. . . she has her exhibit semi-outdoors. I wondered
if it really is outdoors or just a sophisticated effect
to make it *appear* outdoors and so dupe us into thinking
her gallery specializes in 'outdoor art.'
'It's all the rave these days, you know.'
'Excuse me, . . do I know you?'
'You'll have to decide that for yourself.'
I suspect that I once did, perhaps only for an instant. At the
very least I have known her longer than I have previously.
She seems very interested in the scarves hanging from the dead
branches suspended from a foam-cord wall. She thinks the
branches are real. I know they are dead, and that the scarves
were purchased at a cheap 5&10. I hesitate to tell her this
in front of the proprietor.
'She's famous. She knows famous people.'
'Oh. How did she become famous?'
'I told you. She knows famous people.'
To prove her point Richard Geare strolls into the gallery through
an open corridor from an unseen back entrance. He brushes
the spanish moss out of the doorway to keep it from dangling
on his suit. I would like to examine that corridor. I suspect it
leads to a place of great interest. It almost convinces me that
I am outside.
Richard Geare places his hands together and bows slightly, then
recites a short mantra for us and the proprietor. It ends:
Whisps and wind. This is the segue. I don't see her, but I know she
has trailed along. I wanted to explore the corridor but it disappeared
before I could reach it. It bothers me that she didn't disappear with
everything else. I want to ask her why she follows me.
'You know what this is?,' she asks.
'Yes. A transition. It will pass.'
'Then you know what it is.'
'Usually it's more subtle. I know we're going over the hill. It's charred
and blackened below. That's why we can't see anything. Something will
come. Next time you won't even notice it.'
Something does come, something wondrous.
I hover a few inches above a colorful textured surface as my eyes
focus. I raise my head slightly to view a large expanse of floor
covered with plates, saucers and trays of edible delights,
arranged in vast patterns like ceramic tiles in a fractal garden.
Grass grows between the trays, sharing space with blooming
flowers and low-lying shrubs. An occasional tree stands above
everything else. I marvel at the diversity of plants and foodstuffs.
A cluster of three small flowers resembling crocuses nearly brush
my forehead. They have white petals, three per flower, with puprple
stipplings that run to a blood red in the center. All the trees have
been sculpted into exotic shapes with loops, holes and writhing
twists made of branches and vines growing along the trunks.
Occasional rock formations house small fountains or waterfalls,
and in the distance I can see what look like abstract sculptures
made of brass or oxidized copper.
I grasp a small plastic capsule in my arms. It resembles the
capsules in bubblegum machines, but bigger. I suspect that it
contains the mechanism for hovering. It seems to have a white
blanket inside but I cannot unscrew the halves to open it. When
I try to do so I sink. By squeezing it I rise further above the food-
covered surface. By rolling it from one shoulder to the other I can
rise and move in any direction.
I notice other people around me. Perhaps 10 or 15 in the entire
building. The building looks like the athletic center built in the
1940s, the one originally used to design and build airplanes for
the air force. We affectionately called it, 'The Modern Gothic
Cathedral,' from the immense butresses of steel and reinforced
concrete lining the interior walls like the ribs and vertebrae of
a tormented monster. The industrial windows coated with grime
served an appropriate substitute for stained glass. After the war
they converted the building into an indoor track with basketball
courts. It easily runs the length of a football field. The bleachers
have been replaced with blocks of quarried marble. In the distance
I see the beginings of a checkerbord floor with black and white
tiles leading to bookshelves and wooden tables.
The other people hold capsules as I do. They seem to be eating,
extending their necks forward and taking the food directly
from the plates. Since we have to hold onto the capsules we
cannot use our hands. I think this is what it must be like to graze.
My section has a series of circular tart trays, each a foot in
diameter. The trays have been subdivided into six sections.
Opposite sections have been filled with either dates, almonds
or raspberries. I squeeze the capsule lightly to hover over a
section of raspberries. Perhaps I should think like a cow to fully
enjoy the experience. I try to think cow thoughts, but I only
suceed in visualizing wet laudry hung out to dry. Perhaps this
is what cows think while they graze. . .
