THE ILLUMINATUS! TRILOGY
BOOK FOUR: BEAMTENHERRSCHAFT
THE EIGHTH TRIP, OR HOD
The Starry Wisdom Church was not 00005's idea of a proper ecclesiastical shop by any means. The architecture was a shade too Gothic, the designs on the stained-glass windows a bit unpleasantly suggestive for a holy atmosphere ("My God, they must be bloody wogs," he thought), and when he opened the door, the altar was lacking a proper crucifix. In fact, where the crucifix should have been he found instead a design that was more than suggestive. It was, in his opinion, downright tasteless.
Not High Church at all, Chips decided.
He advanced cautiously, although the building appeared deserted. The pews seemed designed for bloody reptiles, he observed- a church, of course, should be uncomfortable, that was good for the soul, but this was, well, gross. They probably advertise in the kink newspapers, he reflected with distaste. The first stained-glass window was worse from inside than outside; he didn't know who Saint Toad was, but if that mosaic with his name on it gave any idea of Saint Toad's appearance and predilections, then, by God, no self-respecting Christian congregation would ever think of sanctifying him. The next feller, a shoggoth, was even less appetizing; at least they had the common decency not to canonize him.
A rat scurried out from between two pews and ran across the center aisle, right before Chip's feet.
Fair got on one's nerves, this place did.
Chips approached the pulpit and glanced up at the Bible. That was, at least, one civilized touch. Curious as to what text might have been preached last in this den of wogs, he scrambled up into the pulpit and scanned the open pages. To his consternation, it wasn't the Bible at all. A lot of bragging and bombast about some Yog Sothoth, probably a wog god, who was both the Gate and the Guardian of the Gate. Absolute rubbish. Chips hefted the enormous volume and turned it so he could read the spine. Necronomicon, eh? If his University Latin could be trusted, that was something like "the book of the names of the dead." Morbid, like the whole building.
He approached the altar, refusing to look at the abominable design above it. Rust— now what could one say of brutes who let their altar get rusty? He scraped with his thumbnail. The altar was marble, and marble doesn't rust. A decidedly unpleasant suspicion crossed his mind, and he tasted what his nail had lifted. Blood. Fairly fresh blood.
Not High Church at all.
Chips approached the vestry, and walked into a web.
"Damn," he muttered, hacking at it with his flashlight— and something fell on his shoulder. He brushed it off quickly and turned the light to the floor. It started to run up his trouser leg and he brushed it off again, beginning to breathe heavily, and stepped on it hard. There was a satisfactory snapping sound and he stomped again to be sure. When he removed his shoe and turned the light down again, it was dead.
A damned huge ugly brute of a spider. Black gods, Saint Toads, rats, mysterious and heathenish capitalized Gates, that nasty-looking shoggoth character, and now spiders. A buggering tarantula it looked like, in fact. Next, Count Dracula, he thought grimly, testing the vestry door. It slid open smoothly and he stepped back out of visible range, waiting a moment.
They were either not home or cool enough to allow him the next move.
He stepped through the door and flashed his light around.
"Oh, God, no," he said. "No. God, no."
"Good-bye, Mr. Chips," said Saint Toad.
Did you ever take the underground from Charing Cross to one of the suburbs? You know, that long ride without stops when you're totally in the dark and everything seems to be rushing by outside in the opposite direction? Relativity, the laboratory-smock people call it. In fact, it was even more like going up a chimney than going forward in a tunnel, but it was like both at the same time, if you follow me. Relativity. A bitter-looking old man went by, dressed in turn-of-the-century Yankee clothing, muttering something about "Carcosa." An antique Pontiac car followed him, with four Italians in it looking confused— it was slow enough for me to spot the year, definitely 1936, and even to read the license plates, Rhode Island AW-1472. Then a black man, not a Negro or a wog, but a really truly black man, without a face and I'd hate to tell you what he had where the face should have been. All the while, there was this bleating or squealing that seemed to say "Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li!" Another man, English-looking but in early 19th-century clothing; he looked my way, surprised, and said, "I only walked around the horses!" I could sympathize: I only opened a bleeding door. A giant beetle, who looked at me more intelligently than any bug I ever saw before— he seemed to be going in a different direction, if there was direction in this place. A white-haired old man with startling blue eyes, who shouted "Roderick Usher!" as he flew by. Then a whole parade of pentagons and other mathematical shapes that seemed to be talking to each other hi some language of the past or the future or wherever they called home. And by now it wasn't so much like a tunnel or even a chimney but a kind of roller coaster with dips and loops but not the sort you find in a place like Brighton— I think I saw this land of curve once, on a blackboard, when a class in non-Euclidean geometry had used the room before my own class in Eng Lit Pope to Swinb. and Neo-Raph. Then I passed a shoggoth or it passed me, and let me say that their pictures simply do not do them justice: I am ready to go anywhere and confront any peril on H.M. Service but I pray to the Lord Harry I never have to get that close to one of those chaps again. Next came a jerk, or cusp is probably the word: I recognized something: Ingolstadt, the middle of the university. Then we were off again, but not for long, another cusp: Stonehenge. A bunch of hooded people, right out of a Yank movie about the KKK, were busy with some gruesome mummery right in the center of the stones, yelling ferociously about some ruddy goat with a thousand young, and the stars were all wrong overhead. Well, you pick up your education where you can— now I know, even if I can't tell any bloody academic how I know, that Stonehenge is much older than we think. Whizz, bang, we're off again, and now ships are floating by— everything from old Yankee clippers to modern luxury liners, all of them signaling the old S.O.S. semaphore desperately— and a bunch of airplanes following in their wake. I realized that part must be the Bermuda Triangle, and about then it dawned that the turn-of-the-century Yank with the bitter face might be