The Home for Wayward Souls and The Talking Monkeys: Part II

Well, the book has gotten to a length where adding additional chapters to the first page was becoming prohibitively complicated, so I have added a second page for part two…if you are reading this and have not yet read part one, I would respectfully suggest you backtrack and read it first. Chazz

Adaptation

For several weeks the group had to suffer the deprivation of their newest member from their weekly sessions, but it now assured that all the members came every Sunday to the services at The Home for Wayward Souls.
They were all quite comfortable taking The Fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil about forty minutes before they arrived at the Sanctuary, including Frederick.
So in addition to still communicating non-verbally together each weekend, they managed to share some well-focused quality time together, led by Ash and the ArchAngels.
Trust in the fact that every word and every nuance was primarily directed to the assembled members of the group, especially Frederick, and everyone in the group could hear him in their own minds as clearly as if he was whispering in their ears.
Charles and Mark had constructed a larger, brighter version of the Sephirot to remain up near the alter, and the consciousness-raising effects just from the alpha-wave generation was awe-inspiring.
Their chosen escort was a very professional-looking man if your chosen profession is intimidation. He had young, kind and surprisingly soft features that were well-trained to retain “Military Deportment” to attempt to hide or disguise his moods or state of mind.
His sheer size alone was the most intimidating thing about him. About six-foot two and very broad and well-muscled; one of those fellows who has to have all their suits specially tailored. He looked like a body-builder in a grey pin-stripe and wore his sunglasses constantly.
His name was Stan Langerman; neither he nor Sebastian Lodge ever discussed Stan’s background, training, or previous work experience. Mark was simply told “He is very well-qualified and skilled in his field, and I believe he suits the needs of the Corporation perfectly.”
Mark could not help noticing that Sebastian Galbraith Lodge never used the name “The Habitat” or even “The Habitat for Primate Research” except in letters he occasionally dictated to vendors or contractors who performed services for The Habitat, simply because it was the only way to identify the place in a way they would recognize. All other verbal references, for instance were simply “The needs and purposes of the Corporation”, “The rules and regulations of the Corporation, etc.
His second memo to the staff was to announce that, effective immediately all rules and regulations pertaining to the operation and business of the Corporation were subject to his review and approval, and would be final unless rescinded or modified by him. All appeals were to be directed to the Corporate Board, although he highly recommended against it.
Stan was pleasant and courteous to both Mark and Darcy, and allowed them full control of Frederick, who seemed to intimidate Stan just enough that Frederick noticed it first, which he signed to Darcy, although Mark heard his thoughts also.
They both realized that Stan did not know ASL, at least yet, and so as to avoid tension or suspicion, Darcy always gave very perfunctory translations of their signed conversations with the understanding that all America Sign Language communications were being performed as a ruse to distract Stan while they had separate running conversations with each other telepathically, with only a few almost reflexive gestures, more out of habit than anything.
While the weeks passed with regular attendance at the services, Frederick was now going out among the other chimps and bonobos at night after work, in their habitats. It did not arouse any suspicions by the security staff, since they were too preoccupied with overseeing everything and everyone who came in or out of the facility.
All of the security staff were new to the Habitat, and would not have thought this to be unusual, since the worker primates still maintained a very gregarious, congenial tribal/communal pattern of socialization.
One at a time, he was selectively “enlightening” his fellows. It did turn out that what would have been “sub-clinical” doses for humans, based on mcg/kg used for the rest of the group was quite adequate as a threshold dose for the chimps ad bonobos.
And surprisingly enough, because the primates are not subject to the kind of neurotic socialization of humans, they more easily accepted the enhanced awareness and sentience with little culture shock, although the other naturopathic herbal ingredients did have a relaxing and calming effect.
Frederick had become their messiah. He told them to keep taking the reward pellets at work and do their very best to perform well so as not to raise any suspicions. He admitted he did not have all the answers, but trusted the Group at the Sanctuary, and promised they would stay in communication to keep them abreast of their plans to liberate them, as they developed.
True to form, the biggest liability came in the form of humor and independent thinking on the part of the chimps and bonobos, but most of the other staff members simply interpreted it as rebelliousness rather than an indication of the indomitability of the spirit that comes as a result of sentience. Even truly intelligent people can be real knuckle-draggers when it comes to spiritual enlightenment.
All in all, they were adapting fairly well to the new changes and challenges…with one exception…Darcy was over two weeks late. She’d had her tubes tied over seven years ago, and could practically set her wristwatch by her cycle. She didn’t mention it to Mark at first, but when he asked her, she furrowed her eyebrows and just shook her head.
“No worries, Darlin’…that is just about one hundred percent impossible, and I haven’t seen any Star in the East, if you catch my drift.”

Improvise, Adapt, and Overcome

“It wouldn’t be your usual kind of miracle…and no virgin birth…that’s for sure! But how?…how could this be?”…she winced as she looked down at the test stick… “this is sure as hell one time that ‘Positive’ does not involve anything positive for me…I’m certain of that…at least I think I am. Damn! The timing is all wrong for this!…Shit!”
She suddenly envisioned some dewy-eyed young Ms. Thing holding a piece of plastic in her piss-stream and seeing a happy face appear instead of a plus sign…and jumping for joy, shouting something like “Yippee!”
But not her…not Darcy Sallye, who vowed years ago that she was not going to be tied to some man who would ruin her life with heartbreak, disappointment, and betrayal or drunkenness and violence by virtue of an accidental union of egg and sperm.
Granted, that was years before she met Mark… and about three months after she got out of rehab.
She decided then and there that she would break the cycle of the chains that threatened to bind her. All the women in her family had been enslaved by bad choices made in a careless moment of lust and passion that fizzled out and faded away a lot sooner than the obligations that remained.
Redneck men…even the best of them, are famous for saying stupid shit like “Hey! I pay my child support every month!…” like it’s some declaration of honor, instead of something you’re supposed to do in the first place, even if they’re not around for the kids they sired with you because they’re too busy with the new wife’s kids…(whether they’re even his or not)…and especially if he thinks they are.
Darcy had never been in love before.
Sometimes she might have been in lust, especially with the dangerous ones…she had a taste for bad boys, but as soon as she recognized it for what it was, she would do something really mean or vindictive first before they got the chance to get the upper hand….
Sometimes it might have even been a strong like depending on how long she’d been too lonely, but it was usually just a case of already knowing she was just settling for what came along, and she was damned if she was going to be stuck…trapped…with no escape and too many regrets.
But now…the first time in years she’d even given it a thought, here she was in love…deeply in love with Mark…but…she couldn’t expect him to raise it as his…without…well, a DNA test for starters…after all, she had fucked all the men in the group on more than one occasion…with Mark’s blessing and encouragement in fact.
This was new ground for her…to be this free and so much in love at the same time. It was exhilarating and empowering to the point of intoxication….but suddenly, she was faced with a serious dose of reality in the middle of the wildest fantasy she had ever known.
“Jesus!” she thought… “What if it was Charles’ or Ash’s…or Merle’s” Charles and Ash were both married…could she…should she…just get rid of it…him?…her?
If Merle was the father, it would probably be more than Mark could take…she could live with it, but not Mark…and she understood why…Mark and Merle had been so close for so long…like brothers…but Mark always felt like he was the runner-up…second place…the one the girls settled for if they couldn’t get Merle, or if they couldn’t keep Merle (and no one but Kali could do that).
Mark was just a little too submissive, and sensitive and understanding for his own good. Women would use him as a doormat if they thought they could get away with it…and they often had. He had learned that all too often, they mistook his compassion and understanding for weakness, which taught him to keep his cards close to his chest and women at arms’ length.
Darcy was the first woman Mark had trusted enough to let her get close enough to occasionally dominate him…(just enough to act out a few of her own kinks about men).
He was an alpha-male to the outside world in all other aspects…he seemed to crave a sort of surrender to a woman like Darcy because he trusted her enough to believe she would never hurt him intentionally, even though they both feared she would one day, in spite of her best intentions….
Part of her wanted to just get rid of “it”…while it was still just an “it”…like it never happened…but something made her feel like there was this miraculous quality to the situation that refused to be ignored…the sperm that wouldn’t take no for an answer…the egg that refused to wither unrequited…what kind of destiny was being played out?
She didn’t know for sure, but those feelings made her question her judgment.
“Dammit!” Her tubes had been tied for years for Christ’s sake! They only “precautions” she had ever taken were just like the label said…“for the prevention of disease only…”
She hated rubbers because she felt like they insulated her from that spark she loved to feel from skin on skin…and skin in skin…and that warm flush from the flood…when the river overflowed its banks…full of electricity and life, just squirming inside her…gushing in and flowing out; a salt tide that flowed as if pulled by the moon herself and so copious she could almost taste it sometimes….
The term galvanic skin response refers to a measurable quantity of electric current registered during polygraph tests that fluctuates according to the emotions of the test subject…(or the level of passion between two lovers) that was insulated by latex, and like rubber gloves on a jewel thief’s hands, left no trace to even prove anyone had even been there.
As soon as she felt safe enough to go bareback, she usually did, which was not really all that often until…well, since she fell in love with Mark.
Every time she looked at a prick with a condom stretched over it, all she could think of was a bank robber with a pair of panty-hose pulled over his head, and it was all she could do not to laugh.
She quickly learned that men are not well-disposed to laughter at the sight of “the mighty sword” because most of them are so insecure that they end up taking the whole experience much too seriously to just relax and have fun.
They were usually so preoccupied with the self-imagined act of her conquest …yeah…as if….
If men had any idea how they looked to women when they were all puffed up with their exaggerated image of self-importance and control they might just learn to pay attention long enough to understand women a little better and really become much better lovers than they could imagine.
Ever since she and Mark were reasonably assured that neither one of them was going to give either of them Aids and die, those ski masks of sex had become a thing of the past…it never had anything to do with birth control in the first place…she thought she was safe…“Now what?!?!”
She told Mark she was going to buy a test kit to find out, so he would be expecting an answer soon, but she wasn’t really sure she knew what to expect from him.
She really didn’t know how she felt, and that would undoubtedly be his first question…what did she want to do? Men ask that question because it sounds like they really want to know what the woman wants, but the problem is that it just avoids answering the question for themselves in the first place.
A baby? She wasn’t getting any younger, so if she was ever going to become a mother, this might be her only chance, given the fact that this pregnancy wasn’t even supposed to have occurred in the first place.
She knew it would change her life forever…was Mark ready for marriage? Was she even ready for marriage? Did they really even need to get married? Was she ready for Motherhood?
Frederick had brought out a strong maternal instinct in her over the years, and she had thought that it was enough…tried to convince herself it was…at least until now.
Now the opportunity had forced itself into the equation and demanded a decision that she thought she was never going to have to make. Whatever choice she made, it ruled out another entire set of possibilities irrevocably, like a great fork in the road of her life.
What if she never got the chance to make this decision again? Freedom might mean emptiness in retrospect and a lifetime of regret, but commitment could just as easily equate to enslavement to a different kind of regret…even resentment.
Mark had gone out to the store to get something to fix for dinner. When she heard the front door close as he came back, she took a deep breath.
Time for the moment of truth.
Fish, Cut Bait, or Swim

Darcy rushed out of the bathroom to meet Mark. She held the tester behind her back. The minute she saw his face, she knew something was drastically wrong, and she slid it into the back pocket of her jeans.
“What’s wrong?” she asked.
“I just got a call from the Habitat…PharmaCorp is sub-contracting us out to Leidos…until further notice. All animal research will be under direct orders from Sebastian G. Lodge…but that’s not all….”
“What’s got you so upset Darlin’? Is there more to it than just that?
“Effective tomorrow, half of the chimps in the Feeder Project will be sent off-campus for three weeks to another ‘undisclosed’ facility for ‘further training of a different nature’…they will be taken away from their families and homes without so much as a ‘how do you do?’ and we can’t do a fucking thing about it.”
“What about Frederick?”
“Well, fortunately, he is supposed to act as the ‘liaison’ to prepare the ones that are leaving, and to introduce the new replacements.”
“Replacements? Permanent ones?”
“I don’t think so, I get the impression they plan on having us train even more chimps on a regular basis, but that asshole Lodge just smiles and puts a finger to his lips, winks smugly at me, and says… ‘Need to know only…no offense, but that’s how we will be operating from now on…I advise you not to take it too personally, but the operations of the Corporation are going to have to be more disciplined than you are probably accustomed, and I would strongly suggest you get used to it and adapt to the changes.’
‘It will be one of the primary factors in deciding who remains once the operation is fully up to speed.’ He has made it very clear that no one is irreplaceable and that the Corporation will not tolerate any ‘Prima Donnas’…period!”
“Fuck! How is Frederick? Does he know already?”
“I was the one that had to break the news to him…that’s why I was so late. I was afraid you would be worried….”
“I’m OK…how is Frederick taking all this?”
“If I didn’t know better, I would swear he sees this as a challenge…he couldn’t wait to go over and start preparing them for the changes. They all look up to him and trust him completely. He is the official king of the tribe as far as they are all concerned, and he treats them like his extended family.”
“Remember when he watched ‘The Godfather’ with us…and it took so long to find a way to sign it so he would understand? Well, now he uses that sign for himself. He laughed hysterically after he did it, but I think it appeals to him.”
“Still…he must be stressed about it.”
“He is, but I gave him a handful of magic pellets to hand out…he is planning a tribal meeting tonight with the assembled multitude so they can get it all sorted out. He’ll be fine. He seems to welcome the challenge.”
“I guess our baby is growing up faster than we expected…”
“It’s interesting that Lodge had enough sense to realize the value that Frederick could play in socializing the members of the project to accept the changes…wait a minute!…speaking of babies…I almost forgot…did you take the test? What were the results?”
Darcy was not sure, but Mark looked so hopeful, she would have bet that he was hoping she was pregnant, and she wasn’t even sure she was so gleeful about it herself, so she just pulled out the test strip and held her breath.
Mark’s jaw dropped like it fell out of its hinges before he broke into a grin, and yelled Yahoo! three times as he picked her up and spun around like a dervish until she was afraid they would both fall on their silly asses.
They stood there kissing each other passionately as they tore each other’s clothes off on their way to the bedroom. Suddenly, Mark stopped abruptly.
He looked her straight in the eye and asked “I never thought to ask you how you felt…are you OK with this?”
With tears in her eyes, she said “I am now…”
A dark cloud passed over her as she asked “But what if it’s not yours? Have you even considered…”
Mark put a finger to her lips and lovingly shushed her. “Well, it will definitely be yours…so how could I not love it? I remember the first time you told me ‘What’s mine is yours’ …and I’m going to hold you to that.”

