IN THE PARK
Know the dogs
Know the kitties
And know the fog
Know the moon
Know the sun
Know the birdies
They like to have fun
I woke up to the sound of singing. It took me a minute to get
my bearings. Park. Man. Laughter. As my eyes moved into focus,
I could see a white, linen-covered service tray in front of
me the kind whisked through finer hotels when room service
is ordered. On top of the tray was a silver serving set and
a crystal vase holding a stemmed yellow tulip. Gnothi was flicking
the silver trays and the crystal goblets with his fingers. Each
item on the tray rang out in a different musical note. He was
singing again, Any way the wind blows, doesn't really matter
is served," he announced, as he removed the silver lids from
the trays- revealing a full breakfast for two that included
coffee, orange juice, poached eggs, english muffins, bacon,
grilled new potatoes and something I hadn't seen in a
long time grits.
I still wasn't fully coherent. "Sir," I exclaimed in bewilderment.
I get this," he broke in . "Does it surprise you that carts,
linens and eggs exist? They're everywhere, really. We're not
exactly talking rare commodities here. Let's eat first. The
where's and how's are merely technicalities. We can discuss
all that later. I got grits here, too. You like grits, don't
I couldn't argue with the man, or the fact that a bountiful
meal was sitting in front of me ready to be enjoyed and
I was hungry. The small glass of freshly-squeezed orange juice
was the first to go, and seemed to bring me back to life. I
followed that with a few cautious sips of steaming-hot coffee.
The rest of the breakfast was so good, we ate in silence. As
I was wiping the last bit of egg drippings off my plate with
the last piece of muffin, he asked, "So, do you have have any
big plans for the day?"
I had to remember. Today. Sunday. "No plans," I answered.
he blurted. "Because I have big plans, and I'd like to include
you." I stood up and stretched the previous night from by bones
and muscles, and thanked him for the breakfast, "I don't know
how you did it, but I thank you and my stomach thanks you
those grits were delicious haven't had them in years."
you're Boomer's grandkid, huh," he mentioned. "I've heard a
lot about you. You're a big name in some parts." Gnothi's eyes
were so full of kindness, that once I really got a half-decent
look at him, my nervous system went off auto-pilot surveillance,
and I relaxed. Whoever he was, he was a good man. I had always
been able to detect trouble and kindness in a persons' eyes.
I trusted my instincts, and somehow, I trusted Gnothi. From
then on, I never really questioned his motivations even,
if sometimes, his actions were strange. He instantly gained
my respect, and has retained it for as long as I've known him
which has been quite a long time now.
what are the big plans?" I asked.
we have an after-breakfast smoke to warm up the pipes,"
he said. "It'll get the lead out."
I was not a big smoker, but I did enjoy smoking various herbs
and substances on occasion, and this morning was one of those
what-the-heck kind of mornings. He fired up something hand-rolled,
puffed the tip into a bright-red cherry, and handed the white
cigarette over to me as he exhaled a cloud of blue smoke.
you mind if I ask what this is?" I chimed, as I pinched the
filter end between my fingers. "I don't recognize the smell."
Gnothi laughed. He said, "To ask what something is, doesn't
make any sense, nor does it provide an effective way to truly
He was trying to "E" me. "I know all about the verb to be,"
I said. "And, anyway, I heard you ask me last night, "Are
you related to Barnum, the dreamer?"
did nothing of the sort," he said. "I said, 'You, by chance
wouldn't be...,' he stopped and laughed. "OK, you got
what is this stuff?" I asked
called shizzlebot," he chuckled. "Something a few of my old
friends whipped up in a lab a long time ago."
I had heard about "shizz" for years. It was something I'd heard
about from Boomer, and occasionally in certain circles of speculative
gossip. I figured it for something between a rumor and over-active
imaginations. If anything, it wasn't for kids, and by the time
I had grown old enough to really learning about it, shizz had
basically vanished from people's lips and minds. They had developed
other dreaming boosters since then. Shizz was to dreaming what
a Ford Model T was to automobiles a throwback and something
of an obsolete relic. I didn't even know it was still around.
I drew the rice-paper-rolled shizz to my mouth, and pulled on
it. The smoke was actually pleasant, and tasted of almonds.
So, this is shizz, I thought. Holy smokes.
