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A Puzzle of Squares, Square Three: Gaia

A Puzzle of Squares, Square Three: Gaia

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Published by The New Scum
Where Lux Apotheosis figures out how he's going to spend his afterlife. Lux begins to examine his personal history with the help of Gaia, creator of Life on Earth. What memories might he have? What great events has he witnessed in his past? Where might his story lead?
Where Lux Apotheosis figures out how he's going to spend his afterlife. Lux begins to examine his personal history with the help of Gaia, creator of Life on Earth. What memories might he have? What great events has he witnessed in his past? Where might his story lead?

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Published by: The New Scum on Dec 30, 2009
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A Puzzle of Squares

A Story by Zachary Elmblad. An intentionally arranged series of words for publication by The New Scum Productions. A serialized story for long-term release and publication by THENEWSCUM.ORG Do not reproduce this document without the expressed permission of The New Scum Productions. Copyright 2009 The New Scum Productions. TheNewScum.Org ZachElmblad.Com Square Three: Gaia. Memories of the woman came rushing into his head like water to a sink from a broken faucet. Wild jaunts of reckless abandon, fucking in a hotel room until the cops came to get him, and she escaped through the between-room door just before they got there. He remembered it. It was like one of the puzzle pieces in his mind found a connection – a face found the name, and the combination brought forth a flood of new information. New thoughts, new memories, new connections for his mental puzzle pieces. “Is it really you?” “Ah, you remember. I chose to use that aspect of me as my Fifth Dimensional Avatar, yes.” “Avatar?” “Yeah, it's a funny word, I know. It's what I chose to look like when you came here. When you came to me, Gaia, creator of life on Earth. It's the face I wanted to have.” Her voice didn't sound like he remembered it sounding. It was more reverberating, fuller, like she was speaking to his whole mind, not just his ears. “Why?” “To remind me of us, of you, of myself.” “When did you die?” “I've died a hundred thousand times, like you have, Lux” “Do you know my real name?” “Your name as a human?” “Yes, my name as a human- I want to know it.” “Your name isn't important, beside the fact that you've had many, why would you care about it right now?”

“I knew you as Becky. The only girl that ever loved me. The only girl I ever loved. Not the first girl I thought I loved, but the only girl I ever really loved.” “You loved me because you are me.” “That is really, really weird sounding.” He backed off a little, startled at the statement. It made his life seem even more confusing. Even more complex than he had remembered it being. What was this about him being her? What could that mean? He shot a look at Phalanx, who had for the first time produced an expression on his otherwise dull and indistinct face. It was an expression of confusion. “I'm at a loss,” Phalanx said, shrugging his shoulders with a genuinely bemused look on his face. He turned to Gaia, and said, “You know him, Gaia?” “I don't just merely know him, he's my apotheosis!” “Oh, that explains the creepy metal sun-temple with no decoration. I knew you would be on the sun for the abiogenesis, but I didn't expect to see a temple in this time-context. Usually it's at the end of lifenot at the beginning.” Phalanx grinned and looked at Lux. “You're a bit more special than I thought, Lux, and it appears I need to educate Gaia on how to correctly fill out – and complete- an intake file.” “Sorry, Phalanx, I forgot to add that bit.” “Apotheosis?!” Said Lux. “Don't go and get freaked out again, now, you little fucker. You've been taking things in stride after our first run-in with godhead” Snapped Phalanx. “Cool it, boys.” She walked down the stairs. She wore a flowing white dress that seemed to shimmer like it was made of a thousand, thousand diamonds. It billowed behind her like some Greek statue, falling gracefully from step to step as she descended. Lux couldn't believe the day he was having. He thought about days. “What's the next measure down from the big time?” he thought. Was it a day he was having, or the beginning of a long string of events that would continue on and on for what really was a potential of forever? How long is forever? When you exist in the fifth dimension, apparently, there is only one time- the big time. So what does that mean for him, there, in that timecontext? He started thinking about time again, he felt the two of them watch him, knowing they knew he was thinking intently, and that he knew they knew he knew they knew it and so on. Reverberations, echoes of knowledge spinning through his mind. That was the kind of thing that went through his head, there, and he thought for a moment that he might break down like he had floating in the Cartesian Plot of space. He took a breath. “I am not that infinity.” He said it aloud. “Whew, I was worried for a second, man,” said Phalanx. “I have total confidence in my Apotheosis.”