There are No Secrets Amongst Those of One Mind

During the next Sunday’s sermon at the Sanctuary of The Home for Wayward Souls, Frederick suddenly began to sign in an erratic and confusing manner not at all like him. He nudged Mark and looked at him quizzically after looking first at Darcy, and then back to Mark.
When he initially began learning American Sign Language he used the expression “Aunt” Darcy to express his acceptance of her as a surrogate mother by virtue of her role as a handler the same way that chimp mothers will jointly raise and nurture each other’s offspring.
There is a vocalized utterance that is often used to acknowledge this relationship as well, but Frederick’s confusion at that moment was clouding his telepathic “voice” to Mark because he wasn’t sure what it was that he was trying to express.
Frederick also liked to refer to his mother as “Mama Lilith” in much the same way that young children will also attempt to call their parents by their first names as they become accustomed to hearing their parents’ associates refer to them.
Mark suddenly realized that Frederick’s confusion stemmed from the fact that he only associated the term “Mama” to his own birth mother, even though he was sensing something else about Darcy that was strangely out of character for her in her role as his childhood “Aunt”.
Frederick already knew intuitively that Darcy was with child, and now he did not know what to call her. Once or twice since he had received sentience, he had jokingly referred to her as “Aunt Darcy” because it was strangely out of character considering he had not used the “Aunt” pronoun for her in years, and their relationship was now considerably more complicated.
This sort of humor would have been impossible before he received The Fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil because chimpanzee humor is more characteristically slapstick or prank-oriented due to the limitations of their levels of comprehension.
Although his cognitive consciousness was growing exponentially as the weeks passed, there were times when the gaps proved to be especially frustrating.
His frustration now stemmed from attempting to use the term “Mama” and “Darcy” at the same time.
Mark finally signed (and thought) to Frederick “Yes, Darcy is going to have a baby”, thinking that was the source of his confusion.
Suddenly the other members of the group (including Ash) audibly gasped at the revelation, as all eyes turned to Darcy.
Ash choked in mid-sentence in the middle of one of the most eloquent sermons he could remember giving in years…struck mute…speechless, shocked and overjoyed all at once.
All he could think to do was to cue the ArchAngels and rush down to embrace Darcy as the rest of the group rose to do the same.
Stanley was completely befuddled until Darcy finally told him “They just found out I’m going to have a baby.” Darcy was very deferential in extending Stanley the courtesy of translating ASL for him.
The group stood and talked briefly, and agreed to assemble that night at the rectory, apologizing to Frederick that they regretted he would not be able to attend.
Charles suddenly blurted out “Well, what do you know Frederick; it looks like you’re going to get to find out what it’s like to have a brother after all…or a cousin, depending on how you look at it.”
Merle winced and added “I think we are all in agreement that this child will have no shortage of love, acceptance and familial support. Mark…Darcy I believe I speak for everyone here to congratulate the both of you on this seemingly miraculous event. We are becoming a family of families. We look forward to discussing this with both of you at more length this evening.”
Ash hugged Darcy and Mark before he jumped back up on the stage to announce the blessed event for the benefit of the somewhat startled and confused audience, who then gave them a standing ovation.
When Stanley Linderman gave his report to Sebastian G. Lodge later that afternoon, his director remarked in mock surprise “Well, what do you know…for all their hippie new age polyamory I guess the prospect of children and family has a way of bringing out their traditional family values after all…So when is the wedding?”
“I have no idea sir; they did not even mention it during or after the services in my presence…at least as far as I can tell, because they also sign everything they discuss verbally for the benefit of the ape…I can’t be sure, and it is my understanding that chimps comprehend a lot more than most of us give them credit…especially this one…but both Mark, and Darcy are very polite about translating everything they sign to Frederick to me as a courtesy, which I found to be especially thoughtful, considering I never even had to ask them to do so.”
“How are the ASL lessons going, by the way Linderman?”
“Leave it to Leidos to think of everything and leave no stone unturned…uh, I mean… very well sir. I can almost keep up with their more pedestrian conversations, and I honestly do not think they even suspect that I understand their signing at all.”
“Good. Keep it that way. It will help make sure we keep them honest with us. If you ever start to even suspect that either of them is not accurately disclosing the full extent of their communications with that monkey, do not let on that you are aware of their ruse.”
“They thought they were so clever in getting me to allow them to take that monkey off campus in the first place. The beauty of it all is that it simply allows me to gain relatively unfettered access to intel about their subversive and perverted cult. I had every right to deny them from taking him anywhere just based on protection of our interests…”
“Excuse me sir, but Frederick is a Chimpanzee-Bonobo hybrid, which still makes him a Great Ape, not a monkey…for one thing he has no tail…”
“Linderman, I do not need to be corrected on semantics, or given a lecture on Anthropology! You’re not in any danger of going ‘native’ on me, are you Linderman?”
“Absolutely not, sir!”
“See to it that you don’t, or I’ll change the assignment to someone else. We only have minimal investment in your preparation so far, and we can’t afford to let you get sympathetic with them and go soft.”
“No sir…not at all. Not a chance. I meant no disrespect…I take all my assignments very seriously, and my only concern was for accuracy.”
“Very well Linderman…that will be all for now.”
“Yes sir, Colonel Lodge.”
“Do not use that title when addressing me again Linderman! Not even in confidence or privately from this point on; are we clear?”
“Yes Director Lodge.”
“Dismissed.”
Stanley Linderman was one of the best of his ilk… (whatever that was) but although he would never admit to it, there was something about these particular assigned targets that appealed to him intellectually and aesthetically as well.
He had been an agnostic since before he went into the military…long before he went undercover…and Lodge was such a bible-beater that he did not even bother to discuss his religious beliefs (or lack of them) with anyone, let alone his director…but there was something about this Home for Wayward Souls that allowed him to let just a glimmer of Faith…or maybe Hope into his heart without incurring Fear, Shame, Sin or Judgment.
His father had been one of those “…but I will defend to the death your right to your beliefs with my life if necessary…” kind of rugged individualists, and the apple had not fallen that far from the tree.
He did not share his director’s views on many subjects. He did not even especially care for Sebastian Galbraith Lodge because he thought he was too much of a self-righteous zealot.
He believed that narrow-minded fanatics endangered the rights and freedoms and civil liberties that had been the hallmark of the ideals of the American Dream from all the way back when people still understood what a republic really was supposed to represent.
He was a professional however and knew to “govern himself accordingly”. He had orders to follow as well as a conscience, and it was his conscience that had prompted him to follow his chosen career, both as a servant of the public as well as of his own principles.

Anticipating the Next Move

Because the staff at the Habitat valued Frederick’s abilities to lead and inspire the other chimps and bonobos, no eyebrows were raised in suspicion when Frederick called all the great apes together that night.
Males, females and offspring alike were in attendance in a small grotto that had originally been part of the grounds that had separated the two groups of primates.
In the very beginning, the chimps and bonobos had been kept isolated from each other in an attempt to prevent conflict or aggression between the two subspecies.
As has been noted before, chimps are more aggressive and territorial as well as more male-dominated or patriarchal than the bonobos in terms of social structure. The chimps more resembled monogamous heterosexual Republicans when compared to the bonobos who were decidedly more liberal in their outlook, resembling Libertarians bisexuals, or even hippies.
Bonobo culture was somewhat more egalitarian between the sexes, and the females were more influential within the family order and could be downright manipulative in terms of tribal matters, often using sexual favors to increase their standing and pecking order within the village.
Because the chimps were larger and more aggressive, and also because the Congo River had separated their habitats, there was no small amount of concern for the safety of the smaller more passive bonobos who are sometimes referred to as “pygmy chimps”.
There was no history of their interaction to use as a predictive guide, so it was stipulated initially that they would be kept separate in their habitats in much the same way that they had in the wild.
Frederick’s very existence now opened the potential for a changed paradigm of social order and interaction between the two tribes.
Frederick was considerably larger than the biggest male chimp and he was definitely a top Alpha-Male wherever he went. His mother Lilith was a bonobo. Her strengths were cunning, manipulative imaginative and persuasive traits which Frederick acquired naturally by way of observation as well as the osmotic influences that parents provide for their offspring by way of example.
Social interaction between the great apes is a combination of persuasion, diplomacy, manipulation, subterfuge, deception, barter, and when called for, intimidation and brute force.
Frederick’s natural skills and characteristics utilized the full range of all of these elements, so it was a given almost from the day he was introduced to the other members of both tribes that he would lead them.
Within the social order of PharmaCorp’s business and operations as regards the primates he functioned not only as team leader that united the chimps and bonobos but also as a liaison between the company and the primates by way of Mark and Darcy.
Although nearly all the chimps and bonobos had taken The Fruit of theTree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil with Frederick at least once, tonight they were all going to receive sentience together, like Holy Communion.
The idea was to collectively brainstorm so as to address issues raised regarding the separation of family members, how long were they going to be apart, was this going to happen repeatedly or periodically, how many new members were going to be introduced to their community, and perhaps most importantly, what was it that they were going to teach them somewhere else that they couldn’t learn here?
Frederick admitted that everything he knew had been told to him by Mark, who did not especially trust Management. The nature of their training was unknown. They would be gone for three weeks. Others would be brought in to take their place while they were gone, which would also involve training the new primates until all the members were rotated through all aspects of training.
No one knew how many new trainees would be involved overall.
Mark had been told the idea was to keep them from getting too bored from endless repetitions of the same actions and that all of this was being done to learn the extent to which primates were capable of learning.
Even though the financial rewards for PharmaCorp had been considerable, it had been set up that way initially to provide incentives to encourage PharmaCorp’s participation as a for-profit company that contributed to endeavors that more closely resembled cognitive and behavioral research.
Frederick’s directions for the group were relatively simple.
Do not let your trainers know that you are capable of communicating non-verbally either with each other, or through them except by ASL.
Stick to the American Sign Language training and scripting, but do not use it to compare notes with the other primates or share other forms of knowledge or learning amongst yourselves.
Do not disclose the extent of your growing sentience, awareness, comprehension or intuitive or telepathic abilities to anyone other than Mark, Darcy, I or other chimps and bonobos you already trust that you know for a fact have taken The Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.
Whenever possible try to contact me, Darcy or Mark…in your mind before words. If a particular time of day is better than another, just try to be consistent so that I learn to anticipate your communications. You don’t have to prove anything, nor have any expectations placed upon you, so most of all don’t worry, because we will exchange information when you get back. We just want to stay one step ahead of them; nothing special just now, just keep your ears open and your head down.
On the surface, everything gave the appearance of being positive, creative, and in the best interests of the chimps and bonobos, except for the imposition of a forced separation of the family members. It could well be argued that this could provide an opportunity to study the effects of separation upon the primate culture in a closed model. It would unburden them from the monotony of endless repetition imposed upon telemarketers, and as such exhibited a concern for humane treatment of the subjects.
It could well be an opportunity to showcase their abilities as sentient beings. It would not however represent an accurate picture of primate learning, cognition and behavior as a group, so there was a tendency to want to keep all matters pertaining to the ingestion of The Fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil occult, which would mean having to try to “dumb down” for the new evaluators, which would not be easy, since so much of their new consciousness was innate.
The odd thing was that due to the natural prejudice of most researchers, they might not be inclined to notice the more subtle associations of particular types of sentience or consciousness, as opposed to mere intelligence as defined by certain measurable degrees of cognition linked to performance-based testing. They might not even notice at all….
“Things just keep getting curiouser and curiouser…”

