‘The Targeter,’ a Surreal Novel, Chapter Fifteen

I look around at all of the water that surrounds me and is me, and just as I expected, some of it is concentrating, congealing, coagulating, swirling into the shape of my body so that I’m returning to my human form.

In fact, instead of seeing nothing but endless water in all directions, I’m beginning to see the front yard of my apartment building again. I look up and down, and I see the tree above me, the tree I saw that wise old man meditating under so peacefully, and I see myself seated under it, having finished peacefully meditating myself.

I look ahead and, just as I predicted!…my five followers have returned. Surely, they want to hear me tell them my new insights. Along with my enlightenment, I seem to have acquired clairvoyance into the future!

I’ve become a saint!

I see the five of them crouching before me in a semicircle. eager to learn the Way. They’re looking at me with loving, attentive, concerned eyes.

I hear an explosion from up in the sky, with a flashing light. Then I hear some machine gun fire.

Meh. I’ll ignore it. I have much more important things to do than worry about that right now.

“I will now teach you the Three Unities,” I begin in a slurred voice. (My ketamine high is still strong; I hope it won’t impair my ability to impart my message.) “These are the Unities of Space, Time, and Action.”

I see confusion on all five faces. Surely what I’m saying isn’t so abstract, is it? And my speech, as slurred as it is, isn’t so unclear that my words are unintelligible, is it?

Oh, wait: yeah, I’m in East Asia. These five people are Asians, and in all likelihood, none of them understands a word of English, or certainly not well enough to follow what I’m trying to say.

I’ll repeat what I just said, but in Mandarin. Surely I’m not too drunk and stoned to be able to speak intelligibly in Chinese, am I? I’ve lived on this island for many years, having achieved a reasonable level of fluency in the local language, so I’ll try again…

…After having said in Chinese what I said before in English, I see them still sneering at me, not seeming to understand a word I’m saying.

I close my eyes, open them, and try again.

Now I see myself in ancient Asian robes, as are all five of my followers, who look at me with smiles of love. We’re inside what seems to be a palace, all ornately designed like one of the old Chinese emperors’, with gold on the walls. Rapt, my five followers eagerly await to hear what I have to say.

In broken Chinese, I say again, “I teach you of the Three Unities, those of Space, Time, and Action. Mastering these ideas in meditation, you’ll gain wisdom, end all of your suffering, and lead the world in a quest for peace and justice.”

The five of them are looking at me with glowing eyes and toothy grins, hungrily digesting my message.

I continue, in the best Chinese my wasted ass can muster: “Everywhere within us and around us, up above, down below, behind us, in front of us, and to our left and right, is all one. The ego is an illusion. When we fully understand this, selfishness vanishes, replaced by selflessness and compassion for everyone and every living thing.”

I look in their eyes and listen to their responses. In my continuing drug trip, I can’t make out their every word, but can hear only distinct fragments of what they’re saying–words like “crazy,” “love,” and “talk.”

I think for a minute, trying to put these pieces together. I know! They said, “I’m crazy about his message! I love to hear him talk!” That’s it!

“All of time is in cycles of beginning, middle, and end,” I continue, looking in the eyes of my captive quintet of an audience. “But the only time that matters is NOW, for NOW is the only time that is real. The past and future are just mental constructs with no real meaning.”

I listen for their responses. “What’s he talking about?” I think one of them has said with a sneer. Did one of them just call me “crazy”? I think I just heard the words “on drugs.” Well, they’re right about that.

BOOM! Wow, I just heard another loud explosion, with a blinding flash of light. The machine gun fire is louder, too.

The golden palace walls just disappeared, and we’re all outside again, in front of my apartment, in our modern clothes.

I’ll just have to keep on trying to explain, and maybe my five listeners will understand. I must be as clear as I can with my ungrammatical Mandarin.

“All action, all phenomena in the world,” I resume, “are examples of yin and yang, of unified opposites.” I’m trying my best to get these ideas across with the limitations of my Chinese vocabulary. Maybe they can relate to what I’m saying by my comparing it to Taoist concepts. We’ll see.

I’m straining my ears, with all the noise of war around us, to make out their comments. I’m hearing only fragments. I hear “loves,” “hear,” “himself,” and “talk.” I need a moment to put it all together…”I love…to hear…him talk”…that’s it! How encouraging! I’m getting through to them! The golden palace walls have returned, as have our ancient clothes.

“We must see people…and the world,” I carry on, “in a way…that’s not too far to one extreme…or the other. Don’t over-idealize people and things, and don’t hate or be too rejecting…of them.”

Are they smiling at me…or sneering? It’s hard to see in the dark, when you’re high on K. The golden walls are gone.

“We must be open with each other,” I tell them. “To heal, we must express ourselves, in speech, writing, and art. We must also help others…to express themselves…by giving them our ears.”

They’re giving me their ears, but their sneering must mean I still haven’t made myself clear. It sure is hard to communicate when you’re stoned. We’re in our modern clothes again.

BOOM! Another, even louder, explosion has lit up the sky with an even brighter flash of light. I know! It must be the light of understanding coming to my followers, for I see we’re all flying in the air, about to spread the word of the Way.

Yes, we’ve flown out the windows of the golden palace, our flowing Asian robes fluttering in the night sky, as we travel long distances to spread the word.

What’s that noise? No, it can’t be more machine gun fire, not with the light of liberation glowing all around. That must have been fireworks and firecrackers: my followers and I are celebrating the coming of enlightenment to the world!

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