At first I try to scoop raspberries from the tray with my tongue
but they always roll into the grass. I look furtively to my side
to watch the man in the next patch over gourmand himself in a
foamy pink substance. Then I lean forward and suck a mound of
raspberries into my mouth. Their succulence explodes and I feel
my chin must be covered in red, seedy juice. I look around. My
eyes fall upon the stubby columns of white fluffiness that line
areas of different foods. People float over to them and embed
their faces in the fluff before moving into a different section.
I am not ready to move to a different section.
I spot a peeled mango a few feet ahead. It glistens in the
artificial light and sprouts tufts of carrot tops from its surface.
No one has touched it. My section does not seem to be one of the
more popular ones. I circle around it to fully appreciate the
pattern of carrot greens sprouting from its sides. It smells
carroty and mangoey. Carramango!! This will be good. I only wish
it were blue.
I press the capsule into my stomach to hover directly over it. I
gingerly sink my teeth in the yellow-orange flesh until I can
just taste it. It tastes distantly of carrots and mango. I take a
large bite out of the top. It tastes wonderful and sends a
delicious feeling through my head and neck. My arms tingle and
I can't remember if I have any feet.
I want to take another bite. I want to eat the entire thing,
ravenously, but it has changed. It is turning blue. Were it any other
color I would eat it anyway, but it is turning blue. I feel compelled
to watch the spectacle. From the exposed sides down, veins of
blue appear on the surface, a deep elctric blue that glistenes
with the original yellow-orange. They wend and extend along the
entirety of the fruit as though someone had just cracked it with
a hammer. The blue then fills between the remaining gaps in a
wave of progressing circles, some more purple than blue, others
more turquoise than electric blue. With the transition to blue
finished the exposed top dilates and expulses a volcano of seeds
in a syrupy fluid. I grasp the capsule tightly to watch from a few
feet overhead. The first line of seeds erupted in an iridescent
blue green, but from above I watch as strips of seeds fall into
a central core of seething magenta. Each line of seeds nears in
color the magenta fluid bubbling in the heart of the fruit. Seeds,
fibrous tissue and all fall into the pit before being cast into the
air. The trays of food a few feet around the fruit are now covered
in seeds, fluid and particulate matter. No one else seems to
notice what I am witnessing. By the time theseeds colored
magenta erupt, the fuit has exhausted its innards. The outerskin
now matches the interior. The stream of viscera dies down until
it froths only on itself. The remaining skin withers and falls
inward leaving a shriveled mass in the middle of the plate.
A layer of chunky bluish-magenta covers the ground, my arms,
legs, face and the capsule.
. . . later on I float over to the end of the complex with the book
shelves. In the book area we can no longer float. I descend a short
ramp which rotates me counterclockwise so that I come to stand
on my feet. The ramp is covered in a short brown carpet but it ends
in the black and white checkerbord floor. However, the floor blends
into the carpet once again after 20 or so feet. The lighting dims
considerably beyond that point casting the bookshelves in a scholarly
yellow glow. All the books seems to be classics, though I have
difficulty reading the titles embossed on the bindings. The letters
are all in gold, on brown leather. Many of the colors have textured
designs embossed into the covers. I try to remove some of the books
but they all seem permenantly affixed to the shelves. I hear a warning
'SSSHHST' from one of the librarians sitting at a desk behind me as I
fidget with the edge of a bookcase.
. . floating resumes again through dark passageways with checkerbord
tiles cast in the same yellow hue, books cover the walls to a ceiling I
cannot see in the darkness. . . I pass by the dean of the medical school.
He doesn't move. I think perhaps he ate something rotten and is
suffering from botulism or tetanus . . tetanus probably as I notice the
sardonic grin contorting his face, hmmm maybe strychnine. . .
. . I pass through the food area but on the left side by the blocks of
marble where I can walk. In the passageway I managed to open the
floating capsule. After I did that it no longer worked. I leave by a boat
parked at a long peer outside the structure. Some other people board
with me. The water looks very choppy and it looks like a squall line
is fomenting in the distance..