Solidarity

Frederick was conspicuous in his absence that night at the Sanctuary, but the mood of the group in general was so buoyed by the revelation of Darcy’s pregnancy that everyone there seemed to have a shared interest in her happiness and well-being, and this mood continued throughout the weeks that followed.
“If I only knew what kind of treatment I was going to get, I might have considered doing this on purpose a long time ago!” Darcy quipped. As attentive to Darcy as Mark habitually was now every member of the group seemed to focus all of their attention and support to her.
Suki and Kali both seemed to hover at her elbows and were a seemingly endless source of massages, foot and back rubs, herbal teas and general pampering in a way that seems to come so naturally to some women. In this way, their sisterhood was enhanced as a natural bi-product that seemed to draw its energies from the lack of competitiveness or jealousy amongst the women, or for that matter, the men either.
Ash, Charles, and Merle likewise showed their support for Mark as well as Darcy. Rather than leave Mark feeling pushed out when the women surrounded Darcy, the men were able to distract Mark long enough to just let things happen.
It is all too customary for a solitary couple to loose themselves in the demands and dramas of a normal pregnancy, but they were able to balance the warm envelope of a sense of belonging to something larger than just themselves with the celebration of independence within this small group of individuals of common mind and purpose.
Mark and Darcy had decided they would get married within the month. They both had good healthcare insurance, but they figured this was a good time to embrace the obvious.
Ash finally acknowledged the giant elephant in the room long enough to simply state that as much as everyone in the group had committed themselves to higher mental and spiritual goals, a “Line Marriage” might be a logical and rational approach to giving legal and financial support to all the members of the group, including any new members…and most especially any new arrivals in the form of children.
In this way, this unforeseen but fortuitous event helped focus their attentions on the future of their way of life and beliefs, as well as their property.
Although Darcy’s current condition might be instrumental in helping to guide the members of the group in that direction, this would by no means be the sole determinant in deciding to take such a move at this time.
Collectively, both the Home for Wayward Souls as a non-profit limited legal corporation, including syndicated television rights, as well as Kali’s Tantric web site, had rendered Ash and Kali, quite wealthy; it is not at all an uncommon trend for corporate officers of non-profit organizations to earn very large salaries. If they defer initial salaries until after the corporate bills are paid for the first several years, the payoffs can be very sizable.
They both had had the foresight to hire themselves out to their own incorporations for seven-figure salaries from day one, agreeing to forestall payment (with interest) until such time as was financially feasible.
Ash and Kali wanted to be able to make that money available to anyone that they felt deserved it, without relinquishing large amounts of it in taxes (In much the same way that living trusts are set up every day in this country).
Healthcare benefits and retirement plans are available as small group insurers. It allows for the legal collective ownership of property and wealth among the living members of the family and sets up a hierarchy of leadership that allows for contingency plans in the event of contested successions.
Another quantum leap for the members of the group; all in less than a year’s time.
It was also unanimously voted to defer any DNA testing of the child. To single out one parent at the expense of the involvement of the others was deemed unnecessary and irrelevant. Once again, “the willing suspension of disbelief” was the operant principle. Happiness is a choice. This was an opportunity for everyone to be happy.
Mark was one of the strongest proponents of the choice, as was Darcy; by giving the other members of the group the opportunity for involvement and commitment according to their nature and abilities the women were also included as equally as if they had carried the child, just as the men were equally included without the necessity of singling out one male as the genetic biological father.
There have been numerous proponents of this type of marriage for many years; Robert Heinlein the science-fiction author was one of the first and most eloquent spokespersons for the concept.
Intriguingly, although no Western culture or society openly allows for a formal marriage between more than two people, polyamorous sexual unions are frequently not specifically prohibited and joint ownership of property within the structure of a corporation is perfectly legal.
The problem legally is that it is almost impossible to find anywhere in the world that will recognize the legality of various forms of group marriage or legally determined polyamorous relationships. It also goes without saying that in all of our myriad creative and imaginative ways of bonding and uniting people of common interest that specific labels, identities, and rules of engagement have a tendency to preclude individual interpretations of those boundaries, as well as their obligations and responsibilities.
To that end, let us just acknowledge that the group put almost all their creative talents into researching ways to circumvent the more litigious aspects of community property and polyamory into a viable and legally unassailable working model of libertarian functionality that did not choose to take on the religious ultra-right-wing Christian mainstream into battle, choosing rather to capitalize on the ambiguities and loopholes, if you will of our legal and civil systems to allow members of an incorporated financial entity to do as they pleased within the confines of their corporate campus, which was to be operated as a non-profit organization devoted to the research of creative methods of the pursuit of higher levels of common consciousness, social, and family educational structures.
Without adding an additional hundred-plus pages to this account, suffice it to say that the pursuit and research had a galvanizing effect on the group that surpassed even all their previous endeavors. In it, they were perfecting their own social structure and determinism with an eye for the future as well as the present. They did it logically and passionately at the same time, and in so doing, extended a moment into a lifetime union of Love and Logic balancing Romance upon Reason.
Once again, it was Homecoming Weekend and the Senior Prom all rolled into on endeavor…one mind. This was The Home for Wayward Souls at its best; when it allowed the members to focus the best of themselves onto a common goal with a common purpose, reaching one mind by way of the union of many minds.
As long as the financial and legal aspects of the corporation are sound, the private activities of the members of the corporation can remain private. It can be done, even in the state of Florida.
It was also mutually agreed to conduct a Wiccan Circle as the ceremonial rite to acknowledge the union of the members of the group. After some considerable debate, it was also agreed that Frederick be included as a member of the group within the Wiccan Circle as an acknowledgement of his celebration of sentience within their tribe.
This prompted some considerable discussion as to how the logistics of all this might be accomplished, now that Frederick was only allowed to leave the campus of the Habitat for Primate Research on Sundays, and with the accompaniment of Stanley Linderman.
There was an unknown quantity in terms of the limits of understanding and tolerance even Ash’s congregation might allow, as he had already talked (and acted) his way out of one congregation already.
Although it was true that he and Kali legally owned all rights and property of The Home for Wayward Souls, it was not their intention of become a congregation of less than a dozen members, nor was it their intention to become shackled by the mob rule of public opinion to determine how they should determine the nature and quality of the lives they were inventing for themselves on a moment-by-moment basis with their eyes nonetheless focused on their future.
The weeks turned into months as the process took its own sweet time in coming into fruition, much the same way as the swelling of Darcy’s belly foretold of new life emerging within the confines of their own familial community.

When is “Not a Marriage” a Marriage?

Ash had learned much over the last few years about the politics of maintaining a congregation without having to sacrifice all of your principles.
The irony was that by the time he had learned to “play the game” he was now given the opportunity to push the envelope in whatever direction he believed to be inspired by his heart and mind and enjoy increased support and greater numbers of followers.
His time had come within his involvement with mankind when his opinion coincided with public opinion before it was yet public opinion. He was in the right place at the right time…no, it was more like he was the right place and the time was his.
People had grown weary and suspicious of their grandparents’ religions.
Many of them found it almost impossible to read most portions of the Old Testament that described either the jealous, wrathful, angry God of Ezekiel, the unreasonable God of Leviticus, or the perplexing mind-fuckery of the God of Abraham without being drawn into questioning the dubious mindset of the peoples of those times.
Interpretations of the truth are so controlled by the participant/observers involved that regardless of how the outcome is effected by the simple observation of a phenomenon, the way in which that observation is interpreted renders almost everything useless to anyone other than the observer/participants themselves.
In Quantum Mechanics it is the Observer effect or in Behaviorism the Hawthorne effect, the dreaded Heisenbug effect of computer viruses, the Probe effect in terms of scientific measurement, or the Observer-expectancy effect as an anticipated outcome of loss of objectivity; although we might attempt to unravel the storyteller from the story, our own impositions of subjectivity are just as suspect.
And yet somehow, the Atheists never seem to have much fun, either, and there is almost none of the comradery of the devout to help blunt the edge of The Great Existential Void. Sometimes the ones most in need of a social network somehow never recognize it.
People seek connection, recognition, validation, recreation and a sense of belonging to something larger than just themselves, even if it means simply seeking the company of other similarly isolated souls.
Our recognition of each other’s isolation is its own fellowship of shared loneliness.
Sometimes, after we take off the rose-colored glasses, and the blinders and stop waiting for or anticipating what someone else told us to expect, we may experience moments of clarity, realizations, serendipity, synchronicity, epiphanies, and moments of joy.
The Home for Wayward Souls was a place to experience those moments.
Some find God, some find companionship, some find solitude, some find Peace, some find Inspiration and some just find themselves.
The more freedom you give your congregation, the more you get, but there is a sweet intoxication to be had from followers; an audience, or a congregation seeking to be lead to blissful inspiration via words, music, visual imagery or conjured visions borne of ideas.
Even if you tell them they have to find the truth for themselves they want you to lead them to it; to be their guide, to point them in the right direction, to follow your path and to be their champion, their hero.
Ash had become a reluctant hero. Siddhartha warned his followers that enlightenment was not to be gained from sitting at his feet.
Now it was his job to lead his congregation to accept a line marriage that modeled itself after a Wiccan Circle (and included a chimpanzee). And he was just the Showman to do it.
(This is the part where the Showman has to sell the concept of a Line Marriage to his congregation without having to go into all the specifics of what is involved…including calling it a Line Marriage in the first place.)
Partly because it is really nobody else’s business as to every single dynamic of their social interactions, every effort would be made to portray Frederick’s involvement as an adopted child of the family being created, which in a sense he was.
Instead of jumping over a broom, they would jump over a sword. Those who understood the symbolism were not likely to “out” the group, and most of the ceremony would lend a tone of Romanticism and imagery upon which they could place their own interpretations. The Home for Wayward Souls openly embraced many Pagan and non-Judeo/Christian influences and references without necessarily endorsing or promoting anything that did not fit for each individual.
All of the members of the group had become role models for most of the other members of the congregation through no specific act or intentions to do so. As a group they were the disciples of Ash’s church and would be offered to the congregation as officers of the organization.
Darcy, Kali, Suki, Merle, Mark, Charles and Ash would now be considered a circle of advisors who would live on-campus at the Sanctuary. Frederick would be included as their primary link to the animal kingdom vis-à-vis non-vocalized communications, although his physical presence at the Sanctuary would be limited to a few hours every Sunday, given his ownership by The Center for Primate Research, and eventually, PharmaCorp.
If there was any dissent amongst the members of the congregation, no one heard it voiced. It was as if the farther Ash and the group pushed the envelope, the more enthusiastic the congregation and the wider the viewership of the syndicated television program became.
It seemed like the whole world was watching. The louder and more aggressive his detractors and critics grew, the more people flocked to his church, his TV show, and Kali’s website. He gave love and validation for many of those who needed it, and did not require renunciation, guilt, shame, penance or retribution to get it.
The same controversy that had been a viability for so many years now was launching him into superstar status.
It still remained to be determined as to just how much the public would continue to not only accept, but also embrace his Home… with the enthusiasm of followers, disciples, and pilgrims, while Ash continued to tell them they have to find the answers for themselves.
As far as Ash and Kali were concerned, everyone was entitled to Unconditional Support and understanding as long as no one else was hurt; they would provide him or her the setting to conduct their search.
They sometimes lost support from those who expected Ash and Kali to condemn someone else for them. Good riddance.
There would have been a time when the spirit of anti-Communism might have challenged the legality of the sort of corporate structure that a Line Marriage represents, because there is a considerable amount of community property that is shared by its members.
But the real crucial difference was how private property was identified. Ash was famous for being quoted as saying “Hey, what’s yours is yours, but what’s mine is ours (except for whatever Kali and I choose to keep between ourselves…..).”
“Much can be shared of our own private property as chosen, but it is what we recognize as being jointly owned that can pass freely among us, as well as pass from us to those who shall follow us.”
The beauty of the concept is that as a capitalist society the laws and regulations as to incorporation, especially among non-profit organizations not attempting to claim charitable status (as is the practice of most churches) are well geared toward insulating and protecting the members of the corporation in any number of ways.
Polygamy, Polygyny, and Polyandry are not legal in this country. Gay marriage and Civil Unions are still being contested in every state, and whenever they are declared legal, the ultra-conservative religious element begins new efforts to disallow any and all forms of multiple marriage or any marriage of anyone other than one man to one woman.
Once life and healthcare insurance companies began to allow civil unions between same-sex partners to be recognized so as to allow benefits to be assigned to non-married beneficiaries, the initial energies directed toward recognition of gay marriage might have been anticipated to dwindle, but it did not.
People have wanted to proclaim their bonds or affiliations and announce their intentions to the rest of the world since practically the beginning of time. We seek recognition and validation in almost everything we do.
But multiple unions of legally-recognized marriage partners is still one of the strongest taboos faced worldwide. Fortunately however incorporations of individuals for financial and legal protections and benefits has allowed Lutherans or Free Masons or Firemen for instance to provide Life and Healthcare insurance to their members as a Special Group.
Most families would be well advised to seek non-profit status as a corporation. Once the operating expenses and overhead involved in maintaining a corporation (e.g. family) are factored, few people see anything other than a net operating loss carryforward until the first generation of adults has reached retirement age and the mortgage on the facilities (e.g. domicile) is paid. Shortly afterward, Amortization of the heads of the household is also assumed to be imminent, or at least pending.
In order to pass this wealth on to their progeny, inheritance taxes will have to be paid, living trust funds notwithstanding.
Marriages are considered to be finite, just like dairy products, unlike corporations that can be anticipated to continue to operate for many generations.
For-profit corporations are assumed to be formed for the purpose of making money, but non-profit corporations are tasked with having a declared and stated purpose for their existence.
Most families do not stop to think long enough to ponder the purpose of their existences.
A non-profit corporation devoted to the advancement and study of higher levels of human consciousness in the pursuit of sexual bliss through Polyamory has a stated purpose, and may even be eligible for educational grants and any number of governmental subsidies.
Even educational grants and subsidies ranging from money for tools to maintain corporate vehicles (“Tools for Schools”) to subsidies for maintenance of wastewater (graywater) collection ponds under farm subsidies (it doesn’t take twenty acres to qualify as a farm) or money paid to not raise certain crops are available to those who possess the imagination and the initiative to avail themselves of them, as well as the knowledge of how to write grants.
And so it was that the members of The Home for Wayward Souls would be free to love, support, educate, and nurture each other for generations as a non-profit corporation as long as they did not try to claim that it was a marriage.
And at least for now, if questioned they would emphatically state it was not a marriage…for well after they all should live.

