Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Monkey's Climb

Geodescent domes
made of human being links.
Angels whisper instructions
to keep the shape pure,
keep your gums
from overlapping your teeth,
and your skin
from growing contusions.
The infinite octagonal links like monkey bars, disappear,
Become a part of life.
Become a link of the structure
Of shape and time.
Watch universes play their games,
While unbeknownst shaping space
And creating time.
The human links smile and laugh
As angels doing their enlightened part.

I am the monkey,
Studying the makeup of shapes,
Taking soil samples of their substance,
Climbing toward the edges,
Praising the shapes.
Seeing the geodescent rainbows.
Listen to the voice of the true spirit,
Who speaks through the wind
In the rustling mountain tree tops,
Singing the song of currents shapes,
With the words informing,
You are a pattern maker!
Shape setter!

Smiling and dancing
You love life and shine light.
Something heavy falls from the sky,
Every star water falls down
Rain of knowledge.
If you want
You can learn truth,
At the rate
Of a dimension
a second.
Every second counts.
The stars fall,
Treetops dance.
You realize young American
The weight of what you are given,
The weight of creation,
The weight of what are you to create when you have been given everything?
See the beauty of human arts,
The output of the most enlightened societies,
The dress of Shamans,
And swords of Samurais,
The movements of Tai Chi and yoga.
Feel the flow,
From future,
And present,
Are one and still

Continually moving inward
nanotech able detectable
Fusion dance moves,
Smiling queen of creation,
Infinitesimal looking outwards
Or back in time)
gigantic shapes of what you made yesterday, looming bending peripheral.

I am changing reality.
My presence and awareness
Participate unconsciously.
We build the structure of life,
Become and are the structure of life,

I am aware.

The structure builds itself.
We can shape the structure if we want,

I am humble,

To practice I visualize a sphere
The size of the span of my arms
Surrounding me.
Composed of the shape of the universal structure (one of them)
The sectagon (6)
The geodescent dome of light capturing space surrounding me by three feet every way.
I extend my arms along the horizontal vertices. Instantly my arms become the light beam,
And glow as the structure of light sphere.
I spin my entire body using the inertia of my mass
And move the entire sphere,
First left full circle,
Then pivot,
Right full circle.
I jump,
And the ball rises.
I wrap it up quick
Bringing the entire glowing space into my heart
And shoot it out my hands.
Visualize the space of the entire venue,
See the energy turning spinning
Into the dancers energy
Back to the djs.
Shoot energy through the ground
In laser beam torpedoes,
Shoot mandalas at beautiful dancers,
And everyone.
We do shape the scene.
The universal shape is up to you.
How do you want the plant of life to grow?
With all our leaves in the light?
With our arms extended fully reaching?
Or dead,
Turning back into soil?
It’s up to you,
This is us.
Come to the park
Were we are making human Mandalas
And cracking jokes.

A Poem
Two old drunks,
Their bodies bruised
Of hardened skin and smoke stain,
Walk down Commercial Street
Holding hands.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Voyeurs and The Movie (A Short Story)

“Voyeurs and The Movie”

Mark Stegman

Harold and Vuade are voyeurs. There is nothing that they would rather do than to get dress to the nines and go out onto the sidewalks of suburbia and watch people going about their business in their homes. They do not trespass or go onto any ones property and they have never been caught, until today. They dress nice and openly admire houses so that other nicely dressed people think that they are admiring their fine house from the sidewalk. Enough information can be construed just from seeing a couple of scenes inside a dining room or living room, or perhaps a bedroom. The style and type of a house, location of city, d├ęcor of the interior and drapes, combine with how the people look and what they are doing too offer Harold and Vaude a pretty good idea of who people are and what society is all about.

We meet Harold and Vaude as they merrily walk the nighttime streets of suburban Portland, Oregon. “Vancie” as some people call her, (actually, only her one other friend other than Harold, “what’s her face”, calls her that.) Harold calls her V.

“V is for Voyeur”. He says. V and Harold are out on the town,

“doin some wathchin”. Vaude would say, “hey Harold, wanna do some watchin tonight?” Or she would take the bus up to Harold’s workplace, “The Back Words Movie Theatre” on 76 St. and say “Hey Harold, wathcya doin? Wanna watchin worlds?” She would ask him leaning over the counter of the concession stands offering five dollar sodas and buckets of salted butter pop corns. Harold thinks that she is a very funny and amazingly mature sixteen year old and doesn’t care when anyone says he, at 19, should or should not be hanging out with the likes a Vaude. They are best of friends and have been all their lives.

Harold was always down to go out “watchin” the town. He would always say, “Watchya think, I like to watch, so what!” And things like, “We can learn a real lesson from other peoples mistakes,” or some other maxim that he made up on the spot. V thinks Harold has become a cunning young man. She especially likes how he is sharp and quick witted yet humble and mostly quiet.

Tonight Vaude is dressed in a peculiar twenties style. This afternoon, while skipping school, she found a box in her parent’s attic with her “grandma Betty’s” old clothes folded neatly inside. So, after a fun attic ceremony in front of a full length mirror covered in dust she has fashioned herself in a very nineteen twenties motif.

She had a funky cool black velvet hat with flowers and fake diamonds sewn into the top that featured a black lace veil flowing down over her left eye. The kind of hat a grieving widower in an old movie would wear to her lovers funeral; she wore a black shawl that tinted silver in certain light and at certain angles, it matched her modern silver tight pants.

“Wow, what a cool 1920’s motif.” Harold told V.

And V said to Harold “yes darling, all the cool girls smoke now and yuse boys jush better get a used to it”. She did her best Betty Boop impersonation and said “shoop boop be doop” and giggled. Harold, who also was marvelously dressed himself in an old tuxedo, which was actually an old usher uniform he found at the movie theatre but decked in charm and a little imagination it was a tuxedo of the finest caliber, took her by the arm and they began to stroll into the suburbs of Portland.

The streetlights flickered on above their heads and the summer light continued to evaporate from the air around them. The long summer days and cool summer nights were favorites to them both, they had both agreed years earlier as mere children. There was still plenty of light out; V pointed out on some other voyering journey it is the best time to go watching worlds because everyone is home and people are out side still, and maybe “we can meet people out in the streets.” She said to Harold offering the hopeful phrase that starts many a night of voyeuring. Harold loves her optimism and nodded and shrugged as they began walking arm in arm along the sidewalk.

“Look at all those needless things in that man’s garage.” Harold said to Vaude as he nodded toward an open garage at the top of a black tar paved driveway. “Unorganized, unused junk and clutter. And what a gut he had.” He said with a hearty laugh.

“He could be a real looker if he got some exercise,” V continued in her twenties dialect. “Maybe like cleaning out his garage. But there is football on the tube and cold beers in the fridge. I wonder what the wife thinks…” They paused stopping in their tracks, looked at each other and nodded in unison.

“Divorced!” They agreed together and laughed at their simultaneous insight.

“Ahh, that’s horrible.” Vaude said sighing contently.

“Why do people need so many things?” Harold asked seriously. “First of all, that guy probably doesn’t even use most of that stuff in his garage at all. Other stuff he probably uses just once a year at that. Then the other stuff that is usable could be shared with his neighbors so they could cut the price in two and both would have a lawn mower taking up less space, less metal, less gas, less cost.” Harold’s diatribe was in one breath. He breathed in a deep draw to show how his rant was in fact one breath.

“Very good Harold. I shall take it a step further if you don’t mind.” V said and paused.

“Oh, do go on.” Harold nodded.

“Thank you. Why, I may ask, must a man cut his grass in the first place? Oh, hear me out now. This is one of the reasons why I think this whole country is completely bonkers and steaming down the wrong track towards oblivion because of thoughtless imbedded cultural laws like having green front lawns. First, we water the grass with good drinking water. Some of us even mix chemical fertilizers to kill any food that might grow on the lawn, being the dandelions. These deadly chemicals end up in our drinking water and kill fish which we eat and drink which then will make us sick and KILL US, in order to make a lawn unusable to even play on.”

“Dandelions are edible?” Harold asked.

“You betchya; tastiest in the spring.” V stated matter of factly. “You can also make wine from them.” V nodded in satisfaction and continued. “So we spray water and chemicals, not to mention the processes to make the clean water and killing chemicals, to make the grass grow. Why do we make the grass grow, to feed animals? No. But only to chop the grass down with loud machines that require metal be hauled from the earth, oil be pumped from the ground, processed and mixed, which is a super dirty process let me tell ya, and finally burnt inside of a combustion engine and released as toxins into the air just to “mow the grass”. V made the bunny ear quotes symbol with both hands as she said the last words, shaking her head in disbelief. “I tell ya Harold, this country does not make much sense sometimes. We go through a lot of trouble to cause a lot of destruction and just write it off as business as usual. Is there any hope” V sighed overdramatically and both the young couple laughed.

