main | archive | about us | feedback



- Books
- Games
- Gear
- Music
- News
- Software

search mindjack

The best of the web.

Mindjack Radio
Powered by WWW.com

Mailing List
Get informed of site updates.







Chapter Four


An impromptu bath in the ocean had turned out to be just what I'd needed. I welcomed the glistening water beading on my skin as I made my way back down the beach under the warm rays of a setting Carribean sun. Gnothi walked a good pace ahead of me, carefree of the rising tide that intermittently brushed his ankles.

A little silence was golden at that point. I followed behind with nothing but the sound of a gently pulsing surf in my ears. There had been a lot to wrap your brain around in those days. A lot of the notions that people held about life had flown out the window since everything had changed.

My mind drifted back to the early days of the first Wanderers. The very first small group of Wanderers was nothing more than a gang of local punks who occasionally commited petty crimes in the town where I grew up. The town of the tinkerers, inventors and dreamers. They were high-school-age kids back then. They were not bad by nature. They just caused the kinds of trouble that adolescents do when they've got too much time on their hands and not enough stimulation to keep them constructively occupied.

Their extra curricular activities basically amounted to breaking windows, taunting the local girls and, every so often, breaking into the back of a small shop and stealing a few things. Nothing major, but still enough to keep the small three-man force in the sheriff's office engaged. The punks suspected actitivites, whether real or imagined, were the frequent agenda at PTA meetings. Some of the more hot-headed citizens would bellow in outrage, demanding that something be done to fight what they liked to call, "the rising scourge of organized crime".

The acknowedged leader of the punks, and the kid who took the most flak, was David Alexander Mince. Everyone just called him Chipper. Chipper lived in a run-down house with his elderly and mostly-deaf aunt. Both his parents had died in a car accident when Chipper was four years-old. I hadn't really known Chipper that well, because he was older than I was. He was a senior in high school when I was in the fourth grade. All of my friends back then, we all thought he was pretty jazzin'. He seemed to come and go from his aunts' house as he pleased. And he was one of the few kids in town who didn't have a Cherry bike. He had a small motor scooter of some sort, and to many of us kids back then, Chipper was about as cool as it got. But he did have a mean streak, and my grandfather, Boomer, didn't really care for him. So, I usually avoided direct contact with Chipper when possible.

Chipper was a tall, skinny square-headed kid, who actually played a pretty mean trumpet. He had what was considered long hair back then, which he kept permantly greased back with polmade. I never saw Chipper with a coat on. Even in the dead of winter, we'd see him scurry around town on his scooter wearing only dark, long pants and his trademark white, v-necked t-shirt. He seemed impervious to pain, and this gained him a reputation with the local kids as something of a Superman. I'd heard gossiping grown-ups call him everything from a bastard to an evil Nazi sympathizer.

Whatever Chipper was or had been, I'm sure the town assisted him along his way to being what he would become. He became the scapegoat for all the ills of a small, local township. If something was percieved as bad or not-just-right, Chipper was always the first assumed association.

To many people, even after all these years, David Alexander Mince is considered to be, by some accounts, a hero. No one — even those who don't agree on his heroic stature, actually consider that Chipper was ever really evil. He was a curious kid who had some tough breaks dealt to him early in life. Whether Chipper was a sinner or a saint, or a bit of both, he was the one who started the fourth-dimensional ball rolling.

Chipper was the one who changed everything.

That was common knowledge. What was not so common, was the knowledge of how a very particular set of circumstances and events had transpired. I had long known quite a large portion of the puzzle, and after Gnothi had filled in the remaining pieces back at the mooring, I could now see the whole picture. Obviously, Chipper had not orchestrated the changes alone. Had he been a troubled kid in any other small town, he would have had little or no affect on the world-at-large. But, he had moved in with his aunt in his youth, whether by chance or cosmic design. His aunts' address was in the town of the tinkerers, inventors and dreamers.


The very moment and interval, the exact nanosecond in the timeline of humanity when the very first thread in the fabric of space-time began to fray, has been calculated to be at 20:01 hours on the evening of the 10th day of October in the year 1947. For those running to check an old calendar — that was a Tuesday.

