There's something to be said about ignorance. This is a realization that occurs only when they abruptly pull the blinders off ... leaving you to panic and froth at the mouth at all the madness going on around you that you were blissfully unaware of.
This is what happened to me recently, driving home from "work" ...funny thought now . I "used" to work at a small sign shop in a quaint little town called "Scott's Valley" up Highway 17 from "Santa Cruz" ... but I lived further up the mountains past a tiny little town called "Boulder Creek".
There is a long stretch of road called "Highway 9" from Santa Cruz to Boulder Creek that goes way up into the Santa Cruz Mountains.
It was a late October night and the weather was wet and nasty as it usually is this time of year, I'd put some overtime in at the shop for some emergency election signage that was due the next day so by the time I'd pulled onto Highway 9 and headed home it was dark, pouring rain and I was the only one on the road
I was lost in some oblivious random thought when my headlights flashed brightly on something far ahead of me, snapping me out of it ... and as the rain gave way to my high beams I came upon a wreck on the highway.
I'm not much of a religious man, but when I saw the snapshots of the wreckage, through blades that wiped the substantial rain from my view ... just in time for for my mind to click another pic for the ole' "slideshow" that would haunt my dreams ... I certainly invoked the Lord's name.
I sat there a moment several feet from a small sedan that tried to play chicken with the wrong redwood, the windshield wipers relentlessly chonking, undoubtedly winding my "mind-camera" up again ...and then I saw the blood ... then the body ... and soon after heard the cry for help.
I quickly got out and ran over to the body which had been thrown quite a distance from the car and knelt down, yelling over the storm.
"Are you alright?" ... Stupid question.
He answered ... "No." ... Obvious answer.
This is of course when I first noticed that I was speaking to a headless corpse.
Now, I know what you're thinking ... and any other time I might agree with you if it wasn't for the damn key ... ah, but I'm getting ahead of myself.
"Larry" ... he said ..."My name is Larry"
My sight drifted a few feet futher from the headless corpse ... to the corpseless head that lay at a distastful angle to the right ... and then I saw the eyes ... and I saw them see me.
There in the pouring rain, with nobody else in the world around ... I blacked out.
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Sometime later, I don't know exactly, I awoke to find myself driving my car into my driveway ...only, I wasn't driving ... I was watching the hands, my hands ...on the steering wheel.
My supposed self put the car into park and sat there a moment before staring intently into the rear-view mirror.
"Listen carefully please ..." he stated without waiting to continue
" I am deeply sorry ... but under the desperate circumstances I had very limited time and with your fainting I had to take certain ... "liberties" with your body to survive. I am going to relinquish control back to you now because I realize how uncomfortable this must be ... but I ask you please, not to panic and I will simply communicate with you mentally ... Okay?"
I nodded my head and my reflection nodded back ... I breathed and saw my eyes go wide.
*"Let's go inside for a bit shall we?"*
"Yeah" ... I replied, my voice and near silent.
With a strange detachment, I auto-piloted myself from my car to my home, where I immediately made my way to the bathroom and lost whatever sustenance I'd managed to gain at the sign-shop earlier.
Larry was oddly silent.
I numbly walked to the bedroom, where I gave everything I had left in me, to the effort of dropping onto my bed where I fell hard to sleep.
When I awoke I was stuffing a Poptart in my mouth with an apparently great amount of enthusiasm, as I began to choke on it however, I heard a familiar voice in my head ... Larry.
"Good Morning ..."
I spit out the offensive Poptart and stood up so fast, that the chair behind me ... shot across the floor and came crashing down onto the cat food bowl sending little multi colored X's everywhere, and sending my cat running off into the living room where it sat on the armchair of the couch and licked it's paw, as if nothing had ever occured, and she was sitting there the whole time.
" Sorry to frighten you ..." He said in the same calm, rational, fucked up voice in my head kinda way. "... but I really enjoy these things."
I grabbed my head in some pathetic attempt at getting to Larry "What the hell is going on!" I yelled loudly.
"Please calm down ..." He said. "I will explain everything right now but I need you to relax ... if you can't relax I will have to take you over again ..."
I immediately remembered the feeling of not being the one controlling me and forced myself to calm.
" Excellent! ... he said in a now british? accent. I'll get right to the point then. My name is Larry and I'm not from your planet"
"Ya don't say" ... I said mockingly
He seemed not to notice my sarcasm as he continued. "Yes ... and I've been sent here on a special mission from 'The Great One' and it is of the utmost importance. I was on my way to this when my car went out of control. If it had not been for you ..." he seemed actually flustered for a moment "well, no matter ... thank Heaven you were there cause now I can complete my mission but I will need your help."