“So everyone has one of everything,” Harold began, “it’s made to break so you will have to have another one real soon or a newer one even sooner. All of which are processed from diminishing finite resources.” Harold said in a tone mimicking a boring academic professor. “The math not only doesn’t add up but equals out to total destruction and chaos.” Harold looked at V with his eyes wide and when she caught his look he crossed his eyes at her. Vaude laughed and they kept walking.

“Look at this one. They must be inviting people to look into their lives. As if they are saying, look at us. We are perfect. Look through our three story front window into our dining room table for ten. Did you see us praying” Vuade’s anal retentive voice made Harold double over with laughter. “DID YOU!?!” She demanded anally. Harold spewed up laughter again. Vuade smiled. “Almost every house on this side of the street is in strobe.” (Strobe is Vaude’s nickname for having the television on because of what it looks like from the outside window, the TV’s flashing lights and colors look like strobe from the street on the other side of the blinds. Vaude gave it that moniker imagining the parents inside staring at a strobe with sunglasses on.) She said shaking her head and frowning. “It would be so nice if all those people would come outside and be out front so we could meet them. House after house, people after people out on their porches relating stories and sharing garden secretes, imagine, meeting your neighbors?” She gave the thought up with a shrug. “Huh.”

“Yeah, whatever happened to block parties? Harold jumped out in front of Vaude enthusiastically. “Shut down the street, bring out the neighbor’s shared barbeque grill, let the kids play together in the streets, have cocktails and conversations until the sun goes down. Then invite your neighbors over to the porch for after dinner coffee or drinks. Talk about the town. Talk about the street, the school, the government…”

“BOOO!” Vaude mimicked a booing crowd at the mention of government.

“Yeah! Yeah! You do better.” Harold said coming sidestep with V. They walked in sync with each other silently for a second.

“O.K.” Her eyes lit up and began. “So they are all inside watching the strobe. They have their favorite half hour laugh tracked TV show on and tomorrow at work they will ask each other, did you see this show or did you see that show? All across the country people are watching the same TV show with the same actors.” She said excitedly. “So how about this, each town having its own playhouse that plays that days or that weeks TV series but with local actors and actresses.” She waited a moment to see Harold’s response; his eyes though were busy scanning the windows of a house set off the road in the trees. “So you go to the theatre in town to watch your show that will have the same script in every city but with local actors and musicians, and real laughter! Think about it.” Vaude’s eyes looked up into the fading twilight dreamily.

“Yeah? What about the cartoon shows?” Harold asked.

“They can be done on a screen of course. The same for everyone then just like it is now.”

“What if a town doesn’t have the talent for actors to play the roles?” Harold asks.

“Yeah, probably the bigger towns would have the live shows. But, I suspect that every town would have the theatre and that the quality of acting would resemble the quality of acting that the town’s people prefer. Like the townies would understand their own actors anyway. I say if you can’t make it a play than ya shouldn’t have it.” Vaude finished, nodded and crossed her arms.

“HMPPH!” She hmpphed.

“Don’t be a stubborn mule, you old ass. I like your idea. But..”

“But!” V interrupted.

“But what of the TV shows that bring culture from another place to life. Like people watch the show “C.S.I.” Because they want to see a representation of the NYC way of life. They like shows set in NYC.” Harold shrugged.

“But it’s not the New York way of life on a TV set. It’s all made up.” Vaude almost started into a rant that would not end so she backed down. “Ah, fergedibodit!” She said in her best, but horrible, New York mobster impersonation.

My point exactly.” Harold said to Vaude’s failed New Yorker accent. “We know T.V. is fake..”

“TV is fake! TV is fake! Noooo!” V ran into the empty street waiving her arms in the air and running in circles erratically. “TV is fake!” She looked at Harold from the street and acted as if she was pulling her hair out. “You mean Dr. Melborne is not real?” She screamed at Harold.

“Not real.” He said calmly

“But where does he go at night?” She said acting like a little confused girl trying to figure out the truth about Santa Claus. “How does he make love if he’s not real? Who will be my doctor? What is my life if he is not real. High school is so cool.” Vaude calmed and joined Harold on the sidewalk silently.

“You’re ate up”. Harold said smiling.

“You eat it up.” V said back pushing Harold on the arm. Seriously, most people don’t realize TV is fake. I mean, they know it on the outside but subconsciously we expect life to live up to it. When what they are trying to live up to is a scenario that a professional writer perfected word for word the right conversation, a stylist styled the hair perfect, the light was perfect done by a professional lighting designer. The makeup hides any blemish on actors who are usually ten years more mature than the parts they are playing. It’s so perfect and we humans will never ever have it that perfect.” V said almost sadly.

“But it is perfect.” Harold said with a ray of hope.

“Oh God. Harold the Buddhist of Portland drops the truth.” V said sarcastically smiling kindly at her friend.

Harold took the chance to philosophize. “Art, in all of its imitation of a perfect scene can only mimic the essence of what makes up a perfect scene. And what makes up the perfect scene is all of the imperfections, if you will…”

“I will.” Vaude chimed in.

Harold nodded graciously and continued “…And all the things happening at once when something happens. For instance, two people fall in love and there is no moon and it’s raining, it’s not perfect but its perfect to them and they will cherish every detail about that first kiss and the moonless rainy darkness. A guy says a corny line to a girl but she takes him anyway and they will remember the corny line together living happily along with all the other details that Hollywood can only imitate. They have a hard time making it real, making the flaws of life so beautiful, real, and full because in the end they are just acting and the life they are imitating is not the life and death that the characters in the story are truly are facing.” Harold finished the last words squeezing them out with his last of breath. He took a quick breath and said “That is the beautiful art, the art that makes the seemingly mundane aspects of life and the flaws seem vivid, real, and of impeccable quality, worth remembering.” He finished softly and smiled.

“That was beautiful Harold, and all in one breath. How do you do that? I am sooo impressed.” Vaude smiled affectionately at her friend Harold and wrapped her arms around his arm and for the first time she felt his strong biceps. For the first time she noticed how her childhood friend suddenly has become an attractive and intelligent man. This shocked her. She smiled and thought to herself how lucky she is to have such a cool good friend.

“I am so lucky to have a cool and good friend in you Harold.” V said sincerely.

“Don’t you go sappy on me V. Girlfriend shit and all that, Ill kick your ass. I love you too but Ill kick your ass.” Harold joked and tickled his friend. He did love her but he was truly scared of becoming super intimate with her and not having a friend at all. They walked on. They talked on. But quickly moved from the topic of intimacy

They came up to a brown paneled house that was a bit smaller and older amongst the other mansion like structures in the neighborhood.

The pair stood facing the house and held hands bluntly and silent. Until Vaude chimed happily, “It is a fine house, a fixer upper that…well, still needs fixer upping.” She threw her free left arm in the air as if its wave would magically restore the loose shingles and missing panels.

“It’s too dark to see inside, there are lights on in there but I can’t see any of the details.” Harold said straining to ease his curiosity about the actual occupants this house.

“I wonder who lives here, Harold.” Vaude spoke for the both of them. “Can we buy it darling? It’s the finest house on the street.” Her impersonation was of a spoiled rich girl and made Harold laugh.

“That one is a real bomb, huh?” A women’s voice asked from behind them. “It brings the whole neighborhood price index down.” Another feminine voice softly stated.” Harold and Vaude were caught unawares to the nicely dressed couple who walked up to them on the sidewalk. Startled they turned to see two young girls, maybe in their twenties V thought, holding hands and smiling at them.

“That house should be raised. It brings the property value of the entire street down 15 percent.” The younger of the two girls said with a smile. Both women were smiling brightly, their eyes sparkling.

“I like this house.” Harold said standing tall looking up at the old dark house with mossy green moss covering the roof. “I think it’s the best house in the neighborhood.” He proudly held his chin up as if he was defending his own home’s honor.

“It does have a character that all of the other houses lack, a charm, and a mystery. I’m tempted to go up and see who is inside.” Vaude said defiantly to the two women as the four of them stood on the sidewalk in front of the dapen brown house.

“Probably squatters.” The younger of the two girls said. The two women laughed and the older women with black straight hair agreed “yeah, squatters, or witches!” The two women clutched each others arms in laughter. Harold and Vaude shared a questionable curled eyebrow sideways glance.

The girls stopped laughing and the apparent older of the two women introduced her self. “Bonjour, My name is Margie.” She had long straight black hair and dark deep set eyes. Her sharp pointed nose split her symmetrically breaking the wind before her skinny face. The younger girl said her name is Francine while she smiled at Harold.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you.” They all said at once sticking their hands out to shake hands making all four of them relax and laugh. Margie, with the long straight black hair looked to be in her late twenties. She had on a purple blouse with the longest string of pearls Vaude has ever seen wrapped many times like a choker around her neck and then looping way down to her waist several times.

“They are fakes, darling.” Margie said seeing Vaude entranced by her pearls.

Francine looked to be about 21 and was smiling brightly at Harold. Vaude liked her right away because she must have good taste if she liked Harold. “He did look great tonight in the tuxedo.” She thought.

