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Thursday, June 16, 2016

The Owl and the Hippie

"-crazy!" laughs the voice.  "Fucking six classes in a day?!  Night classes?  Shit, I only go to school Tuesdays and Thursdays.  To be honest, I think I'm gonna quit.  Art school dropout will look good on my resume."

"You just have to learn to focus" responds a voice.  A girl's voice.  Loud and patronizing like she's talking to an idiot.  "He's gonna take a full load next semester too, you know.  And he has ADD."

"Really?  I thought he was just twitchy from all the coke."

"He does cocaine?!" demands the female voice. 

"Nah I'm just fucking with you" laughs the liar.  "Hey, you want some of this balloon before I finish it?"

"No.  It kills brain cells-"

A yawning hum swallows me whole.  I move far, far away.

The instruments stopped working long ago.  I stare without comprehension at the wooden keel slicing through an azure sea.  Time is meaningless.  The ship steers itself and I am no longer in control.  I am a passenger.  The ocean is warm, clear and spreads out forever.  I lean down and dip my hand in the passing blue.  It runs through my fingers like fading years.  In the depths below, shadows appear.  Colossal, towering silhouettes rise towards the surface.  A forgotten city swallowed by the sea.  Fish in cosmic colors appear.  The tropical sea is rich here.  In the gentle blue, a pure white landscape materializes.  An octopus, startled by the ship, flashes blue, red, purple and vanishes kicking up sand.  White sand.  Shallow water.  I look up as the ship beaches itself.  

"I think that filthy hippie sold me some bunk shit" comes the complaining voice.  "Feels like shitty speed."

"You ok?  Honey?  Hello?" asks the female voice.  "What'd you guys take?  Should I worry?"

"Him?  Nah, he's fine.  Dude, sit down!  You're creeping me out."

I step off the ship.  Much like riding an elevator on acid or surfing too long, the ground sways beneath my feet.  But feeling 
disoriented  and unstable is not a new feeling for me.  I move forward towards the Owl.  She stands upon a verdant cliff.  An emerald jungle holds it's breath behind her.  The sea swallows the world and the sky is a maddening shade of blue.  In my daze, I can't tell if she is wearing a cape or if those are wings.  Her head is an owl's head.  A soft, gray rounded rectangle with wide yellow eyes.  The bird's head sits atop a young woman's body.  Nude, fierce and free.  Hieroglyphic imagery flashes in my eyes and I feel the madness of beasts.  Then I am aloft.  I am one with the Owl.  On silent wings, we soar where the sea kisses the sky.  

"There" she says in an eerie, floating voice.  A child's voice.  Sexless.  Toneless.  "I have your story."

My eyes return.  I am on a grassy cliff above the sea.  The Owl lifts her arms into the blue sky and screams.  A piercing, unearthly sound that brings a darkening of mood and light.  The blue sky melts and swirls with fiery, red creation.  Light is subdued into a soft, purple twilight.  The 8-pointed star rises in the east.  

"I am the 827th Sibyl" says the Owl.  "You have come before we met.  You must return."

"I don't remember what is real anymore" I say honestly.  "I am lost."

"You are found" says the Owl gently.  "There is only one Universe and it never ends."

The yawning hum fills my ears again.  I close my eyes and cover my ears as sound pours into me like a thousand bees.  And then...Silence.  When I open my eyes, the island has vanished and I stand inside a hole.  An endless, claustrophobic hole thrust deep into the earth.  A single shaft of light pierces the gloom.  I look up at the Owl.  She casually reclines in a wooden chair that dangles from an impossible height.  The chair is grasped by flowering vines and lightly sways.  

"Does it always have to hurt so much?" I ask the Owl.  

"The pain is created by you.  Not the Universe" says the Owl swinging above me.  Her swaying movements paint shadows on the wall.  Amazing shadows.  Like water cascading down the walls, a cosmos appears in fingering streams.  I stare in awe as starlight drips towards me.  "Learn to forgive yourself.  Learn to love yourself."

"But-"

"There is so much love waiting for you if you desire it" interrupts the Owl.  "We will speak more when we meet."

"When will we meet?"

"Soon and forever.  Now return."  

At the bottom of the hole is the door to Jason's truck.  It's stuck but I know the trick.  You have to push in the door handle, yank up and pull.  I open the door and drop into the Darkness.

And I return.  I look up and see the backs of colorful people swaying and dancing to music.  Rainbow hued lights pour down from a stage.  The air is filled with the reek of marijuana, body odor, patchouli and sage.  Above the swaying crowd, is a projection of a bearded, overweight man playing a guitar.  He transmits an aura of kindness and humor into the music which flows through the crowd.  I know him.  And I know where I am.  I am found.  

As I stand up, I look in my hand.  A slightly crushed can of Sprite.  I take a sip and it's flat.  The breeze in my mind has brought a level of clarity that is startling in it's intensity.  I think I am sober.  Or sane. 

"Are you ok?" asks Mary.  

I stare at my girlfriend.  She's wearing the Grateful dead t-shirt she bought in the parking lot, jean shorts and Birkenstock sandals.  She could walk into the mass of dancing people down the lawn and disappear...but Jason and I couldn't.  We stand out in spiked leather jackets, long pants and combat boots.   

"These people are free.  These are my people" I blurt out.

"The hell they are" scoffs Jason punching my shoulder so hard I stagger backwards and fall to the grass.  "Now that you're awake, give me some shrooms.  Mary wouldn't let me roll you for cigarettes or drugs."

"But I saw the Owl" I explain standing up.  "I saw everything which is actually nothing.  There was a wooden ship, a chair, your truck door-"

"Do you want me to hit you again?"

"No" I reply.  "But there are no shrooms.  I ate them."

"You ate the whole quarter?" demands Jason.  "I had $10 on that!  You owe me asshole!  That acid I got was shit!  I'm sober and surrounded by hippies!  I demand we go score!"

"I don't think he needs anymore" says Mary squatting down to look at me.  With her three semesters of pre-med she likes to play doctor.  But not in the fun ways.  "Honey, your pupils are still dilated.  I think you're done playing druggie."

"Druggie?  He's a beer drinking fighter!" smiles Jason.  "Dude!  Get up!  Lets go get some drugs!  Why else come to this sad, smelly mass of losers?"


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