Gnothi and I finished the shizz cigarette. "I don't feel anything,"
anything," he questioned, ponderingly. "Why should you feel
anything? Let's take a walk. It takes some time to kick in,
and, anyway I have an idea."
We walked through the deserted park. The sun couldn't have been
up for more than an hour or so. The "Q" indicator on my personal
communicator told me it was later in the day than I had realized.
"Q" stood for "quite early". I had expected to see "V"
We walked abreast out of the park and headed north, in the opposite
direction from my apartment, towards the Toland district
an old neighborhood with artists' lofts and rows of small import
shops. If you needed a white elephant, spices or exotic mushrooms
you went to Toland. Toland, as a matter of fact, had
been the start of Cherrys' father's big international transport
empire. After Two Teeth Deliveries had prospered so well in
Butler years ago, they had moved away to bigger cities and into
franchising their operations. The company was renamed 2T Transporters
and had worked its way into becoming the largest transport
service. It was something close to a monopoly. Cherrys' father,
or Big Red, as he was called, was the man and the company to
use for moving things around. Big Red moved the headquarters
for 2T into this neighborhood years ago when it was basically
run-down, deserted warehouses. Somewhere along the way, people
started calling the area Toland. Although, Big Red and Cherry
were probably still around somehwere, I hadn't seen either of
them in years. Not since things changed. Not since everything
I looked over at Gnothi as we entered the first streets of Toland.
The sunlight was hitting his face, and I realized I was actually
getting a good look at him for the first time. This was definitely
not a man who was homeless and without friends. He was a little
shorter than my tall frame, and stockier than me. He had thick,
silver hair that grew strong out of his head, in the fortunate
fashion afforded by Greeks and other cultures of the Mediterranean.
Had he been of Irish decent , like me, surely he would have
lost some hair by his age. He appeared to be in his late-fifties,
probably twice my age, and was quite physically fit and
even had a refined air about him. This was no bum.
if I ask where we're going?" I inquired.
going to see someone I know and try out his new movers," Gnothi
informed me. "And we need to step on it before this shizz kicks
A few minutes later we were standing in front of what looked
like a candy story. The sign above the front window read, "Tootie
Frootie Candies." While it was not general knowledge, I knew
that this was probably one of Big Red's establishments. He'd
opened other businesses, and had a humorous ways of playing
on the original "Two Teeth" name. I'd seen his entrepeneurial
antics. I really hadn't kept track over the years, but I always
got a chuckle when I saw or heard of a company that was probably
the suspected doings of Big Red.
Gnothi walked first into the small shop. There was a young woman
behind the counter. The shop was bursting with an array of brightly-colored
candies carefully lit and displayed for maximum mouth-watering
effect. "Do you carry any of those Big Red candies in this fine
establishment?" asked Gnothi. The woman seemed to look at him
knowlingly, and replied, "Just a moment, I believe we have some
in the back."
She disappeared into the back of the shop. A few moments later
I heard laughter coming from behind a screaming-yellow door
marked "office". She reappeared and said, "Would you please
come in," with a motion of her hand.
I followed Gnothi through the door. It lead down a long hallway
smattered with posters of different candies with names like
Movers, Shakers, Pizzles and Jumpers. Just as we turned a corner
that opened into a large, high-ceilinged area, I distinctly
saw a poster for a candy called Shizzles. The animated image
on the poster had a person with three heads moving around in
a spinning motion.
As we entered the open area, I saw what looked like old, open
MRI machines all around the room. A large man was sitting at
an old roll-top desk with his back to us. A moment later he
spun around in his wooden swivel chair. It looked like Big Red,
but I hadn't seen his face in years.
Gnothi and I stopped half-way and stood in the middle of the
area. The large man rose from his chair, as he balanced a pair
of bi-focals on his nose. He stopped for a moment, and seemed
to be squinting. Then he let out a laugh. "Barnum Arman! Boy,
oh, boy been a long time," he snorted. "How the fuck
are you, you little shit."
It was Big Red, alright.
Mr. Farthington," I said. Big Red was still John Farthington
to me. I had known the man all my life, and addressing him by
his surname was all I'd ever known.
call me Red," he offered. "We're all grown-up, big people now,
and we can chuck the formalities."
Red," I said. It felt funny on my tongue, to call him that in
my friend," said Red. "What can we do ya' for."
