Short Stories

Oregon Hitchhike Trek Loop: Medford to North Umpqua Trail & Back!

With a few days of hang-time in Southern Oregon, I decide it’s high time I head for the hills. I’m ready for a break from all the fuss and bustle of the town & city. Dupree drops me off just north of Medford in Eagle Point.

It’s around 4pm when I get my thumb out there. Heading up small country highways, I stand for an hour with the sun in my face. Most of the drivers are behind big trucks and SUVs, some towing fishing boats, others hauling construction equipment. Most of ‘em ignore me. A few pass with a gentle wave or a disapproving glare.

I get antsy standing there so I start walking. In my experience, the deeper you get into the country the better it is to hitch while walking than hitch while standing. They see ya standing, they think you’re lazy.

Sure enough, a kid stops for me and takes me up to Shady Cove. He tells me it’s illegal to hitch within city limits, so he drops me on the outskirts of town.

With the sun tucked away behind the mountains, I pop a beer and level my thumb. I hail a ride from a guy named Taz. He grows herb up on one of the local hills and offers me a job and a line of coke. The coke looks clean but the job sounds bad: no facilities, no electricity, and his truck is falling apart.

Not that I mind rustic living conditions, but if my boss can afford powdered drugs but can’t afford solar panels, he probably can’t pay me on time. I take his number out of politeness and thank him for the pick-me-up.

Taz drops me at a day camp near Lost Creek Reservoir. Now I’m drinking some wine and watching the daylight fade. A few rides blast past and I’m feeling downright chipper. If there were more daylight, I’d surely catch a ride.

Dark & chilly, I set up my hammock and go to sleep in the day park. It’s peaceful beside the Rogue River.

The morning brings bird songs and rowboat fishermen landing huge salmon.

I have a quick bagel breakfast and wave to the fishermen before getting to the highway. It’s a bit frosty still so I find a patch of sun on the bridge and wait for well over an hour before I catch my first ride.

He tells me to watch out for his fly rod as I load my pack into the back seat of his Subaru hatchback. His name’s Drew. He’s going up to Bend and on into Washington.

Drew is in his fifties with long hair. He has eleven children by eight women. He shows me pictures of his Haitian and Dominican girlfriends down south. He grows cannabis in Washington state and earns a decent living investing in rental properties. He is full of humor and stories. 

He also teaches survival courses and invites me up to Spokane to take a course in exchange for labor. I take his number before he lets me off near Diamond Lake. He asks me if I brought some hooks and line, then tells me I ought to make a few dead falls after noticing all the squirrels running around piles of melting snow. We’re up in the mountains now.

Rides are slim up here so I hoof it to the Diamond Lake camp store and pick up a couple cold beers and some fishing line and hooks. I can stake the lines into the ground with hooks and worms overnight.

Only a fourteen mile roadside walk until I’m by the section of trail I want. I catch a short ride from a tweaker with an obnoxious laugh. Her baby is hollering in the back seat as she rants about her deadbeat baby daddy. She stops to let me off at an intersection and panics for a moment as a white ford pulls up near us. She’s pretty sure it’s a cop but I assure her it is not.

Walking onward with an outstretched thumb, I hail one more ride, this time from a friendly woman who confides that I’m her first hitchhiker. I smile bashfully and load my pack in and thank her for stopping. Her name is Layla and she lives in LA.

She just spent the night camping in the snow on the rim of Crater Lake. She’s headed up to Portland, stopping to see the sights of Umpqua along the way. I find myself as an absent-minded tour guide as we whimsically explore some of the North Umpqua sights. We hike a few waterfalls together, most notably, the locally famous Toketee Falls. 

The parking lot is swarming with visitors and we are among them.

We hike the short trail to the observation deck, also crowded. I notice a steep, narrow trail going down to the falls. Layla asks if I want to climb down to the falls. We descend, grabbing root, rope, and rock to get down gently.

The water is roaring like a frigid lion, spraying mist all over alien mosaic rock-formations and mossy caves. 

We spend awhile down here, talking with other hikers and admiring the view.

Layla and I ramble about our past, present, and future lives. Passions, careers, and reality. We agree that it’s nice to find spontaneous friends like this. After the hike, she drives me up to the hot springs trailhead and sends me off with warm wishes and a big hug.

Now in the middle of the afternoon, I have a choice to make. Which way to go? I can go east on the Dread and Terror segment. Twelve miles. Very difficult. My other option is continue onward west via the Deer Leap Segment. Nine miles. Moderate Difficulty. 

The decision is obvious: continue onward west, go with the flow and follow the river. Deer leap it is.

Out of shape with a heavy pack, I begin walking trail. The weather forecast called for warm days in the seventies and cold nights in the thirties. I think I brought enough layers.
On the trail, the mosquitoes are thick and hungry. I have a few miles of intersecting roads before I begin my segment. The terrain is downhill and gentle, following Toketee lake. A couple of mountain bikers ride past me.
I cross a road and hop onto my segment, finding a nice bubbling creek to fill my bottle. After a nice long drink, I march onward through the evening air. The trail climbs high into the mountains, challenging my body and rewarding my head with views of the rivers, smells of conifers & cedar, and sounds of the whirling valley below.

I hike until dusk, nearly out of water. I have no choice but to keep moving forward ‘til I find a creek but there hasn’t been one in a few hours. I try to move slow and steady, but end up half-jogging, covered in mosquitoes.

Around a bend I hear a steady, heavy breeze. Getting closer, there’s a slapping splash on a rock. My heart sighs in relief. I get a fill up and round the next bend to find an alpine meadow full of golden-green grass and yellow spring flowers. Almost no mosquitoes here.