Harold introduced himself and Vaude and said they were on a stroll in the neighborhood admiring houses.

“Seen any good action in any of the windows darling?” Margie said to Harold. Harold looked at Vaude and laughed.

‘Uh, no. Not tonight that is.” He truthfully hinted.

“You kids haven’t been peeping in our windows now have you?” Margie said arm in arm with the younger Francine.

“Seen any girl on girl love scenes for free from the street?” Francine asked giggling leaning into Margie’s shoulder. Her voice that of a beautiful soft child’s voice, sweet; but her smile exposed a cunning that hinted she was devilishly insightful with a sharp intellect behind the end of each tone.

This made Harold and Vaude blush slightly. “Nope, nothing good tonight but the modern American nightmare.” Vaude said looking to Harold.

“Nightmares!” Harold confirmed.

“That’s too bad. Usually this neighborhood is good for some action.” Francine said. The two girls huddled arm in arm as the night temperature continued to get cooler.

“We spotted you two a mile away.” Margie said sternly. “Voyeurs! You otta be ashamed of yourselves.” Margie said motherly. The two girls laughed and looked at each other. Harold and Vaude smiled queerly; shifting on their feet they didn’t get the joke.

“It’s how we spotted you kid’s. You look like us five years ago.” Harold and Vaude let out their breath. “You Like to look sharp and go out “admiring houses”. Sure.” Margie dragged out the last word nodding her head like “Suuuuurrrre.” Margie and Francine laughed together. Harold and Vaude joined in.

“Well, if you’re gonna get caught it might as well be by two sharp looking Voyeurs as yourselves.” Vaude said smiling. She giggled relieved.

“Busted.” Harold chimed

“Well, we don’t so much go out solely to watch the town any more. We now watch the town on our way to parties, dinner, or a movie. Like right now we are on our way to the Baghdad Theatre on Hawthorne to see the new mystery movie everyone is talking about.” Margie said looking to Francine who was looking at Harold and nodding quietly. “Have yuse guys heard anything about it?” Margie asked.

“No, it’s a mystery to us why it’s so hypped up. We have seen the bill boards promising THIS MOVIE WILL BLOW YOU AWAY!! A MUST SEE!! Kinda hyped up like the Blair Witch Project.” Harold said.

“Yeah, whoever the advertiser’s are on this flic are geniuses. They really know how to get society motivated.” Vaude said agreeing with Harold.

Margie, the oldest in the group explained in a diatribe of her own. “They have their thumb on the pulse of the country. They have seen the reactions to trailers for as long as movies have been advertised on TV and coming out. They know then that it’s time that not having a trailer at all would peek enough curiosity that the movie advertising will carry mostly via word of mouth and interest in an unknown mystery, with just a couple of billboards in every major city announcing it’s presence at all. Brilliant strategy!” Margie finished matter of factly.

“Is that a matter of fact?” Francine asked in her sweet voice.

“That’s a matter of fact. Margie quickly replied and nodded. “We are heading there right now. Would you two finely dressed young us’s like to go and check out this new mystery movie together?” Asked a cheerful Margie.

“Yeah, that’d be fun.” Harold said.

“Great.” Vaude agreed. Harold and Vaude smiled at each other took each others arms and walked behind the two girls who also had each other’s arms. The four of them walked in a square toward the movie theatre in the cool darkness under the looming pine trees that line the neighborhood street.

“So what’s the name of this movie anyway?” Vaude asked from the back of the pack.

In her sweet innocent voice Francine turned her head back and said over her shoulder “The New World Order”

“Sounds freaky.” Harold said. They all agreed.

They walked on admiring houses along the way. Margie explained some of the finer things about “finding action” and some of the crazy experiences she has had in her voyeuring career. “Like the time Icalled in a crook. I sat across the street and watched this guy climb in the window of some house. He didn’t look like he lived there so I called the police with my superhero cell phone to let the cops see if he lives there or not.” She said authoratively and proud. Vaude nodded learning a good rule of good Voyeuring, crime watch!
“We knew when liked you,” Francine said turning her head back again looking over her shoulder at Harold. “Not just because you are voyeurs and dress fabulously and are great and all, but you liked our house” she said softly.

“Cool!” Harold said.

“You guys live there!’ V said.


“You girls live there!” V said.

“Yeah, we got a great deal on the place and it has a huge back yard for our organic garden and cats.” Margie said.

“We are doing a lot of work on the place. Opening up the walls and the ceiling letting more light in.” Francine said proudly.

“We are renovators. We believe that a town should renovate what has already been built instead of building new houses. We are carpenters.” Margie said as they all walked slowly along the sidewalk. “Cross here.” Francine said and led Margie by the arm into the empty street.

“That is so cool.” Vaude said, Harold nodding in agreement.

“Renovate is such a cool word.” Francine said “Renovate, make old new again. Renew-vate . I love it.” She giggled.

“We are going to renovate the house you kids were “admiring” sell it and buy another rundown place in a “nice” neighborhood and renovate again there, and so on and so on.” Margie said.

“Its part ideology, part spirituality, part economics, and part politics all in one” Francine said smiling at her partner. “Also, we’re happy doing it. It’s fun.” They gave a quick kiss on the lips and kept walking arm in arm. Harold looked a Vaude and smiled.

They came around the corner onto the busy Hawthorne Street and ran smack into a line of people crowding the street from the buildings on the left to the curb of the street. Some people were even in between the parked cars and many more were crossing the street converging into the already long line stretching blocks to the theatre.

“Whoa, it looks like the mystery advertising really paid off.” Margie said as she stopped at the edge of the throng of people. “Is this the line to the Baghdad Theatre?” She asked a guy facing the other direction.

He turned around. “Yeah. Can you believe it? I think everyone in the country is coming out for this flic. This is unbelievable.” The man said excitedly. “I hear its only two bucks too, half off for opening night.” He said turning back to face the line.

“Sheyeah, I’ve never seen this many people come out for a movie anywhere.” Harold said looking over the top of the crowd of heads packing the sidewalk”. “What the… I’m going to go see what’s up with all this. You guys, I’m sorry, you girls, hold our spot. C’mon Vaude.” V and Harold mingled off into the mix leaving Francine and Marge in the back of the line smiling and holding on to each other watching the younger kids disappear into the throng of movie goers.

“I’ve got a weird feeling about all this.” Francine said to a nodding Margie as they both looked with anxiously at the throngs of people of all ages jamming the streets. To Francine everyone looked like ants in a line with programmed DNA lining up to chemical smells.

“It looks like were being controlled here Marge. Like someone is leading lemons over the cliff.” She said suspiciously to Margie.

“Yeah, but when was the last time we had a real good thrill? This is creepy and great!” Margie’s enthusiasm turned Francine’s anxiety into laughter and she rode out her eeriness in bone chilling excitement.

The line hadn’t moved an inch until the moment Harold and Vaude returned announcing the doors are opening now. The people spread out all over the block gathered back in to a thick line and began facing the expecting doors still blocks up the street.

“Everyone is playing the mystery card.” Vaude told the other girls. “They have seen the billboards, the ones that promised that this movie will be mind blowing and numbing.” “Unlike any movie you have ever seen before.” The same ones we all have seen. It’s like there is a deep seeded interest in mystery and once word got out that people were intrigued by the advertising it caught and spread like wildfire. You know how the saying goes; one person is a theory, two people are proof and three people are a religion”. Vaude looked at Harold knowing he would like the quote. But it was Margie who spoke first.

“I love that quote, is that Vonnegut?” She said

“Jr.” Vaude added. “It’s something like that.”

“Well, the mystery movie it is!” Margie said. “All the other movies out right now blow and suck. This is realistically the only movie to see right now even if you wanted to see a different one.”

“I’m lucky I even have enough cash to even see a movie.” Harold ranted. “I don’t drink, smoke, and looking in other peoples houses is what I do for fun. I wear clothes I find and I still don’t have money after I pay for house, electric and food.”

“You eat too much.” Vaude joked patting his nowhere belly.

“AHH Damnn, she didn’t.” Margie joked. Francine and Vaude laughed at Harold as he jokingly asked the people in line to spare a quarter for food, only to be told to get a job by both unwilling participates of the joke. The girls laughed at him and joked as they waddled forward in line heading for the ticket booth.

No popcorn no pop the girls sat in the center of the front row. Behind them sat a packed theatre cozy in their padded seats and ready to be entertained. Many ate popcorn and sucked on giant pools of sugar water.

The movie began. The theatre was silent in unprepared expectations. On the giant screen the digital lights and surround sound came alive and lit the people’s eyes and vibrated their bodies with the Dolby Bass and bright white screen.

“I love that.” Margie said to the other three.

“SHHHHH!” The theatre said to Margie.