Ambrose Bierce. I still hadn't the foggiest who all those other chaps were. Then along came a girl, a dog, a lion, a tin man and a scarecrow. A real puzzler, that: was I visiting real places or just places in people's minds? Or was there a difference? When the mock turtle, the walrus, the carpenter and another little girl came along, my faith in the difference began to crumble. Or did some of those writer blokes know how to tap into this alternate world or fifth dimension or whatever it was? The shoggoth came by again (or was it his twin brother?) and shouted, or I should say, gibbered, "Yog Sothoth Neblod Zin," and I could tell that was something perfectly filthy by the tone of his voice. I mean, after all, I can take a queer proposition without butting the offender on the nose— one must be cosmopolitan, you know— but I would vastly prefer to have such offers coming out of human mouths, or at the very least out of mouths rather than orifices that shouldn't properly be talking at all. But you would have to see a shoggoth yourself, God forbid, to appreciate what I mean. The next stop was quite a refrigerator, miles and miles of it, and that's where the creature who kept up that howling of "Tekeli-li! Tekeli-li!" hung his hat. Or its hat. I shan't attempt to do him, or it, justice. That Necronomicon said about Yog Sothoth that "Kadath in the cold waste hath known him," and now I realized that "known" was used there in the Biblical sense. I just hope he, or it, stays in the cold waste. You wouldn't want to meet him, or it, on the Strand at midday, believe me. His habits were even worse than his ancestry, and why he couldn't scrape off some of the seaweed and barnacles is beyond me; he was rather like Saint Toad in his notions of sartorial splendor and table etiquette, if you take my meaning. But I was off again, the curvature was getting sharper and the cusps more frequent. There was no mistaking the Heads where I arrived next: Easter Island. I had a moment to reflect on how those Heads resembled Tla-loc and the lloigor of Fernando Poo and then this kink's version of a Cook's Tour moved on, and there I was at the last stop.
"Damn, blast and thunder!" I said, looking at Mano-lete turning his veronica and Concepcion lying there with her poor throat cut. "Now that absolutely does tear it."
I decided not to toddle over to the Starry Wisdom Church this tune around. There is a limit, after all.
Instead, I went out into Tequila y Mota Street and approached the church but kept my distance, trying to figure where BUGGER kept the Time Machine.
While I was reflecting on that, I heard the first pistol shot.
Then a volley.
The next thing I knew the whole population of Fernando Poo— Cubans descended from the prisoners shipped there when it was a penal colony in the 19th century, Spaniards from colonial days, blacks, wogs, and whatnot— were on Tequila y Mota street using up all the munitions they owned. It was the countercoup, of course— the Captain Puta crowd who unseated Tequila y Mota and prevented the nuclear war— but I didn't know that at the time, so I dashed into the nearest doorway and tried to duck the flying bullets, which were coming, mind you, as thick as the darling buds in May. It was hairy. And one Spanish bloke— gay as a tree full of parrots from his trot and his carriage, goes by waving an old cutlass out of a book and shouting, "Better to die on our feet than to live on our knees!"— headed straightway into a group of Regular Army who had finally turned out to try to stop this business. He waded right into them, cutting heads like a pirate, until they shot him as full of holes as Auntie's drawers. That's your Spaniards: even the queers have balls.
Well, this wasn't my show, so I backed up, opened the door and stepped into the building. I just had a moment to recognize which building I had picked, when Saint Toad gave me his bilious eye and said, "You again!"
The trip was less interesting this time (I had seen it before, after all) and I had time to think a bit and realize that old frog-face wasn't using a Time Machine or any mechanical device at all. Then I was in front of a pyramid— they missed that stop last time— and I waited to arrive back in the Hotel Durrutti. To my surprise, when there was a final jerk in the dimensions or whatever they were, I found myself someplace else.
00005, in fact, was in an enormous marbled room deliberately designed to impress the bejesus out of any and all visitors. Pillars reached up to cyclopean heights, supporting a ceiling too high and murky to be visible, and every wall, of which there seemed to be five, was the same impenetrable ivory-grained marble. The eyes instinctively sought the gigantic throne, in the shape of an apple with a seat carved out of it, and made of a flawless gold which gleamed the more brightly in the dim lighting; and the old man who sat on the throne, his white beard reaching almost to the lap of his much whiter robe, commanded attention when he spoke: "If I may be trite," he said in a resonant voice, "you are welcome, my son."
This still wasn't High Church, but it was a definite improvement over the digs where Saint Toad and his loathsome objets d'art festered. Still, 00005's British common sense was disturbed. "I say," he ventured, "you're not some sort of mystic, are you? I must tell you that I don't intend to convert to anything heathen."
"Conversion, as you understand it," the aged figure told him placidly, "consists of pounding one's own words into a man's ears until they start coming out of his mouth. Nothing is of less interest to me. You need have no fear on that ground."
"I see." 00005 pondered. "This wouldn't be Shangri-La or some such place, would it?"
"This is Dallas, Texas, my son." The old man's eyes bore a slight twinkle although his demeanor otherwise remained grave. "We are below the sewers of Dealy Plaza, and I am the Dealy Lama."
00005 shook his head. "I don't mind having my leg pulled," he began.
"I am the Dealy Lama," the old man repeated, "and this is the headquarters of the Erisian Liberation Front."
"A joke's a joke," Chips said, "but how did you manage that frog-faced creature back in the Starry Wisdom Church?"
"Tsathoggua? He is not managed by us. We saved you from him, in fact Twice."
"Tsathoggua?" Chips repeated. "I thought the swine's name was Saint Toad."
"To be sure, that is one of his names. When he first appeared, in Hyperborea, he was known as Tsathoggua, and that is how he is recorded in the Pnakotic Manuscripts, the Necronomicon and other classics. The Atlantean high priests, Klarkash Ton and Lhuv Kerapht, wrote the best descriptions of him, but their works have not survived, except in our own archives."