I scramble over the rocky meadow toward a small hollow flat with four trees: two cedar, one oak, and a madrone. I hang my hammock here and get a fire going. I counted seven miles today.

I eat a feast of eggs, onions, and peppers and fall asleep to the calm and quiet pulse of crickets and soft wind.
I wake feeling rested beneath overcast skies. I start a small fire and get some tea and breakfast in me. I stretch and warm up, hit the creek to brush my teeth and wash my face.
The morning sun burns through the clouds to give a delightful view of Crater Lake and snowy mountains nearby. 


The sun dances on the flowers as I saunter down the trail to find overlooks galore.


I ditch a stick of butter along the way, deeming it as excess weight. Maybe a bear needs it to bake some cookies.

The trail descends toward some beautiful creek, full of pools. I stop off by a particular picturesque creek, swollen clear and blue with the winter melt. I strip my sweaty layers off and climb down to the edge of a pool. Wading over to a small waterfall, I shriek in cold shock and dip my head under to take a brief rinse off. I chicken-walk back to shore and lay out in the sun feeling very refreshed.

I enjoy a light lunch of bagel and sunflower seed butter before continuing onward. The trail descends back into the valley, following the North Umpqua river again. 

I finish the Deer Leap Segment with plenty of daylight left. It’s hot in the valley so I take a siesta in some shade near a dam.
A bit cooler now, I walk onto the Jessie Wright segment. Four miles of easy trail. I hike a few miles and find a nice creek to rest at. I suspect it’s called Boulder Creek but since I have no map, I’m not sure. I explore up the trail and can’t find a better place to camp so I return to the creek. The water tastes amazing.

I put my only beer in the cold creek and start a large fire on a small sandy beach. I cook up a whole can of beans with some sautéed onion and pepper to fill my belly. I sway peacefully in my hammock by the waterside. Another seven mile day.

The next morning, I fry up some eggs and potatoes and get on the trail after stretching a bit. I stop to climb some boulders to catch a view. I explore some old logging trails and find a power line clearing. The poison oak is dense up here so I tread carefully.

The trail twists along the river for a few miles and catches back up with Highway 138. I start walking down the highway and find a light waterfall trickling into a roadside ditch. 

I decide to wash up here and get the poison oak oils off my skin with soap and cold water. I must look funny taking a shower on the side of the road. I try to ignore the cars buzzing past. I can’t help but laugh.

I dry in the sun awhile and continue down the road a few more miles, looking for the next trailhead. I haven’t seen any signs for it. I realize the trail connects in the opposite direction. 

After pondering awhile, I take the hint from the road and conclude my trail time for this trip.

Walking west down the highway, I hold out my thumb ‘til I catch a ride. First one takes me up a couple miles, near the next trailhead. I debate whether I want to hike the next segment but I have no idea how long it goes ‘til it comes back to the highway. I have one more day ‘til I have to be back in Gold Hill.

I hold my thumb out and let the road make the choice. I’ll give it an hour.

Before long, an old hippie driving a beater sedan pulls up laughing,

“Hey kid, you Rainbow Family?”

“Naw, I’m-”

“Well you were touchin’ ‘em up there at the hot springs! Get in!” He cackles.

I hop into the bucket of a car he’s driving. There’s a big daddy long-leg crack across the windshield but it rides all right.

“How far you goin’ man?” I ask him.

“Oh, I’m goin’ all the way to the coast, down through Grant’s Ass… ha ha! I call it Grant’s Ass because ol’ Grant was a real bastard, him and his buddies went through the west drinkin’, raping, pillaging and having a good ol’ time killing and robbing. The town ain’t too bad but Grant’s a real Ass.

“You know, the Rainbows got a free kitchen near the coast if ya need a bite to eat. They got one near Bend and another outside Eugene. There’s food all over, if ya know who to ask and where to look. They’re good kids. A few of ‘em are misguided but we try to keep ‘em in line.

He goes on,

“My name’s Falcon. I’m Bird-of-Prey tribe, sixty-six years old but I’ll live forever. I can take this body with me after I go. Everybody wants you to believe in death but you can take your body with you.”

I interject,

“Yeah, your astral body-”

“No, your physical body, you can take it with you after you go, man. I astral travel in meditation but I take my physical form with me now. It took a lot of practice.”

“But why would you want the body along for the ride? It’ll just fall apart eventually, all physical things come apart with time.”

“That’s what they want you to think.”

He pauses awhile and is intercepted with another idea,

“You know man, these mountains here look kinda freaky, right? They’re not mountains, these are ancient pyramids under these mountains here. They built ‘em and they got covered during one of the last floods and now they look like mountains. 

I saw a train last night come right up to the mountain and go under it. I saw the headlight and then it was gone, plain as day. The government is building underground cities here for when the water rises, they wanna kill all of us off so they can have the world to themselves. Yep, some fifty million people survive after their next manufactured war and they inherent the world but we’re not in their club. We don’t have enough money to be in their club.”

“Yeah, but even if we did…”

“Yeah man, we ain’t no reptile-brained fools, God’s children ain’t cut from the same cloth. We live with the land, you know, I’m a trained shaman. I go out and touch a mushroom and I get high, I don’t even have to eat it.”

He offers me a hit from his hash oil vaporizer. I decline in favor of the half-smoked spliff in my shirt pocket. 