The previews for other movies ended. The words “And now for the feature presentation” came onto the screen. Music that seemingly emanated from all four walls, the floor and the ceiling was a song that no one in the audience has ever heard of before, but everybody liked immediately. It had a jingle to it that went straight through the cranium and sat in there for good. The rhythms made you want to get up and dance. Some of the movie goers did. Margie, Francine, Vaude and Harold danced sitting in their seats. Several musicians in the audience tried to place the instruments they were hearing but could not. Finally deciding the sounds must be computer generated or wavelength altered new sounds. On the giant screen, in fabulously intricate and in a very appealing font, scrolled the lettering announcing the stars of the film. The first listed star majoring in this production was one of society’s most popular actors. The crowd “ehhwwed” in unison, nodding their heads and smiling at the bright screen lighting their childlike faces watched with bright eyes. Then the screen announced in great lettering accompanied by the wonderful music (many people still doing little jigs in their seats) that it’s starring the people’s favorite female actor. The people “ehhwwwed” again, their eyes were glowing in anticipation. Next, in the fabulous font and cheerful color it was announced that another favorite actor will be in the production. The people cheered. Then, one after another the lettering spelled out that almost every major actor in the U.S.A. is in this production. A picture of fabulous cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean in California was projected onto the screen. The view turned so the crowd was looking out toward the ocean’s horizon and the letters continued to spell out who was all in the production layered over the magnificent vista. Major business magnates from old and new were to make special appearances. Major financiers of the railroad, coal, electricity, and major lending houses were listed as starring in the film. Modern computer magnates were listed and major property owning companies had back up roles. When it was announced that the people’s favorite sound man was going to do the sound the entire theatre erupted into a standing cheer and began to nod and smile at each other. Then every major producer in NYC was announced to have a part of the movie. Some people laughed and began to think this is all a joke. British humor they mused.

“What a gaff.” They said to each other. Others cheered thinking they were in for Hollywood’s greatest most elaborate movie ever. They were not wrong.

The lights from the outdoor scene lit the faces of the theatre goers with a light that warmed their bodies like the screen radiated billions of tiny suns instead of pixels. The beautifully crisp and clear image looked as if it truly existed, the aroma of the ocean could be smelled and the salty breeze could be felt on the face, instead of a wall and screen. The audience in their seats felt suspended over the expanse of the Pacific Ocean. Vaude could see a man at the horizon miles back were the straight line of the blue water met the blue sky. He quickly made time as if he was flying forward across the surface of the water. He appeared to be walking on the water but moving very quickly. As he approached the audience his speed slowed to a walk and he seemed to be walking on the surface of the calm blue Pacific Ocean . His appearance could now be seen to the delight of everyone. He was beautiful and fabulously dressed wearing a black three piece Italian suit that itself seemed to be alive; mimicking and predicting his movements as he strolled leisurely toward the audience suspended in front of him. He had jet black curly hair and a large fat pointy nose that seemed to come in line with his other large features. His calm demeanor and casual gate made him look mature in a young professional body. Below the silks of his suit it was clear that he was chisled to the muscle, his stood straight but relaxed with his large hands at his side.

Some of the women in the audience, and some men also, said

“Ahhh” and goggled at the handsome character on the screen.

“Do you know me?” He said. His deep voice monotonous voice calmly asked with a New York gang land accent. “Do you know me?” He repeated. “No! No you don’t know me, but guess what. I know you!” His eyes looked directly into every set of eyes in the theatre at once. The crowd went silent. The effect he had on the crowd was stunning. The crowd hushed in a new anxiety like they didn’t know what they were in for realising then that they truly did not know whatkind of flic they had all came out to see. They were all a little creped out by this beautiful and unknown actor because the truth was no one did know who he was. Whispers spread through the theatre.

“Who is he?”

“I don’t know, never seen him before in my life.”



“Well I hope you like tonight’s movie. It has been a long time in the planning and development and it premier has been the work of millions of people.” He said this seriously ensuring that it was interpreted literally. “It is truly like nothing you have ever seen before.” He slowly strolled toward the audience getting closer and closer like he was going to walk right through the screen into the theatre but stopped just short. The audience was on edge. Harold and Vaude were happy that they were sitting in the front row and quickly smiled in excitement toward each other. Harold took Vaude’s hand. She held his hand back and he gulped nervously.

“Does any of yuse know what ethnicity I am? The man asked from behind an invisible screen.

“C’mon. Does the cat have your tongue? Take a Guess!” He urged the crowd with an am.

A sole teenage boy yelled out from the back of the packed theatre laughing,

“You’re a New Yorker!” The crowd laughed, called the kid stupid and hushed itself.

“No my young idiot. I’m not a New Yorker.” When the man projected on the screen responded to the audience the audience erupted in awe, and wonder. They looked over their shoulders to the projection room as if they were to see a Greek god in there in front of a camera holding a microphone. The movie theatre fell silent.

“It’s technology folks. It’s unlike anything any of yuse eva seen before. Like myself. Good guess though kid cause I am speaking in a native dialect of your so called country.” The dark man on the screen pointed directly at the boy and nodded directly to him as he spoke. The boy slouched down in his seat embarrassed and timid.

“Any other stupid guesses?” The man on the screen asked amicably with a smile exposing sharp white teeth accentuated by his olive tanned skin.

This time he spoke in a southern draw and without missing a syllable his clothes changed from the black bow tie to southern cowboy attire complete with spurs, white button down collard shirt and a ten gallon cowboy hat.

“Any one? No, I am not Italian but close. No I am not necessarily Greek, but close. Anyway enough of this game.” As he spoke his clothes continued to change. He attire changed with every word making him look like every culture in the world for a period short period at a time. He went from wearing a sarong, into a turban, leather pants, naked, a white robe and Muslim hijab, to shorts and a t-shirt and then he stayed in a toga for a while. When in the toga his nationality was strikingly clear and was obvious that he must have been a direct descendant from the emperor of Rome himself. He looked like a modern day Nero.

“Enough of this game; I am but a messenger sent to bring you all a message from the rulers of our fair empire. You are no longer human beings. You are no longer a free and democratic society. You are now and have been for some time enslaved to the great Empire of Rome.” The man on the screen did not flinch and sternly said the final sentence as he wore a brown robe with a white rope of Franciscan Brother. The audience in the crowd remained silent, stunned. They waited for a punch line. But there was no punch line. He continued with further instructions.

“We plan to do nothing, to change nothing for now. Nothing in your lives will change for now. The name of your country is not to change. Your houses and personal properties will remain your houses and your situations will remain your situation. Your investments are still your investments and your debts are still your debts and must be paid in full plus interest.” The unknown character on the screen took a moment staring plainly and straight faced into everyone in the theatres eyes at once.

The Pacific Ocean scene disappeared and the dark haired man was now on walking into the oval office of the president of the United States and shaking hands with the president. The two men turned and looked directly into the camera.

Now the President, who was now dressed in the fabulous black silk attire of the Roman, spoke into the camera. “Well folks, uh, it’s true what the man says. We have uh, not protected our back doors, ya know, uh, sealed down the hatches, uh, well they took us when our backs were turned ya know. We didn’t know they were around. Thought they, uh, were gone, ya know.” The president continued to babble in this manner as the dark haired man looked at him perplexed. The president only stopped his utterances when the messenger began talking again. The messenger shook his head slightly at the conquered nation’s chief’s level of ignorance exposed at this historical time.

“Listen to your leader.” The Roman spoke from the Oval office once again in the sharp three piece silk suit. “He speaks the truth and knows that we, The Republic of Rome, now own all of your institutions, business’, corporations, land, ports, waterways, banks, retirement accounts, factories, hospitals, resources, and even your military and most of your intellectual property is under our ownership. You and your fellow Americans also owe The Empire roughly a hundred thousand dollars apiece.

The audience, whom was by now in full belief of the convincing characters on the screen, winced but remained calm and watched; They were under the Romans convincing spell.

“Do not fret, for this we will not expect most of you to be able to come up with that kind of cash right away and it will come out of a tax plan that will closely resemble your existing tax code for a while.” The dark haired Roman said exiting the oval office leaving the president inside just barely seen through the open doorway. It was the last time any one ever saw the man. The unknown dark Roman walked to his right and entered an office were he stood in front of a panel of windows high above New York City. He was joined by eleven other spectacular Romans dressed in the matching Italian tailored silk business suits. A gorgeous young Roman woman stepped forward to speak. Her clothes, like all of the Roman’s clothes, were of silk linen that smoothly flowed in unison with her steps. The colors changed in the light, like soft screens veiled and layered over themselves sometimes catching a golden surface of woven threads over the black silk of the suits. The pants made of the same material simply disappeared in neatly hidden folds that inwardly creased as if they could predict her movements when the women stepped forward toward the audience. Her curled black hair gently circled to the nape of her neck. It was suddenly obvious to the audience that the wall of the screen has disappeared and that the woman is going to walk right into the theatre.

