, your will be done of course.” “Of coarse Spurio,” Vettius replied, “of course.”
The silence was long, but for Spurio not uncomfortable. He wondered about this Vettius. “What would Jesus do with Vettius?” Spurio asked. Instantly he answered, “Jesus would love him”. That settled it, if Jesus would love Vettius, so would Spurio.
Then Vettius asked, “Is there anything I can get for you?” “I have a wife and Judea,” Spurio said halfheartedly thinking that it was too much to ask. But Vettius replied without hesitation, “if she is alive, I will bring her to you.”
There it was again Spurio noticed. He did not say would try to bring her, rather he would bring her. The man was accustomed to getting what he wanted. So, he would see his wife again if she was alive.
+++++++++++++++++++
Jesus taught that language has been developed by the ruling class in Egypt 3000 years ago. It had been developed to facilitate guilt and obedience, rather than to express needs. guilt designed to manipulate obedience.
dominus
Dominus
+++++++++++++++++++
After his meeting with Vettius, Spurio’s intense training intensified. Doctore had no control over who would be Spurio’s opponents, but he would control what he could, that meant he would fight Spurio daily. For Spurio it was much more than merely an opportunity to survive. Spurio knew what was coming, Doctore instructed him to block his vertical overhand cut. Still he was unable, on his first attack Doctore cracked him on the skull. Then again and again Spurio struggled to fend off Doctore’s furious attacks, but struggled more to see the instant, the eternal instant, the instinct that never was. And gradually, gently, under the blazing sun, and rain of vertical blows it came into view of his mind’s eye. Spurio felt the block, then being hit, then blocking, then being hit, then blocking, then being hit, all of the same blow. Then each blow. Behind Doctore’s dark streaking body the sky turned to the color of the sand, and Spurio experience both alternatives of each attack, blocked, and being hit each at once. Doctore paused, but Spurio was confused, facing at once both consequences of the same event. Doctore was at once congratulating him for fending off all of the attacks, and berating him for blocking none of them. But in all those many worlds, it was time for Spurio’s first fight.
under the scornful eye
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%The night before his first fight Spurio received first lesson in the full decadence of the roman orgy.
There were nude women dancing in pits in the marble floors,The gladiators were permitted to feast, drink wine, and have sex with wealthy noble women who could not wait to get their hands on them. It was debautcheious, but most of the gladiators welcomed the diversion, from the looming threat behind tomorrow’s sun. Tonight there was only one who was unappreciative, he was Asinius, a holy man captured in Turkey, the eastern part of the empire. Asinius told Spurio, ” the gods would punish the impure, who indulge in access”. Spurio thought, then the gods must punish us all, for we all indulge in compleatly in our own needs, the sinner and the saint are equally virtuous. ” tomorrow they will all die”, Asinius said. Spurio knew that Asinius too was satisfying his needs, and even as he moved away get some wine, he did so without judgment.
Smiling he thought how much Vibius would enjoy such frolic as this. Joyfully he thought of Lucilla. Anathema to some, bewildering to all, but blissful was the only ways he could think of things, the only way he could long for those loved, but not close, the only way he could be, it was what he was, what he had become since knowing Jesus.
Later that night, he stretched out on the bed in his cell, thinking not about tomorrow, but the evening that had just been. He remembered it not as if living in the past, rather bringing the past moment in too the present one, and experiencing them both at once, as they really were. Contented, Spurio fell into a deep sleep.
He was awakened the following morning by a Roman guard clanging at the gate of his cell. Behind the guard was Doctore. Doctore made sure to let the men sleep as long as possible. He wanted to minimize their wait, and its strain on their nerves. It was unnecessary for Spurio. When all of
Vettius’s gladiators had gathered, Doctore led them into the arena. There they paired off, and did light sparring with each other. Across the arena gladiators from the other ludus did the same. It served as a warm up for the gladiators, and a snack before blood, for the crowd.
To ruling noblemen like Vettius pleasing crowd was everything. Individuals were of no importance at all, but controlling the imagination of the collective was the key to power. To a Lanista like Vettius, the games meant nothing, the power he could garner from them, met all. When the warm-ups were over, all there was for the gladiators to do, was returned to the areas, and wait. Asinius was the first to fight. Spurio did not watch the fight, he focused on the crowd. Although the contest lasted a full 25 minutes, the only parts Spurio saw of it was Asinius’s appeal to Julius Lentulus, and Vettius. The fight was well contested by both men, the crowd had been appeased, it was LenTulus’s games, and he was given to Mercy, but Vettius was not. So, with the thumb pointed towards his own throat, Vettius gave the signal, and Asinius was no more. But pal was cast
instantly over all the gladiators. Such was the nature of Vettius, their Domino, their owner. Spurio make no judgments, nor was he affected by the elements of a dream. He was up next.
As Spurio emerged from to shade inside to the unsheltered blazing sand of the arena floor, he was not invested in his fate, rather curious. The glare cut his eyes like glass, forcing him to squint hard. He was aware that the shards of light and furnace of heat made the sun enemy to both men. Spurio was a secutore, a heavyweight, and he was fighting Brutus, a samnite with three victories in the arena. The three men in the arena, to gladiators, and a referee, acknowledged sponsor, the gladiators faced each other, and the referee signaled about to begin. Spurio was fighting for his life.
The two men circled first. The samnites was another heavyweight, but slightly less heavily armored. Spurio knew that a long fight was not to his advantage, however circling the arena with the din of the intoxicated crowd surrounding, there appeared to be no opening to his opponent. Keeping his shield tight Spurio shuffled in hopes with his gladius that Brutus’s shield. To no avail. His weak attack failed to open Brutus up, and worst of all Spurio failed to retreat after his attack. He was flat-footed as Brutus moved in. Brutus’s sword, and a slashing diagonal cut, hit Spurio hard in the head, bending his neck at a 90° angle, sending him stumbling backwards. Spurio noticed something. After weeks of training with Doctore, Brutus seemed to be moving in slow motion. And in slow motion Spurio could see that Brutus dropped his shield ever so slightly, just before he attacked.
Spurio, circled around until he felt recovered. Then pulling his shield close, behind it the tip of his blade pointed at the Samnites throat. Then flat-footed, Spurio waited. Doctore thought Spurio was dead. Instead Brutus, dropped his shield as anticipated. Spurio pushed his own shield against that hard thrusts the tip of his blade against his opponents helmet. It entered the left eye socket, and snapped the man’s head to the right in a twisting motion. In agony Brutus dropped his sword and shield and writhed on the ground holding his eye. Brutus never appealed, it was unnecessary. Vettius signaled the referee stopped the fight, and the match was over. Spurio had won.
The following morning they buried Asinius, on a sandy hill east of the ludus. His body was wrapped in white linen and he was carried on a stretcher from the ludus to his grave. Burial was another solemn ritual for the gladiators. Another mechanism by which they bestowed respect and honor upon each other. Another narcotic and numb the sting of being slaves.
Asinius had no family so all the gladiators together bought his gravestone. Thousands of years later the gravestones would be the treasure trove’s to archaeologists. Spurio noticed he can just see the ocean off to the horizon. He knew that Asinius would have approved of being buried near the ocean, toward the setting sun.
Returning to the ludus the men were sad, about the death of one of them. Even if the aggravating one of them, one of them. But in total Vettius had done well, having only lost Asinius, and everyone else won. Spurio as usual was not saddened, having only happy memories of Asinius, having never judged him, secure in the knowledge, that not only was Asinius not really gone, but that in reality he had never been. But there was one thing for which Spurio was completely unprepared. It was the astonishing sight of Lucilla. Indeed, Vettius was well versed in the language of reward and punishment.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
She stood there in the archway of the gate to the villa. Even at a distance and under the shade he could not mistake her outline. She did not see him until he was almost close enough to touch. When she did, she threw herself into his chest. It was a feeling he had never forgotten, her tiny body against his, her soft skin and marble hands. He stood there holding her with her face buried in his chest and he stroked her hair gently as she sobbed. He remembered what a child she was, he remembered how he loved her, but was still surprised by how good this felt.
When finally she looked up, and he could brush the hair away from her cheek and the tears from her eyes he looked long into them before kissing her. Then he looked at her again, there were no words. This was a potent portion of the dream. He wondered now, whether he had been in denial. No matter, it was a dream for sure, and for sure he would live. The guard grew impatient and hurried them in, Spurio was only too happy to comply. With his Spurio’s winnings Vettius provisioned a private room for Spurio in the ludus. It was where he led his wife to it now.
It was the most exquisite lovemaking they’d ever had. It was the simplest lovemaking they’d ever had. Spurio could always enjoy the moment, any moment. It was a skill he had honed with Jesus, but this time Lucilla enjoyed the purity of the moment as well. In their prior lovemaking, she had been passionate and sincere, but fearful. Irrationally fearful. Rather than live in the lovemaking, she sought to save it, to keep it like a coin to spend at a later date. This time she sought to save nothing digging her nails into his back again and again and again. There were no words.
Lucilla hadn’t nearly time to adjust. Spurio still didn’t seem real to her, not as real as the sounds of combat clangoring up through the window from the ludus down below. ”

When finally, they spoke, though two years apart it was as familiar as yesterday. Spurio was sprawled out on his side as Lucilla sat up crosslegged looking at him. She seemed almost embarrassed now, halfheartedly giggled and spoken to her shoulder, when she talked to him. Although she was certain that he had endured unspeakable horrors, still she wanted desperately to know that nothing bad happened to him. She tried to believe in the reality that wasn’t. She looked at him, his entire body. My big gentle husband is so strong, she thought. “How do you do it,” she asked? How do you endure all this pain and suffrage”? He gave her the concerned look which she recalled instantly, meant that right now, he was focusing everything on her every word, on her very next word. “Just yesterday you kill the man, it could’ve been killed yourself. When I saw you, you were just returning from a funeral of your friend. I don’t understand, how can you go on another day? In your place, I’m sure I should have killed myself long ago.” She finished her statement weeping, but her husband was laughing. He laughed long and heartily, and then shaking his head, said “oh my dear, don’t you understand it yet? No one has killed anyone, because no one is here.” And then he finished laughing, looking at her lovingly, but looking at her like a child. She couldn’t believe what she was feeling, anger. Here it was two years later, after all, he’d been through, and all she’d done to get to him, she was actually getting angry at him. They were squabbling as though nothing had happened. “You sound just like Jesus”, she snapped at him. “Why don’t you try speaking to him”, he said, still smiling. She paused, “he’s dead, didn’t you hear?” “Jesus is the only thing that’s real, Lucilla. The one real thing in our dream.” “They crucified him,” she persisted. “They crucified his body, but Jesus was not a body. So, once his body died, he was resurrected.”
She was still incredulous, but unwilling to waste what precious little time remained discussing Jesus. She coyly and gently seduced her husband again, and he willingly led to where she want to go. That night, the ludus fell silent, but she knew she could not keep it from encroaching with the sunlight. Lucilla looked out the window as the first rays dappled the sands of the ludus below. She felt Spurio behind her enveloping her like the ocean around a rock on the shore. He held her there and she already dreaded having to leave, having to leave him there to the horrors of the day and days ahead, which she was powerless to save him from. He turned her toward him, and putting his hand gently under her chin lifted it until her eyes met his.” Don’t cry”, he said. “We are not apart, it is impossible to be separated. We are in heaven, and there is no place where one of us ends for the other begins. We are one.” As she protested, he interrupted her gently, saying, “You will see this when you make it out of the dream. And in actuality, you already have, we all already have.” And now she stared up at him in such a way that she could never look away he said “when I make it out, none of this will matter. And when you make it out you’ll see that it’s true. I know you don’t believe me, but I swear you’ll see that it’s true. And when I do make it out, I’ll tell you, I promise. ” Still looking straight into his eyes and believing every word she said, without knowing what she was saying, or how she would accomplish it swore “And I promised to let you know, when I make it.” Before now Lucilla had never thought of waking from a dream, of making it, but now she swore solemnly, and meant it. It was implicit of course, that Spurio would be the one to make it first.
In the morning, it was not the ludus that exited, it was her.
In the morning Spurio watched his wife depart through the gated archway. Most men never could’ve watched her walk away with such peace. Most men would have felt deep pangs of want, born of loving from lack. Spurio lacked very little, therefore, he loved almost purely, the absence of missing her, but a symptom of his pure love for her.
The ludus was like a microcosm of Rome, he lived and breathed it woke in slept and rose again. He was not concerned for her welfare, because he was aware that as himself, she was a dreamer and a dream. But he was curious as to whether or not she would attend his fights. Well aware that she could watch him die before her very eyes. Such thing would intensify her nightmare, but could not harm her, the dreamer. He decided that he would take these things to Jesus.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% the mystical fight %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
With a victory fresh under his belt, Vettius was anxious to maximize his returns on Spurio. So, he determined that Spurio would fight in the ludus of his political rival, Claudius Maximus against his best gladiator. Vettius was in the enviable position of not having to field the winning fighter. Maximus was younger, but Vettius was politically unknown. To gain status, he merely needed to satisfy the crowd, which could include either sparing or sacrifice and Spurio at their delight. Maximus had not only to please the crowd, but his men had better win. Either way, as always, the gains and losses to the owners were denominated in the currency of blood of the gladiators on the field.
The match would be held without shields. It would be to Spurio’s detriment, he was by far the bigger and slower man. As anticipated, the Thracian brought the fight to him, trying to negate his superior reach. Spurio deftly blocked a series of diagonal and horizontal slashes with the same attitude that he would pick flowers from the side of the road. Then the Thracian thrust straight at Spurio’s midsection. Spurio brought his blade down in a counterclockwise half arc, and clearly heard and saw thrust being easily blocked, he also clearly felt and saw the blade run him through. Both, disparate acts, occurring in slow motion stop action. That was, “interesting”, he thought. He retaliated with a horizontal cut, which missed entirely when his opponent ducked under it, and simultaneously cut the Thracian’s head off. From above the battlefield, Spurio could see his dead prostrate body, could see himself appealing to Vettius his mercy, could see the Thracian appealing for the same, and could see the dead Thracian. He could see all the dreams as they were, happening all at once. It was his Jesus had said, and he could take any of them he wanted, or none at all. But he could not hold all of them at once, anymore than he could see both near and far. He had to focus on one and it was not one of his choosing. The Thracian cut him across the belly, horizontally, not deep enough to cause internal injuries, but deep enough that if Spurio wanted to do in this lifetime, then he had to do something fast. He did. The Thracian was leaning forward and off balance, as he finished the slicing cut. Spurio’s, with more agility than such a big man should have had already recovered and was moving in. With both hands on the hilt, he sliced vertically with all his might. The dull blade struck the Thracian in the back of the head, with a blunt thumping sound, splitting it from the crown to the base of the spine. When the man fell on his stomach at Spurio’s feet, a cloud of dust was the only movement his body made. The helmet was the only thing holding his head together.
Back inside to Spurio was once again obtained the finest standard Roman medical care. Roman doctors had pioneered physical therapy techniques that would be practiced for thousands of years. They could reset broken bones perfectly. Only severe internal bleeding was beyond their competence, and fortunately Spurio had none of that. His quick backward jump, along with the extra layer of fact afforded by his bland bean diet, had protected him from the worst of the Thracian’s blade. He was still safe from things that weren’t, within the dream. He had seen the multitude of allusions, now he wanted to see beyond it. He could have no idea how soon he would. But that little bit of wanting, would make him wish he hadn’t. So far it had all been going well, for the man who’d never lost sight of the goal. But he was about to find out just what a distraction being too close to what he always wanted could be.
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% End the mystical fight %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
All of that happens before the opening fight. What happens below happens after the first fight. you need to bring the story from here to the opening sentence.
%%%%%%%%%%%%%% All the above happens after the first fight or the opening scene %%%%%%
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

“How is your leg Spurio, Vettius asked?” “”Well, I think it bends in both directions now,” he answered dryly. Vettius straightened his arms out on the desk leaned back in his chair and studied his man. Without either of them knowing it, in the next few minutes, they would both make a critical decision for themselves and each other. “Spurio”, Vettius began, “you’ve done well. You’ve risen quickly and with just three victories, you’ve won coin and fame. Of course, you’ve also gained me coin and influence with Claudius Maximus. He almost begged me to sell you to him.” He said it as though he had done Spurio a favor by not selling to him, but was thrown off when he realized that Spurio did not get the implication. Actually Spurio did get the implication, it just didn’t register with him. Vettius lived by the double-edged sword of reward and punishment, success and failure, friends and enemies. Spurio understood those concepts, and understood the falseness of them. He understood they were just devices of evil to keep our attention on things in the dream and not having.
“I didn’t sell you, but I did pledge you to fight in Maximus games in three months. I know you are still injured in Doctore tells me that three months is not enough time, but if you win I will gain his patronage for the Senate and I will grant you your freedom.” Now Spurio sense, a slight touch of pleading in his voice, that Vettius was unaware of. As usual, Vettius never got that Spurio got him, but he understood Spurio not one iota. “You don’t have to answer now, give it some thought.”
Until now, their relationship was one of master and slave, but in this moment it was the master pleading to the slave for something that only he could give. At this moment, their relationship, crossed the well marked line of master and slave to man to man. They studied each other. “Dominus”, was Spurio’s only remark, but both men knew that the answer had given.
Doctore was the only one worried about Spurio’s next match. Vettius was far too self-centered and preoccupied, when not directly involved in the affairs of the ludus. Spurio himself was still rattled by having seen the sky, the world, drop away. He had no idea what it was, or what it meant. Jesus always said that the absence of the illusion of separation looked like pure bright light. But the reality he had just woken to was completely dark.
Every organ in the body does its job. The liver secretes bile, like the brain thoughts. Since it seemed the sky fall away Spurio’s brain had been excessively secreting thoughts. Successively secreting, evaluating and eliminating ideas before most of them made their way to his consciousness. Each idea, a toehold into understanding what he had seen. And of all the thoughts which capricious randomness could give him, the only idea taking form now was the one that was unthinkable until now. Jesus was wrong. The thought popped up and was immediately suppressed for it could become a full-fledged idea, but like everything else in the dream it fights to live.
Spurio, who could not train had plenty of time to think, his thoughts weren’t the only thing working against him. Claudius Maximus in his quest for redemption against Vettius, has a new gladiator in his employ, but not his ludus. None of Vettius as spies could discover him, but out there, somewhere in Rome, a healthy highly accomplished technically polished gladiator was training, training as though he were fighting the gods, but would be fighting Spurio instead.
It was already a month after his match with the retirarius and yet was Spurio preoccupied, by the darkness, by the doubts about Jesus. His injured left leg could barely hold weight. It was being manipulated by the physical therapists. By this point in his career painful injuries were commonplace to Spurio. In the past he’d always ignored the pain and chatted with the doctors and physical therapists, attending him, but now, he solved with the shoulders hunched and stared at the floor, beyond the floor.
He needed the help of two other gladiators to scale the steps to his room. Once there, however, he noticed a Vettius have left a small, very big gift for him, Lucilla. He was overjoyed to see her, but as her visit lingered a new idea, entered his mind, one he’d never known before. As he saw her sitting there, on the edge of the bed, her beauty, her desirability for the first time in his life he was overwhelmed with the impending sense of loss. Beautiful and desirable now, he wanted to hold her more than ever, but when he stepped toward her he could not back the grimace as the leg sent the screening message of agony to his brain and he stumbled. Lucilla rushed to get him and together they hobbled over to the bed.
Once there Lucilla realize that she was not going to make love to her husband this day. She could feel his burning with fever and see that the pain in his leg would take predominance over all. Lucilla was barely 22 years old and still very much a girl, but as she stroked her husband’s four head propped up the pillows for him to lean against, she sensed, became aware that they were something wrong with her husband, and it wasn’t his leg. Spurio reclined back against the pillows, but he didn’t stay that way long, he immediately lay full out.
She looked up at her into her gentle eyes and told her, told her about the darkness. And as doubt weaved it’s way deeper into Spurio psyche is wife’s response turned it upside down. “It was nothing”, she said. “It was just nothing, just as Jesus always said.” “Listen now to you, quoting Jesus”, Spurio said, laughing, painfully, and fell asleep. Lucilla spent the night in the V shape between her husband arm and body. She cuddled his burning hot arm in hers and lay awake all night. Though there was no way for them to know it, she had just taken the first baby steps toward her own enlightenment.
Three months later
Doctore was livid. Somewhere in Rome was a fierce and seasoned gladiator who had been training for three months while Spurio could barely recover, he could only limp. For all the spies that his and Vettius is money could buy, that Maximus is gladiator was in Capua was the only information they can get. Doctore told Spurio of this and promised to double the name and some useful information about the unknown gladiator, but for Spurio it was completely unnecessary. He instantly knew who his opponent was. Spurio kept to himself, there was no need for Doctore to know. But on this day, it wasn’t just Spurio keeping secrets. He had been with Vettius many years now, and he perceived Vettius’s treachery. Earlier in the week he had pled with Vettius to delay the fight, or place another gladiator in Spurio Stead. But Vettius steadfastly refused, Maximus insisted on Vettius as champion, and that was Spurio. But the treachery did not and there, Doctore realized that Vettius was deliberately sacrificing Spurio to the altar of his own higher ambitions. Politically, Vettius could gain more right losing to Maximus, and politically Vettius was moved as in no other way. Vettius would sacrifice Spurio and Maximus would save face. Vettius would then have his patronage for political advance. It was also painfully obvious, but he would spare Spurio such knowledge, he thought. He was wrong.
As Spurio finally began training, he perceived Vettius’s treachery and forgave it, but he did not forgive it as Jesus would. He did not forgive it by making nothing of it, because it was nothing. He forgave it as one who is wronged. Since he’d seen the darkness Spurio sees the world through the eyes of his separated mind rather than the eyes of the Holy Spirit, and thus had slipped back into the rescuer personality of his boyhood, and now he would rescue Vettius.
Doctore must now train Spurio such that his strength and stamina returns, but his injured leg also heels. With two weeks to go, there was no good way to do it. Yet was Doctore amazed for Spurio had progressed beyond all he could have imagined. He might yet win.

He remembered it not ever like this. Lucilla’s shapely form snaking rhythmically on top of him. It was an experience that made the dreams seem very real and not one he wanted to wake from, and he wondered what was Jesus really talking about anyway.

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ The last day +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

The games began early the next morning. First Lesser known and lesser skilled gladiators were paired against each other en masse. From between the vertical bars of his cell Spurio could see the men entering from opposite sides of the arena and walking purposefully towards each other at its center. He was painfully aware that each man began the morning with high hopes of moving down his road to freedom. But neither Vettius nor Claudius Maximus were in a mood for mercy. The men who lost and appealed were slaughtered, the winners paired against each other again. Before the sun’s shadow was lifted from the arena’s floor not a single gladiator was standing, all their high hopes brought down to bloodstained sand.

Spurio adorned his armor in the manner of a man accustomed to doing a particular task, unconscious, that he was even doing it. It was the same manner in which Doctore had taught him to fight. Warming up, he felt the pain of his injured leg, moving from unbearable to something just slightly less. To save both his stamina and leg for the match, Doctore kept his warm-up, abbreviated. The gladiators would enter from opposite sides of the arena and walk briskly towards each other. Doctore didn’t want his man limping into the arena.

As the gates swung open with the clang Spurio stepped onto the sand into the din of the crowd noise and walked towards the center towards his old friend of Vibius. He was shocked, Vibius had changed his style completely, he was now a Thrax. He fought now with a shield, and a sword curved like a J.. He knew that the sword when blocked still snake around and slice him in the back. All of Doctore’s hard work, just crumbled like grains of sand. He made eye contact with Vibius for just a second. If Vibius recognized or was surprised to see him it didn’t show. He simply turned to Vettius and bowed, Spurio followed suit. It wasn’t surprising to Spurio thought. Gladiators lived trained and grew together, just like Original Sin separation sets in scattering loved ones like dust in the wind.

And Vettius dropped a white cloth to signify the beginning of the bout, and cool dusk breeze blew it away before it hit the floor. To Spurio was a good sign. But Vibius was quick, barely had Spurio turned to look what he felt the impact of Vibius is curved blade against the shield, it staggered him. The rumor that Vibius would be granted his freedom for winning was obviously true, he fought like a man possessed. Spurio now put head into the fight, he determined to fight in the center and make Vibius use more energy and move around him, like spokes around the hub of a wheel. Vibius charged viciously, he had never seen his old friend in this manner before. It felt like he had 10 arms, but Spurio’s shield, sword and own massive body absorbed and sprung back after each powerful blow. Vibius’s frontal assaults weren’t working so, he shifted, moving around in a large circle as Spurio had hoped. It was Vibius, who was using more energy, but it was he who had more energy to use.
Still Spurio was well aware that Vibius was much too good to continue using something that wouldn’t work. Spurio shifted to his left to his right keeping pace with Vibius moving in a wide arc. Then Vibius attacked, but unlike the previous times this time when he stepped back after his failed attempt he moved right back in Spurio, slamming his shield and shoulder into Spurio’s massive torso. Spurio was slightly unbalanced, but it was Vibius, who was knocked off balance. Spurio hesitated not an instant he jabbed reaching with his right arm for all he could, nearly stepping Vibius in the rib cage and ending the fight, but pushing off with his injured left leg made him a second to slow and Vibius regained his balance without injury.

For a cruel hopeful second Lucilla thought her nightmare was over, until Vibius straightened up and squared off against her husband.
Spurio took the standard position, with his left leg forward now. It’s not that his leg didn’t hurt, he was just too busy to pay attention to it, and as Vibius charged in like lightning, this time he gave Spurio something else to think about. Vibius struck diagonally down and although Spurio blocked it, he was a second late, with a shield to close to his body. It was then that Vibius’s oddly curved sword did its duty. It reached like a claw around Spurio’s shield and sliced tissue of his left shoulder to the bone. The pain was worse than his leg had ever been, but not enough to stop the attack he’d already commenced. While fending off Vibius his blade with a clang he lunged in with several short chopping jabs when his blade returned bloody he knew that at least one of them found its mark.

Neither man knew how bad the other was wounded, but each of their bodies recognized their limits against the cold steel of the other man’s blade.

The calculation had changed from preserving stamina to saving blood. Each man would have to kill the other before he bled to death. Spurio’s agonizing shoulder left his shield noticeably low and Vibius sought to take immediate advantage. He attacked with lightning speed but surprisingly big man sidestepped and bladed his body to the attack and was able to nick him on the sword arm as he flew by. Suddenly both men realize that although Vibius entered the arena with more stamina now he was the one losing the most blood. Spurio didn’t have to do anything but wait and Vibius knew it. But Spurio’s shield was now down by his side and when Vibius sliced at his left side it cut a gash across Spurio’s left arm midway between his shoulder and elbow. Spurio shield dropped as he brought his elbow in to his ribs, holding himself, comforting himself. When Vibius attacked again he had only his sword to block with. It might be enough Vibius was slowing down. They who were in a fight to the death were now in a race to it. The loser would survive. Had Vibius looked at his injury he would’ve seen a streaming blood, instead his focus zeroed in on the huge target offered by his one armed opponent. Then he did something desperate. Vibius inched in slowly, cautiously,. Spurio was confused, yet never seen such trepidation on the part of Vibius. He was sure that Vibius was on the verge of death or treachery. Then he noticed Vibius’s shield held low, down to the rib cage. With every fiber of strength remaining Spurio drew back his sword and sliced horizontally that Vibius his head. He was sure that Vibius would be too late to raise the shield; he was right. Vibius drops and shield entirely bent his knees and let the blade swish harmlessly above him. In a split second that seemed like an hour all he could see was Spurio’s huge damage left leg. Remorsefully but viciously he cut it to the thigh bone. Spurio screemed and dropped to both knees, his blade fell ineptly into the sand.
Vibius, bleeding badly moved in for the kill. With his left hand he pulled back to Spurio’s head his right hand placed the point of the blade on Spurio’s throat poised for the command that both men knew was coming. Spurio could feel the slight pressure of the tip of the blade as he raised the two fingers of his right hand to Vettius. Vettius in turn appealed to the crowd and it was in a frenzy. He extended his right fist with thumb pointed out parallel to the ground. Spurio could see Vettius’s head pivoted slowly back and forth its full range. As he scanned carefully, deliberately all the choices came down to just the only choice there ever have been. And then with a final glance at Claudius Maximus, Vettius did what Jesus said we all do. Acting against his word, but in his own self-serving test interests Vettius put his pointed thumb on his own throat sending the command to Vibius to take his old friends life.
Spurio tried desperately to change his dream. In the times when he’d been in different he could change the dream at will, but suddenly, when it deeply mattered all the choices vanished like midst into mid air, the mere wanting of any, instantly doing away with all of the infinitely many possibilities. Betrayed and blindsided as his old friend rammed the gladius through his chest, forcing a gag reflex that he would never live to experience, Spurio’s eyes locked onto Vettius, but it wasn’t Vettius’s treachery that he perceived, it was Jesus’.

+++++++++++++++++++ End the last flight ++++++ +++++++++++++++++++

“Nooooooooooooooooo”, Lucilla screamed, louder, longer, than she had in her life, whatever would again. Leaning over the rails so that her feet came off the floor, she wailed for a minute continuously without drawing a breath. She shrieked so loud that it could not be heard over the roars of the drunken rowdy crowd. She screamed the life, vibrancy and beauty of youth right out of her, and when her feet hit the floor again, she turned her back bent her knees, collapsed, curled up on the concrete floor, and stayed there till her weeping became shallow raspy breaths, stayed until she was the only one there, until the pale sun came out under a rainy sky.

She staggered down the stone steps and out of the arena in the drizzly light. She meandered lonely cobblestone streets blank in thought with her jaw quivering in slanting rain that was turning cold. Aught for what to do she returned to the dank apartment that Vettius had provisions for her.
It was there that she resolved to end her suffering, but with dagger in hand Vettius’s men summoned her. So, concealing the knife in her gown she determined another way to join her husband and takes Vettius with her. Lucilla did not lift her eyes, had not lifted her eyes since seeing Spurio killed. She did not look directly at Vettius sitting at his desk. He began speaking, saying all the polite appropriate things. What a great champion Spurio was, how sorry he was that he was gone. He said it as though he had nothing to do with it. But when he slid coin that Spurio had won across his desk toward her she reached into her gown pulled the dagger and sliced down at the ugly little man. It was the most futile act she had ever done. The guards were upon her instantly. They ceased her harshly leaving the dagger stuck in the desk. Vettius stood up and walked around the desk and bade the guards to release her. She fell like a sack in his arms weeping. He nearly had to hold her up, but for a reflexive act of revulsion. ” Don’t touch me”, she screamed in a guttural tone as loud as she could, that could barely be heard. Vettius told her that she could stay in the apartment for as long as she lived, and had the guards deliver her and her coin to it. But she never heard him, she fainted in the guards had to deliver her home.

Lucilla didn’t remember what much in the days and weeks that followed. They buried Spurio along with Vettius is other fallen gladiators. She did not attend, nor did she purchase a headstone. It was the expected thing to do, but she would not dishonor him so. It was an ugly and inhumane practice that took her husband, who was himself a savor of lives, a physician and a philosopher.
The days and weeks flowed into weeks and months, but for her nothing changed. She ached for Spurio who was gone and gone with him all hope. It is an incomprehensible, but undeniable mechanism, that a thing available, whoever much want or not, when made unavailable becomes so much more in value, and now for Lucillia that mechanism cast a cold pall over her. He had always seen her as a gentle thing, a flower. But some flowers do not blossom in the shade, cannot thrive in the cold. So, lost and alone and seeing no way out she took the only way out she knew. The one she knew she would take the instant he died. And though she lived in crippling anguish he did so without fear. She feared not to be alone, for companionship brought no relief. She had not fear death, she welcomed.
She studied the dagger, like the one she tried to bury him to Vettius. Though she didn’t approve she had confessed herself that being left alone without him was fitting. She had loved him unquestioningly, with neither motive nor purpose and been in longing of him since. She followed him from Judea to Rome with Jesus or Vettius and now death to stand between them. And now without him her life was unbearable. And here in her fearlessness she can the last say that the cost of Spurio had been too high, loving him had not been worth it. Being apart from him was the only way he could be. So, without hesitation she prepared with both hands to drive the blade home, but a singular odd thought made her delay. “Jesus was wrong”, she remembered her husband saying. She remembered that as though he were in the room speaking it to her now. But Jesus was right as well, Spurio had seen the lack of separation for himself. If she killed herself which should be one with her husband in timeless permanence, or separated from him forever. Can Jesus be both wrong and right?
Wrong or right she couldn’t care less. As she looked at the wall across the room she saw a small dark oval in the middle of it. The voice in her mind said look away, it said he terrified, that for her was impossible. She stared at the darkness, she challenged the darkness, threw her dagger at it, watched it disappear into it and in that instant saw not it for what it was, rather the rest of the world for what it wasn’t,. She realized that the dagger didn’t disappear rather that it never really was. Simply that it wasn’t. Staring there into the abyss she said mournfully “Oh my poor pitiful Spurio, my poor husband”, there was nothing to fear, it’s just the nothingness that is. They were the last words of regret she ever spoke, and after she looked back up she would never weep again.

Her eyes dropped to the floor in tears, but they were the last tears she ever cried. When she looked up she saw rather than the nothingness the oneness of all, and new that she’d made it.

It was so simple she thought. We spend our lives tripping over it never noticing. But Spurio had found it. He’d found and lost it as suddenly as she found it. However improbable!

