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
- Table of Contents
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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?
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
is a good thing
this book is a secret
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.¹
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
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.
Saint Francis, four more...
Kid, he's still
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
from Dean this after
on TV last
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
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. Seven² 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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