Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Armageddon Skills

The following is a chapter from my to be published novel (I am think of Epublishing it before leaving for India), Armageddon Skills. To set it up. One of the protagonist, Virgil, has dripped the contents of a Visine bottle full of acid into his eye to "see God." He ends up wandering in the forest where he encounters a phantom at (who looks just like his cat) and follows the cat until he meets Krshna. As for Krsha, he is dressed like Jay Z and all of his responses are lifted from Jay Z songs and based on the classical exchange between Krshna and Arjuna...

From Chapter 11: Arjuna and the Jiggaman:

Virgil meekly followed the exotic replica cat deeper into the forest.
A stream of golden butterflies, tiny supernovas, floating stain glass lotuses, and sparkly semi-translucent specs of sawdust califlowered out of the earth with each step that the phantom Arjuna took, reflecting broken shards of light to every tree or bush Virgil meandered his way past.
Virgil caught his leg on an obtrusive root, falling knee first to the earth below. His body fell to the soil, creating a splash of bright, flesh pink colors on the insides of his eyelids that quickly dissipated into deep emerald green glow. Arjuna looked back at Virgil and waited for him to get back on his feet, the earth throbbing beneath Virgil’s leathery palms.
“Just leave……me here.” He whispered to the phantom cat, who sat on a contorted tree stump in front of him.

Take too much did we? There’s no turning back now...

The words bubbled in Virgil’s mind as he labored relentlessly to pick himself up. He set his head back down on a wet patch of grass and glanced back up at the cat. Yellow flower petals began falling to the ground from Arjuna, popping out like bubbles from his sun burnt coat. As the flower petals gently fell to the ground, spiny legs with fluorescent, zebra like patterns pushed their way out of the circumferences of each lemonade petal.
Soon all the flower petals looked like insects trapped on their backs, slowly struggling to pull themselves to an upright position. The insects emitted a bizarre high pitch noise, like the cacophony of whales singing to each other over a mile of ocean. Long tentacles with sticky hairs emerged from the back of the yellow flower petal insects. Virgil sat up quickly as the insects moved closer to him. One of the insects crawled up his leg and disappeared into the flesh near his knee. Virgil ripped off his dinner jacket and began swinging the jacket at the insects as Arjuna watched, licking his paws.

Are you ready to come with me?

Virgil quickly caught up with Arjuna as he bobbed his head up and down, trying to breathe and at the same time trying to focus. Time had disappeared, infinity had vanished. The darkness of the forest swelled and oozed, painting abstract humanesque silhouettes on the mossy ground. Each silhouette interacted with the one next to it, surging then merging into large ink blots that looked like mangled continents. The continents grew and disintegrated in a shadowy psychedelic forms akin to Pangaea’s collapse and aftermath. Soon, the ink blots grew even larger, forming giant amoebas that splashed into the trees like tidal waves.
Amidst the seismic silhouette chaos, Virgil grew increasing concerned the neon insects that seemed to be gaining on him.
“Arjuna….why…? Weird bugs...”
He fell back to the ground again, this time on the palms of his hands. The insects moved closer, their pinchers clicking together as they neared Virgil. For what seemed like an eternity, the rhythm of the clicking created a complex cadence of taps and ticks that accented the LSD infused tsunami of time that Virgil’s had washed himself into.
Virgil looked up at Arjuna and pleaded with him: “I can’t….go….any… further…”
Arjuna walked towards Virgil and sat on the ground in front of his face, tucking his front paws under him and closing him eyes. Accepting his fate, Virgil readied himself for the insects to attack him. He turned and looked at the insects one last time. Their eyes had grown as big as frying pans yet their bodies remained the size of thumbs. He shuddered one last time.
As he laid face first in front of Arjuna, a beautiful, melodious sound erupted from the opposite end of the forest. The all encompassing sound was accompanied by a series of flashes and powerful electrical sparks.
The momentum of the forest seemed to be moving towards Virgil, which both scared the insects off and nearly ripped him from moist earth. A slow ripple moved towards Virgil, briefly crumbling everything around him like plastic bags. An ambient hum flooded Virgil’s senses, water boarding his consciousness and interrogating his mind. The saturation of the teeming opus forced Virgil to close his eyes even tighter. His heavy eyelids pierced his pupils, blanketing them in the thick foam of ambiguity.

Open your eyes. This is what I wanted to show you.

He looked at Arjuna, who smiled down at him, his eyebrows and nose forming a small gully on his face. Standing behind Arjuna was what looked to be a man dressed in an oversized black t-shirt, a black baseball hat and a single gold chain dangled and sparkled. He held a flute near his dark jeans which sagged slightly beneath his waste. The light radiating behind him shielded his entire body, making it hard for Virgil to see any true details of his form.