"my help?" I said, already knowing what he meant
"Yes ... I'm afraid I have no choice but to use your body to get to the First Door. I cannot give you any information and once I am done I will leave you."
"Well, can you at least tell me where you're from?" I asked my reflection in the toaster as I poured myself a cup of coffee from yesterday's pot.
"Certainly ..." he said, "on the way to our destination".
And so it was that I found myself once again in my car with coffee in hand and Larry in head, trying to figure out whether he was actually there or whether I'd flipped out and lost my mind. He had asked me to drive South to a town near L.A. called "Ventura" and while stuck in the mindless, everyday traffic, Larry continued on with his story ...
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"'Heaven' ..." Larry stated in his happy go lucky british accent " I am from a planet called 'Heaven'"
"of course you are ..." I said, with a sense of humour that had not survived the morning.
Larry continued. "I've been traveling quite some time to your planet ... Sent here by 'The Great One' with the Honor of opening the First Door ..."
"The First Door?" I asked
"Yes ..." He said, "I can tell you no more about it cause truely that is all I know ... I'm simply supposed to unlock the First Door and my mission is complete."
He was silent then, as if his story were finished ...
"So what's behind the door?" I asked
There was no answer ... it seemed that Larry had gone and I found myself driving to a place I'd never been for reasons that were not my own ... all the while feeling like Alice having been chased down the rabbit hole. My mind wandered over the past couple days which seemed like they had dragged on for months and wondered if I'd ever return to what I called normal ... or whether I'd end up in some funky hospital with a mean, ugly nurse shoving pills down my throat while I struggled uselessly with a custom fit white jacket.
"This is our exit ..." Larry piped in, nearly making me crap my pants.
I had to cut off some old lady in a buick to take the exit in time ... and I could see her Glaring at me in the rearview mirror and was sure she was flipping me the bird.
"From here," He said, with an oddly disappointed tone ... "I'm afraid I must take over"
Before I was able to speak out in protest, I was no longer in control of my body and was left only able to watch myself driving down too many streets to keep track of.
____________________________________ iii _________________________________________
There was a time in my life when I had felt I understood how the universe worked ... not all of it of course, just enough to put myself slightly ahead of the everyday, typical amoeba that passes for human. It is not the most pleasurable thing finding out that everything you thought you knew, everything you believed was truth ... was all the sudden thrown back at you like a test paper you'd studied for intently for a week, being handed back to you by a scowling teacher with the letter "F", written unnecessarily large and impacted on it.
Never the less ... this is how I felt when I finally came to ... standing in front of a large, white garage door that seemed to gleam with newness so brightly I had to squint my eyes.
"The First Door" Larry chimed in, I could hear a sort of awe in his voice. "The beginning of ... everything"
"Yeah ... it's uh ... nice" I said. I had decided against stating the obvious fact that I was staring at a garage door like some kind of Moron, a thought which made me look around self-consciously.
No one was there to see though, for such a nice little cul-de-sac ... it seemed to be eerily absent of life.
"Please open the door now" Larry stated, and upon looking down at the handle I was slightly distubed to see it was padlocked. I'm not talkin any ole Masterlock either ... this thing looked to be made out of Gold.
"It's locked ..." I said. "We need a key ... where's the key?"
I heard Mr. Larry in my head smile as he said "Why ... under the welcome mat of course!" as if this might the most normal day in my life.
I looked down at my feet and sure as shit there was a large mat with the word "Welcome" on it in a rather boring Helvetica font. I bent down and lifted the mat and was strangely unsurprised to find a key ... a "golden" key ... for the "golden" lock ... I should have known. Grabbing the key, I stood back up and walked to the padlock and without much effort or event I unlocked it and was damn near knocked on my ass as it immediately swung outward ... revealing a Shiny, sparkling, brand new , bright white Limousine which proceeded to pull out making me do a mad dive to avoid being it's first taste of roadkill.
Pavement has a funny way of letting you know it's there. In my haste to remove myself from the path of the long stretch Limo ... which was now idleing next to me in all it's 8-door glory ... I'd started quite a bloody love affair with the driveway resulting in a road rash on my chin which burned with such an intensity that for a moment, I didn't even notice the last door of the vehicle open until a tall, lanky fellow dressed immaculately in a well fit white suit and holding a beautifully crafted violin in one hand, made his way toward me with his other to offer me assistance in my divorce from the pavement where I sat dazed and bewildered.
"So sorry my good man ..." he said, and when he spoke it was like music through his ridiculously white smile. " Looks like you took a pretty good tumble there ..."
"Yeah" ... I said with a wince ... "been one of those days"
He seemed genuinely amused at that as he helped me up and looked me over
" Oh my ..." he said as he saw my chin, and as he reached out his hand to touch it I instinctively pulled away.
