13. "The Orchid's Curse"

"Lieutenant Uhura, who had been softly strumming on her specially made five-string guitar on the other side of the compartment, said softly, 'I read once that killing time isn't murder. It's suicide.'"

- Mack Reynolds, Star Trek, Mission to Horatius

* * *

by Lucas Edwards

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Thirteen

* * *



The following pages from the "Gnome Notebook" refer to words coined by Kurt Vonnegut (then "Junior") in his book Cat's Cradle (and used thereafter in a few of his other works as well):

___

Wampeter: An object around which the lives of otherwise unrelated people revolve, e.g., Seattle, "Twin Peaks".

Foma: Harmless, comforting untruths, e.g., David Berkowitz is the Son of Sam. (Harmless? I disagree.)

Granfalloons: A proud and meaningless association of human beings, e.g., 

I think I was about to say that Gay Identity was this when....

Dean's mother just called. He left Maggie.

He took money. Left no word. Have you seen him or heard from him?

I haven't.

___

End of page and end of entry. The following page has a clue of date on it ("mon-day, 12 or 13th?") and an unusual attempt to put a title to the entry:

___

The Whampeter Finished


It

is a good thing

that

this book is a secret

for eight

years

after Bouleversement and after The Trip

can be read and published because

I have secrets to tell here today

after Dean called from California and Celeste

is the only one he's talked to besides me.

He's staying with her on the hill.

He wants to wait a week until he calls Maggie and his folks

because he walked into the ocean last night attempting suicide.

Celeste got him out and to a hospital, in and out.

He's alright today

and determined

to....

Scene II

I'd been getting ready to

contact Maggie with a few ideas of my own:

I'll move in with you until Dean comes back, I need to

move to Seattle immediately instead of in four months.

But Dean called before I could call Maggie and ask.

The radio finishes playing "Victim of Love." 

(Elton John's presence relates to gay content as a code and was significant to Larry who is seldom-mentioned in the Gnome notebook but had been significant in Ed's life the year before this, 1978, when Ed was appearing in "One Flew Over the Cookoo's Nest".)

It's followed with "Levon" (how often do you hear the radio

play two songs by the same artist back-to-back?)

Know, know, know. Know, know.

San Fran,

St. Chapelle,

Saint Francis, four more...

Cisco

Kid, he's still

a friend

des moines.

Mind. Minds.

Celeste contacted Ed just yesterday.

Edward was in love with Vie Et Nam, the letter

I'd been writing to him since I got off

or on the train to Seattle or got

his letter: meet me in 

San Francisco, etc.

Ed hasn't heard from her in about ten years.

Thirty years since

Dog Day

phone call

from Dean this after

noon: Dad

would have

rather

watched "Love

For Rent"

on TV last

night

than "Dog

Day After

noon": I'd

call it

atrophic. Today he's

on Veteran's Day Holiday and trying

to be entertained by afternoon tv. President

Carter tries Iran. The poetry contest results

will be known November 15, 1979.

A bus taken in January to Seattle, I'll arrive

with no funds and no job prospects but I'll make it.

I've packed a suitcase to get out of here

where Satanists surround me and try telling me hints

to their whereabouts, threats to my own.

Later by days,

letters to write, explaining after

or

Scene One:

I won't

enjoy

but must

but will

slip out

covert

or what

to how. Finis.


___


Edward meant "slip out of town".

It excites me, Lucas, to see his old words,

written in my inimitable style, recalled.

My breath is halting and heated and hovering.

Call me Mister Palmer. Call me Poet X.

Head Hacker, I'm your worst nightmare which is to say

I am inside you already. I am you more than you know.

Now that you know of me, I'm inside of you too.

Lucas Edwards (my middle name is Moravagine) should write more pornography than he does.

Shouldn't I? I'm insatiable that way.

Instead I'll brainstorm on a second poem for Edward Lacie to credit to Blaise Cendrars instead of to whom: a surreal (of course) poem about a dress on which a woman is depicted! Great idea. Seven concubines should be....

I'm a natural. What was it I said earlier tonight about blondes? She was so blonde that....

She was so blonde she thought Rene Descartes was a fancy way of saying "menu."

Tom Robbins (in Skinny legs and all) was smoking the good stuff when he wrote the line about how the Middle East is a seventy-piece orchestra trying to play funeral music and wedding march at the same time from inside a broom closet, I'm sure of it.

___

E-NOVEL NOTE, on parallel texts:

The first "portal" (unmarked link) to this alternate text appeared in "episode twelve" - an unmarked link on the chapter title. If you began reading this alternate Hacker version at that point, you may want to rejoin that story. It's not necessary at this point, but eventually before you can finish reading this version written by Luke, Edward's evil twin, you'll have to finish Edward's version, Harar: Taken to Twin Peaks. It's probably best to stay ahead in that version and "catch up" in this version as the portals appear. (It's alright, but not necessary, to jump back and forth between Harar: Taken to Twin Peaks and Taken to the Twin Peaks of Harar.) -The Head Hacker


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