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Coffee

Marc Fiszman
Coffee

Marc Fiszman
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted by any means,
electronic, mechanical, hamster or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publisher.

First published in Reality #2 in 2010 by Marc Fiszman

Written and illustrated by Marc Fiszman

Marc Fiszman has asserted his moral rights

My thanks to Carla Atkins for her guidance in the editing of the manuscript, and to my family
for their love and support.

Copyright © 2010 Marc Fiszman


marcfiszman.com
For C.
1.

nameless entity #4
At first, I was Nothing.

2
Everything.

3
Both at the same time.

4
etc.

5
I was big.

6
Small.

7
Invisible.

8
At the same time.

9
etc.

10
For a billion years, nothing much happened.

11
Then, one day, I emerged.

12
Came into focus.

13
I was nameless, without significance.

14
Suddenly, from nowhere, a voice said, “Play!”

So I started to play.

15
I discovered rotation.

16
Multiplication.

17
I formed a spinning star.

18
I spun away and lost myself in a collapsing
cosmos grid.

I realised this grid led to somewhere special and


that I couldn’t go there now.

I discovered emotion.

19
Joy.

20
Sadness.

21
Coolness.

22
Pirateness.

23
Discovering emotion meant I was ready.

24
But for what…

25
I left the grid and met a being, who told
me his name was Harvey. Since I didn’t
have a name, I introduced myself as
Nameless Entity #4.

Harvey belonged to a hyperdimensional


species known as b-grid. He’d just
come from a party to celebrate his
promotion to b-grid rank 10.

He said: “Ascended Masters are


promoted to 3, the max has been 12
since this morning. At 9, we return to
the Oneness to complete our training,
or take a break and raise a family.”

26
When I asked what an Ascended
Master was, Harvey gave me an
impenetrable look which made me
feel very young, like a child.

I looked around and the world


was different.

It was as if I’d just been born.

27
Harvey then asked about the cosmos grid and I told him everything I
remembered, though the details were already very hazy.

When I finished, Harvey said it was a good thing I’d left the grid when I had.
Apparently, if I’d spun around any longer, I would’ve turned into a pigeon.

That didn’t sound so bad to


me, but Harvey said it
would’ve interfered
with my mission.

28
I was about to ask what my mission
was, but was interrupted by a beep
from Harvey’s phone.

“Text message,” he said, removing


the phone from its holster. “Ah, the
spaceship is ready. We should really
get going or we’ll be late.”

I wouldn’t normally go off with


strangers, but there was something
about Harvey which made me trust
him implicitly, like I’d taken some E,
but with more authenticity.

29
I packed a suitcase with all my possessions, which turned out to be nothing
at all.

“I’ll teleport us to the spaceport to save time,” Harvey said.

“Okay,” I said, as I took his hand and everything went black for a moment.

30
When the lights came back, we were at the spaceport.

We boarded the spaceship, Harvey pressed a few buttons, we took off and
flew away.

31
The journey was long and automatic, and after a while I became
bored. I explored the spaceship, but there wasn’t much to see.
Just a load of empty white rooms.

I returned to the flight deck and sat down with Harvey. When I looked out
the window, I saw that something new had appeared in the blackness, a row
of four, glowing white Portals, each leading to a different Reality.

“Which one looks good to you?” Harvey asked.

32
“Portal #2,” I replied straightaway.

“Why’s that?”

“The outside ones shouldn’t be touched. They hold the whole thing together,
like a sandwich. Of the others, I prefer the one on the left. It reminds me of
a slice of perfectly seared tuna. Enjoy with avocado, soy, ginger and lime, or
delight in a new-style Niçoise.”

33
“Good!” Harvey said, a big smile on his face. “You’re developing quite a
mind. This looks like being a very successful mission. Reality #2 was an
excellent choice.”

34
“What’s this mission you keep mentioning?” I asked, as we blasted through
the Portal. “Does it even exist?”

“Of course it does!” Harvey said. “You’ll find out soon enough. For now, just
enjoy the ride.”

35
The rest of the journey was
uneventful, and after a couple
of hours we touched down.

When I stepped out,


I saw that we were
on a planet. There
was grass and trees
and sun and water.
Absolutely gorgeous!

I turned to the side and


smiled at Harvey, who
was smiling back at me.
His eyes were twinkling and I
thought he might cry.

36
“You look lovely,” he said. “Very
fashionable!”

“What do you mean?” I asked.

“Check yourself out in the water.”

I walked with Harvey to a still spot of


water and stared at my reflection. I
looked exactly the same as usual…

Apart from the seven blobs floating


above me!

37
“What are those blobs?” I asked Harvey.

“They’re here to help you with your


mission,” he said. “Think of them as
your guardian blobs.”

“That’s very nice of them. Do they have


a name?”

“Not yet. You get to call them whatever


you like. Any ideas?”

“How about… Blobbitrons?”

“Perfect!”

38
“And what about me?” I said. “I still
don’t have a name, you know. Unless
you count ‘Nameless Entity #4’. But
that’s not really very hip, is it?”

Before, I hadn’t cared that I didn’t


have a name. But ever since arriving
in Reality #2, I’d been feeling kind of
empty without one.

“No, it’s not very hip,” Harvey


agreed. “Nor is it particularly valid.
But don’t worry, you’ll have a real
one soon enough. All things must be
named in the physical Layer, or else
they don’t exist.”

39
“Really?” I said. “But I don’t have
a name and I exist.”

“To yourself you do,” Harvey said,


“but not to others. Without a name,
they can’t even see you! You’ll
have one as soon as you wake up
and your mission begins.”

“But I’m already awake.”

“Not for long.”

“What is this mission, Harvey?”

“Time to sleep!”

40
I was about to tell Harvey I wasn’t tired, when I realised in fact I was
completely exhausted. The journey to Reality #2 had used up nearly all my
energy.

Suddenly, I lost all interest in names and missions. All I wanted to do was
pass out.

41
“Are you going to sleep as well?” I asked Harvey, yawning widely.

“No,” he said, “I’m done with all that. But don’t worry, I’m not going
anywhere. I’ll be here while you’re sleeping, and I’ll be here when you wake
up. Think of it as a time-travelling sandwich!”

“And what about the Blobbitrons?” I asked.

“They’re going to stay awake with me. They could hardly look after you if
they were fast asleep now, could they?”

42
“No, I guess not,” I said. “Well, thanks for everything, Harvey. I’m really glad
I met you and we became friends.”

“As am I,” Harvey smiled, and a tear rolled down his cheek.

I gave him a big hug and said, “I’ll never forget you, Harvey.”

“Of course you will,” he said. “That’s the whole point!”

43
I didn’t understand what Harvey meant, but by now I was too tired to ask
any more questions. I hugged him again, then settled down on the grass
under a tree.

As I drifted away, strange


pictures floated before
my inner vision, strange
creatures and objects which
made no sense. <<!ping!>>

I started to feel scared, but


the Blobbitrons relaxed me.

44
And then, from nowhere, a voice said, “Sleep!”

So I slept.

45
Then disappeared…

46
47
Wake up!
48
2.

mug-based
consciousness reallocation
I’ve been working very hard.

I drink lots of coffee.

I get headaches.

I drink coffee.

I work very hard.

50
etc.

51
I have a name and significance.

I work in an office.

We’re fucked.

52
The problem is the numbers are down.

Three consecutive quarters of


fuckedupness.

53
54
55
56
57
58
Lots of people have lost their jobs.
I’ve still got mine. Not sure why.

Well, that’s not quite true.


Obviously I’m still here because
I’m useful. Essential, even.

I’ve got some talent, I work very


hard. I’ve risen to the top.

But that still leaves one rather


important question…

59
What exactly is it that I do here?

60
Once upon a time, I think I knew.

I went to the office, I did my job, I


went home, I got paid.

Made sense.

61
But then one day, a couple of
months ago, something very
strange happened.

I was at the office, drinking coffee,


working very hard. I set down my
mug and stared at it, and for a
moment, I was staring back at me.

I don’t mean I saw a reflection. I


mean that I was actually in the mug,
staring back at this person, who
was me.

Wacky.

62
At first, I thought I was imagining it. But then it happened again, and again.
And each time it happened, it went on longer.

For a moment, then seconds, then a few seconds more.

63
I thought about telling someone, but realised I had no one to tell. No one I
knew was weird enough.

I wasn’t weird enough.

64
So instead, I started drinking lots
of coffee. I mean, I’d been drinking plenty
before, because things were fucked
and I was working hard.

But now I was drinking a silly amount – 20 mugs


a day – because drinking more coffee gave me
more opportunities to stare at my mug.

You see…

65
“An empty mug won’t do anything!”

“A mug of water won’t do anything!”

“Tea’s no good!”

“Tomato soup’s no good!”

“It must be hot coffee in a mug!”

“With steam!”

66
“With seven blobs of steam!”

67
So I drank 20 mugs of the stuff a day,
because I wanted the mug thing to
happen again, because it was weird
and interesting, and whatever it was
I did at this office didn’t seem very
interesting any more.

68
But as suddenly as it’d started, the mug thing stopped.

69
I tried staring at other things – a phone, a CD, an executive toy. But nothing
happened.

So eventually I stopped staring, but kept drinking coffee, getting headaches


and working very hard.

70
Made sense.

71
Apart from that one rather important question…

72
73
74
75
76
Things are better at work.

77
It started with the logo for the oil co.

78
Then that thing for the fast food chain.

79
And then the luxury brand reinvention.

80
The pill that gets you hard.

81
Big tits.

82
Pussy.

83
Cock.

84
Snort.

85
Inject.

86
Fuck me.

87
Fuck me.

88
Dominate me, you useless
human motherfucker!
89
So we’re making a shitload of money again.

90
It seems I had something to do with
it, working 20 hours a day, drinking 20
coffees a day.

“The guy’s a machine!”


they’d say.

Except machines don’t


spend half the day
pissing coffee.

91
Or popping pills for their pounding heads.

92
But whatever, I got a bonus, a raise. I was kind of a hero, really.

93
Things were making so much sense.

94
Until one day I stared at my mug,
and I was staring back at me.

95
It’s a different experience this time.

For one thing, it’s sticking around. It’s


been going on for nearly three months
now. Last time, I got 18 days.