“Whoa…who…are you?” He asked from the back of his mind.

Allow me to re-introduce myself, my name’s -----



“Why are you here?”
“Because you asked to see me.”

Virgil sat up, crossed his legs, and began swaying back and forth. With his eyes he traced the flute in the strange being’s hand and observed the circular keys on the flute’s stock. Virgil still couldn’t understand why the man who stood in front of him appeared to be dressed like a rap artist. He felt bombarded by the image and quivered with fear. The man’s voice was highly peculiar, it emitted from the man and at the same time from behind Virgil, secreting from what seemed like the back of his skull. He grimaced.
“Who…are you?” Virgil whispered.
“I am neither tangible nor an illusion. I am a vibration. I am the product of habit.” The man’s neck piece swung back and forth like the pendulum of an old clock.
“How are you a vibration?” Virgil asked, reluctantly. The man in black adjusted his stance, and gripped the brim of his black ball cap with his free hand. Stardust emitted from the brim of the hat, and settled down onto his large black shirt. The small specs each burst like pebble sized fireworks as they elegantly landed.
“The entire universe is a vibration. You and I are but single notes in an infinite symphony.”
“Is it…is it really…Armageddon?” Virgil asked abruptly. He had felt enough vibrations over the course of the last few hours and was ready to change the subject.
“No change is possible without destruction.” The light cloaked being answered.
“Armageddon is an infinite process. Does a man at war not feel the suffering of Armageddon? Does a women being beaten not feel the pain of Armageddon? Does an imprisoned being not see the visions of Armageddon play out on the wall in front of him or her? Does a mother who loses one of her offspring not feel the unmitigated suffering of Armageddon? Does a person enslaved to another person not feeling the depravity of Armageddon? If Armageddon is happening here, is it also happening billions of light years away as well? If it happens here does it happen there? Such is the uselessness of these questions. However, their significance holds some truth. Namely, that they are and always will be unanswerable and more importantly, that Armageddon is happening all the time.”
Virgil looked at Arjuna, who was purring quietly. His eyes opened slowly, the slits looking deep into Virgil’s heart. Virgil shuddered and gradually raised his head back towards the entity.
“Why…?” He asked weakly.

“Politics as usual. Like my neckpiece time swings back and forth. It doesn’t stop yet it never started. Revolutions, technology, love, progress, regress; all are just cycles happening all at once. All I see is life cycles just repeating themselves, I’ve seen hoop dreams deflate like a true fiend’s wait. Never has there been a time when neither of us existed nor will either of us be absent from the future.”
“Why…are you telling me this?” Virgil clamored, raising his voice. “Who are you? And why are you dressed like a rapper!?”
“You asked for me did you not? And your habits have made it easier for me to show myself to you.” A ripple of radiance flickered off the strange man’s body as he paused and pointed at Virgil. “You should know who I am, your cat is named from a famous story I participated in. My true nature, as the story goes, can be hard for most to handle.”
“ My cat is named Arjuna from the…wait.” Virgil looked at the entity, squinting.
“Krishna?! No. No way… from…The Bhagavad Gita!?” Virgil placed his left hand over his eyes and started moving the hand left to right, hoping to snap himself out of it. He slapped himself across the forehead.
The Bhagavad Gita was a Hindu epic poem that Virgil had read a few years ago. Around this time, a cat had begun frequenting his apartment and having just read about a character named “Arjuna” in the story, Virgil had christened the orange tabby with the same name.

“This can’t be happening…” Virgil blinked vigorously, trying to snap himself out of his hallucinatory spell.
“Is this really the time to doubt?” Krishna asked. “You’ve come so far on belief alone. This journey that you and your companion have found yourselves on is as much a mental fabrication as I appear to be. However, it is also your destiny—it is part of your story.”
“But…you…you are just a story written thousands of years ago! A story I have read, therefore you are not real…figment of my imagination…you are just a story…” The words spilled out of Virgil’s mouth hastily as he sobbed. He tried to clear his head by rubbing his temples, and finally looked down miserably at his shoes.
“All of us are stories or myths with ideas. You are a story and so is the adventure that you have undertaken. We are birthed into immortality through the spread of other people’s stories and ideas. When you pass to the next level, your story will remain with the people who knew you, the people you interacted with and the people that understood you. When I leave here tonight, I will be a story as well, one that you might relate to others or one that you might not. Regardless, I myself will have become a myth and my thoughts an idea.”
“But…no one is reading about me…I read about you. How can I be a story or…a myth if no one knows?” Virgil looked up at the entity as tears began fall from his eyes.
“Because you and I are both vibration.” Krishna answered. “Like an orchestra, some people play louder instruments than others. However, all instruments complete the sound that emerges; all play their part. The symphony that is the universe can be divided infinitely, but by doing so, one will find that even on the subatomic level, all are vibrating, all are playing their parts. Such is the glory of it all; such is the glory of unity. What more can I say? The masterpiece produced from this symphony is vast and boundless, and like the universe, always expanding, always revealing new parts and above all, never-ending. Further, how do you know that no one is reading about you?”
Virgil shook his head. “So if it is never-ending…then what is dying?”
“Now that is a question that even I don’t know how to answer. All I can say on the subject however is that all things are innately immortal, it just depends on what one defines as alive. Everything becomes something else and everything stems from what it was birthed from. If one dies on this plane of existence, he is born on another and like most things, the opposite holds true. I simply do not know how something could ever truly die because to truly die, this thing must have, itself, truly lived, and that raises a question on existence itself. Both questions in regards to living and dying will continued to be pondered by all entities for all eternity. Such is the nature of existence. I can tell you this however, living and dying are defined by each other and because of this fact—they exist within each other.”