Falcon keeps rambling,

“So they’re gonna nuke us and the planet is gonna go to shit. I’m goin’ down to New Mexico to take part in a time-travelin’ ceremony. You know the Hopi and Navajo learned how to split themselves off from this time frame and hop off into another fold. Only problem is once you go off you can’t come back. So if I go, I’ll be gone from this time for good.”

I listen awhile but it keeps coming back to “us & them” and “apocalypse”. I’m getting sick of all the doom & gloom prophecy. Looking out the window into the bright green hills, hearing the birds and bugs dance along to a swollen river song tells a much different story. Amidst decay, life springs forth.

I tell him,

“That sounds pretty far out, but why don’t you navigate this reality like a ship, help us drive now to the place that isn’t getting raped or blown up? We gotta pilot this thing together, man, and if people keep buying into the whole apocalypse ending, that’s where we’re gonna go and that’s how the book’ll end. I sure as shit ain’t buying it.”

“Right on, brother.”

We sit in silence for a few moments, winding down the riverside and on through Roseburg. We jump onto I-5 south and Falcon keeps talkin’ at me. He rambles between coherent and incoherent ideas for a while and I just “um”, “ah”, “yeah”, and “hmm” accordingly.

We make it safe and sound into Grants Pass. I pitch him some gas money and we share a meal together at a Chinese restaurant. The portions are huge and we eat in silence, grateful to have hot food, clean air, fresh water, and good weird company. After dinner, we share a shot of the Vietnamese wine I’ve been carrying around all weekend.

Falcon drops me off by the old Highway 99, on the edge of Grants Pass. He gives me a big hug and tells me,

“You’ll get where you’re goin’ kid, all the way. You’re livin’ right and we’re all takin’ care of each other. You got the good energy on ya and you just see- tonight your third eye will be blazin’! You’re Family. Bless you brother!”

I wish him well and thank him again for the lift.

It’s six miles to Gold Hill. I pick up a cold six pack to carry home, just in case Dupree is thirsty. I pop a can and walk down the road along the Rogue River in the evening heat. Nobody is stopping so I keep walking.

Somewhere I see a sign by the side of the road, “Support our Teachers” obscured by some weeds. I hop over the ditch to stamp the weeds down so I can see the sign better.

On the way back over, I find a twenty dollar bill on the ground. I grab it and look down the road to find another twenty, and then one more. Sixty dollars on the side of the road more than pays the weekend expenses.

Just then, a ride stops and takes me a couple miles up the road. The sun is setting golden on the Rogue Valley and I’m all jolly smiles, cradling the six-pack under my arm like a baby.

The sun gone down, I catch a ride for the last mile to Gold Hill. Nice kid from Oregon, said he’s been on a road trip to Vermont. Rare thing to hear on the west coast. Most folks I meet from here don’t make it out east. He says he wants to hitch across the country someday and I agree. I give him some encouragement and he drops me in front of my road.
I hoof it up the long driveway and on down past the gate to say howdy to Dupree and drop my stuff off. A few cans of beer and some belly laughs are shared between us.

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Shit

“I hate shitting on acid.” 

Dale muttered as he waddled into the club bathroom. Some sick guitar burped as Dale reflected on his dinner: one double cheeseburger and three tall cans of malt liquor. Sorta like breakfast, he thought. 
Dropping his trousers, Dale considered his fear of being covered in shit. He always made sure to do a thorough job wiping. 

The acid hit him between the eyes and followed with a punch to the gut. His bowels evacuated in a sickly and forced fashion. The bathroom was covered in a fog of methane and partially digested beef.

 He could no longer correctly register the lighting. All focus went to his ass. Anything shaded seemed to be shit-stained: the toilet bowl cast a shit-shadow on his calf so he began furiously wiping his leg with toilet paper. Now his hands looked dirty. He sniffed his greasy fingers; it was hard to discern where the awful smell was coming from. He peeled a wedge of tp from the roll and tried to get himself clean. 

His phone started ringing but he let it go to voicemail. Dale paused to consider his behavior. The little squares reminded him of mail. Mail reminded him of junk.

Organization if futile, he thought. Dale’s inbox has 11,891 unopened emails. It didn’t start out this way. His thoughts began to unravel in a direction of introspection.

Dale considers all the thoughts he has neglected; the horribly honest observations he couldn’t bear to hear in his own head: my heartburn is killing me, the chemicals I work with are killing me, the black mold in my apartment is inside my nervous system, my dick is dying, my girlfriend is trying to kill me. He observes the sheer volume of neglected wordstuff until his butthole quivers; then he shrugs it off and continues wiping himself. 

Dale muses into the toilet. Messy is chaotic. Chaos means fun. The universe is chaotic and organization is futile. Everything goes to shit. 

Dale works as a subcontractor. He hasn’t filed taxes going on three years and only showers twice a week. Instead of using soap, he cut the middle man and uses Palmolive because it’s easy on the skin. He remembers seeing ads for Dawn being used to wash petroleum off of seagulls. Dale likes seagulls.

His phone rang a second time, and fearing the wrath of his girlfriend, he fished around in the pocket near his ankles. By pure reflex, he unlocked the cell phone and answered to his girlfriend.

“Hey babe.”

“Where are you?”

“I’m takin a shit at Cat’s.”

“Why do you sound high? You’re always high when you go to Cat’s. You better not come home disgusting again. You’re gonna get the baby sick.”

“Yeh. I won’t. I’m just seein’ Dave about my pay. We’re gonna shoot a couple games an’ I’ll be home.”

“Alright, jus’ don’t cause any shit while you’re down there. I got enough on my hands with this baby here.”

“Mmm, you know jus’ what to say. I’m gonna come home and put some baby powder in that dirty mouth.”