"You do put on a good front," 00005 said sincerely. "I suppose, fairly soon, you'll get around to telling me that I have been brought here due to some karma or other?" He was actually wishing there were some place to sit down. No doubt, it added to the Lama's dignity to sit while Chips had to stand, but it had been a hard night already and his feet hurt.
"Yes, I have many revelations for you," the old man said.
"I was afraid of that. Isn't there some place where I can bring my arse to anchor, as my uncle Sid would say, before I listen to your wisdom? I'm sure it's going to be a long time in the telling."
The old man ignored this. "This is the turning point in history," he said. "All the forces of Evil, dispersed and often in conflict before, have been brought together under one sign, the eye in the pyramid. All the forces of Good have been gathered, also, under the sign of the apple."
"I see," 00005 nodded. "And you want to enlist me on the side of Good?"
"Not at all," the old man cried, bouncing up and down in his seat with laughter. "I want to invite you to stay here with us while the damned fools fight it out aboveground."
00005 frowned. "That isn't a sporting attitude," he said disapprovingly; but then he grinned. "Oh, I almost fell for it, didn't I? You are pulling my leg!"
"I am telling you the truth," the old man said vehemently. "How do you suppose I have lived to this advanced age? By running off to join in every idiotic barroom brawl, world war, or Armageddon that comes along? Let me remind you of the street where we picked you up; it is entirely typical of the proceedings during the Kali Yuga. Those imbeciles are using live ammunition, son. Do you want me to tell you the secret of longevity, lad— my secret? I have lived so outrageously long because," he spoke with deliberate emphasis, "I don't give a fuck for Good and Evil."
"I should be ashamed to say so, if I were you," Chips replied coolly. "If the whole world felt like you, we'd all be a sorry kettle of fish."
"Very well," the old man started to raise an arm. "I'll send you back to Saint Toad."
"Wait!" Chips stirred uneasily. "Couldn't you send me to confront Evil in one of its, ah, more human forms?"
"Aha," the old man sneered. "You want the lesser Evil, is it? Those false choices are passing away, even as we speak. If you want to confront Evil, you will have to confront it on its own terms, not in the form that suits your own mediocre concepts of a Last Judgment. Stay here with me, lad. Evil is much more nasty than you imagine."
"Never," Chips said firmly. " 'Ours not to reason why, Ours but to do or die!' Any Englishman would tell you the same."
"No doubt," the old man snickered. "Your countrymen are as fat-headed as these Texans above us. Glorifying that idiotic Light Brigade the way these bumpkins brag about their defeat at the Alamo! As if stepping in front of a steamroller were the most admirable thing a man could do with his time. Let me tell you a story, son."
"You may if you wish," 00005 said stiffly. "But no cynical parable will change my sense of Right and Duty."
"Actually, you're glad of the interlude; you're not all that eager to face the powers of Tsathoggua again. Let that pass." The old man shifted to a more comfortable position and, still oblivious of Chips' tired shifting from leg to leg, began:
This is the story of Our Lady of Discord, Eris, daughter of Chaos, mother of Fortuna. You have read some of it in Bullfinch, no doubt, but his is the exoteric version. I am about to give you the Inside Story.
Is the thought of a unicorn a real thought? In a sense, that is the basic question of philosophy—
I thought you were going to tell me a story, not launch into some dreary German metaphysics. I had enough of that at the University.
Quite so. The thought of a unicorn is a real thought, then, to be brief. So is the thought of the Redeemer on the Cross, the Cow who Jumped Over the Moon, the lost continent of Mu, the Gross National Product, the Square Root of Minus One, and anything else capable of mobilizing emotional energy. And so, in a sense, Eris and the other Olympians were, and are, real. At the same time, in another sense, there is only one True God and your redeemer in His only begotten son; and the lloigor, like Tsathoggua, are real enough to reach out and draw you into their world, which is on the other side of Nightmare. But I promised to keep the philosophy to a minimum.
You recall the story of the Golden Apple, in the exoteric and expurgated version at least? The true version is the same, up to a point. Zeus, a terrible old bore by the way, did throw a bash on Olympus, and he did slight Our Lady by not inviting Her. She did make an apple, but it was Acapulco Gold, not metallic gold. She wrote Kallisti, on it, to the prettiest one, and rolled it into the banquet hall. Everybody— not just the goddesses; that's a male chauvinist myth— started fighting over who had the right to smoke it. Paris was never called in to pass judgment; that's all some poet's fancy. The Trojan War was just another imperialistic rumble and had no connection with these events at all.
What really happened was that everybody was squabbling over the apple and working up a sweat and pushing one another around and pretty soon their vibrations— Gods have very high vibration, exactly at the speed of light, in fact— heated up the apple enough to unleash some heavy fumes. In a word, the Olympians all got stoned.
And they saw a Vision, or a series of Visions.
In the first Vision, they saw Yahweh, a neighboring god with a world of his own which overlapped theirs in some places. He was clearing the set to change its valence and start a new show. His method struck them as rather barbarous. He was, in fact, drowning everybody— except one family that he allowed to escape in an Ark.
"This is Chaos," said Hermes. "That Yahweh is a mean mother', even for a god."
And they looked at the Vision more closely, and because they could see into the future and were all (like every intelligent entity) rabid Laurel and Hardy fans and because they were zonked on the weed, they saw that Yahweh bore the face of Oliver Hardy. All around him, below the mountain on which he lived (his world was fiat), the waters rose and rose. They saw drowning men, drowning women, innocent babes sinking beneath the waves. They were ready to vomit. And then Another came and stood beside Yahweh, looking at the panorama of horrors below, and he was Yahweh's Adversary, and, stoned as they were, he looked like Stanley Laurel to them. And then Yahweh spoke, in the eternal words of Oliver Hardy: "Now look what you made me do," he said.