I also seem to have more control. I


can make it last as long as I want,
up to a point, which is currently
5 minutes 20 seconds.

And then there’s this other thing,


very odd.

96
Before, whenever I entered a mug,
I still felt like me, like the human
outside, the one across the table. I just
happened to be inside a mug.

But now when I travel, I feel more


like… a mug.

I feel the heat of the coffee, I feel the


heat of the steam, I feel myself bending
round, my handle is like a brain.

97
Longer travels mean I’m drinking less
coffee. I’m down to 15 mugs a day.

The headaches have stopped, I’ve


flushed the pills down the toilet.

I’ve been taking some excellent shits.

98
You know, the smooth ones, a little
dry. The ones you don’t have to wipe.

Each morning I crap and praise my


good fortune.

99
It’s not all smooth shitting, though.

Lately, I’ve been having this issue


with… bubblehead, I think I’ve called it.
When I’m not transporting into mugs, I
often float around like I’m in a bubble.

It’s okay when I’m by myself – kind of


entertaining, really. But interacting with
people is getting harder.

I’m having trouble following what


they’re saying, what they’re doing. The
world doesn’t look quite right.

100
People keep asking if I’m feeling “okay”.

I’ve found something like “sausage car” keeps them at bay.

They say, “Are you okay?”

I say, “Make mine a sausage car.”

101
102
103
104
This morning, the Boss Man calls me
into his office. His face is grim.
He says, “It’s been brought to
my attention you’ve reduced your
coffee consumption.”

“Yes,” I say. “I’m down to 13.”

“These remain uncertain times…”

“Quite so. But the shits are oh so good.”

His eyes go wide, he flares his nostrils,


he bursts out laughing and says, “Cock,
my boy? Tail, my dear? You are God of
this enterprise! Carry on!”

105
I smile, rise and leave his office, thinking
(to myself, I think):

• What is this place and why am I here?

• What is that woman doing?

• Why’s she wearing that thing round


her neck?

• Why’s she pressing that thing with


her fingers?

• Why’s her hair all long and black, and


streaked with red, and cut like that?

106
What kind of game are we playing?

107
After several sausage cars, I reach my
desk, sit down and feel more stable. I
check my email.

“Three strikes, you’re out,” the subject


says. The sender is my girlfriend.

The body: “First, you were fucking


that little bitch. Then you were fucking
your career. Now, you’ve turned
into a fucking weirdo. Mug-based
consciousness reallocation?? Freak!”

Guess I shouldn’t have mentioned the


mug thing.

108
I delete the message, she goes away, something tells me I’m supposed to
care.

I find I can’t summon the emotion.

Instead, I hop into my favourite mug and bathe in a cappuccino.

Bliss…

109
3.

find that fish


I’m developing a new ability.

You see, before whenever I entered a mug, the me I stared back at was
apart from me, like a different person, one I didn’t control.

He just sat there doing


nothing.

111
But now, increasingly, I’m part of that me, even as I’m part of the mug, so
that more and more I’m both man and mug at the same time.

A ManMug, if you will, with two brains.

112
It
has
crossed
my
mind

I
might
be
going
mad

113
The Voices assure me I’m okay.

114
If a little behind schedule…

115
They arrived about a
month ago and pop up
every now and then,
usually after I’ve just
poured a fresh coffee and
it’s still too hot to enter.

They seem to have some good


ideas and I’m trusting them
more and more.

116
But it’s not like I can really talk to them,
or they can really talk to me. The lines of
communication are indirect.

And fun as all this mug stuff is, I’ve been


thinking I should have a proper chat
with someone.

Just to, you know, get a second opinion.

117
It’s frightening
sometimes…

118
Yes, it is time…

119
So who do I speak to?

A friend?

120
No, no friends…

Not weird enough…

121
Family?

122
No…

All dead…

123
A psychiatrist?

124
No…

Too much of the brain…

125
A scientist?

126
Insufficient dimensions…

127
A goldfish, then?

128
More like that…

But perhaps less fish and


more human being…

129
Better feedback, one suspects…

130
And fish food smells unpleasant…

131
And fish remind me of suits, an unhappy period in my own existence when I
had no mind and was a slave to “The Man”…

132
I had that as well…

133
But enough about us…

134
Angelic separation at 60%!

135
I can be a mug for 10 minutes now.

(Down to 10 mugs a day.)

136
I can be a mug for two hours now.

(Down to five mugs a day.)

137
I can be a mug for the whole day now.

Down to two mugs a day.

(One’s for the morning shit.)

138
“Jellitron 4 is here!”

“Mug still required for Referential!”

“Coffee Juice still required for turbo boost properties!”

“Iced is acceptable, though warm


to hot remains more efficient!”

“Escape from prison, please!”

139
Work’s a breeze – the mug has
talent.

140
It’s just that…

141
And…

142
And I can’t find a fish.

143
144
The Boss Man says, “I need someone to go to Z—— and see how things are
going over there.”

145
“Sure, I’ll do it, Mr Boss Man,” I say.

I could use a change of scene, even if it’s just for a


day. I’ll treat it like a holiday.

146
The journey is short and automatic.

I look out the window and see clouds.

147
I eat a sandwich.

148
A man with vigorous nasal breathing excites the hairs on my arm.

149
I arrive at the airport, find the driver, my
name has been misspelled.

It’s written on what looks like a giant


sponge attached to an ice lolly stick.

“Hi,” I say.

“Hello, ——,” he says, getting my


name right.

And then I notice he had it right all along.

150
Find that fish…

151
My bubblehead’s kicking in big time
for some reason, perhaps because
I’m away. During the ride, I make
the most of it, wondering what I’m
doing here.

Ten minutes later, I’ve mapped out a


plan, a story of socks and antifungals,
and a glue based on alien tech. The
glue is great, very versatile. It can be
everything from whipped cream to
pigeon crap.

152
I run the whole thing by the driver, who says, “I like it. But where’s the sex?
Where’s the hnngghhh?”

153
Five minutes later we hit Glue
HQ, a 90-floor skyscraper in
the shape of a lipstick. I pass
through security, join some
sexy doodads in the lift, and
by the time I’m sitting in the
reception zone, I think I’ve
got it all worked out.

Aliens are mating with


humans, humans are mating
with trees, they make the stuff
in a vat on the roof and run it
down a chute.

154
Perhaps more focus on the fish…

155
But then the lad arrives to get me and
I realise I’ve got it all wrong, that Glue
HQ is actually nothing of the sort,
that there is no glue or antifungals,
no socks or pigeon crap, that in fact
this building is home to a cosmetics
company we did some sort of work
for last year, “we” being some sort of
company I work for in some capacity…

A vision of toilets flashes through


my mind, and then I’m sitting in the
meeting room with two female execs,
two male execs, they’re wearing suits,
and I’m wearing my beach gear –
shorts, flip-flops, a tank top, and so on.

156
It’s December 3 and snowing.

157
One of the women says something – she
has that hair thing going on – and then I
hear this person who is me saying:

“Ladies and gentlemen, each time you


empty yourselves at the toilet, and
particularly when you shit, are you not
forcefully reminded you are in a body
over whose internal processes you
appear to exert no control? How does
that make you feel, exactly?”

158
Four sets of eyes are watching me, there’s a knock, the lad comes in. He’s
carrying a tray with five mugs of coffee and a plate of chocolate biscuits
shaped like lips and bras.

When the mugs are down, I enter mine for a little distraction, then discover
something new I call hoppenpop.

Hoppenpop lets you hop from one mug to another by observing a mug from
the perspective of a mug, possibly ad infinitum.

159
Following the “simultaneity principle” we’ve explored before, I become man
and five mugs at the same time, with six brains.

Which is to say:

160
I’m white.

161
I’m black.

162
I’m sugar.

163
I’m cocaine.

164
I’m black with cocaine.

165
I’m 5'11" with flip-flops.

166
Jellitron 5!
167
“Let’s make an ad!” I say. “A giant lipstick which transcends race.”

168
“That didn’t go so well,” the Boss Man
says. He looks tired, disappointed. His
olives are down. “Even God needs to
contextualise, you know.”

“Of course,” I mumble, mopping my


brow with the driver’s sponge. What
possessed me to get out of bed?

“Do you need a break?” he asks. “You’ve


been working like a motherfucker.”

“Not at all, I feel fantastic. Just great.”

Actually, this isn’t quite true, for I’ve lost


my mind.

169
It went missing in

170
“Fine,” he says. “Then return to your
station. I will think more on this and
send you the data.”

“Okay,” I say, I get up and walk away.


When I reach the door, I turn and say,
“I don’t suppose you’re a fan of fish?”

“Fish?” he says. “No, not at all. It


gives me gas. And hives. Even tuna.
Corn Flakes® aren’t so bad, if you get
my drift. All content © [date] [entity].”

“Right. Thanks.” And I open the door


and leave.

171
The Boss Man’s office was a small
respite, and now I am fully back in
the madness. Things are floating and
meaningless, they have nothing to
do with each other. Giant insects are
discussing “the football match” and
“good night clubbin’, yeah, hnngghhh”.

The world has been so since the


lipstick execs, since the mind-melting,
six-brain hoppenpop.

It was then that my primary cerebral


sausage became a squashed noodle
with ketchup and “brown sauce”,
some thyme.

172
The mixture’s pushed my bubblehead
to a whole new level.

It’s like bubblehead had


a baby and called it
bubblehead, then
squashed it on its
forehead.

I think I’m calling it


bubblebubbleheadhead.

Unlike the original version,


it isn’t remotely entertaining.

173
Actually, it’s scaring the shit out of me.

174
Meanwhile, just when I
need them most, the
Voices are MIA.

175
I sit down at the thing, rub my fingers
on the thing, watch disconnected
letters scroll across the thing. Then
I lift the thing to the side of my head
and say, “Yes, 2 p.m. Thanks, Joan.”

The thing goes back, I rub a bit more,


I look up and he’s standing there.

I recall that this is the IT guy, that


he sticks to himself and is weird.
He usually wears jeans and a geeky
T-shirt, but today is naked apart from
an oversized top hat with a strange,
grid-like design.