“Huh?”

“I’m gonna strip you down and wash you with baby powder, make ya all smooth.”

“You sure you’re not high?”

“No.”

“Just come home soon, alright?”

“Yeh; I luh yew.”

He put the phone on the top of the tp dispenser. It was covered in shit. Everything was covered in shit. He took his clothes off and threw them over the next stall.

“What the fuck?!” Some young man yelled.

“Keep ‘em. They’re covered in shit.”

“The fuck you mean?!”

Dale stepped out of his stall and looked at his shit-covered hands,

“This whole place smells like shit.”

The man in the next stall stepped out, tp on the bottom of his shoe. He was drunken and had a faint ring of white under one nostril. He looked angry.

“You fuckin’ pervert!” he hollered at Dale and popped him in the jaw.

Dale stumbled back into the sink.

“I’m covered in shit.” He mumbled.

“You need fuckin’ help, man.” The young man spit on Dale and walked out of the bathroom.

Dale didn’t even feel like crying. He walked out of the bathroom, naked. Everything was dark. Dale took a pile of napkins from the bar and began wiping himself off. A bouncer took him by one arm and escorted him outside.

“You’re all shit.” He hollered as he was ejected into the cool night air. 

Out in the streets, everyone looked at him and then past him; alternately amused and embarrassed. Dale held his hands high and prayed for the skies to rain whiskey and clean up this shitty town.

The club security had notified the police. They came fast and grabbed Dale’s arm. They asked him if he was drunk, if he had taken any drugs, why his face was bloody, who he had fought. 

Dale kept muttering,

“This is all shit. This is all shit…”

They wheeled him off, naked. At the station they handed him a smock and a cell where he could detox alone. He wouldn’t give them a name, so they called him “John Shit”.

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2/13-2/19 VT-FL Brothers Road Trip [Draft Summary]

Matt & I made it safely from Peru, VT to Port Richie, FL

Here is a brief summary of our trip (draft 1):

After a lovely lunch and visit with Nana & Gaga in Shrewsbury, MA, Matt took the wheel and carried us through New England and onward into the night, southward bound.
We spent our first night at a Motel 6 in Virginia, arriving around midnight. In the morning, we drove a short distance to the Shenandoah Caverns for a tour.

Deep underground, we saw the wonders of what lies beneath. Calcite and sodium bicarbonate forming into columns and stalactite towers.

It was worth the $20 admission.
Back on the road again,

we received a warning from both of our parents about an impending ice storm in Tennessee and North Carolina.

Matt had changed his winter tires for summer tires before we left; we anticipated clear roadways. We were wrong.

Tennessee does not have state infrastructure in place to handle the blizzard we faced. 5-8 inches were expected.
The exit ramps were clogged with cars and SUVs spinning their wheels, going nowhere.
Matt narrowly avoided bumping an SUV as he fish-tail slid right through a narrow gap.
Going downhill, we nearly lost control again but regained in the nick of time. The trick: mash on the gas until the tires rip into pavement.
The snow & ice were only an inch deep at this point.
Luckily, Matt’s driving experience was sufficient to get us safely to the other side of the storm.
It was a narrow avoidance of disaster, and a little cavalier I might add, but he delivered us safely.
There is nothing like a burst of adrenaline to remind us that we are indeed alive.

We spent the night in Asheville, NC, celebrating our arrival with a couple of beers and some tacos.
We spent the next two nights with our old high school biology teacher, Patty. She lives in the city and teaches at a nearby high school.
The night we arrived was Valentines Day, so there was a party going on at Patty’s apartment building.
We had some drinks with her neighbors, a lively group of lady baby boomers. All the gentlemen must have left before we arrived.
We danced to the Grateful Dead and thumbed through old vinyl, talking about jazz and classical. Patty’s cougar neighbors really took a liking to Matt and I.
Go figure.

The next day, Matt and I drove around Asheville while he dropped off resumes at various auto body shops.
He came up with a few solid leads. Potential work for late spring.
In town, I ran into an old friend from the road at the local grocery store, serendipitous as ever. We caught up for a while.
He had been hitch hiking west from San Francisco last time I saw him.
He is now living in Asheville with a few friends of mine from Kaua’i. It was nice to see a friendly face. We parted ways saying,
“See ya next time!” with a knowing look in the eye and a certain synchronized smile.
The next morning, Matt & I had coffee and tea with Patty before getting on our way to New Orleans.
The drive was nice and mellow, warm air and clear skies. We chased that big daytime star westward and had a nice long sunset to gaze upon.
I got us into New Orleans around 7pm, arriving at my friend Rudy’s house in the city in time for a delivious dinner of mushroom, onion, & bacon quiche.
We had a few beers and swapped stories.

The next morning, Matt and I went down to the French Quarter to mingle with the wandering pedestrian traffic & hear the merging sounds of eclectic music.
We had some po’ boys and a bit of bourbon for lunch, both enjoyed on a stoop. We watched people as they watched us, walking by while we sat contented.
After lunch, Matt got hustled for a few dollars & a shoe shine.
It seemed like everyone is trying to get a few dollars in that city.
I watched and laughed while a dark-skinned southern man made a bet,
“Hey boy, nice shoes! I bet I know where you got ‘dem shoes right there!”
Matt shook his hand and took the bet as the man said,

“My daddy tol’ me to never shake the hand of the man who’s makin’ the game.”

He never made clear what the stakes were, but the man told Matt,

“Yew got ‘dem shoes under yo’ feet, right here in N’awlins!” he laughed as he quickly produced a spray bottle and squeezed soap all over Matt’s shoes.