Smiles appeared on the faces of the men and women standing grouped along the tower’s windows. They snickered as they imagine what the young American mind’s must be going through witnessing the technologies that that could have been attained if they put their minds toward art and creation instead of power, deception and destruction. They could have but they didn’t, the Roman’s thought, so that warranted the slight smirk that disappeared quickly from their professional faces. The women kept her smile and pose standing in front of the group. One more step forward and she would be in Harold’s lap. Her silken linens stood up by themselves in the shape of a perfect human. Underneath her silken power suit it was clear that she too had a straight frame and solid figure. Her posture and pause plainly stating her true message, she stood waiting, letting her beautiful body speak as to the true meaning of her message. The audience sat hypnotized and mesmerized by her stunning features. Finally she spoke with a voice of a goddess.

“We took over your country last year.” She said with a smile. “We did not employ violence, nor by force. We did not use guns and bullets or by bloody invasion. We are an ancient society that has seen the purposelessness of those bloody relentless outcomes. The undesired after effect of the will and the nature of conquered people spin the achievement of conquered lands into a circle of violence that we do not want for you and your fellow Americans. Her sympathetic smile was assuring and genuine.

She stood for a moment smiling in silence letting her smile sooth the audience before she backed into the group standing in front of the windows, she did not turn around but remained facing the audience and smiling the whole time. She took a spot in front of the group. Another Roman man stepped forward in synch and planning like a church ceremony he came right out, opened up his arms and began.

“We started the capitalistic idea.” He said reminding the audience to the nature of their countries young age. “We have been around a very long, long time and have seen the outcome of many societies just like your very young one here.” The beautiful Roman man stepped back.

Another beautiful young silk suited man stepped forward and spoke in deep baritone. “We have not had to use force. We simply played your own capitalistic system against you and bought you out. There is No Win in war.” He paused and took a breath like a man who has been preparing for this show for a long time and who now is tired and bent on the idea of the show running perfectly. His pause was of the corporate officer put in charge of the important merger who is tired of the hours spent in endless preparation for everything to come in line just right. He was moving up the corporate ladder and entrusted of the great merger. He was moving up the ranks quickly. He did not take his glasses off, or even sweat. He continued confident and smiled nice.

“We have learned and developed many tricks of all the trades in all the times.” At this all seven laughed at some inside pun. “You can see how we mean peace and harmony for you as we have not used force and violence in our takeover. We employed strategic purchases and investments grow over time involving buying and purchasing, selling, and buying more. Strategic partnerships and financing, advertising and mainly by studying the capitalistic way of life over thousands of years we have been able to determine how to gain control of lands and people without hostilities, violence, and unwanted force which never truly wins the people of conquered nations over. Thus we have been able to spread our great Empire to the new land. We have hid ourselves from your banks that began using OUR own investment capital. We watched our investments grow in you and we reaped the returns as your country grew. We can only grow richer and more powerful as you grow rich and powerful. Your own investments become our old selves. We watched our young nation given free will to manage itself from afar, but a lot closer than you think. We will always be older than you and exponentially more powerful. Rome has always owned the new land in a history that would be unbelievable to any one even if we showed you our past; how we invested and diversified into other European countries. Rome never fell, Egypt never fell, but merely faked our own demise to have an invisible hand in things while our people prospered under many nations, names, and nationalities.

We were happy allowing you to manage your country and our wealth and things were going relatively smoothly until recently. You’re country has fallen into the same traps many young countries do and has gone too far in the capitalistic ideal of ownership. You have not been paying your dues to the world. You have not contributed to the spirit of life but have become a destructive force of corruption. The inherent greed that accompanies profit and capitalistic growth has not been balanced properly. We have seen this happen many times before. Countries and people get to oblivious to the plight of humanity on Earth, too engulfed in growth only to collapse on them. Then a style of war ensues and take overs form from the many inaccuracies of human judgment that you are finding yourselves in right now in Iraq, Afghanistan, and around the world. You’re nations greed has become predictable. Your predictability in your greed and want of profit above anything else has been used against your selves and we played you at your own game. You tried to take the free market too far. We are simply far superior at your game than you are. As well we should be considering we are the mathematicians who invented the system in the first place.”

The audience was completely silent enraptured and trying to make sense of what they were hearing. The seven Romans standing in front of the window smiled in silence back at the shocked audience. There was a long silence. Harold and the girls squirmed in their seats enjoying the creep factor and loving every minute of it. A lowly voice from the audience dared to ask softly out loud.

“What…what now?” His voice was timid and ashamed like sinners in the presence of God. No one in the audience ridiculed the lone man. They all believed what they were being told and were grateful he asked what they all felt.

A Roman woman stepped forward from the standing seven and spoke. “Go about your business, but know now that you no longer own yourselves. You are now under the rule of thee ancient Empire of Rome and you are our slaves. This is not a joke, a movie, or a premise. We understand you probably think this is fiction. We know that a movie is one of the only ways to get through to you now. You have all become so detached and have ignored your feelings and emotion for so long you have become numb and dumb. You are at a loss for proper human direction with to much chaos in your heads to make any sense of your emotions. We have seen this also many times before. And now we see this is what has happened to your country. We had to utilize the form of a movie to bring this reality to you now. A movie of flashing particles of light, of all colors and intervals in full surround sound (this latest message coming real loud flooding the theatre goers with sound that some in the audience would later attest too being the best surround sound they had ever heard) is the only way to break through the mush your minds and hearts have become. That is all. Go about your day. Trust us to be a benevolent people. For we have killed no one in taking over your entire government and population. We are stopping you from killing yourselves and everyone else as a mother keeps a child from sticking their fingers in an electric outlet. Pardon the pun. There will be changes over time but we will spread them out to correct the misdirection your society has inflicted upon the world. We will be correcting your mistakes slowly and in time. Please consider this nothing more than a change of management.”

She stood smiling sincerely and comfortingly and the screened moved through her body then through the bodies of the group behind her and out the window. For a half of an hour the movie flew the audience in amazing detail and Surround Sound and smell over the entire planet witnessing in real time the people they share the world with.

The movie ended with another brilliantly composed and produced piece that almost hypnotized the audience into being extremely open to suggestion. The screen went black and the theatre lights came on. The audience was in shock. They mechanically and silently exited the theatre to the street outside.

When Harold and Vaude, Margie and Francine exited out of the glass fog doors of the theatre onto the Portland street the crowd of movie goers had lightened extremely; they entered a buzzing crowd of movie goers. The crowd is excited and talking to each other fast and amazed. Some people are smoking. The people were smiling and laughing talking of proper social direction and the phrases “good riddance” and “guidance” is heard through the crowd. Harold distinctly hears a reference to “The War of the Worlds” and he laughs shaking his head.

The girls and Harold looked at each other silently; then burst into laughter. They shrugged and laughed together at how quickly the Americans can seem so unfazed from what only moments ago held them all spell bound. They walked through the crowd in a line of four disappearing into the mix of the crowd. The general conversation of the town’s people talking about a new reality and what they were doing later mingled in the smoke rising above their heads. The crowd wore amusing smiles and laughed.

“Call me!” A girl said.

“Yeah! A party? I’m game. Let’s go!” Some guy said.

“Eat. Yeah I’m hungry. Then we can pick up a bottle of wine and go back to my place.” A man’s voice could be heard.

Harold and Vaude disappeared through the crowd of people astonished but not surprised by the quick acceptance of the new reality. The four voyeurs split the scene as fast as they could.

The next day Harold and Vaude woke with a slight hangover. The stock market took a slight dip but recovered late in the afternoon and even closed a few points up. Word of the movie spread like wildfire and anyone who did not see it immediately went out and saw it themselves. The people in the movie were so convincing that everyone believed, as it is true, they were now under the orders of the ancient Empire of Rome. Several key politicians disappeared, several generals too, and were never heard from again, but no one noticed.

Generally, most people just thought, “That was really good surround sound. Was that Dolby?”


Mark Stegman Nov 20th 2007 Montreal, Quebec.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Evolution. (A Short (Dancing)Story)


By: Mark Stegman

A dark neon light illuminated the warehouse emanating from the movement of the dancer. Red and blue photons shoot outward like a self contained disco-ball from the kicking dancing form of the short black hooded creature; who is literally spinning and jumping off of the air. His feet only tapping the dance floor for minute seconds before propelling him back into elevation; he jumps off from an invisible carbolic structure that seemingly surrounds him, and lands a back flip. Shouts of “Oh Yeah!” & “Damn” were heard coming from the dancing crowd. Even the grinning D.J. is watching in awe unbelievingly witnessing the scene he’s scratching at. As The Kid lands the back flip the last bell of the last verse chimes, the bell resonates in a dissolving echo; he jumps straight up from the floor, timed with the first opening note of a quickening rhythm of low bass fast paced bullets that increase in number as they decrease in wavelength. The crowd watches him appear to grasp an invisible bar above his head, lifting his body off the ground, spinning as fast as an ice skater in full rotation; faster, and faster his rotation quickens, while floating three feet in the air.

The crowd has come from all over the planet to reach this tribe of mental matter philosophy student practitioners; The Kid is the underground prodigy of the dance movement. The colorful tribe dance and pulse in universally shared rhythms and unshared individual interpretations.