“Yea…But why are you…dressed as a rapper? And why do you have a flute?” Virgil eyed the man, and the aura vibrating off his body suspiciously.
“I am dressed as such because it is the image your brain has given to me. The brain is the most powerful asset used, wasted and abused by humankind. As for the flute, I have been a fan of the instrument for over four thousand earth years now. The sound is wonderful and it is a good example of the message I am relating to you, namely that all is vibration.”
“Are you God?” Virgil asked meekly.
“He is I and I am him. You are me and I am you. The percentages who do not understand are higher than the percentage that do. Check yourself—what percentage are you?”
Virgil sat for an eternal minute, thinking the riddle over and playing with his shoelaces. He looked at Arjuna, who was purring quietly in front of him and slapping his tail against the soil. Virgil watched as Arjuna’s purring produced viable translucent waves in the air, merging into all objects they encountered.

“So am I supposed to go on this journey?” Virgil asked, looking up at the glowing entity. “I mean I could get in a lot of trouble…I just want to stay here with Hope.”
“First, and remember this about anything you hear from this point onward, one can only tell another half of the story, the rest, you must fill in for yourself.” Krishna paused, and appeared to look down at his swinging chain. Finally, after watching it swing for a moment, he spoke again: “It is your destiny to make this journey, whether you come out alive or whether you comprehend what the journey is truly about—these things are simply up to you. But, if you must have a hint, the most important discovery James and you will make during this journey must be coupled with a progressive journey within yourselves. To accomplish such a feat will require the annihilation of personal barriers. Whether either of you can carry out this achievement is up to either of you.
“Remember though, all things have their consequences and the decisions we make will vibrate within us for the rest of our lives, just like music. Therefore, you must leave to further your journey immediately. You will encounter Hope again in the future but as for now, there is someone else you must meet.”
“Can I ask you one more question then?” The entity in front of Virgil nodded slightly. “You mentioned that you couldn’t show me your true self and I know in the story that Arjuna asked you the same thing. If you really are, who you say you are, can you show me?”

“I had a feeling you would ask me this. But first I must warn you, you won’t be able to stare at me for very long and what you see will quickly vanish from your memory. Such is the nature of my true image.”
“I think…” Virgil mumbled bravely. “I think I can handle it.”

Virgil braced himself for whatever his future held. The illuminated man pulled the flute to his lips and for the first time revealed his eyes. His eyes flickered with all the clouds of Heaven and his pupils spun like a million wheels of fortune. A circus of powerful hues and timeless illuminations swiveled like a myriad kaleidoscopes from his pupils towards Virgil’s forehead. As he played one single note, everything around him, including the trees and Arjuna, began slowly splitting as if someone was pulling down a zipper of reality. Gravity seized to exist as ethereal landscapes full of cities, self modulating geometric twirls, bustling waves, tiny yet infinitely vast bubbles, shimmery galaxies and bacterial universes spiraled forth from the open void. Big bangs and big crunches exploded like pop rocks from beneath Virgil’s knees. The strange being’s body swirled backwards, rotating like a black hole and becoming part of everything in its wake. As the zipper continued to open, an infinite number of images and figures spilled forward, consuming the entire world and galaxy within it. A strange being, naked and shielded in a pallid light floated towards Virgil as he passed out, his hand waving goodbye and his mouth curved into a smile.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Honey Dripping from the Barrel of a Gun

So I have been working on a novel about the Shock and Awe campaign for over a year and a half now. The novel juxtuposes the life of an American, Daniel, with the life of an Iraqi suffering at the hands of American bombardment. Anyhow, more later on the synopsis of the book...I JUST FINISHED EDITING 43 CHAPTERS (which I have been working on since December. This leaves me left with part 3, which will be 20 more chapters...