176
Never before have I seen this grid.

177
He says, “Put that in your pipe and smoke it.”

178
“What?” I say.

“Nothing,” he says. “Now look into my eyes…”

He leans towards me across the thing, all close and personal, great skin. I
stare at his pupils, which grow very small, and then they grow very big. A
flash of white, his pupils recede, he withdraws and smiles and says:

“I have been here two years, but never met you with my clothes off. Pleased
to make your acquaintance.”

179
“Yes, same,” I say, wiping the sweat
off my hand, then using it to shake
his own, during which I can’t help but
notice the extreme flaccidness of this
man’s member.

It’s more than limp, it’s almost…


negative?

180
“Don’t mind that,” he says, sitting
down opposite me.

“Mind what?” I say, closing the lid on


the thing.

“The cock,” he says. “Comes with


the territory. Now I couldn’t help but
overhear your conversation with our
illustrious leader. I have a certain
knack for contexts. You might call me
a ‘contextualiseratorisationer’, if you
were so inclined. Perhaps I can be of
service.”

181
We watch each other for a minute or so, and then
I’m saying, “As far as I’m aware, the room to which
you refer indirectly is sealed to prevent leakage of
sensitive sound waves, and indeed sound waves
of any description, for how would a room discern
sensitivity? Better to just sweep it all under the carpet,
squash it all through the hole, clump the clumps for
efficiency, bongzippidy, brain-injected zombification,
etc. In fact, I believe it was your very good self who
constructed said sound protection environment using
technical proficiency acquired through genetics,
training, a walk in the proverbial. Oh, sweet Jesus…”

182
“Lovely!” he says. “We’re well underway. You remind me of the Buddha. If
you don’t mind, I’d like to ask a few quick questions. We can get into the
meat over dinner. I know the perfect place.”

“Christian?” I say, mopping away.

“No, Thai. They do a fantastic fish


curry. With accompaniment.”

183
“Thai?” I say.

184
“Thai fish?” I say.

185
“Fantastic Thai fish curry?” I say.

186
“With accompaniment?” I say.

187
Ding-a-ling-ling…

We have a winner…

Boarding passes, please…

188
“Proceed!” I say. “Good God, proceed.”

189
“Text mode on!”

“Fasten your nose clips!”

190
4.

hyperdimensional abstraction
F
inally, I have found him! My fish! My human! My top-hatted
information technology person! Who even now is staring deep
into me, preparing to say God knows what, to whisk me away to
God knows where. Away from this madness. Yes, why not? For all
around the insects are morphing. This place is becoming… an office.

For yes, of course, this place is an office. These insects are human beings.

<<!beep!>>

What? What’s that? Communication device? A message, a text…

“Check it,” he says.

And I do, I do check it, I check it… my God! The Voices are back! And with a
text, no less! How very direct! They call themselves 1234567.

Be calm, they tell me, be professional. Don’t exchange one madness for
another.

192
And of course, they’re right. Absolutely. For while a flaccid cock may pass
unnoticed, add an overexcited sponge to the mix and you’re on dangerous
ground.

I wipe my forehead one last time, then drop the sponge into a receptacle.
Three days of hell was quite enough, I will have no more need of the thing.
Let the cleaning woman take it, for her bath, or kitchen. Her name is Anna. I
have long admired her flexibility.

I return to my saviour, who is watching me, I feel myself drawn to the world.
And then he smiles a little and says, “Feeling better?”

“Yes,” I say.

“Good! We’ll need you fighting fit. You’re to be initiated into some serious
shit. But that’s for later. For now, I want to lay a little groundwork, familiarise
myself with your case. Ready?”

“Sure, go ahead. Maybe shut the door first?”

193
“No… I think you’ll want to keep that open. Better view of the action.” He
winks. “Right, let’s get on with it. What powers have you developed?”

Calmly – professionally – I reply: “Just the one, really. The power to split
myself and reallocate a fully realised aspect (minus the usual insect-
physical accoutrements) to a mug, thereby doubling my brain. Following
the ‘simultaneity principle’, I am both man and mug at the same time, aka
ManMug.”

“Insects, you say?”

“Yes, the humans. Football and hnngghhh.”

“Right, of course. The Buddha called them ‘sweet willies’. Can you go a full
day?”

“Yes. And using hoppenpop, I can maintain six brains, though I have
ventured no further than 30 seconds in that guise. The tremors were more
than intense. And besides, those biscuits were more than distracting.”

194
He does one of those long, high-low whistle things. “So you’ve attained
hoppenpop already, eh? And six brains… my God, that’s impressive!
Very rare for any sort of hoppenpopping to precede the penetration of
hyperdimensional abstraction.”

“’Scuse fingers?”

“Oh, don’t worry. We’ll get to that over dinner. For the time being, let’s just
say that my job, within the context of your particular condition, is to guide
clients to the perception of something we contextualiseratorisationers call
hyperdimensional abstraction. From there, they attain hoppenpop, and
eventually one of the advanced states of hyperawareness which grant
access to the Hyperzone, a network of hyperdimensional vistas blasted
into an altogether Higher Reality. Hoppenpopping before acquiring a solid
understanding of hyperdimensional abstraction isn’t unheard of, but it’s
extremely unusual. I suppose having a mug as a Referential must help. Often
found in groups. And they’ve got that sheen…”

“And a Referential would be…?”

195
“A contextualised version of your original face, the one you wore before you
were born. It’s your ticket to the Hyperzone’s entry point, the pristine Plains
of Ashok. Or is it the lovely Lake Piddle-Piddle… Perhaps Mount Malaise?
I get confused. The Kaspersians are always changing their minds! But not
to worry, the place is the same, no matter what they call it. Quite frankly, by
the time you hit Jellitron 4, names lose 80% of their Hopsberg Significance
anyway. You’re a big ol’ 5 according to my troktometer. Yes, I know, it all
sounds a bit odd! Trust me, dinner will clear everything up and we’ll have
you on your way before you know it.”

I feel that my mind should be spinning more than ever, what with these
Kaspersians, Hopsbergs and Jellitrons, these Ashoks and Hyperzones, but
I’m feeling strangely… normal in the presence of this IT person. Could it be
he’s more insane than I? That relatively speaking, it’s all just fine?

A food boy with a hairnet and toxic green apron sticks his head through the
door. “Sandwiches, guys? I’ve got pickle on rye, tongue on ciabatta.” His
voice is unbelievably nasal and sears through my tender brain.

“Oh, and mini quiche,” he adds. “With herbs.”

196
I’m about to not-so-politely decline, when I notice something going on with
IT Guy. I shift my attention back to him and see he’s been taken by a wicked
transformation. He grits his teeth, he flares his nostrils, his eyes are bulging,
glowing red. When he speaks, he hisses, still watching me, “Leave now, boy,
or die.” His voice is ice and makes me shiver. It’s like death warmed up, then
cooled down again, then dumped in a freezer to make corpse sorbet.

“With maggot sprinkles,” he hisses, with spit, with dribble. “Don’t forget the
fucking sprinkles!”

“Er, sure…” I say, somewhat fearing for my safety. He seemed like such a
nice young man. “Whatever you like. Would you like some water? Valium?” I
turn to the boy, who’s either about to burst into laughter, or about to crap his
pants. “Got any water?”

“Er, sure…” he says, disappearing for a moment, then rolling his trolley into
view. “Still? Sparkling? There’s this new one they inject with—”

“See the sprinkles!” IT Guy hisses, darting towards me. “See them! See
them!”

197
“Yes, okay!” I say. “I see them! I see them.” And I do. They’re unusually
vivid…

He starts to withdraw. “See them in your mind…”

“Yes, very wobbly…”

“See the crunch…”

“Which water was it then?” the boy asks.

“Fuck off!” IT Guy shrieks.

I wince.

The boy hurries away.

“Now, where were we?” IT Guy asks, relaxed and smiling and hissless again,
the sudden shift back to his pre-maggot self propelling the larvae out of my
mind and onto the carpet, like a spray of mental vomit. They wiggle away

198
with alarming speed, out the door and around the corner. For a moment,
there is nothing, just a sort of buzzing, and then the air is alive with sound,
with squishy shllrrrrrrrrrps and tremendous crrrrrrrrrrrrracks, as the maggots
reappear, giant-sized.

The insects are bad, but these are even worse! I want to scream and run
away, but all I can do is say, “What the fuck…”

“Focus now, man!” IT Guy says, leaning into me. “It’s vital you stay with me.
I’ve never lost a client to the maggots! Now tell me, where were we? Tell me,
man!”

“The… Referential, I believe,” I say, as I watch a giant fly emerge from its
casing, then emerge into my assistant, Joan. She smiles and waves, walks
away. So this is where they come from…

My vision returns through other birthings to settle on IT Guy, who watches


me eagerly, his eyes are wide. And once again, despite everything, there is
this feeling of… normal.

199
“The mug, that is,” I say, as he sits back, a crack in my back, and something
delicious pulses through me. “The Referential, I mean. A mug of coffee, to
be precise.”

“Oh?” he says, looking surprised. “So you still need Juice?”

“If Juice is that liquid named coffee, then yes. A mug alone does nothing.
Iced is acceptable, though warm to hot remains more efficient. Escape from
prison, please.”

“That sounds like something they would say…”

<<!shllrrrrrrrrrp!>>

<<!shllrrrrrrrrrp!>>

<<!crrrrrrrrrrrrrack!>>

“Oh my God!” I cry, covering my mouth.

200
“Fight through it!” he says. “Be a man! Be a tree!” And immediately I feel
much better. Goo-covered wobbly things slither away. A woman calls,
“Anyone seen Geoff? How about Lilabeth-Sue?”

“Sorry,” I say. “It’s just that…”

“Oh, I know. Believe me.”

“Yes?”

“Oh, absolutely. I’m rather to blame, actually! I use this trick with all of my
clients. It’s a sort of pre-initiation. Not always maggots, though. Depends on
how things are expressing themselves. It’s torture, I know. But well worth it,
believe me. Are you okay to continue?”

I’m sure I should be angry with him, but more deliciousness pulses through
me and everything looks so pretty. “Yes, I think so… It’s good to talk, isn’t it?
What were we talking about again?”