Watching the Days go by

As it turned out, the wedding was set for two Sundays after the first group of Chimps returned from their off-campus training. What Frederick had shared with Mark and Darcy during their absence was that he envisioned the chimps being flown in a large army cargo aircraft to somewhere in the Deep South.
What he described to them sounded as if they were getting military training. Upon their return, they confirmed that they had been given a primate equivalent of “boot camp” that initially centered around following orders and conducting relatively benign maneuvers as a group.
They ate as a group, exercised as a group, slept in common quarters, and followed several trainers’ instructions, which included wearing helmets with video cameras while patrolling forest perimeters searching for human intruders who had been assigned to infiltrate their territory.
They were taught to activate an alarm when they initially discovered the invaders as well as how to capture and subdue them, including immobilization techniques and flex-cuffs, all done unarmed and without harm to the captives.
They were also taught how to follow a wrist-watch sort of GPS map that each of them was given to coordinate group maneuvers. The trainers had not expected it to work quite as successfully as it did, although they did notice that the chimps were more inclined to follow their instincts than the exact directions of the map.
They often cut through designated paths to utilize more direct routes, for instance, and actually anticipated several of the maneuvers better than the trainers thought possible.
It was considered a mixed success insofar as they worked very well as a group, and were generally quite enthusiastic about following orders and instructions, but were sometimes unpredictable because of their penchant for improvising, even when it worked better than the designated plans.
The trainers were not prepared to recognize intuition amongst their test subjects, largely because they did not possess it themselves.
Sebastian Lodge was kept informed of the progress of the group and seemed to indulge himself in a certain glee about only informing Mark and the other researchers about the nature, extent, or details of the experiments on a very limited basis.
When questioned, he would smirk and put a finger to his lips and mouth the phrase “Need to know” if pressed to divulge anything Lodge did not care to share with the Mark and the trainers.
Interestingly enough, the chimps generally enjoyed the entire adventure, the exercise, the outdoors, and the break from the monotony of telemarketing.
There had been a few isolated instances of rebelliousness or disobedience that had been mitigated with either tranquilizer darts or Tasers. The incidents made a lasting impression on the chimps, who were deeply disturbed by the use of punishment as a form of control, which was something to which they had never been subjected before.
Another group was sent out immediately after the return of the first group. The trainers were told to anticipate this schedule until all the chimps were eventually rotated through the first round of training. They were also told there would be additional rounds of training sessions off-campus in the coming months.
What was not anticipated was how poorly the chimps would acclimate themselves back into their old positions at PharmaCorp. As much as Mark had been suspicious of the intentions of “The Corporation” when the off-campus training began, he understood why the chimps preferred it to the “research” they were conducting for PharmaCorp, which he had already noted, was far too much like a “job” that stifled and victimized the primates to maximize corporate profits.
The real dilemma was that he could not discuss it with Lodge because he was not even supposed to know about it in the first place, and he did not intend to show his hand as far as his sources of information, although it is doubtful that Lodge would have been willing to accept that the test subjects had communicated any of this to Frederick, or that Frederick had leaked this to Mark. Were he to say anything at all, it would trigger too much suspicion and probably get him thrown off the project.
Although Mark and Darcy discussed it extensively, they decided to take the information to the rest of the group to ponder.
As researchers who were personally involved with their test subjects they were disturbed and offended that what was being done was to prepare the primates for some kind of military training.
Charles was the first to point out that canines are routinely used by both the Police and Military services. The chimps were enjoying the break from the soul-killing monotony of telemarketing, and this might represent a breakthrough for the status of the primates.
Think about it…because of their police service, specially trained canines were legally considered law-enforcement officers, who are never charged with excessive use of force or held accountable for doing anything other than what they were told to do. To resist or harm a police canine constitutes charges of Assault on a Police Officer, which is a serious felony.
No such sort of recognition or status has ever been bestowed upon any primate. Perhaps military service would enable them to “climb the ladder” within our social order.
It generally takes a changed paradigm of public opinion to effect any changes in our society.
It has only been in the last few years that the use of higher primates (especially chimps) for medical research has been banned by most countries in the world.
Ash argued that the same sort of logic could be used to justify the slavery of Africans as a free trip to America. Once sentience is introduced into the equation, it is questionable to justify any activity that does not include the free will and choice of the participant.
The rest of the evening was devoted to planning the wedding and making arrangements for Mark and Darcy to move into the Sanctuary.
Charles and Suki already owned their home, but it was understood that they could move onto the premises at any time, or even build their own quarters on the property if they chose. They were still considering their options and in no rush.
Although the presentation of the Church officers (wedding) would be a public event scheduled for the Sunday service so as to accommodate Frederick’s presence, the reception would start in the Sanctuary and eventually move to the rectory for the rest of the evening.
Select members were invited to the reception at the Sanctuary following the service, but only the members of the group (minus Frederick) would be in attendance at the rectory. As it was, they planned for Frederick (and Stan) to be around until at least seven o’clock.
Frederick was greatly missed over the last several months since he was only allowed off-campus for the Sunday services, but Mark and Darcy planned that they were going to petition Sebastian G. Lodge to allow them to take him off-campus for entire weekends once they were moved.
The argument was that the increased human social contact would be beneficial to Frederick, and could be well documented by Darcy, and that he could be transported by Stanley Linderman to and from the facilities, ostensibly to protect the interests of “The Corporation”.
The property surrounding the Sanctuary was a well-controlled and protected habitat that would help to provide a nurturant and supportive environment. Because Frederick had not chosen a mate, it would give him (and Lilith and Malkira) a break from his enforced isolation.
It was hoped that it might sublimate the frustration and violence that often begins to appear in chimps kept in captivity beyond about the five-year mark by providing a social network and interaction with a larger group of individuals. Frederick’s case was unique indeed, due to his Chimp/Bonobo hybrid status as a self-proclaimed “Bonanzee” who really had no peers.

 

 

The Wedding at the Church of the Rock

 

Darcy was well over six months pregnant the Sunday that she stood beside Mark to exchange vows of marriage. They were surrounded by Charles and Suki, Frederick, Merle and Kali as they stood before Ash at the altar of The Home for Wayward Souls.

In fact, it was on that Sunday that they would all be joined in wedlock, but for the sake of the sensibilities of the rest of the congregation they would be spared some details of the union. Although a significant portion of the congregation was aligned with Polyamory and Group Marriage, it would be up to them to put together the pieces and figure it out for themselves.

There are those that would argue that if you possess the courage of your convictions, you should be willing to stand up for them. And then again, there are those who would maintain that if you already know that you are in hostile territory, there is no need or purpose in making yourself a target for abuse at the hands of the ignorant and intolerant.

Not necessarily within the church itself, but these days, the whole world really did seem to be watching, and the TV ratings generally supported that at least a very large portion of it was.

Ash tried at every opportunity to provide his congregation with the necessary information and guidance to figure out what they needed spiritually and how to get there. Although he had devoted his life to the pursuit of all manner of things spiritual, he believed that he was a source for information and inspiration, guidance and council, but he was not a shepherd, and his congregation was not a flock of sheep.

Ash faced his congregation and the cameras.

“Dearly beloved…we are gathered here today to join this man and woman in Holy Matrimony.”

“My question to you is ‘Why?’ Do they believe that they have been living in Sin until this moment?”

“No, I can tell you with complete certainty that they do not.”

“Do they necessarily have to for the sake of their child? Of course they do not…”

“So why?”

“Because they have chosen to join their lives together. Because they desire to be one in each other’s eyes. They could have chosen a civil union if all they wanted was public recognition.”  

“Most marriages end in divorce; that may sound fatalistic, but it is a true fact, and I believe that the reason that it is true is because as much as people give lip service to the union of marriage, they are too selfish to recognize the commitment it requires of them and spend too much time and effort trying to control each other.”

“It has been said that a man marries a woman hoping that she will never change, and a woman marries a man with the hope that she can change him. Both points of view are fatally flawed.”

“One of the main premises of this church is gratitude, because no matter who you are or where you are, the fact that you are here at all is a miracle and a privilege, just to be alive.”

“People use God to explain the creation. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but if you believe there is a God out there that can just bake a Universe like a batch of brownies, the real wonderment and awe of our existence can be explained away with a wave of the hand…‘God made it all’ is dismissive and puerile.”

“Why? Well think of it this way…it has been said that with an infinite number of monkeys and an infinite number of typewriters, eventually, they will produce Shakespeare…In the case of the Universe, there has been an infinite amount of time for matter and energy to combine to create life…to go from an inorganic to an organic state, and then to achieve the spark of life…no matter how many times it failed…no matter how many false starts occurred, eventually Life appeared due to subtle and unsubtle changes due to random occurrences that incrementally resulted in Life as we know it here on earth.”

“I recently read that as recently as perhaps five billion years ago, there may have been both water and life on Mars, long before there was life on Earth. Makes you sort of wonder…all that time and all that space, and here we are right here and now.”

“In the history of the Earth alone, Man’s existence on the planet is just a blip on the radar screen. If the history of the Earth was reduced to seven days, Man’s time here so far would be less than one second.”

“We know that the Earth, because of the finite life of our sun, is also on a countdown timer…with at least several million years before it collapses into a super-nova and explodes, but don’t worry…the super-nova that results will probably result in yet another ‘Big Bang’ much like the one that created our galaxy in the first place, so in a couple billion years, there May Be Life again in our solar system, so what’s your hurry?”

“To me, the idea that my existence is the result of an infinite number of coincidences and random chance over an infinite amount of time fills me with a sense of awe and gratitude that far exceeds the simplistic phrase ‘God made me’….”

“The truth is, if there is a God who created us like a batch of fresh-baked cookies, the questions that remain are so beyond anything that we could comprehend that they in effect are meaningless…just as meaningless as why such a God would demand worship and sacrifice from his creations, or what would render him so wrathful as to provoke him to damn them to Hell for Eternity, or why he would be so jealous and insecure as to demand we worship no other Gods…you mean there’s a choice?….”

“But instead, every day when I wake up I think to myself that I must be the luckiest man in the entire world because I know that everyday my beautiful, loving and sexy wife Kali will do everything she can to prove me right, and I do exactly the same for her.”

“God will choose to inspire and influence each of us according to our natures…but if anyone claims to actually hear or see God…they are labeled Schizophrenic…and let’s face it, virtually everyone who does claim to have direct communion with God these days has either just murdered someone because they claim God told them to do it (not unlike Abraham) or else they are trying to extort money from the public to do his bidding.”

“I believe that a just and loving God will possess the understanding, intelligence, and compassion to deal with us without punishment…and with infinite time, comes infinite patience…”

“So for here and now, these children of God are the Rock upon which I shall continue to build this church, this Home for Wayward Souls who don’t believe in Sin or Damnation and refuse to carry guilt for being themselves and wanting to be happy…That don’t fear God or Hell or wrath or jealousy and don’t want to believe that they are miserable sinners in need of forgiveness and salvation.”

“So give me your Tired, your Poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free…I’m sure if Jesus was alive today, one of his disciples would have been a drug addict, or a former roadie for The Grateful Dead, and maybe even a groupie or two; give me those who are tired of feeling guilty or shameful or selfish or wicked…I can’t promise to show you the way to God, but I can promise you will find more love, support and acceptance than you ever thought possible in this life.”

“These others here with me today on this stage, in front of this altar are also equally committed to the same kind of love and support of each other. They too, are choosing to renew their vows of love and commitment. They have become the core of my support of all of you. In this ceremony today, we will be committing our vows of love and loyalty to this Church of Reason insofar as they are committed to each other, so are they wed to this church.”

“For Mark and Darcy, this is a beginning; for the rest of us, this is an extension and renewal of what we began some time ago, and in this pursuit we are equally committed to each of us, as well as all of you.”

“This is the rock upon which we shall build this church.”

“Speaking of Rock…ladies and gentlemen, children and primates alike I give you the ArchAngels, my Minions of Music, charged with helping you find escape velocity sufficient to cross the abyss between all things living and inanimate.”

For the last six months the ArchAngels, having also expanded their horizons by way of the Fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil began a song cycle they had written especially for the occasion that was a masterpiece of cooperative inspiration and genius encompassing all forms and genres of musical and sonic interpretation imaginable.

Guest stars and former band members from Ash’s college days as well as numerous orchestral players from several of the local symphonies crowded the stage until it looked like the finale of one of the annual Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductions.

It was indeed their Magnum Opus and took over four hours to perform, with breaks for each individual player throughout so as not to burden anyone excessively and yet still provide a continuum of movements and progressions the likes of which may have never been performed in public before. It was planned to last through the entire reception as well.

With that, each of the group of eight joined hand in hand in a circle as Ash placed a beautiful sabre on the ground between Mark and Darcy as they began to jump across it as the circle began to orbit Ash at the center in a clockwise fashion until all had jumped over the sword, including Frederick who held Darcy’s right hand and Suki’s left. With that, Ash joined hands with Kali on his right as Merle held Kali’s right hand while the three of them successively jumped over the sword together, whereupon they began to rotate counter-clockwise as all jumped over the sword again.

This they did four times before they stopped and bowed deeply to each other before turning outward toward the congregation to bow to them as well.

What most the rest of the congregation did not see (having not yet been offered the sacrament that united the eight of the group, plus the band) was that from every rafter, every precipice, the altar, both podiums, the stairs and the chandeliers one or more of the Ancient Ones perched, clapped, and danced, and zapped back and forth in blinding flashes everywhere you looked, if you looked with just the right eyes.

Also, several children, two seeing-eye dogs, their masters, a warlock, two Wiccan practitioners and a homeless man who sometimes wandered in all gave varying indications of their acknowledgement of the Ancient Ones. Most of the rest of the congregation was so mesmerized by the music, the ceremony, and the hypnotic effect of the Sephirot that they did not even notice anything else.

And throughout it all, Stanley Linderman sat silently, almost motionless in the back of the church, expressionless, with his sunglasses still on.