“Wow. A real-live Apotheosis. No wonder he couldn't remember anything, huh? I did kind of think it was a little weird. He reminded me of you.” “He did say you were cool,” added Lux, innocently. “And you are. You always were.” “That'll be enough of that, Lux Apotheosis, the physical coupling was limited to the physical realm. Any act of sex would be absurdly pointless in our current existential state. No pleasure, no procreative end, no meaning, just movements of imagined bodies in imagined ecstasy.” She said the words bluntly, as if she were wielding a weapon. “In order to fully actualize my existence in the Fifth Dimension, I had to live an entire fully-developed life in my own creation. You were my prized Apotheosis, my heir, my first. I love you, but not out of a passion or fleeting desire, but as I would love an image of myself. As I would love a reflection of me that is not me. My love for you is Narcissistic, as was your earthly love for me. You just didn't know it save for some twitch in your Pineal Gland. You have known me in a thousand, thousand lifetimes. I have followed your every moment, your every step up the chain that eventually led to your Apotheosis, your awakening, your Fifth Dimensional existence, and my actualization. Being my Apotheosis, I made a temple at the heart of the sun, for us. For our existential awakening. For our godhood.” “Whoa.” He didn't know what to say, so he said “Whoa.” It's all that came out. It appeared adequate. “You were there because I made it so, but I did not invent you. You came to being from your own volition. I watched as chemicals on my planet, Earth, mixed and melded and cascaded through time. They folded and combined and disintegrated and recombined into new formulas, new chances, new possibilities. I watched in amazement as enzymes, amino acids, and complex proteins developed naturally, just as I had learned they would. Then, it came to this moment.” She gestured, out towards space, at a distant speck he assumed to be Earth. He thought about how much was happening, so fast, what it all meant, how he was supposed to take the fact that his girlfriend was his creator, hence his Mother. That's how he saw it. “Are you my Mother, then?” He just kind of let it out, pretty much on accident. “Cuz that brings in a whole new crisis of a mindfuck right there.” “No, I am not your mother. I am a reflection of you, you are a reflection of me. You are not a motherfucker, Lux. I know you must think that's funny, but it isn't. I know you.” “See, that's creepy, Beck” “I am Gaia, giver of life on Earth, and master of Sol!” She became indignant. “Whoa, sorry, I just feel really comfortable around you. You're the only semblance of comfort I've seen since that boring lobby. I don't mean to offend. I'm new to all of this, I don't have a clue what's going on, where I am, really, what I'm supposed to be doing, hell, I don't even know If any of this is real, I mean, I might just fucking wake up in a hospital bed or something, christ, what the fuck is going on, really? Someone please tell me!” Lux was getting angry again. Angry, upset, confused, bewildered, he didn't really know which feeling it was that he was having. He was sure he was having it, though, there was no getting around that. He was feeling it.