“You mentioned the ice, the warmth, the heat. Escaping from prison, please.

201
Remember?”

“Right, yes. You said it sounded like something they would say.”

“That’s the one!”

“Like something who would say?”

“The Voices. Vibrations. Exhalations. Whatever. Every traveller has a


companion, you see, usually seven of them. They begin life bound to the
Referential and gradually assume independence. They’re here to assist –
mostly as they see fit! The reference to temperature suggests they’re taking
the form of steam.”

“Oh, I see.” Though I don’t, really. “No, it wasn’t them. It just popped into my
head a few weeks ago. And come to think of it, this Referential thing might
have as well…”

“Ah, perhaps the elusive Higher Self, then. All of us have one; we’re kind of
like their pets. But no matter! The Self is as meaningless as anything else,

202
or so the minutes of the 30th Wacky Wizards Convocation would have us
believe. Some of my clients might claim otherwise, but who am I to argue
with Wizard Kwoorg?”

For some reason, I say, “Who indeed? Brilliant man. An inspiration to us all.”
I suppose I want to seem on top of things.

IT Guy chuckles. “Not man, my friend. Gas. Wizard Kwoorg is leader of


the Pooshies, a race of hyperdimensional vapours. But you’re right, he is
brilliant. Gorgeous molecules. Anyway, this coffee of yours…”

“Or Juice, as you called it.”

“Yes, very odd… Granted, Jellitronic demarcations are notoriously fluid,


but if there’s one thing every contextualiseratorisationer agrees on, it’s that
Jellitron 2 marks the end of Juice. As I said, you’re a big ol’ 5…”

“Is it bad that I need it?”

“Well, I wouldn’t exactly call it favourable. Think of Juice as a set of training

203
wheels for the deeply deluded, a tool to help n00bs connect with the
Referential. In your case, without coffee, you’d just have a mug, which could
hold all manner of things, or even be a work of art. The more focused a
construct the better, at least during acclimatisation. As you move beyond
the adjustment phase, however, Juice starts to get in the way, limiting
transportational perspective and constraining hyperdimensional range.
Seasoned travellers therefore quickly abandon it once they develop a
consistent connection with the Referential. I can’t imagine why you’d still
need it at your level of awareness… Ah well, not to worry! As I like to tell all
of my clients, there’s still every chance you’re the Messiah.”

“Messiah?”

“Yes. You know, sent from the Heavens to save us all!”

A shot of something spasms through my body. It’s not delicious this time,
more like… rhubarb. Pooshies are one thing, but Messiah… well, that’s
getting pretty weird, even for a naked guy in a top hat. I wonder if this man
is even crazier than I thought.

204
“You do know what you’re talking about, right?” I ask. “As you can probably
tell, my health has been sub-optimal of late. I could really use someone with
the proper qualifications.”

“My friend,” he says, with what I have to admit is a most sincerely confident,
sincerely sane air, “I have spent the past 3,000 years hoppenpopping the
great and good back to the Plains of Ashok and environs. I assure you,
you’re in the safest possible hands. Am I convinced you’re the Messiah? No.
But from what I can tell, you’ve got what it takes. Oh, and before you ask,
no, of course I’m not 3,000 years old! I’m a mere slip of a whipper at 25, my
birthday being two weeks hence. No, the truth is I am blessed to count time
travel among my rather humble abilities. In fact, only last night I was drinking
your predecessor under the table. Lovely man, though a splash on the
intense side for my taste. Still, he certainly got the job done, didn’t he!”

“My predecessor being… Jesus?”

“No, the Buddha.”

“Oh? I thought Jesus came after the Buddha.”

205
“Indeed. But my… society, I suppose you could call it, likes to think of the
Big J as a sort of stopgap solution. Don’t get me wrong, it was a wonderful
effort. But he was just terrible with chopsticks. So! Mug for Referential,
coffee for Juice, your life as you know it is over. Any meetings for the rest of
the week? You know, those business gathering things?”

“Yes, I expect so. Should I rub Joan’s thing?”

“Yes, do that. As soon as we’re done. Cancel everything, tell her you’re
‘going away’. If you have a life outside the office, do your best to cancel that
as well. Just tell everyone you’re ‘going away’. Pay your bills if you want to,
but it doesn’t really matter. Heaven hath no fury like matters pecuniary, as
Captain Fork would say. Now, can I give you something for the wobbles?”

“The wobbles?”

“Yes, you know, the madness, or whatever the psychiatrists are calling it
these days.”

“Oh, that. Well it seems to have sorted itself out, actually.”

206
“For the time being, perhaps. But believe me, it’ll be back before you know
it.”

“Really? Oh. There’s something you can do?”

“Yes, I have some pills. I call them twibblies for most of my clients, but I
feel I can be more open with you. Their real name is splrrageuuuurgh. They
were made by the Splrragians of Vordok Prime, an advanced, highly spiritual
civilisation, sadly obliterated across all timespaces 8,000 years ago following
a misunderstanding with the Tooshies.”

“You mean Pooshies?”

“No, Tooshies. They’re vapours as well, though they have about as much
to do with Pooshies as teacups with peanuts. If we ever get this religion of
yours off the ground, you’ll almost certainly have to deal with their maniacal
opposition to spiritual development. Their leader Queen Shnoort is quite
the bitch. Anyway, the pills were passed down to me by my mentor Captain
Fork, perhaps the finest contextualiseratorisationer there’s ever been. I have
three remaining from an original parcel of 642. Should be the right dose for a

207
man of your stature.”

“And this stuff really works?”

“Like a charm. Just pop the pills and poof! No madness. Or at least, not for
a few hours. The Splrragians used them as a kind of laxative. They’re yours
if you want them. The cost is zero units. Cheap at 10 billion times the price.”

I carefully consider the offer, then say, “Well, it’s very tempting. Very
tempting, indeed. For the thought of those giant maggots returning fills me
with the most awful feelings. But I really couldn’t take your last dose.”

“Tosh and poppycock! If anyone’s earned it, by God, it’s you. Six brains.
Remarkable!”

“But I’d feel bad about exhausting your supply. What about your other
clients?”

“What about them? Carpe diem, my man!”

208
“Aren’t you able to get more?”

“No, sadly. This is the last bit of splrrageuuuurgh on Earth.”

“Make some more, then?”

“No, sadly. The recipe’s common knowledge – it’s all over the megabot – but
one ingredient is impossible to find on this planet, a special sauce akin to a
spiced gazpacho. Could it exist elsewhere? Perhaps. But I’m a time traveller,
not an astronaut.”

“Then… go back in time and borrow some from an earlier version of


yourself?”

“Ha! Nice try! But no, sadly. Apart from a Vordokian vortex of other
complications, that sort of thing does a number on a time traveller’s cock.
I’d like to have at least one more erection before I die! And besides, as I
said, the Splrragians were obliterated across all timespaces. As far as the
Reality Grid’s concerned, they never existed. Go back in time and you’ll find
nary a splrrageuuuurgh.”

209
“And yet, you still have some, even though they were never created…”

“Gotta love those temporal paradoxes, eh? But come, just take the damn
pills. No doubt I’ve been saving them for you.”

He removes his hat, reaches an arm inside and returns with what look like
three headache capsules.

“Oh, I know what you’re thinking!” he says, handing them over. “But fear
not! This isn’t some rubbish I picked up at the chemist. This is 100% Grade
A splrrageuuuurgh. Down them with a glass of the freshest pomegranate
juice and you’ll feel almost normal for up to seven hours. Your powers will be
gone, as will the insects. But fear not! Everything will be wobbling again in
time for dinner. You’re off home, my man! Very exciting!”

I inspect the pills, give them a sniff, then down them with a glass of the
freshest pomegranate juice, which magically appears in my hand.

“Takes a few minutes to kick in,” he says. “Maybe go take a crap or


something. By the time you get back, you’ll be feeling just dandy. You could

210
have a chat with Shandy about the football!” He stands and extends his
hand. “Until tonight, then. Basil’s at seven. I’ll email a map and reviews. Very
exciting!”

“Switching back to alpha dibble mode!”

“Remove your nose clips!”

211
I take a shit, return to my desk, sit
down and the world is clear. I type
on my keyboard, I talk about football,
everything’s in place and connected.
In a way, I am overjoyed.

I stare at my mug and see nothing but


mug, and in a way I am overjoyed.

And then I wonder if I’d rather


be splrrageuuuurghed than
hoppenpopped this day, and for all
days.

I’m not so bad in the kitchen. Perhaps


I could make that spiced gazpacho…

212
Absolutely not…

It uses cucumbers from Vordok


Prime which are unknown to Earth
and cannot be grown here due to the
absence of certain nutrients…

Vordok Prime was also obliterated by


the Tooshies…

And besides, you’re on a mission…

213
“Joan?” I say into the phone.

“Yes, ——?” the voice comes back.

“Cancel everything, please. I’m ‘going away’.”

“Even your two o’clock?”

“Yes, even that.


The world can wait
for its polka dot
lubricant with ham
squirt. I doubt I’ll be
needing any myself.”

214
“Mr Boss Man,” I say, “I’m ‘going away’. I trust
this won’t destroy the company.”

He looks at me very seriously, then shouts, or


screams, “Beware the Grid! Beware the Master!
Beware the Master Key!”

And then he smiles, we stand and shake hands,


very manly. He says, “Go on, get out of here!
Enjoy some final physical pleasures. Perhaps
a peach cobbler? An old-fashioned fuck?
You’ll give my regards to the
Upstairs People, yes?”

215
And then I am walking, out in the
world, where the air is crisp and
all is in place, and I find I have
never been happier.

I wonder again if I’d rather be


splrrageuuuurghed, if I’d rather live a
life of order.

I think of an ad:

Splrrageuuuurgh is great, it clumps


into clumps.

Pancakes rain from the sky.

216
Perhaps not.

217
I think of all the
people I should tell
I’m ‘going away’, and
realise there are none.

I realise I have no
friends, no family. That
all my bills are paid.

So instead, I partake
of lusty pleasures with
a woman society calls
whore, and whom I call
Joan, though she is not my assistant.

She does some kinky Tantric shit.