Gnothi laughed, "Red, I've had the good fortune to finally make
the acquaintance of Barnum here. We're well-fed and shizzing,
and we'd liked to move. By chance, could we employ the services
of the new movers?"
Red laughed, "So, you want to go to the movies on shizz, huh.
How long you got?"
long," Gothi said.
Here's what I knew about shizzlebot. The primary effect of shizz,
and all boosters, really, was to remove the element of chance.
It also distorts the space/time continiuum. Essentially, shizz
works before, during and after ingestion. To put it in
another way, it was not a coincidence that I had converged with
Gnothi the previous night. He had moved me, himself and the
location of the park, all to a single event. He knew I was coming.
He had moved me there. Dreaming is a bit of an antiquated term
these days moving is the vernacular. Boosters
like shizz primarily set-up a local gravitational field. Objects,
events and even people can then be attracted to the "sweet spot".
When a person uses shizz, they become the sweet spot.
Put another way, you've certainly experienced events in your
life that seemed outside the realm of chance. Someone would
call you just as you were thinking of them, or something you
needed manifested. Some people have called that syncronicity.
Shizz, essentially boosts the process.
People who shizzed and used other boosters without the aid of
movers were called Wanderers. Unaided boosting was very dangerous,
as it manifested all sorts of events and objects to the sweet
spot of the one boosting. Free associations materialized instantly
often with disasterous effects. Wanderers were bascially
the junkies of dreaming and moving. Luckily, they were few in
number. Boosters were not easily obtainable. One had to have
an association with the Blue Men in order to procure boosters.
A crude version of shizz actually made it into the general population
towards the latter part of the 20th century. It was know as
MDMA, Adam, Eve but mostly as Ecstacy. It was kid's stuff
compared even to shizz.
Transporters, or movers as they're called, lock in on the coordinates
of mental concentration made by those boosting. The problem
with shizzing and boosting in general, is that as it starts
to enter the phase in which the gravitiational field is strongest,
all sorts of things and events can manifest and if the
mind and thoughts are wandering, as they do so well, a lot of
undesirable effects can occur. What movers do is to capture
and amplify the vibrations occuring in the general thought pattern.
Once the mover has locked in on the predominant thought-patterns,
it amplifies the desired images, and compresses undesired images
and thought associations. In many ways it's not dissimilar to
watching a televison program, except that you become the producer
of the show.
If you concentrate on a dozen roses for one mintute, chances
are the thought of roses, although occuring for most of that
time, will not be the only thoughts in the mind. Free associations
occur. The roses may trigger thoughts of a person or place,
and those thoughts may easily be undesirable. Movers map the
predominant wave of mental concentration over a selected, short
period and then allow for an extended period of locked
Movers basically move space/time rather than things or people.
The commercial applications of movers are such that, if a box
of oranges was needed from a distant place, instead of moving
the oranges to the desired place, the mover collasped the space/time
continuum, and created one place and one time
where the oranges and the destination existed simultaneously.
Once the mover had the oranges, it was switched to a lower power
mode, and the oranges were "delivered" in tack to the destination.
The one oddity, and ultimately very interesting aspect of this
process was, once the box of oranges arrives at their
destination, the original box of oranges still exists,
and in perfect, undisturbed condition, and in their original
location. Movers, in effect, make exact clones of objects
and even events.
It was also the introduction of the technology of movers that
caused everything to change and that's also when everything
The older way of looking at time and space was that every point
in space would have the same time. That anything happening at
some other place would be simultaneous with what is happening
here. When it was realized that the velocity of light was the
same for all observers, then it meant that all points in space
do not have the same time. It also means that you would disagree
with someone else who is far away about the sequence of events
and you could not agree if two event were simultaneous. What
this meant was that time and the three directions in space are
very much like four different dimensions of space, that time
was really very much like one of the x, y, or z directions.
Relativity effects arise mostly out of the mixing together of
these different directions in a four-dimensional space. I think
I took too many words and may not have helped you. Ask again
if that is the case.
If some of this is confusing you, you are not alone. Confusion
was a major problem for a while until people got use to the
fact that they were no longer required to live and exist exclusively
in local space/time. Everything was different after that. Real
estate markets virtually collapsed, and a lot of other things
The idea that people could essentially create a world of their
own choosing, without moving in physical space, was a tough
nut to crack for some. Of course, everyone could still walk
around and enjoy what there was in their every day three-dimensional
reality, but life in a four-dimensional world became all the
Anyway, let's get back to the candy shop. Everything will become
clear to you. These are not easy concepts to follow, at first.