“I was told my first Apotheosis would be rough, I would have been better prepared if you had told me. You should have put it on the intake file! It's a whole different speech!” Phalanx pointed a finger at Gaia. His face began to convalesce into one with features. He looked like Ichabod Crane. His body, which had been dressed in pale greys, was now adorned with a shimmering tuxedo, black as the night sky. His hair was long, parted at the left side. It flowed behind him like a shadow as he turned to point his accusing finger. He seemed, almost, playful. “What the fuck is an Apotheosis?” Lux interjected. “An Apotheosis is the first of the fourth dimensional beings to reach a Fifth Dimensional Existence. Remember how we traveled from the zero point here? Plotting a course on the Cartesian Plot, making our way to Sol, before you freaked out because I didn't know you'd have no memories and I had to fucking carry you in my hand like a baby?” Phalanx whirled around and pointed the accusing finger at Lux. “ENOUGH” The voice seemed to echo from the far reaches of the galaxy. Gaia was speaking through infinite time, the sound of her voice echoing throughout the existence of her solar system, throughout all times and spaces- even those that were only imagined. A demonstration of her power in her own domain. The two men stood to attention. “Lux, I'm sorry. Phalanx and I have been friends and neighbors since before the Earth was done cooling off from formation. His galaxy is Centauri, in Andromeda. His Apotheosis has been gone to select a galaxy for quite some time. I'm sorry to have ignored my duties as your guide here. We shall continue.” She motioned, gracefully, with her hand as she turned around and walked slowly up the stairs of the Temple of the Sun. Lux followed, almost blindly. He was still used to people telling him what to do, so he just did as he was told. He didn't think much about it. Phalanx kicked at the ground a bit, shook his head, and followed a few steps behind Lux. Lux took a moment to survey his surroundings. He was amazed at the aesthetic beauty and completeness of the temple. It was made of the metal of the core of the heart of the sun at the center of the Sol Galaxy, what he would have known on Earth as the Milky Way Galaxy, which is what they called it. Back then. Back then, he thinks. Like it's a concept he's fully grasped. The Domain of Gaia. It's where he had become a thing. An existence. It's when he became him. He was learning, and it was all quite new, but he knew he had done a great deal of learning back on Earth. He looked, out into the unfathomable distance. Out past the wisps of flame stretching far into the sky from where he was standing. He looked into the inky distance, he tried with all his might to see the Earth. He couldn't make it out. Figured it must be on the other side of him, or something, maybe even too small to actually see with his eyes. It was then that he realized, quite by accident, that he didn't really have eyes anymore. He thought about the Earth. He saw it floating there, like he was standing on the moon, like he had seen in the NASA pictures. NASA. The National Aeronautics and Space Administration. He wondered what they might give to be able to talk to him for just five minutes. He got to the top of the stairs, nineteen in all. He wondered if there was a significance to the number. He was cut short in thinking by the contents of the temple. It was one room, open on all sides and surrounded by columns. It stretched a good quarter mile down, narrowing in the distance like a perfectly done perspective drawing. The shimmering of a thousand, thousand tongues of fire sparkled off of the columns and on to a giant pool of water, filled with a thousand, thousand tiny squares. Images, some of which Lux recognized immediately as pieces of his memory. It was his ocean of

square puzzle pieces, like he had envisioned. But it was there, right there, right in front of him. Like he could dive right into it. He almost did, just seeing all those memories flicker and fade in and out of one another, shattering and combining. He wanted to hold them, to touch them, to re-live his past. They were rearranging and fragmenting as he watched them. When he seemed to focus on one, he would view it as an instant in time. Not as a picture, but as a visceral snapshot of the memory. It was like he, for a moment, was re-living his own past. It was much more than a memory, it was like unlocking a piece of his own mind. “This is the entirety of your existence. This is what the temple is for. First for the Apotheosis, then for all the intakes. The pool is just the pool. You populate your own memories inside it. As you progress through your understanding of your own existence, the tiny squares will merge to form larger pieces, which will form the greater, complete “picture” of your existence, from beginning to Apotheosis. I will show you the first step on your journey, your first real death.” She condensed into a candlelight, the same kind of candlelight Phalanx had turned into at the center of the Universe. A sparkling, waving light that seemed not just to exist in the the world, but to have existed forever. It hovered there, with it's existence manifested in both time and space, just hovering there, without source nor place just dancing in the foreground as if it had always been there. With that, the light dove into the pool. Lux watched as it sank down. An image appeared above the pool, which leaped out to surround them in three dimensions. It overtook Lux, Phalanx, Gaia, and the Temple. Lux was now standing at the edge of the collection pool of a geyser. He almost felt the twinge of sulfurous fumes touching his nostrils, even though the nostrils were just a physical manifestation of his own consciousness. He thought it must be Earth, but he didn't recognize it as such. It looked, vaguely, like a picture from Yellowstone National Park. The candlelight flitted back into his peripheral vision, and as he turned to greet it, the flame expanded into Gaia's image. She wore the same dress of a thousand, thousand diamonds. It almost seemed to float above the cratered and bubbling Earth. She looked less and less like he remembered Becky having looked. “This is the climax of a rising action of Abiogenesis. The beginning of life on Earth. Look close, into the pool. She bent down, and gestured towards the water's edge. Look, very closely. Use the mind's eye.” As she said the words, they seemed to flow through him; throughout existence. Throughout his mind. Throughout his whole entirety. He knew the words in that instance as if they were carved in the stones of his very being. He looked, closer and closer still, like his vision was a zoom lens on a digital camera of the mind. He zoomed further and further until he could see little tiny cells floating in the geyser soup. He almost felt as if he were them. He was surrounded by them. Encapsulated by a cell-wall, thinking only in the vibrations of a cellular entity, alone and silent in function, form, and perception. Yet, there he was, as if he had existed forever, with the knowledge that he had learned throughout thousands of lifetimes spent on the very planet he was floating in the soup of. They were vibrating about, half floating and half moving. One of the cells stopped moving. “You are witnessing Apoptosis, programmed cell death. It was the precursor to mitosis. Before organisms could propogate asexually- let alone sexually- they first had to learn to die. To learn existence and its terms in its environment. This is your apoptosis. You, Lux Apotheosis. You as a whole you, the cumulative experience of your existence on Earth as a consciousness. Your programmed cell death. This is the very moment, the very second. You are that cell that has ceased to exist. That is YOU, it is not the only you, but it is the first you as a thinking, changing, thing. You are even still in this moment living a sequence that began here. Right here, at this juncture. This cycle of life continues ad-nausem from this moment in time until the inevitable and imminent destruction of this very planet. All these monocellular organisms you see here are what will potentially be life on Earth,