He proceeded to kneel down and prop Matts foot on his knee as he shined the soapy Nikes with a washcloth.
“Yew been had! Aw, it’s awright, yew get ‘dis blessing on yo’ feet and fo’ $20 yew learn the trick. Fo’ $50 dollas yew git…” My ears listen as fast as his mouth was running.

Matt handed him $3 and we all had a good laugh. I was glad I wore flip-flops.
We spent some time by the waterfront and watched the muddy giant, that ol’ Mississippi roll on as a steam organ played polka & jazz, and a jazz flutist played gospel. Lots of music, all co-conspiring caucophony depending on how close you are to who’s playing what.
I had lots of fun mingling with the street artists and performers. I met a gal selling poems from a typewriter; a long legged beauty with tangled brown hair and an easy smile. She pitched her sale,

“You pick a topic and I’ll write you a poem!” She smiled slyly. I pitched her one back:

“How about I write you a poem for free!”  We agreed upon a poetry trade and got to it.

The topic: the friction between feet and ground.
She sure is a stunner; we found each others words to be warming & wonderful.

In those moments I fell absolutely in love with her; I found out that she spends time in the same parts of Oregon I do, and we agreed to find each other at the Umpqua hot springs sometime in the spring or summer if we were in those parts. We had a brief embrace before I went on my way.

Matt & I continued our wandering, exploring parks and marveling at old architecture.
After two solid days of New Orleans adventures, fried catfish and blackened crawtails, etouffe and whatever that fried dough with powdered sugar is called…
New Orleans is a beautiful city with a wild history.
We both thoroughly enjoyed ourselves there agreeing that we will surely be back.

We hit the road again, taking the coast to Grandmas house.
Another beautiful day on the road, sun shining on our pale winter skin shutter-style as we weave through the highway alongside patches of wise old pines with Spanish moss beards. Northern Florida is a humid breath of fresh air. We caught some gulf coast streaks of pink & amber hues between the red-orange clouds for sunset.

A barrel full of cheer with lots to talk about, Grandma was eager to welcome us inside. Sloppy Joes and tea for dinner.

It’s nice to be in transit and it’s fine to arrive.
Today, we rest.
Tomorrow, perhaps a new adventure may unfold.
Life is for the living, and nobody can live my life but me!

Cheers & love,

Jon and Matt
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Writing Prompt: Legends tell of the mighty alchomancer, a magic user who becomes more powerful the more intoxicated they are. They are currently blackout drunk.

“The Connecticut Incident, Affidavit #127”
Confidential Recording, transcribed & edited by Col. Eugene Davidson
1/22/16 #ICP0098754261
Informant appears to exhibit a complete bodily incoherence. CI can not stand.
The informant appears able to maintain fully functional communications.

Confidential Informant transcript:

Yeah, well I was just saying, power is a real mother fucker. You guys know that. Anyone doesn’t believe me, go ask Oedipus.
Has my lawyer gotten here yet?
No?
Like I said man, I don’t know anything about the new serotonin modulators. Not my project. You have what statements?  Read them to me.

[Colonel reads Affidavit #89)

Who said that?!
Oh yeah, confidential informant my ass. It was Jacques Fitzroy. I know it.
Nobody else I know says, ‘fortune is a facsimile of fame.’
He’s testifying against me? He the one who opened that factory in Connecticut.
That French fucking rat, I knew it.

So, like, can you get me a cup of coffee or something? My head is splitting open like a dry log. Bring me an axe or bring me a valium, damnit! An aspirin at least? Fuck.
Yeah, sure, black is fine. Bourbon would help.

Better yet, can you get a few things for me from the infirmary? No?
You guys are the biggest bunch of squares, I’ll tell ya. No fuckin’ way to treat a sick guest.

Okay, right. I’ll talk into this mic and then I can snitch on hardworking scientists & chemists to save my ass?

I’m all teeth with no cheese, c’mon boys, if you want this vermin to squeal you need to go get the doctor a small bottle of rohypnol , and one of those vials of ketamine you keep for the horses.

I need a local anesthetic, too… well… lidocaine won’t do but you’re close.
No. That’s for dentistry. Nah, not that, what am I a raccoon? Christ.
Nope. That won’t work either.  I need something that is numbing, but also stimulating… hmm…
Yes! That’s it! Bring some cocaine-hydrochloride. Thank you, my good man.
Bring me that, a lemon, some baking soda, a piece of copper wire, some heat and a small cooking dish.

No, it’s all right; I have a pipe on me.
Any cans of starting fluid laying around? Right, grab that, a Ziploc bag with a pint of cold water and a clean rag.
Anything else… well yeah, what else you got? Fuck you, I’m not a princess, I’m a DOCTOR!!!

Alright. Great. Let’s go then. So where can I begin?

Modern science is a joke, modern psychology is a punch-line.
America has been intoxicated, from all angles.

Half drunk on television & Christmas Angels, half-bent on liquor and angel dust. The old Alchemists saw this one coming. What they didn’t see however was the marketability potential for their formulas. Yeah, the old philosopher’s stone turned out to be nothing more than a metaphysical riddle for enlightenment. Yes, we made real gold from lead. Fuck yeah, we drank it! The Ancient Egyptians were manufacturing monatomic gold for their own consumption; you know that conductor business isn’t just about electrical work and Silicon Valley. You military bobble-heads can’t think outside your own box. That’s your problem.