218
As I climax, I wonder, “Am I a failure to end my life in
this way? With no friends, no family, no bills to pay.”

219
“Yes!” she cries.

220
Ignore her, she’s blind…

Blinded by sex, by orgasm…

Your mission this time wasn’t to love,


but be a mug, and make money…

221
Perhaps we’ll try the love thing the next time around…

222
Reallocate you to a chocolate…

223
The clock stopped running an hour
ago, but Joan keeps me around and
we climax several times. Everything
is perfect and coordinated, and I
think it would be even without the
splrrageuuuurgh.

This woman has fallen in love with me,


and were I capable of such a thing, I
would fall in love with her.

Her make-up runs when I leave her,


we agree to meet in another life, and
then I’m approaching IT Guy at a
busy Thai restaurant called Basil’s
Squashed Noodle, Ginger on the Side.

224
He rises as I reach the table, he’s
all dressed up for our “date”. Jeans
and one of his geeky T-shirts, that
towering top hat.

“Greetings!” I say, chipper from the


fucks, if a little sore downstairs.

“Welcome!” he says, a big smile on his


face, shaking my hand and glancing at
my crotch. “Pleasant afternoon?”

“Yes, quite nice. Plenty of sex.”

“Good for you! Not much of that to be


had in the Hyperzone.”

225
We take our seats and a waitress appears, setting
down two martinis. She’s sexy as fuck and I feel
myself throb.

“I’ve taken the liberty of ordering,” he says. “I hope


you don’t mind? Fish curries and more martinis.
Alcohol-free and just bursting with spirituality!”

“Not at all,” I say. “This is your domain. Though


I trust my cockle allergy won’t be an issue? I’m
sorry, I should have said something. I was too
excited before.”

“No problem at all. They use monkfish, I believe.


The Buddha was sensitive to bivalves as well.
God, I love these ‘coincidences’. Cheers!”

226
We sip our drinks, he watches me for a bit, and then he says, “So, great sex
aside, how has sanity been treating you?”

“Less well than I would have expected,” I say. “Splrrageuuuurgh is powerful


medicine indeed, but it can’t deny the truth of the matter, that my core is
perpetually unstable. (The aliens have revealed this.)”

“And would you have it any other way? It is only in chaos that we find true
order. You just need to make the connections. Think of it as a game within
the game. Or a game which isn’t a game. Or a game which goes <<!ping!>>.
You’ll get the idea.”

<<!ping!>>
227
I’m not sure what he means, but I’m more focused on my martini. It really
does taste good. Sort of… radishy. “And what of you?” I ask. “It appears
you’ve rediscovered a fondness for fashion. Do you only go naked in the
workplace?”

“Ah, don’t remind me! I much prefer to conduct initiations in the nude.
You can’t beat the birthday suit for clarity of vision. But sadly, this place
has a strict no-naked-dining policy. Blame Basil and that incident with the
underage locksmith!”

228
“We could go elsewhere,” I say.
“I assume the boarding pass is
transferable?”

“Of course,” he says. “But you can’t


beat Basil’s for exploring complex
metaphysics. Apparently, the place is
built on the site of an ancient sausage
casing factory. Amazing energy, very
spiritual. Well worth putting your
clothes on for!”

229
230
“Anyway, let’s get on with it, shall we?” he says, smiling and downing his
drink.

He removes his hat, reaches an arm inside and returns with a pair of bright
orange nose clips. “Put this on,” he says, handing me one. “Don’t worry, it’s
very loose. We won’t sound remotely nasal, remotely quiche.”

“What’s it for?” I ask.

“Textual incursions. Prevents those


messy cerebral explosions. Well,
most of the time!”

I attach the clip and he does the


same with his.

231
“Ready?” he says.

“Make it so.”

232
R
ight,” he says, “we’ll get down ’n’ dirty with some
hyperdimensional abstraction in a minute, but first, the
matter of Juice. Despite my apparent good humour when we
parted, I was in fact deeply disturbed. This coffee business
is exceptional, you see – unprecedented, as it turns out – and I could see
no good reason for it. As I said, your Juice should have been abandoned
several Jellitrons ago; it made no sense at all that you were still using it.
You were the furthest thing from a n00b in these matters. You were pwning
that mug, for God’s sake. The whole thing was really starting to piss me
off, to be honest, and I seriously considered dropping the case, a terribly
shameful path in my line of work, and one I have never followed. So imagine
my delight when, in a divine moment of triple espresso inspiration, I realised
the truth of this coffee of yours, that it wasn’t stabilising Juice any more, but
something else entirely. Think less training wheels and more turbo boost for
your hyperdimensional spaceship. You didn’t need coffee to contextualise,
but to prime your system for a final release into places no client has gone
before. Suddenly, we weren’t just talking Hyperzone. We were talking
Hyperzone Pro.”

“As in… professional?”

233
“Yes. A Master of the Art. Founder of perhaps the greatest religion the world
has ever known. Bigger than Jesus. Bigger than the Buddha. Bigger than
3DTV, for fuck’s sake.” He dips his head and quietly says, “It is an honour to
sit before you.”

Once again, the rhubarb spasms through me. “Look, about this Jesus
thing—”

His eyes shoot up, he looks a little deranged. “Started work on your Bible
yet, have you?”

“My Bible?”

“Yes, you know, your Holy Work. Every great religion needs one. I was
thinking you might call it ‘The Mindfuckuccino’. I know, I know, it’s edgy as
hell! But the 18-24 demo would lick it up. It’s just so badass. Thoughts?”

I’m thinking this man might have really lost it this time, but after all he’s done
for me, he probably deserves the benefit of the doubt. I down my martini,
put on my marketing hat and say:

234
“I think you might be onto something. If there are two things my former
employment taught me, it’s that young adults are way too cool for Jesus,
and they’re bloody easy to manipulate. A hip religion, packed with profanity
and other ‘crazy shit’, would probably be huge. The merchandising
opportunities alone are astounding, and that’s before we get into the whole
mass psychedelic ritual business. Think about it: a mere 30 units to hang
out with your spiritual brothers and sisters at one of our franchises and drink
a mindfuckuccino laced with acid. Oh sure, they’d be all over that. They
would lick that shit up. But the thing is, what’s any of this got to do with me?
I know what you’ve said, that I might be the Messiah. Now you’re calling me
bigger than TV—”

“3DTV.”

“Right. But honestly, I think you’ve got the wrong tree. Sure, there’s this
mug-based consciousness thing, but really all I am is a corporate cog with
a knack for multiple orgasms. I don’t even meditate. Or do yoga. Or have a
Buddha statue in my fireplace. I’m about as spiritual as a cigar.”

“Corporate cog? T and P! My friend, you’re a creative genius. You’ve saved

235
one company from financial ruin and had biscuits banned at another.”

“Well sure, I’ve been known to have my day, as they say. But the fact is, my
adult life has been spent in offices, sitting at desks, rubbing keyboards. This
year, I attended 20 conferences, wrote 200 briefs, had 2,000 meetings, sent
20,000 typo-free emails and received nearly three times that in spam. My
assistant is Joan, she’s civil-partnershipped to Jane, she’s just gagging to
hop into the sack with… Wait. How come I’m remembering all this mundane
office data? Shouldn’t I be mad again by now?”

“Aye, that you should, lad. My hat and the nose clip are helping to preserve
some vestigial splrrageuuuurgh. We don’t have much time, though. Not
that we’d really want any. Without madness, there can be no breakdown.
Without breakdown, no countdown sequence. And as for cigars… well, if
reallocating your consciousness to a mug isn’t spiritual, what the fuck is?
Sticking your head through your legs and chanting, “cluk-cluk-aum, dik-dik-
pachaki”? Ah, wonderful! The food has arrived.”

The waitress appears and sets down two plates of steaming fish curry, along
with two more martinis. The spicing smells perfectly authentic, and I feel I’m

236
in Bangkok, though I’m not, and never have been.

Red lips shining, the waitress says, “May the food and drink bring you
pleasure, gentlemen. The accompaniment has been installed.”

My manhood gets big. Very big, indeed. I push down hard on my napkin.

“Well this looks great,” I say, as she walks away and I follow her ass, hungry
to mount. Maybe the Hyperzone Pro gets a sex upgrade…

“And it will taste the same,” IT Guy says. “The food’s excellent here, just
very bloody spiritual. If you’re done with the porn show, perhaps we could
start?”

“Oh, sorry. She’s just so…”

“I’m joking, man! Yes, she’s hot. Hot as fuck. And no, there’s no sex in the
Hyperzone Pro. And yes, there’s plenty of other stuff there to keep you
occupied. Trust me, your dick will be the furthest thing from your mind.
Apart from anything else, you won’t even have one!”

237
“But right now I do, and my God, it’s on a mission. Sure, I’ve always enjoyed
that side of life, though it has lost some of its shine these past few months.
But this is more than I’ve ever felt before. It’s like an obsession.”

“Genetic imperative, to be precise. Your member knows its days are


numbered. All of my male clients get it. The women will often wet
themselves.”

“Is there something I can do?”

“You mean apart from masturbating for 10 hours straight? Not really. Just
try to ignore it; it’ll only bring you down. And know that during the final rise,
you’ll have the best orgasm of your life. But come, enough meat. More fish.
Let us eat!”

He shoves a healthy portion of fish and rice in his mouth, chomps noisily,
and encourages me to do the same. I shove, he shoves, we chomp together,
and then things are starting to wobble.

“Ah, it cometh!” he says, clapping excitedly, then downing his martini. “Right,

238
let’s do this. Just relax, take a breath. It’ll be great. I promise! Are you ready,
my man? Are you ready to get just absolutely fucked?”

Already, I see the humans are morphing, and already there are shllrrrrrrrrrps
and crrrrrrrrrrrrracks. Before my eyes, the world is swimming, splitting into
pixel chunks. But wild as this is, I’ve been here before, and I know now
where I must go. I rattle my head, slap myself on either cheek, and lock
my focus on my guide. Touched by his strength and my own inner power, I
down my martini: “Fuck yeah.”

“That’s the spirit! Right, this symbol on my hat. This grid thing. Do you
recognise it? Had you ever seen it before today?”

I think for a moment, then say, “No, sir. I have never seen it.”