until the end of time itself. They re-iterate and re-populate in variable and proportional manifestations throughout existence until the end, the last moment in four-dimensional time. The moment where everything has ended, all deeds accomplished. The moment where the solar system is engulfed by the exploding sun and the whole thing goes up in a self-contained singularity-inferno that takes a thousand, thousand years, but exists as if a breath of a moment of time in the fifth-dimensional existence. A dewdrop on the leaf of the tree of time. I watched the whole thing happen from the start, as you can now do inside this temple. Retrieving your own memories will unlock the truths you must know. Some of them, you even know now, but when you have assembled your memory as a cohesive whole, you will be equipped with the necessary intellectual tools to go and create life in your own galaxy. You will be compelled to do so, by your own desire to further your existential journey to the next port of call. When that cell died, your consciousness simply sought out another empty vessel. Every time something dies, something else is born ready for a consciousness to enter it. Like a hermit crab. It couldn't go outside of Earth, but it could have gone anywhere else. Yours decided to stay right here and move into that one.” It was obvious which one it was, it looked slightly different than the others. In a sea of cells with the same make-up, it was simple to see the clear difference. It looked like the redhead In a group of goth kids. The different one. Slightly larger, with more intricately laid-out innards. “It was a fluke, an accident. That is what abiogenesis is. A mistake. An anomaly. In this case, it's the anomaly that gets the whole thing going. Life. This is the moment life on Earth crossed from a potentiality to an existential reality. This is your consciousness. The first one. You are the cell that forgot how to die, and learned how to divide itself from itself, creating an exact copy of itself that is not itself. Watch as it leads its life, sucking nutrients from the world around it, processing them, and expunging them back out into its environment as processed waste- waste which would become the media for a new genetic mutation of replicating cells. It lives its existence in one dimension. It exists only as itself in reference to its neighbors. It does not know other cells exist and it doesn't even know, in fact, that it exists. It is existence on the basic level. The single point in time and existence where the two concepts of life and not-life are a blurred line. Abiogenesis. Genesis through chemicals. This is the state at which all galaxies exist upon creation- they are like petri dishes with agar applied, ready and willing hosts of future life. All the consciousnesses that will live and die on this Earth are there from creation. All we do when we visit our galaxy is reach in and get the whole thing started. We get the thing started and we watch. We watch as inactive participants, we watch without the burden of time. At the same moment I witnessed the beginning of life on my planet, I watched the end of life on my planet. I knew it would happen, but I did it anyway because that is what we do. I had to start it and stop it to understand what it was- to know myself. My full potential. All questions possible are asked and answered by the inhabitants of your creation. It's rather sobering to see it all happen. I needed to do nothing when I came to this galaxy but make that one small change. I reached inside that cell your potential consciousness entered. I took out the bit of developing RNA that told it to stop existing. I halted apoptosis. I replaced it with a code I programmed for it's eventual split, and when it did split, I entered that split cell to become the second cell to end in mitosis. I wanted to watch my first transitory consciousness coalesce from the beginning to the end, and I have. I watched you grow and progress from a single cell to a human, through several iterations of existence, many recurring phases, and through eventual apotheosis. I never intervened unless asked, but I watched and learned through your actions, as you will do so now. “ He found himself back in the temple. He looked around him, at the glimmering metallic columns with ornate capitals and the way the restless waters of the pool full of his own memories seemed to glitter with the internal light of a thousand, thousand screens showing memories and