Although nothing in the dream mattered she had made a promise to her husband, they had made a promise to each other and that promise was somewhere between the dream and heaven. So, she results to keep her promise to leave her message and believe something more. But where? Where could she leave it? She had only to ask and it was answered.
She left the improbable message she had made it, in the only place it could be found, the one place it could not be missed, at the same time fulfilled the promise to her husband, champion, her student and teacher, herself. Then she lived as many years days and seconds as she wanted, teaching the word, but living not in the world until she decided to leave the dream. Then she gently set aside her body and went out with no intention to come back in save to find the one who was lost and help him home.

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For Spurio it was the something more that would make all the difference.
She left the improbable message in the only place it could be found, the one place it could not be missed, at the same time fulfilled the promise to her husband, champion, her student and teacher, herself.
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He told her about the darkness, but she could not comprehend the reason for his alarm. “Jesus always said, I am the way to the light.” But all he saw was darkness so thick it could be touched. Lucilla had never seen her husband confused before, not in any of Jesus’s teaching, word or deed, but now she sensed more than mere confuse, she could taste a palpable loss of faith.
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If you are not, then neither is my life, nor meaning, nor reason to be. Spurio felt a gentle heaving of his wife’s stomach and her tears on his arm. Gently he pulled her, brushed her hair back from her face, and lightly kissed her cheek, and then he whispered to her, “I am not real in your dream, yet I am real. We are all real in heaven and there we are so close that there is no place that one of us ends and another begins, we are all one, the only one.” Lucilla stopped crying, but was not satisfied. If this was a dream she didn’t want to wake up, she wanted everything to be as it seemed, that she lay here surrounded by the man she loved, would always love, and would love no other. To her things were as they should be, if this was a dream, then she did not want to wake up. She wanted to take her husband, live her dream, and Jesus with his strange message to go away. Yet Spurio, the only man she understood less than Jesus stayed with him so, she stayed with her husband, making Jesus’s message all the more threatening, making Jesus all the more threatening.
but could not know what a curse loving him would be.
”””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””””

Jesus came to correct Arjunea and others were born of a virgin birth, died on the cross,, and after three days resurrected.

And even if the money changers had given the coins away altruistically, still they would have been completely selfish. It is as impossible for us to knowingly act against our own perceived best interest, as it is to know it. There can be made no distinction between victim and victimizer, between predator and prey we are all equally selfish, we are all completely selfish. Money is simply a symbol, a powerful one, of that selfishness.

The Gladiator Book I 2nd draft 07-11-2011

jesus, spurrio and the money changers. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdMkTejZzzc&NR=1

i am telling you the truth, no master is greater than his slave, no master is free of his slave.

The Gladiator — Book 1

The Gladiator was exhausted, but was still able to bring his shield up to parry the triad as though he were reaching for an apple from a bowl of fruit. Though the body was depleted the mind was disciplined, he did not panic. This block had been in time, but he was slowing down. He felt it absorbed into his forearm then glance off of his shield, instantly he countered with the gladius in his right hand bringing it down and across at a 45 degree angle, lurching forward with his right foot after the swing, too late, the Retiarius was far removed. He circled around to Spurio Pompili ‘s left side, feigned another thrust, stepped back, then thrust the triad at his face with lightening speed, Spurio Pompili was barely able to avoid it with a combination of a rising block with his shield and bending his knees while ducking his head under it. Close! There was no counter this time, he was too exhausted. The two combatants circled each other warily in sand that burned under the scorching sun. Spurio Pompili , sweating profusely was losing the battle of attrition. He was the heaver and more powerful of the two, but was less agile. He was well accustomed to suffering the wounds of combat under the intense heat of Roma’s sun, he had been trained well. Discipline and indifference wove a sturdy pattern in the Gladiator’s psyche, but training also taught that the body had its limits and Spurio Pompili knew that his was fast approaching its own. Sweat stung his eyes and he could no longer ignore the screaming cramps in his legs, making them ever heavier by the second. The Retiarius feigned to his head again which brought his shield high again, but the effort was enormous, his left shoulder burned. When he dropped the shield too low a point of the triad found its mark again piercing the forehead, making it bloodier. He was locked in a downward spiral toward a slow death of a thousand cuts. Spurio would make a life or death decision, on his feet, with blood burning his eyes and cramps setting in. He would likely regret either action, but he had to decide and training took over again, he dropped the shield, it fell with a muffled sound, pushing into the sand like a stone in the water.

Without his shield Spurio Pompili was free to move about, but was exposed to the Trident. Now the retirarius swung the net at his head, forcing Spurio Pompili to duck his head, but now he saw an opening as the retirarius’s follow through exposed his rib cage and Spurio did not hesitate he jabbed his gladius at the open ribs like it was a piece of meat. As the blood poured, Spurio Pompili hoped he had broken a rib, but he had only bruised it. The retirarius feeling as though all of his ribs were broken brought both elbows in to protect the badly punctured ribs. It was involuntary leaving him momentarily rooted, exposed to Spurio Pompili ‘s sword, but he was too exhausted to follow-up. Instead he moved around to his right, keeping a safe distance while desperately trying to take control of his breathing. It was something he would not regain until one of them was dead. The Retirarius however seemed already to have endured the worst of it as he cast the net over Spurio Pompili’s head and moved closer with the Trident while the net was still in the air. Spurio Pompili sliced at the open net, collecting up harmlessly to the ground and in one move parried the Trident at the last second. The retirarius deftly spun back, reached his net on the ground, and returned to face Spurio Pompili squarely. The near misses were taking their toll.
Exhausted Spurio Pompili moved back, circling to his right trying to buy time, but the retirarius had much different intentions, he pressed the attack. Stepping backward Spurio Pompili felt the net wrapping around his left ankle, calmly he lifted his leg stepped in and thrust his sword, but the Retiarius moved back out of range and deftly countered with his three-pronged spear. Spurio with his shield long since dropped could only block it by jamming the point of his sword in it between two of the three prongs. It was a close call and he could feel the clinging of the three-pronged sphere against the iron anklet of his left leg. Spurio clenched his free left fist and delivered a crushing blow to the Retirarius’s jaw. The Retirarius staggered back and dropped his spear. The instinct was now for Spurio to plunge his gladius deep into his opponent’s chest, but fatigue from an hour of combat beneath the scorching Roman sun made him hesitate. It was fatigue that forced him to drop his shield, and it now intensified allowing the swifter Retiarius to roll on the ground toward his trident and come up with it standing. Spurio was as disheartened as he was astonished. He had to retrieve his shield. Facing his opponent squarely, in a left forward stance with his sword firmly in his right hand Spurio shifted to his left, the Retiarius would not so easily allowing him to. This time the when the fishermen threw his net around Spurio’s left ankle it latched on, and he pulled it straight. Spurio staggered but caught himself. But the fishermen buried the center prong of his Trident into Spurio’s straightened left knee. The excruciating pain electrified him, but it lasted only long enough to intensify his pain. Spurio looked at the blood gushing from his leg that was bent backwards and fell back hard between his shoulder blades. He lay on the ground in the position of a man being crucified. He was going to be skewered. The Retiarius moved to Spurio’s left and was standing between him and his shield. He moved in cautiously for the kill, making sure that Spurio was too injured and fatigued to counter him. Satisfied he began his approach, but when he moved in Spurio saw something that made him fear both life and death and doubt all that he had till this moment believed and known. It made him lift his head and through distraction and fatigue his training held sway, the gladius was still in his hand. So, as the sky behind the Retiarius began to drop out of existence Spurio had to make a split second decision, was death the greater disaster or was it life. When a black lightning bolt sliced across the late afternoon sky it seemed that death, was more welcome, but a second after when whole black chunks of the sky were ripped away showing only starless space behind, that was most uncertain. From his back Spurio brought his sword across his body and the Retiarius lost his left leg above the knee, on the backstroke it was the right leg that ripped away, just below the kneecap. Spurio never saw that which he had done in less than a second, he couldn’t keep his eyes off of the sky falling away as though the earth like a room in the sky, whose walls were crashing down revealing the total darkness behind them. They may as well been made of papaya. Then he put his head back down, and as a light sprinkle of blood dappled around his body he turned away and shut his eyes tight hoping that the darkness inside his lids could protect him from the darkness on the other side of them.

Lucilla couldn’t unclench her eyes, fully expecting that when she opened them the Retirarius would have skewered her husband to death. She never would have reopened them, except for the faint cries of her husband’s name. Pompili ? Pompili ? She could believe that he had won again even less than the crowd. Slowly, cautiously, not to be deceived she opened them focused. Her jaw shuddered as she strained in the distance to see the unthinkable, her husband, alive. She was in no condition for rational thought as tears streamed down her face and drool unabashedly dribbled from the corner of her mouth, her love for her husband matched only by her pure joy to see him alive. She brushed back tears only to confirm the vision. Then as he lay there prostrate on the ground about the length of her thumb writhing in agony her joy became enmeshed with his pain. His pain, it was an altogether new experience for her, to him for that matter. The joy was not subdued, but added to by his pain becoming hers. She could see her husband’s body and feel his pain, but she could not see the darkness he had just seen, could not know that for him everything had changed, and changed much more than if the Retiarius had just killed him.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%% Lucilla %%%%%%%%%%%%

She was on her feet, moving down to where they were taking her husband. Her only thought was to rush to her husband, to tend to his wounds. She needed to comfort and take care of him, though even that was selfish of her. But for now the Romans and iron gates still separated her from him. Yet Lucilla blamed Jesus not the Romans for her husband’s slavery, her separation from him, and the horrendous tortures he endured, suffering which she could not even think about, along the brutal trail that led him from intellectual discussions on to spiritual enlightenment in Judea, to a bloody gladiator pit in Rome. Now, she was pleased that he had been crucified; now she felt he was deserving making her less guilty of it. Even in death it was Jesus not the Romans separating her from her husband. But just one more victory and that would be no more, Vettius had sworn it personally and contracted legally. Just one more victory and her husband was again a free man to be with her forever. That sweet thing, she and her husband together, it was so close that it was almost real, she could almost touch it, but with tears still streaming and her body wracked at once by both agony and rapture, as she watched her husband screaming being carried away she knew that for now forever would have to wait.

Moving down she kept her eyes only on the stones beneath her feet. She bumped shoulders and slipped in between one faceless person, then another. Moving in and out of the light as she descended, men stared at her as she passed unaware. Someone else moved her body passed the debauched fanatics intoxicated by wine and blood of the games; she was merely a passenger in it.

She was completely in the shade now though the air was still hot having been cooked by the sun all day. A fight broke out between two men gambling, but it sounded vicious like lions that had been fighting to get earlier. Others gathered round and the violence spread. She stared hypnotically at the conflict before her, unable to comprehend it. She had never seen such violence, never seen her husband be so vicious, had never dreamed he could kill a man. She had never seen her husband engage in violence at all. Except for that one time in Judea, when he overturned the tables of the money changers, and scattered their coins about floor. With all the violence erupting in front of her she could see it in her mind’s eye as though she was back in Judea, as if it were happening. She was in both places at once.

The bankers or money changers created a special silver coin, called the half shekel of the sanctuary. Even the poor had to have some of these coins to pay their temple tax. So, the monopoly allowed the money changers to charge whatever they could and they gouged the market for all it would bear. Spurio, Lucilla and the people gathered there were outraged. Finally, Spurio took action, turning over their tables and letting their coins spread around.

Spurio was a giant who towered over all men in Judea. Lucilla relived the pride she felt watching her strong, good husband doing the right thing. Then she observed a man slight of build walk over to where her husband was. When Spurio saw him there he stopped like a statue. They stood silent for only a second, but what seemed to Spurio like a minute. Then the frail stranger asked, “Brother, what are you doing there?” Spurio let the money changer’s coin box slip out of his large grasp and fall with a clung to the temple’s stone floor. Latter Spurio would say that never seen such peace in a a man’s eyes, never before nor since.

Spurio did not refuse to answer, still stunned as he was by the utter peace in those eyes. So, the stranger continued saying, “Judge them not, for they have harmed no one.” “But they (the money changers) are stealing from the poorest Jews, on their holiest ground, no less”,replied Spurio at last and in desperation. “They are evil”, others persisted. And now the fury was directed at the stranger. Lucilla watched intently as he waited calmly to speak. His build was less than medium, and his frame looked as though it were accustomed to fasting. His long hair was clean but unkept, she could see his beard, but not his eyes. She would not see those until the end. She could not see the calm in them, as Spurio could. And that is what he was looking at when the stranger patiently instructed that no one is good or evil and that nobody could possibly be victimizing anybody.

“I tell you the truth that everyone acts in service of their own perceived needs. Everyone acts selfishly. The money changers, attempting to maximize their profit on every single coin, as were the poorest Jews attempting to pay as little as possible, for each coin. To each his motives are moral, but each acted so that need his needs would be met first, each acted equally selfishly in service of those needs. And we each act equally selfishly, we each act completely selfish in the service of our needs. Even the martyr is totally selfish; there is nothing else he can be.”

That was how Jesus came into their lives. It was how Jesus came in between their lives.

Unlike his wife Spurio understood Jesus’s words as he spoke them. He wanted to say of course why couldn’t I see that. And that is how it would be for all their days together. Jesus didn’t teach Spurio, rather gently reminded him of things he had already forgotten. Lucilla never forgave Jesus for defending the money changers or calling the poor Jews selfish. But before it was over there would be more to not forgive Jesus for than Lucilla could’ve ever dreamed. Spurio knowing that too continued to love her unselfishly just the same.

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She was at pit level now, the clanging of slaves in their shackles, grunting gladiators clashing, and from down the long corridor beneath the seats she could hear the anguished sounds of men in pain. In her heart, there raised the sickening certainty that somewhere down there, her husband languished in agony. She wrapped her slender fingers around the bars that separated her from the long corridor, which separated her from her husband. She struggled to peer into the darkness and around the corner to glimpse a piece of Spurio, or isolate a fragment of his agonizing cries from the ensemble, the vain attempt making her heartbreak even more bitter. She remained there, hopeful and heartbroken, until there were no more slaves clanging in the shackles, until the sounds of men suffering subsided, until the day waned and she finally realized her husband was no longer down there, there was no one else down there. She was alone.

Pensively she left the arena, and walked alone down the cobblestone street. It was nearly dark now, but all of Rome seemed to be out, still intoxicated by wine and blood of the games that ended hours ago. There were more faceless people to not look at, and more lusting men to not see. She paid less attention to the outside world than she did even her own body, which was now she was vaguely aware hungry for not having eaten in more than a day. Nothing else registered until the street opened it into a large courtyard, the far side of which wedding was taking place. It reminded her of Jesus’s wedding to Mary Magdalene.

Spurio dragged her all the way to Galilee for the event. They got there they didn’t know soul except for Jesus. Where Spurio was perfectly comfortable with strangers in next easily, Lucilla was uncomfortable and defensive. She remained that way until she had some wine and saw the bride and groom. When Jesus saw Spurio, he came over to the table where they were sitting and gave him a warm welcome and introduce them to his new bride. Lucilla was less quick to make opinion of Mary Magdalene, but she did confess later to to Spurio that they made an attractive couple. She didn’t confess that she also hoped that once married Jesus spend more time with his wife and less pretending to be the Messiah. Then he would leave her and Spurio alone. They stayed there and made friends with Jesus’s students, Peter, Paul, and Judas. Judas was a lecherous pig she thought. He stared at her openly at the table in front of everyone.

It was also the first time she had heard Jesus teach, when someone asked him about the nature of sin. Jesus even sitting and the stature had appeared to be less than medium, now seemed something more than that. She paid no attention to what he said, but was aware of something inexplicable there, a kind of thereness there.

She remembered how as the night wore on it seemed almost to be her wedding night. Her normal pensivness was eventually as always worn away by the sheer joy of being with her handsome husband, the most handsome one there was and she could still taste the delicious wine mixed with his juices as they made love untill the morning. Inspite of Jesus, inspite of herself, Spurio made her deliriously joyful. Now consumed in the agony of missing him, it was as though he made her life unbearable. And yet she would have to bear it until Spurio could win one more match, if he could win one more match. She looked away from the wedding and making her sorrowfully way down the narrow street alone, and got lost.

She had taken the wrong road by which to leave the courtyard and didn’t notice until it was well past dark, didn’t notice it until the Romans nearly ran her down. Immersed in her sorrows she couldn’t hear the horses galloping down the narrow cobblestone. But as she entered into the crossway, they appeared as if instantaneously. She lept back but not in time to avoid a violent encounter with the hairy front shoulder of the onrushing beast. It spun her around in midair threw her hard to the cobblestone on her hands and knees. The second rider cursed at her as he rushed past. She crawled a way as best as she could, but it was slow it was the most physical pain she’d ever experienced in her life. Her knees were black and blue in her palms were bleeding. She leaned back against the wall curled her legs up like a child and cried. She cried not the deep sobs of anguish, but the gentle ones of despair. Sitting there, knowing not what to do she closed her eyes and saw this time not Spurio, but Jesus.

After the wedding Jesus and his student’s and Spurio and Lucilla went to Cana. It was there at the height of the insanity of Jesus that Spurio believed in him the most.

On the way there Lucilla noticed that Jesus walked with rather than if front of his students and seemed of lesser build again, he even tripped over things and she realized he was even clumsy. How could such a painfully flawed man call himself the Messiah she wondered? She was yet to realize that he never did. She was too busy judging Jesus to notice anything save for the way that he bewitched her husband.

But as Jesus began to teach she noticed that he seemed to become big again. Jesus was speaking to a sea of people, maybe 5000 of them, instead of placing himself on top of the highest mound he stood in the valley bounded by several hills. From the lower position everyone could see him and hear him as well.

That seemed strange to her for she was far enough away that she should not be able to hear him, but she did. His voice was like his stature when he taught, bigger. But it was more than that, Jesus was simply too far away to be heard at all, yet she heard him speaking loud and clear and through hearing him clearly though that Jesus was insane. That is what she was remembering sitting on her knees that ached staring at her palms that were bleeding.

She waited there, waited for the bleeding to stop, waited for the pain to subside. But just like waiting for the return of Spurio, it was hopeless. When the rain began falling she got up to find her way home.

By the time Lucilla entered the apartment that Vettius had provisioned for her, she was drenched in cold. Roma, was the center of the world, the hub to which all roads lead, but here in her dark apartment on the top floor corner of a stone building Rome, disappeared and the anguish of her broken heart was all she had fill the emptiness. She walked past the fireplace, which she had never seen burn to light a candle on the bedside. She hesitated at the edge of the bed, staring as if not sure what to do, as one would test the temperature before entering a bath. Gradually, ineptly she curled her tiny body into its center and stared blankly at the flickering shadows in the room.

The last time she could remember curled up in bed like this, it was with her husband’s big, safe body behind her. She remembered gently caressing the hairs on his arm about her waist, and feeling is comforted by his presence as she was frustrated by Jesus’ message. “I try, I try” she explained,” but try as I might, I can’t get it, I can’t understand. Jesus is the tiny mad idea”. Then her husband, as though he were moving a pillow, effortlessly turned her to her back, brushed the hair away from her cheek, “you will, you will” he said in a tone that was as gentle as any she had ever heard, and then she looked up, catching his eyes, that revealed a certainty, and the seriousness that his voice did not. That view of Spurio she’d had a thousand times, had it burned into memory. His dark eyes were white, with tapered brows riding a finely sculptured ridge that balanced a nose of the gentle Hebrew variety. He was the one who understood Jesus better than anyone. And then they made tender love. She didn’t care one bit about Jesus, but oh god, how she needed Spurio now. But on this night she wasn’t reassured, nor did she make love to her husband, she could only writhe in pain beyond her comprehension, but Lucilla had no idea that she was just beginning to learn to hurt.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% Begin Jesus %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
Just as in the beginning of the universe, there was not a soul to see it. What began as just a tiny eddy barely able to stir the dust in the desert outside of Cairo, became a vortex that carried the burning sand to the sea, there it turned to clay and then stone until finally the stone became flesh and living bone. The spirit made the body seem real. By the time the body was first seen by John who was baptizing on the east bank of the Jordan River it had walked thousands of miles under a scorching sky without a drink or the even a thought for one. When John looked up and saw Jesus standing on the bank he knew instantly that this was the light that he had seen, and after seeing it, John the Baptist never baptized again.
John a self-righteous man had heard many confessions and done many baptisms by then, saying “confess your sins and God will forgive them.” But John the Baptist believed in sin and so he condemned it. He had no idea what true forgiveness really was or that sin was not at all. John watched as Jesus stepped into the water and came towards him. “Lord I cannot hear your confession as you have none to make,” John said. “Nor does any of us,” said Jesus. Then Jesus took John’s hands and put them on his head and went under the water. When he came up again, John understood that he did not understand. Jesus smiled and he watched as Jesus walked out of the river and up the bank, then out of sight, leaving John with the peace of God which he had never experienced before. Then John the Baptist walked out of the river Jordan and never baptized another person again.
Jesus went on to Nazareth to find Mary and Joseph who had lost their only son during the slaughter of King Herod more than 30 years before. They had remained childless since, unable to have children, living still in the insufferable sadness of what could have been, and the crushing guilt for not stopping that which could not have prevented.
When word reached her of King Herod’s mass execution order she took up her son and fled into the sparse woods outside of Nazareth. She hid there for two days. Heat and cold. She ignored the raging thirst in her own mouth could not ignore the suffering of her child. She had to get him water or he would die. So, she put the child in a basket and carried it boldly back into the city, to the water well. There were two Romans on horseback in the street and as the child lay silently in the basket she began to draw the water. Then a horrible realization came over her, that she had brought no jar to carry the water away with. So, she had to expose the child to the light in order to let him drink. It was a fatal mistake. Two Roman soldiers with their swords and cloaks already bloodied from prior hours of infanticide closed in swiftly. She clutched the child desperately to her breast, but one of the soldiers violently straightened her arms and the child fell from held them. Miraculously she caught him in the air and fell back hitting her head hard against the well with the child in her lap. The soldier, as though he were standing at a leaf on the ground in order to pick it up thrust his sword at her child.
The blade skewered her left arm went through the child’s heart and didn’t stop until it had cut her through the womb . The last thing that Mary remembered before she fell to the dirt was the faint sound of a limp child splashing into the water far below. She should have died there, instead the deep gouge through her womb barren.
Since she’d never seen the child actually be killed it was easy to pretend that some miracle had occurred. That she had not heard a dead infant splash into the water. Over the years she told herself this till she almost believed it was true. But she never drew another drop from that well.
Joseph suffered from a far more pernicious of self-attack, he blamed himself for not having been there when the Romans attacked his wife and son. But it was Joseph who drew the Romans away in the first place. It was he who hid a bundle under his coat and ran off in the other direction to draw the soldiers. It worked. When the soldiers discovered that it was aught but a log that he concealed from them they beat him within an inch of his life and that beating gave his wife and child time to get away. But the world, this world, takes away everything eventually.
Jesus felt their deep pain and was moved. He was still in Galilee when he told Mary that she would soon see him. She in turn told her husband Joseph that “our son is coming home.” She did not have to explain it to him. They decided to prepare a feast.
Jesus was followed there by Simon (who is called Peter) and his brother Andrew; James son of Zebedee, and his brother John; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Him.” These then were the 12 disciples.

When Mary and Joseph saw their son for the first time they recognized him instantly, it was as though he had simply left for a while and now was returning. Jesus had many ways of easing peoples anguish. For Joseph and Mary he used the simplest, he let them no longer think about what had happened. Whenever he did this it always worked. For as Jesus himself explained, “nothing in the past can hurt you now.” Jesus did not remove the memory of what had happened, he simply removed the parents habit of thinking about it at all. Being in such pain made them willing enough for, Jesus to give Mary and Joseph a gift which others would have to earn, the gift of now. To them nothing of the past was forgotten nor the future hidden, but for the once grieving parents rest of their days when were lived fully in the joy of the only instant that really existed, the instant which is now. For Jesus who was remembering a body remembered too the myriad of methods the human mind had to attack itself.
At the feast Mary and Joseph were in such bliss that they didn’t even notice when the wine had given out, but one of Jesus’s disciples did and said to him, “the wine has run out.” “What am I to do about this,” Jesus said? Then Jesus smiled and got up.
The Jews have strict rules about ritual washing. So, there were six large water jars there, each one large enough to hold between 20 and 30 gallons. “Fill these jars with water,” Jesus said to his disciples and they did it. When they were done Jesus paused for a second and then said, “Draw out the water and give it to the people.” They did and to their astonishment the water had turned to wine. The other guests did not see this but remarked it was the most delicious wine they had ever tasted. Not only the disciples, but a beautiful young girl named Mary Magdalene had seen this. They were all amazed especially Mary Magdalene.
A few days later, in time for the Passover Jesus and his disciples and Mary Magdalene traveled to Jerusalem. They entered the Temple there to a raucous and great commotion. When they moved close enough to the noise Jesus could see a huge man, the biggest man he had ever seen, who had made whip of chords and was chasing the animals away. Also had overturned the tables of the money changers and scattered the coins on the Temple floor. His disciples tried to persuade him out of it, but Jesus walked right up to the big man stopped a few feet away and waited. When the big man noticed him Jesus said, “Spurio my Brother, what are you doing there?”
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% Begin Jesus and Spurio %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
Mighty Spurio was so disarmed by the tiny Jesus that he froze in place, going at once from fearsome to comical. But he stammered and stopped there for seconds not because the words wouldn’t come, but because he didn’t care to say them once they did, words had no meaning. Standing there in front of Jesus, there was an instant when Spurio forgot about his body and remembered the peace of God instead. It was a peace that he more remembered than discovered, but once remembered was known almost in full. So, despite the awkward outward appearances, Spurio was in that second far more enlightened than confused.
Jesus knew that Spurio believed himself to be a righteous man acting in a righteous manner, but just as John the Baptist he was confused about what righteousness was. Namely that there was no such thing. Jesus was aware of the man’s wife his wife scrutinizing himself as well as he was aware that there was much more to the big man then just his size.
Then the Jewish authorities appeared and wanted to seize Spurio who had said this is a temple, but you have turned it into a den of thieves. The Jewish authorities demanded that Spurio perform a miracle to prove that he had the right to do such a thing. But it was Jesus who answered them reciting the Scripture which said, “My devotion to your house oh God Burns in me like a fire.” The Jewish authorities looked at Jesus for a long time, then said amongst themselves, “who is this man who recites our Scripture?” Then they looked at Spurio, but walked away without laying hand upon him. Spurio relaxed now, stood looking at them until Jesus put his hand on his shoulder. Then Spurio turned to see Jesus smiling up at him and smiled back down at him.
“How do you know my name”, Spurio asked Jesus. “I have not known you before, nor have you known me.” Then Jesus squeezed Spurio’s shoulder and answered him saying “Ah Spurio Pompei, you are a good man who wanted to be a physician, but for his father’s sake became a merchant instead. You who wanted to heal now give away your wealth and fight injustice wherever you see it.” Jesus walked away from Spurio toward the steps ready money changers had just fled. Then he turned and came back toward Spurio saying loud enough for everyone to hear, “you now heal the world, finding that which was wrong and putting it to right.” when Jesus drew near to Spurio again he said so that only he could hear, “I have always been with you for all of your days and will be for all the ones to come. No one can be alone with himself, for wherever you are there I am too.”—***I want to wright something earlier in the story so that this has some significance***—Spurio was amazed, but still at peace with what Jesus was saying for he remembered and therefore understood.
Now a large crowd gathered around them and was filled with much agitation and discussion. ”Who is this man,” they demanded of one another. But no answer was to be provided there so they asked Jesus, “who are you? ” Then one of them said, “Spurio was chasing the money changers from the Temple, but you said to him let them be.” And they accused Jesus of defending the money changers.
“I tell you now what I told him, Judge them not, for they have harmed no one.”
Angered the crowd drew near to Jesus the disciples and Mary gathered around Lucilla came near to Spurio. The crowd was loud and accusatory, but they did quiet down and asked, demanded of Jesus that he explain himself. So, Jesus did. As Jesus was waiting to speak, Lucilla was still sizing him up.
“But they (the money changers) are stealing from the poorest Jews, on their holiest ground, no less”, they replied. “They are evil”, others persisted. And now the fury was directed at the slender stranger. But Jesus gently corrected that no one is good or evil and that nobody could possibly be victimizing anybody, saying:
“I tell you the truth that everyone acts in service of their own perceived needs. Everyone acts selfishly. The money changers, attempting to maximize their profit on every single coin, as were the poorest Jews attempting to pay as little as possible, for each coin. To each his motives are moral, but each acted so that need his needs would be met first, each acted equally selfishly in service of those needs. And we each act equally selfishly, we each act completely selfish in the service of our needs. Even the martyr is totally selfish; there is nothing else that he can be.”
The point of view of Jesus was unexpected and unacceptable to all save for Spurio. Inexplicably, Lucilla was especially critical Jesus because had acted in defense of the despicable money changers. But her husband patiently corrected that Jesus was simply not judging anyone. But even amongst the disciples themselves and Mary Magdalene it was Spurio alone who understood that good and bad were only what we called it.
And Spurio had more shocks in store for his wife, inviting Jesus and his disciples, and Mary to stay with them. “Please, you and your friends come and stay with me at my house, for I am a wealthy man and I have room enough for all of you.” Upon hearing this Lucilla jumped quietly out of her skin. But Spurio had not consulted her so, Jesus the disciples and Mary went and stayed there a while.

The idea of spending the night with these strangers and Jesus repulsed her. If asked she could not have said why, indeed she never pondered the question. But she had judged Jesus as a defender of the money changers and anything to do with him from then on was refracted to the lens of that judgment. That was exactly what Jesus was going to tell her, though she would not hear it. But Lucilla only thought that she was repulsed by the thought of Jesus and his disciples spending the night under her roof, she had no idea that she was truly threatened by Jesus, threatened because Spurio’s attention to him detracted from his attention toward her. But Lucilla a lot to learn about what a true distraction Jesus was going to be.

Spurio watched Jesus, at the feast and drinking wine afterwards. To observe and hear Jesus with the eyes and here’s of the body could only be misleading he thought. Spurio realized that if you could understand Jesus at all then it must be with the mind. For Jesus was the answer to every question, to receive one just had to ask. Jesus was constantly trying to get through, one simply had to let him. Just now Spurio was attempting to do precisely that. Oddly he felt himself unable to formulate a thought about which to ask the question. He was distracted slightly by children who had been playing at a distance but now drew closer to the adults. He felt the gentle breeze ruffle the table cloths and wrap around him in a comforting manner. He had provided a dinner in which the wine would not run out Jesus had no need to perform miracles here. Yet as he struggled for the question which eluded him, it was a small child who provided the question to the answer, it was the answer from which all other answers sprang. From a child, Lucilla’s young niece came the question about creation. For no seeming reason she asked, “Jesus where do we come from?” As Jesus began to answer Spurio could never have believed how different he would be when he was done.
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% begin the tiny mad idea %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
The bible says “In the beginning”, but there is no beginning or end or now, there is only always. Always is forever and God is everything. The Son of Man began in heaven in a state of eternal bliss and perfect oneness with God. The oneness was so perfect that there was no place where one began or the other ended, oneness so perfect you could have no thought that was not thought of God, you could not imagine anything that was not God. There was no difference save one, that the Father is first cause, He created the Son. Yet was no thought of separation, you were one with God who created you. We are not separate from God, we are not part of God, each and everyone of us is one with God. God is everywhere and everything and we simply say God Is.
Then into the mind of the Son there crept this thought. Not a real thought partial thought that was not a thought of God, it was more of an idea, a sick insane idea. The thought, the question, was, what would it be like to be apart from God? The Son waited for God to answer, but he didn’t. It was not a question because there is no such thing as separate from God. So, God not willing to make that which was unreal appear real, did not answer.
The non-answer from God to your non-question, you mistook as rebuke. You mistakenly believe that God is angry with you for leaving him, this is original sin, for which all mankind feels deep, subconscious, abiding guilt and expects severe and merciless retribution for a crime that never was. The Son of Man becomes the prodigal son.
This is where Satan comes in and says, “I’ll help you, I’ll show you a place to hide” Satin is not a demon or a devil, Satan is not real, rather is just trick of the mind. Satin is the part of your mind that makes up and protects the illusion of separation from God. Satan makes the illusion seem real. Then the Son of Man, terrified, running scared from an angry pursuer that doesn’t exist, actually makes a deal with the devil himself. It is Satan, the Satanic part of the mind of the Son of Man that made the world seem to exist for him to hide himself from God. That is how the world came into being. How silly, could the Son really hide from God? But burdened by original sin and mistaken guilt the Son of Man sold his soul to Satan to deny the reality that God is.
To protect the mad dream Satan must preoccupy Son of Man with more illusions. So, the false world that we fill with cruelty, inhumanity and bloody wars, with friends and enemies, with money changers and Romans. All of them, all ought but distraction. So terrified is the Son of the Father that he runs to the devil to hide.
So, all the world all that you think you see with the eyes of the body comes from but a mind turned inside out and spilled onto a world outside of itself. A world outside of everything that’s real. A world outside of God in Heaven. A world that is nothing but a dream that we but make real with judgment.
The Son of Man is asleep and heaven dreaming the dreams of separation. Each lifetime you think you live in this world but a nightmare to a dreamer in heaven. To awaken from the dreams the Son must learn forgiveness. Not the kind of forgiveness that the world knows, but true forgiveness that knows the world is not. But it takes many dreams of many lifetimes to train the mind to ignore Evil and listen to only the Holy Spirit. And in the myriad of dreams and lifetimes in the multitude forums of joy and horror they bring, at one time or another we each play the others part, we are each master and slave, we are each predator and prey, we are each everything there is to be many millions of times over. The father has sent me to gently wake the Son from his dream, to ease his burden, to reduce the number of his nightmares, to free the master from the slave, and I have already done it. I have already undone all that was never done. But follow or ignore the word makes no difference, everyone wakes up, everyone makes it out, everyone already has. “
Wake to make it out of the dream. As Spurio seized on those words, on the symbol those words represented, he felt a burgeoning sense of purpose, and wondered openly if he could make it, and make it this time.
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% end tiny mad idea %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Spurio never asked Jesus if he could follow him. He just assumed that he could, and he could. But Lucilla was stunned when he told her. She fell and had to catch herself on the table, and Spurio had to help her into the chair. Such a little girl he thought as she sat legs together hands twisting and writhing on her knees as she gently she gently sobbed. “It’s not as though you never see me again,” he said taking her tiny hands in his. He was as miffed by her severe reaction as she was by his desire to leave her. She tried to be angry with him, but when she looked up she could do aught but put her slender arms around his neck. He picked her up from there carried her gently to bed.
Spurio was patient with Lucilla as she protested with all her might. But there was no way to stop him. Spurio was leaving with Jesus no matter what the costs or consequences. And even had he known then just what those consequences would be, still Spurio would have followed Jesus.
The following morning Nicodemus came to visit Jesus. Nicodemus was a money changer. He had not fled when Spurio came through the market and heard Jesus speak. He came inside where Jesus was resting from the heat of the day and spoke alone to him. “Jesus we know that you are a spiritual man and speak the truth,” Nicodemus began. “We want to help you spread the truth all across Judea,” he continued. But Jesus perceived his treachery and interrupted him saying, “Nicodemus I do not judge usury, nor do I sanction it.” Then Jesus stood up and put his arm on Nicodemus shoulder and asked him, “Nicodemus was good does it do a man to gain the world and yet remain in it. Profit and loss are simply opposite sides of the scarcity coin designed keep the attention of the Son of Man on worldly things instead of the infinite treasures in heaven where no one has any need of scarcity or want.” But Nicodemus persisted saying, “Jesus we have not just wealth, but influence. Influence with the Jewish authorities and the Roman ones. We can do all manner of things to get our way.” Then Jesus stepped back from Nicodemus and looking him directly in the I said, “I am aware of all that you think you can do to me. You may to all manner of things to my body, but you cannot touch me for I am not a body. You can cause me no pain for the guiltless mind cannot suffer. Yet must you try, yet must it be done.” Nicodemus has caused much suffering in his life yet never felt remorse once. But just now he did feel pity for Jesus, for what he would do to Jesus.
Spurio watched Nicodemus leaving his house. He walked in quickly and found Jesus. He knew what Nicodemus wanted, but Jesus said with a light heart, “Worry not big man for nothing is being done only undone.”