Tuesday nights, at seven o'clock sharp, the regularly-scheduled temple meetings began. Beginning in the autumn of 1947, they had also become the nights of the dream sessions. Those early dream sessions were boosted with Remington — Boomer's invention to aid in the recall of dreams. On the night of October 10th, after thirty minutes of old business, and thirty minutes of new business had been addressed, the Blue Men adjourned to the secret back rooms. That night, there was an uninvited guest hiding behind a large bookshelf undetected by the men. For the first time during their dream sessions, the Blue Men were not alone.

Chipper saw it all that night. The Tray, the cots, the snoozing men and something else. He saw the Remington, and it's secret hiding place. The cat was out of the bag.

I had known, as some others had known, at least about the existence of Rem. Even when I was young I had heard references to it by Boomer. Although no one outside of a certain circle had ever seen it, it was generally regarded as a harmless dreaming aid. Since dreaming had gained some degree of respect in the town, and the dangerous experiments had disappeared from the public eye, Rem wasn't something that busy-bodies gave much attention. There were other fish to fry.

After Chipper had secretly witnessed the proceedings of the men that night, he became the unseen fly-on-the-wall for many meetings.

At some point, not too long after Chipper's initial discovery, he snuck into the temple late one night and procured for himself an infinitesimally small amount of Rem. He had already shared much of his new-found information with a select few of his punk friends. Together, they had already fashioned a version of the Tray. They had brought a few sleeping bags to an old abandonded warehouse that served as their HQ and hideout. With Rem in hand, he had all he needed. It was the beginning of Chipper's dream.

During the early months of 1948, Chipper and his aunt suddenly moved into a large Victorian house. They filled the place with beautiful, expensive furniture. His aunt bought a new top-of-the-line Oldsmobile, and Chipper bought a brand-new Triumph motorcycle. Word on the street was that after years and years of a drawn-out court case, a large cash settlement had been awarded to Chipper from the insurance company of the car that had collided into Chipper's parents and killed them.

Chipper's aunt, whose name no one can remember for some reason, was suddenly asked to all the society ladies functions. She went to some. She liked coffee and crumb cake — something always present in abundance at the afternoon society meetings. She didn't talk much, but she smiled a lot, and she was apparently quite wealthy. Apparent wealth and a smile were the only two qualifications needed for membership in the Ladies Society Club.

I never did see any signs that Chipper had bought a coat or even a wind jacket. He could still be seen, and heard, cruising bare-armed through the streets on his Triumph. Even after all the material wealth in the world had appeared out of nowhere and dropped in his lap, I still never saw him in anything other than a white, v-necked t-shirt, dark pants and boots. Chipper had also taken up smoking cigarettes in public, which essentially propelled him into the ranks of adulthood, as far as we kids were concerned. Back then, from the point-of-view of our youthful eyes, Chipper had every outward appearance of living nothing less than the ultimate life. He dropped out of high school, and began playing lead trumpet full-time in a local professional jazz combo. I didn't know much about the music they played back then, but they were generally considered to be of very high quality. Later, they even made road trips to New York City. They were called the Wanderlusters, and were for all intents and purposes — famous.

Soon after fortune had knocked on Chipper's door, the local acts of theft and the general shenanigans of the punks in the town all but dried up that year, almost in the blink of an eye. For part of that following spring the sheriff's office and the PTA meetings had little in the way to do, complain about or enforce. There were no problems at all, really. The town's people soon began to redirect their unchanneled energy into all sorts of community activities and projects. The PTA began working feverishly on planning bake sales and car washes. The sheriff's office began coordinating the production of the Policemen's Ball coming up that summer. The amount of baked goods produced that summer was astounding, and every car in town was show-room clean. All the Cherry bike delivery services were booked solid, sometimes days in advance. The Policemen's Ball, which in previous years had always been an evening of pot-luck dinners and bingo, ended up being a grand black-tie event that included valet parking, a massive fireworks display and even exotic circus animals. They even hired a live band for the event, none other than the Wanderlusters.


The house that Chipper and his aunt had moved into was one of the biggest and most beautiful houses in town. I passed it on my way to and from school each day. Towards the fall of that year, the house became a source of real entertainment and curiosity. Big, fancy cars were parked outside on the street, and some of them even had New York license plates. I saw finely-dressed women and sharp-dressed men going into the house. The wailing of jazz music and laughter could be heard from a block away. The house seemed to breath and pulse to the rhythm of the music, as if it had a life of its own.