"I assure you it wont hurt" he said as if I'd somehow offended his feelings.
Reaching out his hand again he touched my chin and immediately I felt a strange sensation, as if he had applied pyroxide to the wound ... then ... nothing. No pain. No burning. No wound?
I quickly ran my fingers across my chin and felt .. a chin, my chin, as if there had never been any wound there at all.
"Righty then ..." he said joyfully "Let's get this show on the road shall we?" ... and with his free hand he made a sweeping gesture toward the open door of the Limo indicating that I was expected to enter ... which I did.
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I've seen Limousines in movies, but have never been in one myself ... The leather seat that comformed to my weary body was nothing less than a godsend for me at this point ... and I leaned back with a sigh of relief that came from deep within the marrow of my bones.
The Violinist followed me in promptly and as he pulled the door behind him shut it occured to me that there wasn't a single flaw in the mans face ... and he smelled faintly of whisky.
"We thought something may have happened to you" he said as he set his instrument in the seat next to him and reached behind a small bar next to me. "we were just beginning to worry about you ... good job on getting here, your mission was a success!"
From the way he spoke to me, I suddenly realized that he was under the wrong assumption that I was "Larry" ... who, by the way, hadn't made a mind peep since I'd opened the door. I was fairly disturbed at this, almost angry that the bastard would desert me at such a time. He was gone though ... and I could feel it.
As I felt the Limo begin to drive, I was just opening my mouth to let the man in white know that I wasn't his man when he pulled a bottle out from behind the bar along with two glasses that made a "clinking" sound as they pulled together between his fingers ... and he began to speak.
"A cause for celebration I'd say" He said, putting the glasses down on a small table and opening the bottle of "Crown Royal" that he'd produced from behind the bar ... He looked down at the bottle and then to me.
"Given to me by 'The Great One' himself" He said with pride and proceeded to fill each small glass, one of which he handed to me with a wry grin.
I took the glass and took a sip and grimaced a bit at the bitter alchohol taste. I'm not much of a drinker, but I'd decided right then and there that if there was an occasion to drink ... for me this would be it.
The violinist laughed heartily at my obvious inadequacy with alchoholic beverage as he slugged down his drink, picked up his violin and reached behind his seat from where he produced a beautiful, golden violin bow.
"Also given to me by 'The Great One'" He stated with a smile as he noticed my admiring eyes. "Rest a bit my friend and Drink your spirits as I play us a song for the ages ..."
And I did. And He did. And as the notes flowed out from his violin to form his song I could feel the whiskey coursing through my veins. Each note seemed alive to me, and I began to actually see them form before my eyes and enter my soul ... Suddenly visions flashed before me, Visions of my youth, visions of my innocence, and then visions of my fall from grace, and every sin I had ever committed in my life ... as his symphony progressed I began to feel a pain that I cannot even begin to describe to you ... and discovered a truth I could not bare. This song was never meant for me ... I was not the headless corpse "Larry" from the planet "Heaven" who came here as an innocent to sacrifice his life to complete his mission... it became clear to me then that this song was not one of hope, but one of despair ... meant to cause suffering to those who lived in sin, in accordance with the sins they had lived.
I was not an innocent. I was a sinner ... and as the violinist reached the crescendo of his cleansing tune ... the pain was too much for my darkened heart to bare and I lost consciousness.
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When I woke up on a bus stop bench in Seattle, with dirty newspapers covering me ... I had no idea how I'd gotten there. No recollection of "larry" or the violinist and his strange song. I just knew I was far away from home and cold and tired. I proceeded to use what money I had in my wallet to rent a room in some rundown motel 6 that I happened to be sitting across from when I woke up. I've been here ever since. It is where I write to you dear reader of my crazy tale that I'm sure by now has you thinking that the custom fit white jacket might not be such a bad idea after all.
I assure you ... I'm not crazy.
I've been sitting here for a week now watching the strange news on television of mass suicides across the globe and the inevitable chaos in the streets that it has caused. I've also been reading this Bible that was conveniently stored in a drawer here and came across a passage that first peaked my interest and then brought vivid, terrible memories back to life ...
"And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer."
No, I'm not crazy my friends, I thought it possible at first and even concidered adding myself to the piles of bodies strewn across the globe ... but I know now. There is no doubt.
You see, I decided to take a bath this morning ... I was going to use a razor blade and remove these horrible visions that have plagued my mind. The memories of talking headless corpses. The ridiculous notions of beings from another planet. The terrible song that still now plays over and over and over in my mind.
But I cannot.
I will not.
Cause I'm not crazy. I may be a sinner ... but I'm not crazy. When I finally took my clothes off to get into the tub this morning I emptied my pockets.
Besides my wallet, I found a key ...
A Golden key.