It is doubtful that even if Sebastian Galbraith Lodge had been present, he would have noticed the briefest of moments when Stan the Man in Black pretended to cough so as to disguise his need to wipe a tear from his face.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not Exactly Your Grandparents’ Honeymoon

 

When people dream of fantasy honeymoons they may envision Hawaii, or perhaps Rio, maybe Cancun, or the French Riviera, Thailand, Greece, Italy, or even a world cruise when in fact they are lucky if they can afford the Poconos, Orlando, Laughlin, Nevada, or Wildwood, New Jersey. Ten days to a month does not sound like enough time to celebrate the union of two people so in love with each other that they would pledge to spend their collective lifetimes together.

Ash and Kali could have easily afforded to send Mark and Darcy anywhere for as long as they wanted, but this marriage was more than just two people in love. Besides the fact that neither of them really wanted to leave the Habitat right now for any significant length of time, or the fact that they had also wedded six others, and the truth was that no matter where they went, the Ancient Ones would be with them.

If you find yourself wondering why these communions with spirits from the other side of the abyss represent such a quest, the chances are that you yourself have never had the experience.

If you ask an affeciando of cannabis why they partake, their answers will sound vague, nebulous, and unconvincing because you are asking them to describe something outside their usual experiences…something that exists outside the realm of conventional logic and nominal values. My personal favorite is “It just makes everything better…”

Not all experience exists within the finite, the real, the rational, or the logical. It is in fact, that which transcends those boundaries that has the greatest appeal to those who seek something more.

Objectivity for its own sake denies the existence of the subjective values and experiences that enrich our lives in ways that do not require objectification.

What is real on a personal level is as real as anyone needs for their own benefit, and the only way to know those experiences is to experience them for yourself.

It’s like asking yourself what is Love, or what good is Love?

If you have had the experience, no explanation is necessary…if you have not, none will suffice.

There is no end of people who insist that if they can’t measure it, it therefore does not exist. If you try to measure an EKG or an EEG with a barometer or a volt-ohm meter and get no readings it does not mean that those impulses do not exist. You would probably get better results trying to measure their brain activity with a tire pressure gauge.

Even in polyamorous relationships there are usually primary bonds between individual couples that take precedence over their relationships with the rest of the group. Those other relationships balance and enhance the primary one in either group or line marriage.

The intimacy and privacy of simple monogamy is often more of a myth than a reality once the walls and barriers to communications start to build up. Because of the establishment of secondary lines of communication the likelihood of the tyranny of one partner over another is lessened.

In simple monogamy, it is not uncommon for one member to attempt to “put one over” on the other, and act like this is normal or reasonable and get away with it. Anger, silence or simple non-cooperation is less effective as a tool of manipulation when there are other witnesses.

In a setting like group marriage, it sometimes seems like every day is group therapy. Forbidden topics do not exist. Discussions are essentially never closed forever. Bullies do not fare well in group discussions and unreasonable demands or points of view are more likely to be challenged.

This may be the reason that divorce is almost unheard of in group marriage and infidelity is rare, although admittedly, group marriage is also frequently not recorded in the first place, but among those that have been they would appear to be more stable than simple monogamy.

As the members of the group finally got away to the Rectory, the Ancient ones followed en masse as it looked like a bizarre paranormal parade to those with the right eyes.

Darcy had decided and Merle concurred that it would be best for her to stop taking the Fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil while she was pregnant, although she found that when she was with the group she experienced many of the same visions and insights as if she had taken it.

Merle conceded that it did not only appear that the effects were cumulative, but also persistent in terms of heightened sentience and improved access to all previous experiences. It was as if they received refreshment and reinforcement of the synapses and neuroconduction pathways for the table of contents of their random access memories.

Everyone else was fully charged and buzzed and even Darcy could see the luminance of her persona as a visible aura that undulated like the Aurora Borealis.

Tonight, all attentions were focused on both her and Mark who were clearly the stars of the show.

The primary unions of Ash, Kali and Merle as well as Charles and Suki seemed to buoy Mark and Darcy in a soft parade of pleasure and sensuality.

More traditional conventions and conceits of privacy were not necessary in such a setting because there was no shortage of intimacy.

Whatever garments they were still wearing were quickly shed as Suki took the lead in stripping everyone else in a most provocative and playful manner so typical of her boldly engaging ways.

As they stood together fondling and caressing each other, to the surprise of all in attendance the Ancient Ones started to do the Bandaloop Dance to the sounds of the ArchAngels emanating from the Sanctuary, who were still performing for those at the reception. In addition, all the members of the group could hear a distinct polyrhythmic accompaniment in their heads that seemed to lead the Ancient Ones in their dance.

With that, Merle, Ash Charles and Mark lifted up Darcy to place her on a large round sofa in the center of the room. The music, the rhythms and the Dance continued, as Kali and Suki began to light incense, set up a caldron for scrying, and light the fire in the fireplace.

Despite the prodigious swelling of her belly, Darcy still looked lithe and slender of limb. Her six feet of height seemed to exaggerate the effects of her pregnancy on her stomach and breasts.

There is something wonderful and marvelous about the hormones of pregnancy. Beyond the glow, and the ripe fullness of impending delivery of new life, the pendulous fullness of breasts, the swollen puffiness of the aureoles, the insistent protrusions of the nipples, the distension and enlargement of the vulva, labia and clitoris, or the round, taught swelling of the belly, there is a darkly compulsive sexual drive that seems to overtake women sometime in their third trimester.

Some who are not capable of embracing it with comfort will become secretive, angry and demanding. It is a lucky man indeed who is blessed by the company of a woman who, awash in the hormones of pregnancy and overcome with lust and passion riding wave after wave of newfound obsessions and heretofore unknown, almost boundless levels of carnal desire, trusts him enough to share them.

Some women lost in lust discover that their spouses are alarmed and intimidated by the sheer magnitude of their desire. Darcy was one of the lucky ones that wasn’t. Fortunately both Kali and Suki were also understanding and supportive as well, encouraging her to avail herself of their husbands as needed or Mark might not have survived Darcy’s appetite for semen.

 

Merle was the most frequent target of Darcy’s lust and Mark had been the first to encourage her to slake her seemingly insatiable desires with Merle, lest she drain Ash and Charles as completely as she seemed to do with Mark.

Merle was the prototype for all manner of sexual fantasy for almost any woman. His size, his stamina and general sexual prowess were legendary. For a man of such length and girth he was remarkably sensitive to Darcy’s lust while still maintaining discretion and moderation so as not to injure her.

As her pregnancy progressed she frequently indulged herself by having Merle finish in her mouth so as to swallow the enormous quantities of semen he produced when he ejaculated. She also liked to perform cunnilingus on Suki and Kali during or after they were being fucked. There seemed to be no end to her desire or imagination.

Tonight she would consummate and consume on a level heretofore unknown to even her, and all of it with the blessings and support of the other members of the group.

For anyone driven by the desire to seduce the mate of another, imagine the exhilaration of doing it with the full support and encouragement of all parties involved.

Those who follow the discipline of Tantric are familiar with the concept of Sacred Sex and tonight their passions were fueled by worshipful support aided by spirits from the other side of the abyss.

The energy and insight of experiencing a previously disembodied soul acting out within one’s body is nearly indescribable. It often starts with a sensation not unlike a hobo jumping into a moving boxcar, where the members of the group are the train. Followers of Santeria and the Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye have practiced this ritual for centuries, with roots going back to African religious rites.

These powerful spirits seek physical bodies to act out their desires, and those who provide their bodies reap enormous inspiration and escape from the experience. This is but one of many paths leading to sexual and spiritual bliss through unions with many disembodied wayward souls of tremendous power and wisdom.

Some would call them Gods. Some regard them as objects of worship. These members of the Home for Wayward Souls regarded them as welcome houseguests and guides for spiritual and sexual symbiosis.

Suddenly all eyes turned to the fire, which took on the appearance of a vision of Darcy doing the Bandaloop Dance with Mark and Frederick surrounded by literally hundreds of primates who followed her every movement in precision as if she was their queen, their goddess. Their numbers grew as the vision progressed until they were shoulder to shoulder all the way to the horizon.

Ash, Kali, and Merle had witnessed a similar more singular vision when they were instructed by Boop-Oopa-Doop (aka Betty) to seek additional members to complete their group.

From the mists of the cauldron arose a vision of what started as a swirling Yin and Yang symbol that transformed into two children, a male and a female.

With that, Darcy’s belly seemed to glow with an inner transparency until it looked as if you could see two developing babies within her womb.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not Your Grandparents’ Honeymoon II

 

All eyes were focused on Darcy as they continued to observe the pulsating glow that emanated from the two babies growing within her belly.

Kali and Suki were the first to gently touch and rub Darcy’s abdomen, followed by Mark who gently kissed the taught, seemingly transparent skin that seemed to be unable to hide the twins growing within her.

Because they had been reluctant to learn the gender of her child, they had repeatedly postponed the sonogram that would have also revealed the plurality within her. It seemed ironic that two people who had devoted their lives to scientific research would choose ignorance over inquiry, but it was not so much a matter of a choice as a subconscious avoidance.

As much as the satiation of curiosity was endemic to their collective natures, it is perhaps not surprising that they desired a certain degree of purposeful mystery to shroud her pregnancy and impending delivery.

As humans we are not always logically consistent regarding the full spectrum of our logical and emotional make-up. Although the Scientist desires to know all, the Romantic embraces the mystery that conflicts with full disclosure.

Darcy was in no way negligent in seeking prenatal care, but inadvertently in subconsciously avoiding knowing the sex of her child, she had also missed learning of the existence of a second entity. It just never occurred to any of them until now, and the twins had not yet chosen to force their presence upon them before this moment.

Although there had as of that moment been no scientific confirmation of the presence of twins, at that moment they knew it to be true because they believed it to be true, courtesy of the Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil.

Tears of joy streamed from Darcy’s eyes, as well as the others as they gently and almost reverently touched and embraced her.

As Mark and Darcy stared deeply into each other’s eyes, they both said “I love you so much!” almost simultaneously.

Charles was by far the most emotionally distant of the group to all but Suki, although as they stood facing each other as Suki gently touched Darcy’s breasts, Charles lovingly touched Darcy’s face and said “You are so beautiful…I love you.”

This almost took Darcy’s breath away, as Charles had never actually spoken those words directly to her before. Although he was demonstratively very affectionate in all of his contact with her, it often took on the air of an almost fatherly manner, much the same as his interactions with Mark.

Charles had often described his relationship with Suki as a “Limited Polyamory” because insofar as they were concerned, Suki insisted she should be considered the “Alpha Bitch” in all interactions with either her or Charles both separately or independently.

Although Charles was in no way what you would describe as submissive by nature, it was his finding that when he indulged Suki in her need to “call the shots” so to speak, she was much less likely to succumb to jealousy or possessiveness, and frequently surprised Charles with her magnanimity and generosity of spirit.

Also, because they now generally limited their pursuit of Polyamory to the other members of their group it was easier for Suki to cope with any real or imagined territorial issues.

In that respect, she and Kali and Darcy regarded each other as equals.

Similarly, Merle enjoyed Darcy’s infatuation with an air of “detached compassion” that allowed her to indulge herself in her fantasies about him without evoking any insecurities within Mark, who was remarkably self-assured and well-adjusted and usually not the least bit jealous.

Although Mark was no wallflower by any means it was difficult for any man to not feel eclipsed by Merle’s presence. Darcy did her best to moderate her enthusiasm regarding her attraction for Merle.

There was no denying that she was wet-hot for Merle, but she truly loved Mark in a way she had never before known with any other man. They were both special to each other in a way that was unique for them.

Darcy was also very much aware of Mark’s life-long crush on Kali…hell, anyone with a pulse and a blood pressure and anything over a room-temperature IQ could not help noticing how Mark adored her.

Whenever Darcy felt a twinge of jealousy, she reminded herself how that must be the way Mark feels about her and Merle.

Kali very much liked how she felt when she indulged Mark in all manner of sexual pleasure.

It was good to enjoy the almost worshipful adoration that Mark bestowed upon her. She never felt quite as beautiful and charming as when Mark was lavishing her with affection and gratitude.

At least once in their life everyone should know what it feels like for someone else to think you are beautiful, charming and brilliant as if they are star-struck by every aspect of your being. To be adored and desired without reservation and overcome by grateful wonderment for the good fortune to be in your company.

Ash had remarked more than once that Mark helped remind him what a lucky man he was, and Suki was particularly fond of Ash’s Arian/Nordic features and finely sculpted body.

Although Charles was quite familiar and affectionate with both Kali and Darcy, he often stated that he generally had his hands full just keeping up with Suki’s seemingly insatiable desires, and ever since his relationship with Jennifer tanked, he had become a little distant with most women other than Suki until very recently.

Lately Suki had been corresponding with a woman who wrote a byline for a magazine that specialized in Kink/Fet articles and features. Eventually, she did an interview with Suki and Charles in their home. The two women bonded almost instantly, and soon became lovers as well as fast friends.

Anastasia was also quite attracted to Charles, so it seemed only natural when Suki suggested a ménage a trois, which Charles heartily endorsed as well. They quickly developed into a triad that was now turning into a source of discussion among the other members of the group shortly before the decision was made that they all incorporate into a Line Marriage.

It wasn’t that there was any rule or prohibition against it, but the last year they had been more or less exclusive within their circle of eight that was based more or less upon their spiritual pursuits in addition to their practice of Polyamory.

Suki had already suggested that Anastasia be included, and the group had agreed to discuss it further in the very near future. Charles and Suki were quite convinced that once the rest of the group got to know her, she would become a welcome addition to their circle of friends, if not actual “family”.