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% End Jesus and Spurio %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
The next morning Jesus, his disciples, Mary Magdalene, and Spurio left Jerusalem. Jesus had been asked to return to Cana in Galilee, where he had turned the water and wine. The people there remembered how he had turned the water into wine and wondered if he would try to heal a young girl sick possessed with demons. “Jesus,” protested Thomas. “It will take too long. By the time we get to Galilee the girl will be dead.” But Jesus smiling replied, “Have faith Thomas and she will be healed in this very moment.” And just as Jesus said that the young girl’s demons left her. And there was great joy among them as well for they believed and knew that she had been saved.
Later, along the way a Roman centurion with his men coming from Jerusalem approached them rapidly on horseback. He was oblivious to Jesus’s miraculous ability to cure, he was there to seize Jesus at the behest of Nicodemus the money changer. Spurio counted 20 mounted soldiers as they circled threateningly Jesus and his followers. The disciples and Mary were frightened and moved towards Jesus to protect him, but as Spurio anticipated Jesus brushed them side. Spurio was calm, he had already seen Jesus perform miracles, he already knew that nothing could happen lest Jesus let it happen. And so it was that when two soldiers put their hands on Jesus they stopped just before touching him. The horses stopped the dust stopped everything came to a dead still. And Jesus looking up at the captain said to him. “You are captain Aurelius Dalmaticus Marcellus, you act in service of the money changers, but you distrust them. So, why then do you do their work?” With that the soldiers stepped back from Jesus. And the captain was amazed, but when Jesus told him, “you have a young son afflicted with the fever,” the captain nearly fainted. “Go home and attend your son and leave the work of the money changers to the money changers.” With that the man dismounted and came towards Jesus. When he got close Jesus put his arm around the man’s shoulder looked him seriously in the eye and asked, “do you believe I can do this?” Without delay the man said, “command me and I shall do it.” Then Jesus looked at the man smiling and said, “by your faith at this very moment your son is saved. ” The captain wept at Jesus’s feet, but Jesus lifted him up and told him to go.
Later that day they entered a town, and Jesus tired out by the trip sat on a wall, while the disciples went ahead of him. Spurio, who walked slower than them because of his huge size came up to Jesus and sat next to him. Jesus rested his hands on the top of the wall while his feet dangled off the ground, but Spurio more leaning than sitting, was too tall to get his feet off the ground. Spurio looking at the dirt cupped his hands and was about to speak when Jesus said, “did you walk these past miles frightened by the threats of the money changers?” Spurio smiled, he was not surprised that Jesus could perceive his thoughts. Then Spurio said, “my father was a wealthy and powerful man. He was unafraid of the Pharisees or the chief priests. But my father always feared the money changers.” Jesus put his hand on Spurio’s big shoulder and with a squeeze said, “Spurio you who wanted to be a doctor a healer, you are so close Spurio. You might just make it this time, but you still have an important lesson to learn, that you cannot save the world, not even yourself.” Then Jesus came down off the wall and went toward his disciples. They being lead by Mary Magdalene with a bucket of water were coming towards Jesus. They reunited as though they had been separated from him for year rather than just a few minutes. Jesus stroked the side of Mary’s face and then hugged her before he drank. Then he touched all the disciples as they gathered round, on the arm or the shoulder or even the top of the head. Spurio noticed that Jesus had done it to him too. It was Jesus’s way of saying, I acknowledge you even though I am not looking at you speak directly to you right now. Spurio was not trying to fit into this group, but slowly stealthily they were growing on him. They were becoming part of what Jesus would call each other’s special relationships. Part of an especially dangerous trap.
Then they left that town and as the evening drew on found themselves at last in the cool dork aloneness of the desert. Spurio was tired, his big legs had carried his large body far and it felt good to rest them as he leaned back against a stone. He fell asleep briefly and when he had waken Jesus had just returned with his arms full of logs. He dropped them into a pile and then knelt on the ground and started putting them one at a time into the fire. Spurio didn’t exactly notice when it got completely dark or when Jesus was all he could see. He didn’t notice when Jesus went from chit chatting about when we would arrive, to teaching about healing. He didn’t even notice, that he didn’t notice the weariness in his legs any longer. All he noticed was what they all notice, was how Jesus became so much bigger when he was teaching, how they were completely absorbed in the now with Jesus, and each felt that he was speaking only to them, Spurio was sure of it. “When you are healing,” Jesus began, “remember this.
The acceptance of sickness as a decision of the mind, for any purpose for which it would use the body, is the basis of healing. And this is so for healing in all forms.” ACIM
“Notice that before I heal them I ask, do you have faith and I can do this? Then after I heal them I say by your faith I have cured thee. Who then is the physician?”
On the next day they arrived at Joseph and Mary’s house. They were the agonized parents who Jesus healed by returning them to their natural state, their true state of bliss. It was there that Jesus performed his first miracle of turning the water into wine to celebrate his becoming their son. This time he would create a feast to celebrate his marriage to Mary Magdalene.
Jesus did not wed Mary Magdalene in a way that the world understood. The ceremony took place when she anointed his feet with oil. Spurio was outside when he noticed the sweetest scent of perfume oil he had ever smelled. It floated out from the window and drew Spurio irresistibly inside. When Spurio Wednesday and he saw Mary Magdalene ever said caressing Jesus’s feet with her hands. Then she if put the end of her long beautiful hair into the oil and anointed his feet. None of them there realized that from that moment on Jesus and Mary Magdalene were married. This made Joseph and Mary extremely joyous.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
Judgment is what the mind made to separate us from other brothers and sisters and to create a different experience that is not true.
different experience that is not true.
Judgment, coming from the mind, also turns within and attacks us, creating self-hate and unworthiness.
Instead of judging ourselves for having sick thoughts, realize it is just sickness, and turn to the love of Jesus in faith to show him your sick thoughts.
They may come up more often when you have decided to allow Jesus to do this healing work. Do not judge self.
%%%%%%%%%%%%% Jesus and Spurio on the open sea %%%%%%%%%%%%
After the wedding Jesus stayed in Cana for three days. Then he and his new bride and the disciples, and Spurio left Cana and went to Haifa. There they boarded a large boat to Sidron. For there was a great feud in that land and Jesus said he would go there to try to end it. When they left land it being in the middle of the day the single sail filled up fast in the afternoon heat. The mood was lighthearted. They were all happy to be done walking and alone together on their little island in the sea. Jesus and Mary danced on the foredeck while Thomas and Peter fished with nets off the rear deck. Everyone laughed when Thomas caught one. As he showed it to them flapping around in his hands they said, “don’t you see we have the greatest fishermen in the world right here and pointed to Jesus. Don’t you remember how he turned four fish into 4000. So, laughing Thomas through the fish back into the sea.
Spurio relished in and shared mutual joy of the moment, even as they teased him mercilessly for his ungainly bulk which could find no comfortable place to rest. The boat seemed much too small for him. Also after about an hour had passed he was becoming visibly sick. This was the reason, rather than his size, that Spurio stayed out of boats most of the time. Some of the disciples remarked that, if Jesus wanted to perform a real miracle then he should cure Spurio of his seasickness. But Spurio focusing his site back on the land said, “there is no need to annoy Jesus with little things, I will cure myself”. They all laughed again.
Jesus sat down and leaning back against some barrels offered to help Spurio. But Spurio waving his hand and said, “I am fine.” With that Mary Magdalene sat down in front of Jesus and he put his arms around her as she leaned back into him. Spurio lay down on his side of prop himself up with his right elbow, at the rear of the boat. From there he was both a watcher and a participant of the goings-on on the little island in the sea. Now what he wanted to was to observe his thoughts in the same way. He saw Mary Magdalene curl up and lean sideways into Jesus as he stretched out completely on the deck. He fell asleep to the rocking of the ocean and the raucous sound emanating from the pure joy of being with one another, of being with Jesus.
Spurio woke under a canopy of cacophonous colors that came all the way down to the water in 360°. The waves upon the sea seemed to be reflected in strips of clouds across the sky, bathed in orange and purple. And as the sun settle down somewhere in the West a blood red moon was rising, filling the eastern sky. Jesus, Peter and Mary Magdalene were cooking fish on the fore deck, the sent wafted back and deliciously tickled Spurio’s senses. Everyone woke and ate. The dinner was delicious.
When he was finished Spurio went to just behind the mass. It was dark by then, but the moon illuminated a huge swath of the sea and it seemed that their boat was flying on it like a cloud. Spurio looked to the east and was astounded. Where was the land? For all his worldliness Spurio had never been on the open sea away from land. It was amazing. The immense expanse of emptiness defeated his imagination. Lost in its awesomeness he was unaware of the goings-on in the boat, it took him a while to notice Jesus standing beside him. Jesus was looking up smiling, “you have never seen anything so grand have you Spurio,?” “Ha ha, drink it all in the entire experience Spurio, for the next time you see this shall not be half so grand. Nor half as much again the time after that.” Now it was Jesus that Spurio studied intently, wondering what could he mean by that. Jesus perceived his confusion and answered saying, “the grand new vista or experience is an example where the mind has no prior experience with which to compare. The mad mind searches the past frantically for reference with which it can explain the present experience which it cannot. The awestruck mind is speechless. You think that you are awestruck by something outside of you, yet it comes from aught but within you, and splashes on to the outside world like dye into the water. Just like the sunset at which you marveled earlier it is unreal. At times like this evil is speechless and unreality may be perceived. It is at times like this that the Holy Spirit can come in. But evil is quick, evil must have you believe that the world is real. So, the next time you have the experience, just beneath the surface of your cognizance evil lurks and replaces the second experience with memories of the first. This could keep real what is unreal and the Holy Spirit out.”
Spurio looked back up at the sky, then out to the sea, and finally back at Jesus, trying to take it all in. But before he could even get started Jesus gave him even more, saying, “And even the next time is an illusion just like tomorrow and yesterday Spurio. When the mind thinks about yesterday or tomorrow if thinks about that which does not exist. And when the mind thinks about what it thinks is now, it considers that which has no beginning and no and no between. So, it does not think at all. But the greatest illusion the mind is under, is that it thinks that it thinks at all.”
Jesus perceiving Spurio’s confusion yet added to it again. “There is no yesterday today nor tomorrow nor even this very moment, there is only always and the difference between always and now is everything.”
Spurio was no longer thinking about what Jesus saying, for it was too much for him all at once. Instead an odd thought came into his mind and it occurred to him that Jesus must have been alone with him for quite some time now and the rest of the disciples and Mary Magdalene would soon be coming to him. But when Spurio looked toward the bow of the boat he noticed that nothing had changed since Jesus had come to him. Even the moon had not climbed in the sky nor had even the sail made a ruffle. The whole world saved for he and Jesus seemed frozen. “Don’t be afraid Spurio, I’m just trying to show you how what is now for them is not now for us because there is no now, there is only always.”

Then Jesus turned and went to his disciples at the bow leaving Spurio to stare in wonderment. Exhausted he sat and leaned against the bulkhead. He hugged his one knee and left the other straight out and looked up at the stars.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% In Sidron %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
Jesus said, “ pay your taxes if you must, but do not levy them upon the Son of Man.”
Whenever any of us looks at the world we look at the world through our beliefs and our concept’s, there can be no exceptions. This is what happens when we observe the world through the eyes of the body and interpret with the mind that thinks it is a body. it is the mind of judgment.
The time is coming in and is already here when by the power of God’s Spirit
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
There was no one on the shore when they landed in Sidron just south of the Saida Citadel. Jesus led his disciples and Mary Magdalene, and Spurio inland to the place in the mountains where the tribes were at war.
The war between the tribes was not like the war of armies. The tribes came into each other’s villages and killed each other’s wives and children, destroyed each other’s crops and animals. They threatened not just each other’s lives, but everything the other held dearer than life.
As Spurio looked down upon the Village in the throes of a vicious attack he overheard Simon Peter plead with Jesus to “Please stop the carnage, you and heal the injured her, and bring the dead back to life.” But Jesus looked at Simon Peter and told him the same thing he told Spurio before. “You cannot save that which is not Simon Peter,” Jesus said. “This all of this is aught but distraction. It is the purpose of the Io to keep the Holy Spirit out. It is not by good deeds that you get to heaven, it is by judgment of any deed that keeps you out. No deed done in a false world can be real, but by your judgment you make it seem so. This is what you must all learn, not how to save the world rather how to forgive it and to forgive it with the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit does not forgive as the world does. The world recognizes that one has done wrong to the other, that the wronged and the wrongdoer are separate and unequal. The wrongdoer acknowledges his guilt, and then the wronged will grant a pardon to the guilty one there by setting all that was wrong to right. But the Holy Spirit recognizes that no one is wronged, no one is guilty and that no one can done anything to anyone. Our bodies may do all manner of things to other bodies, but none of us is a body. Only when this truth is realized can true forgiveness begin, only when all forgiveness has been given can we awaken from the dream and make it back to Heaven.”
Spurio watched the disciples as they look questioningly amongst themselves. It was difficult for them to deny the seeming realness of the world. A world dressed up in all of its splendors and horrors to seize our attention, to seize us for all time. The Io can paint the world, but only we can Judge it to make it seem real. This is what Jesus was teaching. Then Jesus took the disciples and Mary Magdalene, and Spurio down to the village.
When they were in the village fighting was done, but the chaos remained. Jesus put his hand on the stomach of a young man dying from a sword which had stabbed him there. The young man grabbed Jesus his wrist as he did it but when Jesus pulled his hand away from the man’s side he was healed. A few of the people who saw this were amazed and they told others about it. Then Jesus walked to the dead body of one of the others had been killed by them. The limp body lay face first in the dirt with the club that had been used to kill him still buried in his skull. Jesus knelt, put his hands on the man’s head and in a moment the man got up and knew everything that had happened to him. Then the man tried to leave but those in the village wanted to seize him for he was one of the others. But Jesus knew their word and told them in their own language to let the man go so that he could return with his own leader so that they might make peace. Jesus pointed to the top of the hill between the two villages and told them after the sun does rise again we shall meet there. Then Jesus bade the man go. And even as the man was leaving Jesus was healing the injured and raising the dead.
Because he had saved so many of them Jesus now had great authority in that place. But one of their elders admonished Jesus for letting the enemy go. But Jesus said to him in his own words, “where were your men to protect the village by?” Jesus did not wait for an answer, but responded saying, “they were away attacking that the village. See not the spec in your brother’s eye until you remove the plank from thine own.”
When the sun had risen on the next day everyone from both villages climbed to the spot Jesus had pointed to. Each remained on the same side as their own village as Jesus and the disciples and Mary Magdalene and Spurio met the elders on the ridge line between the two. Spurio and the disciples studied Jesus and the goings-on, but understood it not. Jesus could speak all languages, they could not. But they all sensed great hatred between the tribes each for the other. If it were not that Jesus held great authority then surely he would be dead in the tribes locked in bloody conflict even at this moment.
They were all frustrated and fascinated over the several hours that Jesus worked a miracle seemingly greater than bringing the dead back to life. He was bringing peace to a region that had no none for the lifetimes of anyone there on the hill. But when all the elders threw down their swords and a pile and hugged, Spurio didn’t have to understand the intricacies of the language or the doctrine to realize that something amazing had happened. But Jesus said it was as natural as the sunrise.
On the hilly return to the coast the disciples and Spurio could not contain their curiosity. They implored Jesus to tell them how he had done what he had done. Jesus teach them saying, “I don’t know how I did it.” And he tapped Simon Peter on the four head as he said it. Everyone laughed. They walked and when it was dark made of fire in a hilly crevice and ate. Spurio could see the fire light Jesus’s face and the shadow of his head cast on the rock behind him. As always when Jesus began to talk nothing else seemed to matter.
“When you try to make peace always remember this. You deal with the world of dreams, and you deal with God. On the level of the world of dreams everybody acts feel a sense of lack. It’s just as with the money changers and the poor Jews in the Temple. Everyone is trying to satisfy their perceived needs, to fill a void. But in reality there is only one need, one for a test that need to be filled. And that is the loneliness the Son of Man feels because he thinks that he did the impossible and separated from God. It is the same sick insane idea of something that could never really be.”
Jesus looked back and forth at them as a member cracked and pop in the fire. “I spoke mostly with the chiefs and elders. I chose the chief form of one tribe and asked him ‘What do you want from them?’” Jesus said it as though he were pointing at someone reenacting the event. “He answered me saying, that man is a murderer, he murdered my son. I already knew that this was so, but I asked so that you might learn from his answer.” Then the disciples and Mary Magdalene looked around and questioned among themselves, “What can he mean by this?” But Spurio kept his eyes fixed directly on Jesus. “Notice that I asked, what do you want and received instead judgment and condemnation. So, I asked him again what do you want from this man? But he could not answer me. Do these men threaten you when they attack, do you need more security? You see, this was his need. You must go past judgment to perceived needs that are being threatened.
Then I asked the other chief the same question. What do you want of this man?” Jesus pointed to his other side still reenacting it. “They are dogs he told me. But what do you want from them? He could not answer me. Nor would he be able to answer me yet, for he was different from the first chief. His needs were different from the other chief.” They all looked at each other and Jesus, but Jesus looking at the ground shook his head then said, “You see this chief wanted nothing from the other chief. His needs could not be satisfied by the other tribe because he had no needs of them. His need stemmed from this false sense of worthiness to be chief. He was too young and too inexperienced in battle. His father a great warrior had died and he had become chief. In his own try he alone perceives his unworthiness. But he casts that unworthiness like paint upon a canvas onto his own tribe, and then attacks the other tried again and again for what it does not have, it cannot give, that he alone can give himself, through a simple shift in perspective. But now he sees himself through the eyes of the Holy Spirit, seeing himself as he Truly is, as we all truly are, the guiltless the Son of Man.
Again when you mediate conflict, he no attention to judgment, search for perceived lack and fill it. But even doing so realizing it too is illusion, for all lack as a result of a belief in the separation from God that never occurred.” This Jesus spoke to them regarding conflict.
They came the following day to rest in the shade of a large rock and there decided to eat. Spurio could smell the sea air, hidden by the hill to their west. On the other side the sloped gently to the sea. As they sat there Jesus said to them, “We return now to Jerusalem for the religious festival. There I will be taken up by the Romans at the behest of the money changers. And they will seemingly do all manner of things to me.” Spurio felt his stomach coming up through his throat and amongst the astonished disciples there was much agitated discussion. Mary Magdalene remained serene standing to Jesus’s side. Then Simon Peter rushed to Jesus saying, “No, no Jesus don’t go to the festival in Jerusalem, stay away from that place.” Then Jesus put his hand on Peter Simons head and said, “Get out of thee Satan.” Then Jesus turned to them all to say, “You yet lack the discipline so, I remind you that this is all a dream.” Jesus tugged at his arm as he said this. “It is important that you see this and that you forgive this as I have, which is with the eyes of the Holy Spirit. I forgive it realizing that it never happened. Though their bodies may crucify my body in the dream, in truth no one has done harm to anyone because no one is a body. This is the essence of true forgiveness.”
The mood of everybody save for Jesus was much different when they returned to the boat than it had been when they landed it. They had been gone for exactly 30 days and nothing about the world had changed, only their information about it. They each suffered now for separation that was about to come as though it had already happened. The anticipation making it seem real. Jesus reminded them that when the mind thinks about the future he thinks about that which is not and therefore nothing in the future could harm any of them now. But Spurio did not feel better. The same boat which had floated them merrily here seemed now to be a death ship.
They set sail in the late afternoon and Simon Peter sailed the boat directly east until they could see land no more before turning south towards Jerusalem. It became dark around then, but Spurio did not notice the full moon until it was almost straight up in the sky, did not notice it until the clouds came in to obscure it. Then he remembered what Jesus had told him that it would not seem half so grand the next time.
The storm moved in rapidly, the wind picked up and it grew cold. Jesus slept as the rest of them took down the sail threw up the tarps in the slanting rain. Spurio pulled a blanket around himself he thought about the future. The mind cannot think about that which isn’t. Therefore the mind doesn’t think about the future nor the past. And the now is so fleeting that the mind cannot grasp it either. So, there is only Always. That is what Jesus had said, but suddenly Always seemed so very fleeting. Jesus could so easily save himself. With his hand he could waive the Romans and the money changers into the sea. Why didn’t he do it? Spurio wanted to wake Jesus and beg him to do so just as Peter had. But to what end he questioned, merely to be rebuked.
But as Spurio deeply lamented over Jesus’s future, in the cold, as the rain dropped heavy into the hard canvas, a tiny idea of a different sort crept into his mind. It was an awareness of what Jesus wanted for them when he rebuked Simon Peter. It was something more important than the body of Christ, more important than all bodies altogether. Something more important than even happiness here in this world, it was that Jesus wants us to use this to practice our own forgiveness to get out of this world. Jesus was as indifferent to our happiness in this world as he was dedicated to our salvation. This Spurio realized as daylight came but not the sun through the clouds. Yet even as the storm intensified, the clouds did not block out the sun. Spurio lay his big body down on a bed of fishnet and slept.
He was awakened by Thaddeus when they disembarked at Yafo. Spurio looked around himself as he staggered out of the boat. To this see the clouds hung oppressively low to the horizon. To the east lies Jerusalem and somewhere between here and there Jesus would be taken up by the Romans at the behest of the money changers. Spurio felt his mind, he heard its voices. They told him, “You Are going to lose he and you love.” But Spurio neither obeyed nor resisted, neither did he listen to them. He did not notice when he could not hear them any longer. But the gray and melancholy that had seemed so oppressive just moments ago seemed now cool comfort and as he walked. It wasn’t a shift in perspective, but it was a single crucial step.
On the way to Jerusalem there came a man to them saying, “Are you the Christ whom we seek, or shall I ask another.” Jesus stopped walking but did not answer him. Then the man said, “I have a sister who is possessed and only the Christ can save her.” But Jesus perceived his treachery and answered him saying “Return to Nicodemus and tell him that you have found me.” So, the man turned to toward Jerusalem and ran there. To all of the disciples and Mary Magdalene and Spurio there came a grave fear. But Spurio as he had the night on the boat with neither accept nor deny his fear, he simply watched it.
When they came to Jerusalem it was on the day before the Passover festival. A man came to him and said, “You are Jesus the Christ, I saw you in the Temple which the money changers had turned into a market. Come, you and your friends to my home and we shall feast and drink wine.” So, Jesus, the disciples, Mary Magdalene and Spurio went with the man to supper.
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% the Last Supper %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
Spurio observed Jesus and his disciples and Mary Magdalene at supper. He was across the room from them, much as he had been on the boat. As he listened to the mingling sounds of the supper he pondered his own significance here. Unlike the other 13 Jesus had not chosen him, rather he had chosen Jesus. But when Jesus so inclusive so uniting would have declined no one, why was he the only one to choose Jesus. He couldn’t understand his own question. He was not separate from the group, but more like the object by which the group could observe itself. He was as the third eye by which sees in totality what the other two eyes cannot. As Spurio observed he watched Jesus rise say these words: “Love one another, not as the world knows love which is to gain love in return, but as the Holy Spirit does is simply to love, as I have loved you love the world. The world will not love you in return, but you do not need its love. You need only to forgive the world as it is, as it is not there, this is the way out of the dream. All of you all of your sad suffering brothers and sisters, will make it. Some of you this time, some of you will make it another time, but the Son of Man will make it, there is aught else he can do, he already has made it for by the Grace of the Father the dream is already over. Yet the dream seems to live on until the Son of Man remembers this time to laugh at his own tiny mad idea.
Until then forgive the world and its trespasses. Remember we are all of us figments of a guilt ridden dream. Share many dreams and many lifetimes we are both man and woman, predator and prey, teacher and student and master and slave. But I am telling you the truth that the time will come and is already here that the predator no longer hungers for the prey, and the master is free from his slaves.
Nothing real can be threatened, nothing unreal exists – herein lies the peace of God .”
This is what Spurio learned from Jesus, that what is real is real not that which is perceived to be real. A cloud does not put out the sun.
But when Jesus told them that his time had come, despite all his teachings that the world was a meaningless dream a pal was cast across the entire room and into the soul of each and every one of them. Judas Iscariot openly wept. Jesus went to him slowly knelt across the table from him and put his hand on his head. Then he told Judas take the money bag and returned with some wine, some supplies for the festival, then to go and get a prostitute to ease his pain. So, Judas took the money bag and left.
After Judas lacked much sadness remained in the room. So, Jesus took the rest of them and went to the other side of Kidron Brook. There was a garden in that place and Jesus and the disciples and Mary Magdalene went in. Meanwhile Judas found the wine and the supplies for the festival and return with them to where they had the Last Supper. When he found no one there he became very sad. But instead of finding a prostitute as he had thought to do now he thought to find Jesus and be with him. He knew that Jesus would likely be at the garden by Kidron Brook because the disciples had met there with him many times. But with Judas did not know is that the man whom they had passed on the road to Jerusalem was following him. The man whose treachery Jesus had perceived sent someone to fetch Nicodemus and the Romans and they followed Judas to where Jesus was.
The Romans came upon Jesus and the disciples and Mary Magdalene, and Spurio in the garden. Before he even saw them Spurio knew exactly their purpose. Of its own accord his body stood up to block off the Romans from Jesus. But Spurio understood Jesus’s purpose and so he stepped aside to let Jesus come to the front. Pointing to Jesus Nicodemus said, “ That is him there seize him.” Whereupon Jesus still walking forward said, “I am Jesus Christ, if you are looking for him, then you have found me.” He paused and then turning to the others said, “Let these others go.” But Nicodemus remembered what Spurio had done to his money changers in the market and he said to the Romans, “Take also that one there, the big one. And then Spurio as did Jesus allowed himself to be seized and taken away by the Romans. Spurio watched the Romans as they led Jesus away. Jesus disappeared down the road and Spurio never saw Jesus again, ever. They were taking Jesus to Caiaphas the high priest and then to Pontius Pilate and then to be crucified. But they had much different plans for Spurio. And as his ever deepening sadness of missing Jesus mingled with lamentation of the agony he knew that he would endure Spurio still would have lamented just as much over his own, if he could’ve had any idea what it was.

Spurio asks Jesus, why did you choose to be Jesus? Why did you choose to be just the last in a long line of false messiahs? Jesus answers saying I came to correct that long line. Spurio smiled.
The apostles are
Andrew Simon Peter’s brother
Simon Peter = a rock
Philip who he found in Galilee
Nathaniel
cana in galilaee
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
Jesus and Mary after he raises Lazarus
They get married in Cana in Galilee
Everything that was was God and there was not one thing that was not God.
Mary washes Jesus’s feet at the at the dinner with Lazarus.
“Spurio, my poor silly toddler, you were so close, you almost made it this time.” But they were the last words she ever spoke in regret, it was the last felling of something lost that she ever felt, and when she looked back up she would feel no more pain forever.
http://www.god-jesus-course-in-miracles.com/crucifixion-
resurrection.htm
“Jesus who made the world a small girl asked.” Jesus went to her knelt and told her, space “you did, he did, she did, we all do. It comes from the insanity of all of you. ”
as Jesus was walking along he saw a man who was born blind.
The epitaph to be seen only at a time when the world was to be forgotten

note: the next draft will be draft three.

 

 

The Gladiator Book2:

Whenever I’ve died it’s always been the same. When I was living I’d like it for awhile, but then get tired of it. And when I was dead I’d feel trapped by the waiting. Not waiting as in time going by, you know how it is when your dead, there is no time. But waiting as in let me get past another hurdle, another life, let me get one step closer to getting out of it. Fuck that, let me get 1000 light years closer. But it’s not time it’s lifetimes you gotta clear. How many lives had I lived by now, trillions? I can’t take this anymore, I want to get outta here so bad I’ll take anything. And just like that I got it, one of those lifetimes that comes along every 10 million lifetimes or so. When I started dreaming again I dreamed that I was a soldier.

But this time it wasn’t just my dream. We are all connected sure, but he was as much the dreamer of my dream as me. His conflicted with mine, adding truths as uncomfortable as they were undeniable. So, how do I tell my story without telling his? How can I tell you of the transformation from the man I never was, toward my truth that we all are without telling how he did it? One is not possible without the other. Our story is not one of doing, but one of undoing. He told me as much. He said, “You cannot do this without me, but together we have already undone it.” But done it, undone what? I am forgetting again. Let me tell this while I still can.

As I said, I was born a soldier this time. I’d already done two tours in Nam, but barely six months into my third somehow the war came to an end. In my last battle I got the shit blown outta me in on a hill outside of Denag. I wasn’t a real soldier anymore I was an assain by then. I had just come out of the jungle where I’d smoked some guy command thought was a spy for the VC. I was hold up at some shit hole outpost north of Denang waiting to be choppered back to HQ for debrief when the gooks hit and the little fuckers hit us hard. I didn’t mind the chance to kill more gooks, but it was a close one. The gooks poured over shitty sand bag walls and into the base. By the time my amo ran out they were so close that I could feel their brains splatter on my face. The last one I got, I stuck him to my elbow with the bayonet. I could smell his bad breath and hear the dry raspy sound that came outta his throat. See, I never minded killing people, I liked it. I didn’t really mind if they killed me either, then or now. The difference is that then I didn’t give a shit and now I realize that nothing really matters. Day one of that schooling came just a few minutes after that last raspy stinking belch of hot air left the gook’s lungs, it was subtle, just a shift in perspective.

Like I said, we were being overrun. The VC were coming outta the ground, and I thought we were gonna buy it , when all of a sudden the shit hit us. I could hear the screeching sound of our own jets and remember thinking they’re dumping it all right on top of us, right here, right now. I was right. The last thing I saw was a wall of fire rising from the jungle that looked just like the fountains at Cesar Palace as the concussion sucked rather than blew my eardrums out. I was out cold, but I could feel the bombing like a dull blade trying to cut through my unconsciousness, going on for hours.

When I came to my head was splitting worse than any hangover I’d ever had and there was a lotta blood dripping down my head and arms, I couldn’t make out if I was ok or not. When I tried to get up my legs felt like I’d just run a marathon yesterday. The dirt mixed with gunpowder made a soupy grey haze that you had to swim through and from somewhere farther off I could make out smell of napalm. Napalm blows up and burns orange and black, but everything here in this soup was grey. I was sure I was alone. How could anything survive this? How did I survive it? I finally got up. I figured I’d go to the top and wait things out up there, but I felt someone watching me, watching every aching step I took. I tried to shake it off, but when I saw the outline of a body down the slope behind me, I dropped and started feeling around for a M-16. Jesus my palms hurt just patting the ground. Nothing. I lost sight of it and thought it was my imagination, but then just like that he was behind me again, this time uphill. Now I really wanted something hot, but a knife was all I had. Who the fuck was that? I could make out the dark form through the grey haze perfectly. How’d he get up there so fast? He must not be hurt that bad if at all. Was he here through it all or did he just show up now? I was sure as shit here through it all and I hurt like fuck all over to prove it. I reached down my leg for the knife, but whatever he was it was going to take a lot more than a knife to deal with him.

I was still looking up at him. I couldn’t get over how dark and 2-d he was. I thought I would be able to make out some detail as he got closer. How was he armed? I wanted to know. I never found out. I was staring more into rather than at his dark 2-D shadow when suddenly it was lights out. I wasn’t unconscious That shadow poured itself out into the smoke and dirty air and just swallowed me up. I just couldn’t see a god damn thing. I can’t describe it, but I’ll never forget that feeling. It was more than just being surrounded by darkness it was like I had stepped completely outside of the universe.