The tribe of dancing ninjas, or whom educated intellectuals call “ la Fuga College” which two Italian words closely translate “escape, connect”, numbers are few but each member is accomplished and world renown. The ninja themselves use a name with no known pronunciation, they use a form of telepathic pathway communication that they demonstrate twice a year for the scientific community; they train in the arts of quickness and stillness. Their name that they called themselves is a secret only privy to those initiated in the practice of the art of movement and time. The mass of people just refer to them as dancing ninja’s rather than explain their own attempt of interpretation of such an eclectic group.

The crowd pumped to the rhythms surrounded by miracles and overcoming their own barriers to their speeds, they rejoiced. The crowd was witnessing The Kid in first person account, those of whom for the first time now believers of the impossible stories told of his incredible physical feats. It was a weekday morning and this crowd had dedicated their lives to the mindfull art of movement, music, and dancing.

The oldest man in the crowd stood hidden and silent; still and attentive watching the young man spinning and tricking in front of the stage. Maverick’s black hood shields his eyes from the colorful lights jettisoning from the dancing prodigy; his black muscle shirt and Asian black wide pants make him invisible to almost everyone. He watches quietly as an exhaled breath from the shadows. His dark eyes, tuned into various electrical impulses, have a fractal pattern on his iris that make up the space between the pure dark soul hole in the center and the pure white; his eyes alone are enough to make people curious to what he sees and thinks. He is the teacher.

For his entire existence Maverick has been at the helm of every social group he has been a part of. He was a child prodigy quickly breaking the limits of what the teachers of the day thought was possible; but he came smack into a wall of self and ego that he has spent most of his life in quite prayer and meditation keeping in check. He has amazing powers of strength and speed, although it is rare to witness him using his full skill set, other than at the demonstrations. Most only see him appear and reappear standing motionless and calm, a serene smile aglow on his black face. He is the kind of caring that only is created in the fertile muck of scar tissue, from a past that remains a mystery to everyone save the teacher himself.

The dance hall is dark; the lights illuminated from the dancing creature in front of the stage. Light shot out of his heart, his throat, and his forehead like lightning bolts of northern lights; the walls and ceiling lit in flashes of blues and reds. The ground under him was aglow in a ghostly yellow white illumination that grew brighter as he built speed and energy in his whirling elevated rotation. Colorfully painted and costumed humans of all fashions and forms surrounded the incredibly fast paced dancer; they danced at a human speed watching the demonstration of un-human speed and creativity with wide eyes and ear to ear grins. Their faces reflected the blue and red flashes emanating from the child dancer.

Maverick could see clearly in the dark dance hall. He watched sharply from the shadows, his lips parted in a slight smile. The room was jumping yet his trained eye could see six stalwart statues blended into darkness and almost hidden in their stillness. He could see their eyes, he watched their faces attuned like giant cats waiting to pounce, enthralled by motion, watching the slightest discrepancies of movements in The Kids fluent spins and jumps. Through nods and certain looks and unity in reality the seven ninjas telepathically talked between themselves.

They all agreed, never had any one move so fast. The Kid is so aware of the moment that he adds many slight rhythmical movements to the sound of 64 and 128 beats inside of themselves. Maverick imagined what The Kid must be feeling in his trancelike dance. Everything the kid did was intentional. Not one of the ninjas saw his face, not one of the dancing throng saw the black clad ninja disappear from their presence except for The Kid, who felt the seven ninjas appear above and behind the stage in the hidden temple. The D.J., stationed along with several skinny girls break dancing on the stage, continued to pour rhythms and momentum from the sharp crystal speakers leading the pulsating beat of the dancing crowd.

The kid disappeared in mid air right before their awed eyes. The throng of dancers cheered as if they just witnessed a miracle and the most immense astrological sky event in the history of the earth. The crowd roared with laughter and “oh yeahs!” The D.J. and band being on the scene long enough to have witness the speed of a ninja more than most kicked back into rhythm, the packed warehouse let go into magic movements attuning their bodies to horns and full on keyboard blasts inspired by the movements and speeds the young kid had just demonstrated.

Now everything is possible.

The break dancers on the stage were spinning on their backs and up onto their hands at ultra intense speeds, several people pulled off front and back flips in the crowd, a group of whirling dervishes spun in the corner of the room with peaceful smiles plastered on their faces; their white robes flowing a continuation of the moment.

The kid appeared before the ninjas in the upstairs room of sage and darkness; smiling a child’s grin he knew he wowed the elders. His sandy blonde hair exposed from underneath the front of his black hood, he was not breathing hard or even sweating. There isn’t a word to describe the level of quickness The Kid prodigy had reached, as if any of them talked anyway. The ninjas sat in silence and allowed the event to process in their minds. After a moment The Kid sat and slowed his thoughts to find and allow the true constant speed of reality; the blessed gravity level that all atoms spin at and stick to on this plane of time and space. They sat in a silent circle, each of them buzzing and humming with electricity, and beamed their intense happiness and light outward into the metaphysical universe of their minds. If one was close and telepathically imbibed they would here a sound of a high pitch ohm constant and continual, like angel’s harmonies through outer space, emanating from the motion less ninjas.

“Your brother is amazing!” The slim dancing girl yelled to the broad chested, twenty something, everyone calls Chester; the unnamed keeper of physical peace and known as one of the kindest kids to know.

“I am one of the oldest dancers in this room, or space ship, or submarine, or whatever the shape this places is taking; because we are definitely time traveling through space!” His eyes continually scanning the surface of the dancers, like a man standing on a beach before the expanse of a green ocean, watching and witnessing life before his very eyes, he smiled.

“That’s the same thing.” The girl tried to say as scientifically pleasing and “un-cute” as possible. “Any time you’re moving your time traveling, as such, any time your time traveling your moving. Even when you’re standing still you’re moving.” The girl said standing at Chester’s chest trying to get to know his knowledge of speed and the ninjas; he keeps it very chill.

“Life is good no matter where, or when, you’re at.” He said, smiling at her as she floated around him like a fluttering butterfly. He thought she was cute and knew her to be amazingly grounded for as many complex dual realities she has shown to express. “You are coming along in your understanding.” He said to the girl standing a foot taller than her. She smiled brightly radiating an angelic light.

Chester’s smile was the green light for the entire scene; if Chester is standing guard over the dance, then all is safe and O.K.

“Well it’s a blessing to be coming up with your brother. You know he has impressed the elders, and quite possibly drawn the attention of the king and queen of neighboring dimensions?” She said suddenly seriously.

“No, I was unaware of this development of those dimensional neighbors of ours. If you see them, tell them Chester said sorry for the loud music.” He eyed the crowd acting as if he did not care if the young girl wanted to be a ninja or whatever.

“It’s very real Chester!” The young girl scolded. “We don’t joke about these kinds of velocities.” She was definitely seriously now but quickly realized that she was talking to someone who has light years upon her. “Guess you get enough of it at home, huh.” She said softly.

Chester smiled at her understanding, and looked her in the eye one last time. ”Yup, taking care of The Kid is a full time job.” Showing her a taste of his aptitude he suddenly vanished, leaving her alone, smiling and impressed.

Upstairs in the temple, clad in plaid spinning in front of the seven sitting elders, The Kid had reached such a fast speed spinning that time around him had become aware of itself and slowed down, gelled, liquefied, slowed; the dancing practitioners sitting in a large circle around the spinning prodigy could feel the sloping pull of gravity lean and slope inwards on the rotating dancer.

The Kid spoke to all in the room, his face invisible in the whirl that has become him. He spoke to each of the fellow students in a voice made for each of their own personal understanding, “During the phenomenon of sustained high speeds, eventually the mind gets used too and accepts the up-tempo reality as the normal rate of consciousness; thus, allowing the mind to recognize the fast rate of speed as a starting point in the continually occurring moment. Once this is achieved the ninja can then jump from the spinning speed with a new and fresh body that feels like its standing still even though it’s moving very fast already.”

By now the plaid lit ninja only hit the floor for a split second in ten, his spinning body unable to be seen inside of his shape. This demonstration was for ninjas only in the temple of the warehouse, but has become the host spot for high-energy gatherings that bring the elite mind movers from all around the planet.

“Time is space and space is time.” The tattoo read in Sumerian on all of the feet of the dancing ninja. Quoting the first realization many ninja claim begins the long, and short, never-ending journey to enlightenment. The seven elders were very impressed with The Kid’s progress and the feats that he was able to pull off physically. But at his age, they were all in agreement and nodded; that to understand too much to fast could be detrimental to the development of the true sage The Kid was destined to become. They told him, as the night grew late, to take some time in meditation before he danced again; continue forward to stillness as well as forward to continued speed. The elders tried to instruct him of the importance of understanding the continuation of the speed of this dimension, the sacred forces of the gravity pull that keep all atoms in sync with each other here; able to understand each other and differentiate from each other.

The kid agreed to take three days of meditation at home before he would return to the temple.