She was however, married to a devoted, indulgent and supportive man who encouraged her to follow her instincts as well as her dreams. She often spoke lovingly of him, but because he traveled extensively as a part of his career, he was often gone, and no one in the group had gotten the opportunity to meet him yet.

Although Anastasia, Merle and Frederick could function more like “free agents” who did not belong to a primary relationship within the group, Kali countered that Merle had been for all intents and purposes attached to the primary relationship between her and Ash for so long that they were already a primary triad, and Anastasia’s addition to the group would help balance the rest of the group in much the same way that Merle had.

Kali was already quite fond of Anastasia as well. She had shown herself to be one of the most naturally provocative and engaging people Kali had ever met.

Anastasia was also working on a feature profile on Kali because of her incredibly successful website on Spiritual Eroticism and Religious Sexuality.

Suki had introduced the two of them a few weeks before the wedding, and the article was slated for publication next month. The afternoon of the interview had proven to be a very enriching bonding of like minds and spirits.

She had been invited to the wedding as well as the reception; that was the first time Darcy had met her, and she too found her to be remarkably engaging and attractive.

It was as if the stars were aligning themselves for the benefit of the group, or perhaps they were each just recognizing how simple and easy it is to function like some kind of magical semiconductor that interpolated, matched and integrated itself with whatever opportunities they encountered.

Somehow answers no longer required questions to justify themselves; resolutions became apparent without the necessity of conflict to reinforce or create their perception of need.

Unspoken knowledge of interconnected solutions seemed to point to some universal factorial that led to an ever-increasing simplicity as obvious as the smile on your face.

They had the good sense to realize that Evil still existed, but for now they also were developing the good Kharma to escape the clutches of its attractive force without having to engage it in battle.

At each juncture a staggering number of omens and signs presented themselves in heretofore new ways without the customarily endless mind-boggling series of consequences.

Challenges became regarded as opportunities impatient to do their bidding for the simple cost of recognition and resolve.

As always, impermanence, danger and sorrow still abounded almost everywhere else they looked, just as it always had…just not here, and not now, and not for them.

Their ever-present never-present present moment was joyous and full of love and incredible richness right here, right now just as it always had been, even if the present moment didn’t really exist in the first place.

The Rules of Engagement

The only place where true freedom can be properly enjoyed is on the frontier. Davey Crocket is reputed to have said that when he had to carry his firewood farther than he cared to just to get it back to his cabin, it was time to move.
For many people, the encroachment of what passes for nominal civilization is directly proportional to the limitations placed upon their behaviors and actions based largely upon the ratio of residents per capita per mile.
For some, this poses no real dilemma if they are not predisposed to desiring to walk about their property nude, own large working-breed dogs, work on high-performance automobiles, play music at high volumes or discharge firearms, especially if this is done late at night.
Some of us require large amounts of insular space around us; we may necessitate it to protect others from the potential shocks of proximity to some of the more extreme, ruder or more intense bi-products of our lifestyles and tastes, and at the same time, we may ourselves require solitude for contemplation and cultivation of our creative impulses, devoid of the distractions of city life.
Others crave companionship, fellowship and a sense of belonging. They may be fearful of either loneliness or the intrusions that nature often makes against our intrusions into their realm. They crave the pulse of a city that never sleeps and the press of the crowd.
If you are fond of Thai food, Sushi, or other exotic cuisines, the theater, opera, cinema, and other bi-products of our culture, lavish high-rise apartments, or feel the need to be protected by the police or fear being more than six minutes from emergency medical rescue and cutting-edge medical facilities, you will be forced to make certain choices and concessions regarding your personal freedoms and civil liberties.
It is the nature of a society that the more that you require of it, the more it demands of you. Self-determinism is essentially at odds with high concentrations of population, all-inclusive social welfare, and the norms that a highly evolved interdependent civilization imposes in terms of conformity and adherence to limitations and expectations of acceptable behaviors.
There are all kinds of frontiers. Most of the above-listed references have to do with the physical proximity of people, which largely seems to determine how much conformity and adherence to regulations are required of them.
But there are other frontiers as well. And whether you live in Manhattan, Los Angeles, or a simple cabin in the woods in Florida, it makes no difference if you are in a rural or urban environment, although the issue of proximity still remains a crucial factor in an entirely different way. It has to do with what boundaries and limitations are placed upon our interactions with the significant others in our lives.
Simple monogamy is by far the most common norm in virtually all societies in recorded history. It limitations are clear-cut, if not easy to follow. For most people, it is the only way they can even imagine determining their actions, and even their feelings.
Polyamory is by comparison a broad and expansive concept that by definition simply means to love more than one person. It is not a new concept. Just within the last three hundred years there have been a number of utopian free-love societies that were large enough and sufficiently public to attract the attentions of the world at that particular time as well as famous people who have espoused its virtues.
Notoriety has been the undoing of many an author, artist or free-thinker. We are conditioned to seek fame and recognition despite the fact that real freedom is much like the perfect crime that is only perfect so long as it goes unnoticed and remains anonymous.
Modern free-thinking adults have few roadmaps to guide their behaviors, least of all our parents’ marriages. Once you step off the end of the dock of simple monogamy it is easy to be swept away by the current of the broad and expansive river of Polyamory.
While it is useful to elicit the guidance of others of similar interests, all too often those who claim to have the inside track on any subject off the beaten path are just as likely to become demagogues of their own beliefs as those whom they claim to aspire to reject.
Somewhere there has to be a median between rejecting all standards and modes of behavior without regard to the council and advice of those who have had some documented level of success in their endeavors and mindless conformity with yet another set of rules, definitions, and pre-determined modes of behavior and actions.
Polygamy, polygyny, and polyandry are illegal in all fifty states. Period. Because marriage is largely a religious-based concept, anything other than heterosexual marriage between one man and one woman will continue to face a barrage of legal encumbrances certain to thwart the pursuit of happiness by those who seek it.
The emergence of civil unions as legally recognized institutions devoid of the claptrap of Judeo-Christian religious morality opens a viable crack in the seemingly impenetrable wall of resistance to more enlightened and less limiting forms of familial structure.
It is possible, for instance to set up what effectively constitutes a group marriage or line marriage as a 501(c)3 tax-exempt foundation devoted to the pursuit and study of alternative forms and styles of living or higher consciousness so as to grant the same degree of legal and financial support and recognition to all its members as to those afforded any simple monogamous union.
This includes joint ownership of property, healthcare insurance, and the ability to pass on wealth and property to the rest of your family without facing inheritance taxes, as well as creating a familial lineage of people of common mind and purpose regarding non-traditional family values.
This concept is pure genius in that it capitalizes on everything that allows an individual to thwart the otherwise repressive and stultifying socio-political atmosphere that our society has come to represent and do it with impunity.
There are also a number of publications devoted to the pursuit of Polyamory and social organizations designed to support and encourage its practice.
Support groups and advice have the potential to empower people of like mind who face endless derision and resistance from those who feel the need to oppose them because they believe that their mere existence threatens their own way of life.
Sometimes it is comforting just to know you are not alone.
On the one hand, there are many of us who fundamentally are predisposed to reject labels and rules that would limit and artificially define who we are or what we are supposed or expected to do or be.
On the other hand, there is safety in numbers. Advice and opinions can be useful knowledge to allow each of us to make up our own minds and chart our own course so long as it still allows for the individuality most of us seek to express as we endeavor to discover our own perfect world.
Whether you simply seek a triad or quad to enhance and expand the parameters of your love life or desire the acceptance of your mate to pursue a relationship with a “work-spouse” or even a non-sexual “special friend” for whom you have deep and abiding feelings and understanding without jealousy or desire the community of some form of group or line marriage, once you make that conscious choice to leave the conventional limitations of simple monogamy the range of choices available is as diverse as the difference between a monochromatic, monotonal existence set to a 4/4 march beat like a Roman galley-slave and a full spectrum of polyrhythmic polyphonic polytonal living color, The choice is yours.
Life is a giant covered-dish pot-luck smorgasbord, and we all bring something different to the table.

The Reception

 

Anastasia arrived late to the wedding, and was sitting in the last row, behind and slightly to the right of Stanley Linderman, and the only one to notice when he wiped the tear from his eye. He was trying so hard to disguise the evidence of his emotional response he did not even notice Anastasia pretending not to notice at all.

But she did, and it intrigued her more than she intended to let on, at least at first. She could spot an MIB in a crowd in seconds…hell she was married to one, and she knew what they liked…at least the “right” ones.

She had always been a free spirit and had insisted that she be able to pursue her occasional romantic interests as long as they did not interfere with her basic commitment to her marriage. She hated the term polyamory for reasons she never bothered to explain, but it appeared that her biggest issue was with the idea of loving anyone other than your spouse. She preferred to regard her outside sexual adventures as more recreational than amorous.

Her husband knew better than to try to dictate too many rules to a woman like Anastasia, but they had mutually agreed upon a few. One of which was that she was not allowed to “cast her nets” in the same waters in which her husband fished, and preferably no one at DOD at all.

That wasn’t always easy but as sure as “rules are rules”, someone will decide to bend them without breaking them, and Anastasia was famous for being “bent, but not broken” herself.

Because of this, she demanded the utmost discretion from all of her lovers, especially the ones that worked for “three-letter agencies”. Most of them required equal discretion on her part as well, and that helped minimize the “tacky factor” of the actions and communications of indiscrete lovers who did not have at least as much to lose as she did, and governed their actions accordingly.

Her husband’s career required frequent travel, often outside the country. They had been married for over twenty years and a lot of water had passed under the bridge in that time.

Stanley was charged with taking Frederick back to the Habitat, once the reception was over. Usually, Darcy and Mark went with him after the services were over, but they anticipated this might stress Frederick to travel with Stanley alone, so they did it several times prior to the wedding, just to get him acclimated to the experience.

Frederick seemed to like Stanley, and he sensed that Stanley liked him, which he did. They both could be intimidating and they both seemed to admire each other’s power and confidence, but ever since Frederick had started to communicate with Stanley by signing to him when no one else was paying attention, Stan’s fascination with Frederick’s apparent ability to read Stan’s mind had not only gotten Stan’s attention, but his respect as well.

It had become a sort of cat-and-mouse game they played. Frederick would sign to Stan, and Stan would pretend not to understand, and then Frederick would respond to whatever Stan was thinking as if he had signed back.

Frederick continued with smug amusement as Stan began to purposefully try to test Frederick’s abilities until one day last week when he signed “I know why you can’t sign back…it’s OK…our secret…for now….”

Stanley Linderman was not a man who was given to “hocus-pocus”, “mumbo-jumbo” or even most forms of organized religion. His understanding with Frederick went considerably outside his comfort zone and there was no one with whom he felt he could confide on the subject, but he continued this game with his simian charge because for one thing, it amused and intrigued him and for another, Frederick continued to push the envelope whenever he was given the opportunity.

Sebastian had told Stan to remain at the reception as long as it seemed appropriate so as to be able to continue to gather whatever intel could be gleaned from his association with the members of The Home for Wayward Souls, and Stan was becoming rather fond of the experiences he was having at the Sanctuary, despite the necessity of his feigned disdain for the assignment so as not to become suspect of having gone “native” and having Sebastian remove him from it.

Frederick had developed a great deal of affection for Anastasia ever since she had met Charles and Suki, and tonight he decided to play matchmaker between her and Stan, as he already was aware of her attraction for him.

After the perfunctory toasts and assorted rigmarole associated with almost all wedding receptions, the real festivities got into high gear. Frederick never missed an opportunity to dance, so after dancing with all the brides (Darcy, Kali, and Suki) he enthusiastically insisted that Anastasia join him on the floor when the DJ played the New York Dolls’ recording of “The Monkey Dance” at Darcy’s suggestion. She had introduced it to Frederick some time ago, and it was probably his single favorite tune.

Anastasia had a wickedly playful sense of humor and she and Frederick put on such a show that soon the entire crowd had surrounded the two of them as the cavorted to the song.

When they finished, everyone applauded the couple as Frederick bowed and then pulled Anastasia by the hand over to Stan whereupon he placed her hand in Stan’s, signing “Dance…you two should get to know each other.”

Although he blushed slightly, as usual, Stan shrugged his broad shoulders in feigned ignorance of Frederick’s meaning until Mark volunteered “He wants you two to dance.” and Darcy chimed in “He also wants you to be friends.”

Stan noticed the subtle difference between the translation and what had been signed and pretended not to notice the difference, although Darcy had already suspected that Stan knew more than he let on.

“Anastasia, meet Stan, Frederick’s bodyguard…Stan, meet Anastasia, one of the most interesting women you may ever meet.” Darcy winked at Anastasia as she gave her introduction.

“You can say that again…” Charles and Suki chimed in almost spontaneously, and Suki giggled like a schoolgirl as they did.

The DJ played “The Lady Lies” by Genesis. Both Stan and Anastasia seemed slightly unprepared for a slower dance, let alone a waltz, given all the upbeat craziness of the Monkey Dance that had preceded it, but she was not at all shy and was glad to get the opportunity to get up close and personal with him, and he was relieved that he didn’t have to compete with the show Frederick and Anastasia had just put on. They were a hard act to follow, and Stan wasn’t really that much of a dancer and he would not have had the courage to approach her on his own.

That was one of the things she liked about him. Much like her husband, Stan had already proven himself to be courageous under fire and had distinguished himself many times in his abilities to handle even the most menacing forms of confrontation in his (classified) professional career (whatever that was), but he was a little bit old-fashioned and shy with women.

Most women found that quality to be charming; no lack of personal confidence in general and yet none of the arrogance and swagger that most women find repulsive…Stan was actually quite the ladies’ man once things got started (usually by them), but his career and the secrecy that accompanied it usually doomed his romances fairly early on in the relationship.