And that was the first Vision.
They looked again, and they saw Lee Harvey Oswald perched in the window of the Texas School Book Depository; and he, again, wore the face of Stanley Laurel. And, because this world had been created by a great god named Earl Warren, Oswald fired the only shots that day, and John Fitzgerald Kennedy was, as the Salvation Army charmingly expresses it, "promoted to glory."
"This is Confusion," said Athena with her owl-eyes flashing, for she was more familiar with the world created by the god Mark Lane.
Then they saw a hallway, and Oswald-Laurel was led out between two policemen. Suddenly Jack Ruby, with the face of Oliver Hardy, stepped forward and fired a pistol right into that frail little body. And then Ruby spoke the eternal words, to the corpse at his feet: "Now look what you made me do," he said.
And that was the second Vision.
Next, they saw a city of 550,000 men, women and children, and in an instant the city vanished; shadows remained where the men were gone, a firestorm raged, burning pimps and infants and an old statue of a happy Buddha and mice and dogs and old men and lovers; and a mushroom cloud arose above it all. This was in a world created by the crudest of all gods, Realpolitik.
"This is Discord," said Apollo, disturbed, laying down his lute.
Harry Truman, a servant of Realpolitik, wearing the face of Oliver Hardy, looked upon his work and saw that it was good. But beside him, Albert Einstein, a servant of that most elusive and gnomic of gods, Truth, burst into tears, the familiar tears of Stanley Laurel facing the consequences of his own karma. For a brief instant, Truman was troubled, but then he remembered the eternal words: "Now look what you made me do," he said.
And that was the third Vision.
Now they saw trains, many trains, all of them running on time, and the trains criss-crossed Europe and ran 24 hours a day, and they all came to a few destinations that were alike. There, the human cargo was stamped, catalogued, processed, executed with gas, tabulated, recorded, stamped again, cremated and disposed.
"This is Bureaucracy," said Dionysus, and he smashed his wine jug in anger; beside him, his lynx glared balefully.
And then they saw the man who had ordered this, Adolf Hitler, wearing still the mask of Oliver Hardy, and he turned to a certain rich man, Baron Rothschild, wearing the mask of Stanley Laurel, and they knew this was the world created by the god Hegel and the angel Thesis was meeting the demon Antithesis. Then Hitler spoke the eternal words: "Now look what you made me do," he said.
And that was the fourth Vision.
They did then look further and, lo, high as they were they saw the founding of a great republic and proclamations hailing new gods named Due Process and Equal Rights for All. And they saw many in high places in the republic form a separate cult and worship Mammon and Power. And the Republic became an Empire, and soon Due Process and Equal Rights for All were not worshipped, and even Mammon and Power were given only lip-service, for the true god of all was now the impotent What Can I Do and his dull brother What We Did Yesterday and his ugly and vicious sister Get Them Before They Get Us.
"This is Aftermath," said Hera, and her bosom shook with tears for the fate of the children of that nation.
And they saw many bombings, many riots, many rooftop snipers, many Molotov cocktails. And they saw the capital city in ruins, and the leader, wearing the face of Stanley Laurel, taken prisoner amid the rubble of his palace. And they saw the chief of the revolutionaries look about at the rubble and the streets full of corpses, and they heard him sigh, and then he addressed the leader, and he spoke the eternal words: "Now look what you made me do," he said.
And that was the fifth Vision.
And now the Olympians were coming down and they looked at each other in uncertainty and dismay. Zeus himself spoke first.
"Man," he said, "that was Heavy Grass."
"Far fuckin out," Hermes agreed solemnly.
"Tree fuckin mendous," added Dionysus, petting his lynx.
"We were really fuckin into it," Hera summed up, for all.
And they turned their eyes again on the Golden Apple and read the word Our Lady Eris had written upon it, that most multiordinal of all words, Kallisti. And they knew that each god and goddess, and each man and woman, was in the privacy of the heart, the prettiest one, the fairest; the most innocent, the Best. And they repented themselves of not having invited Our Lady Eris to their party, and they summoned her forth and asked her, "Why did you never tell us before that all categories are false and all Good and Evil a delusion of limited perspective?"
And Eris said, "As men and women are actors on a stage of our devising, so are we actors on the stage devised by the Five Fates. You had to believe in Good and Evil and pass judgments on your creatures, the men and women below. It was a curse the Fates put upon you! But now you have come to the Great Doubt and you are free."
The Olympians thereupon lost interest in the god-game and soon were forgotten by humanity. For She had shown them a great Light, and a great Light destroys shadows; and we are all, gods and mortals, nothing else but gliding shadows. Do you believe that?
"No," said Fission Chips.
"Very well," the Dealy Lama said somberly. "Begone, back to the world of maya!"
And Fission Chips whirled head over heels into a vortex of bleatings and squealings, as tune and space were given another sharp tug and, nearly a month later, head over heels, the Midget is up and tottering across Route 91 as the rented Ford Brontosaurus shrieks to a stop and Saul and Barney are out the doors (every cop instinct telling them that a man who runs from an accident is hiding something) but John Dillinger, driving toward Vegas from the north, continues to hum "Good-bye forever, old sweethearts and gals, God . . . bless . . . you . . " and the same tug in space-time grips Adam Weishaupt two centuries earlier, causing him to abandon his planned soft sell and blurt out to an astonished Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, "Spielen Sie Strip Schnipp-Schnapp?" and Chips, hearing Weishaupt's words, is back in the graveyard at Ingolstadt as four dark figures move away in dusk.
"Strip Schnipp-Schnapp?" Goethe asks, putting hand on chin in a pose that was later to become famous, "Das ist dein hoch Zauberwerk?"
"Ja, ja," Weishaupt says nervously, "Der Zweck heiligte die Mittel."