thoughts and actions from his existence throughout life. It wasn't just his life as he could recollect it, but a much more expansive and invasive existence as a self in a thousand, thousand iterations. Endless, the temple pool seemed. Endlessly deep, speckled with glittering reveries. “Wherever you go from here is going to come out of your own will and volition. You have to look at them all, and you have what is essentially an eternity to do it. Each memory will put together a piece of a coherent puzzle in your mind that will encompass your entire existence on Earth from that moment in a pool of liquid scum where I reached inside a cell and created a potentiality for life. You were the first iteration of that potentiality, and you are Lux Apotheosis. You are the exemplar for an entirety of an unfathomable existence. The first, the Jesus Christ, the prodigal son, the flesh made god, the artificer of the waning light of the morning star, the image of human existence, the Brahmin, the Boddhisattva, the mythos, the logos, the alpha, and omega- your actualization brings forth the actualization of the entire existential population of the entire planet. You are not better than those existences, you are the first. Dive in, actualize your existence. Become an example to those who will journey to this temple after you. Move on and become what you will be. Leave behind presuppositions, precontexts, premonitions, pejoratives, and preconceptions. Make your own decisions on what this all means, and become a progenitor of life in another galaxy, another solar system. I have completed my task, and will submit my consciousness to higher realms. You may see me again, you may not. Stranger things have happened.” With that, she was gone, and so Lux was left with Phalanx. He looked at the pool, and from the pool he slowly moved his gaze upwards towards the distant end of the temple. He stared at it in staunch contemplative thought. He imagined the single point perspective of human binocular vision represented in the renaissance depictions of ancient temples and mythologies. He thought of the almost comical nature of his entire existence drowning in an endlessly deep pool. A puzzle of squares. He thought, on still, about how ironic it was that all he wanted to do was get some rest. “Sleeping is a human trait.” He said it aloud. His concentration on his surroundings was broken by Phalanx bursting into laughter. It was the deep laughter of a contented person, a satisfied and sure person. It was directed at Lux. “You,” he gasped between bellowing hysterics, “are going to be just fine.” “And you're so sure of this?” “It's our connections with our past that unites us as a planet, and denotes us as an individual. You'll see, really, with your own eyes exactly what that means. I can't teach you any more than I already have, I'll be going now. Just remember to head back to the center of the Cartesian Plot if you need to seek counsel. I'm registered there, they'll know how to contact me. Just ask for Phalanx.” With that, Phalanx was gone and Lux was left alone in the temple. His temple. He dove right into that pool. His dive was perfectly executed, and he felt comfortable in the pool- as if he was becoming the water itself. He realized it wasn't water, it was something else, some sort of medium, a sort of gaseous vapor that supported his three-dimensional frame of a body like a trestle. He could breathe, move around quickly and effortlessly, and see without obstruction. He remembered how Gaia and Phalanx had manifested into points of light and he figured he should be able to do it, too. He concentrated on the feeling of being a point on the Cartesian Plot. He felt his body give way to nothingness. It didn't hurt, it was like retracting the landing gear of his consciousness. He felt his mind encapsulate and envelope the physical body he was occupying, and he looked down at his hand. The