“Excellent! Had you said yes, I would have called you a liar, or knave, or at
the very least, made you foot the bill. For what we have here is a Master
Object, a geometric-abstract manifestation of the Hyperseed which is
overseeing your story. Only a contextualiseratorisationer can condense a
Hyperseed into a particular Master Object, and since I was assigned to your

239
case just this morning, you wouldn’t have seen the grid before. Push that
nose clip a little higher, would you… yes, perfect!”

A slab of focaccia flashes through my mind, and then I’m saying, “This grid
of yours, this Master Object, wouldn’t happen to be related to the Master
Key, would it?”

“Indeed it would! Well done, sir. Just very well done. Yes, that’s exactly what
this cheeky devil is, at least once it’s been de-Objectified. It’s the key to the
madness, the key to the game, the key to the is, the isn’t, the <<!ping!>>.
Ping-a-ping-ping, three mugs in a sprocket. A bit more curry, if you wouldn’t
mind… lovely! Time’s a-hurtin’, as Captain Fork would say. Kaboom!
reaches peak density in… 1 hour 16 minutes.”

“Kaboom!?”

“That’s the one. It’s a brand new independent coffee house. Very big. Very
happening. Terribly familiar, and terribly not. Transcend the illusion and blast
thyself to Infinity! Now come, let’s eat. Let’s hurt time the way it hurts us!”

240
We shove and chomp for a couple of minutes, I finish my curry, we finish
our curries, and then he says, “Right, let’s talk art.” He looks away, waves
his glass, seems to mouth, “Four more, please. A little heavier on the chakra
radish.”

“What of it?” I ask.

“Do you like it?” he asks, returning to me. “Do you live it? Do you get it? I
noticed a can of soup on your desk, a pipe on your shelf.”

“One was for dinner, to be served with a roll; the other an award from the
Society for Old-Fashioned Pleasures. But yes, I do have a certain feeling for
it. I probably couldn’t have done my job otherwise.”

“A feeling which tends to the abstract side of things, perchance…?”

“Yes, I suppose. I used to like landscapes, bottles and beach balls, but then
I attended my first public urinal.”

“Excellent! This part can be such a pain with my more conventional clients.

241
Saint-Germain was surprisingly literal. Always going on about his car keys…
Anyway, as you’re no doubt aware, abstract expressions, visually speaking,
depart from accurate representation of the outer, physical world. The
abstractionist deviates from the party line in this way in an effort to present a
more essential image of the model, or to charge it with intellect or emotion.
Note, however, that while the results of his experiments can look very
screwy, they do usually still refer to recognisable physical objects.”

A flash of white and I find myself sitting in a university art history class. It
is 15 years ago. I am bored shitless and half-asleep, the five ecstasy pills I
took last night doing me no favours. But then the professor comes out with
something which fires me with energy, which makes me sit up, makes me
go, “Oooh…” I want to dance and be everybody’s friend. I remember it now,
recall it so clearly. My God, have I been on this path all along…

A flash of white and I am back at Basil’s, not a single second has passed.
And in fact, it’s even less than that, less than nothing, negative something,
for it seems I’ve gone back in time. I am midway through IT Guy’s opening
statement, he’s coming up to “deviates”. Soon, we’ll have “screwy”, he’ll
end with “objects”. When he finishes, I repeat the professor’s words:

242
“Not all abstraction is so ‘realistic’, however, so grounded in the physical in
this way. One example is geometric abstraction.”

“Very good! Geometric abstraction – in the purest, spiritual sense – uses


simple geometric forms, presented in non-illusionistic (that is, flat) space
and arranged in non-objective fashion, to express a higher, non-physical
Layer (each Reality being comprised of 642 of these, at last count). While
the physical and non-physical Layers are joined metaphysically – and
indeed, may be said to be one and the same – physically speaking, they
have nothing to do with each other. Abstraction in the general sense has
a direct connection to the physical Layer; geometric abstraction has an
indirect connection. Do you follow?”

“Yes…” I say, buzzing away. “This is all very familiar. Please go on.”

“Now this grid on my hat, this Master Object, this… b-grid, I think I shall
call it, is a particular type of geometric-abstract expression known as an
abstractoid. An abstractoid differs from your common-or-garden geometric
abstraction in its reference to a special form within a special, non-physical
space. That space is the Hyperzone – or in your case, the Hyperzone Pro –

243
a lovely hyperdimensional land where all your dreams come true. The form
is a Hyperseed, or hyperdimensional seed, a core node of the Reality Grid.
While the exact number of Hyperseeds is unknown, there are thought to
be seven floating through the Hyperzone. The use of geometric abstraction
to represent a Hyperseed is known as hyperdimensional abstraction. Still
there?”

“I think so… At the very least, it’s certainly keeping the maggots at bay.”

“Good to hear!”

“Though your ear just fell off and turned into a squirrel.”

“Not to worry! Now an abstractoid, like any other geometric-abstract


expression, has an obvious physical presence; it is something you can
clearly see. The Hyperseed, meanwhile – the thing that the abstractoid
represents – cannot be seen, at least not with physical eyes. Understand
that a Hyperseed, physically speaking, looks nothing like its abstractoid,
for the simple reason that it is essentially non-physical. Actually, that’s the
whole point. Transcend the illusion of visual cues and you’ll penetrate the

244
true, metaphysical connection between Hyperseed and abstractoid. Then,
and only then, will you know what it is to be hyperdimensionally abstract. No
need to raise your hand, son! Ask away.”

“Can a Hyperseed only be represented through geometric abstraction?”

“No, but geometric abstraction provides the finest approximation. Other


abstract forms have some validity, but to the extent they are grounded in
the physical, or are charged with intellect or emotion, they are unfaithful
to the model. Figurative representations, those which strive for objective
accuracy, are, naturally, the least faithful, for they only see the Hyperseed
in final combination. Now abstractoids may be best when it comes to
Hyperseeds, but just because an expression is abstractoidal, doesn’t make
it particularly valid. A Hyperseed has a near-infinite number of possible
physical manifestations, the vast majority of which will be brought into
existence through random events. A large number of those creations will
be abstractoidal, but due to their random generation – a physical process,
note – will tend to do a poor job of Hyperseed representation. The few
abstractoids which arise intentionally through intuitive perception tend to
prove most faithful to the model. The intentional abstractoids known as

245
Master Objects are most faithful of all.”

“And how do they come about?”

“For an abstractoid to be considered a Master Object, it must satisfy


three conditions: first, it must be intentional – random events need not
apply; second, it must exhibit an extremely high degree of faithfulness to
the model, as determined by the Tesseract, a sort of password-protected
Hyperseed chat room; and third, it must be bound to a single entity, again
determined by the Tesseract. While abstractoids in general belong to no
one (or everyone, if you prefer), each Master Object is said to belong to
a particular individual, as this b-grid has belonged to you since 8:15 this
morning. Others may observe and use the Object, but it can never be as
close to them as it is to its owner. And only the owner can convert a Master
Object into a Master Key.”

“Through de-Objectification?”

“Yes.”

246
“And how does that work?”

“Quite simply, through the owner’s thorough penetration of


hyperdimensional abstraction. Wrap your head around that and the Master
Object becomes a Key, capable of unlocking the connections within the
madness. It is along those connections that Referential-bound hoppenpop
blasts the traveller into the higher states of hyperawareness.”

The waitress appears and sets down four drinks. I’m so engrossed, I’m
hardly aware of her tits. She whispers, “Radishes, for your pleasure.”

For what seems some time, I watch IT Guy, and he looks back at me. I’m
drawn to his hat, drawn to the grid, and though it is true it is new, it grows
ever more familiar…

I return to him. “You were the one who created this b-grid, right?”

“I condensed it, yes,” he says.

“And why did you choose this form?”

247
“Choice had nothing to do with it. It is simply what I saw when I put on
the blotterwee, the magical top hat we contextualiseratorisationers wear
to assist our clients in their ascension. For most of the year, the hat stays
locked away, black as night and undisturbed. But then one morning we rise
and know we have a chance to be assigned. The hat is assumed, pyjamas
removed and we enter deep meditation, during which the form is slowly
revealed, then dramatically confirmed. By the time we return to the physical
Layer, the form has attached to the hat. A cup of tea and three crumpets
later, we join the Tesseract, which reveals the purity of our vision, and, where
fitting, the Object’s owner.”

“Who is me…”

“Yes.”

“But why?”

He smiles. “Because the Hyperseed said so, the one guiding your story. A
beautiful gift for a beautiful man. Who will do such beautiful things…”

248
He looks at me, his eyes start to twinkle, a tear rolls down his cheek.

“You know, you’re the best I’ve ever had,” he says. “Such depth in you.
Such… love?”

I look at him, my nostrils are flaring, I feel all funny in the throat.

“No better than you,” I say. “Not even close.”

He wipes his eyes, I swallow twice. We make manly grunting sounds.

“Yes, that’s better, isn’t it?” he says, downing a martini. “I can’t stand that
shit. Such a waste of time! And we’re running late, the spaceship awaits. Are
you ready, my man? Are you ready to get just absolutely fucked?”

For a moment, I wonder, and then I decide. I down a martini. “Fuck yeah.”

“Than take it off, man. Remove that nose clip. And ask me some proper
bloody questions!”

249
Dibble!
250
“Do four four-bar bar charts make a grid?”

“Only on Mondays, throw away the key days. The world is made of
marshmallow, not financial terror born of man’s self-imposed exile.”

251
“Does a flag on a tanker make a grid?”

“Only on Tuesdays, coughing up a lung days. Hydrogen will make your car
blow up.”

252
“Does a bun on a burger make a grid?”

“Only on Wednesdays, Filet-O-Wednesdays. Everything’s a sandwich, even


salad and ice cream.”

253
“Does a bag on a handbag make a grid?”

“Only on Thursdays, sausage with ‘brown sauce’ days. Pour ketchup on


your fur coat and eat a fertilised duck egg. Change your name to Emily.”

254
“Do grids like to ‘do it’? Do they like to ‘make love’?”

“Only on Fridays, let them out of prison days. A nice fuck that night, then
nothing for the weekend. We call this capitalism.”