Ingolstadt always reminds me of the set of a bleeding Frankenstein movie, and, after Saint Toad and that shoggoth chap and the old Lama with his wog metaphysics, it was no help at all to have an invisible voice ask me to join him in a bawdy card game. I've faced some weird scenes in H.M. Service but this Fernando Poo caper was turning out to be outright unwholesome, in fact unheimlich as these krauts would say. And, hi the distance, I began to hear wog music, but with a Yank beat to it, and suddenly I knew the worst: that blasted Lama or Saint Toad or somebody, had lifted nearly a month out of my life. I had walked into Saint Toad's after midnight on March 31 (call it April 1, then) and this would be April 30 or May 1. Walpur-gisnacht. When all the kraut ghosts are out. And I was probably considered dead back in London. And if I called in and tried to explain what had happened, old W. would be downright psychiatric about the matter, oh, he'd be sure I was well around the bend. It was a rum go either way.
Then I remembered that the old Lama in Dallas had said he was sending me to the final battle between Good and Evil. This was probably it, right here, right now, this night in Ingolstadt. A bit breathtaking to think of that. I wondered when the Angels of the Lord would appear: bloody soon, I hoped. It would be nice to have them around when Old Nick unleashed the shoggoth and Saint Toad and that lot.
So I toddled out into the streets of Ingolstadt and started sniffing around for the old sulphur and brimstone.
And half a mile below and twelve hours earlier, George Dorn and Stella Maris were smoking some Alamout Black hash with Harry Coin.
"You haven't got a bad punch for an intellectual," Coin said with warm regard.
"You're pretty good at rape yourself," George replied, "for the world's most incompetent assassin."
Coin started to draw back his lips in an angry snarl, but the hash was too strong. "Hagbard told you, Ace?" he asked bashfully.
"He told me most of it," George said. "I know that everybody on this ship once worked for the Illuminati directly or for one of their governments. I know that Hagbard has been an outlaw for more than two decades—"
"Twenty-three years exactly," Stella said archly.
"That figures," George nodded. "Twenty-three years, then, and never killed anybody until that incident with the spider ships four days ago."
"Oh, he killed us," Harry said dreamily, drawing on the pipe. "What he does is worse than capital punishment, while it's going on. I can't say I'm the same man I was before. But it's pretty bad until you come through."
"I know," George grinned. "I've had a few samples myself."
"Hagbard's system," Stella said, "Is very simple. He just gives you a good look at your own face in a mirror. He lets you see the puppet strings. It's still up to you to break them. He's never forced anyone to do anything that goes against their heart. Of course," she frowned in concentration, "he does sort of maneuver you into places where you have to find out in a hurry just what your heart is saying to you. Did he ever tell you about the Indians?"
"The Shoshone?" George asked. "The cesspool gag?"
"Let's play a game," Coin interrupted, sinking lower in his chair as the hash hit him harder. "One of us in this room is a Martian, and we've got to guess from the conversation which one it is."
"Okay," Stella said easily. "Not the Shoshone," she told George, "the Mohawk."
"You're not the Martian," Coin giggled. "You stick to the subject, and that's a human trait."
George, trying to decide if the octopus on the wall was somehow connected with the Martian riddle, said, "I want to hear about Hagbard and the Mohawk. Maybe that will help us identify the Martian. You think up good games," he added kindly, "for a guy who was sent on seven assassination missions and fucked up every one of them."
"I'm dumb but I'm lucky," Coin said. "There was always somebody else there blasting away at the same time. Politicians are awfully unpopular these days, Ace."
This was a myth, Hagbard had confided to George. Until Harry Coin had completed his course in the Celine System, it was better if he believed himself the world's most unsuccessful assassin rather than face the truth: that he had goofed only on his first job (Dallas, November 22, 1963) and really had killed five men since then. Of course, even if Hagbard wasn't a holy man any longer, he was still tricky: maybe Harry had, indeed, missed every time. Perhaps Hagbard was keeping the image of Harry as mass murderer in George's mind to see if George could relate to the man's present instead of being hung up on his "past."
At least I've learned this much, George thought. The word "past" is always in quotes for me, now.
"The Mohawk," Stella said, leaning back lazily (George's male organ or penis or dick or whatever the hell is the natural word, if there is a natural word, well, my cock, then, my delicious ever-hungry cock rose a centimeter as her blouse tightened on her breasts, Lord God, we'd been humping like wart hogs in rutting season for hours and hours and hours and I was still horny and still in love with her and I probably always would be, but then again maybe I'm the Martian). Well, in fact, the old pussy hunter didn't rise more than a millimeter, not a centimeter, and he was as slow, as an old man getting out of bed in January. I had just about fucked until my brains came out my ears, even before Harry brought in the hash and wanted to talk. Looking for the Martian. Looking for the governor of Dorn. Looking for the Illuminati. Krishna chasing his tail around the curved space of the Einsteinian universe until he disappears up his own ass, leaving behind a behind: the back of the void: the Dorn theory of circutheosodomognosis. "Owned some land," she continued. That beautiful black face, like ebon melody: yes, no painter could show but Bach could hint the delight of those purple-tinted lips in that black face, saying, "And the government wanted to steal the land. To build a dam." The inside of her cunt had that purple hue to it, also, and there was a tawny beige in her palm, like a Caucasian's skin, there were so many delights in her body, and in mine, too, treasures that couldn't be spent in a million years of the most tender and violent fucking. "Hagbard was the engineer hired to build the dam, but when he found out that the Indians would be dispossessed and relocated on less fertile ground, he refused the job." Eris, Eros spelled sideways. "He broke his contract, so the government sued him," she said. "That's how he got to be a close friend with the Mohawk."