That made him a perfect fit for Anastasia.

“I’ve got a feeling it’s gonna be a tight fit,” she thought as she pulled herself a little closer to Stan as they danced. It had been her finding that many large, muscular men came up a bit short below the waist, and although she claimed to not be a “size-queen” her husband had occasionally joked about getting her a tattoo of a ruler on the inside of her left forearm, just because she seemed to be a magnet for well-endowed men.

Stan was well over six feet tall and Anastasia was about four-foot-fourteen, so when they danced together his belt line was almost up to her nipple line, and she could feel the growing prominence of his package as she coyly, but provocatively rubbed her body against his in a discreetly but very effective manner.

She sensed that a disturbance in her paradigm about sexual escapades was about to begin; that there was a foreboding of danger and excitement not usually found in her previous experiences that fascinated her, that made her heart race, her head spin, and nearly took her breath away, like driving past an accident possessed by the uncontrollable desire to look no matter how much you fear that what you may see could be something you may never be able to forget.

“Wherever this leads, I’m not sure, but it sure as hell is going to be very interesting,” she mused. “…and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.”

 

After the Reception

 

The rest of the wedding reception was not unlike watching a bullfight with Anastasia as the matador, and Stanley Linderman the bull.

She nuzzled his chest, and he thanked her for the dance, then tried to wander off so as not to seem too anxious, but she was unrelenting and he was grateful for that.

She ran off to get them each a glass of punch, which he initially refused on the grounds that he was “on duty” as Frederick’s “Chaperone” which was a very diplomatic term, but Anastasia surprised him by insisting that his was the non-alcoholic version that resided next to the real punch.

She explained that there were so many non-alcohol drinkers among the Home for Wayward Souls that everyone’s preferences had already been anticipated, including Stan’s.

He first smelled it, then gingerly tasted it before Anastasia finally said “Do I need to send it out for laboratory analysis?” before he shyly drank from it, although he did not finish it.

“I hope you won’t judge me for indulging, but I do like a nice Tanqueray Collins on really special occasions like this. It’s not that I need to drink anything, but it does help me relax and let my hair down when I want to have a good time…of course, I have to admit that although I don’t feel like I want this evening to end…well, it would be nice if it didn’t have to end here…I guess what I’m asking is do you have any plans after you escort your charge back to his dormitory?”

“You don’t beat around the bush much do you?” Stan asked.

“There’s no bush to beat around here honey…but if I have my way, you’ll find that out soon enough for yourself…” she quipped.

With that, Stan blushed furiously as she giggled.

“I’m sorry…I can get a bit forward sometimes…I don’t mean to sound crude or cheap…I just like to avoid the verbal counterpoint that usually gets too predictable…just to keep things interesting…I hope I’m not being too forward….”

There is a thin line between being too aggressive when men like Stan. Fortunately, she had a pretty good idea of the demarcation between just plain slutty and too provocative to ignore.

Stan did not yet know that her husband was also a classified non-entity but he did know that as long as he kept his proper decorum while on the job, she was not likely to take no for an answer, and he was not likely to give any negative responses any time soon.

If you have ever watched someone try to bear-bait a member of the Grenadier Guards or Queen’s Guards at Buckingham Palace, you can get an idea of the banter between Anastasia and Stanley. She is at once both coy and demure as well as enticing and provocative while he tries to pretend to remain unaffected….and he likes it.

Suddenly, Frederick showed up with two pieces of cake for Anastasia and Stan. He acts reluctant at first, but she coaxes Stan by trying to feed it to him, and he is no match for her considerable charms, and takes a few bites from her fork.

What neither of them knows is that Frederick has opened two capsules of The Fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil over both their pieces of cake.

Anastasia is no stranger to the sacrament, but Stan has never even smoked marijuana before. Shortly after meeting Charles and Suki, she had willingly tried it, and found the experience to be exhilarating and life-changing and has never passed up an opportunity since.

There is no question that it was inappropriate for Frederick to “dose” the pair the way he did, but he already knew Anastasia enjoyed the experience and would not have said no, and as much as Frederick was fond of Stanley, he felt an obligation to free his mind from the chains that bound him in favor of helping liberate his spirit and his mind.

In the case of LSD, Peyote, Psilocybin, Mescaline, Changa, Yopo, or any other number of psychedelic or hallucinogenic drugs this would have been a clear-cut recipe for disaster. The onset of all of those drugs is disturbing, disorienting and generally dysphoric for at least the first twenty to forty minutes before the actual experience begins.

Sometimes there is vomiting. You may feel slightly sick, anxious and confused or even slightly febrile. Your hands may tremble. The onset of most mind-altering experiences is almost never pleasant, even for the zealots that consume them in anticipation of where it will lead.

Such was not the case with the Fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. From one minute to the next, there is no real interruption of your consciousness…just insight…the likes of which you have never before even considered.

You may suddenly realize that you can now access every experience, every memory you have ever had. Yet everything about your new consciousness seems very normal. No scary monsters, no Gothic foreshadowing, no paranoia. No overload.

You just suddenly realize the way, the methods, and the techniques to achieve whatever you desire. You understand the difference between covetousness and real desire. The difference between what is important and what is not important. The difference between what is true and what is false.

It doesn’t really occur to you that much of anything has changed at all. You just feel more focused and aligned. You recognize the conflicts in your life for what they are and then just as quickly realize what you must do to resolve them, a little bit at a time, as each segment presents itself to you.

No overwhelming tsunami of realization or epiphany. It’s more like swallowing an entire elephant…only one mouthful at a time.

You may be suddenly surprised by the ease with which you anticipate long or complex series’ of events, step by step, or your ability to accelerate your own processes temporarily so as to achieve the effect of slowing down all the actions around you.

No dizziness, no blurred vision or speech, no limbic system depression or anything else to cause you to hesitate to drive a vehicle or vessel, operate machinery. For some, it takes hours or even days to recognize the effects that The Knowledge has on them.

Although The Fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was an analogue isomer that was a naturally occurring bi-product of one of PharmaCorp’s most recent explorations into a “fourth-generation of anti-depressants, The Knowledge bore almost no resemblance to MAO’s, Tricyclic, or even SSRI’s and SNRI’s.

MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxy-N-methyl amphetamine) is an empathogenic drug that was made categorically illegal in 1985, when the DEA placed it in the Schedule I category, meaning it is considered to have no accepted legitimate legal medical uses. It is commonly known as Ecstasy, X, XTC, or Molly (the form least likely to contain adulterants).

Prior to its demonization, clinical research indicated great promise in the treatment of mild psychiatric disorders and even severe presentations of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Other studies involving learning and perception were similarly encouraging.

Although many people were led to believe it to be dangerous because of its classification within the amphetamine and phenethylamine classes of drugs, it has become self-evident that no major world power would desire its population to be comprised of educated, sophisticated, fully rational, well-adjusted, self-actualized high-functioning adults.

Uninformed, fearful neurotics make the best consumers as they are much more easily led, lied to, and generally bamboozled by commerce, employers and politicians alike.

The first thing Merle did when he began his research for PharmaCorp was to re-arrange the MDMA molecule just subtly enough to shed the amphetamine and phenethylamine classifications.

Had Merle been some street-level chemist trying to dodge the DEA’s bullets, it might have gotten labeled as a designer drug, or copycat, but because of the veil of scientific research (as well as PharmaCorp’s ubiquitous political and economic clout) it managed to fly below the radar of government scrutiny.

Merle had a preternatural ability to visualize molecular structure as well as its anticipated effects. Once Merle discovered the even more dramatic and wide-ranging effects of the bi-product, he additionally “tweaked” The Knowledge to produce over five kilograms of pure product that required less than fifty micrograms to produce desired effects in humans and half that to achieve the level of sentience that Frederick had achieved through repeated doses and treatments.

Initial testing of selected primates that Frederick believed to be trustworthy, intelligent and deserving by virtue of their temperament were very promising, although he clearly was head and shoulders above all the rest, which was speculated to be a result of his genetics by virtue of his hybridization.

Although LSD is notorious for causing drastic visual distortions and outright hallucinations, Psilocybin for instance is much more subtle. You may notice a glow or sheen on certain objects that you never before noticed, or there may be a noticeable fluidity of background versus foreground images which may meld to produce two entirely different visual fields, much like several of Salvatore Dali’s paintings, such as the Bowl of Fruit and Saddleback Hound on the Beach for instance.

Sometimes objects may seem to step out of their backgrounds entirely. Candle flame meditation may also produce similar results, whereas sensory deprivation experiments more closely resemble LSD.

The Knowledge works very subtly and although the degree of visual effects is largely a product of the imagination of the subject, the simultaneity of experiences by several subjects, especially those in separate locations raises the supposition of hallucinations first to possible mass hysteria, and finally plausible alternative realities once enough randomized testing is done to give it the appearance of scientific method.

Kali and Suki, (both witches) needed less convincing in terms of scientific method than Darcy, who had come from an almost entirely clinical background ever since she left her tidewater birthplace. Ash’s agnosticism tended to incline him to more skeptical postulation. Merle and Charles confidently straddled both issues, since they had a family history of mysticism despite their extensive scientific pursuits.

Because Stanley was a realist, an agnostic and a quintessentially pragmatic man, he had learned to keep his whimsical and speculative longing for something more buried deep from view.

His colleagues for instance, knew nothing of his love of Mozart, Debussy, Charles Mingus, or Stanley Jordan, or that he grew up viewing prints by M.C. Escher, Aubrey Beardsley, Salvatore Dali and other graphic artists that his mother admired. His father was an omnivorous reader of everything from Robert Heinlein to Aldous Huxley, J.R.R.Tolkien, and William S. Burroughs, from Carlos Castaneda, to Hunter S. Thompson and Tom Robbins…and more.

Thankfully, although his parents had wallowed in the kind of liberal arts education that has become so déclassé of late; they had avoided visible social protest or involvement in the kind of radical political groups that would have made him a pariah to any three-letter agency requiring a top security clearance.

The seeds of imagination, speculation, whimsy and humor were planted long ago and so very deeply as to be occult to even scrupulous examination. Most people do not realize that any candidate who gets labeled as “excessively acculturated” is likely to be rejected, since free-thinkers often do not respond simplistically or reflexively to orders in the sort of knee-jerk fashion that law-enforcement and military agencies demand. Even the most complex circumstances require blind obedience and clear-cut actions devoid of ambivalence or interpretation.

Most people on the other hand, wouldn’t know higher consciousness if it jumped naked out on an airplane at ten thousand feet wearing a parachute and landed on their faces…well, on second thought, maybe then…because if we can’t feel it in our fingers, face or toes…it may well go unnoticed by even the best of us…(people much better than me I should hope) no matter if you need “something more….” or not, most of us question how the need for it seems to be a question of…well, let’s say “What’s in it for me?” Right?

And the truth is, that as long as we seek to define answers in such terms, the answer would not matter, because you would be highly unlikely to understand the meaning…no offense to anybody in particular. We all have the right to limit and rationalize ourselves in our own terms…of course.

And we all do it as a matter of course; without thought…Exactly.

At least until you come face to face with The Fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil…because for some reason, eventually even the most rational discourse comes to embrace The Eternally Questioning Mind…voraciously…with no compassion for sentimentality nor sanction for the untenable.

The bleached bones of the ultimate truth…dispassionately neutral to any paradigm, parallel universe or other intellectual concept within the means of anyone with the understanding that the “N+1” is always an option.

And yet as much as your mind leads you to believe you are in a place where there are no philosophical “Axes to be Ground” nonetheless, you hear them squealing in metallurgic orgasms while an old familiar voice reminds you that “Every Day is Judgment Day and Nothing is guaranteed”.

Now if at that precise moment a butterfly, a Buddha, or an aboriginal Eve, for instance were to appear to you in a way that completely distracts you sufficiently to remind you of something so obvious that you can’t explain why you never thought of it before, and that timeless moment washes over you like a wave leaving you feeling forever changed…even if you are counting money, it will come to you on tiptoes, like lovers and assassins alike…then you will know…Something…for Awhile until The Next Time….

Imagine feeling like that and thinking like that without being able to Feel the cause of it…just coming to it all quite naturally, and thankfully so far having come to this place you’ve never been before within your conscious mind all the while knowing that these are parts of serial dreams we have been going through since we were children that we only recognized just now.

The Feeling of Connection. The Great Peace? Someplace where there is not always more? “Nirvana?” Not necessarily, but whatever it is, you will recognize it when you see it…none of it is everything….and none of it is everything….

Now while all this was going on in Stan’s Mind, he suddenly became preoccupied with how clearly he believed he could smell Anastasia’s snatch…he was convinced of it, and it appealed to him tremendously because it smelled so good to him, and he only wondered for a minute why it was that he had never noticed how sensitive his nostrils were.

And he could smell everyone else as well, but he was most attracted to Anastasia’s pheromones…like a heat-seeking missile to the tailpipe of a red-hot jet engine.

And because Stanley Linderman didn’t feel either drunk or drugged he did not recognize this enhanced version of…Exactly…Everything…Sentience as yet unknown or felt. An inescapable collision with beatific consequences that offered no prohibitions so far….

Which was about the time he visualized where and how the three of them (including Frederick) were going to facilitate each of their parts to this screenplay that was forming in his head going from the time they dropped Frederick off until they consummated this opportunity to get to know each other better.

It wasn’t until he started to believe he knew what Anastasia was thinking that he paused for just a moment to savor how blissful this line of thinking was getting to be for him…right up to about the point where he was very VERY VERY certain that what he believed she was contemplating was not anything about which he was likely to ever fantasize…at least not until just now.