All ninja spent the rest of the night in practice of absolute speed and sudden stillness, learning from the shape and features their bodies took when they stopped suddenly amid high-speed dance, instantaneously becoming motionless.

The ninja called upon The Kids closest friend, Pablo, immediately after The Kid had left the temple. Pablo is the entire temples little brother, they all like him and are certain he will make a good dancer one day. Having had become The Kids friend and dedicated sidekick The Kid opened up to him, and that is what they both needed most, a friend. Slightly overweight, the round Pablo is always smiling, laughing, or telling a joke. Always in it though, he was always in the know, he had probably the deepest sense of what warehouses like this are about; he just doesn’t communicate it yet. Pablo had become the sidekick little brother of everyone in the entire scene and was the youngest allowed around.

They conveyed in words to Pablo, watching his facial features for reflections of flickering and twitches that might signify that his mind truly does here the telepathic song; for the symbol of a brother (a sympathizer) is expressed best by the color gold. Is he using his correct eyes?

He is told to help The Kid in any way, to visit him so that he doesn’t feel separated from the family in his time away; most importantly to get The Kid outdoors as much as possible. Pablo nodded, waiting momentarily to be sure the teachers are finished speaking, and then he quickly was out the door.

It was three days later the ninja family saw Pablo. The elder ninja’s were crossed legged in a circle in the temple above the stage. The air filled with ohm chants and sage, bells chimed from nowhere. Pablo entered the room. No one moved but everyone noticed his disturbance; when an un-situated youth enters the space of the bells its like a fat kid doing a cannonball into a still pool or, in this case, a sacred hot spring. The sudden glass smoothness of the water reflecting the universe and all that IS shattered into patterns familiar and associable to each of the elder’s childhood pasts. They sat in contemplation, as every moment is an opportunity to learn, see, understand, contemplate, test, create, shine, and now, they watched the new bending surfaces. The ninjas gently watched the energies reshuffle and sort out in miniature entropy until they could adequately see the young boy’s constant pulsating emmitances. They triangulated his position and quickly became aware of a higher than natural sounding pitch resonating from him. He was in a state of alarm and sweating.

Pablo’s entrance interrupted the elder’s meditations as they had convened to locate the change in resonance each of them had been sensing in the universe but could not put their finger on. Something was happening in the cosmic wind. Something was new and they were in the midst of calculating and feeling it out. Possibly a comet turning into the trajectory aligning itself with the path of the Earth, possibly dimensions away a young ninja has been hit with the wind of ideas and one of them he interpreted how to propel his evolved race through space safely at speeds of light; whatever it is, it is greater than the constant fluctuation of energies from solar winds and microwaves that occur naturally.

The ninja facing Pablo opened a communication link with his eyes testing to see the boy’s telepathic prowess. It was a good sign that the young boy allowed the link to open. The young Pablo was unsure if he had the capabilities to communicate with the ninja. Knowing the ninjas rarely talk, and hearing rumors of the powers of telepathy, he tried to quiet his mind. His young untrained brain filled with all its loudness, movements and noise; multiple voices and echoes asked him the same question in unison. “What could it be that the ninja is concerned with you right now?” He heard repeating in his own head, unsure if the sound was also outside his ears. The same voices finished his own thought, “He’s inquiring to your presence and your troubled heart.” The calm voices echoed and repeated in his mind blending into themselves. Suddenly all sound in his head went quiet. The sudden silence sounded as if he was suddenly dunked under water in the middle of a giant dance hall. He was floating through quiet space with stars and universes surrounding him in all directions. The teacher Maverick enveloped the young boy in a dimension of his creation; in awe Pablo heard a soft stern voice surround him so gently it warmed his body and almost made him fall asleep. His eyes fluttered but he knew what the voice had said

“Very good young Pablo.” The sound of his name and the compliment made him smile and reality awoke him from the dream trance bringing his eyes back into focus. He was in a direct vision tunnel with Maverick; whose soft eyes and smiling black face glowed bright from the tunnels end and calmed his heart. “What then brings such turmoil to your troubled heart young Pablo?”

Pablo was hearing telepathic communication for the first time. All of his prior daydreams of what it would be like were quiet and disappeared in the very weight of ecstasy overwhelming anything but the connection with the Master Maverick; the most admired and still ninja on earth. Pablo tried to put into words the words he had heard that morning. “It is something The Kid said to me today.” He spoke through his lips and could hear telepathically first his message, then, after traveling through space and air, he heard his voice. “He, you know, is resting, trying to slow down, like you said for him to do, slow down. But he was in a very quiet sort this morning when I visited him. His eyes were so calm and placid; they were even green instead of his bright blue. He was super still and super calmed out. He wouldn’t talk. He just looked at me funny, but I couldn’t get him to talk until finally he spoke. He said something weird.

“What did he say” Mavericks words were deep baritone and calming to the anxious youth. Pablo took a breath then continued.

“He said, It’s all still, nothing moves, it’s all connected and nothing is moving. That’s what he said and then he sort of froze up like he became … “

The ninja’s eyes flew open like vampires who had just had a wooden stake driven through their heart. They were on their feet seemingly without moving and outside before Pablo even knew how he or any of them were even moving. He finally realized he was on the back of the ninja known as Tadpole. He was telepathically being asked how long it’s been since he saw the Kid. He could not answer; the speed of how quickly the seven were moving was stunning him into silence. They were not running or even flying yet the world was changing around them, adjusting scenes to the will of the powerful ninjas. He heard all of them in his brain gathering his memories, reliving and reviewing his relationship with the young prodigy for the past several days as he was told to keep an eye on him.

“Could it be?” They asked each other. He heard random words of their high-speed telepathic discussions. “Infinity, early enlightenment, connection, and death” were the only words he could make out. One of the ninjas shot him a message to calm his nerves answering his questions about their movements that he hadn’t even had the time to verbalize.

“Imagine a floating magnet in a field of energy,” the calm voice instructed of him, “tweak the electric inputs, thus changing the magnetic field,” he heard this transmission clearly and when the speaker spoke all of the other chatter went silent like a walkie talkie button being pressed. “What happens to the magnet?”

Young Pablo wasn’t sure who was speaking to him but he visualized the scenario. “It moves.” He nodded in enlightenment. He visualized the image of a small meteorite magnet zipping around a magnetic field as masters tuned the controls, the meteorite seeming to appear, then reappear in a different location. He felt the presence of a teacher, pictured in his mind’s eye, who thus was standing next to the table with the magnetic field contraption on it. It was Tadpole, the elder ninja whose back he was attached to.

Tadpole spoke from inside Pablo’s mental image, standing beside the table wearing a white lab coat, he spoke without moving his mouth. “An object suspended by properties such as a magnet in a magnetic field must be in the location the settings of the field around it determine. The magnet will be affected by forces until it reaches its point of equilibrium, the stable location balanced amongst the various forces pushing and pulling upon it.”

Young Pablo tried to grasp the entire scene while holding on tight to the elder ninja. The elder ninja said a quick prayer of concentration to be able to convey a pure message and image into the young ones mind. Their feet were well off the ground.

They were suddenly moving up the familiar stairs of Pablo’s best friend’s house, where he just was earlier that morning. The ninja quickly moved past the still life of Chester, The Kids older brother, standing frozen at the doorway with a grin plastered on his face like a man battling with a thing that they understand, yet can not defeat. He stood frozen and motionless, like time had stopped, Pablo only heard him telepathically say two frightening words, “He’s gone”.

The room suddenly went still. All seven of the black clad ninjas were now frozen afloat in space, time was slowed to stillness. The young prodigy sat erect as a bronze statue in the center of the room. His eyes are open and staring forward at nothing, his legs crossed, a slight peaceful smile graced his lips, his back straight in meditative pose; he reminding the young Pablo of a Buddha statue. Pablo’s thoughts were the only thing moving in him, even moving his eyes slightly took a long time and a lot of concentration. He saw from the doorway, were he was frozen beside the still life of Chester, the seven ninjas break the frozen stillness and fall out of the air landing softly on their feet. They circled the kid cautiously and in awe inspected him from all angles. A loud pulsating rhythm, that Pablo thought could only be the synched heart rate of everyone in the vicinity beating in unison, thumped loud as if the seven ninjas also beat a giant drum together with pond fronds.

The ninjas were back in Pablo’s head reviewing the memories of The Kid telling him that all was still. Maverick began to cry. They were happy tears as the hair on everyone’s skin stood over goose bumps. The Kids older brother Chester stood still in the doorway unable to move but telepathically told the seven what he knew and what time the air began to still.

“What is going on?” Chester asked in thoughts.

Maverick responded coolly, ‘This is what we are to achieve, this is what we live for; he has attained such high speeds, that he has now connected all of the separate individual aspects of matter in the space around him. It is as if he is moving so fast he has become connected to all things and thus, a part of all things. He is now the pulse of infinity, the song of the universe, the ohm of our dimension.”