I was fucking scared. Like when I was a kid and my stepdad beat the shit out of me and then nailed me inside the doghouse. I remember shivering in there and he’d come by every few hours just to kick on the sides. Then one time he ripped the plywood off just long enough to throw the dog’s head still warm inside. It rolled up in between my legs then the mother fucker nailed up the door and left me there. In the nanosecond when that dog landed between my legs I was more terrified than anyone can stand. I ripped and kicked at the door, but I was too fucking small and weak. I didn’t get out until he passed out and my mother found me. And it was nothing compared to the prolonged terror I felt in that black hole on a napalm blasted hillside in Vietnam. Whatever this was I wasn’t anywhere near ready for it. The last thing I remember was thinking I can’t take this anymore. And then there was no more shadow, no more blackness. I was back in the gray soup with the acrid smell of napalm running up my nostrils. It was weird. It was like it never happened, but I still remembered it. I was glad to be back in the war. I never thought being fire bombed would feel so good. The worst that could happen to me now as I’d get killed. I remembered it but I couldn’t be sure that it had really happened. But before it was over the answer would be so obvious that I wouldn’t ever ask it again.
I woke up on a hospital ship in the Gulf of Tonkin. I was in a huge cargo hold converted into a recovery room. There must have been 100 beds or more and each one was filled with some kid screaming for his mama. Outside I could hear the choppers. I knew that they were evacuating US Embassy personnel. I’m not too bright, but even I could figure out the war was over. This was 1974 and Nixon was pussying out of Nam. Shit, another half step closer to home and nothing to do with the rest of my life. What the fuck was I going to do now, become a bounty hunter? I had to get out of there. I did a quick body check and figured that I could still walk so, I swung my feet over the edge of the bed rails. My feet were bare but I didn’t give a fuck. A nurse started to give me some shit, but I gave her a look that said think again and she did. My legs were ok, I could walk so, I my way top side. At each set of steps I counted my blessings that I was able to climb them. For most of the guys down there all they could do is lay and hurt.

Outside the sun hit my face hard and the wind nearly blew the little flap they gave me to wear up over my head. I didn’t give a shit. It felt good to be up there. First thing I noticed was the thin line of helicopters retreating from Vietnam. I didn’t care about losing the war, but I did hate being left out in the cold. What the fuck am I going to do now, I asked myself again? This time I must’ve muttered it out loud because there was an answer, “Become a bounty hunter”. That kind of frigged me out. It was a civilian walking the other way he said it just as we drew even. I stopped and turned around feeling that fucking flap blowing off my ass again. It was a civilian, an officious looking little prick. The man next to him was a naval officer, but the suit did all the talking.

“Are you Captain Jack Ballard, he asked?” I thought for a second before I answered. Were they gonna debrief me here? “Sure I am. What’s this about?” The two glanced at each other, and then the suit started talking again. “Captain we have a mission for you and you’ll have to take it or leave it right now, before you know what it is. If you take it you’ll be briefed when your ready. Otherwise this conversation never took place.” I muttered something playing for time. “I apologize for the suddenness Captian, but secrecy and time are of the essence here. But if you agree here and now, all of your past transgressions will be forgiven. It seems like a shame to let a man of your tastes and talents go to pasture simply because the war is over.”

“Transgressions,” I muttered. What transgressions”? I looked at him, and then at the officer for just a second, but then back at that creepy little guy in the business suit. “Your transgressions Captain”, he said pausing a long time between words. I was getting a sick feeling that we both knew exactly what he was talking about. He went on.

“Let’s begin with Private Sean Mattingly, Captian”? “Who”, then I knew who. Sean Mattingly I’d forgotten all about him. It was easy for me to do that after I’d killed a man. The suit could see it register on my face. He fucking had me. Mattingly was a stupid little piece of shit who should have kept his mouth shut. Him and his fat fucking girlfriend Todd Olbermann had a bad habit of falling behind on runs. Todd was a fat pig, but he never seemed to lose any weight. To me he just seems to keep getting fatter. It pissed the drill sergeant off any kicked off our asses for it. And that pissed me off! So, after lights out one night I stuck a sock down that fat fuck’s throat and beat his ass. I thought I’d get away with it because I just hit him in his blubber belly and left no marks, but Olbermann ratted me out. I lost it. I made up my mind I’d get that pencil prick back before the end of boot camp and I did it.

The last week of boot camp we spent doing drills deep in the swamps of Louisiana. The swamps and heat were supposed to acclimate us to Vietnam, but it also allowed a space between the sergeant and Olbermann and me. Enough space for me to kill him. I just wanted to do it, I didn’t even give a shit about getting away with it. So, first chance I got I took it. During a live fire exercise one rainy night I put a bullet right in the back of his fucking head. You should’ve seen it open up, just like the watermelon I used to blast when I was a kid. The force shoved his whole body into the mud so deep they almost couldn’t find him. I thought shit sure they’ll know it was me. But this was 1973 and we were going to Vietnam they didn’t even bother to ask. They ruled that an accidental shooting by persons unknown and a week later I was dropping out of a chopper into a hot zone in Vietnam. I hadn’t thought about it since.

“We’ve had eyes on you for a while now”, he said. “We have eyes out for people like you.” What he really meant was that we have weight on you. The sun was in my eyes and I had to squint pretty hard to look at him. “So, what you want from me is to be an assassin?” “oh no” he said in his most bureaucratic way. “We are just a private enterprise in the market for our own bounty hunter”. Private enterprise my ass, and I knew that bounty hunter met assassin. So, of course I took the job. There was no need to lean on me. I’d killed people for free so, to get paid for murder, to me that sounded real nice. And that’s how it happened. Standing on deck in my pajamas at the wind blowing around my ass I became a professional assassin.

I stayed on the hospital ship for about a week, getting better. Other guys came and went, some in body bags, but the ship stayed just off the coast of Vietnam moving north as best I can figure. What were we waiting for? The choppers that had been ferrying men and material offshore where gone now, but we stayed. Why? A week later and we were still there. I felt like an ass hole doing laps around the deck while guys were screaming and dying inside. But we stayed another week. They offloaded more patients and bodies onto a troop carrier and I was practically the only one aboard, but we stayed put just doing circles in the Gulf of Tonkin.

One day as I was on the aft having a smoke and catching some rays some sailor came by to take me to that creepy little civilian. I followed him into the tubular maze that was the guts of the ship. You could always hear the hollow sound of footsteps that sounded different than they did in the ground. He took me down crisscrossing cobweb of metal steps into the bowels in of the ship. He opened the door and I stepped into a cabin about 20 feet square. There was a general, an Army captain, a naval officer. With all that brass in there you’d better believe that I gave the smartest salute I could. I never really looked at him, but he was there too, that little creep. The captain introduced himself but I honestly don’t remember his name and the general, well I’m not supposed to say his. The civilian’s, to this day I still don’t know it. I was told to stand at ease.

We were all standing just inside the doorway, but the general lead the way and they all follow him to a table and sat down. I remained standing. “You’re rated as a sniper. Is that correct?” “yes sir” I responded to the captain. “Can you use a 50 caliber? Yes sir, I sure can sir,” I said. “What’s the range on that thing,” the captain asked. “Well sir, I’ve hit a melon from a mile out before.” Everyone broke out laughing, but it died when that little civilian fuck started in. “So, it must have been really easy plucking off Olbermann. How far were you about 20 yards?” I cleared my throat and started to answer, but fuck it, I don’t have to answer to civilians. Then the captain asked so, I cleared my throat again and said, “Sir I have no recollection of that event.” Why the fuck did they keep bringing that up? What did they want me to do so badly that they had to blackmail me into it. They don’t have to blackmail me into killing anyone. There was a long silence. It was the general who broke it, “how are you feeling now son? Are you fit for duty?” “Sir? The war is over sir?” The general told me to sit down and I did. Then general offered me a drink and I took it.

Five hours later I was staring at a wallet sized picture of the North Vietnamese Colonel. This was the man they wanted me to kill, threatened to charge me with murder if I didn’t. On the chopper inbound all I could ask myself was why? I was headed to a spot in North Vietnam that I only knew as coordinates on a map. I didn’t know the terrain or my way around, all I knew it was going to be hot. Why did they wait to the war was over to try to kill this man, payback? Why was it bugging me? Was it because the war was over? Why should that matter to me? It never would have before. What the hell happened to me up there during that hill bombing?

I stuck the picture in my shirt pocket as the blood red dusk closed in on my tiny chopper. Less than 10 minutes later it touched down in the pitch dark. “See you here in a week Sergeant” one of the men said. But we each knew that probably wasn’t true and that’s when I knew they weren’t even coming back for me. That’s why they picked me and that’s why they used leverage on me, because this was a one-way trip for me. I wondered if anyone else aboard the chopper knew that. I would have blown it out of the sky if I thought they knew, I hated anyone getting over on me. But really it didn’t matter to me either. I could be one way or the other about. It was another strange and subtle shift that I couldn’t explain. Then my mind went back to that dark thing, how I could see it or see the world papered over it. That thought lingered and then faded away like the sound of the chopper in the distance.

If my intelligence was right the colonel’s command base was an old French colonial plantation. I had been dropped about 5 miles out. The jungle was thick and moving through it undetected was easy. But when I got to the edge of the jungle and saw what I was up against I couldn’t believe my eyes. The house had a perimeter of 500 yards of cleared ground surrounding it. The Fucking gooks had ripped a jungle out by the roots just to make the house unapproachable. They had done a pretty god damn good job. May as well turn back now, 500 yards is like 500 miles. I wondered who they were trying to kill him or me.

I could hear two guards moving in the woods behind me. I lay very still, but very comfortable as they stood on either side of me. You get used to laying in the grass so close to the enemy that you can see his boots. What you didn’t get used to was a suicide mission with no way of completing it.

I spent the next day and night in the jungle thinking things over. There was a road that went from the jungle into the camp. You could be sure any vehicles going into the base were searched real good. But I was wondering about the cars coming out. I knew that sooner or later the colonel would have to leave. With the war over, maybe security would be light, and maybe I could wait for the Colonel come to me. I’d setup out by the road and then ambush the car. But even if I could tell a decoy from his real car, how could I be sure that he would even be in it? I’d have to lay up in the trees to see how the colonel moved around. Shit I could be here a month, but it was the only way.

I moved in the night through the brush along the side of the road for about 2 miles. I was looking for a place were a car would have come to almost complete stop. I didn’t find that, but slipping around like a snake through the grass I got a risky sick idea. Even though they had cleared the jungle to the dirt around the villa, out here the brush moved almost up to the edge of the sloppy mud road. I knew exactly what to do. I cut the tree, but leaned it against the brush so that I could push it over easily. Then I moved back toward the camp, climbed the tree that I’ve already picked out watched the camp and waited.

I knew that I would have to wait for an insanely long time. At first this didn’t seem so wacky to me until sunrise when I got really hungry. It’s not that I couldn’t come down out of the tree, but I would have to wait, hunt and forage inside of pissing radius of the enemy. That would be a pain. This was Oberman getting back at me from the grave I thought. Then I realized he wasn’t the only one they could have used. How much weight did they have on me? It was just a matter of how closely they’d been watching I guess. I moved down into the shade and fell asleep. I didn’t wake until it was early evening and that was only because I was being eaten alive by big narley Vietnamese fire ants, each one big enough to bite your hand off. It was possible I realized, as I escaped down the tree killing the ants on my body as silently as possible, that I had missed the colonel leaving the compound while I was coping zzzs, but I thought it more likely that he’d move by night instead. Sure the war was over, but here I was anyway and maybe he was expecting someone like me to be here. When you live in war uncertainty is the only constant, you learn to live by your feelings and right now that’s what my gut was telling me, that he was still in there.

I was careful as I moved. I knew there were VC around and I didn’t even want to disturb the Macaws. I moved away from my position. As soon as I cleared my position I dug a hole and took a dump and then made my way to the river where I took a swim to dislodged the remaining fire ants, got some water, even stabbed a fish with my army knife. I cleaned it fast and ate it cold. Then I made my way back collecting up some bananas as I went. I returned to the same location, but this time made my way up a mango tree sufficiently far away the ant infested lodging place of the prior night.

As I made my way up it became obvious that this one one perfect. I was in a sea of big green leaves you couldn’t even see the ground or the sky. The branches were big and comfortable and as dusk settled in I wrapped myself around one and waited for night. Once it came I climbed up high. The branches were still fairly thick all the way to the top. I swam my arm around a few large leaves and cleared the top of the canopy, it was as if I broke the surface in the deep ocean. There in the bloody tropical twilight for 360 degrees all I could see was a thick canopy of lush green leaves and the diffuse dying sunlight that was half absorbed and half reflected off of them.

As the sun set I settled in. I found a nice Y shaped branch at the top of the canopy from which I could see the dim lights from the compound. If a car left that place I’d be sure to see it. When it got dark and the sky had a million stars out, I still couldn’t see my hand in front of my face. I turned over on my back and put my arm under my head. I could just as easily be lounging in a hammock at a Club Med somewhere as on an assignation mission in a war that was over. It’s all in how you think about it I always said. Some guys go out on a mission and they are all up tight all the time, just because they are in a war. There will be time enough to be uptight alright and you’ll know what to do, but until then save you energy and relax. Right now I thought that a cigarette and a bottle of rum would really complete the picture for me. Booze and cigs, some guys wouldn’t touch them. They were too afra
id of jonzing out when they got into the bush and had to go cold turkey. But just like killing, cold turkey never bothered me. In fact I kinda liked it. In fact sometimes I’d go cold turkey with a bottel and a pack of Marlbarros right next to me. I liked wanting it and waiting for it at the same time, knowing that it was only me who could cause and end my tourment. It made me feel alive. And when I finally did dig in, I don’t know. I mean it was good I guess, but never as good as it seemed it was going to be, when I was waiting for it. What was the point of having it if you could get it I guess.

It was the same way with women I guess, a little different maybe.

I could drink with the best of them in the other didn’t smoke or drink. I’d seen it before, guys get into the jungle and be jonzing for a fix they’d give their position away. You could see it, they couldn’t hold their hand straight for three days. Not me, I was disciplined enough to stay away from the shit.

I’d been married once. I didn’t see the need to stay that way. I didn’t need love, well I knew that was a lie. But I always lied about love. I lied to my wife when I said I loved her, when we got married, then I lied again when I said I didn’t, when we got divorced. Women were different than booze and cigarettes. You had no control over when it was that you couldn’t take it anymore, they had it. I had only enough discipline to stay away from rather than deal with them.

Guess I felt that way about people too. They were too much to deal with, all the lies, all the bullshit. That was the one true pure thing about killing someone, it was final, he was dead, you knew it and he did too.

Usually waiting I don’t think about a thing and time crawls, but tonight my mind was yacking away. I took a look toward the compound, but there was nothing. I could feel the wind shifting and a stiff breeze blowing from the east. A few minutes later and the low grumbling of thunder came into the jungle. Soon it would be raining and that would be all right too. If I had to move the wind and rain would muffle my sounds, otherwise I’d just stay up here and enjoy it. And that is just what happened, it rained and I didn’t move.

When the first strong gust hit it felt good. It made the big floppy leaves rustle around and blew the mosquitoes out. It felt so good that I actually dozed off up there, until the first few sprinkles woke me up. I knew then that this was going to be a big one. The milky galaxy was behind some deep mean black clouds. I couldn’t see the clouds, but I couldn’t see the stars anymore. I sat upright with my legs crossed Indian style and rode the steadily swaying branch. As the droplets grew fatter and dropped harder I remembered how much I liked the rain. As a kid I used to run into any one of the old rusted out cars around out place just to listen to it hitting the roof. Once I got away from a beating by my step-dad when I bolted out into the rain. He was too fucking drunk to follow me out. Didn’t mind beating the shit out of me, but wouldn’t get his knickers wet. He stopped at the front porch like it was a wall. Guess he thought it would sober him up.

It was raining that day when I blew the back of Olberman’s head through his face. It was coming down in buckets. It took only a split second to do it, to erase all he was and all he’d ever be. And all over what, because he made us run, in boot camp no less. Fuck that’s what boot camp is all about. The drill Sargent is professional asshole paid to find shit wrong and to make it up when he can’t find something. But Olberman was a fat fucking jelly belly who disgusted me. That I judged him made it easy to kill him, not what I thought he’d done to me. So, it all came down to how I thought about it, not what it really was. Well that will make him feel better I guess.

Now it was streaming down in sheets. Several flashes of lighting lit the jungle like a strobe light and I could see the canopy top waving back and forth. I pulled the leaf of an elephant ear toward me and curved rather than folded into a trough, then put it to my lips and drank as if from a fountain. That water was pure.

It wasn’t until the storm moved off that it got light and then it got hot. By 9am it was over 90 degrees and sweltering. I’d had plenty to drink the night before so, I wasn’t thirsty, rather I was starving. All I’d had for the last 24 hours was a cold fish some bananas and mangoes. I wanted to find some breakfast really bad, but something just told me to stay put. Then I didn’t mind being hungry. In my mind I was in the game now, “lean and hungry”, out for a kill. And I knew one was on the way. As I’ve said, in a world of uncertainty I listened to my gut and stayed put. The jungle was a sauna now and I was forced to stay in the sun on top of the canopy to survey the old plantation house. I could talk my mind out of being disturbed by hunger, but not the heat, by 2pm it was brutal. But suddenly all consciousness of that dissipated like the steam off the leaves when I saw two cars coming down the road out of plantation and toward the jungle. I waisted only a second to be sure that cars were actually on their way out. I had no way to know if the Colonel was on board, I just knew.

I dropped below the canopy as a diver below the waves. I was vaguely aware of the relative coolness in the shade. My shirt felt much hotter than my body as I used the branches like an express way, sliding down smoothly in the shafts of light. It felt like I was gliding rather than falling and there was a moment when I forgot about the mission, my guilt, everything except my body sliding down the jungle. I jumped the final ten feet, and bent my knees so that my butt touched the ground and before I could stand up my good fortune occurred to me. Not only was the ground still wet, but because it had just rained the tree that I was going to use to block the road would draw no suspicion. They would blame it on the storm. I sprang off to the ambush point and dropped the branch across the road as planned.

I can’t remember a single step I took on the ground. No sooner did my boots sink into the still moist earth and carpet of leaves it seems that I was in a race against time. It was the sound of two cars that wafted through the woods and told me I was going to be too late to block the road. I really had to turn it on to get to the tree that I had cut down and left tied standing up next to the road. I got there before they did and cut it lose and watched as it fell across the road. I swear that the mud was still splashing up in the air when the cars made their way up to it. They were going slow because the road was muddy and that gave me time to slink back away from the road and take up my position in the deep shrubs along the roadside. My sniper riffle was right where I left it. I got down unrolled it and sat in a three point with right knee and both feet together on the ground as the cars passed. I already had the butt firmly in the crook of my shoulder with the barrel down. If I got lucky all I had to do was to raise the barrel and shoot. I wouldn’t even have to stand up.

They came to the branch and stopped. If there had been only two soldiers I would have engaged them first, before killing the colonel, but there were three and they were being cautious. They speaking a mix of Vietnamese and French and the French I could make out. “Attention, attention, one of them said very slowly. As expected the blockade drew no suspicion, they pulled right up to it. Three men got out and began inspecting every nook and cranny around them. The one who was speaking french was looking up in the trees, while the other two were bayonet-ting the shrubs along the side. I was fucked. I had anticipated two or three cars with the colonel in the second car. So, the colonels car was stopped right in front of me and my line of sight would be perfect if I could just fucking stand up. But this fucking VC knew I was in there. He scanned the low bushes back and forth over my position. My face was caked in camo and cloaked behind the leaves, but somehow we made eye contact. I closed my eyes to make it go away, but I could hear stabbing his bayonet pass my left side then my right. It was ten inches either side. Then the men sprayed the bushes and up in the trees. I jumped outta my skin, but my body didn’t move. I was much too afraid to. When it stopped I opened my eyes. Only the gunpowder hid the smell from my shit stained shorts. But now I couldn’t believe my luck. As the solders cleared the road the colonel sat up straight or something because I could see his head from where I was. I wouldn’t even have to stand up. I took a second for me to raise my rifle and get his head in my sights. It was a task I had performed a million and one times, but this time something happened that had never happened before. Sometime between when I pulled the trigger and the round exited the barrel I felt it. I was him and I felt the bullet go right through my brain from one side to the other. And just as if he felt it too he ducked.

I have no idea where that round landed, but I’d sooner answer that question than figure out how the fuck he knew I was there. The sniper rifle only holds a single round. They are not meant to miss. So, I dropped it and without even coming out of my crouch picked off the shocked shit less corporal who had tickled me with his bayonet a minute ago. Still without ever standing I was able to roll out of there and back into the jungle just before the machine gun fire from the other two VC obliterated all the brush in my old position. The last thing I heard just as I came to my feet and flew outta there was the car door slamming shut.

As I jetted out of there it wasn’t me I was worried about it was my mission. I was OK right now. I was fast and the compound and all of the VC were behind me. All I had to do was make it do was make it to the river. But my mission was dead. There was no way to take the colonel now. By now every VC on the planet was looking for an Amercian running through the jungle and they’d be all around the colonel. Unless. I dropped so the two VC on my ass could catch up. They did, running full bore and straight up. Even laying on my stomach with a 45 I was able to drop them in mid stride and they never even knew they were dead. Now the colonel. If I knew this guy like I thought I did he wouldn’t be cowering
back by the car, he’d be chasing me too. And that car door I heard slamming told me that I knew this guy. I needed more than a 45. I went over to one on the dead VC, a kid who didn’t have a face anymore, and pulled his amo belt off. Then I picked up his still hot AK47. Now I’d hide and wait for the colonel, I knew that he was coming. But I was wrong about that, he was already there waiting for me, a big mother fucker. As I stood up with the kid’s AK I heard him coming up behind me. How the fuck did he do that? No one did that to me. But when I turned around my weapon was already leveled and his 45 was still rising up. I had him. Dead to fucking rights I had the son of a bitch, but I never fired my weapon. As I faltered he took two steps and put the muzzle of his 45 to my forehead. It was cold, hadn’t been fired. I can’t say why, but that told me something about him, I don’t know what, but something.

I turned my head to the right and brushed the 45 away from my face like I was putting out a cigarette, then a second latter gave him the best left hook anyone has ever seen, right on the button. It rocked him, and he dropped the gun and staggered backwards. I moved in but he kicked me in the balls. It was all I could do to bring both hands down and block him. But that left me exposed. I watched helplessly as his other leg came around and caught the side of my face flush. I kept fighting, but can’t remember much after that. We were mixing it up there when I saw in the grass off to my side an AK. I jumped down and grabbed at it, but when I rolled back up to my feet it was with empty hands. I fell back to the ground with my hands behind me palms on the ground I could clearly see that the colonel went for a gun too and got it. He had his 45 again. I look straight into his eyes and they were focused tightly between mine. He told me in Vietnamese to get on my knees and put my hands behind my head. When I complied he stepped in and gave me a lights out front kick right to my jaw.

The second that I came to wished that I was dead. There was a light, like the headlights of an oncoming car. It was only a flashlight but it may as well have been a freight train. I knew what was coming next, I’d been on both side of this fence before. And the more awake I became the more pain I realized that I was in. I was sitting upright in a chair in the middle of the room, my feet chained down and hands taped behind me, all standard operating procedure. Like I said, I’d been here before. The tape across my mouth went from ear to ear and I actually thought that it alone was holding my jaw to my face. That big fucking gook kicked the shit out of me and now it was really beginning to hurt. But I knew the real beating was about to begin. I had already let go. Its just pain I said, its just a feeling like any other, no need to stress over it. It worked whenever my step dad cornered me and beat the shit out of me and it worked in the field too. You’d be surprised at how well it works, sometimes.

The only light was from the flashlight on me, but I could hear people in the darkness that enveloped behind it. The cong always thought men didn’t like the dark ring that a spotlight forms around the man being interrogated, but I like the darkness. I had always taken refuge there and it did my spirits good that it was so close around me. Normally the worse thing they could do to me would be to turn the lights on. But now for the second time in my life the darkness terrified me. Not because of the unknown held within, but because of the known, he was there, maybe not in the room, but close and aware, not just of my body, but thoughts as well. I couldn’t pick up his, but he heard everything I was thinking.

Usually these begin with some sort of sparring to decide what they think you know before things go mid-evil. If they thought you were of no use to them either because you didn’t know anything or because you wouldn’t break then things went to def-con 4 and they’d be feeding the pigs with your ass. The trick for someone in my shoes was to make them think I knew something more than what I’d told them. The one thing about the VC was that they believed and with such good reason that they could break anybody. So, if you could take the beating you could maybe last long enough for headquarters to work something out, a prisoner swap or something, anything to get you the fuck out of there. But now the war was supposedly over and I wasn’t even here officially so, by my math things looked pretty bad.

Suddenly there was a gook in my face. He pulled the tape from my mouth and it pealed off with a loud tearing sound, which I know it must of hurt, but I didn’t feel it. I could that it was going be difficult to talk though. He started off in very bad English so, I answered in Vietnamese which I hoped would make me a tinny bit more human to him. I don’t know if it did, I didn’t expect to be saved, but I did want to know if I felt what the Colonel did just before I took the shot at him. But obviously I could die without knowing that now and probably would.

Most of it went on in Vietnamese, but he was taking orders from some fuck back out of the light and they spoke in French. I didn’t let on that I understood French. He started off with the normal warm up bull shit, what’s your name, rank, but the guy in the dark told him to, “Get to it”, and that was fine by me. Might as well give em what they want and get it over with. They asked me if I knew the war was over and said yes, then I shocked them. I told them the name of the general who had put the hit out on his colonel. They asked me if I knew why and I said I didn’t care. They went back and forth for a little while in French and Vietnamese. I didn’t follow it all because I was blacking out. Fortunately my hosts prevented that by taking a handful of my hair and pulling my head back until I could see upside down behind me. When he saw that he had my attention he looked back at his boss in the dark and asked me if I worked alone. I nodded and I could tell he believed me because he moved on. Next he said “How many more assassins are coming? The war is over. How many more are coming?” I said, “I don’t know”. Then he hauled off and back fisted the lights outta me. So, that was the last thing I knew before he knocked me out, that I wasn’t the first and probably not the last.

I have no idea how long I was out for. When I came around again it was dark, I hadn’t seen blackness like this since that hill bomb in Denang. I say came around but I wasn’t really conscience. Maybe because they beat the fucking day lights outta me or maybe it was something else. All I know is that it was dark in there, so dark I could not see the floor and I was laying on it, sprawled out on my right side with my swollen right jaw on the hard stone or rock. The only sensation I had was of that faint sound of water gently trickling somewhere and the cold of the stone floor, which felt good on my jaw but chilled me. I felt around some more and noticed I’d been stripped down naked. That too was SOP. I lifted my head as best as I could to look around, but couldn’t see a fucking thing no matter what.

Down there in all that stank it occurred to me that killing a man wasn’t always such a shit thing to do him. It takes just the subtlest shift to see it, to see that life itself is the curse, death the escape. Shit, if I’d known that I’d never a capped my step-dad, he was the most miserable son of a bitch alive. Yea that’s one stank body no fucking bureaucrats is ever gonna dig up. It took me years to do it. I’d decided to ever since that night in the dog house. Who knows maybe I could of forgot about that, but I could never forget about him, shit I saw a reminder of him every time I looked at my arms or legs. It was when I went home from my first tour. When I was a kid that SOB always tried to get me to go hunting with him. But I knew two things, first was that he always got drunk when hunted, and second what always happened to me when he got drunk. So, I never went when I was a kid, but after my first tour, well he didn’t have to ask twice. That dumb fuck never saw it coming. I waited till we were in the deep woods and it was dark, just like with Olberman. But this time it told him what I was going to do. “Hey fuck wanna say good by, because right now you’re gonna die”. Then I decked him, with a crack. It sounded just like a shot and felt good when he collapsed into the leaves. He was just coming around when my saw cut through his Adam’s apple. I had his hair in one hand and with his head held back I was sawing through his throat with the other. My first stroke ripped through his Adams apple and I remember the skin opening up. There wasn’t a lot of blood at first, it would come latter. But that first cut musta woke him, he knew exactly what was happening. He tried to tuck his chin and grabbed my cutting arm with both hands, but I kept his throat exposed and kept cutting, it would even take a full stroke now. That’s when I saw him cry and it made me stop. I saw the fear in his eyes an the spittle in his quivering mouth, just like a helpless boy about to get a beating. That’s when I got it, that he was just like me. I didn’t pity him at the time, or show any mercy. I sliced his fucking head clean off and threw it between his legs. I saw his headless neck steaming in the cold. I turned and left him there for the animals to finish off. If anyone found anything it would just his clothes scattered to shit and back. I was sure that no one would ask a lot of questions, he didn’t have many friends, but he had one that I never thought about.

I could hear the sound of the water had changed. Before it was just an unobtrusive trickle, but now it sounded like Niagra Falls, thunderous. My mind playing tricks on me I thought. Fuck that it was torture me, yakking at me even in down in this hole, bringing up shit buried so deep I forgotten about it. Why?

When I got back to the house I came in through the back door and went right to the kitchen. I pealed my cloths off threw them in the sink and started cleaning up, cleaning the blood off. That’s when my mother showed up, standing in the hallway just staring at me. What the fuck was she doing up at 6 a.m. anyway. When I turned and looked up all I could see were her eyes. That’s how it was with us, whenever she knew something about me no words were necessary and this time was no different. She knew exactly what I was doing, exactly what I had done.

What had I done? Didn’t I just get rid of her problem, save her from another 10 or 20 years of beatings? Not really I guess, I really just got rid of my own problem, my own need to get back at anyone or anything that had ever crossed me. I took my hands out of the sink and shook them off as she walked over to me, staring at me, her eyes were all I could see. She came over, never blinked, not a tear in her eyes, she came over, stopped right in front of me and spit right in my face. It was the worst fucking half second of my life. I walked around her changed my clothes and left.

Oh fuck it! I guess I can see things her way. If I tried, if I wanted. After all there weren’t many choices for a woman like her where we lived, and I had just removed the only choice she ever had, and I did it for me in spite of her. I was still thinking about that as I was driving to my wife’s house. I was supposed to sign the divorce papers. I thought it was going to simple. Drive over, leave the engine running, go in sign on the line and split. But when I saw her there, I don’t know how to put it but she just soften up and I almost lost it. I’ll spare you the details, but as I took the pen to sign my name she touched my hand and called me by my name. Her hands were so soft and this time so were her eyes. She said, “we don’t have to do this”. Looking at me like that with the sun coming up in the room I imaged growing old with her right there in that room. “If you don’t love me, then leave, but I think you love me, and, and I love you”. When she said that I got weak and it was all I could do not to start weeping like a baby. But what I did was to look her straight in the eyes and lie like I would to the enemy. “I don’t love you”, I said and walked out with leaving a clue. I high tailed it back to Nam so fast… Shit the only thing you had to worry about here was getting tortured and killed.

And here I was near death, sprawled out on a stone dungeon floor and what was I thinking about; shit in the past, none of which could hurt me anymore? Those thoughts roared so loud. When I passed out this time it wasn’t from fatigue or a beating or even starvation. The truth is that I just couldn’t take anymore of myself. The last thing I remember before passing out again was the mosquitoes biting.

The next time I came to must have been a long time. I think it was the mosquitoes that finally woke me up, but the first thing I thought about was my stomach, I was starving. As far as I could tell I was in the same position, on my side spread on the floor. I rubbed my hand across my belly and it felt small, but so too did my jaw. In fact I think I’d actually healed a bit from the beatings I got from the Colonel and the interrogator. It was like my body was numb. I could make out the proportions, but I didn’t really feel anything. And I still couldn’t see a fucking thing. I could still hear the water trickling again. So, I decided to go to it. Standard procedure now was to orient myself. The sounds came from behind me and it was a huge fucking big deal to exchange the positions of my ass and my head right there on the floor. But somehow I managed to rotate 180 degrees. My body didn’t hurt so bad, but I was weak now and it made me really fucking tired. So, I rested for I don’t know how long. Maybe I even fell asleep, I don’t know. But eventually I began to crawl toward the sound of trickling water. It was funny. Back in the war I tried so hard to stay alive and now I was going to die in here and I didn’t give a shit, I didn’t give a shit about dying, I didn’t give a shit about the rats and roaches and mosquitoes, I didn’t even feel the pain my body was in. I was somewhere else, I was everywhere else, but there was nowhere else. And then I was back inside him, inside his head, just like when I took the shot I was him.

I was him sitting in my chair pushed back from my desk with my legs straight and feet crossed. I was starring at the glass of whiskey in both hands and resting on my lap. I could see everything as if I were him and I could move in and back out again. This was fucking weirder than anything I’d ever known before. Anything except that fucking dark star that I fell into in Denang. But there he was thinking about me just like I was thinking about him. I guessed he could read my mind too so I tried not to think about anything that would give me away, I thought I won’t think anything at all. Then I realized how stupid that was. How the hell do you not think, it’s like not breathing. You can only decide what to get hung up on or not, but the brain was always secreting thoughts, like bile from the liver, it just drips. Like now my brain thought, way to go asshole, getting captured on an assignation mission that didn’t exist in a war that was over by a man who could somehow read my mind. I could not not think it, but I could kick the shit outta myself for it or not. I kept crawling.