hands were not there, just an endless sea of puzzle squares. He saw himself in all perspectives. He saw as if he was a self, looking out of a set of eyes. He saw himself as if he was looking at himself, seeing a small light, as if the flame of a candle-less candlelight. He saw himself as if he was an omniscient narrator, not dictating his actions but merely perceiving them from a distance. He felt all of this at once, and it was no longer overwhelming to him. He was not infinity. In fact, in this temple, he was very finite. Viscerally finite. He was floating in a pool of himself. Floating in the experiential conglomerate that was his own existences. He made off towards a medium-sized square, as if at random. What he saw in the square was a looping snapshot of time, of a person he recognized as himself, dressed in a brightly colored late-1970's polyester leisure suit. He was staring down a long line of cocaine in the back of a room that seemed to be the changing room of a strip-club. A row of seats sat along a row of individual counters with individual mirrors. At each counter was a pile of multicolored makeups, aerosol cans of deoderant body and hair sprays, multiple sets of stilletto-heeled shoes and boots, pictures of boyfriends and industry-looking fat guys, and pictures of the same girl in different poses and costumes. Presumably, these were pictures of each girl that called that particular seat her own. As he watched the events unfold inside the square, he felt himself entering that memory. He was becoming that man in a leisure suit. Visions of the pool around him faded slowly into a room ripe with stench of cigarettes, hairspray, sweat, and pussy. “To the cornucopia of life!” A voice said. Lux looked up from the line of cocaine to see a black man built like a refrigerator, wearing a black suit, white shirt, black tie. He looked like a security guard- a bouncer. It must be. Lux had a small glass in his hand, and the smell of whiskey suddenly hit his nose as he shook the glass. He watched the ice cubes disturb the brownish liquid as he touched it to the glass of the man sitting across from him. “Cheers,” Lux said as he tipped the glass against his lips and felt the cold liquid run over his lips, down his tongue, and into his throat. As it traveled down his esophagus, he felt the cold sensation turn to a burning one that seemed to coat his entire stomach in flames- even if only for a second. He exhaled a breath acrid with the stench of whisky and cigarettes. He tasted it on his tongue. He was still Lux, but he couldn't control what was happening. He was merely an observer, although he could sense the body and its surroundings like they were his own. He realized, then, that they were his own. This was a square of memory. This was a puzzle piece. He watched from the eyes of the man in the leisure suit as the black man shoved a cut-up straw into his nose and snorted the whole line of white powder in one quick motion. “Oooooooooh shiiiiiiiiit,” said the man as he plugged his opposing nostril with his left hand and snorted a staccato snort, putting every last grain of powder right where it needed to be. He swallowed hard and put down the straw as he sank into his chair, closing his eyes and deeply exhaling. He leaned his head back against the headrest of the chair, and opened his eyes to just a crack. He moved his jaw, slowly, back and forth while he tightly shut his eyes and opened them wide. He did this a few times and focused his gaze into Lux's eyes and said, “Mike, you have got some wicked fucking blow.” “I know it.” Lux felt himself smile as he reached for his own straw and bent down to take his bump. “Hell of a night we're having” “Fuckin' eh, man. The dollars are rollin' in, the bitches ain't fighting, the whiskey's cold, and the coke's on the table. What more could we want or need?”

“A fat fucking joint is what we need,” said Mike, who was Lux- but not really Lux, only just a part of what Lux was for the last few thousand years. A dewdrop on a leaf of the tree of time. “A fat fucking joint is all it ever takes for you, nigga,” said the man, as he reached into his lapel pocket and pulled out a finger-sized joint. He handed it to Mike, who took it quickly yet graciously and set it to his lips. He lit a match and pointed the end of the joint into the flame. “Today is a good day,” he said, exhaling the marijuana smoke and snuffling the last flakes of powder from his nostril to the back of his throat. He took another sip of whiskey and lit a cigarette, passing the joint back across the table. “That it is, that it is,” said the black man over his glass of whiskey before he tipped it back quickly enough to splash his mouth with the stuff. He coughed slightly, pounding a fist to his chest with the arm that wasn't extended across the table to take the joint from Lux, or Mike, or whoever he was. He found himself back in the temple, in the staging area he had stood in before with Phalanx and Becky, or Gaia, or whoever the hell she was. He was surprised at how malleable identity could be in this place. He had the power to be whatever shape and form he wanted to be. It was an incredible sense of power he felt standing there at the edge of a pool full of his own memories. He stared down into the nearly endless depths. He thought about his times in his life just before he died- times spent aimlessly wandering around the strip clubs with a whiskey on the rocks in one hand, money in the other, and a cigarette hanging out the corner of his mouth. Saying awful things to women like “you have nothing I want,” and “show your meat bags to someone else.” He kind of felt bad about it, only for an instant, when he realized that those sentiments are a product of the atmosphere of the place; not his actual thought processes. “I'm going back there, that one's pretty interesting,” he thought. He dove back into the pool, seeking out squares containing Leisure Suit Mike, the coke-snorting strip club guy that he wasn't even a bit surprised was him. He must have retained a great deal from that prior existence, but it was no big surprise that Leisure Suit Mike was certainly not the Apotheosis of Earth. Lux smiled realizing that he was in fact his own, personal, Jesus. Just like that eighties song. He didn't bother focusing on the squares in order to enter them, he merely collected them as if they were trading cards. Any time he saw Mike in a square, he grabbed at it and held it like it was an autonomous television screen, only showing memories that he alone possessed in his mind. He collected those squares and brought them to an empty patch of the pool near the staging area. The lobby of the temple, if that's what you'd want to call it. The temple was only one great room with a pool, nothing more and no ornament- no statuary, no embellishments beyond the ornate capitals. He noticed key features in Mike's face that showed Lux where in Mike's time-line the pieces of the puzzle fit together. Although his puzzle was a puzzle of squares, the minor features of the scene detailed where the piece fit in the puzzle. What he had first assumed was an unintelligible sea of memory squares needing placement was in actuality a piece of a puzzle he already knew the picture of. It started with him as a cell in a scum-bog, and ended as a human in a bed in a halfway house. The rest of the puzzle was merely an afterthought. He knew the beginning and end, the rest was just a game. He thought that the temple seemed bland without statuary, and he decided that he would erect a statue of each of his favorite iterations. It would give the visitors to the temple something to remind them of apotheosis, and inevitably of their own existences. Staring at the blank expanse of the temple seemed blank and austere; begging for what he, laughing to himself, called a “human's touch.”