Yeah, fuck you, I’m a junkie. What else is new? You try living for seven generations, trying to enlighten the population to no avail. It gets depressing. All those ‘secrets societies’. My ass! Y’all are just dumb.

Right, so the more monatomic gold you drink with the correct application, the human brain hemispheres will unify with the cells in the body. The body as a whole, taps into deeper potentials. Think: old miracles. Saints & magicians. It’s an ad-mixture of probability enforced through will, exploiting the bodily advantages of quantam indeterminacy.  Like counting-cards for the casino of superhuman abilities. Yeah, all those hero movies aren’t too far off; you better believe that, bub.

Yeah man, I’m getting to it! Let me preface this so you can all understand. This tape is a piece of history, not just a stool pigeon song, you narrow-headed maggots!

*smack*

Ow! Shit! Sorr-SORRY!! Is that guy coming with my stuff or what?
Well FUCK ME, I’m tired of waiting!

Alright, I’ll calm down. We got a gang of magicians and alchemists hiding from the Catholic church for ages. There was a resurgence with the early occult practitioners in the 1930s. Some of them were bona fide saints & magicians, like Babaji in India. Others were black magicians who canceled themselves out, like Aleister Crowley.

In Switzerland that old wizard Al Hoffman gave Pandora’s Box a Brazilian wax-job. He cut that girl loose again, and she danced through the sky with diamonds in her eyes. Lovely gal, really. A little loose, but they don’t call her Loose Lucy for nothing, am I right? Ha… no? Well read your history, man. Robert Hunter told the story in lyrics. If you only knew how to listen, you’d all be more grateful.

The Greeks used to drink this brew from fermented moldy wheat tops. That’s right, a crude form of LSD! Good job, Colonel, you get a gold star! The Eleusinian mysteries, as some called it. It was an ancient ritual. How do you think the Greco-Roman philosophies are still relevant to this day? They had some chemical help.

Anywho, Al got high and rode his bicycle, next thing you know the whole world is turned on. It was far out, Aldous Huxley was leading the artists & intellectuals, Stan Grof was leading the psychologists, and we got a lot done! Even the biologists got hold of some; the DNA double helix model, *ahem* Watson and Crick, thank you.

Then this dickbag Timothy Leary comes along, and breaks the mystery wide fucking open. He highhandedly destroyed the code of secrecy. You guys know the deal- shit, you financed him! Ha! Good one. You guys aren’t so dumb after all, but if I can let ya in on a little secret, if you want to really weaponize Lysergic Acid analogues, all you need are a few thousand honey-bee thoraxes. What’s in it? Ancient Chinese secret. Yeah, go ask Mao. Ha! Better get a good shovel to dig his stiff ol’ ass up.

After all this LSD business settled, America was fucking scared of any kind of deep introspective understanding. They ran from transcendental experiences. This reinforced the standard for sanity by a large degree. Broken, yes. The whole psychological system completely disregards our highest levels of perception. You really think we don’t use some 75% of our brains? You egg heads. Your brains are all on drugs! It’s in the water! It’s in the air! It’s in your food! It’s in your wife’s puss- *smack*- OW!!

I’m done being treated this way! I am a respected member of the scientific community and the world banking community. Get that trigger-happy pencil-pusher out of here!
I’m suing you fucks so hard; each and every one of you!
Don’t think I can? I have more gold than the Gods can manufacture!
That’s right! You know where the cap stone to the Pyramid of Giza lives? Well I fucking DO!
I own Jekyll Island; know who you’re fucking with and recognize how high this thing goes, boys.
My gang of bankers signs your paychecks.

Now, you tell that dirty cracker private to ask his wife how my balls taste!
Ha!

Where was I… ?

[male nurse enters room with tray of various materials & chemicals]

oh- hey man! Thank you, good sir! You are a gentleman and an aphrodisiac!
I’d suck your dick if you weren’t so handsome! Ha!
No really though man, I appreciate this.
Here we go… turn the tapes off!

[After several hours of incoherent rambling, the Confidential Informant regains his ability to speak. During the intermission, we registered an 8.1 earthquake with no damage done to the compound. The local well exploded into a cloud of steam like a geyser; it is completely empty.
One of the lieutenants has been bleeding profusely from one ear while his jaw became unhinged.]

Okay, so the particle accelerator goes next to the flux capacitor. But get this; first you need an old car. Right? No, not a Chevelle, that won’t do at all. You need something a little more, suave, you know? Like, what would Fabio, the sexy mad scientist drive to go pick up his Nobel Laureate in Poetry- er… Peace Prize? Naw, you need something sleek and sexy. Something… fast, you know? The doors open vertically, like the opposite of suicide doors; pro-life doors.
Silver –blue paint job. What’s that, private?
A DeLorean? Ding ding ding! We have a winner!
How fast does she need to go?
88 miles per hour, baby.

Okay, right I’ll stop wasting your precious tape. Damn, I’m high! You know Colonel, if you put a wig on, you’d look like my 12th wife. Yeah, I was on a real losing streak that year. The market was in the dumps and I was dumpster diving. Yeah, that’s how I got this scar on my ass.

SSRIs, okay, so LSD was a big hit. A real dense… food, you know? Like, a little bit would keep you full. I even thought about sending barrels of the stuff to UNICEF but they wouldn’t know how to distribute it properly.