Which was all pure crapperoo. Obviously, Hagbard had gone to court as a lawyer for the Indians, but that one touch of shame in him had kept him from admitting to Stella that he had once been a lawyer, so he made up that bit about being the engineer on the dam to explain how he got involved in the case.
"He helped them move when they were dispossessed." I could see bronze men and women moving in twilight, a hill in the background. "This was a long time ago, back in the '50s, I think. (Hagbard was a hell of a lot older than he looked.) One Indian was carrying a raccoon he said was his grandfather. He was a very old man himself. He said Grandfather could remember General Washington and how he changed after he became President. (He would be there tonight, that being who had once been George Washington and Adam Weishaupt: he of whom Hitler had said, "He is already among us. He is intrepid and terrible. I am afraid of him.") Hagbard says he kept thinking of Patrick Henry, the one man who saw what had happened at the Constitutional Convention. It was Henry who had looked at the Constitution and said right away, 'I smell a rat. It squints toward monarchy.' The Old Indian, whose name was Uncle John Feather, said that Grandfather, when he was a man, could speak to all animals. He said the Mohawk Nation was more than the living, it was the soul and the soil joined together. When the land was taken, some of the soul died. He said that was why he couldn't speak to all animals but only to those who had once been part of his family." The soul is in the blood, moving the blood. It is in the night especially. Nutley is a typical Catholic-dominated New Jersey town, and the Dorns are Baptists, so I was hemmed in two ways, but even as a boy I used to walk along the Passaic looking for Indian arrowheads, and the soul would move when I found one. Who was the anthropologist who thought the Ojibway believed all rocks were alive? A chief had straightened him out: "Open your eyes," he said, "and you'll see which rocks are alive." We haven't had our Frobenius yet, American anthropology is like virgins writing about sex.
"I know who the Martian is," Coin crooned in a singsong. "But I'm not telling. Not yet." That man who was either the most successful or the most unsuccessful assassin of the 20th century and who had raped me (which was supposed to destroy my manhood forever according to some idiots) was smashed out of his skull and he looked so happy that I was happy for him.
"Hagbard," Stella went on, "stood there like a tree. He was paralyzed. Finally, old Uncle John Feather asked what was the matter."
Stella leaned forward, her face more richly black against the golden octopus on the wall. "Hagbard had foreseen the ecological catastrophe. He had seen the rise of the Welfare State, Warrior Liberalism (as he calls it) and the spread of Marxism out of Russia across the world. He saw why it all had to happen, with or without the Illuminati helping it along. He understood the Snafu Principle."
He had worked all that night, after explaining to Uncle John Feather that he was troubled in his heart at the tragedy of the Mohawk (not mentioning the more enormous tragedy coming at the planet, the tragedy which the old man understood already in his own terms); hard work, carrying pitiful cheap furniture from cabins onto trucks, tying whole households' possessions with tough ropes; he was sweating and winded when they finished shortly before dawn. The next day, he had burned his naturalization papers and put the ashes in an envelope addressed to the President of the United States, with a brief note: "Everything relevant is ruled irrelevant. Everything material is ruled immaterial. An ex-citizen." The ashes of his Army Reserve discharge went to the Secretary of Defense with a briefer note: "Non serviam. An ex-slave." That year's income tax form went to the Secretary of the Treasury, after he wiped his ass on it; the note said: "Try robbing a poor box. Der Einziege." His fury still mounting, he grabbed his copy of Das Kapital off the bookshelf, smiling bitterly at the memory of his sarcastic marginal notes, scrawled "Without private property there is no private life" on the flyleaf, and mailed it to Josef Stalin in the Kremlin. Then he buzzed his secretary, gave her three months pay in lieu of notice of dismissal and walked out of his law office forever. He had declared war on all governments of the world.
His afternoon was spent giving away his savings, which at that time amounted to seventy thousand dollars. Some he gave to drunks on the street, some to little boys or little girls in parks; when the Stock Exchange closed, he was on Wall Street, handing out fat bundles of bills to the wealthiest-looking men he could spot, telling them, "Enjoy it. Before you die, it won't be worth shit." That night he slept on a bench hi Grand Central Terminal; in the morning, flat broke, he signed on as A.B.S. aboard a merchant ship to Norway.
That summer he tramped across Europe working as tourist guide, cook, tutor, any odd job that fell his way, but mostly talking and listening. About politics. He heard that the Marshall Plan was a sneaky way of robbing Europe under the pretense of helping it; that Stalin would have more trouble with Tito than he had had with Trotsky; that the Viet Minh would surrender soon and the French would retake Indo-China; that nobody in Germany was a Nazi anymore; that everybody in Germany was still a Nazi; that Dewey would unseat Truman easily.
During his last walking tour of Europe, in the 1930s, he had heard that Hitler only wanted Czechoslovakia and would do anything to avoid war with England; that Stalin's troubles with Trotsky would never end; that all Europe would go socialist after the next war; that America would certainly enter the war when it came; that America would certainly stay out of the war when it came.
One idea had remained fairly constant, however, and he heard it everywhere. That idea was that more government, tougher government, more honest government was the answer to all human problems.
Hagbard began making notes for the treatise that later became Never Whistle While You're Pissing. He began with a section that he later moved to the middle of the book:
That autumn, Hagbard settled in Rome. He worked as a tourist guide, amusing himself by combining authentic Roman history with Cecil B. DeMille (none of the tourists ever caught him out); he also spent long hours scrutinizing the published reports of Interpol. His Wanderjahr was ending; he was preparing for action. Never subject to guilt or masochism, he had one reason only for his dispersal of his savings: to prove to himself that what he intended could be done starting from zero. When winter arrived, his studies were complete: Interpol's crime statistics had very kindly provided him with a list of those commodities which, either because of tariffs intended to stifle competition or because of "morals" laws, could become the foundation of a successful career in smuggling.