He didn't swim through the pool so much as he floated through it, he no longer desired the use of a three-dimensional body. He jettisoned it entirely, preferring to remain as a point on the Cartesian Plot, a singularity of metaphysically five dimensional existence within the context of a fourthdimensional time frame. It may have confused him in a base-sense, but it was not difficult for him to feel it. The feeling came naturally to him. Him, existing in eternity as a point in space and time. The squares with Mike in them seemed to tell a story of a man, from birth to death, that Lux couldn't help but sympathize with. It seemed that Mike had been to hell and back, a human existence wrought with an ecumenical distribution of agony and ecstasy. *** Lux chose the most interesting-looking square, and felt himself becoming Mike again. He was remembering a memory, a lost memory, but that memory was a most viscerally real memory. Peripheral vision, full senses, and utter awareness- but no control. He was Mike as much as he was Lux, neither were the name he was looking for, but both worked quite adequately. The scene was set in a smoky apartment, seemingly in New York. He thought it might be New York because he looked out the window and saw nothing but sky and the occasional sky rise building blocking his view of the horizon. He wore the same brightly-colored leisure suit, and sat staring at a typewriter. He looked around the room. Wood paneling, cigarette smoke hanging in the air, beige curtains still and monolithic. The room was dark save for the desk lamp. On the left of the typewriter, a halffull bottle of Wild Turkey and an empty glass with the last humps of hours old ice cubes dancing in a watered-down whiskey puddle. On the right of the typewriter, a nearly full ashtray and a ripped open carton of camels. In his hands he held a large silver platter with a king-size mountain of cocaine. Just beyond the typewriter was what he remembered as a kilogram bag of cocaine, and a large bag of marijuana. The weed looked good, probably home-grown by a patient and experienced cultivator. It could have been as much as half a pound, but he figured there was probably no need to measure it if you possessed it in such quantities. He was proud of his former self, drugging like a champion. He noticed joints jutting up shorter than the cigarette butts in his ashtray. In the typewriter was an article for a major metropolitan newspaper. He was reading it, between gulps of whiskey, joint and cigarette puffs, and the periodical jamming of a straw in his nose to take a fully-bored pull out of the pile. As he took snorts from the pile, it seemed as if it wouldn't ever run out. Lux thought about how much money a pile of cocaine like that might have cost him in his last iteration. Mike revised the article as he read. “Drugs to the recurrent drug user, the consummate drug user, the initiated psychonaut; are not merely an escape, but an existential necessity.” He crossed out the word “necessity, and wrote “surrogate” in pencil above it. “A modus-operandae, much more than a simple-minded escape. Psychotropes, hallucinogens, are the truest drugs in the sense we wish to use them. Stimulants and sedatives are a futile recreation for the true psychonaut” Cocaine was not a constant in his life, he came to it apprehensively and with great respect. This time was special. He was writing what would potentially be the greatest article of his entire life. Mike was a journalist in that rare sense, the sense that when he wrote things down it was bigger than himself. He wrote objectively, but not without the subtle nuances of language that provide you with a clear picture of what you should feel about the words you're reading.