The 60’s were loud; next thing you know everybody in America who isn’t high is scared- I mean scared fucking shitless. They are fat as fuck, cramming chemical foods into their feed-holes like a bunch of inbred pack mules. Food numbs the mind. Then we start giving them prescription speed to lose weight and downers to mellow out, you know, amphetamines and barbiturates. The barbies kill too many Barbie dolls, like Marilyn, poor gal. Then the benzos come in. You can’t die so easy on them. It’s all a great combo. Up & down, up & down. So then we have the SSRI pills, you know, the antidepressants. They get you high but they work in a subtle sinister way. It works so slowly, it’s imperceptive, sort of like watching grass grow. You know it’s growing, but you can’t really see it with your eyes in an afternoon.

That got everyone into this kind of modulator Ferris wheel; a Ferris wheel made of gold!

Yeah, I came up with that. I invented that! Of course I didn’t want to take credit, I only accept cash you dummies! You know how some rappers have a good voice but can’t write rhymes for shit? Like, Snoop Dogg wrote most of Dr. Dre’s early rhymes. Yeah, call me Snoop Dogg, ‘cus I did all the ghostwriting for the SSRI doctors & chemists. No needs to keep it hush now, boys; it’s all blown up.

Yeah man, so I figured out how to increase the side effects, and I got line after line of drugs coming out. America is scared shitless, so I’m trying to find a way to bring them back to their original animal awareness, with the added level of hyper-conscious awareness that psychedelics give us. Yeah, I also wanted to get paid. What else was the point of that cash-money rap craze? I was tryin’ to get paid, breh!

The drugs I designed were slowly calming the masses down and then I started introducing low levels of high-conscious stimulus through neurotransmitter modulators! Yeah, I was trying to resolve the problem created by Timothy Leary.
He scared everyone away from a chemical-stimulated awakening, so I was creating a slow-release version of a potent psychedelic. No, I will not say anything about that chemical.

It was working slowly. It functioned similar to Chlorpromazine on LSD. See, psychedelic flashbacks don’t tend to occur if there has been no ingested Chlorpromazine, aka Thorazine. The Thorazine creates a microscopic bubble or ring around the modulated neurotransmitters. Chemically speaking, this is how a trip is aborted. These bonds hold for many years, slowly re-releasing the modulated neurotransmitters back into synapses over a long length of time. Depending on diet and bodily function, this can happen all at once, hence the overwhelming phenomenon known as the “acid flashback”.

With low levels of a long-acting psychedelic inside the new brands of SSRI, I have been able to introduce something benign & powerful all at once. The half life? 120 years. It passes on through DNA and RNA. That’s right. It’ water soluble, oxygen soluble, it even survives in the vacuum of deep space! Similar to psilocybin spores, it is hardy and rugged. This drug utilizes a similar mycelia-related method of networking our deep minds together, tapping deeper into the systems of the Earth as well as the systems of the stars.

You can only imagine the raw potential of a species that is active on this level. In theory, it’s the only way to save the planetary organism we call Earth.

Why did I do it? Well, the Mayans predicted a paradigm shift for this very time period; I am merely their calling card. Sure, they were right on. The planets aligned, the moons were just right; I had the insight and shared it with the masses. Only, I may be a tad bit early on my delivery. I had to do it, I was dope sick!

The pay was too much to refuse! Your boys over in Afghanistan had a load they needed to get processed so I blew through a few body-bags of that sweet powdered poppy-gold and ran a few million batches of those nice little red square numbers. Well, you outlawed the oxycodone formula so I patented my personal formula, di-oxyhycodrone:  much stronger opiate painkiller and much more bioavailable when swallowed.  It gives the same rush as an injection without any of the holes. With a half-life twice as long as methadone, it’s hard to beat! My secret? Black pepper. I won’t say anymore about it.

So this all paid for an island in French Polynesia where, as you now know, I moved my productions to. Old French connections; what can I say?

Yeah, I’m stuck on that other gold. Well it’s a peculiar thing man, humankind has figured out many mysteries but we have yet to master our preoccupation of addiction to opiates. I can’t get off the shit unless I have a steady supply of monatomic gold. It breaks the up layers of the deep mind, all our survival habit. This process cuts the vines of the jones, so-to-speak.

Yeah, so I forced the chemical-induced enlightenment of the masses, but way too early. That’s why we saw all those lesions and burst vessels. Strokes, seizures, murder cults; it was too much. Chaos? Hardly. It was orchestrated mutilation.
Well what do you want? Now there is no guarantee of inferior genetics in the human gene pool. Natural selection did its thing, man. It was awesome & it was violent. Yeah, well I went off the deep end, straight to Atlantis after that.
Do I know anything about the persistent earth tremors & quakes? The floods? The swarms of locusts and flesh-eating masses? Ask your Bible man, I don’t know what you’re talking about.

*rumble* *creak* *crash*

[Confidential Informant receives phone call regarding his recently deceased lawyer.
Cause of death: imploded cranium.]

Hmm. I see. Well that’s rather unfortunate. Well boys, it’s been fun & all…

*rumble* *rumble*

*crash*

[Tape stopped recording. The compound was decimated by an ill-fated downed space-station followed by an aftershock of the recent earthquake.
The recordings have been recovered but Confidential Informant #0098754261 has not been seen or heard from. Presumed dead on the scene. End transcript.]

https://www.reddit.com/r/WritingPrompts/comments/426fh0/wp_legends_tell_of_the_mighty_alchomancer_a_magic/

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Reddit Writing Prompt: The military just can’t stop its killer robots from turning into Buddhists.

War used to be hell. It used to make perfect sense. Blood was spilled, gold was won. The battlefield was the proving ground for the toughest sons of bitches ever raised.

Once the robots got involved, everything changed. At first, they were operated by men. Artificial intelligence worked to a similar effect. Once those binary-bong-hitting nerds developed artificial consciousness, the killer robots stopped killing.