As I crept and heard his thoughts I could tell that just like me he was scared, but instead of being freaked out over it he was beginning to make sense of things, he was actually beginning to understand it. I didn’t understand it, I didn’t understand a fucking thing. And I lost contact with him when I came into contact with a wall. Finally, I was beginning to think that I was in a dark immaterial desert, but finally here was something of this world, something that I recognized, a wall, cold, hard and slimy. I raised my torso up and leaned back against it. I felt roaches scatter and heard mosquitoes buzzing knowing full well the rats were close and took comfort in them for they were things I knew about, but I had no idea what I was experiencing. I turned my face to the wall and ran my tongue across it collecting every precious drop of tawny moisture. This is where he left me to die and I wouldn’t have thought to blame him, if I could have thought about anything else but sucking every last drop of water condensing on the wall. Maybe it’s because all I was thinking about was that water on the wall, the here and now, but that’s when it happened, or maybe it’s always happening, but I was just able to see it.

disappearing egoboundries –without myself means without god
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But that’s the wall that I was pressing my aching face against, didn’t disappear, but had never really been there at all. It was only partway gone, then completely gone, then back. I opened and squeezed my eyes shut again and again, but it wasn’t my eyes that I was seeing with. And in that moment I was in that moment and no other. The shit that had or would happened to me ceased to exist to me anymore than the moments themselves. Nothing of them existed anymore so, they were in fact unreal. It’s not that they didn’t happen, but that they aren’t happening and thinking otherwise seemed illusion. I was a murderer and quite possibly will be one again, but right now I was just the body of some guy struggling to sip some slime juice off of a wall that was never there to begin with. When I saw things in that way I felt, I dunno, innocent. Innocent, that’s a big word to a guy like me. And when I perceived things that way there was no wall, no floor, no pain, no fear. It was like when I let go of my life, but this was letting go of everything, life and the universe surrounding it. Time was just like the wall. I mean it didn’t stop, it just never really was. Of course it never really was, it was so clear to when I was in it that now is all there is or could be.

I went on that way, going back and forth, in and out, just making subtle shifts in perception. I could sense fear when I came back to what I thought was reality, and when the universe dropped away again I felt, love. Man I wanted to stay there, stay with whatever it was keeping me in love, but then I don’t know, I couldn’t hold it. I panicked and lost it. And at the moment I did I wondered if it had ever really been. Like a dream you tried not to wake up from, and couldn’t hold on to once you did. I was about to die and had found complete peace. Now I wanted to keep that peace, more than I ever wanted anything I wanted to keep that peace. But just like the passing moments, just like everything else in our lives, just like life itself, just like that it was gone.
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Replaced by the clanking of metal and saw a shaft of light that made the roaches scatter in their millions of scaly steps. I turned around, leaned against the wall. The light hurt my eyes and I shut them and passed out.

I don’t know how long I was out for this time, but when I came to it was in a small hospital unit of about a dozen beds or so. There were no guards, no bars on the windows, the door was open. The inside wall went only halfway up and I could see people walking past the corridor. Shit I was in the mansion and I could get up and walk away, if I could get up. I did a body check, wiggle toes, check, then I noticed that I was clean, that my jaw was almost back to normal. I sat up in bed and just stayed there a minute trying to clear the cobwebs. Obviously the Colonel had a change of heart regarding my fate. I had completely forgotten that feeling of peace.

After a couple of minutes a male doctor saw me and came in waving a female nurse to follow. It struck me how even in North Vietnam the doctors wore white and the nurse was female. He asked me in Vietnamese how I felt as though he knew I could speak it. I answered that it was the best I felt in a long time. I didn’t bother saying sine I got blown up in Denang. I said that I was getting hungry and he checked my pupils. By the time he’d finished the nurse had dutifully returned with a tray with rice and a mango. That’s what I remembered hating about the gooks, the way they turned every daily task into some life or death mission. Now I wondered why I hated them for it. I wasn’t mad now, I even smiled at myself a little.

The food was bland, but it made the space that it occupied in belly fell better none the less. I finished off the mango and thought about the ones I’d eaten in the tree I didn’t know how many nights ago. I laid back in the bed as I had that night in the tree, it was a natural position for me. I look up at the ceiling and wondered when. When would I be meeting the Colonel?

There was a late afternoon thunder boomer erupting outside, the kind that roll in frequently in Nam. A guard, the first I’d seen since waking in the hospital, brought me some clothes. They seemed to be my greens, cleaned and repaired, but I didn’t care enough to notice. I was too nervous about meeting the colonel.

The single guard instructed me that I was indeed going to see the colonel. He escorted me to the inner square that was open to the bullet sized rain drops and they made a distinct cracking sound as they impacted the courtyard. I thought about the bullet that didn’t go through the back of the colonel’s head. It was mid day, but it looked dark outside. The cool rain felt good. The guard opened an outer door and I went in to a short narrow corridor that ended at the door to what was once probably a servant’s quarters. He opened the door for me and followed me inside. It was dark inside except for a small desk lamp spotting the room. The desk was against the far wall, behind it a bookshelf. On a low shelf immediately behind the desk chair was the bottle of Jack Daniel’s I’d seen him drinking in my mind. Where the hell did he get that from? The carpet was red and half way up each wall ran there was an expensive wood that comes cheap in Vietnam. It was an ordinary office with a hint of cozy to it.

The guard put me in the chair and stood at the wall behind me. As I waited I studied the books. There were some on military history and theory written in Vietnamese, the I-Ching was written in French, there was a Holy Bible in English and as a bookend a statue of a gladiator of all things.

I was just thinking how nothing should surprise me when I heard the door open and when the soldier saluted I knew that the colonel had just come in. Out of ridicules habit I stood and started to salute. The guard didn’t know how to respond. I could hear him approach from behind as I came quickly to my feet, then clumsily aborted my attempted salute. I really didn’t know what to do under these circumstances. I mean how do you respond to the commanding officer when you’re a prisoner in a war that’s over? “Old habits die hard don’t they Captain”, he said in Vietnamese about my gaffe. Then he stood behind the desk and looked me square in the eye, and up and down, then back in the eye. He was just as big as he’d looked in the jungle. I noticed some scars on his face that I hadn’t seen before, old scars. His tone was strong, but even. I wasn’t worried, if he wanted me dead I’d have been fed to the pigs long ago.

He motioned to the chair for me to sit down and we sat down together, formal and very polite considering that I’d tried to put a bullet through his head. He told the guard to wait outside and sat down just as the door shut, put his elbows on the desk and clasped his hands. They were big and narley. He looked right through me with coal black eyes while stating matter of factly, “You were captured just outside the Villa one month and one day ago. So, that’s how long I’d been here. You stated that you acted alone, but with the knowledge and under the orders of members of the US military and your government”, he said as he was shuffling some papers. “Yes sir”, I said. “How many more will needlessly follow you Captain”? “I don’t know sir I said. I don’t even know why they sent me, but it would help me if I knew what they want from you. Is this revenge, didn’t you kill someone close to General,..” “We have all killed someone Captain”, he cut me off. “I know what they think they want”, he said.

“Now you Captain will stay here until I decide it’s time for you leave,” he said in Vietnamese again. “And then I’ll give you something to deliver to your superiors ”. “What, sir”, I hesitated. I couldn’t phantom what he could mean, but my curiosity was killing me. I had come here dying to know about how he could read my thoughts, both in the bush and in the hole, but now this piqued it to a rivaling degree. And while I hung on his next word the Colonel looked down and signed more papers. I suddenly realized that this was going to be just a get to know you first session. Fucking great, so much to say and nothing being said. I played it cool, I didn’t look directly at him, but at his desk and at the bookshelf behind him again. He kept looking down at the papers he glancing through and signing, but he was watching me. When my eyes settled on the murmillo he stopped, looked up at me and said, “You have interest in gladiators?

Yes sir I said. I studied all about them when I was a kid. “The murmillo was your favorite wasn’t it”? His body relaxed a little and he turned half way around to look askance at what he’d probably seen a thousand time as if he had no idea that he had no way of knowing that. If he saw my jaw drop he didn’t act like it, just went on about the murmillo. “The perfect balance of speed and size and power”, he said. “That statue is more than two thousand years old. It came from a ludus on the western outskirts of ancient Rome”.

“So, is that how did you become interested in soldiering”, he asked? “Well I never really liked being a soldier, but they don’t have gladiators anymore.” “Yes”, he said, armies are to messy, they have to be maneuvered, coordinated with sea and air components, to complicated. For the gladiator things were simple, he could depend only on himself. His opponent was always in front of him not hiding in the grass. And he didn’t have to worry about being attacked after the battle was fought”. I must have been squirming a bit, but I also thought, OK bring it on, let me have it. “Is that why you became an assassin Captain? Because you’re on your own, no orders to give or take, no excuses to make to anyone. Is that why Captain”? “There are no excuses for the things I’ve done sir, some of them anyway.”

“There are no excuses for any of us, “ he said, and I wondered what he meant. Now my heart was pounding in my chest. I wondered, what did he know about me, what did he not know. “Relax Captain, I have spent this last month thinking about you. Not just because you were able to get so close, not because you didn’t kill me when you had the chance. But because you reminded me of some basic truths that I’d forgotten during the war. But I am in touch with the truth again and so I forgave you and I haven’t thought about you since. And please understand Captain.” He was speaking in English now. “That when I use the word forgiveness, it is not as so often in a superior or condescending manner, but in the truer since. Namely that I am reminded that no one really hurts anyone, nothing is ever done, only undone”. I had no clue what he was talking about, and I couldn’t read his mind anymore, but I could sure as shit read his face. He was getting ahead of himself now and saying shit that he had intended to wait to say. He was about to break it off now and I didn’t want him to. It seemed risky, but I had to do it. So, I said, “Sir how did you know when to duck?” He leaned back in his chair and seemed massively relieved, like he had a horrible secrete that he didn’t have to keep to himself anymore. “I felt a spiritual bullet go through my brain just a second before you pulled the trigger and you felt it too.” “Yes sir I did sir”, I said. What the hell else could I say. Either we were both crazy or we could both read the others mind and neither one of us was sure of which was worse.

“Please make yourself comfortable in this compound Captain. There is no need to attempt to escape, you will leave on your own accord when you are ready.” He stood up and I stood up, after him, but did not salute. He called the guard who entered immediately. Just before leaving I said, “How the hell can I run, you’ll know where I am all the time anyway”. We both chuckled a bit and we both knew that we were the only two people on the planet who knew what we were talking about.

When I returned to my quarters I was beat. But it was a good beat, like I went the distance with the champ and won. I noticed that time had seemed to fly. What in my mind was only about a 30 minute face to face must have been hours because now it was dark. I also noticed that I was changing my mind about this place, that I was beginning to like it here now. Latter I would see that I was just dancing to an ancient tune in my sick mind, or the sick part of my mind. That liking and disliking just like love and hate and good or evil are just old tricks of a sick and ugly part of a mind that goes forever unseen, but once seen disappears into the nothing from which it came.

The next morning there was a lot of activities, supplies coming in, troops rotating out. I was worried of all reasons because I thought the commotion could help conceal a sniper or a bomb. I didn’t even eat breakfast, I just threw open my door and asked my surprised escort in as polite, but urgent Vietnamese that I could muster to see the colonel, but to my surprise he wanted to see me too. He took me to the colonel in an ammo depot deep in the center of the house and underground. The way down there was not unlike my decent through the bowels of the hospital ship when I got this insane mission in the first place. The exception was that while the ship was cavernous and metallic, this was crooked, narrow and dank. These were the old wine cellars, a safe place for the Colonel to hang low while the logistics went on overhead, but I could not help the thought that surely we were headed down and down was the only direction where lay my old hole. We hit the bottom and I was back down in the cellar. The corridor was more than ten feet wide, but dimly lit and I couldn’t tell how long it was. It never ended, just disappeared into to a vanishing point. There were large doors spaced about twenty feet apart on either side. I can still remember the distinctive sounds of our boots against the stone floor as we walked inexorably towards the colonel who was standing in front of one of the doors. I can’t believe this I thought, after all this he’s locking me back down in the hole. The Colonel was standing almost in the dark because of the interference patterns of the corridor lights which hung sparsely on the walls all the way to that point that vanished seemingly at infinity. When I finally stopped in front of the Colonel his face was the last thing that I saw. I couldn’t read it. We stood there for an eternal second it seemed before he sent the soldier away and I could catch my breath again. He waited until the sounds of the guards were fading up the stairway before he began speaking.

“You have to be in pain to notice that you’re injured”, he said. “Pain is the body’s way to tell you to stop walking, or don’t eat anymore of that, it will make you sick. It tells you to stop before you more damage to it. You won’t notice the pain during battle, but when the threat is past you body screams, pay attention to me, I need your help.” We were about eyeball to eyeball now and I had no Idea where this was going, but I was mesmerized, but when still looking at me, he reached out his right arm and pulled the door open, I wanted to run. Instead I followed him followed him into the darkness. He walked inside, leaving me helpless to move in the hallway. He had almost completely disappeared inside before I could manage to follow. As I stepped in I thought I heard the last of the rats scattering away. I had almost completely forgotten about the rats.

“It’s the same way with the mind he said, you’ve got to be in pain.” Then lowering his body to put one knee on the ground and I followed suit. And he put his hand big and gnarly, down and let it hover just above the stone floor. And that moment of silence I heard the water trickling again. “That is what you were doing down here”, he said. “That is the point in your life which you have come to, the point that says there must be something else, something other than this. When you were down here in the dark, your mind is free to suffer out loud. In the dark there was no place for you to hide. What can you remember about your experiences down here captain ”

At first I couldn’t remember anything. I struggled to remember and then lost focus and I wasn’t thinking about anything for I don’t know how long. But he didn’t rush me, he didn’t say a word, eventually I did.

“I remember feeling claustrophobic, I said.” “It was like being buried alive, I felt like I was suffocating in the darkness. But it doesn’t make any sense,” I said looking at the 20 ft.ł of space we were standing in.” I had plenty of space, but it felt like a weight of the water was crushing me. Thousands of gallons of water on my face, on my mind. I don’t know what it was, and that got me scared. It’s like there’s this darkness all around me. Most of the time I can’t see it. It’s like a door that I’m not supposed to look behind, but every once in a while I walked past to find the door open. I didn’t want to look in I just was. I couldn’t help it and I can’t take it back. Do you think I’m crazy sir?” I looked at his face when I said that and I could see him studying mine intently.

And then he stood up slowly stretching his legs and said, “no, I don’t think you’re crazy, but I think you’ve seen something you’re not ready for yet.” He paused a second and then said, “come on Captain let’s get some fresh air.” Well, that was about the best idea I’ve heard a long time so I said, “Sure let’s go.” Then I followed him out into the pale corridor and upstairs to the courtyard.

The air up top felt good, and it took him a couple of good lungs full of it. I was shocked to notice that I had not been paying attention to things. I had been trained to keep track of things, but I didn’t know what time it was, only that it must be late afternoon, will judging by the thunder in the distance, I didn’t know if the logistics were still going on, I didn’t even notice that the Colonel and I had been uninterrupted. It must have been by his instructions.

There were two stone railings that met at 90° angles we used to sit on. I put my elbows behind me, like I was leaning back on the bench, but the Colonel put his elbows on his knees and leaned forward as he began speaking. It was going to be quite the speech.

This was where the Colonel broke it down for me, about how none of us is really here, that the universe is just a bad dream we made up to escape punishment we think is coming for crime that we never did. That would’ve sounded crazy to me two months ago. Crazy before that bullet that never went through both our brains. Crazy like him clearly reading my mind in me reading his. But all of that had happened now and it was the old world or my old way of looking at it that seemed crazy now.

He told me about the lessons I had to learn. He said, “You don’t make it out of here until you learn your lessons.” So, that’s what it’s all about. This was my spiritual boot camp and the Colonel my spiritual drill Sergeant.

It was a long day. We said goodbye in the courtyard and I went back to my quarters.

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I was tired but I couldn’t sleep. I was trying to remember everything the Colonel said, going over it again and again in my mind. I didn’t want to forget just like the dream that slipped away.

Guilt was heavy on my mind. I was guilty of so much. People like shield will always be dead. But to hear the Colonel tell it, nobody really kills anybody. We are all just characters in a mad dream from which the dreamer has already woken up. He could read my mind so who was I to tell him he was wrong?

I didn’t get to sleep till well after daylight. And when I did I was waking immediately.

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I didn’t see the Colonel again until late afternoon and he was very terse. I was sitting at a card table center of the room when a guard only knocked once before opening the door and stepping through forcefully. He held it open until the Colonel came through and then left closing it again behind him. as I stood up I noticed the Colonel was holding a thick envelope about the size of two phone books.

“I am sorry to interrupt Captain,” he said. “But as I’m sure you’ll remember I told you that when it was time you would leave with a message to your superiors. Now it is time. Please deliver this to the general, with my regards and this message. The war is over. If he wants we can end it once and for all. If he wants to.”

He looked me square in the eye all the while he was talking to me, but turned away immediately after he stopped. He turned his back to me opened door and left. The guard closed it and followed him.

I didn’t even bother to stammer for an explanation. I didn’t want to leave, but whatever he was up to now he had his mind made up and there was no changing it. I didn’t even wait, we left immediately.
They were going to ferry me down the river in a kind of transport canoe that they have used for centuries around here. They were usually covered with some sort of palm leaf hut, something that I could hide in. It was all per my original mission. I was originally supposed to make my way down the river to the coast. Of course that was bullshit, I was never supposed make it out alive. None of that really mattered now, anymore than it did that the war was officially over. I knew there’d be a destroyer or sub out there for a week, a month a year, forever. And I knew how to make radio contact with it. I got into the canoe at just about dark. I went below first thing. And holding a flashlight in my mouth I opened the first folder pulled everything out and put the entire stack on my knees. I had the balance a little bit as we shoved off, but soon as the flashlight beam landed on it everything came into focus for me.

There were pictures, testimony, confessions, but mostly they were pictures, pictures of war crimes. So, that was it, atrocities! And it wasn’t just a few isolated events like My Lai, this had been going on for at least a decade, this is tactical, it was planned. There was no way that headquarters to know all about this, there was no way that they weren’t directing this. Oh boy, the Colonel had them all right, dead to rights. Who knew how far up the Pentagon this went.Who knew how high up heads would roll.

The Colonel had hit a bull’s-eye on something else too. Projected guilt and expected punishment. I’ve been in the Army half my life. I know all about how command thinks. And
if it had been then, if they had had the goods on the Colonel then they sure as shit would’ve used them. So, of course they expected the Colonel to do the same. Oh man it was just like he said. The bullshit we makeup in our minds and project out into the world piles up so fast. Here they were trying to kill this man terrified of what he never even thought of doing, giving him no other choice but to do it. I didn’t need to see anymore. So, I packed things up and went top-side made up some stories of my own.

It was dark up there as dark as it was below. The sky was as dark as the river and you couldn’t tell where one began and the other ended. I dangled my feet off over the edge, knowing there was water near below, but I could’ve just as easily have been dangling them over the edge of the airplane.

It was beginning to bother me now about the Colonel, the way he just cut me loose like that. The bonds of friendship wrap themselves around us stealthily, expectations grow like weeds in the grass, you don’t notice them until they are there. After all he had taught me about forgiveness and judgment, there I was doing what I had always done. Being a servant to my thoughts and mind. And I remained a servant even after I heard the Hueys.

I heard lots of Hueys, six if I was right and I was. They sound like no other bird in the sky with their long blades that chop the air into pieces and send them scattering up and down at the same time. The back-scatter reverberate in your gut for minutes. I screamed at the Colonel’s men in Vietnamese to turn the boat around, but they refused. They said they had strict orders to deliver me to the coast, no matter what. Then I realized what should’ve been obvious, the Colonel sent me away to save my life. Maybe he figured command would be getting impatient after not hearing from me by now, maybe he got some advanced Intel, maybe he just had a feeling. Whatever, he sure got it right! To him life was unreal so, then was death. But he wanted me to get away to learn the lessons of this dream, and get out of it. Fuck, what was so special about me? It didn’t matter, I was still fully invested in the very dream he wanted me so badly to leave. I was going back to save him. The kid at the wheel must have been 15 years old, I brought my weapon up to his head told him to turn the boat
around. He didn’t flinch nor did anyone else, and we kept going down river. But when I jumped overboard and started swimming for the short turnaround, fished me out and we
went back up river. I was still dripping wet on the deck when it hit me. What the fuck am I doing? The mind is so silly, so willingly caught up in a drama designed to distract. He didn’t want me to save him, he had already saved me, but here I was going back into a war that was over in a universe that didn’t even exist anymore and never really did. But shit I went.

We hit the shore and began to run the mile or so from the river to the Villa. I have all my weapons but still must’ve broke a world record. As I ran though, I couldn’t figure out how I was going to clear the distance from the brush to the villa without getting picked off by the Hueys, but when I got there I knew exactly what to do. Two of the birds were on the ground in the empty space between the villa and the jungle. They were waiting with their props rotating. It looked exactly like an extraction. All I knew was those birds were sitting ducks. I pulled my sniper riffle and set it up in the Y section about shoulder high took aim at one of the pilots and squeezed off the round. All you had to do was see the chopper spin out of control and roll over to know I was dead on. The blades broke off against the ground and debris from the resulting explosion took down the second chopper as it tried to lift off.

The fireball kept the other choppers away and everyone’s attention while I was able to haul ass into the villa. Odd thing was that all the guys inside were my guys now. When I got to the what had been the wall around compound I had no trouble climbing through a hole and into the compound. The Hueys circled around, but I knew they weren’t going to fire into the compound again. They were waiting for their own guys now who were engaged in a firefight with the Colonel who was isolated behind some burning rubble. I could see some of his officers bodies strewn around, but I couldn’t tell if he was dead or alive until I saw one of the

DELTAs take it. Then I knew that he was alive and kicking. I also knew that he was outnumbered four to one and the other Hueys would be touching down with reinforcements at anytime. Then one of the DELTA tried to circle around behind the Colonel. I picked him off from where I was. The shot went right through the back of his head. You could see his body slam face first into the ground and he was dead before he hit it. The other three Americans couldn’t figure out what had happen and never did. They each died without ever seeing the shot that killed them.

Finally I was able to get to the Colonel. I called out to Him. “You idiot,” he said in English, “Get outta here!” Well needless to say it was too late for that. As soon as the other Hueys lost contact with their DELTA’s they recommenced their rocket attacks. Get outta here he barked again, “I have reinforcements”. And sure as shit I could hear Migs. I knew there would be VC ground troops, probably choppered in from Hanoi, close behind. All we had to do was hold on. But some things are best let go of and I never should have come back here. I never felt the shot that killed me. I never knew if it came from one of the reinforcements from the remaining Hueys, or even a surviving VC who mistook me for an enemy Amercian. All that I knew is that I was dead. My last words to the Colonel were, “ I tried to tell them [the war was over], but I never got the chance.” I died there in his arms.

No sooner was I dead than did the fighting stop. There was the sound of secondaries, and the remaining Hueys flying away. The Colonel held me there that way, not sad but just
studying the situation. He looked like a mathematician who had found a flaw in his proof. “You silly boy,” he said as though he were talking to a child. ” Now we have to do this all again.”

The last thing I remember was the spotlight, like I was being interrogated again. It flooded he inside of my car just before the crash.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%w

It didn’t matter, I got it.

I can see peace.
a journey from hate to peace.
leapoard

Thats the moment I realized nothing could hurt. something could kill me, destroy me, but nothing could hurt me.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Smoke clearing
I’d get him all right, but I really didn’t know what I’d do with him when I did. I had no way of knowing what he would do to me.
it never bothered me

For awhile I thoufgt he was Jesus, but he hit too fucking hard to be Jesus.

I had the chance to make it this time. But I am sure, that I will make it next time. That’s all I’ll make it for sure I’ll make it next time, or the time after that, but I will make it, I already have.
I have not made it. I won’t make it this time, but thanks to him I am closer, though I have no idea why he did what he did for me.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
Jesus told Spurrio to try to change perception from the self to the universal self.

%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
[9:50:49 AM] ROBERTA: those are there in a battle of dark forces and light forces to keep the world of duality going
[9:51:06 AM] ROBERTA: the results of their battle is the shift in magnetism%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
Lucilia though that Juses suffering was so great that it encompassed the pain of all of mankind, but when she put her ear to his split and bloody lips the last words she hear him say were, “I see peace.”l

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

in the center of an infinite universe outside of everything that is real, at the bitter end of an eternity that never was.

http://theautomaticearth.blogspot.com/2011/05/may-13-2011-future-of-physical-gold.html

He was just studying me, but he wanted something too. I was right.

Then he paused still looking through me and said in English, “You will soon know everything you need to know”. Whatever the fuck he was talking about it had nothing to do with my mission.

