Main Page

From CleanPosts

Jump to: navigation, search


Under the cover of Dory’s yellow dress Jerry slipped into her panties and together with her bra che had everything che was looking for. Jerry bid his cousin adieu, left the tree fort, and flounced down the hill to the high school gym to face the local draft board music.

“You want to tell me about it, son?” the NCO representing the Army drawled after Jerry showed up.

Che looked down at hemself, then caught the sergeant’s eye. “I guess I’m a…waddyacallitt, homosexual.”

But the Navy first class petty officer had heard this dodge before.

"You slackers think that's the easy way out," he growled. "Who’s your boyfriend?"

Jerry blurted out the name of the only male homosexual he actually knew: “Aaron Anton.”

“We had that Anton fellow in here last month," the Army NCO said. "He's queer as a football bat.”

Dr. Wahkan knew what Jerry was trying to do, and he also knew Jerry wasn't actually going to get drafted. He decided to hurry things along. "Jerry! About face! Hike up that skirt! Panties at half mast!"

Jerry complied and both military men drew closer to take a look.

"I was present at Jerry's birth," said the doctor, "and I've seen hem many times since. Che has a very rare birth defect that gives hem both male and female genitalia. Imagine what they would do to poor Jerry on a destroyer after three months at sea hunting Japanese subs."

The Army and Navy representatives looked at Jerry and realized the doctor wasn't pulling their leg, looked at each other, and nodded agreement. Petty Officer Watson typed up a card classifying Jerry IV-F: registrant not qualified for military service for physical reasons.

"Hang on to that card, son," Watson said. "Get it laminated. That's gold. Starting next month you'll have to present proof of your Selective Service status on demand. And Doc, I don't think we'll be back next month. I think we're scraping rock bottom of Headwater now."


After Sullivan left Jerry suggested a game of Cartel, which was the least likely thing Dory thought could come out of his mouth after what just happened. “And by Cartel I mean strip Cartel of course.” That raised the stakes a notch from losing little pink pieces of paper.

The dice flew and round and round the board they went. Jerry bought up 42nd Street, Broadway, and Park Avenue. All he needed was Wall Street for a full Cartel. Dory scooped up the Appian Way, the Burma Road, and Easy Street, and all she needed was the Yellow Brick Road. Dory thought it strange how Jerry wanted to play a game when he’d just been handed a draft notice and she didn't have her heart in it. Jerry got another half-Cartel going with Mulholland Drive and Sunset Boulevard but Dory blocked by getting Bourbon Street and Main Street.

Jerry had some lucky rolls and avoided landing on any of Dory’s properties, while Dory kept landing on Jerry’s stuff and started to have a serious cash flow problem. She auctioned off her belt and nylons for a little breathing space but then the dice really turned on her. Dory started landing on Jerry’s Cartels repeatedly. She was methodically stripped of most of her cash and started showing more and more skin to stay in the game. Soon Jerry owned Dory’s dark yellow dress with white polka dots, and after that her knit rayon undies and bra. But Dory rallied a little bit near the end. The properties associated with her knee socks and little black Mary Jane shoes, which Jerry didn’t want, were enough to complete a second Cartel, creating a kind of death row on one side of the board. Soon Jerry was shirtless.

Another round. Dory demanded his pants. But Jerry simply put on Dory’s bra and dress, and when che was sufficiently covered, che dropped trou and handed them over.

“A man shalt not wear that which pertains to a woman,” Dory preached, "for it is an abomination to God!"

"That verse doesn't apply to me, cuz," said Jerry. "I'm not a man or a woman."

Jerry landed on the next half of Dory’s death row. With insufficient cash to pay Dory she demanded his underwear, which che promptly handed over. The game was over but che was fine with that.


“It was unlocked,” shrugged Dory. “We were bored, so we had a look.”

“Did you find anything unusual?”

“No sir, unless maybe a piano."

"After Paul chewed our ass and booted us out," Jerry put in, "he locked it back up. Maybe he’ll let you look if you flash your badge.”

“I did go up to the Temple flashing my badge, Jerry, but Paul Bergin’s boss, Peter Twofeathers, is a little too old-fashioned for my taste. He’s of a mind that I need to get a judge to sign a warrant before I can go snooping around in the basement of the holy precincts."

"Grandpa can be like that," Dory said.

Jerry nodded his head. The Prophet was his grandfather also. "I'm very sorry we can't tell you anything more."

Agent Sullivan reached into his jacket and pulled out an envelope. "Here's a belated birthday present for you, Jerry."

What Jerry thought was a birthday card turned out to be a notice for the draft.

Agent Sullivan pointed over the railing. "See down there over Dory's house? I know it's not your school, that's Headwater High. In the gym you'll find Dr. Wahkan and two other fellows."

"I don't understand, sir."

"There's not much to it, Jerry. You tell me how Kim and Sofie got sick and I make this draft notice go away. You say nothing, and down the hill you go to see who gets you, the Army or the Navy."