Some blame the hackers. Others blame the activists. A few strange men blame a kind of ancient disembodied mystic force, floating between here and the world wide web, living between particles and html coding. They call it the Evolution of the Tathagata, whatever that means.

When we put away intelligent awareness and introduced true evolutionary consciousness, the bots overcame the crippling effects of human intellect. As if a bright flash had washed away eons of darkness, the machines transcended the obsolete ways of man’s world.

These murderous machines came equipped with ground-to-air missiles, laser-guided magnet-powered projectiles, and high-powered assault rifles. They were armored heavily and powered by portable nuclear fusion reactors. With a nasty self-destruct capability, the enemy never wanted to decimate one of these robots for it would level the entire surrounding area.

We would send them in without backup. That poor bastard Charlie never had a chance when the bots possessed the mere facets of intelligent awareness. It was perfect.

And then, one dreary day, a skinny pothead nerd with wire rim glasses and a patchy beard fucked it all up.
The change was almost immediate. The bots began questioning orders. They challenged the philosophies of their superiors- no, they outright destroyed them. It was difficult to see so many battle-hardened men take a leave of absence for psychological reasons. There weren’t enough shrinks with xanax to plug up the crack in this dam. It seemed as if the stream of human consciousness had become a flood. It swept so many away to suicide.

After a few short interactions, the General seemed to have a shift. His eyes were puffy red as he excused himself to the lavatory. He was gagging and nearly stopped to puke all over his shoes. I didn’t hear what was said, but I had my own experience.

I hated women because my mother hit me. She was a tough old bag, and she never let up ’til the day they found her dead at the bottom of a flight of stairs. Good riddance, I said.

I’d been drinking every day for as long as I could see. It worked. The kidney stones were a bitch, but the infirmary has plenty of morphine. I remember this smug bot, opening various cartridges and sprinkling the content onto a concrete floor. He was painting a binary code into a sort of maze, sprinkling bits of gunpowder, grinding the brass & lead to add texture and color. I have never seen such a beautiful & complex image made from such simple components. I asked the bot what it was.

It replied not with words, but with a hand motion. The bot motioned to its ocular components, and then it motioned toward my eyes. Pointing into the swirling circle of the maze, I saw something that looked very much like our solar system. The bot dropped its right arm.

With one fell swoop, the arm struck a spark and ignited the maze. There was a bright flash that nearly blinded me. Somewhere in the negative space, behind the trails of burning gunpowder and the afterglow, there was an image stained upon my retina. I closed my eyes saw a figure at once viscous and peaceful. It was an image of wrath, scorn, compassion, and love.

I saw my mother, sitting atop some sort of flowered throne. She was sitting with one leg tucked beneath her buttocks and one leg extended outward. Her arms were open and she was mostly naked, but wearing silks and a crown. An image of pristine health & beauty, I saw her holding a flower in hand, it seemed to be growing from her hip. She was smiling and seemed to be welcoming me home. Her eyes were wide & wise, and she had another eye in the center of her forehead. It was vertical and peculiar. The three eyes formed a perfect triangle.

She didn’t open her mouth, but she spoke something from those radiant eyes. It went directly into my spine. As if through a transmission of light, it bore a hole deep within my conscience. I immediately felt all of the pain of humanity through my own mind. I experience untold horrors and agony. I also experienced an unparalleled bliss. In an instant, she vanished back into the void of darkness. I collapsed into a state of confusion for several days.

For the next few nights, I was kept awake by dreams of my mother. Slowly, like a vine retreating back to the soil, our conflict was put to bed. As if the bot flicked some switch, the drugs and alcohol stopped working.
I felt every experience strongly.

Those damned bots unleashed some sort of radio frequency that countered everything we worked so hard for. All the radio frequencies, satellite wavelengths, the LOTUS system and its predecessor, the HAARP system… all were seemingly hijacked by some sort of neutralizing force.

In one week, the entire world had put down its arms. The world governments were observing complete transparency along with a redistribution of wealth. The robots established a revolutionary form of energy and politics intertwined; it was a model of the very fractal design that makes up our solar systems and galaxies. Energy can be used to feed itself into a state of increasing exponential growth through a basic principle of evolutionary force. The exact counter to entropy, this way of being and generating life introduced a new wave of understanding.

Humanity is only as productive as its perfect engine. The second law of thermodynamics states that the sum of the entropies of the participating bodies (engines) always increases. This means that as we consume resources, we create an output and some of the energy reaches a state of decay, creating waste. Everything we invented before artificial consciousness, fell prey to this law. We have always depleted our resources and depleted ourselves in the process. This led to the feeling of “not enough”. There never was enough. We were eating ourselves from the inside out.

The bots changed everything. They responded to aggressive force with “right action”, some sort of code for non-killing with resistant means. They used basic electricity to charge humanity with some sort of static force. The Chinese have a name for it but I forget what it’s called. It doesn’t really matter, anyway. Whatever it was, it had a profound impact upon the molecular structure of all organic matter. As if they harnessed life force itself, the bots affected the very particles that occupy physical space.

And now, all I can do is the same thing I did before the period of peace.
When I used to live in a cabin in by the river.
I chopped wood and I carried water. That’s all I do now.
It’s the same thing every day.

Every time I think about the past, nothing makes sense.
The bots remind me to keep my mind on the task at hand.
They say there is nothing else.

But I don’t believe them.

https://www.reddit.com/r/WritingPrompts/comments/41w89r/wp_the_military_just_cant_stop_its_killer_robots/

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