You'll get the hang of it soon enough.
The new movers Red was working on were down another hallway,
and sitting in a room with a huge glass-domed ceiling. I could
see and feel the day in the room. These movers didn't look anything
like the MRI-like machines that had been in Red's office. These
movers looked more like shiny, metallic self-contained flight
Suddenly, and seemingly out of nowhere, a whole pile of old
books crashed on to the floor in front of me. Dust exploded
into the air and covered me. I couldn't see. I coughed.
better get you into the movers," laughed Red. "You're starting
to shizz-out. If we don't step on it, we might be swimming in
a room full of cows or old girlfriends in a minute." I felt
a strong, large hand grab me by the arm and guide me through
the dust-filled air. "Watch your head," I heard Red say. "Here,
sit down." I felt what seemed to be a large, leathery chair.
I managed to sit back in it. Then I heard a door close.
you in?" I heard Red holler from outside the mover.
in," shouted Gnothi. "In and comfy!."
The dust cleared from my eyes, and I could see inside the mover.
It was low-lit in a bath of warm, amber light. There were no
controls or buttons of any kind that I could spot. I ran my
hands over the interior of the mover, and it felt like some
type of soft acoustical foam. I noticed I could hear my own
breathing. I knew from experience that the mover's interior
was designed to be an anechoic chamber which meant that
it was acoustically dead there was no reverberation of
sound waves. None. Which also meant that any sound emitted in
the space was greatly ampified. To say you could hear a pin
drop would be an understatement. A dropping pin would sound
like a gunshot in there.
The sound of my breath increased. I began to hear my own heartbeat.
Soon, the sound of blood rushing through my veins filled the
chamber. I even thought I heard myself blink. The sound of my
eye lids closing together seemed to send out a clicking sound.
I began to hear a whirling hum. It grew louder. It was mixed
with what sounded like a drum beat of some sort. The hum lowered
in pitch, and then began to change into a kind of rhythmic bass
sound. Then, to my surprise, I began to hear a distinct guitar
part that sounded like something Bob Marley might play. Soon,
a chorus of singing filled my ears. As crazy as I thought it
sounded, it was undeniable.
C'mon all you people
Let' me hear ya' sing
The chamber began to darken, and my field of vision disappeared.
The smells of a festive crowd began to fill my nose perfume,
sweating bodies, flowers, coconuts and fruits and the odor of
what I recognized as ganja.
The feelings and nerves in my body faded away. I couldn't sense
my body any longer.
The next thing I knew, my field of vision was returning. The
bright glare of the sun stung my eyes. I could see the tops
of palm trees swaying in the wind. I heard laughter of men and
women, and the high-pitched giggling of children.
I heard Gnothi's voice say. "Barnum, just relax - we're here.
And we'll be more here in just a minute."
I turned my head to find the source of Gnothi's voice. I could
see him standing within arms reach of me. He had on a loud,
flowered shirt, and a big shiny grin on his face.
The feeling was returning to my body, and I soon noticed I was
standing. I slid my feet slightly to check the ground and get
the body connections back. It felt like I was standing in sand.
A spinning sensation that I was feeling in my body was subsiding.
Then, in much the way everything had faded a few moments ago
everything faded back to real and I was here
or there, depending on how one looks at it.
Gnothi and I were standing on a beach. It appeared to be an
island of some sort, as there was an ocean surf all along the
beach for as far as the eye could see. I felt warm air all around
my body, and sweat on my brow.
Gnothi handed me something to drink. A drink with a pineapple
slice and a little green umbrella on the top. I took a sip.
It was rum and fruit juice. It was good and refeshing.
Just as I was turning to Gnothi to inquire as to our whereabouts
and what was going on, a tall, dark-skinned man with long, flowing
dreadlocks walked towards us.
to Jamaica, mon", the dark man said smilingly, with his arms
Jamaica, I thought.
I turned to Gnothi, who was by then bursting out with laughter.
we're in Jamaica," Gnothi said, as he began to move off in the
direction of the music. He turned his head around towards me
as he walked away, kicking up sand and waving his drink in the
air as he went.
can I say," he laughed. "I needed a vacation."