“Before and since the beginnings of mankind, chemistry has played a fundamental role in the existence of life on Earth” Lux thought “Yeah, man, you have no idea how much of an effect chemicals had in existence.” “Some are more powerful – far more powerful – than others. These chemicals need to be feared, revered, and respected; not cast aside as “addictive” or “menacing,” as they so often are. They are only chemicals like any other substance and should be treated carefully. Some people, inevitably and indubitably, will ruin their lives in psychosomatic addiction. We must not, we cannot, use these weakminded individuals as the great yardstick of measurement for the casual drug user. Drugs are a tool, not a replacement.” Lux agreed with most of it. “Make no mistake about it, friends, chemicals can and will envelope and consume your life with their potency. When you consume a drug, you fundamentally change the chemistry of your brain and body. The fundamental core of existence and perception- who and what you are. You change yourself in so many ways with unassumingly small amounts of inert and innocent-looking plant matter, powder, liquid, or smoke. Chemicals and chemistry have always been a fundamental aspect of life on Earth, only man-made social laws prescribe the in- and out-put of chemical availability. These laws mandate the perceived vision of a drug-user as a disgusting filth-monger wandering alleyways to rob those more fortunate and less addled in order to attain that sought-after “fix.” This image of the psychonaut could not be further from the truth. An experienced drug user may surprise you if he were to reveal his identity. It could be anyone, a doctor or lawyer, even your parents could be drug users and you'd never know it. Drug laws prohibit cultural acceptance, and deter the proper and clinical use of the substances. This causes the blow-back function of demonizing chemical drugs. The black market production of drugs is focused on profit to product ratio, not preserving the purity of the chemical. This “cutting” makes a weak product, commonly with non-psychoactive chemical additives. These morality-based drug laws have caused drug users to apply to themselves a scarlet letter- A, for addict. The only recourse for these people is to “rehabilitate” themselves, creating more profits and success stories for morality-driven politicos. “ Mike typed those last few words with a pronounced motion of the hands, as if he were punishing the typewriter as he wrote it. Punishing the thing in effigy for the fact that he had to write those words. He thought about what this article might do for him. It was about to be submitted to a very prestigious, very bourgeoisie, metropolitan news magazine. It would, unknowingly to him, be his finest and best article. It would be the article that made him famous. *** Lux found himself back in the Temple. He decided he wanted to have a chair to sit in. To rest. He felt existentially weakened by traveling back and forth in time and space. He looked off, down and to the right, and he thought about how nice it would be to have a chair right there- just near the edge of the pool. As he imagined it, it was there. Almost magically, his thoughts became concrete reality. He thought about the power of this. He could not only manifest matter to contain his consciousness, but he could manifest matter around him to bend to his will. He decided to try it out on the first piece of statuary for his reflecting pool. This was about him, Lux Apotheosis. His story, his existence. He decided he wanted a large statue of the first cell to split.

He thought about where It might go. He looked up, for the first time, to see that the temple had a second floor- smaller than the first. He imagined a staircase spiraling up to the second floor. A double-helix. Like the RNA that Gaia had altered in him to become the first cell not to die. He walked up that staircase knowing full well he didn't have to operate a body to get there. He could have just manifested himself as a pinprick on space-time, but he felt like if he was going to enjoy his new staircase, he needed to climb it like a man. The second floor was empty space, save for a portico cut through the ceiling and floor that illuminated the reflecting pool below him. He could see tongues of flame flit and flicker, reflecting off the pool. He thought that this empty space would make for a wonderful place for his statuary. He set off making the first. He placed, with his mind, a great mass in front of the staircase opening. He, with his mind, scraped off layer and layer until it began to take the shape of a cell. He changed his mind, and made it a cell dividing into two. The first act of mitosis on the Planet Earth. It was a testament to Abiogenesis, a testament to himself, and a testament to Gaia. For the first time, Lux realized that he was utterly alone in the universe. He contemplated the endless solitude of being the only physical being on the sun other than itself. He wasn't even a physical being anymore, really. He walked down the stairs again, looking at the pool as he descended down the other side of the helix. He sat in his chair, and he looked out onto the still waters of the temple pool. As he looked out from that chair, he thought about how long it might take to get through all of this. How long it might be before he was free to leave again, free to roam from galaxy to galaxy. Free to find his own place in the universe, and free to come to a fuller understanding of what was going on around him in all times and spaces. He desperately wanted to leave, then, and explore. He thought about constellations he saw as a child in a hundred human forms, about Orion the Hunter and the Big Dipper. As he sat in that chair, he rested his arms on the armrest, and he leaned back. He imagined himself a matching ottoman, which materialized underneath his outstretched legs. He closed the eyes of his physical body, and he fell into a peaceful and dreamless sleep. to be continued in Square Four: Logos.

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