And when the only physical sensation you can identify is this wonderfully light uplifting, joyous feeling in your chest you don’t suspect any drugs that you might be inclined to fear if all of this didn’t seem to be the most natural thing in the world during the very best day of your life…so far.

As he admired her face as she spoke to him in a voice that angels would envy, he saw her as all women, according to her nature which seemed to change like a glowing ember in a fire. She was alternately impish young girl, femme fatale, mother of Mata Hari, wizened crone and wicked co-conspirator and others….

She knew very well what this was, so it was just going to have to be up to Stanley Linderman to figure out as much as he could, given that she would be subject to broadcasting her thoughts before very long, no matter how much she tried to hide it…unless…who knows?

It was about that time that he found himself visualizing Anastasia as a very large female feline.

The (Luckiest) First Day in the Rest of Your Life

 

It was about that time that Frederick walked up to the two of them and signed “You can take me home now” to Stan, who pretended not to know its meaning, while still contemplating Anastasia as a lioness giving herself a cat-bath.

With that, Frederick slapped his forehead and wiped downward as he rolled his eyes.

“OK…do I have to go over to Darcy or Mark just to pretend you don’t know that I want to go home? Or maybe you haven’t noticed yet that I’m not still signing…that it’s just like I’m right next to you, whispering in your ear?”

Stan visibly stiffened and wheeled around to see who was speaking to him.

“Don’t lose it, old man…you’re fine…it’s me that’s out of the ordinary…I hope the James Jones vocal impression wasn’t too far over the top…I have different voices I like to project to humans…ones that are more likely to garner respect…can’t go off on some Jerry Lewis cartoon voice…you’d never take me seriously, right?

Stan shook his head in disbelief, frowning, his mouth slightly agape, which was not a good look for him. It completely blew his MIB/Intimidator demeanor, even if it was only for a second.

“Hey look, Stan…this may be a little too much for you to digest all at once, so I’m going to go over and tug on Darcy’s dress, or Mark coat tail, and sign for you to take me home…we’ve got plenty of time to let you get used to the new, improved me from now on.”

“Don’t stress out…we know who you are and what you’re doing here, and it’s OK, because we don’t have anything to hide…and neither do you…at least not from us…that prick Sebastian Galbraith Lodge may be another matter…but we are your friends…you’ll learn that soon enough.”

Stan stood completely still, then turned to Anastasia for support, or acknowledgement, or anything that might help him to feel like he wasn’t going crazy, but she simply smiled benignly and asked “Is everything OK?” even though she knew exactly what was happening.

The Fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil was like that…Anastasia could no more read American Sign Language than she could Sanskrit…and it wasn’t so much a matter of reading Frederick’s mind per se as it was one of learning how to listen to the thoughts he was projecting, which admittedly he was very adept at doing, since most animals have some degree of telepathic abilities, and the great apes had by far the greatest and most well-developed skills in that area already, and whenever she took The Knowledge her telepathic abilities got a little better.

Although most chimps and bonobos do not possess the speech centers in Broca’s area to vocalize incessantly as humans do, their lack of dependence on spoken words allowed and even encouraged them to find other modes of expression previously undocumented scientifically.

Also, the hybridization of his chimpanzee and bonobo parents had resulted in an unusual restructuring of Frederick’s genetic map. As a result, his chromosomal structure very nearly replicated that of the first known hominids to branch off from the primates, known as Homo habilis.

This was before he had ever ingested The Fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, which mimics the doubling of the human SRGAP2 gene thought to be responsible for the process of encephalization in Man’s genetic evolution due to accelerated improvements in the neuron pathways of the frontal cortex.

And what it did for primates, it also did for humans, producing yet another Quantum Leap in Man’s evolution, both forward and backward, no longer requiring him to choose between Instinct and Reason.

Intelligence and Sentience are in many ways related, albeit independent of each other. Wisdom, and Insight, as well as Epiphanies or Instincts are not necessarily guaranteed by a high IQ.

At the Home for Wayward Souls, as well as during the occult studies that were conducted at the Habitat, it was found that as clearly and precisely as certain concepts were very effectively communicated by Frederick, from one human to another among the other test subjects charged with interpreting the meanings, it was found that there was a certain degree of variation in the perceived messages, depending upon certain personal biases and the emotional make-up of whoever was receiving Frederick’s communications.

In much the same way, the test subjects, including Mark and Darcy often described Frederick’s perceived voice differently. They almost always described it as deep and sonorous and very somber sounding, especially if he was trying to impress them, although he had seen a number of Jerry Lewis comedies from the fifties and sixties which he found to be hilarious, which he would occasionally mimic if he was feeling silly or playful.

Mark and Darcy had arranged to have cable TV installed in Frederick’s room, which had the effect of giving him a window to the world of human thought as well as behaviors.

He clearly lacked the ability to concentrate much effort on reading, since it was too time-consuming and labor-intensive to suit his disposition. In that respect, they sometimes wondered if he might have been better disposed to learn to read if they hadn’t introduced him to television first.

Often they would describe his voice as sounding like James Jones or Graham Green…(sometimes either the sagacious elder English author or the Native Oneida actor of the same name)…he liked the sounds of the voices of both, but had something of a preference for the throaty Indian sound of the latter’s voice.

He once told Merle that he felt a kinship for the Indian Peoples, who knew all too well what it was like to be treated as an animal, somehow inferior to White Men, unlike the indigenous aboriginal peoples of his continent, who admired and respected their animal cousins.

Merle suggested he not over-generalize about Indians too much, as it had been his finding that although some still followed the ancient ways and beliefs, far too many had fallen victim to materialism, racism, drunkenness, and despair, incapable of seeing Frederick as anything but a “monkey”.

All the same, some said he sounded like a minister or priest they knew as a child, or a teacher or principal from school, or even Moses, (whatever that meant).

Charles had even stated that he had been having an on-going dream for several years now where he found himself standing before some great judge; although he admitted he always awoke before the verdict and did not know who was being judged for what, Frederick’s voice often sounded like the voice in his dream.

Anastasia said he sounded like her grandfather’s voice, which she only barely remembered from her early childhood, but of whom she was very fond.

Frederick finally came back hand in hand between Mark and Darcy.

“He said he’s ready to go home…meaning The Habitat…he knows he can’t stay, even though it’s one of those nights you just don’t want to end….” said Darcy.

“You can say that again…hell it’s just getting started, if I have my way…” thought Anastasia, and at that moment, Mark, Darcy, Frederick and Stan all “heard” her thoughts, which caused Stan to blush despite a very large grin that he was unable to suppress.

“I guess there’s no hiding anything amongst us tonight…just as well…we can cut to the chase and get moving or try to ignore the elephant in the room, but I vote we get this fellow to his bed” added Mark.

“…and I get you to mine, my dear lady…” which Stan may have thought for a minute was private until he suddenly realized everyone else was just as aware of as if he had said it out loud, causing a muffled chuckle by the others.

“Did I just say that, or only think it? What the fuck is going on?!? And am I really hearing their thoughts? Why do I think they already know what I am thinking?” Stan pondered, as his mind raced.

“Because we do know…and now you know that we know…because your brain just took a quantum leap across the abyss…you’re not losing your mind…far from it…you just discovered a whole new wing in your brain that you never knew existed…in a place before spoken words, where thoughts have wings.”

“Don’t try too hard to intellectualize about it right now. Everything will become apparent in its own good time, so just relax and enjoy the company of friends.”

Stan found himself staring into Frederick’s eyes, convinced that the words he was hearing were coming from the primate despite his rational, logical mind’s best efforts to convince him otherwise…to cause him to doubt what he knew in his heart (or soul, or wherever it is where beliefs and wisdom live independently of facts and logic).

“Did you give me drugs?” asked Stan, imploring both Anastasia and Frederick.

“Don’t think of it as a drug…think of it as the gift of sentience, more like a vitamin for your mind” replied Frederick. “The same awareness that allowed Man to make that quantum leap from his primate ancestry…the awareness that now allows me to communicate with you, as well as the others…the awareness that also gives you back the instincts you once traded for Reason.”

“For the first time in your life, your Intuition will be as strong as your Logic. You can straddle the Abyss with ease…and conviction. This is true Knowledge and Insight the likes of which you have never known before. It will take time for you to adjust to it, but it is not something that will leave you in the morning either…it will grow with you, and only those who possess this same Knowledge will even notice any difference, although others may sense the understanding and wisdom that you now possess, even if they don’t quite know what it is.”

“Some people regard the process as more like a form of post-hypnotic suggestion, facilitated by a molecule so powerful it does not even show up on a drug screen, because so little of it is required to achieve the effects.” Ash spoke the words to Stan softly, and with great compassion as he walked up to Stan.

Merle was now standing on Stan’s other side, the only person in the room tall enough to look down upon Stan, he laid his hand on Stan’s shoulder as he added “In fact, it does not even act as a drug per se, in that it does not combine specifically with anything in your body; instead, it acts as a catalyst that unlocks the release of chemicals already present in your brain while triggering the production of more of those neurotransmitter chemicals to an abundance far higher than what is considered normal, but which may well be present in higher quantities in people labeled as gifted or even as geniuses.”

“The more often you take it, the less you need to reach a threshold effect, and then it passes unchanged from your body in your breath along with nitrogen and carbon dioxide.”

“We would have never have encouraged Frederick to share this gift with you…not because we don’t like you, but because we don’t have the instincts quite yet that Frederick already has. It won’t affect your ability to drive or anything like that…it’s just this….”

“If you can relax long enough to feel the love and sense the beauty all around you will know everything you need to know…to look into the heart of those around you, both your friends as well as those who are not…. Frederick wanted to share the most precious gift he knows. We took a long time to decide to share it with him, and he has been studying you as a candidate since the first day he met you.”

“Now can we please take me home so those two can get about their own monkey business and the honeymoon can get rolling for everyone else?” Frederick outstretched his arms imploringly to the group who heartily agreed.

What is my One True Face?

 

God gives us but one face; we put on all the others for everyone else.

Ancient Koan

As they stood together, Stan suddenly realized he needed to use the restroom before he left the Sanctuary. He excused himself, relieved himself and washed his hands.

Just as he started to turn to leave, something unusual caught his eye. It was his reflection in the mirror over the sink.

Or rather, it had looked like something behind his reflection that first caused him to turn around, and then face the mirror again. There was a sort of sheen or glow that he perceived in his reflected image that suddenly fascinated him.

He also noticed his pupils were quite dilated and suddenly remembered the expression “Windows to the Soul”. He stopped for just a moment to ponder what he might find if he looked deeply enough with his newly-found consciousness.

As he stared, he did not blink or shift his gaze, but instead blankly stared into his pupils, focused on the twin reflections…two white points of light at the very edge of the blackness just inside the inner edge of the irises.

He became aware of the increasing intensity of the color saturation of the entire frame of view within the mirror, as well as everything else within his field of view, never blinking or shifting his points of focus. It was like watching someone playing with the Chroma controls on a video camera or mixing console. The colors continued to intensify, then suddenly went black and just as quickly reversed to the spectral opposite of the original colors as if looking at a color negative on film.

As he stood there, fascinated by the image, he then saw his face again in the mirror, but everything had a metallic sheen to it or a neon glow that was quite beautiful. He did not shift his gaze or blink, afraid the beatific image of his face might disappear, only to realize that his face was beginning to morph into something or someone else…first he perceived the rapid aging of his face, and saw himself as he imagined he would look as a very old man.

This did not alarm him especially. He found it very interesting. He continued to stare, unblinking and unmoved as he then saw himself with very long hair and a full beard as he watched his complexion change remarkably. He was now transfixed by the rapid sequence of changes his saw in his reflection as he then appeared to himself as he might look as a woman…and a rather beautiful one at that, only to watch that image also age into a wrinkled old crone.

By this point he found himself so fascinated by the progression of images that he had no intention of doing anything to interrupt it by blinking or moving. He was barely breathing at this point.

The parade of faces, all of them his, continued. Different ethnicities, sexes and ages; some appeared ancient, others alien or futuristic, but all of them recognizable to him as his.

Then the faces began to take on a non-human aspect. First a bird, then a dog, a dragon and other visages not even recognizable as any specific breed or species, and all of them nonetheless recognizable as being occupied by his spirit…he saw himself in all the faces, overwhelmed by the sense of connection and oneness with them all.

What took his breath away however was when he suddenly realized he was looking at his face as it would appear as a great ape, much like Frederick, yet distinctly recognizable to him as himself.

As he began to laugh, the images disappeared just as suddenly as they had begun, but the insight remained, enigmatic and prophetic within him.

“Time to go…” he mused.

He no longer cared that he was under the influence of a drug. In fact, he was grateful for the experience, even though he would never have willingly accepted it. If Merle was correct…and it had been his finding that he always was, since the drug could not be detected or traced, and was unknown to the rest of the world…even PharmaCorp, he was safe, and he felt safe, maybe for the first time in his life since he had left his parents’ home.

He realized that he had built his life, his career around an organization that could turn on him like sharks in a feeding frenzy, if it was deemed necessary for the greater good. His intelligence and his talents had protected him thus far, but in his circle anyone may be deemed expendable given the necessary circumstances. He knew this all along, but this was the first time in many years that he felt like he belonged exactly where he was, just the way he was.

There are intrinsic factors in many experiences that cannot be measured in watts, or volts, or even ergs, nor foot-pounds or roentgens, candlepower, or other known forms of measurement. For those who believe that all is measureable, repeatable and finite nothing else exists, but for those who can appreciate that which transcends words or measurement there are many worlds both beyond this one as well as within this one that can only be appreciated by experience, by those with just the right eyes…and consciousness.

Stanley Linderman was now a proud member of the latter group.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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