Life in the town that summer and the fall were like nothing its citizens had ever seen or experienced. Times were good, money seemed to fill everyone's pocket. Chipper had made quite a name for himself, and all the young boys idolized him more than ever. We'd seen him playing his silver horn at some outdoor concerts thrown by a few of the local business. Even though some of the music was strange to our young ears, we all agreed that Chipper and his music made everything feel magic. When the school year started that fall, almost every boy in school signed up for band, an the most popular instrument was trumpet.

I had thought about playing trumpet, too. I had already been taking some piano lessons by them. I decided to stick with the piano, and I'm glad I did. It has served me well over the years and has been a constant companion and a never-ending fountain of inspiration in my life.

As the town approached the coming winter months, things started to change. A strangeness was in the air. I would later learn the fabric of space-time had begun to tear. The Rem had started fraying the edges — Shizzlebot was about to make it's first appearance. The entrance of shizz on to the stage of life marked the beginning of the end of normal life lived solidly in a three-dimensional world. Remington had given life something of a nice, worn-in feeling, like a pair of good, solid jeans that had been washed and worn twenty times. Shizz was different. Shizz would soon begin ripping wide, gaping holes in the fabric of the space-time continuum. Shizz was going to change everything.


I had known a good deal about shizz, Chipper, the Blue Men and how everything went ape-shit — but there were still holes. I was sure Gnothi would be able to fill me in. As I continued walking along the beach a good hundred paces behind him, the sound of the surf began fading away to the pulsing rhythm of the music we'd heard when we first arrived in Jamaica. The daylight and the sun were closing up shop as the moon and the first hour of night were reporting for duty. There must of been a thousand stars dancing in the sky.

I caught up with Gnothi just as he was entering the Jammer. The Jammer was basically a little hole in the wall. It was lit all around with hundreds of little multi-colored lights. The kind of cheap lights on a cord than people string up on trees and around their houses during the winter holidays. The whole place seemed to be made out of bamboo and driftwood. The wasn't much room inside, there might have been ten tables at best, and there was a small bar in the corner. The real business-end of the Jammer was all the outdoor tables and seating overlooking the beach. There there must have been over two hundred people out there that night. Reggie was standing behind the bar. He was dancing and holding a big spliff of ganja. Gnothi motioned me over to the bar.

"Hey, mon. What your pleasure," Reggie said with a smile, as he took a long drag on the joint.

Gnothi laughed and answered, "Reggie, we'd love to stay, but we've got to get back. Could you call Red and ask him to pick us up in thirty minutes. And while we wait, some of those great rum and fruit drinks might help take the edge off when we go through the mover."

"You got it, mon," sang Reggie as he disappeared through a little door behind the bar. A minute later he returned and made a couple of drinks for us, which he then set down on the bar. Next to the drinks he placed a large joint that looked like it had been expertly rolled. "Enjoy your drinks," he said. "And if you really wanna' take the edge off, this smoke here will polish your edges an' buff your brain."

"I'm never one to refuse gracious hospitality," Gnothi said with a giggle, as he lifted the joint and rolled it between his fingers inspectingly.

"Allow me," Reggie said, as he moved a flaming stick towards Gnothi's face. Gnothi put the joint between his lips and puffed as the fat end began to smoke and glow. He drew a few drags deep into his lungs and then passed the joint over to me. It had been quite some time since I'd seen or smoked high-grade marijuana. I had never been a big smoker, but this had been one of those what-the-heck kind of days. I took a few small puffs. It tasted sweet and smelled aromatic.

Gnothi and Reggie were laughing. "That's not a soda, Barnum," Gnothi blurted. "You don't sip it. Take a deep, long toke."

What the heck, I thought. I pulled slowly on the joint. My lungs filled with sweet, acrid smoke. It felt good. "How's that," I uttered in a short staccato cadence. No sooner had I spoken, when a huge series of coughs racked my body. My eyes began to water. I bent over in convulsions as I quickly passed off the joint to Gnothi. Smoke rushed out of my mouth and nose.

"Can I ha-rkarrphh," I breathed for air. "Can I," I coughed violently. I caught just enough air. "Water," I muttered. "Water."

Gnothi and Reggie were howling and snickering and banging their hands on the top of the bar.