255
“It’s Saturday, I’ve been freed. May I
wear casual clothing?”

“Absolutely. Global brands just adore


hyperdimensional slavery. (They
learned it from the Tooshies.)”

256
“Which brings us to the hat,” I say.

“Indeed,” he says. “On a Sunday, no


less. A day for church and hidden
shotguns, a massacre to spice up the
news.”

“Which begs the question…”

“Is that a shotgun under your hat? Or


is your hat a hat-shaped window into
outer space?”

257
He says, “Put that in your pipe and smoke it.”

And I do.

There’s smoke coming out of the window.

“It is a powerful drug, this herb…” I say. “It


shows me something… it shows me the
Key… I’ve been born anew.”

“Lovely!” he says. “We’ll go for a walk soon.”

258
Jellitron 6!
259
“But first, look around,” he says. “Things
should be starting to come together.
Connections appearing all over the place,
all over this madness. Let the Portals
emerge!”

I look around and the Key is coming,


unlocking grids and vectors from nothing,
as shapes, lines, curves and edges tend
towards significance.

260
They’re coming together, opening pathways, Portals to higher worlds.

261
“It’s like walking through someone’s
house,” IT Guy says. “The concept is
gradually revealed.”

“Yes…” I say. “Just without the


house… and with Portals
instead…”

“Exactly.”

“And a balcony…”

“Yes.”

262
5.

kaboom!
IT Guy says, “Shall we?”, more drinks
go down, and then we’re walking, out in
the night, making our way to Kaboom!.

A glorious sharpness has come to my


vision, and to all my physical senses.

I see my breath, hear the tyre, feel the


wind, taste the fish. And yes, I smell it,
smell toxic meat, smell the wrapper hit
the ground.

Teenage fuck…

264
No, not a fuck…

Merely misguided.

Let him read the news and recycle.

265
Eat lentils.

266
Relax his hnngghhh and gangsta vibe, eat veggies in place of toxic meat.

For aye, that’s the way, the White Person Way. Replace fast food with veggie
burgers.

For our food should be bland and overpriced, should be organic and made
of dry corn.

267
Rubbery halloumi.

268
For aye, that’s the way, the White Person Way, the White Person With Money
Way.

Laughing and drinking their microbrew beer, getting fat and smelling of
shit with their money, minds all stodged with veggies and news, and tofu,
meditation.

Fucking zombies…

269
This is not Heaven!

270
Yes, it is…

But you are sensitive…

Sweet prey for the creatures…

271
Move beyond…

272
I move beyond…

273
We move along, through humans and
pets, through humans and 2-for-1
offers.

I look at myself in the window glass,


and I am here. I am never so here.

I am stood with mannequins, pecs


and tits, eyeless and cheekbones,
artificial snow.

274
I am that mannequin.

There are voices:

275
Man: We’ll push that going forward.

Woman: They’ve got some lovely blouses.

Child: I hate you!

Girl: The dirty fucker shoved it up my ass.

Boy: Fuckeatkillcompete.

276
277
278
279
280
281
282
283
284
285
286
Move beyond…

287
I move beyond…

288
We move along, through humans and
pets, through humans and 2-for-1 offers.

Delicious things are pulsing through me. I


try to speak, but it’s all too much.

The worlds divide, reform, collide. And the


b-grid is coming, the spaceship is coming.

I see them in my mind…

289
“The Reality Grid
owes you a huge debt
of gratitude,” IT Guy says,
so sincere, I feel I’ll explode.

We stop and I turn to face him. His


face is beaming, joy and pride.

I close my eyes and Geometries arise.


I open them, he is bound with Light.

I watch as threads flow out of him


– from all these humans, out
of them – linking to the
object world…

290
I behold the Tesseract.

291
“That is yours now,” he says, as the cubes
slowly turn, and already they start to fade.
“The password is *******, it is yours to keep.
They will speak with you. Firm, but fair.”

“And the Voices?” I ask. “The


Blobbitrons?” For so they are called.

“They are done.”

And I feel they are gone, separated. I fire


off a text: “Thank you, dears.”

There are tears.

A flowerpot of tears, I let them run.

292
And then there are tears, a
blotterwee of tears.

We wipe, we grunt, we move on.

293
“Can you see the spaceship, by any
chance?” he asks, after a while. “The
Big J and the Buddha both perceived it.”

“Yes…” I say, coming to a halt and


looking to the sky, cold and black
and full of stars, which somehow
outshine the city this night. “It
travels from my mind to the outer
world. Vague yet, like a handbag.
But it comes.”

“Wonderful news! And yet, touched


with sadness, for our parting time is nigh. Allow me,
if you will, to tap your higher knowledge. I promise
not to sell anything you teach.”

294
This is my moment, the birth of the cult.

It comes in a flash of wonder…

Once I’ve recovered, I thank the Grid


and say:

“Let this sacred beverage, this


mindfuckuccino, be not cold and
blended, but hot, with five parts, none
of which is whipped cream, syrup or
drizzle. The recipe is as follows.”

295
1/4 part espresso

296
1/4 part seeping liquor

297
1/4 part milk

298
1/4 part foam

299
A dusting of psychedelic powder

300
“And so is made the mindfuckuccino, served in a moderate size, and
recorded in the book of the same name, though let the latter be capitalised.”

“Such awesome knowledge!” IT Guy cries. “Let us toast! Let us drink! Let us
fuck with our minds!”

301
I am only vaguely aware of my
partner’s joy, for my mind has turned
to the sky, where Beings of Light are
floating over buildings. I am flooded
with deliciousness.

I see them all, the founders of great


religions, and others, just gorgeous in
their own way. I observe the Buddha,
our eyes lock and he whispers, “Add
this, add this one, add this one,
Charles.”

I say, “Add this, add this one, Charles.


For that is your true name, is it not?”

302
“I am not worthy…” the man formerly known as IT Guy breathes, collapsing
to his knees.

He kisses my feet, he kisses my PUMAs.

“The ground is no place for you,” I say.


“Rise, sir. Arise, Sir Charles. I feel the second
coming.”

303
Trembling, he rises, he meets my
eyes, I feel myself fart and I say:

“Add this one, Sir Charles. Add this


to the recipe. Let us make it open
source. Let there be no trademarks,
patents, or other nonsense. Let the
liquor seep free. Let us encourage
derivative works.”

“An enterprise for the times!”


he cries. “I retire this day
as an IT Guy and become
your Personal Assistant!”

304
“No,” I say. “Be the CSMO. Be
the Chief Social Media Officer.
Use your knowledge of the
megabot to reach the young
people, for the cult is with them
and they enjoy social networking.
Will you take this position?”

“It would be my honour…”

“Then let us check with HR, the


Hyperdimensional Realm. Does
the HR Manager approve?”

305
306
<<!boom!>>
<<!boom!>>
<<!boom!>>
307
“I’ll take that as a yes,” I say. For the sky is clear, my Seed has spoken. “You
are named Employee #1.”

Sir Charles
CSMO

308
I extend my hand to
congratulate him, but he fades,
then disappears. He has phased
to another Reality. I sense I will
never see him physically again.

I offer a prayer:

“Thank you, Sir Charles, for


bringing me here. I couldn’t
have done it alone. Be safe in
Reality #3, and have fun, for the laws
of physics are less strict and you may
fly, etc. Carry the teachings far and wide,
across the networks of Alophomat. From your
base on the island of V’ktar, where stands the Great Pyramid.”

309
“And the mysterious ruins of the Half Pyramid.”

310
I look out the window
and see the BT Tower.

Right now.

311
I eat a sandwich of warm pita with Israeli couscous and feta.

Right now.

312
I snort a fat line of Grade A Colombian.

Right now.

313
High on Light and inspiration, I
continue, trance-like, through the city.

I take a left on audacious A—— Street,


a right on busy B——, and as I walk,
I become aware that the people are
parting for me.

All around I hear their whispers, their


voices. A person says, “It is He.”

And yes, it is me, though I miss my


disciple, our fantastic rapport.

I feel reduced…

314
Password: *******
WRONG!

Password: *******
CORRECT!

< > BEGONE FROM YOUR FUNK, IT IS NOT FITTING.

< > I am feeling less a lord...

< > THE POWER RESTS WITHIN, NOT IN JERKIN.

< > BEHOLD:

315
Look where
you’re going,
fuckhead!

I feel improved.

316
I take a left on clever C——, a right on Derek
D——, and a minute later arrive at Kaboom!,
or at least where it’s meant to be.

Certainly, there is a coffee


house here. And certainly it is
large and filled with people,
the lighting inviting, laptops
ahoy.

But this place is


Moondollar, not Kaboom!.
And it’s been here for years,
it isn’t brand new. And it’s
a formulaic franchise, not a
happening independent.

317
I come to you from Shashkileen,
on the southwestern coast of
Alophomat… I am on a cruise…

“Sir Charles?”

Yes… Remember to use the higher


vision… Terribly familiar, and terribly
not… Transcend the illusion and blast
thyself to Infinity…

“Yes, of course… Thank you, friend.”

318
I breathe three times, align the higher vision and look to the Moondollar sign,
which before my eyes becomes the grid, the Hyperseed of my story.

I look down to find there are other changes, a crowd before the door, a line
of happening-looking people, a leather-clad bouncer, seven cows wide.

I should be delighted by all of


this, for Dollar is made Kaboom!.
But instead I wonder what on
Earth I will do.

I’ve been teleported to the back


of the queue, you see, and the
peak is due in three minutes.
Who knows how long this’ll
take to clear…

319
Part them, then…

“Just tried that, Sir Charles. They’re too focused on being happening.”

I see… One moment, please… Ah yes, of course… The skipper reminds me


you should be fading from the physical by now… Use your subtle body to
slip past the guard… When you need to return, just pinch your ass…

320
And it is true, I am fading. I can see through my arm.

321
I slip through unnoticed and pinch my ass.

322
I pass through…

323
Kaboom! is peaking as I enter, so
high, with jazz, loud conversation,
warm tones, branded crap to buy.

Everything, in other words, as it


should be, as it is, at your friendly
neighbourhood Moondollar.

For we deal not with jerkin, but


with Spirit, with Essence, with the
Geometries of the higher sight.
Crafted by Seeds and bound to this
coffee, which fills the air, which fills
the mugs.