One year later, in the Hotel Claridge on Forty-fourth Street in New York, Hagbard was placed under arrest by two U.S. narcotics agents named Galley and Eichmann. "Don't take it too hard," Galley said. "We're only following orders."
"It's okay," Hagbard said, "don't feel guilty. But what are you going to do with my cats?"
Galley knelt on the floor and examined the kittens thoughtfully, scratching one under the chin, rubbing the ear of the other. "What's their names?" he asked.
"The male is called Vagina," Hagbard said. "The female I call Penis."
"The male is called what?" Eichmann asked, blinking.
"The male is Vagina, and the female is Penis," Hagbard said innocently, "but there's a metaphysic behind it. First, you have to ask yourself, which appeared earlier on this planet, life or death? Have you ever thought about that?"
'This guy is nuts," Galley told Eichmann.
"You've got to realize," Hagbard went on, "that life is a coming apart and death is a coming together. Does that help?"
("I never know whether Hagbard is talking profundity or asininity," George said dreamily, toking away.)
"Reincarnation works backward in time," Hagbard went on, as the narcs opened drawers and peered under chairs. "You always get reborn into an earlier historical period. Mussolini is a witch in the 14th century now, and catching hell from the Inquisitors for his bum karma in this age. People who 'remember' the past are all deluded. The only ones who really remember past incarnations remember the future, and they become science-fiction writers."
(A little old lady from Chicago walked into George's room with a collection can marked Mothers March Against Phimosis. He gave her a dime and she thanked him and left. After the door closed, George wondered if she had been a hallucination or just a woman who had fallen through a space-time warp and landed on the Leif Erikson.)
"What the hell are these?" Eichmann asked. He had been searching Hagbard's closet and found some red, white and blue bumper stickers. The top half of each letter was blue with white stars, and the bottom half was red-and-white stripes; they looked patriotic as all get-out. The slogan formed this way was
LEGALIZE ABORTION PREGNANCY IS A JEWISH PLOT!
Hagbard had been circulating these in neighborhoods like the Yorkville section of Manhattan, the western suburbs of Chicago, and other places where old-fashioned Father Coughlin-Joe McCarthy style Irish Catholic fascism was still strong. This was a trial run on the logogram-biogram double-bind tactic out of which the Dealy Lama later developed Operation Mindfuck.
"Patriotic stickers," Hagbard explained.
"Well, they look patriotic . . ." Eichmann conceded dubiously.
("Did a little woman from Chicago just walk through this room?" George asked.
"No," Harry Coin said, toking again. "I didn't see any woman from Chicago. But I know who the Martian is.")
"What the hell are these?" Galley asked. He had found some business-size cards saying RED in green letters and GREEN in red letters.
("When you're out of it all the way, on the mountain," George asked, "that's neither the biogram nor the logogram, right? What the hell is it, then?")
"An antigram," Hagbard explained, still helpful.
"The cards are an antigram?" Eichmann repeated, bewildered.
"I may have to place you under arrest and take you downtown," Hagbard warned. "You've both been very naughty boys. Breaking and entering. Pointing a gun at me— that's technically assault with a deadly weapon. Seizing my narcotics— that's theft. All sorts of invasion of privacy. Very, very naughty."
"You can't arrest us," Eichmann whined. "We're supposed to arrest you."
"Which is red and which is green?" Hagbard asked.
"Look again," They looked and RED was now really red and GREEN was really green. (Actually, the tints changed according to the angle at which Hagbard held the card, but he wasn't giving away his secrets to them.) "I can also change up and down," he added. "Worse yet, I clog zippers. Neither one of you can open your fly right now, for instance. My real gimmick, though, is reversing revolvers. Try to shoot me and the bullets will come out the back and you'll never use your good right hand again. Try it and see if I'm bluffing."
"Can't you go a little easy on us, officer?" Eichmann took out his wallet. "A cop's salary ain't the greatest in the world, eh?" He nudged Hagbard insinuatingly.
"Are you trying to bribe me?" Hagbard asked sternly.
"Why not?" Harry Coin whined. "You got nothing to gain by killing me. Take the money and put me off the sub at the first island you pass."
"Well," Hagbard said thoughtfully, counting the money.
"I can get more," Harry added. "I can send it to you."
"I'm sure." Hagbard put the money in his clam-shell ashtray and struck a match. There was a brief, merry blaze, and Hagbard asked calmly, "Do you have any other inducements to offer?"
"I'll tell you anything you want to know about the Illuminati!" Harry shrieked, really frightened now, realizing that he was in the hands of a madman to whom money meant nothing.
"I know more about the Illuminati than you do," Hagbard replied, looking bored. "Give me a philosophic reason, Harry. Is there any purpose in allowing a specimen like you to go on preying on the weak and innocent?"
"Honest, I'll go straight. I'll join your side. I'll work for you, kill anybody you want."
"That's a possibility," Hagbard conceded. "It's a slim one, though. The world is full of killers and potential killers. Thanks to the Illuminati and their governments, there's hardly an adult male alive who hasn't had some military training. What makes you think I couldn't go out on the streets of any large city and find ten better-qualified killers than you inside an afternoon?"
"Okay, okay," Harry said, breathing hard. "I don't have no college education, but I'm not a fool either. Your men dragged me from Mad Dog Jail to this submarine. You want something, Ace. Otherwise, I'd be dead already."
"Yes, I want something." Hagbard leaned back in his chair. "Now you're getting warm, Harry. I want something but I won't tell you what it is. You've got to produce it and show it to me without any clues or hints. And if you can't do that, I really will have you killed. I shit you not, fellow. This is my version of a trial for your past crimes. I'm the judge and the jury and you've got to win an acquittal without knowing the rules. How do you like that game?"
"It ain't fair."
"It's more of a chance than you gave any of the men you shot, isn't it?"