The Gladiator — Book 1
The Gladiator was exhausted, but was still able to bring his shield up to parry the triad as though he were reaching for an apple from a bowl of fruit. Though the body was depleted the mind was disciplined, he did not panic. This block had been in time, but he was slowing down. He felt it absorbed into his forearm then glance off of his shield, instantly he countered with the gladius in his right hand bringing it down and across at a 45 degree angle, lurching forward with his right foot after the swing, too late, the Retiarius was far removed. He circled around to Spurio Pompili ‘s left side, feigned another thrust, stepped back, then thrust the triad at his face with lightening speed, Spurio Pompili was barely able to avoid it with a combination of a rising block with his shield and bending his knees while ducking his head under it. Close! There was no counter this time the two combatants circled each other warily in sand that burned under the scorching sun. Spurio Pompili , sweating profusely was losing the battle of attrition. He was the heaver and more powerful of the two, but was less agile. He was well accustomed to suffering the wounds of combat under the intense heat of Roma’s sun, he had been trained well. Discipline and indifference wove a sturdy pattern in the Gladiator’s psyche, but training also taught that the body had its limits and Spurio Pompili knew that his was fast approaching its own. Sweat stung his eyes and he could no longer ignore the screaming cramps in his legs, making them ever heavier by the second. The Retiarius feigned to his head again which brought his shield high again, but the effort was enormous, his left shoulder burned. When he dropped the shield too low a point of the triad found its mark again piercing the forehead, making it bloodier. He was locked in a downward spiral toward a slow death of a thousand cuts. Spurio would make a life or death decision, on his feet, with blood burning his eyes and cramps setting in. He would likely regret either action, but he had to decide and training took over again, he dropped the shield, it fell with a muffled sound into the sand.
Without his shield Spurio Pompili was free to move about, but was exposed to the Trident. Now the retirarius swung the net at his head, forcing Spurio Pompili to duck his head, but now he saw an opening as the retirarius’s follow through exposed his rib cage and Spurio did not hesitate he jabbed his gladius at the open ribs like it was a piece of meat. As the blood poured, Spurio Pompili hoped he had broken a rib, but he had only bruised it. The retirarius feeling as though all of his ribs were broken brought both elbows in to protect the badly punctured ribs. It was involuntary leaving him momentarily rooted, exposed to Spurio Pompili ‘s a sword, but he was too exhausted to follow-up.  Instead he moved around to his right, keeping a safe distance while desperately trying to take control of his breathing.  It was something he would not regain until one of them was dead. The Retirarius however seemed already to have endured the worst of it as he cast the net over Spurio Pompili’s head and moved closer with the Trident while the net was still in the air. Spurio Pompili sliced at the open net, collecting up harmlessly to the ground and in one move parried the Trident at the last second. The retirarius deftly spun back, reached his net on the ground, and returned to face Spurio Pompili squarely. The near misses were taking their toll.
Exhausted Spurio Pompili moved back, circling to his right trying to buy time, but the retirarius had much different intentions, he pressed the attack. Stepping backward Spurio Pompili felt the net wrapping around his left ankle, calmly he lifted his leg stepped in and thrust his sword, but the Retiarius moved back out of range and deftly countered with his three-pronged spear. Spurio with his shield long since dropped could only block it by jamming the point of his sword in it between two of the three prongs. It was a close call and he could feel the clinging of the three-pronged sphere against the iron anklet of his left leg. Spurio clenched his free left fist and delivered a crushing blow to the Retirarius’s jaw. The Retirarius staggered back and dropped his spear. The instinct was now for Spurio to plunge his gladius deep into his opponent’s chest, but fatigue from an hour of combat beneath the scorching Roman sun made him hesitate. It was fatigue that forced him to drop his shield, and it now intensified allowing the swifter Retiarius to roll on the ground toward his trident and come up with it standing. Spurio was as disheartened as he was astonished. He had to retrieve his shield.  Facing his opponent squarely, in a left forward stance with his sword firmly in his right hand Spurio shifted to his left, the Retiarius would not so easily allowing him to. This time the when the fishermen threw his net around Spurio’s left ankle it latched on, and he pulled it straight. Spurio staggered but caught himself. But the fishermen buried the center prong of his Trident into Spurio’s straightened left knee. The excruciating pain electrified him, but it lasted only long enough to intensify his pain. Spurio looked at the blood gushing from his leg that was bent backwards and fell back hard between his shoulder blades.  He lay on the ground in the position of a man being crucified.  He was going to be skewered. The Retiarius moved to Spurio’s left and was standing between him and his shield. He moved incautiously for the kill, making sure that Spurio was too injured and fatigued to counter him. Satisfied he began his approach, but when  he moved in Spurio saw something that made him fear both life and death and doubt all that he had till this moment believed and known. It made him lift his head and through distraction and fatigue his training held sway, the gladius was still in his hand. So, as the sky behind the Retiarius began to drop out of existence Spurio had to make a split second decision, was death the greater disaster or was it life. When a black lightning bolt sliced across the late afternoon sky it seemed that death, was more welcome, but a second after when whole black chunks of the sky were ripped away showing only starless space behind, that was most uncertain. From his back Spurio brought his sword across his body and the Retiarius lost his left leg above the knee, on the backstroke it was the right leg that ripped away, just below the kneecap. Spurio never saw that which he had done in less than a second, he couldn’t keep his eyes off of the sky falling away as though the earth like a room in the sky, whose walls were crashing down revealing the total darkness behind them. They may as well been made of papaya. Then he put his head back down, and as a light sprinkle of blood dappled around his body he turned away and shut his eyes tight hoping that the darkness inside his lids could protect him from the darkness on the other side of them.
Lucilla couldn’t unclench her eyes, fully expecting that when she opened them the Retirarius would have skewered her husband to death. She never would have reopened them, except for the faint cries of her husband’s name. Pompili ? Pompili ? She could believe that he had won again even less than the crowd. Slowly, cautiously, not to be deceived she opened them focused. Her jaw shuddered as she strained in the distance to see the unthinkable, her husband, alive.
She was in no condition for rational thought as tears streamed down her face and drool unabashedly dribbled from the corner of her mouth, her love for her husband matched only by her pure joy to see him alive. She brushed back tears only to confirm the vision. Then as he lay there prostrate on the ground about the length of her thumb writhing in agony her joy became enmeshed with his pain. His pain, it was an altogether new experience for her, to him for that matter. The joy was not subdued, but added to by his pain becoming hers. She could see her husband’s body and feel his pain, but she could not see the darkness he had just seen, could not know that for him everything had changed, and changed much more than if the Retiarius had just killed him.
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%  Lucilla and Jesus  %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
She was on her feet, moving down to where they were taking her husband. Her only thought was to rush to her husband, to tend to his wounds. She needed to comfort and take care of him, though even that was selfish of her. But for now the Romans and iron gates still separated her from him. But Lucilla blamed Jesus not the Romans for her husband’s slavery, her separation from him, and the horrendous tortures he endured, suffering which she could not even think about, along the brutal trail that led him from intellectual discussions on to spiritual enlightenment in Judea, to a bloody gladiator pit in Rome. Now, she was pleased that he had been crucified; now she felt he was deserving making her less guilty of it.  Even in death it was Jesus not the Romans separating her from her husband. But just one more victory and that would be no more, Vettius had sworn it personally and contracted legally. Just one more victory and her husband was again a free man to be with her forever. That sweet thing, she and her husband together, it was so close that it was almost real, she could almost touch it, but with tears still streaming and her body wracked at once by both agony and rapture, as she watched her husband screaming being carried away she knew that for now forever would have to wait.
Moving down she kept her eyes only on the stones beneath her feet.  She bumped shoulders and slipped in between one faceless person, then another. Moving in and out of the light as she descended men stared at her as she passed unaware. Someone else moved her body passed the debauched fanatics intoxicated by wine and blood of the games; she was merely a passenger in it.
She was completely in the shade now though the air was still hot having been cooked by the sun all day. A fight broke out between two men gambling, but it sounded vicious like lions that had been fighting to get earlier.  Others gathered round and the violence spread. She stared hypnotically at the conflict before her, but in her mind’s eye she was back in Judea, to the time when first heard Jesus as he addressed his fellows in the temple, regarding another kind of the debauchery, that of the money changers.
It was violent then as well as a riot broke out against the money changers. Lucilla felt protected standing close to her husband’s huge body.  Spurio towered over all men in Judea. So, unaffected she could observe Jesus as he addressed his followers when they overturned the money changers tables, and scattered their coins about floor.
The bankers or money changers created a special silver coin, called the half shekel of the sanctuary. Even the poor had to have some of these coins to pay their temple tax. So, the monopoly allowed the money changers to charge whatever the market would bear and they gouged the market.
Lucilla and Spurio looked at each other, and then heard Jesus speak, saying, “Judge them not”. “But they (the money changers) are stealing from the poorest Jews, on their holiest ground, no less”, cried the others. “They are evil”, others persisted. Jesus waited for a calm to ensue, and then patiently instructed that no one is good or evil and that nobody was victimizing anybody. “I tell you the truth that everyone acts in service of their own perceived needs. Everyone acts selfishly.  The money changers, attempting to maximize their profit on every single coin, as were the poorest Jews attempting to pay as little as possible, for each coin. To each his motives are moral, but each acted so that need his needs would be met first, each acted equally selfishly in service of those needs. And we each act equally selfishly, we each act completely selfish in the service of our needs.  Even the martyr is totally selfish; there is nothing else he can be”.
To Spurio this was an obvious truth, to Lucilla it was an unpleasant one which she easily denied, but to the money changers it was a most convenient one.
Lucilla judged the money changers and misjudged Jesus’ non-judgment of them, but she was astonished when Spurio was amazed. She watched as Spurio in his clean white linens walked over to Jesus and said, “I will look for you here”. Jesus turned around and looking up at Spurio replied, “I will find you first.” Both men smiled at each other and walked away.  To Lucilla that is how Jesus invaded her life.
&amp;&amp;&amp;&amp;&amp;&amp;&amp;&amp;&amp;&amp;&amp;&amp;&amp;&amp;
She was at pit level now, the clanging of slaves in their shackles, grunting gladiators clashing, and from down the long corridor beneath the seats she could hear the anguished sounds of men in pain.  In her heart, there raised the sickening certainty that somewhere down there, her husband languished in agony. She wrapped her slender fingers around the bars that separated her from the long corridor, which separated her from her husband.  She struggled to peer into the darkness and around the corner to glimpse a piece of Spurio, or isolate a fragment of his agonizing cries from the ensemble, the vain attempt making her heartbreak even more bitter. She remained there, hopeful and heartbroken, until there were no more slaves clanging in the shackles, until the sounds of men suffering subsided, until the day waned and she finally realized her husband was no longer down there, there was no one else down there. She was alone.
Pensively she left the arena, and walked alone down the cobblestone street. It was nearly dark now, but all of Rome seemed to be out, still intoxicated by wine and blood of the games that ended hours ago. There were more faceless people to not look at, and more lusting men to not see.  She paid less attention to the outside world than she did even her own body, it she was vaguely aware was hungry for not having eaten all day. Nothing registered until the street opened it into a courtyard, but when she glanced up it was to see Jesus in Judea once again. This time she and her husband listened as Jesus addressed his followers in the temple, regarding a tiny mad idea.
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%     The tiny mad Idea %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
“In the beginning, which is the end, and at all times in between, of which there are none, there is God in Heaven, and you the Son reside there with him now. God Is, anything else is not. So, let us simply say, “God Is”. Together, God, and the Son of God lived in oneness so perfect, that there was no place where one began or the other ended. Between them, there is no distinction except that God is first cause, the Son is second. You resided in the pure permanence of heaven until there came into the mind of the Son an ill informed, infinitesimal, question. Not a question so much as a little miscreant partial thought or a tiny mad idea. The son asked of God, “Is there something else, something other than God”? This is the thought of separation and it drove the Son of Man insane.
The Son waited for God’s answer, but He didn’t. Not because He couldn’t answer, but He wouldn’t. To God it was a not a question, because there is no such thing, it would be like asking, what it would be like to live in a place that does not exist. There is no such thing as something else so; there was no answer from God. The non-answer from God to your non-question was new and incomprehensible to you. It terrified you.  So, the panicked mind of the Son went wild in desperate search to make sense of that which made none, to answer a question that was never asked.  And of the myriad and multitudes of random wild ideas the mind of the Son settled upon that which is most insane, that God was angry at him for his tiny mad idea.  The Son equates the thought of leaving Him with the usurping or murder of God. This is original sin, the belief in separation from heaven and murder of God. The Son mistakenly believes he murdered God. The mistaken guilt anticipates true retribution. The Son mistakenly believes that he is guilty, and yet that God will catch him and kill him, and he behaves in kind.  This is the projection, where the world comes from, from the guilt riddled mind of the Son.  So, in his insane mind, with blood on his hands and guilt in his heart, the Son expects, indeed all of mankind, demands severe and merciless retribution for a crime that never was. This is the root of Evil.
Evil is not a demon or a devil, but a device of your mind.  Evil is the part of your mind that makes up and protects the tiny mad idea of separation from God.  Evil tricks you to believe the separation is real, and then terrorized you into believing that God will murder you for usurping him.  Then Evil tricks you again by giving you a solution, a place to hide from God, which is this world, the Moon Sun and stars in the sky.   It is in this infinitely vast place in which to hide your miniscule self from a relentless and merciless God. You look upon it with awe and feel safe. Ridiculous, could we really hide from God?
Finally, Evil seduces you by giving you others on which to focus, others whom we love and hate, who do to us and we do unto in return. But this is all deception, good and bad, friend and foe alike.  All these aught but to keep the Son distracted from seeing Heaven. These others suffer as we do from the only source of pain there is, the false thought of original sin and fear of retribution.
So, the false world that we fill with cruelty, inhumanity and bloody wars, with all of our self centered, senseless, vicious acts of violence against ourselves and each other is because Evil has tricked you into thinking that God is angry at you for leaving him. This makes you angry, at God, but you will never take this anger out against God, rather at yourself. But even that is subtle, to keep you distracted, looking outward, you unconsciously displace this rage at the rest of the world, even though it’s not really there, and blame someone else for that which was never done. You anticipate and create the universal backlash that you receive from the outside world. It’s Evil’s trap to keep you here.
You will know Evil as you know a tree, by its fruit.  Evil’s trap is projection of self hatred, but his nature is hate. He hates. It lies.  It is vengeful, unrelentingly vengeful.  That’s not what it does rather what it is. It hates all that reminds you of your true self, which is pure bliss and love. In Heaven there is only love, your true self even here, is pure bliss. So, hate and misery are not real, but that you make them so for yourself. But Evil hates all that we call life even here in the illusion. It hates the Son and will try to keep him in hell. Remember that: Evil hates you and tries to keep you here in the dream.
So, we make our world real by giving credence to thoughts of unreality. Via Evil we project our hidden hate onto our brother then crucify him for them, happily unaware they are in us. Evil hates us and wants us to hate our brother, blame him for our sins, and keep the illusion alive. So, to see beyond the dream you must forgive everything in it, as being a dream. Forgiveness just means undoing that which was never done.  It is the Son’s only task, while Evil has only one purpose, to prevent you from it.
“Why”, someone asked?
Evil like anything else even in the dream wants to survive, once you see the light of heaven, he is instantly undone. No one will choose this world in place of Heaven.
“What happens if we never wake-up”, someone else asked?
And Jesus answered saying, “the Son of Man has been redeemed one and all”. I have already undone that which was never done.
Redemption is the realization that at-one-ment still exists, the separation never happened. Thus, it is as it was, the only way it can be. God Is and Heaven is a timeless state of being in perfect oneness with God, unaware of anything that isn’t God. Redemption has been and it shall be realized by the Son of Man one and all, and all at once, and then the world disappears and there is only heaven.
Jesus, though speaking to none spoke to all, and many were amazed, among them the money changers.  They heard Jesus’ message of nonjudgment, and conveniently projected it back as acceptance they are greedy deeds.  But Jesus neither rejected nor accepted their behavior, anymore than he judged that of the poorest Jews.  To Jesus, the perceived victims and their perceived victimizers suffered equally from the unconscious guilt of original sin. Their behaviors were simply different expressions of the same source of pain, the only source of pain, the Son of Man’s insane response to a tiny mad idea that never truly was.
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%   End The tiny mad Idea %%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
By the time Lucilla entered the apartment that Vettius had provisioned for her, it was well past dark. Roma, was the center of the world, the hub to which all roads lead, but here in her dark apartment on the top floor corner of a stone building Rome, disappeared and the anguish of her broken heart was all she had fill the emptiness.  She walked past the fireplace, which she had never seen burn to light a candle on the bedside. She hesitated at the edge of the bed, staring as if not sure what to do, as one would test the temperature before entering a bath. Gradually, ineptly she curled her tiny body into its center and stared blankly at the flickering shadows in the room.
The last time she could remember curled up in bed like this, it was with her husband’s big, safe body behind her. She remembered gently caressing the hairs on his arm about her waist, and feeling is comforted by his presence as she was frustrated by Jesus’ message. “I try, I try” she explained,” but try as I might, I can’t get it, I can’t understand.  Jesus is the tiny mad idea”.  Then her husband, as though he were moving a pillow, effortlessly turned her to her back, brushed the hair away from her cheek, “you will, you will” he said in a tone that was as gentle as any she had ever heard, and then she looked up, catching his eyes, that revealed a certainty, and the seriousness that his voice did not. That view of Spurio she’d had a thousand times, had it burned into memory. His dark eyes were white, with tapered brows riding a finely sculptured ridge that balanced a nose of the gentle Hebrew variety. He was the one who understood Jesus better than anyone.  And then they made tender love.  She didn’t care one bit about Jesus, but oh god, how she needed Spurio now. But on this night she wasn’t reassured, nor did she make love to her husband, she fell asleep alone and lonely.
———————– begin ——————  Many Lives Masters and Slaves  ———————————–
In the temple Jesus spoke about the nature of good and bad.  Those who heard him and those who heard of him were amazed and mystified, but for his perceived defense of the money changers many others were outraged and they vilified him. Jesus patiently corrected that he neither condoned nor condemned the money changers; rather that he condoned forgiveness and condemned only condemnation itself, for judgment is the tool by which Evil distracted us from our true purpose, which is to reconnect with the Source and reawaken in Heaven.
“I tell you the truth that good must have evil to lean against or else it falls down.  Good and bad define each other, and the predator depends on the prey as the master is bound to his slave. When you judge another you judge yourself, but in the Father there is no duality, only the pure permanence of unity”.
To Spurio this was an obvious truth, to Lucilla it was an unpleasant one which she easily denied, but to the money changers it was a most convenient one.
The money changes were there to persuade Jesus to promote their cause that their business tactics were moral and just. Jesus perceived their treachery, but judged it not and provided a valuable forgiveness lesson for Spurio that might just lead him all the way to Heaven. Spurio told Jesus that indeed it was difficult for him to forgive the money changers while it was almost impossible not to favor the poorest Jews who sought not profit, but only to pay their temple tax.  But Jesus instructed that it was to be expected because duality is Evil’s most subtle and potent device. We become wholly and unconsciously absorbed in the imagined battle of good versus evil.  The untrained mind will not even notice its involvement, just like getting lost in the forest you never know just when it happened.  But once the mind is focused on that which isn’t Evil stays alive and the light of Heaven is lost. But they, the money changers and the poor Jews come from your mind for it is the Evil in you and put them there to keep you here.
And should you still be inclined to judge them, Jesus continued remember this.  It takes many dreams of many lifetimes to train the mind to ignore Evil and listen to only the Holy Spirit. And in the myriad of dreams and lifetimes in the multitude forums of joy and horror they bring, at one time or another we each play the others part, we are each master and slave, we are each predator and prey, we are each everything there is to be many millions of times over. I have come to ease your burden, to reduce your number of nightmares, and to free the master from his slave, but follow or ignore the word it makes no difference, everyone makes it, everyone already has.
Lucilla looked dismissively away from Jesus, but to Spurio his words were profoundly healing and significant. For the first time Spurio thought he might just make it, and make it this time.
———————–  end ——————  Many Lives Masters and Slaves  ———————————–
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++   begin Captured   +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
At the same time that Spurio contemplated enlightenment, the money changers who had also heard Jesus were contemplating treachery. They barely saw Spurio’s massive frame as the focus of their narrowed eyes settled on Jesus who did not adopt his message to suit their needs.  Rather to their minds he had refined it in the other direction. As Jesus had said everyone acts in service of their own needs and the money changers were contemplating doing just that.
Jesus had never been sent to the world to suffer and pay for the sins of mankind.  According to his teachings mankind had no sins to pay for, nor could his guiltless mind suffer. According to the teachings of Jesus, nothing, in this world, save God in Heaven is real. God Is, the rest is not. Everything that you see, and feel, and know is illusion, all the world is but a dream within a dream a million times over.   Instead Jesus said he had come to shine a light and shorten the journey that we had each of us completed before it was begun. Jesus taught rather than to judge the world to Realize Atonement, and Redemption, by seeing it through the eyes of the Holy Spirit, instead of the eyes of man. That was the message that he was unwilling to alter and it was gaining Jesus some powerful enemies.
Whereas Jesus came to pass non-judgment Lucilla passed judgment freely and harshly upon Jesus not his enemies. After all her being here, in Rome, had as much to do with Jesus as it did with her husband, and one could not contemplate  Spurio without contemplating Jesus.  Between them there was no space, certainly not enough for her.  Her deep grief erased the defenses so long held erect, so that finally not deny the seething rage smoldering within. Finally she could no longer deny her part in Jesus’s crucifixion, that he was crucified because of her. Not because of her greed or her cowardice, those reasons had been attributed to Judas and he hanged himself for it.  No, Jesus was crucified because of her treachery.  This is what she finally had always known, but could no longer deny.
Before today she had never seen anything as brutally ugly as the crucifixion of Christ. Before the crucifixion she had never seen anything as brutally ugly. But wasn’t all this his fault, didn’t he deserve to be crucified?  Why didn’t he just stop?  All that Jesus had to stop.  Instead he kept pushing, pushing against forces that knew only how to push back, speaking craziness that repulsed many and challenged all. Jesus was as insane as the tiny mad idea.
She told herself she done it for Spurio, but she’d really done it for herself.  For her Judas was convenient.  His lechery she tolerated as a matter of course, but now she told herself that Judas took advantage of Spurio’s good nature and something must be done about it.  He would never say such things to her were her husband not so gentle. Yet it was his stupidity which she would wield against him.
When the Romans came to her she knew both where Jesus was and what the Romans intended with him.  But she said that Judas would tell her.  So, she went to Judas who was drunk and aroused him.  One of the Romans took off his uniform and listened nearby.  She asked Judas where was Jesus as he drank from a bottle of wine.  He answered lowering the bottle with wine on his chin, but you know where he is.  And she implored him to tell me anyway.  So, Judas told her what the Romans wanted to hear and she already knew. Then the Roman spy stood up and paid Judas 30 pieces of silver that he never wanted for doing what he’d never knew he had done in Lucilla had washed her hands of the cleanly.
Jesus told Spurio to leave.  Spurio knew why instantly.  This was a difficult moment for Spurio.  Bonds of attachment grow and bind us stealthily to the nightmare.  His impulse was to implore Jesus to leave with him, but Jesus had no impulse to do anything because there was nothing to be done.  This was the lesson Jesus was teaching him.  Standing in the middle of the temple with the Romans closing in sure and the knowledge that whatever might happen has already happened and happened for the best.  Spurio was transfixed.  It is for that reason which he never fled.  It had always vexed Lucilla.  So terrified of losing Spurio to Jesus that she lost him to the Romans and she lost him by her own hand.
The Romans came for Jesus in the age old way that old order comes for the new. It was an age old act.  Armed troops arresting those armed with only words.  It was the money changers who sent the Romans for Jesus, to crucify him, and imprison his followers. But Romans don’t take prisoners, Romans take slaves.  The one thing that Lucilla could never foresee was that by the time Jesus was nailed to a blood soaked cross, Spurio would be shackled in the hold of the slave ship set sail for Rome.
When Lucilla went to the temple looking for Spurio she could not know that they were already separated by years and thousands of miles.  She could only hear the throngs screaming crucify him, not unlike the masses in the gladiatorial arena.  She moved to wait eagerly to the front, but when she saw the bloody mess that Jesus had become standing next to Pontius Pilate she fainted.  It was a sharp impact of her knee caps on the ground which woke her.  She looked back up at Jesus. “How could this happen’’, she asked herself? Grief for Jesus said in deep and instantly.  How could they have done that to him such a short period of time?  But as she would see the Romans were just getting started with Jesus.
Lucilla somehow managed to capture Pontius Pilate attention, being beautiful had some advantage, it was impossible to change the course of some events once set in motion.   She beseeched him to stay his hand, but he was just beginning to wash them.  He looked directly into her eyes as he dipped them into the bowl.  “You can wash the blood, not the deeds from your palm’s” she screamed though he didn’t hear. Then she looked at Jesus, he heard every word of it. The blood was thick and crusted around his eyebrows, but still oozing from the top of his head, and down beside his face. Though his lips never moved it sounded like he said to her, “I know.”  She looked at her own palms, then buried her face in them and dropped to her knees thinking, what have I done?
The guards pushed Jesus down the stone steps.  She heard him groan, and fall off each level to the next one with a sickening bloody thud.  Jesus was thrown to the stones in the center of the Villa and the people disbursed around him.  Spread out on his stomach he was whipped, but not so much to incapacitate him.  He still had a cross to bear.  Then the guards cleared away to the fountain, and taking Jesus by the feet dragged him to it. They set him up right and pushed him back against it.  His head hung down in the guards grabbed it and set a crown of thorns upon it.  Blood poured from newly opened wounds as they did.  Next they threw him on his hands and knees and brought the cross. They put it across his back and wrapped and tied his hands around it. They commanded Jesus to carry it, but Jesus was weak. His right leg quivered and he put it down again.  Lucilla heard a whip whistle through the wind and rip more flesh from Jesus side and back. Jesus felt the pain, but his body was too weakened to react.  Slowly, unsteadily Jesus rose to his feet and slowly began to drag his cross behind him.
It’s quiet here Lucilla thought.  She was on her knees when she opened her eyes.  She could not believe that so much blood had come from one man.  Even the water in the fountain was red.  She pulled back her hair and put it behind her head, and then with her skirt tried to soak up Jesus’s blood as though she would give it back to him.  She could hear the sounds of the tormenting crowd following Jesus up the hill to where he would be crucified.
Lucilla came to her feet and staggered off after them. She walked through the streets then in much the same manner as she had left the arena.  But it was the first time she had ever known such a feeling.  Such a feeling as what, it was a strange to her as it was indescribable.  Since then she had not experienced anything other.  Now it was as familiar as it was indescribable.
She arrived as Jesus was being nailed by the palms.  She thought he was unconscious, but when the Roman drove the spike through Jesus woke up screaming. Lucilla could feel the friction of every inch of the nail in her own body.  The anguish didn’t stop with the one hand, a guard rammed spike through the other. She was standing at Jesus’s feet, she wanted so desperately to help the same man she had sought destroy. But what could she do?  She went towards him, but the guard pushed her back.  Jesus lifted his head to look at her to speak.  His voice was a raspy whisper that said, “Do not blame yourself for this, Spurio will never know of it.”  But in her despair she heard, “it’s your fault Spurio will know of it.”  She did not blame Jesus for what he did not say, she deserved it.
Then the guard crossed Jesus’s feet and drove the spike through them both. Initially his body tensed, but then Jesus gained control of it, of the pain. “The uncluttered mind cannot suffer,” she remembered.  Even when they drove the huge silver spike through his side Jesus remained calm.%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%

Lucilia though that Juses suffering was so great that it encompassed the pain of all of mankind, but when she put her ear to his split and bloody lips the last words she hear him say were, “I see peace.”



%%%%%%%%%%%%
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But when they hoisted the crucifix upright the wind blew cold from across the gorge behind it. Jesus looked up, but the sun was still in his eyes. Lucilla could not imagine his pain.  Looking up at him she could only hope that he would soon give up the ghost. Behind her she saw Mary, the mother of Jesus weeping. The wind blew hard and it lifted Mary’s dress and pushed her back.  She didn’t see the bolt of lightning but the sudden crash of thunder told her it was close. Besides she and Mary and the Romans there was almost no one else. She looked back up at Jesus, the sky behind the crucifix was black.  The rain came sudden and hard.  Another bolt of lightning struck diagonally across the sky and the thunder shuttered the ground.  Jesus looked up and screamed something which she could not hear, and then he gave up the ghost.  His body hung on his arms as limp as string. The rain splashed loud against the ground and was suddenly drowned by the wind.  A guard stabbed Jesus with the spear.  His body did not move but blood gushed from his side and ran down to the base of the crucifix in a torrent.  It will never run dry she thought holding herself up against the wind is but she could.  When she looked up the entire sky was raining blood red.  What she heard next was louder than anything she ever had or would ever hear again.  A thick powerful bolt of lightning electrified the air instantly before striking the crucifix.  The blast lifted her into the air and threw her down 100 feet away.  She looked back up at the crucifix as another lightning strike lit the night, and in the electric light all she saw was a silver spike on a bloody cross. The body of Christ was gone.  For split-second there was a dark dead calm.  Then the rain came down horizontally and ripped at her skin.  She didn’t leave that place until it became impossible to stay.  The wind seemed to push her back down the hill and so she went.

Lucilla returned to the temple in the same manner she left it, alone.  She was soaked to the bone and shivering from the cold, but when she learned that Judas had hanged himself she got even colder. She staggered now rather than truly walked. Spurio she thought  suddenly realizing that she hadn’t seen him all day.  Where would he be?  He wouldn’t be here in the temple.  So, she went to where she knew he might be.  There she found Peter and Paul and Mary Magdalene and others.  From their manner she could tell that something was dreadfully wrong.  After all that had occurred on this day Lucilla thought that she was emotionally broke, and could feel pain no more.  She was certain that she was cursed by Jesus, and in that certainty expected and demanded punishment.  But she never dreamed that Spurio would be taken from her and when she learned that he was a slave she discovered how badly she could truly hurt.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Lucilla was certain that she was cursed.  In her certainty she expected even demand punishment, but she never expected for Spurio to be taken from her.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
At the same moment that Lucilla was looking up at an empty bloody cross, Spurio awoke gagging and coughing as the salt water went through his nose and down his throat.  He had been knocked unconscious three days prior, but the water woke him instantly to panic.  He found himself shackled to the bulkhead of a slave ship that was sinking.  Already his lungs were burning and his only thought was that, “I need to breathe”.  But then Spurio instantly remembered that, “I don’t need anything.  My body needs to breathe, but I need nothing.  Then he was at peace.  The burning in his lungs intensified as did the anguished screams of men afraid to die.  But Spurio was not afraid of anything realizing that he was not going to die, but rather had never been born at all.  It would have been that way except that Jesus came and told him, “Spurio I have been crucified. I have made it, but you have lessons to learn if you wish to make it this time.” “Jesus”, Spurio asked, “How did you get here”? And Jesus replied in a light tone that asked don’t you already know, “I walked”. Spurio smiled as his head dipped under the water for the last time.  Down there he remembered that all this was put there by his mind. All this could be removed by his mind.  So, it was.  Unconscious his head rose up and bobbled in the water against the bulkhead.  The storm still raged and waves continued to break over the deck, but somehow the sailors managed to keep the ship afloat until it subsided.  He took three more days for the ship to make Rome.  They were three horrific days of starvation, disease and constant threat of sinking again.  But Spurio knew of none of it, until he awoke in a rock quarry in Rome.
For most of Rome’s male slaves taken near and far, there are only two possibilities,  swift and certain death by attempted escape or a slow death by slave labor in the rock quarries. For Spurio there was a third.
But Lucilla was stunned when Jesus told her not to worry that he would never tell Spurio what she had done.
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++   end end Captured   +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
It was the same with her husband. The pangs of his separation interspersed with the horrors of his crucifixion. Her mind tortured her bouncing from one inconceivable thought to the other. She could hardly conceive that there would be an even more unthinkable idea that she could not not think about.
But not now, now she was just too weak.  Now desired and dreaded to be alone.  Or maybe she thought, “I’d be better dead.”
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
When Lucilla woke up first thing she sought out was the ludus to see her husband.  That little urgent of a man Vettius had promised that they could be together, if Spurio won.  What he really meant, was if Spurio lived.  She had not seen in that light until just now, its impact was just making itself felt.  The impact of just what a gladiator was, the violence and carnage was beyond that which she could comprehend.  Jesus’ tiny, mad idea was insignificant to the insanity which her husband was condemned.  The insanity Jesus condemned him to, that she condemned them to.
She hadn’t seen her husband since, since he had forsaken her for Jesus. It had been since the night before that that they’d last made love
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%% The Quarry%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%
To the workers concentrated there the quarries were a place of desperation, a hopeless pit in which none could emerge.  The feeble and the old broke soon.  The young and mighty took longer, providing more labor for the Romans.  But starved and worked to death no one left the quarries, sooner or later they or their bodies all broke. For eleven months Spurio watched his body wintering. When he was arrested with Jesus, he was powerful and stocky, now he was tall skinny and starving. Spurio knew that the end for his body lay at the bottom of this pit, and he knew it would be soon. But Spurio also knew that he was not a body.  That awareness made the destruction of his body acceptable. Spurio put his head down, nearly naked and completely exhausted, wondering, wondering how many more months, two or maybe three. He knew that he would be dead by now, had they not doubled the rations the past few days and he casually wondered why.  He had no idea that the following morning he would find out.
The next morning there was a buzz in the camp. Today a Lanista would visit in search of gladiatorial talent.  To some men it meant a way out, most simply meant a better way out, to all many things better than this.  To all save Spurio. His body, though far from frail had been greatly emaciated.  He doubted that any Lanista would choose him.
When the Lanista did arrive, all the men stood eagerly in line, while those with the strength, hoped. But the Lanista went up the line in front, and down the line behind, selecting no one.  It was like he wasn’t really even looking, no one caught his eye.  But one man intended to make him look.
Spurio was watching the Lanista leave, when he shockingly felt his head snapped back so far all he could see was blue sky as a charging bull slammed into him from behind. When he hit the ground his face was in the sand, but he had no idea what was happening.
He was able to get his arms up underneath him, and with dirt dripping off his face roll over to see Vibius raining down punches on his face.  This was odd indeed. Vibius was the only man in camp nearly as large as he, they had never spoken, and every man in camp was worked too hard to engage in extraneous violence, until now.
Spurio bucked his hips wildly throwing Vibius forward, forcing his hands on the ground to keep himself righted. That allowed him to wiggle free, and get to his feet. Vibius stood and charged instantly, clenched tight fists at the end of windmilling arms, but seemingly made Vibius is dangerous to himself as anyone else. Spurio was able to duck under the first salvo, but he did so with his eyes closed.  He could not react to Vibius second attack.  Initially standing on his feet seemed to be the correct strategy, but when Vibius granite fists dug into his ribs Spurio rethought the ground strategy. So, Spurio wrapped his still massive arms around Vibius body, arms and all, and gave a mighty hug.  It broke Vibius like a huge oak, and as he grunted they both crashed to the ground.  And here they were again, but this time Spurio on top.  He had an intuitive sense that it was the superior position, but no idea how to take advantage of it, and Vibius was wiggling free. Reflexively Spurio pinned the other man’s alarms under his knees, and then with his left hand he turned the the other man’s head so that the right side of his face was pressed hard into the sand. This was well and good but control was tenuous so, with a sense of urgency Spurio drew back his huge left fist and prepared to drive it home, but someone pulled him from the elbow behind.  It was the Lanista, he had decided to take a look after all.
Spurio rode in the rear of the cart with his hands hugging his knees, Vibius, sat front diagonally across, with his legs outstretched, suffering from cramps. The two men were not allowed to speak so Vibius glanced askance at Spurio for any clues, but Spurio was deep in consideration of what had just happened.  He had of course perceived Vibius’s motives, but what he contemplated now was his own.  The attack was a complete surprise. He had defended himself reflexively and instinctually, the suddenness and ferocity of the attack left him no time to think. His body had taken over.  But now he was at peace, he judged neither the attack nor the attacker.  In fact he had forgiven it without judgment. In fact, in this moment riding in the back of an ox drawn cart with the man he had just fought, he was as indifferent to everything in the past as he was to what could be in the future, as indifferent to his own well being it the fight as he was toward, gaining his freedom in the gladiatorial arena, or dying in the rock quarry. Spurio did what he always done, the only thing he could do, forgive.
The two didn’t speak until they stopped at a riverside, and Spurio assured him that all was well. Both men were too parched to urinate, but Vibius condition improved soon after he drank.  Spurio was not thirsty, he was aware  however that his body was so, he drank until it had enough.
***************************************The Ludus*************************************
she had made it alone, but without him she never could’ve made it.%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%%[9:50:49 AM] ROBERTA: those are there in a battle of dark forces and light forces to keep the world of duality going
[9:51:06 AM] ROBERTA: the results of their battle is the shift in magnetismwell, that’s part of it – I think the elite you’re talking about is the puppet elites – they’re just puppets anyway
[9:49:56 AM] ROBERTA: global warming is occurring, but not because of the atmosphere, because of the inside of the earth
[9:50:16 AM] ROBERTA: so what counts is not the elites that you know about, but the elites that run the world
[9:50:49 AM] ROBERTA: those are there in a battle of dark forces and light forces to keep the world of duality going
[9:51:06 AM] ROBERTA: the results of their battle is the shift in magnetism
[9:52:13 AM] ROBERTA: they need to use the collective consciuosness anyway to run their light and dark worlds, otherwise they can’t do anything
[9:52:44 AM] ROBERTA: so they use your silly puppet elites to influence the collective consciuosness by creating fear
[9:53:36 AM] ROBERTA: they use this fear to build the illusory planet we live in and everything else in the universe (big bang universe)

there is no past

http://www.youtube.com/user/FndtnACIM#p/u/26/aX5WfQFFVDE

Monster of The Sundarbans

Chapter1- The Man Eater

Chapter1- The Man Eater

Little nine-year-old from Rubina Ali Qureshi knelt by the waterside with no idea that her short life was about to end. The last thing she saw was her six-year-old little brother disappear, he saw nothing. Just like a puff of smoke in the wind they were gone, as if they’d never been, the blanket of death dropped suddenly, the non-awareness total, like sleep without a dream.

Their mother who had been watching her children shielded her eyes with her hand and glanced down long enough to see the sun reflect in the ripple patterns of the water, then up, and they were gone. Her lips quivered, her face trembled and she dropped to her knees in shock, but made no attempt to find them, certain they were not to be found.

She could have begged in her mind to be dreaming, to awake and find her children by the stream, undisturbed, but that would be a fairy tale and this was the Sundarbans. The Sundarbans with a man-eater on the prowl, that took whatever it wanted and what it took was never returned. Indeed she had already made her own pledge with the god of reality, which did not abide. The man-eater had taken her own mother in the field just a month ago. Laying in the tall grass that she was cutting the giant tiger waited until it was nearly stepped upon, then sprang attacking with more vicious fury than her tiny body could absorb. It ripped her literally to pieces. Rubina had even drawn a picture to help her understand the unthinkable.

No, she would not plead with reality as before, would not again beg that which is as unalterable as it is unforgiving, to change it’s mind made up. They were gone and nothing would bring them back. Such was the grim acceptance of the people living on death’s edge waters. Everyone had lost someone, 389 times those living on the out skirts of the Sundarbans accepted their lot, but upon the loss of these small children the villagers vowed revenge.

Having decided to hunt down the tiger the villagers had no shortage of motives or methods. They had been killing tigers in the Sundarbans for hundreds of years. They killed tigers for medicine, they killed tigers for prestige, they killed tigers for sport, they killed tigers for every reason imaginable and not, they killed tigers by the hundreds of thousands, until there were nearly none left and now in retaliation for two villagers the government intended to kill the man eater, the monster.

They decided to rid the jungle of the man killer by elephant back. It was a tried and true method; drum beating villagers would drive the cat into a killing zone where the shooters could take aim at leisure. There is absolutely no reason for tigers to fear the drum beat, but they flee from it as they would a fire, and despite the big cats prowess the sheer force of numbers and firepower seemed overwhelmingly in the government’s favor.

Tigers though curious and intelligent are animals that rely mostly on their instincts so, it was that the hunt played out just like a script. The beaters began with more than one hundred men that surrounded the cat in a huge ring, and then they walked each of them to a point in the center of a broad grass field. In route the men climbed over or under or around any tree, ditch, river or obstacle of any kind chasing the cat into an ever constricting circle. Then either shoot it from elephant back or if the grass was too deep burn the exhausted cat out and kill it. From high and behind the elephant’s head, mahout Satya Ban Pegu saw the well formed image of a huge tiger, it must have been a thousand pounds or more trot deep into the tall grass. Gradually the image began to fade until there was just a big orange oval blob in the dark green grass, the tiger didn’t merely hide in, rather was absorbed by the weeds, as if it had changed color to blend in, then gone a step farther and disappeared. Some of the other wildlife control officers saw it too and the elephants were beginning to get spooked.

The elephants halted and momentarily the beating paused as an order was heard, “burn it”. From diametrically opposite Satya Ban the fire started as the beaters resumed their rhythmic torment. The fire was spotty at first, burning on separate islands surround by a sea of deep, dark green grass. As soon as the tiger raised up its orange coat would give it away. Then trapped by the flames and driven to exhaustion the trapped tiger would flee the flames and be shot, but it was Satya Ban who was first to learn that this time it was the tiger who set the trap.

Soon the fire was encompassing, and the islands joined together by fire bridges, turning the entire grass field bright orange as eddies of black smoke floated listlessly around. Against the burning back drop of the field the tiger’s coat was not easily visible, but Satya Bann saw the orange oval materialize, just as it had dissolved moments ago. It materialized in mid air like a puff of smoke, then coalesced in the form of a giant tiger, leaping directly at the mahout. Behind mahout Satya Bann, Sargent Mukherjee with his rifle at hip level was remembering something from his sharp shooter training. The human reaction time was about a quarter of a second. That meant that you could do anything at all to a man and he was powerless to even begin to stop you, if you could do it in under 0.25 seconds. That is what occurred to Seargent Mukherjee as he tried to raise his riffle from his hip to get a shot off at the humongous tiger flying at light speed into the mahout and himself. He never got the shot off, never even raised the gun, didn’t even blink an eye. The last thought that Sargent Mukherjee had was “I never knew tigers could fly”. And while he didn’t feel any more than nine-year-old from Rubina, Satya Bann Pegu had the life ripped from him by the tiger’s left paw that tore a third of his body off by the shoulder as it flew past. Satya Bann’s body fell not far from Seargent Mukherjee’s who had been throated and his head held only by the flap of skin at the nape of the neck. And as both their bodies burned it was Satya Bann Pegu who kept a death’s eye view from above the fiery field.