"I think he's on fire, mon!" Reggie exclaimed with loud laughter as I bent over deeper clutching my gut. "And he's goin' down. Man overboard!"

I raised my head to look up and get my bearings. I could see Gnothi grinning and toking on the joint. A tall glass of water appeared on the bar. "Here ya' go, mon," Reggie said. "Now, you can sip!"

That sent Gnothi and Reggie into another wave of hooting and laughter. I took a long drink of the cooling water. My eyes had teared and were burning. I dipped my fingers in the glass and then ran the water across my face and over my eyes. A few moments later I was feeling a little better and attempted to regain what I thought was my composure. I sat back on the stoll as I pulled it up to the bar.

"Hey, there. Just relax," Gnothi said in soothing tone as he patted my back gently. "Just relax into it."

I looked around to see Gnothi and Reggie wearing empatheic smiles on their faces. Their eyes were wide and sparkled. I could see the hundreds of little lights around the club had begun to glow with a vivid, deep brilliance. The wood on the bar, which I hadn't really noticed before, suddenly felt cool and smooth as I ran my hands over it. I felt the muscles in my gut relax as a warm current streamed through my body. I closed my soar eyes to rest them for a second. On the inside of my eyelids, as if on a movie screen, I could see a kaleidoscope of colorful, rotating geometrical shapes appear and morph into other shapes. The pulsing music which I had heard outside of my body, begin to move inside of me. I began to feel as though I was floating. I opened my eyes to see that the lights in the club were dimming. My field of vision grew narrower. All I could focus on were the winding curves in the grain of the wood on the bar.

I thought I heard someone say, "moving", but I couldn't quite make it out. I could feel the hard, wooden stool I was sitting on begin to soften and feel cushiony. The sensation of the cushion rose from my butt and up into my back. The wood grains on the bar faded into black darkness. I noticed the sound of my breath growing louder as the music faded into a whispering beat. The sound of my heart sounded louder and mixed with the rhythm of the distant music. A rushing hiss filled my ears.

I heard clicking and dull popping noises as I tried to focus on the warm, amber light that was beginning to appear in my field of vision. Small, square patterns began to blend in with the light. I could feel myself supported by a big, soft, leathery chair. I relaxed back, and let the chair hold my weight. I was still disoriented, but I realized I was in the mover. One of the new movers that Gnothi and I had used after the shizz had begun to affect us.

I heard a heavy, metallic door unlock and open. As it opened, the sounds generated by my body that I was hearing silenced immediately.

"All ashore that's coming ashore," I heard a voice say.

I sat in the chair inside the mover for a few minutes until I felt I could find my own way out the door. I grabbed the sides of the door opening and pulled myself out of the mover. My legs felt like putty. Rather than try to stand I decided it better to just sit on the floor for a few minutes. I was still high from the ganja. I looked up to see Red flashing a big grin across his face. I still felt strange.

"Hey, Barnum, you fished-eyed fucker," I heard Big Red say, as he looked down at me. "What were you doing in Jamaica — swimming in the sea the whole time? Your eyes are as red as beets."

About ten feet away, I could see Gnothi making his way out of another one of the movers. He seemed coherent enough to stand. He stood for a few moments and rolled the bottoms of his feet back and forth on the floor. Then, seemingly satisfied with the connections his legs were making, he walked slowly over in my direction. His eyes were clear and bright.

"I am so glad my friend Barnum here joined me in my plans today," Gnothi said smilingly to Red. "He's a most amiable travel companion."

Red rolled an old desk chair over near me. Then had grabbed me under my arms with his massive Herculean hands and helped me up into a sitting position. "This guy looks like he's been on a trip, alright," Red said, as he went to get another chair. "Take a few minutes and relax. Can I get you gentlemen anything? Water. Soda.

I remembered we had headed back to the Jammer for some food. Gnothi and I had both been hungry. We'd skipped dinner to get back here. Back to the candy store. "Candy," the thought flashed through my mind. The ganja had dried my mouth into a cottony cave, and I suddenly had a strong craving for something sweet.

"Water," I said to Red. "Could you bring me some water, please."

"You got it," he said. "Two waters coming right up. Anything else?"

"Yes," I said. I looked up at him with my obviously stoned-looking, blood-shot eyes, and with a big shit-eating grin, said, "Some candy. I'd like lots and lots of candy."

<< chapter three



main | archive | about us | feedback