Harry Coin licked his lips. "I think you're bluffing," he ventured finally. "You're some chicken-shit liberal who doesn't believe in capital punishment. You're looking for an excuse to not kill me."
"Look into my eyes, Harry. Do you see any mercy in them?"
Coin began to perspire and finally looked down into his lap. "Okay," he said hollowly. "How much time do I have?"
Hagbard opened his drawer and took out his revolver. He cracked it open, showing the bullets, and quickly snapped it closed again. He slipped the safety catch— a procedure he later found unnecessary with George Dorn, who knew nothing about guns— and aimed at Harry's belly. "Three days and three minutes are both too long," he said casually. "If you're ever going to get it, you're going to get it now."
"Mama," Coin heard himself exclaim.
"You're going to shit your pants in a moment," Hagbard said coldly. "Better not. I find bad smells offensive, and I might shoot you just for that. And mama isn't here, so don't call her again."
Coin saw himself lunging across the room, the gun roaring in mid-leap, but at least trying to get his hands on this bastard's throat before dying.
"Pointless," Hagbard grinned icily. "You'd never get out of the chair." His finger tightened slightly, and Coin's gut churned; he knew enough about guns to know how easy it was to have an accident, and he thought of the gun going off even before the bastard Celine intended it to, maybe even as he was on the edge of guessing the goddam riddle, the pointlessness of it was the final horror, and he looked again into those eyes without guilt or pity or any weakness he could exploit; then, for the first time in his life, Harry Coin knew peace, as he relaxed into death.
"Good enough," Hagbard said from far away, snapping the safety back in place. "You've got more on the ball than either of us realized."
Harry slowly came back and looked at that face and those eyes. "God," he said.
"I'm going to give you the gun in a minute," Hagbard went on. "Then it's my turn to sweat. Of course, if you kill me you'll never get off this sub alive, but maybe you'll think that's worthwhile, just for revenge. On the other hand, maybe you'll be curious about that instant of peace— and you'll wonder if there's an easier way to get back there and if I can teach it to you. Maybe. One more thing, before I toss you the gun. Everybody who joins me does it by free choice. When you said you'd come over to my side just because you were afraid of dying, you had no value to me at all. Here's the gun, Harry. Now, I want you to check it. There are no gimmicks, no missing firing pin or anything like that. No other tricks, either— nobody watching you through a peephole and ready to gun you down the minute you aim at me, or anything like that. I'm totally at your mercy. What are you going to do?"
Harry examined the gun carefully, and looked back at Hagbard. He had never studied kinetics and orgonomy as Hagbard had, but he could read enough of the human face and body to know what was going on in the other man. Hagbard had that same peace he himself had experienced for a moment.
"You win, you bastard," Harry said, tossing the gun back. "I want to know how you do it."
"Part of you already knows," Hagbard smiled gently, putting the gun back in the drawer. "You just did it, didn't you?"
"What would he have done if I did block?" Harry asked Stella in present time.
"Something. I don't know. A sudden act of some sort that scared you more than the gun. He plays it by ear. The Celine System is never twice the same."
"Then I was right, he wouldn't have killed me. It was all bluff."
"Yes and no." Stella looked past Harry and George, into the distance. "He wasn't acting with you, he was manifesting. The mercilessness was quite real. There was no sentimentality involved in saving you. He did it because it's part of his Demonstration."
"His Demonstration?" George asked, thinking of geometry problems and the neat Q.E.D. at the bottom, back in Nutley years and years ago.
"I've known Hagbard longer than she has," Eichmann said. "In fact, Galley and I were among the first people he enlisted. I've watched him over the years, and I still don't understand him. But I understand the Demonstration."
"You know," George said absently, "when you two first came in, I thought you were a hallucination."
"You never saw us at dinner, because we work in the kitchen," Galley explained. "We eat after everybody else."
"Only a small part of the crew are former criminals," Stella told George, who was looking confused. "Rehabilitating a Harry Coin— pardon me, Harry— doesn't really excite Hagbard much. Rehabilitating policemen and politicians, and teaching them useful trades, is work that really turns Hagbard on."
"But not for sentimental reasons," Eichmann emphasized. "It's part of his Demonstration."
"It's his Memorial to the Mohawk Nation, too," Stella said. "That trial set him off. He tried a direct frontal assault that time, attempting to cut through the logogram with a scalpel. It didn't work, of course; it never does. Then he decided: 'Very well, I'll put them where words can't help, and see what they do then.' That's his Demonstration."
Hagbard, actually— well, not actually; this is just what he told me— had started with two handicaps, intending to prove that they weren't handicaps. The first was that he would have a bank balance of exactly $00.00 at the beginning, and the second was that he would never kill another human being throughout the Demonstration. That which was to be proved (namely, that government is a hallucination, or a self-fulfilling prophecy) could be shown only if all his equipment, including money and people, came to him through honest trade or voluntary association. Under these rules, he could not shoot even in self-defense, for the biogram of government servants was to be preserved, and only their logograms could be disconnected, deactivated and defused. The Celine System was a consistent, although flexible, assault on the specific conditioned reflex— that which compelled people to look outside themselves, to a god or a government, for direction or strength. The servants of government all carried weapons; Hagbard's insane scheme depended on rendering the weapons harmless. He called this the Tar-Baby Principle ("You Are Attached To What You Attack").
Being a man of certain morbid self-insight, he realized that he himself exemplified the Tar-Baby Principle and that his attacks on government kept him perpetually attached to it. It was his malign and insidious notion that government was even more attached to him; that his existence qua anarchist qua smuggler qua outlaw aroused greater energetic streaming in government people than their existence aroused in him: that, in short, he was the Tar Baby on which they could not resist hurling themselves in anger and fear: an electrochemical reaction in which he could bond them to himself just as the Tar Baby captured anyone who swung a fist at it.