From the vantage point he could see the elephants turn and break, as the tiger cleared another mahout, shooter from atop another lumbering beast struggling to escape the cat and the flames. What Satya Bann saw next he’d have never believed if still alive. The beaters oblivious to the events in the killing zone, kept rhythm, as the tiger went in a logarithmic spiral from elephant to elephant ripping the humans off their backs. As the big beasts scattered, the tiger snapped the men’s necks in its jaws or carved them out hollow by a savage swat of its huge fore paws. Unnatural. Elephants usually chase tigers, but these were in a pure panic break with the tiger intercepting each and every one. It all happened in seconds and the cat jumping from one elephant to the next through the wildly licking flames and floating embers with only a bound or two in between did seem to take flight, but unlike Sergeant Mukherjee, Satya Bann Pegu never saw the tiger that sent him from consciousness to nothingness.

The elephants weren’t the only ones to panic. The bureaucrats at the forestry department put a bounty on the man-eater, bringing hunters from around the globe. The result was disastrous. There were too many hunters in too close quarters, they shot each other, they shot villagers, and they shot anything they were not supposed to, anything except the man-eater which eerily went away while all the commotion was going on. Finally the local tashidar rescinded the bounty and gave exclusive rights to the most famous hunter in the area, a Brit named Jim McCallum.

Chapter2- The Monster


Into this storm walked a hurricane named
Peter Harman who had heard of the monster of the Sundarbans from colleagues, fellow hunters and killers. Embittered by childhood, hardened by war, able to love, but unable to receive it, when it came to hunting and killing there were none in the class of Peter Harman, not even Jim McCallum. Harman could only desperately hope to find the hushed up, fantastic tales of a flying tiger killing 12 armed shooters and their mahouts had an ounce of truth. He could only hope that here in this dead end of the universe, in a mangrove swamp called Sundarbans, that here of all places he had finally met a challenge worthy of himself. Until now in life, in love and war it had eluded him, leaving hunting as the only sanctioned killing he by which to redeem himself.

Although unaware, to Peter Harman who had grown up on the move from between world wars under the militaristic rule of his wife beating father Col. Phillip Harman, US Marine, redemption was what killing was all about. It was from the Colonel the he learned the heroics of war, witnessed the horrors of domestic life, became enthralled by his fathers warrior exploits, grew up to worship and eventually despise the despotic monumental figure of his life. To the Colonel “war was hell” and life was war. To his son he made every sandlot game of base ball, every school yard footrace, every en-devour of any kind, competition, bitter competition to be won by any means, at all costs. When Peter was just seven and having difficulty with the nuances of poker which his dad was teaching him for the first time, the colonel cleared the table with one broad stroke of an arm and went up stairs, leaving the boy shattered and confused with nothing like the ability to process what he had done so wrong. The last words he heard from his father for a week were, “your stupid”, and the door slammed shut upstairs. He heard those words the rest of his life.

Peter took up boxing at that same tender young age, not for competition, but the Colonel’s approval. Instead his father forced him to fight in the children league and the Colonel made it his message clear. Boxing is war and you better win, you better not come home unless you win. That message and all it’s corollaries were well understood by Peter before was in the double digits. You’re no good unless your a winner. Your no good.

By the time he was into his mid teens he could no longer overlook the Colonel’s propensity for love taps toward his mother. Paradoxically he loved her less, still she was his representative, she protected him from the Colonel’s abuse where he could not protect her. And even as a teenager Peter could defeat their mutual abuser still he was helpless to raise a hand to the man he loved, envied and though would not admit, who’s approval he yearned for, would die for. He took many a beating for his mother, yet never raised a hand to his father.

And after all the Colonel never really meant to hurt them did he, not they way he meant to hurt that nigger outside of Kelley’s when Peter was eight. The man had merely bumped into him by accident and Col. Phillip Harman, US Marine kicked the living dog shit and human pride right out of him. The Col. put him against a wall with a flurry of head punches, then pushed the man’s head back with his right palm and Peter watching bent his knees and wound up and delivered a blow to the man’s liver that dropped him to the fetal position on the ground. The man begged in a raspy dried out voice and they would never know if it was that punch or the vicious kick Phillip delivered as he writhed on the ground, but something ruptured the man’s liver and he died a few hours later. Just before leaving Peter watched his father spit on the man. Is that what killing a man is about, he has since wondered? Not just taking his life, but robbing him of his dignity as well? Is that what the did to someone he wanted to hurt? Is that why we kill? Because his skin is black? Peter always remembered that incident always against his will, every time he skinned a kill.

Eventually the Colonel was forced to retire and freed to abandon them both. Peter never once cared if his father beat him to death to death, but rejection from the man he hated was more than he could stand. So, he determined to blow the bastards head off first chance, but he never got it. Just after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor Phillip distraught over a world at war without him, got into his full military dress, took his pearl handled marine revolver and scattered his brains against the wall of a cheap dive on a remote stretch of Nebraska highway 50. The Marines shrinks said they could find no reason. Peter, only 18 wanted nothing to do with reason, but purpose. Peter had a purpose, but now that purpose lay scattered across the blood stained wall of a motel. So, seamlessly, Peter’s purpose morphed from murdering his father to something else, something much bigger and more difficult, than killing the man, it was outdoing him.

Peter could not know of the deeds done deep in his unconscious, but way down in it’s bowels it struggled to make sense of the senselessness in his life. Down there the brain recorded every push, punch and insult, physical, verbal and emotional of his father against his mother and himself, down there the mind made up it’s own stories, the unconscious wipers said it’s own things; about the Colonel’s abuse of him it said “you deserved it”, and of the abuse against his mother, the abuse that he a small boy was helpless to prevent it said “I’ll get you”. His was a life dominated by the tacit assumption that he had no right to it, unconsciously he expected punishment, silently he screamed aloud for it.

So, war couldn’t frighten Peter, it’s not that he didn’t want to die, he didn’t want to die before he could out do his father at killing. The son of a bitch had already cheated him of the chance of killing him, he was certain he could not be so unfortunate so soon again. Peter’s problem was that he really had no idea how many men his father had killed. It could have been ten or 100, it was definitely the nigger outside of Kelley’s. The juxtaposed combination of certainty of fortune and uncertainty of deeds created a very certain recklessness in the young soldier entering war. There was no definite number beyond which Peter could stop so, he just kept count as best he could, and killed as many as possible. On the invasion of Guadal Canal Peter didn’t just keep count of how many he’d killed, but when time permitted he took scalps, literally. It was a technique he learned from a boyhood friend who lived on the reservation while he had lived on the base. It was eight on Guadal Canal, ten more on Iwo Jima. War brings out the wost in the very best of men, but in Peter’s case it simply removed the veneer that at 18 was already wearing thin. Peter didn’t have many friends; taking 18 scalps didn’t win him many more. Men at war get accustomed to all manners of brutality, they accept it, but what they really need from their comrades is dependably and just one look at Harman’s blood stained scalp sack told them there was nothing like it there. Most of the men were older than Peter, well into their 20’s, but they were afraid of him and with good reason. So, the man who entered war steeped in the belief that he had no right to live, left it a full fledged killer.

For Peter just like his father, life was war so, domestic life hell. Peter had seen that first hand and knew better than to even give it a try. Peter would never raise his hand to a woman, he hated his father too much for that, but he didn’t realize that he thought he was protecting them by keeping them out. Still, for Peter there were lots of girls, and girls were like enemy fire, hot, and eventually one always got in.

That girl’s name was Karen, a beauty from a loving family who knew how to love, but had never loved one like Peter Harman. She loved him, wanted to marry him. She knew too that he loved her, but could not have dreamed just how unwilling to be loved he was. It was in that chasm between love and unwillingness that their relationship died. She had fallen in love with him unaware and was left by him uncertain about all she had known before, un trusting of all who would come after, feeling not just unloved, but unlovable.

The night he left he looked her evenly in the eye and just like he was playing poker told her a bold faced lie. “I don’t love you, I don’t care about you, marry another”, then walked coldly out the door. A block away he broke down. He broke down and bawled like a little baby was ashamed of himself, stopped himself, then cried some more, then was ashamed even more.

He thought he had killed that memory just like so many of the enemy, but he could never have dreamed that it would come back to haunt him or how.


Chapter3 – A Tiger ‘s Story

The man eater was not born a killer. As with all tiger cubs it had be taught to kill by its mother. The man eater was born the runt of the litter. By the time it was picking shooters off the backs of elephants that cat had no memory of its larger brother and sister killed by a leopard less than a meter away. Their mother had left them in the hollow of an old large tree to go hunting. The kittens were too young to follow, but old enough to stray into the open, away from the log. All it took was a shift in the wind for prowling leopard to catch the scent. It was a large male who diverted his energies from killing for food to killing for vengeance. Leopards and tigers compete for the same food source so leopards will kill tiger Cubs.

The man eater, too young to understand, saw the leopard pounce upon his sister break her neck and shake her newly lifeless body like a rag doll and heard the sound of its body dropping in the leaves. His brother instinctively called for their mother in a high-pitched plaintive squeal sounding almost like a bark. Yip, yip, yip! But mother was nowhere she could hear. The man eater saw his brother turn on his back in a pathetic attempt to paw his attacker off, but the leopard bit down and bit the kitten in to two. The two halves of his body sounded like a pair of sneakers falling into the leaves. The leopard growled and snorted, sniffed the air and search the grass for another cub, for him. The runt had a strange sensation that he did not understand, it was the previously unknown sensation of fear.
Where his sister had been clueless and his brother tried to take action the runt much like Peter Harman at the abuse of his father, was too young to possess an emotional vocabulary to cope with what was happening. Confused by the leopard’s horrendous violence, bewildered by the dissevered, lifeless forms of his siblings, the forces within incapable of grasping the forces without paralyzed him, leaving him lying silent in the grass, unsure of what was happening, unable to comprehend this world of his, the Sundarbans.

Had he been able to comprehend he would not have understood why the leopard turned away. Did the wind shift again, did the leopard think that mother was returning, or just did it not see him? For whatever reason the spotted cat turned and left, leaving the runt alone afraid and defenseless, for hours, unaware even that the leopard was gone. It was the kittens first glimpse of violence, his first sense of “something wrong”, and the first alarm that all is not well from the kill or be killed world which he was now unwillingly part. And as he lay in the grass with his little body flattened against the ground, the new feeling of fear turned to terror, terror so stark that he attempted to deny his own existence, trying to lay so flat, trying to blend in with the ground, trying to become the ground. That was an art he would perfect, but not on this day. For all the horror it would inspire and horrors it would commit real or perceived on this day the man-eater, was just a confused, petrified little kitten laying helpless and flat desperate for his mother who was nowhere to be found.

When the tigress finally returned she was initially distraught, expecting to find three cubs to lead to her kill, to eat, instead she found the lifeless remains of two and a shocked runt in the weeds. Again and again the runt heard her roar and growl, again and again, the jungle heard the hurt she could not contain, langur and chital ran, vultures took flight, the jungle scattered as first the sound waves of her wounded roars crashed through every bush and tree, but gradually, inevitably, they wavered and wafted away like mist into the air.

Two thirds of all tiger cubs in the wild are killed within the first year. With her family having contributed its fair portion to the statistics the mother tiger was sure not to lose the last of this litter. She doted on her remaining kitten. She hunted exclusively for him, he did not have to compete for his meat, he learned fast, he grew strong. At nine months he was already the size of a grown male tiger, but at nine months old just as he had fully overcome the murder of his siblings, he got a brutal refresher about what murder was.

He saw it as he had witnessed his siblings murders, confused. His sense of the experience came in different order from its actual occurrence. He stood in the grass watching his mother stalking sambur, but what he saw was something else, something that gave him the same queasy feeling as the murder of his siblings, that made the world strange, unsafe. He watched her artful stalk from a safe distance. She moved only when the sambur moved, then stopped dead still the very second the sambur did. Subtly she pranced through the sun-dappled jungle at the perfect speed. Not too fast, never too late, the consummate professional. Suddenly she broke from her crouched position in the grass, charged an adult male, then at the perfect instant seamlessly changed her target to an adult female.

She was closing the gap when he heard her hit the ground, then suddenly time for a short time moved backwards. He saw her stumble, then heard a crackling blast of a rifle shot, then saw in the woods beyond his mother the man holding the gun turning its smoking barrel towards the sky while standing up. Unlike the first time, when his siblings were murdered this time he knew exactly what was happening, knew it well beyond what a tiger should, possessed a full set of emotions with which to cope, for most of which was immediate acceptance. Her body had barely hit the ground before the cold acceptance of the dreadful fact made its appearance. His eyes zeroed in telescopically on the white man who fired the weapon. He could see the sweat drop that formed on the man’s nose and the mosquito as it lifted off his fore head. With no way of knowing he instantly knew that this man was Jim McCallum, the man with the bounty on Tigers. He lay in the grass with his stomach and four laws flat on the ground but his head up, his nose high, smelling the burnt gunpowder pungent in the air. He remained absolutely motionless; watching detached as darker men appeared from the brush and moved towards his mother. Emotionlessly he sat watching them tie her carcass by the paws to a long bamboo rod and carry her off. He remained there completely detached, but totally aware, aware of the consequences of his mother’s death to him, aware of the consequences of these men, all men to the jungle and suddenly aware the he was of consequence to it all.

The men left, night fell, he felt his body’s hunger, but was not himself hungry, heard leopards and knew his body was in danger, but was not himself endangered, and when the sun rose once more he saw a huge male tiger that had caught his sent and was coming toward him and was aware that male tigers kill tiger cubs, but this one would not try to kill his body just as he knew nothing could kill him, who was not a body. This was his father and his protector. As the resident male his father would naturally keep competing males who would kill him away. But what would happen next was like his telescopic eye sight, it was beyond natural and unparalleled. It would be his father who would finish the training his mother had started, his father the irascible resident male, who would finish the job of teaching him to be a tiger, the job before the job of being a man-hunter.

In the natural course of things, a male tiger would never raise an adolescent cub to adulthood still a year and a half away. But this already was not the natural course of things, this was nature at it’s most desperate edge, this was the Sundarbans saving itself, he was the Sundarbans saving itself, he the runt who was chosen to be savior would be known to all who could know as Salvatore, and to the rest as a monster. The leopard, killed his siblings, a bullet ended his mother’s life, but nothing touched Salvatore and when another hunter eventually killed his father it was time for Salvatore to leave school and go to work and as 12 hunters and 12 mahouts and 389 before them knew, he learned his lessons well.

Chapter4-Gurunath and Peter


Peter Harman already had the man eater’s huge paw print embedded indelibly in his mind. He was making his way around the villages where the tiger attacked, not yet hunting, just looking for prints and other physical evidence, listening for clues. The man shepherding him around was Gurunath Mudlapur, a kalu. The two men met in a US Army Hospital in Australia during the war. Gurunath fighting for the Garhwalis, was recovering from injuries he received when his unit was strafed by a German fighter plane and Peter was fighting his release on section 8 after his unit was wiped out on Guadalcanal leaving him its loan survivor. Before he could be reassigned the war ended. Together they caroused the bars and red light districts, generally pissing off the Australian army by fucking all the women and wives they left to fight for and Gurunath a Sikh for whom kesh or uncut hair is a religious principle no less.

Peter had no conflict either moral or logical with being at once a racist and friends with Gurunath a kalu, a nigger. To Peter being a racist was convenient. Simply another device for building a wall around himself, locking a door and keeping the outside world out, but letting someone in, letting someone close, that was something that life and war had taught him harshly against. How could he know that here was Gurunath who would soon be knocking.

“Tigers just don’t know about their footprints,” Gurunath said, “or they’d never leave them lying around everywhere.” Peter stood up still not believing the enormous paw prints they’d been following. He wondered should he even be tracking such a thing. “Yea about 1,000 pounds I’d say, twice the size of a normal cat.” Gurunath said, “Cover me” and Peter watched him walk to the water, expecting him to take a piss. He glanced back into the mangrove trees lining the river for a man-eating tiger that could devour Gurunath, then back at him. Instead Gurunath went into waist deep water removed the red-orange turban in which his long hair was wound. Peter watched his friend remove his brown button down shirt, submerge himself a couple of times and wring the shirt with both hands, flexing a slim, but superb frame as he did so. He stood there, with the water barely to his waist yet the last several inches of his hair floating in the water around his waist. Once more Peter glanced the shore line, then back at Gurunath as water dripped from his full, but close trimmed beard. He put his shirt on while walking ashore; he leaned down to retrieve his pistol and shotgun.

They were on a beach where the man-eaters huge paw prints led to everywhere and all directions. It was as if the man eater had a million twins. Peter was irresistibly drawn to following the tracks deeper into the mangrove swamps, but serious consideration of a full-scale hunt at this point was fantasy. Every big game hunter knows that more than courage and good marksmanship is required for the successful pursuit of dangerous cats. Forethought, preparation, and persistence though mundane are indispensable. Peter had only a shotgun and revolver with him, if the man-eater walked out of the mangrove swamp and asked him to dance he could shoot it, but he had no serious intention of deep penetration into the swamp, but as he would learn the hard way, the Sundarbans had intentions of its own.

Peter heard the growl of a tiger and a man yelling in a language that Peter didn’t understand coming from the swamps. There was no mistaking it Gurunath heard it too. The two men glanced at each other, then into marsh. They both dropped into a three point stance, with their right toes and right knee and left foot on the ground and pointed their shotguns toward the sounds. Together and at once both men raced towards the commotion. Gurunath taking the lead for a few meters and then Peter, then Gurunath again. The men moved quickly despite their feet sinking slightly in the muddy dark undergrowth of the mangrove swamp. They heard the angry cat growl louder now as they moved away from the shoreline onto the grassy forest bed. The men broke into a full sprint on the firmer ground, hurling over logs and ditches and around standing trees like a slalom skiers. Feeling the ground flying beneath their feet their weapons held loosely but firmly moving side to side across their bodies counterbalancing furious flying feet. They ran like that breathing in rhythm, not to shallow not too deep. Peter saw Gurunath moving from the periphery of his left side toward the center of his field of vision. He was running in a full break brought to shotgun to his shoulder fired a single blast towards a tiger on its hind legs with its two front paws on the tree, preparing to climb. The big cat was out of range, but Gurunath kept charging at light speed, shotgun firm against his shoulder, level with the ground. Peter expected to cat scurry off into the woods, instead it charged full fury at Gurunath.

What happened next Peter almost couldn’t believe. The Tiger from about 20 m leapt at Gurunath jaws wide open, in full flight as Gurunath somehow jammed the shotgun down the cat’s throat pulled the trigger and his arms from it’s jaws slamming shut. The big cat instantaneously reversed her direction in mid-flight. It fell dead in the grass as Gurunath leapt over the cascading carcass, turned, reloaded and pointed his shotgun at the cat, Peter never got a shot.

He heard the cacophony of disparate sounds, the resounding shotgun blast, the rustling of the grass and huge cat fell into, his own footsteps pulling up at the base of the tree. All sounds had the same volume, Peter heard a twig crack high above as distinctly as the Tiger roars and the shotgun blasts.

Breathing heavily at the base of the tree both men now looked up. Peter had seen many a treed Indians. He had always marveled at the nonchalance with which they narrowly escaped death. Their courage was equal to that any shikari. Tigers do not like to climb trees. It’s not that they can’t, they do so expertly, but coming back down for the big cats is difficult. When trapped by a tiger he Indians climbed the nearest tree and scurry out to the end of the highest branch. The man was hanging with both arms fully out stretched hands firmly around the branch over his head. Peter judged him to be a good 40 feet above the ground. By the time he’d climbed back down he was so calm that only his bloody palms would reveal that he’d been in any danger at all. It’s was obvious to Peter and Gurunath that this cat was not the man-eater that they sought, but neither can a man in the tree be judged safe. Tigers don’t like to climb trees, but they can do so expertly.

Peter had not come here to hunt the man eater with Gurunath, nor was he easily impressed by other men, but though he didn’t show it he was wide-eyed amazed by Gurunath. He had known the man, but never seen him in action. Peter had not seen his skill, his fleet of foot, his courage, before today. Peter had heard a story from reliable sources, but to Peter seeing is believing and Peter was believing in Gurunath. Gurunath was a pistol Man. When his position was overrun by Germans, Gurunath jumped out of his foxhole sprinting like a gazelle with a pistol blazing from each hand. He hit everything he aimed at on a dead run killing 12 Germans and saving at least 10 of his own. Peter knew the story, but didn’t know whether to believe it, now he believed it. The only reason Peter was holding a shotgun instead of a rifle right now was on the advice of Gurunath.

Gurunath was the oldest, fastest and strongest of three sons. He was proud to be their protector, his family’s protector even at a young age. He was 11 when he killed a leopard. The cat broke into the hut where his brothers were sleeping. Gurunath lie awake with his father’s shotgun in the bed beside him. It was a shotgun blast that killed the leopard and saved his brothers, jolting them from the sleep from which they otherwise would not wake. Gurunath was a dead aim with the revolver, but in close where firepower is needed Gurunath for such good reason believed in and only in the shotgun.

Gurunath held nothing against the leopard, he was protecting his family, nothing against the Nazis, he was protecting his countrymen, nothing against the Tiger he had just killed and whose still warm body lay in the grass just meters away and he would hold nothing against the man eater if he were to hunt it, but would kill it just the same, just as same way he killed everything else that he put his will to.

Up till now Peter had always hunted animals the hard and fast rule which he’d learned as a sniper, go alone. When it goes bad for whatever reason if your partner is injured, he’ll kill you trying to save him. If you are injured you’ll kill him trying to save you. But hunting tigers is different always more dangerous because in addition to their overwhelming power and supernatural stealth the big cats always circle back on their tracks. It’s a natural ploy and any hunter soon becomes the hunted as well. Though he’d often said anyone stalking a tiger could use back up Peter had never found one he considered worthy, it was like a highly acclaimed award that had never been given out.

As they walked the treed man out of the jungle Gurunath mentioned as though he ordered tea, that he thought the tigress had a couple of broken canine teeth, Peter quipped that he was sure she did now, and they both laughed, but laughed uneasily.

Humans are not the natural prey of tigers they only become so when the animal becomes sick or injured. The tigress that Gury had just shot had been shot before, but due to inadequate follow up had escaped, injured and forced to consume humans. Having more than one man-eater in the vicinity was not unheard of, but what could entice a huge powerful male, twice the size of normal tigers to scavenge humans?


Chapter5- A Wise Man

Gurunath suggested they see a witness and village wise man, Satish Sethi. Sethi was known to go into the jungle for days at a time with no provisions or weapons. He claims to have been with the man eater in the wild and now lives to tell about it. All anyone has is his word and though none could confirm it, no one doubted him either. Peter Harman would be the first to question him with no way to know how costly verifying the truth would be.

Gurunath pulled the jeep’s bumper up to an old tree stump and the men got out and walked toward a row of huts backed against the jungle. Peter noted how easily anything in the forest could strike the village and return to the darkness unseen. Either this Satish had nothing to fear from the man-eater or he was fool. Gurunath said he was 60 so, that ruled out idiocy. He was dying to know if he was telling the truth about the tiger and more importantly how an unarmed man could be alone in the wild with the man-eater and live to tell.


The sun waned now and the row of huts was being swallowed by the trees shadows as the men entered Satish’s hut, Peter whispered to Gurunath that it would be dark when they came out and felt for his revolver.


Satish greeted them at the door and let them inside. Peter was a predator whose well honed fight or flight response system took over automatically. To him the 60 year old looked healthy, but frail, he underestimated Sethi immediately. The man standing in the middle of the floor, offering him tea in the Queens most proper dialect had no business in the swamps, let alone next to a man-eater. Peter having no interest in small talk got right to the point.


“Did you see the man-eater? How big was he”, Peter asked.


“Oh about 1000 pounds I’d say”, replied Satish, in a tone that intimated “If you want to play it that way.” The two men stared at each other and Peter smiled a wry smile. “That’s twice the size of a regular tiger”, he retorted accusingly, knowing full well that as impossible as it might seem 1,000 pounds was about spot on, he had been looking at the cat’s tracks all day.

“That sir is no normal tiger”, Satish said as he accurately gauged Peter Harman who had just missed the mark on his man again.

Creating conflict was Peter Harman’s way of life, without it he was barely sure that he was alive, but conflict with Satish was like lobbing a hand grenade only to have it tossed back, just before blowing up in your face.

“I know it’s not a normal tiger, it’s a man-killer. It’s a cruel, blood thirsty man-eater.

“Sir you know tigers as well as I and you know that they hunt to eat, they kill to ease the hunger burning holes in their stomach. Be honest and you will admit that you have never seen a case where tiger has been deliberately cruel, has killed unprovoked, beyond that needed to feed itself or its cubs. We both are well aware that a tiger, unless molested, will do harm to no one.”

You almost sound like you admire it”, Peter’s voice grew more accusatory.

Unapologetically Satish said, “I most certainly do admire that cat sir.”


“Well you shouldn’t, it’s a fucking man killer”.


“Sir, you have killed more men than that cat”


“And how would you know”?


“I can judge by you’re age that you survived the war, but never left it, that you masquerade as a hunter, but in truth war was just an excuse, in truth you are a killer.”


“You figured me out awfully fast old man.”


“I live in the jungle and as you I recognize the cat by the paw.”


Sethi had indeed recognized the cat by the paw, but even he couldn’t see the rage he had unleashed. Peter Harman had always enjoyed the full cover of a reason for the exercise of his bloody rage. He was not particularly concerned with the welfare of humanity in general, but he was peculiarly obsessed with the opinion of him held by those he could not care about, including himself. He was peculiarly obsessed with having an excuse. That’s why Peter’s irritation which had been growing exponentially, but continuously exploded beyond reason or reasoning taking him Sethi and Gury aback.

“Fucking goddam right I am. I’ve killed men and lions and tigers, I’ve killed birds and fish. At one time or another I’ve killed anything that’s ever walked or crawled or moved. I’ve killed things on every continent on Earth and things they don’t even have in books yet and I’m gonna kill your god dam tiger old man.” Peter said it “oolldd maaan.” And Sethi could see every tooth in his mouth as Peter’s lips pealed back to say it.

“Yes you’re obviously very proud.”


“Yes and I’m still gonna kill it”, Peter said in the same firm monotonic tone that said he believed every word of it and revealed that he had entered a different state of mind.


“So, why is it that you want so badly to kill this cat, what for?” asked Satish.

Gurunath who had the unique of ability of accepting Peter’s without judgment looked on as though he were not present, as though he was watching a movie, or a battle from a ridge high above it all, saw that the question took Harman completely by surprise. It seemed as if he hastily scanned several alternative responses before selecting the appropriate one.

“For the people in the village” so, they no longer have to live in fear of being eating alive.”, but when just seconds ago Harman’s attitude was of white hot this reply he delivered with uttered feebleness.

“Sir I have seen the man-eater, I have stood right next to him alone in the woods, he does not frighten me. You do.”

Even Sethi couldn’t know how damaging that simple truth was. Peter Harman having spent just under four decades on the planet had made a living out of killing and a habit of seeing in himself no evil. But here a thin frail old man was pealing back the lid of both blind eyes and it hurt to look. But Satish Sethi kept right on pulling, “You don’t give a shit about the people in the village”, he continued.” If you did you could simply tell them to move back a few miles from the jungle and the tiger would leave them alone, it is they who have encroached on the tigers domain, it is they who put a choke hold on the jungle, they can leave or stay. The tiger is confined to the woods and that sir is shrinking rapidly.”


“Fuck the forest old man”, was Harman’s retort.


“But mankind has been doing precisely that for hundreds of years, until now when Mother Nature must rein them in”.


“So, the tiger kills for the forest”, Harman asked disbelievingly?

“The tiger is the forest fighting back”, Satish said. Unlike you sir, the self appointed murder for the people the tiger is the protector of the Sundarbans, it’s manifestation of a savior. I call him Salvatore, he is the jungle’s projection of a protector.”

Peter was stunned and turned his gaze to the old man askance, “This is almost 1960 old man”.


“The date is irrelevant, the jungle protects it’s own, it preserves the balance of life, even your life, my murderous young friend. Even in normal times a tiger’s function is to help maintain the balance of nature, but in this most dire of occasions the jungle created Salvatore as your body would white blood cells, to restore the balance of nature.”


“I’m not your friend old man.”


“Never the less I am picking up that the Sundarban’s are calling you here, not to kill or be killed, but to be healed if you will be healed.”

“And I am picking up that you are a stupid superstitious old man and I’m going to shoot your tiger and I’ll burn your fucking jungle to the last blade of grass to do it if I have to.”

“Young man, it’s not that you do or don’t have to, but you can’t. You can’t burn the jungle down nor can you kill the man-eater. You may shoot it all you want, but you can never kill it. The Sundarbans doesn’t choose to create conflict or choose between mankind or the tiger, it seeks only to protect the priceless and irreplaceable life which dwells within. It will protect you if you allow it to, or allow you to destroy yourself, if you should force it. The choice is yours, but either way the balance of life will be preserved.”

Peter Harman began a chuckle which gradually erupted into full blown contemptuous laughter. But as Peter Harman left laughing through the old man’s door he had no way of knowing that the joke was on him, that he had underestimated Satish Sethi for the last time.


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Chapter6- First Blood
Sahib, Sahib, came the plaintive cry which brought Peter Harman out of his hut. Down the dusty dirt path he saw Gurunath calmly following after he excited little man calling out, “There’s another kill, another man eater kill.”

“Where”, asked Peter intently? “Not far from where we were yesterday”, Gury answered, walking up to Peter’s door. “About 20 villagers went to the water. They said they checked the beach and the jungle thoroughly and thought it was safe, but the man eater came out of the bushes which they had just checked and killed two women, it just left their bodies there on the beach. They are still blaming each other for not being careful enough.” What Gury wasn’t saying is that there was no way to be careful enough. There was no well enough. There was a man eater that appeared from nowhere to be where ever he wanted to be. He knew that Peter understood that too, despite his protestations to Satish Sethi, to the contrary.

Peter was already moving back inside when he said, “then he’ll be back to finish his meal and we will be there to clean up.” “Does we mean me”, Gury asked expectantly? Peter never replied, just disappeared inside and quickly reappeared with his Aston Martini rifle and shotgun. Gury was hurt taking Peter’s silence as a rejection.

“It’s four clock o now” Peter said, “We’ll never get there before dark.” “Oh yes we will Sahib”, Gury assured. “We will go by sea” Gury said and Peter’s face changed from inquisitive to a smile.

“We can drive upstream to a canoe, and be at the kill site around a dark.” “The river widens there in the shoreline is shaped like a big horse shoe”, Gury continued. When the tiger comes to finish his kill he will be standing in about a thousand square feet of open sand. The problem won’t be seeing him through the cover, but seeing him on the humongous beach. You’ll need two shooters.” “We have two shooters Peter said” and Gury realized that Peter had simply ducked back into his hut to retrieve the weapons and never heard the offer. In fact Guri need not have even volunteered at all; Peter had implicitly taken him up it. “We don’t have a contract,” Gury reminded him. But Gury smiled as Peter said, “Listen, if that Tiger is there we are going to bag him, I don’t care about some bureaucrat sitting on his flabby fat ass or that fucking limy McCallum.”

Peter also agreed that two shooters was a good idea. Tigers have superb night vision; they can detect a blade of grass rattling two football fields away in the pitch black. A man on a boat scanning the beach 270 degrees might as well put a neon sign on his swiveling head.

Gurunath Mudlapur was a kalu, but he didn’t give a fuck, that’s what Peter liked, he’d kill anything that moved, and he didn’t give a shit about the tiger’s magical powers. Tonight there was only one man Peter Harman trusted besides himself, and that man was Gurunath Mudlapur and if his father, Col. Phillip Harman, US Marine, wanted to say something about it he shouldn’t have evacatuated his skull captivity in a motel on US highway 50 with a pearl handle revolver. Tonight it was a nigger who would have his back.

So it was that as dusk fell on the Sundarbans in blood red and yellow reflection that Peter and Gurunath Mudlapur rowed their boat as silently as a tiger’s crawl into the mangrove swamp in the tiger’s home range. They anchored the boat in the wide smooth river, both men on their stomachs, rifle butts snug against their shoulders, fingers tapping their triggers and grips calm, but firm under the barrels and above all each man was absolutely silent and motionless.

As the warm bloody dusk changed to dark red, then a dying purple then black the men’s eyes adjusted in tune to the jungles rhythm of light to dark, better able to search in the darkness for the marsh’s man eater. Grurnath took thestearn and scanned east the of the half of the U shaped shore line, while Peter reclined into the V shape of the bow, feeling very much as he had in a foxhole, but even to the veteran of so many a foxhole the substance of the blackness, the visceral feel of it like a curtain, cloaking the man next to him, separating him from the man lying motionless inches from him. He remembered a night like this one in the war, when the cloak was suddenly blown apart lifted by artillery fire and he could see silhouetted against the blast the head of the man next to him exploded by a bullet as capricious as deadly. And as the brains of what had been his best friend, of what had held dreams of a future beyond the madness of war, of what would have been a father and husband, pelted his face in bloody droplets, Peter lost not just another friend, but another piece of his humanity. After his unit pushed back the Japanese advance they found Peter in his foxhole with eight enemy infantry in his foxhole, shot dead and decapitated. It had sickened even the most hardened soldier, it further hardened soldier next to Peter Harman. He never made another friend after that, he’d put another brick in the wall growing rapidly around him.