In the soft universal voice the ninjas recited in unison an ancient prophecy they all new by heart. “The child will go beyond the boundaries of gravity and see the truth of time and matter, the atom link to atom outward and inward infinitely. All things are connected. All matter in time holds a place for the fastest vessel were all time, and all matter, is still.” The ninjas recited the prophecy in shock. They never suspected they would repeat the eternal prophetic phrase in their lifetimes; none of the temple saw this coming. In the learning of mental flight, from wings, to light, to instant connections there are many incarnations and obstacles that one must understand and overcome before they can achieve the proper observation of infinity. “How fast is The Kid?” The ninja thought

Pablo and Chester were in awe of the sacred ninjas being in awe. Still unable to move Pablo asked in thought, “Is he alive?”

Without hesitation Maverick’s voice could be heard teaching all other ninjas and those fortunate to be witnessing the cosmic event,

“He is very much alive. If we could truly understand reality this would happen to us, stillness. When the body and mind can move fast enough it reaches a speed beyond that of gravity and atomic separation bringing “The One” of all matter into view; now, The Kid is in the dimension of The One. Instead of moving through time/space, he is so fast, that he has connected to it all at once. He is moving but much to fast for us to see. He has gone, and might not come back. We can never know what he is witness too in his present state. The view of the shape of many dimensions, the view of dimensional history and future are privy only to him. We can only hope to learn one day. Stories as ancient as movement itself speak of ninjas who reach this state disappearing after three days. No one who has reached the eternal stillness, has ever decided to come back to tell of what they have seen. This, my friends, is the objective all ninja aspire to achieve.”

The seven ninja took each other hand in hand and, sitting in a circle surrounding the bronze statue of the kid, began to chant “Ohmmmm”. Their sounds vibrated the still hanging older brother and young Pablo who were still caught frozen in time and space, hanging, watching, and bearing witness to an event that has only been recorded three previous times since the beginning. No one wanted to blink as to not miss a moment, no one blinked. The energy of the room was charged with a vibrancy that made everyone glow with a soft white light; there was a certain sadness tucked behind the profoundly fascinating moment as it dawned on Chester that he might lose his little brother.

The chanting continued.

Outside the water molecules of a nearby stream ran over stilled salmon, a frog hung in mid leap; its swooping eagle predator held still in midair. For three days, the ninja prayed and meditated around the still bronze statue of The Kid. During the sunrise of the third day The Kid vanished, disappearing before the witness of the elder ninja’s unblinking open eyes. Pablo fell to the ground. A striking eagle swooped up a frog. The salmon ran.

Mark Stegman may 9, 2007

Friday, May 2, 2008

"Count Our Blessings" A Short Story

“Life is Beautiful, Count Our Blessings”

By Mark Stegman

Turning a log over in the black iron stove Sammy swung the iron door closed, shut the air intake valve’s circular knob and stood straight stretching. He felt her presence so close behind him; he felt her eyes watching him, felt her smile soft and sweet. He turned and met her hazel eyes smiling; they passed their love through their locked enchanted stare. Both felt their energy rise inside them like the fire of the woodstove heating the core and soul. He has an image flash of her laying on green grass beside their favorite lake wincing and breathing pushing out their miraculous miracle first born girl. Sammy looks up now past his lover seated on their love seat and sees their shared miracle standing at the base of the stairs looking at him smiling. He pauses a moment to soak up the love of his family, smiles and glides toward his four year old daughter. She laughs at his approach like a dog wagging its tail in expectation of a belly rub. He scoops her up in both arms holding her above his head then rubbing noses he tosses her in the air and catches her cradled in his arms like a newborn. The image of her coming fresh into the world flashes in his head once more and he whispers to himself “thank you”.

“Let’s go count our blessings,” he says cheerily making her giggle with his ecstatic vibration.

“Blessed for mommies, thank you mommy. Goodnight” The girl called over her father’s shoulder. The beautiful women on the couch stood up revealing her slender straight figure and flowing brown hair. She walked up beside the two standing an inch taller than both of them as he held the child at his height she kissed them both on the cheek. “Goodnight sweetheart, may you become aware and enlightened in your dreams?” She whispered meaningfully.

“I am ware mommy,” The girl laughed knowing she is being cute with a hint of truth behind her innocent voice. Her father carried her up the spiraling steps. “Let’s count our blessings sweet one.” The slender tall woman stands over the stove concentrating on the vibrations of her lovers and child’s voice. His sweet calming baritone, her jubilant cherubic laughter filling her ears and mind’s eye, open eyes closed; softly smiling, letting the sounds drift around in her body. Listening to her lover tuck their child in to bed tears fill her eyes, she doesn’t hold them back.

“Let’s count our blessings” he softly and slowly skillfully lowers his voice into calming sleepy tones; the young girl takes her father’s lead.

“Today was a blessing, morning before school with mommy and papa was a blessing, horse ride to school, school, the building with heat, Mrs. Stockenbacher a blessing.” She listed like a praying pro the events of her day, listing slowly to sleep until her last blessing around lunch time came out “n mum n daa at an …. An…..”

Soon after her husband descended the stairs smiling and glowing. He cuddled up with his tall slender wife, her eyes red and watery. She took him into her arms. The fire popped in the woodstove.

It has been a hard day for the young women who had learned that morning of her mother’s expected passing. She had cried shortly and has now cleared up and was breathing normal again.

“You are a genius, or a monk.” She whispered in his ear.

I am the luckiest man alive,” he said as he kissed her.

I mean it baby, counting blessing is a wonderful way to put her to sleep. You can go on forever counting the graces: the people, the good deeds, the earth, the sky, the rock, and the love…” She looked off staring her mind truly seeing the infinity of blessed life.
“Yes, you got it love. Life is a miracle upon miracle, and behind each miracle are a million more miracles. Our daughter, our lives, when forming consists of the successful dividing of billions of cells.” He said this restrained yet obviously excited with the mystery and gratitude of the forming of life. “Every cell dividing as designed; too then divide again, and again, and again. Thousands of kids born everyday perfectly breathing and seeing hearing learning and growing healthy; it’s a miracle to even be born healthy and breathing into a world of miracles. The sun warming us just right and warming the soil to grow seeds that know just when to sprout, grow, die, and become soil for life to grow. Food of all shapes, tastes, and colors growing right from the soil to satisfy our every hunger and nutritional need. Waterfalls from the sky, we’re able to communicate, relate, love, and procreate, share stories, and dream and laugh. We drive, fly, climb, learn, dig, grow, and experience; every second is a miraculous blessing. One actually can’t stop naming the miracles once they start to count their blessings.”

“But then we die”. She whispered quietly.

“Yes, and that could be the most important part, the greatest blessing of them all. If nothing died everything would stick together, atom bonded to atom, forever unchanging solid, never releasing, never learning and experiencing; only knowing its one first attachment. In truth, nothing would be if there wasn’t death and decomposition.” He said quietly.

The nutrients of all life are formed from the break down and changing of matter. The circle of life is a blessing. What if a mood never died and we are stuck sad forever? How are we to know if death is not the greatest blessing, to let us rest, return to light, move onto something new?”

It could possibly be the Buddha’s chance to break the gravity of life and reach nirvana of timeless consciousness...”

“It still sucks” she said still getting used to the permanence of her departed mother.

“Yes, to miss someone hurts, but to know someone is miraculous, even for a year, or ten, or a day. To be in the same place in space at the same moment is not a coincidence but a purpose filled learning experience that enhances our lives. It’s truly a blessing and a miracle to know another person at all. To even live for one breath is to experience life and smile. How many miracles have occurred for her, and all of us, to live as long as we have? We fly around the Earth, zoom right past each other in cars, and create toxins that kill us, we are lucky to make it a single day with all the infinitesimal miracles happening to allow us to be conscious of it all. It’s amazing we are not all limbless and bruised everyday, every second moving around 8 billion other miracles all on top of a rock flying through “space”.

He watched her, and moved closer to her. She appreciated his views, she said in the past they are the enlightened outlook of a confusing life. Still, he watched her emotional state, it is important to grieve, to hurt, to recognize the loss and the pain is to acknowledge the love and the union that existed between two separate individuals. He has been through more loss than any one either of them knew.

“Death and birth are of the same fabric, the same veil. Who knows if there is a coming or a going and which is which? It’s possible that death sets are souls free from this gravitational force that we were sucked into when we were born. Some people whom believe in reincarnation believe we choose the life we are to live before we are born into it, that we actually choose a life that’s tragic or hard because we need the lessons of that life to fulfill a reincarnated learning of progression.

“Life is beautiful; we could not have life, birth without dying. In a Pythagorean situation we could then say that death is beautiful. It fulfills our lives and completes us, motivates us and brings it all together while providing for future life to sprout from our ashes and ideas. The fact that everything dies forces us to cherish the moment, watch the flowers and children bloom, and smile in the infinite blessings of life.”

“Life is beautiful.” She whispered. She moved over taking over her husband. That night the two beings created a new being, born in the belly of the tall slender women with the beautiful deep hazel eyes.

Mark Stegman