I approach the counter:

324
“What’ll it be?” the till woman asks, bored and strangely middle-aged. The
badge on her dark green apron reads, “Three Cheers for Scientology”.

“Jumbo Americano. Black. Mug. Paper cups just suck for hoppenpop. You
need a little sheen, you see.”

“Jumbo Americano! Black! Mug!” she calls out. “Anything from the pastry
cabinet?” she asks me.

“No thanks,” I smile, swiping


my Kaboom! Card. “I saw
that documentary.”

325
I strike the gong, shuffle along, and
a minute later the barista boy says,
“Americano, black, mug.” His hair is
swept and blotterwee black, his skin
pale white and without a crack. He’s
wearing one of those skinny ties.

18-24, no doubt.

“Thanks, son,” I say, taking my mug,


looking him straight in the eye. For
this lad is ripe, prime for the Light.
“What’s your name?”

“Barry,” he says. “Barry Macchiato.”

326
“Make that Commander Macchiato,” I say. “You’ve
been promoted. Here’s a badge.”

327
“The acid’s on its way.”

328
I smile, wink, sniff my drink and stroll
to a corner table, where I sit.

I observe.

The room is packed, perhaps 200


people, some 70% sitting with
mugs, some 80% of which, let’s
say, contain a coffee beverage of
some description, the rest being
Juiceless – tea, hot chocolate,
babyccino, etc.

So 112 mugs of coffee… that’s fine.


I feel I’ll need 50 for what I’m after, a
consciousness of the highest order.

329
For I am ——, Mr Mindfuckuccino,
distilling this wisdom to a mug. Topped
with foam and dusted with powder.

This mission is mine, I am ——.

330
331
A worthy successor to the Buddha.

332
A better chopsticker than Jesus Christ.

333
Integrating the teachings of the East into the Western spiritual tradition.

334
I should be scared shitless by this
monumental task, but I find I am not. I
am ——.

I am black of base with a white


appendage.

A mug of the Infinite Order.

335
I sip my coffee, glance at Barry, then say, “Goodbye, sweet Earth. It’s been a
wonderful ride. Please spread the teachings far and wide, as they seep into
this Reality from Alophomat and the island of V’ktar. May your mugs be filled
with coffee, with liquor, with milk and topped with foam. And take for your
powders LSD and psilocybin, DMT, and others of your fancy. Enjoy.”

336
My farewell completed, I stare at my mug and am immediately in it, already
on the verge of hyperorgasm, so attuned am I to my Referential.

Two brains in my wallet, I call hoppenpop, quickly gaining a new brain, and
another, and more and more, till I’ve broken my record, standing tall with 10
fine brains in my wallet.

337
The six-brain hoppenpop may have melted my mind, but this feels great,
feels absolutely “on message”, and with thrust in my loins, I hop to another,
then another, one more, 13 brains in my wallet.

I’m hopping through mugs, coffee and foam, steering clear of the syrups.
Oh, how delicious!

And then I am 20, 25, I’m


shaking. But my God, this
is good. Sweet fuck,
this is super. Jellitron
7, 8, 9, 11. Hyperzone
Pro here I come!

338
I pause for a moment to gather myself,
to observe the world from 25 places,
from 24 mugs and a trusty base unit.
And I see it all, this room Kaboom!, this
room Moondollar…

And the spaceship, too!

For behold, the spaceship! My


God, how it comes! Stronger
now, like a toothbrush, and it
comes! How it comes!

Flashes of white, Objects and Keys. I never thought


this would be so easy!

339
And of course it isn’t, as I suddenly learn, as a thousand Realities criss-
cross and get squashed, squashing my primary cerebral sausage, which
splits and leaks out my ears, my nostrils.

I clutch my bursting head and


scream, “I cannot do this! I will
die this night! And not in the
good way of spiritual ascension!
But the bad way of exploding
nose, ears and brain!”

I scream for help, but they’re ignoring me,


laughing and talking and turning into
maggots. My God, the maggots!

340
MAGGOTS!!

341
Password: *******
CORRECT!

< > CALM DOWN.

< > My brain!

< > IT IS SIMPLE.

< > Aieeeeeeeeeeeeee!!

< > JUST VARY AUTHENTICITY IN A MORE SYSTEMATIC


MANNER TO REGULATE THE TURBO LOAD.

342
WTF???

343
< > AS WE SAID, IT IS SIMPLE.

< > CONSIDER THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A BLACK


AMERICANO AND A LATTE, OR CAPPUCCINO.

< > WHILE ALL CONTAIN JUICE AND ALL WILL BOOST,
THE AMERICANO IS PURE COFFEE AND THUS MORE
EFFICIENT.

< > ALBEIT CONSIDERABLY MORE INTENSE.

< > JUST TONE THINGS DOWN WITH MILK, FOAM AND
DRIZZLE, THEN HIT THE ROCKET BOOSTERS BIG TIME
WITH A MORE AUTHENTIC BEVERAGE.

344
“Brilliant!” I cry, pumped with relief,
as I scan the room for a mountainous
thing and slam myself into it hard.

It’s almost a sin to call this thing


coffee, and yet, there is some of the
black stuff there, enough to be Juicy,
enough to be boosty, but tempered
with the white shit I need.

345
I take a moment to luxuriate, to be dirty, slutty,
all sticky and pornographic, as my base unit
calms and the sausage rewinds. I swim in the
cream like a whore.

For aye, I’m a whore, a robot whore, eating


my coffee with a spoon. And for that single,
whipped cream moment, this world is perfect,
this world is ideal, this material world of lust and
greed, of fucking, eating, killing, competing.

But then I see, I open the higher vision. I restate


my case: Let us on!

346
I spot a man with foam on his tache and then I’m in
his full-fat cappuccino, into a granny’s skinny caramel
latte, a white chocolate mocha, some gingerbread shit.

My efficiency may have gone down the


crapper, but at least I’m alive, at
least I’m advancing. And now I
know I must push it again, as I
pick out the poets, the smokers,
drug addicts, bubbling through authentic
blackness and getting just unbelievably
fucked.

347
By now I’m split in 43 pieces, the Jellitrons are off the scale. And again with
the sausage – my God, how it hurts!

348
I’m sure I can’t take it, sure I will die, but the Tesseract kicks me, the Master
Key licks me, as I slam, thrust and bubble up, take a detour through the
pastry cabinet and a tart with a cherry on top.

And then I am there! I hit number 50! An Americano which matches my own.

It’s hot, black, authentic as fuck.

349
Authentic as fuck,
motherfucker!

350
And then it explodes, it
all becomes One, as I
lift towards the ceiling.

351
“Goodbye world!”
I shout.

352
“Goodbye, dear Joan!”

353
“Dear Blobbitrons!”

354
“Dear Chief Social
Media Officer!”

355
“Goodbye!”

356
Goodbye…

357
Three mugs in a sprocket…

358
“Warp drive ready, Captain!”

359
Goodbye!

360
361
362
363
364
365
366
Welcome home, son. I am
your father.
367
Welcome home, dear. I am
your mother.
368
I am your brother.

369
I am your sister.

370
I am looking in the mirror.

371
I am your pet.

372
373
epilogue
Forty years have passed since I
tested these waters. And perhaps
40 minutes have passed.

I remain, as ever, a mere slip of a


whipper, my birthday being two
weeks hence.

But wiser now, for I have learned


much on V’ktar, have studied at the
Half Pyramid.

375
It was there that I met the Priestess
Pash’bonk, who renewed my supply
of splrrageuuuurgh. And who gave
me a new drug, the root gadrook,
which took me where I’d never been.

The Hyperzone Pro…

376
“It is fine to see you again, Sir Charles. Forty billion years have passed.”

“Who goes there?”

“It is I, ——. Though my name


here is other. My people, the
b-grid, call me Piers.”

And he appeared…

377
“You are the Seed. My God…”

“No, friend, far from it. But we b-grid are made in its image, from rank 3. We
are the army of Zor, Hyperseed #4. It watches us, and we fight for it.”

I was in wonder…

378
“It is a noble lot, Piers,” I said at
last. “Everything you deserved.
And it treats you well. You speak
as a king.”

“And so, indeed, has it come.


For my father, Harvey, retired
some time ago, reuniting with
the Oneness. And his crown
was passed to me, King Piers.
Though like him, I dispense with
the formal title. Now listen.”

379
Our talk then turned from pleasure
to business, to the business of the
cult, to the Tooshies gathered at the
Joddipum Portal, which would blast
them off to Earth.

“They will infiltrate,” he said, “assume


many guises, and prepare the way
for Queen Shnoort. The cult must be
strong to counter them, and others,
most vile. Now listen.”

380
And so the work began in earnest, as the cult took hold on Alophomat, as
yet unnamed and mere preparation, for the liquor was being made.

Many stores were built, many coffees were served, beautiful things, though
not magic. Dusted with powder, yes, with gadrook, but missing the liquor,
1/4 part.

381
And then, 40 years from my coming there, with the Priestess now my bride,
impregnated four times with my enlivened seed, it was time to leave Reality
#3.

For Earth was calling, I would call the one who would lead us to greater
things. No longer would I serve in interim.

We would have a true CEO.

382
“What’ll it be?”

“I am looking for Barry. Barry Macchiato.”

“Down the end.”

“The sexy one?”

“Yes. The girls call him God.”

“I thank you, madam. And cheer up.


Things are about to get a whole lot more
interesting.”

383
I strike the gong, shuffle along, look across the room to King Piers. Or rather,
a shell, for he is —— and sedated. The Spirit has gone. He is left a zombie.

He looks up, turns towards me, our eyes lock and I mouth, “Many radishes,
friend, for your pleasure. Your work is done.”

He looks away, gets up and walks away. I return to the matter at hand.

384
“Barry?”

“Yes?”

“Barry Macchiato?”

Not that I need to ask. For he wears the


badge given by —— mere minutes ago.

“Yes, that’s me.”

“Please come with me. The teachings


are seeping. Bring a mug to collect this
nascent liquor. We will use it as a base
to create a new beverage. And a cult to
save the world.”

385
To be continued…
marcfiszman.com

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