Peter remembered that night as thickly black as this one, and a friend not unlike the man with him and he began to tremble. There was nothing to worry about, no army out there just one big cat, that would be killed by one small bullet, traveling fast, as fast as the one that killed his friend. There was something wrong. In the war he had learned to follow this extra sense of fear. To be certain of the sense of danger when there was no reason to suspect it and he was certain of it now. Where was Guri. it had been hours since dark, but the multitude of stars blanketed the sky, altogether they shed not a single ray on the earth and he couldn’t know how long it had been. “Guri” he wanted to say, but dare not. Dare not so, as not to reveal his true fear, to himself, to Guri if he was still there, was he still there? He inched his left leg closer to where Guri was, should be, but felt nothing. Guri was gone, how? It’s a boat Goddammit, you’d hear something, feel the dam thing rock, nothing could come or go, but something did, it must have. There’s nothing to worry about.

“Not going to be a tiger here tonight my friend”, Guri said and Peter nearly jumped out of his skin. It was all he could do to restrain himself from asking Guri if he felt the same thing too. Had he just made a prudent judgment or used that as an excuse. Instead Peter simply agreed, “Yea your right, that tiger drank and left hours ago. Let’s get outta here.” Then Peter put his ore in the water and began to row half waiting for a verbal agreement from Guri. He never got it. It took only a single stroke for Peter to realize that he was the only one rowing; he was the only one in the boat. He dropped the ore and grabbed the gun. There was the sound of a single splash and Peter let rip a flurry of shots into the water in that direction. Through the red flash of muzzle burst he could see Guri’s hand slapping the water’s surface until his gun was empty. Continuously he dropped his and raised Guri’s gun, but the tiger was already ashore. Peter shone his flashlight along the muddy bank until the beam caught the glimpse of a soaking wet tiger carrying the limp body of Guri by the nape of the neck. But just before the tiger dissolved into the mangrove swamp in a split second Gury became alive. His body flailed as if electrified. Peter dropped the flashlight and fired again and again into the night, but nothing was there and just like his mother he was powerless to help and just as with his best friend in war, Guri was never seen again.

He fumbled the oar in his hands banging it against the boat as he turned the water alongside it. Clumsily he paddled into the night. He bent backwards in desperation and felt small beneath the carpet of stars in the sky, listened to the water sounds lapping against the boat, tried to control his breathing. It was all he could do just to glide back with the tide.

When the sun broke Peter sat alone in the beached boat with his arms around his knees and face buried in between them. He lifted his head and ran his hand across his stubble, his face half light and half dark in the shadows who’s relief was intensifying with the rising sun. It was as if the light laid bare all that he was ashamed of to himself. Peter’s mind had a mind of it’s own that calculated the most intenesly painful way in which to recall it, then recalled it in the same manner. His hands were still shaking so he clinched his fists trying to deny them, to deny that he was terrified, to deny that Gury might still be alive, but he did nothing to help him, just like he did nothing to help his mother.

But in every way what had just happened seemed impossible, the tiger had swum up to the boat, grabbed Guri, and swum away without making a sound. Unnatural. Supernatural. In his life Peter had experienced rage, been through the dangers of war, had seen firsthand the ugliest of humanity, but until now he had never felt stark terror, had never been truly rattled.

And just now recalled the shame of a deeply buried memory brought violently to light and now he felt the shame all over again. He remembered the night he walked out on Karen. Remembered, the way he broke down, completely! Felt it, the shame of it, as though it had just happened, it had just happen and against his will. Compared to the events of the prior night is wasn’t much, it wasn’t what swam up to the boat and carried Gurry away, it wasn’t making his hands tremble now, it wasn’t something that could kill him, but it was what made him vomit between his knees.




Chapter 7 Duel

Peter would kill the tiger to avenge Gury. He was aware that killing the tiger would not bring back his friend, and to many that would seem unsatisfying. Peter didn’t give a damn, killing that Tiger would make him feel a lot better, killing always made Peter Harman feel better. But just like a wounded tiger he would first have to get his edge back and the man at his door had news to help him along. Peter’s dark hut gave way part way to the light, as he opened the door. His eyes focused first on the Tahsildar’s patent leather shoes, tender footed prick he thought, then quickly ran his eyes up the bureaucrat’s nondescript body, to the face of a man who disapproved of Peter as much as Peter did of him.

“Jim McCallum has quite his contract”, was the official’s greeting. “Do you want it?” “Fucking Goddam right I do”, Peter said righteously. “He didn’t even say why”, the Tahsildar offered, just came to my office and said he was no longer interested.” Peter didn’t give a shit why or why not, but having the contract was no small matter. With more than one shakari in an area pursuing the same animal it was sure to turn into a cluster fuck and added uncertainty was the last thing he wanted now. Peter was willing to kill the man-eater when he didn’t have it, but was more than pleased the contract was his.

He didn’t want tell bureaucrat about Gury, but he had to. Gury was Hindu so, it was imperative that some of his remains be found and properly cremated. The officious little prick didn’t even seem to care. Of course he didn’t, he just wanted someone to kill the tiger, to fix his problem, he didn’t give a shit about the harm it did. Peter could not see that part of himself in the tashidar, the part that didn’t he give a shit. He assured him that yes he had seen it well enough through the light of the muzzle burst, but he did not tell him that the last thing he saw was Gury snapped back to life and flailing, calling Peter to help him. He did not say that what he saw was impossible, or that he was too scared to do something about it. He left that part out.

He had recovered Gury’s double barrel from the boat. The end of the left barrel had been bent beyond repair so, Peter sawed most of both barrels off so that the entire weapon was not much longer then a revolver, this would be Peter’s in close weapon, inspired by Gury.

Most shikari go out early in the morning, pick up the tiger’s tracks, and follow them. But it’s too dangerous to track the nocturnal beast at night so they must allow time for return by night or hold up in a marchant. But now Peter had the contract, the legal means to follow the innate will to kill and for Peter that meant no turning back. He would stalk that big cat, trap it and kill it and not come back until he did so, or not come back.

The Tahsildar had barely left when Peter with just the clothes on his back, his Martini Henry, sawed off double barrel, and revolver set off down the dirt path. By the time the Tahsildar’s patent leathers strolled into his office, Peter was off the trail and into the Sundarbans and neither would see the other until it was done.

Running fast, into the woods, Peter remembered what Gury had said, “Tigers wouldn’t leave so many tracks.” Here in the knee-high grass there were no pug marks, but it was still easy to track a tiger. The alarm calls off chital and langurs make audible arrows pointing if not to the tiger then to his vicinity, and as the grass tickled his knees Peter zeroed in on clamor of frenzied panic calls.

Human beings have no sense of smell, Tigers have a superior one. So, Peter approached the area in which he both hoped and dreaded the man eater was, from downwind. He was glad to be on foot. It’s much easier to kill a tiger when shooting on foot then when shooting down from an elephant or machant. Random shots would not do for a 1000 pound animal, for this only the vitals would do and they are accessible when shooting, down in the grass on the level with the tiger. Down here the Martini Henry’s power and accuracy would atone for its canon kick, and if it didn’t Peter would to drop it to the ground immediately and bring up Gury’s ready loaded double barreled sawed off shotgun. If didn’t do it, then fuck it.

Scanning ahead Peter could see the languor’s scurry into trees around a clearing. From the flattened grass in the field he could tell something large had fallen there. Maybe a sambur and it may be a tiger feeding on it. He was approaching downwind of the tree and so long as the agitation in the grass marked the Tiger’s position, he need only be patient and silent, to get close.

Closer, closer, Peter had learned to stalk like the cats that he hunted. Slowly the left foot, then the right foot next to it, finger on the trigger, barrel to the sky over the left shoulder, then right foot, easy, easy half of the weight, and the rest, then the left foot. Peter closed in with agonizing patience to the outer rim of the trees branches. He moved up next to it under the din of screaming scurrying languors. He was afraid they would give him away, he was wrong, the man eater knew that he was there all along.

As Peter dropped to a knee and inched the barrel around the trunk and leveled it a huge cat raised to all fours and stared at him. Peter had the clear view of it’s entire body standing in the flattened grass as he line up his shot, but when he closed his left eye and centered the Martini-Henry’s sight mark between the big cat’s eyes, something was wrong. He tried to refocus, opened his left eye, then closed it again, but to no avail. It was as if the distance between him and the cat was shrinking, then it disappeared altogether and Salvatore was at the end of his barrel as though he’d been there all along. Peter could see nothing else, just to huge green eyes on either side of his site mark down the long end of his barrel, and he couldn’t move, couldn’t even twitch. He tried to pull the trigger, but heard his body hitting the ground felt it rolling the grass and saw a white underbelly of the monstrous tiger flying over.

Peter rolled over backwards a few more times, but came up to his feet with a sawed off pointing the direction of the disappearing tiger. Quickly he scanned 360° and noticed that it was suddenly getting dark and the languors were dead silent.

He retrieved his rifle and walked for a half-mile and the blood red dusk. Finding a suitable tree he climbed it tied his rifle to his arm and settled in for the night. But it was an unsettling night.

As the darkness fell, the deep recesses of Peter’s guilt ridden unconscious came volcanically active. “You should have tried to save your friend.” “It was an optical illusion, he was dead. There is only one chance in a million he was alive.” “You should have taken that chance, you chicken shit son of a bitch. Because of you he’s dead. You killed him.”

Gury was alive, was that an illusion. The man eater in his sights today, was that an illusion. For how long had he had the shot? How long had he not taken the shot? Why not?

Peter was dreaming of Gury’s face in the light of the muzzle burst as he disappeared with the tiger into the swap. But it was not the dream that woke him up, rather the angry growls of a sloth bear nearby.

The bear was no immediate threat, judging from the sounds of things she had probably lost a cub to the stealth of a leopard or tiger. Sloth bears possess bad tempers at their best, but a mother wounded over the loss of a cub would doubtless be at her ugly worst. He could not have slept anyway, but with Gury’s face in plain sight at his mind’s eye and the Sloth bear’s angry, plaintive calls caroming off the night, had the effect of twisting an already deeply buried blade. By sunrise his nerves were frayed.

Concentrating on the alarm calls of langur and kakar distracted his jagged nerves. The calls came from less than a mile away and while there were many tigers and leopards to cause the alarm, with no way of knowing how, Peter knew that from now on there was only one, and that one was waiting for him less than a mile away.

The calls lead him to a ravine, shallow enough to see over the sides, but too sparsely populated by shrubs for a large tiger to hide in. So, he moved into the ravine and walked right down the center, looking always in all directions at once, even up. The constant surveillance was a procedure born of discipline, but what kept Peter alive until now went beyond training and the five senses, what had gotten him to here, was what couldn’t be trained, what couldn’t be explained, what could couldn’t be experienced, only realized. He had realized it that night in the boat with Gury, maybe they both had, but he didn’t believe it, like a boxer who hesitates, then get’s hit. Why did he wait? So long as there was no accompanying sense of danger Peter went dutifully along in the scripted manner. And when the ravine deepened so that he could no longer gaze over it’s sides, responsibly Peter climbed to the top of it, but did not feel that sense of urgency, he had even stopped looking for it so, when it came, it came from nowhere. It came from behind that large rock ahead to his left. That AWARENESS coursed like electricity through his veins. For ten minutes he stood perfectly still, absolutely silent, knowing he was being watched, being watched by a 1000 pound tiger behind the rock, staring through the rock at him.

He had to get out of this ravine. From here the walls slanted upward about 45° for about 20 feet, but went 90° the top 6 feet. Holding his rifle in front of him made it easily to the perpendicular, then swung his foot and arm up and slid over the top on his stomach. Taking to the high ground proved to be a wise move. On the other side of the big rock staring up at him as he expected was the man eater. Peter was still taken aback by its size. Calmly the big cat turned the moved down into the ravine and never letting him leave his site Peter jumped expertly back into the rocky walls and grassy bottom after it.

The big cat stopped lowered its head and looked back again. What a monster, Peter thought leveling his rifle at a shot through the point of the cats shoulder. A certain kill shot and this time he did not hesitate. From 25 yards out Peter put a bullet diagonally across the cat’s massive body, then for good measure pulled a second trigger even as the first was in flight. From 25 yards out Peter missed the massive target twice. Pulling the first trigger produced nothing but a hollow click, the second a pure miss for which he could assign no reason. Watching the big cat calmly turn and disappear deeper into the ravine, Peter was suddenly in no hurry to follow.

Instead he turned to his left and looked up about 200 yards on the rock face where the sound of his shots had dislodged two goats. He reloaded, lined the first one up in his site and evenly pulled the trigger, then watched it stagger, fall and slide down the face of the ravine. By the time he shot a second goat it was 250 yards off and it rolled down and slid past where the first one had come to a halt, and then continued off the cliff and Peter heard it rolling in the grass below. Killing two small goats at 10 times the distance from which he missed the man eater confirmed Peter suspicion that there was nothing wrong with his shot or his rifle. What Peter Harman could not know was that for now Salvatore was leaving him. The big cat had more pressing business further down in the ravine.

Peter spent the night in a shallow cave just under the place where he shot the goats. He did not sleep, nor did he miss it, but ate for the first time in two days and despite the two misses for which he could provide no explanation, would not be deterred. Glowing like a coal ember in the fire light Peter listened to the jungle’s night sounds and schemed.

Having fed and feeling no ill effects from lack of sleep moved back in ravine as soon as it was light enough to track by. The ravine deepened to about 6 feet and the rock walls gave way to grassy sides that he could easily surmounted with a running start. The man eaters pug marks disappeared up the right side over the ravine. Peter did not follow, instead he continued down the ravine being sure to leave his own tracks and more importantly his own sent by which a tiger could track him.

This was a very delicate and dangerous game he was playing. He pulled the sawed-off shotgun out and rested it in the crook of his left shoulder. Now he proceeded forward slowly, ever so cautiously, with shotgun and rifle forming an X in front of him as he swiveled his body so that the arc of his guns covered the left side of the ravine, to the right side, then back to the left again. He scanned vertically upwards as well. The mode of progression though awkward maximized surveillance. Down on his hip on his revolver if he needed it, if he could get to it.

The trick now was to go this way for as long as he could without being killed by the man eater. It would all depend on the wind ,which came from behind him now, but the instant that it shifted Peter was out of the ravine and sprinting back to where he entered it, but as he did so the second time he was downwind, and downwind of everything in the ravine; the tiger was in the ravine.

Now Peter started tracking his own tracks. He he wore his rifle diagonally across his back as he went, keeping the sawed-off out, loaded, arcing from side to side. Down here it was in tight and close, down here he believed in what Gury believed it, the shotgun and only the shotgun.

But this time he was forced to move a little faster and necessarily with greater risk. He and the man eater were playing the same game now and who would win would depend on who played at best and a luck. In the latter Peter thought he had the edge, he had never needed luck to kill anything, he had always been to good at it.

Peter came across his old footprints and fully expected sooner or later to find the man eaters fresh-cut marks on top of them, but what he found instead was the bloody shredded bodies of two poachers.

The bodies were spread along the length of 20 yards. It looked like a murder scene reminding him of the time in Africa when a massive male lion grabbed a hyena and while growling angrily violently shook it to pieces then disdainful indifference dropped it on the ground. It wasn’t feeding, it wasn’t self-defense it was angry naked aggression against a rival species and it was precisely what Salvatore had done to the two poachers. Is that what mankind was to Salvatore, a rival species? It wasn’t the kind of question that Peter typically asked let alone pondered, but just now he couldn’t refuse it.

He moved cautiously here, looking down here saw the huge pug marks of the man-eater superimposed in blood over his own, and on he went. Beyond the shredded bodies, beyond where the entrails became entangled with the weeds, beyond the bits of clothing and smashed rifles, beyond the kill site and upwind of its stench Peter Harman tracked the bloody pug marks of the giant man eater that was tracking him.


When Salvatore turned to give the sakari shot in no way of knowing whether or not he’d take it. He observed the hunter intensely as he leveled a rifle at him from one knee. Salvatori did not understand this man anymore than he had Jim McCallum initially. He understood men’s fire sticks since the day McCallum shot his mother. When a year and a half later he finally gave McCallum a shot at him he felt the man’s pain that day, upon realizing his mother was not a man eater for which he had been deputized to kill. His regret was sincere, killing must be purposeful and killing the wrong tiger did no one any good. He understood too that McCallum was a hard man, a man that could readily kill, but not one that had to. The man simply knew of no other way to solve things, nor did he understand the damage of his deeds. Yet when Salvatore helped McCallum to heal himself, the ex-hunter lowered his rifle, hiked out of the swamps, walked into the tahsildar’s office, resigned his contract and never fired a shot at another living thing for as long as he lived.

But when Peter Harman lined up to take a shot Salvatore felt the the burning rage, like the flames in the elephant hunt. This man’s thoughts were too scattered, too erratic to decipher. So, he froze time in the air just before the man could pull the trigger. After getting his read he and releasing his grip on time he charged the man, and that was when Peter was knocked over, and could only catch a blur of his underbelly. It was good that he did. What The young cat, the old spirit did not understand on their first meeting came through clearly on the second. Unlike McCallum, who was a hunter this man was a killer. While McCallum killed things that were outside of him, Harman projected his inner rage and hate outward onto the outside world which was blindsided by it. He hated and sought to destroy every living thing thought could hurt him and he thought that everything every living thing could. He sought relief from his pain which was within by destroying all that lay without. He could live a thousand years and never be healed, he was hunting the wrong thing in the wrong place. Still it wasn’t that Salvatore couldn’t help heal him, rather that like so many of his kind, he would not be healed.

Salvatore was still new to this game in this body, in this lifetime. He recognized that he still had much to learn, to remember. He now regretted pulling Gury from the boat in the darkness, it should have been the white man instead, but the burgeoning sense of himself was relentless. There were perhaps a few like him, somewhere in the Amazon or Africa maybe deep in the oceans, but here and now, in the Sundarbans it was all up to him and he was already aware that there was only one way for Peter Harman.

When Salvatore sensed the poachers further down the ravine he left Peter. He wasn’t sure if he sensed or smelled the two men down in the gorge. Were they poaching leopards, tigers, were they hunting for him. At this stage in his development he couldn’t be sure, couldn’t be sure that the bullets that pierced his skin could do no harm, he was still remembering. For now the only thing he could be sure of was that the men stalking down the gorge where hardened and capable and hunting for him, he must stop them, but how. He had learned from his mother to take no unnecessary risks so, even as mighty a cat such as he, Salvatore chose ambush. The problem for Salvatore was not intercepting them, it was where to set the trap for experienced harden men who would be looking for it. For this he would return to his first days as a cub lying in hiding from the leopard.

Santosh Kumar and Deepack Parekh were nervous. Between them they’d killed hundreds of big cats, leopards and tigers, but now they had the eerie feeling of knowing that they were being watched, being watched by something close and dangerous, something that must be right there, but wasn’t. They eyed each other, then keeping a distance of about 20 feet so, what ever it was couldn’t kill them both at once, ran their eyes up and down the ravine.

They were at the epi-center of the animal rancor, with the langur swinging wildly in the branches and the entire jungle screaming that there was a 1000 pound tiger right next to them, but they still couldn’t see it. And the spot on which they stood was not the best place in the gorge for an ambush. It was relatively sparse, certainly no place down in it for a big cat to hide so, it had to be up on either side of the ridge. Santosh Kumar looked down into the orange clay earth for tracks, but noticed only the long black stripes that ran for about ten feet toward each side of the ravine. Then with Deepack Parekh getting more and more spooked, knelt for a closer look. Santosh put his hand on the ground and immediately thought it odd that it should be warm, thought it odder still, to see a large red oval blood splotch hit he back of his hand, but when he looked up he saw the entire sky raining blood. It was the last thing he saw.


Deepack was right to be spooked, Santosh was dead, but the only thing he was aware of was the ground moving beneath his feet. He first thought it was an earth quake when the ground moved, pushing him over as if he were rolled down hill. What he did not see was the enormous tiger that poured his powerful body out of the ground in the shape of a huge teardrop, then that of a snarling vicious man eating tiger. Salvatore snatched Deepack from behind so that the back of his head hit the bottoms of his feet, the last thing Deepack Parekh saw has the ground coming up hard. Then Santosh Kumar and Deepack Parekh had their bloody bodies smeared into filthy earth until they lay dry and shredded and dead in the blood storm in the gorge.

Peter and the man-eater were tracking each other in a large oval down in the ravine and neither wanted to be the one to be surprised by the other. Peter thought he could follow the pug marks from the top of the ravine. So, with the shotgun leading and rifle secured across his back he ran up the right-hand side of the ravine wall then moved ever so cautiously along its length.

A full-grown tiger can hide under a dry twig so, each bush and ticket of high grass, every tree became an enemy because the enemy unseen could strike from there. Yet under these conditions Peter had to move quickly he had to take that risk to avoid certain risk of being caught from behind. So, along the ridge he went with the shotgun snugly in the crook of his arm and pointing both barrels down rim, north, south, east, west, up and down. He went that way, judiciously weighing the risks of speed and thoroughness against each other. He went that difficult way all the way until he nearly tripped over the tale of 1000 pound tiger.

A lifetime of many wars had taught Peter to readily accept facts as they were, not as they ought to be. He had tried to shoot this tiger before and failed. Maybe Sethi was right, maybe this was a spiritual tiger, or maybe just a spiritual kitten. He knew things went weird when looking this cat in the eyes and went weirder when taking a shot. But no one else could have kept calm when the wires of nature shorted out and sparked and the illusion became real and a simple bush became a 1000 pound man eating tiger. The tigers tail disappeared into the bush and became the bush which in turn became a tiger. Before him the bush curled and twisted into the shape of a tiger turning around in place, turning to attack. Peter didn’t for the illusion of the bush to become it’s reality, Salvatore, he wasted not a second in denial, he blasted it instantly.

Peter took the shot from a three point behind the great cat, the blast was louder than he expected, but as anticipated the kick from the dense weapon pushed him over to his back. From there he sat up, spread his legs in anticipation of delivering the contents of the sawed-off’s second barrel right down the throat of the beast, but what happened instead he would recall for all of his days how ever numbered they may be.

The tiger turned round all right, but leaped 20 feet into the air, four paws extended straight down, growling with the most vicious gnarling growls Peter had ever heard. Peter had to lay back flat on the ground to keep the acrobatic cat in his sights as it rotated tail to nose, and crashed back to earth, crashed back right down on top of him. Just before it landed Peter closed squeezed his eyes and the trigger tight.

In all of his days of war he had never seen such unbridled fury as the tiger unleashed on the ground surrounding where he landed. His left fore paw landed on Peter and crushed his ribs on the left side. Peter rolled onto his stomach was grabbed in the tiger’s mouth by the rifle worn diagonally across his back, was tossed like a rag doll into a near by tree. Desperate, he clung to the tree, but the tiger got him by a foot and ripped him down viciously against all the might Peter could muster to hold on to the tree branch. Ripped him down and ripped the skin right off the palms of his hands so that in an instant he had not a centimeter on skin on either hand, it was all on the branch. The monster threw him down into the ravine and continued to savage the entire ground as though it were guilty of the offense, howling as he did, deep loud blood-curdling roars and Peter thought the tiger thought that he was savaging him.

From down under ravine Peter can see Broken branches of a tree, bark, and dirt being thrown about as those hit by a tornado, and as the Tempest in the bushes continued expected at any moment for the man eater to find him and jumped down on top of him. But even with his skin ripped from his palms and his ribs crushed his body knew not to scream nor did it occur to him. He just lay in the grass at the bottom of the ravine in sweat and pain and prayed the storm to end. Before it did he passed out.

It was sheer agony that roused Peter. He had laid on his back the entire night and now the pain made him grimace and bent his head back holding his broken left ribs. Painfully he rolled to his knees and elbows, then put his right foot out and agonizingly rose to his feet. He gingerly cut his trousers just above the knees with his field knife and cut them into strips and bandaged his hands. Ripped open as they were his palms screamed at every movement required of them and when the sweat seeped into them Peter screamed. Unable to find his weapons he laid back on his back and shimmied up to the grassy embankment out of the ravine.

Back at the scene he found the large tree he had climbed up rooted. Congealed blood was sprayed everywhere. He found his rifle, snapped in thirds by the man eaters jaws in scattered around half a dozen shotgun shells. Away from the main carnage he found the one thing that would let him continue, laying in the grass he found Gury’s shotgun, and reloaded it.

The pain all over his body was unbearable, but he would have to bear it because it would be his constant companion. It would not let him sleep and even the burning hunger in his stomach was barely noticed. He saw the blood trail leading back into the ravine and he followed it.

Peter, in intense agony, became acutely aware of his predicament. He dropped to one knee and thought. He could neither survive here deep in the jungle or could he likely make it to a village. He would die soon, he knew it from the day he was born. He would die soon, that he had no say in, but he could still kill or not kill the tiger. His father never could have achieved such a feat. Even being here, hurt he had done well to be alive, he was proud of himself, he imagined that his father would have been proud, imagining that he rose and staggered down the ravine in pursuit of the most dangerous animal in the world, a gravely wounded tiger. He was gravely wounded himself and lacking the energy to properly pursue passed out again in the ravine, in the open.

When he awakened he reckoned it to be about noon. His blood soaked bandages stuck to his palms and fingers, but at least had stopped bleeding. He wished they would just stop hurting, he could barely hold a shotgun and sometimes had to use the back of his hands to carry it. But if he had to shoot with it, then he was game and so would be his palms.

The grass was a little thicker here and he lost the pug marks so, he could only track by the blood trail. But inexplicably the blood trail ended. Peter reckoned that the tiger climbed up out of the ravine to circle back on him. He hesitated in place, staggered in a circle, then found what he was looking for. A little further down the ravine was a shallow spot by which he could more easily exit it. He staggered to it, stopped in dead fright, then staggered back. From out behind a rock emerged a huge male leopard. The cat grimaced, roared, then sat on its hind quarters with its front legs straight.

Peter leveled the shotgun searching for the tip of the leopard’s tail. He was looking for the slow snaky wise up and down warning a leopard gives before striking. It never came. Peter’s eyes and shotgun never left the leopard as he walked backward moving down the ravine about 10 yards but when he went to climb the other side he heard a succession of deep throat-ed angry grunts. He spun around, winced and saw the grass in violently agitated waves coming at him. It stopped just as it broke from the grass into view. It was the same leopard. Confused he pointed his gun at the leopard’s first position, then it’s second then the first again, then walked a few feet down the ravine and sat with his back to it, and understood.

It was obvious to Peter that he was being driven, like a tiger to a kill zone that laid somewhere down there at the end of the ravine. Down there to lay doom so, Peter beaten, broken and coughing blood spied a tree that jutted up from the side of the ravine and a long branch that hung out over it. Instead of crawling to the man eater he could bring it to him, if he could just get up that dam tree.

His hands were such that he could not hold the shotgun to climb the tree. So he tied a string around it and bit down on the end. Moving to the base of the tree at the top of the ravine again the leopard appeared. He paid no attention to it, not even to its foul breath on his exposed legs. The cat’s moist breath close enough to warm the skin, but it never touched him. With the menace just centimeters away, he wrapped his arms around the tree interlaced his fingers and climbed with the back of his hands against the bark. He shimmied up the tree and as far out on the branch as his weight would allow, then painfully he pulled up the shotgun. He tried the shotgun to the branch then lay on his right side with his left elbow protecting his ribs.

Where he lay the on the branch brought him to the middle of the ravine a safe 20 feet above the ground, if 20 feet was safe from Salvatore. Seemingly satisfied that he was confined to the ravine the leopard dematerialized. So far so good and as darkness set in Peter lay on the branch secure in the knowledge that he had foiled the tigers plan and now lay in wait for the man-eater come to him.


For Peter it was time to wait, but in waiting time wavered like mist in the air, then went on as the mind wandered. It went in turn to his father, Karen and Gury, then all directions at once. Broken ribs and burning palms should have distracted it from such meanderings, but so strong was it’s desire to torment. He look down into the pitch black of the ravine and saw Gury disappearing into the mangroves in the jaws of a tiger. Alive? Squeezed his eyes tight and saw Karen, seeing that as mightily as he tried to keep her out she somehow got in. He let her know him and now he could die down here and she would never know. He wanted her to know, even married to another still he wanted her to know. He wanted his father to know, to be proud, he wanted to say “look dad. I did it all for you. I killed men and animals on land sea and air, killed things on seven continents, I killed things they don’t even know about and all the time I thought I was killing you.” That was not all that was finally revealed.

It had never really hit him that his father was dead, that was a fact he was aware of like a spot on a map. But now finally self deception relented and he acknowledged that his father had never known a thing, that his father walked out and not only never loved him, but was never even capable of it, that his efforts were all in vain, his life had been meaningless, there in the pitch darkness the killer cracked, and the small boy in a warriors body cried, in deep heaving sobs he cried uncontrollably, oblivious even to the intense pressure it placed on his broken ribs, aware that he would die as he had lived, alone.

A single flash of heat lightning revealed his tightly clinched eyes from which streams flowed, the body of a small boy wrapped shaking in the skin of a man, a warrior, a killer. Finally he could bear no more, alone in the dark he fell into a deep dark sleep.

The rain woke Peter. It was the decisive factor in his bodies battle of pain versus fatigue. Though perfectly content to have kept sleeping, he found it convenient to open his mouth and let the water soothed his savage thirst. But even this brought pain, as the water burned his parched lips and revealed unknown cuts on his body. Dutifully he picked a bug off the rain drenched branch and ate it.

Then Peter saw something that made him take the shotgun as firmly in hand as he could. Lying on his right side to give reprieve to his bruised left ribs, he saw on the top ravine opposite a kakar. The kakar stood stock still, staring at a spot at the base of his tree. When the kakar delivered its alarm call Peter knew somewhere beneath him was a tiger as he remembered that, tigers don’t like to climb trees but they can expertly.


Peter rolled to his back wrapped his feet around the branch and pointed the sawed off. He was satisfied that unless invisible, the man eater could not reach him unseen, but he was unsatisfied that the man eater was not invisible. Then he rolled back over and scanned the ground, the kakar was gone. Until now time for Peter had flown, but now in terror and agony it stopped dead.


He had the uneasy feeling of being watched before. But the sense of dread settling over and now was far worse. He knew the tiger was here and just like he knew the tiger was behind the rocks he knew it was climbing tree, coming from beneath him, but he couldn’t see it. He couldn’t feel the trees swaying under the cats mighty weight, but he was sure it was climbing, why couldn’t he see it. Surely there was no cause for alarm. By his calculations it was simple, there was only one approach, up the trunk of the tree and out onto the branch. Salvatore would have to follow the same route he taken and that route was entirely in plain sight beneath him, it was why he chose to climb this tree in the first place. When the man-eater came for him he would be forced into the open and he would have his shot. Peter scanned and recalculated again and again and came up with the same result. So, why did he feel so creepy, not just that he was being watched, but that the monster was right next to him, just behind him on the branch. He could feel the thing’s breath. He scanned the tree again and again. Nothing there. He passed it off as just nerves, then remembered what happened the only time he ignored THE FEELING, Gury was carried away into water soaked darkness. Maybe it was there and he just couldn’t see it. That’s it. It’s right here I just can’t see it. OK assume it’s right behind me on the branch, I don’t have to see it to shoot it. Slowly so as not to raise the monsters alarm he brought the shotgun around and pointed it straight behind him toward the trunk of the tree. Gently as if he could see it there watching him he firmed its position in his shoulder and pulled the trigger. Boom! The blast was deafening and though he fully expected to hear the tiger crashing in the bushes there was nothing but the ringing in his ears and the splintering of bark on the tree. He was down to five shots. He gave it another blast at the trunk half way from the ground to where the limb branched off. He could hear the pellets absorbed by the tree and the bark blasted away in a dirty cloud around the wound inflected into the tree. His shredded hands began bleeding again and he clumsily reloaded. He was down to four shots.


While Peter could merely feel certain about the man-eater’s probable route, the tiger in fact was certain of it. And it  wasn’t just a tiger below and beneath the man in the tree, it was a 1000 pound man-eater and it was beginning to stalk, beginning climb, climb like a snail.


First a front paw slid up the bark, took a hold, then the next. There was no way for the man to feel him, it took more than an hour to get all four paws dug in high enough so that only his tail slid on the ground.


All night he climbed that way, body snug against the bark, the fur brushed it as he gently moved his massive body up it’s length. His claws moved as though he wanted to tickle a man’s back without being discovered. All night he climbed shielded from site by the tree, but the man still knowing he was there, somewhere. All night he climbed knowing that the man was an excellent position, but immobilized. The man was far out, but not too far out on the branch to reach, Salvatore just wanted no part of his fire stick. Slowly so slowly up he went, just as he had seen his mother hunt, moving only when the man looked away, stopping when he looked back, toward the trunk. Infinitely patiently he went until finally he reached the branch. Putting his forepaws out on the branch the man could not see him. The man could only guess that he was about 12 meters out from the trunk, but the man-eater knew exactly how far out he was, and when he got there he waited.


All the while he was sure it was there, down there, but where? Where is it? Where is the fucking thing? Down there, he knew it was down there coming up at him. With shredded hands that still ached he shot twice and reloaded. ” It’s down there, don’t be fooled”, he told himself, “it’s down there”. Death or redemption, one or the other was down there, he was sure of it. But sure as he was it wasn’t down there. When death came for him it came from the sky. From high in the trees across limbs a spider couldn’t crawl, dropped a 1000 pounds of vengeance intent on a kill.


Enraged by everyone or thing that had ever hurt him, engulfed by grief and guilt, delirious and distracted by pain he would never imagined that the tiger got above him, never believed it could outdo him, never even thought to look up, but Peter Harman neither saw nor felt the slicing, bludgeoning blow that killed him, that eviscerated him into a misty mix of blood and bone and skin, illuminated for a split second by the flash from a shotgun blast. Then the man-eater disintegrated with the mist of the man into the air without either hitting the ground and no one saw, no one knew, no one found any part of the man nor did they see the man eater again. The night was silent, the monster quieted, the Sundarbans restored.