‘The Targeter,’ a Surreal Novel, Chapter Seventeen

Some people, my followers, surely, are taking me somewhere. I’m walking with them on that sidewalk, from where I was, in front of my apartment building, to wherever they’re taking me.

We’ve crossed an intersection, and we’re continuing our walk down the side of the road. I see a tank rolling along in front of me, with soldiers running near it.

I just heard another explosion, with a flash of light overhead. The machine gun fire is louder than before, as if we’re getting closer to the action.

Oh, I see. These people are taking me into a park where there’s one of those Chinese temples. A man is there, grinning and greeting me with a bow and a handshake. What are my followers planning to do for me?

They’ve had me sit at a bench by the front of the temple. I vaguely sense them rubbing my arms, shoulders, and back, as if treating wounds. Remember that my ketamine high is still strong, desensitizing and disorienting me.

The man is saying something to me. My listening comprehension of Mandarin is limited enough as it is; imagine how difficult it must be when a non-native speaker like me is drunk and stoned out of his mind!

I’m trying to make out what he’s saying: “Give you…eat medicine” (Gei nichr yao)?…or…”Give you…temple” (Gei ni…sz miao)? Oh, that’s it! One of my new followers is donating this temple and park to me and the members of my spiritual, political movement! How thoughtful and generous of him!

“Thank you!” I say to him in slurred Chinese, shaking his hand again. This gift must be in thanks for my having just tamed that giant snake back there.

The man has a little blue pill in one hand and a small paper cup of water in the other. He wants me to take the pill. Is it ecstasy? Is he helping me intensify my high? I hope so, for I feel great! I’m swallowing down the pill and water in eager anticipation.

Those people who were rubbing me are now wrapping…bandages?…around my arms. No, not bandages–glowing, golden robes, Oriental robes! More gifts in thanks for saving them from the snake–more gifts to honour me!

Hey, who’s that striding over to me in such a hurry? That’s no Asian…it’s a white man in his mid-twenties, I’d say. What does he want with me?

“Hey, buddy,” he says (Did he say ‘buddy,’ or ‘Buddha’?) It’s good to hear English for a change, instead of having to struggle to understand Chinese. “What are you doing here? What country are you from?” (I think that’s what he said.)

“I’m from India,” I think I’ve said. He’s looking at me with a sneer of incredulity and confusion.

“Are you high?” he asks (I think.). “I’m trying to get all foreigners off the island and back to safety. It’s the only reason I’m still here, as crazy as my remaining here is. Your family must be worried about you, and will want you to go back to them. Let me help you do that.”

…at least I think that’s what he said…did he? No, that can’t be right. I’m much too estranged from all the people of the Sakia Corporation for any of them to care about me enough to try to find me here and get me away from this hellhole of a war zone.

He must have said something else. What could it be? Let me think…

Oh, I know! My father and stepmother, the king and queen of Sakia, along with my wife and son, and my cousin, all want me to go back to the palace to convert them to the New Way. They, too, want to be my followers! They no longer want to sell weapons! How wonderful!

But I cannot abandon my followers here. They need me to help them transform this island from one of war to one of peace. Instead of taking an airplane back there, I’ll just stay here physically, and I’ll use my power to send my energy, my vibrations of peace and love, all the way across the ocean so the family can receive them and be enlightened. I’ll have to concentrate with particular intensity.

OK, I’ve closed my eyes and I’m focusing. I can feel the vibes flowing in me, through me, and outside of me. It’s so soothing, so peaceful.

Oh, now I can feel myself melting into water again. My body-as-water is projecting outwards in a growing circle, soaking all of my surroundings and all those people around me, including the man who gave me the pill (Is it kicking in now? I am really high!) and the white man who wanted me to leave this island and see my royal family in the palace on the other side of the ocean. As everyone here is soaked in my water, he or she is blessed with vibrations of peace and love.

“Oh, forget it,” I hear someone say–the white man, presumably. “Junkie.” I hear footsteps going away from me.

Did he say that, or did he say something else? No, he said, “Oh, forgive sin, Jain king.” That’s it! He’s received my blessings, and he’s expressed his appreciation! Now he’s leaving to help me find more followers!

My water is now expanding further. It’s reached the shore of the island and is now merging with the ocean. Yes, now I’m at one with the ocean, filling it with love and enlightenment, and I’m reaching the coast on the other side, on the mainland where the king and queen live.

My water is flowing onto the land there now, inching closer and closer to the palace. Everyone who is on the land, in my path on my way to the palace, is getting soaked by me and is receiving my blessings.

Finally, I’ve reached the palace! I’m soaking its outer walls, going in through the opened windows, and soaking the interior. I can feel the nearby presence of my father and stepmother, my wife and son, and my cousin. They will receive my goodness soon.

Yes, they are now being splashed with it! I can feel their blooming bliss as they get soaked!

I can hear their voices, voices of love.

“Yes, my son, I understand now,” my father is saying. “I understand that profiting off of war is wrong. I should not be making money off of the suffering of others. I’ll dissolve Sakia and invest in your movement. The cause of peace and provision for the poor is the right one.”

“Forgive me, Sid Arthur,” the queen, my stepmother, is saying. “I mistreated you when you were a child. I wasn’t loving to you. Now I understand my wrongdoing. I wish to make amends.”

“You were right to leave us and use your power to help the world,” my wife, Jessie, says, holding our son, Raoul, who is beaming at me with love in his eyes. “Now we can share your blessings with everyone else.”

“Thank you for helping me to see the error of my envious ways, Sid,” my cousin, David, says. “I will join your movement. I must say, though, that your methods of leadership could use some improvement. I believe that I can lead your movement more effectively. Please allow me to have the chance to demonstrate my superior abilities.”


I can faintly hear more explosions and gunfire. They feel closer than ever. I’d better return to my human form on the island.

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