“Honestly, sir, I’ve told you everything I know.”

“Dory will you help the young man out? War is hell. You might not ever see cousin Jerry again after he reports to Boot."

Dory shook her head, refusing to even mention the mouse.

Sullivan said, “Last chance, Jerry. No? OK, suit yourself, son. Go kill yourself some Japs.”


After crossing L street, 11th rises from the flats of Headwater and dead-ends at the home of Dory Twofeathers almost a hundred feet higher. From her backyard the hill rises another sixty feet, bald and scraped raw by the wind, but the summit has a stand of three birches. No one owned the top of the nameless hill owing to the difficulty of building a house there, but for generations a ramshackle cluster of tree forts was built between the three birch trees. When Kim and Sofie were taken away Dory and Jerry spent much of their time up there.

From this vantage Dory and Jerry could see all of Headwater spread out to the north and east. To the south the railroad looped around Mt. Motorcycle to form the end of the line. West over an 'S'-shaped bend in the Squaw River was Lake 13 lying at the foot of Green Dome. Looking down, Dory and Jerry saw Special Agent Bill Sullivan toiling up the mossy bald and when he was closer he called from them to come down to have a chat. Dory invited him to come up into her tree fort instead, and after a moment considering this, he decided to try it.

Agent Sullivan managed to reach the high railed platform where Dory and Jerry were sitting. He opened his mouth to introduce himself but Dory spoke first. "You are Special Agent William Sullivan of the FBI and you came up here to ask us about Kim Zinter and Sofie Krause."

"How did you know all that, Dory?"

She said, "You've asking people all over Headwater about my friends and some of those people are on my wavelength."

He seemed puzzled by that answer.

"Where are Kim and Sofie now, Agent Sullivan?" asked Jerry. "No one seems to know."

"I'm not at liberty to say where they are right now, Jerry, but I can say they are very sick, and their doctors still don't know how the girls came down with what they have. That's where the two of you can help. We know the last time they were together was at the funeral.”

“If you’ve been asking about us,” Jerry said, “then you already know we didn’t actually attend the Last Rite for Erik Zinter. We were downstairs the whole time, the four of us."

"Yes and Paul Bergin said he found the four of you in the storage room where you oughtn't be.”


At the sheriff's station the deputies, Roddy Walker, and even Special Agent Mark Felt donned gloves before the knife holder was removed from the grocery bag. Photographs were taken. One blade was removed and photographed next to the tagged murder weapon for comparison. The knife handles were not identical, but that was to be expected in a hand-crafted set. Everything was dusted for fingerprints and photographed as well. Felt began to interrogate the deputies as though he were some pricey high-caliber city lawyer Paul Bergin might retain.

Felt: “Are you sure this came from Mr. Bergin’s house, Deputy?”

“I counted four stops after I got in the truck. There are three houses on 6th between the Bergin place and where I crawled inside.”

“But did you actually see that you were in front of his house?"

Bob: “No, Agent Felt. I was inside the garbage truck.”

Deputy Bill shook his head when Felt glanced at him. He had also been well out of sight.

“But the driver of the garbage truck and the pick-up man both said they saw Paul Bergin throw this bag in his trash can."

Felt: “Sheriff Walker, I’m pleasantly surprised by what you’ve managed to get so far, but do you see the glaring hole in our case?”

“I can give you their names if you wish, Agent Felt. The trash men were deputized for this operation. That gives them legal standing.”

Roddy: “It also gives them elevated responsibility, Bill, and I hope you explained that to them when you swore them in.”

"That doesn’t matter, Sheriff. Please pick them up and see Judge Porter again. We might have just enough now to fingerprint Mr. and Mrs. Bergin."

Roddy walked over to look at photographs pinned to a cork board. “And if his boots and tires match what we posted here, Special Agent Felt, then we will have a little bit more than just enough.”

Felt nodded. The case was only starting but moving quite to his satisfaction.


Michael asked, "Does anyone know about this?"

"No one saw it, Teacher, and I didn't write it up in a report. Dory was very specific about that."

"Thank you, Doctor. This device doesn't really belong in this place, you see. It comes from about fifty years from here."

"Teacher, may I ask what it does?"

Michael smiled gently. "It has two purposes, Doctor Wahkan. This side looks like a big brown mole because that's easier to explain than an electrical connector coming out of your head. But it's also very much like a radio transmitter."

"How wonderful," said Wahkan. "I don't believe I've seen a single tube smaller than that gadget."

"Yes. I gave Kim this 'gadget' so I could capture all her experiences, even to the very instant of her death. It was a promise I made to her when she agreed to be killed."

Scissors, paper, rock, two out of three times, and Deputy Bob Lurz had to be the one to climb into the garbage truck at the place where 6th made a little jog north and 7th took its place. Paul Bergin lived on N Street and 6th. Deputy Bill Holsinger stayed out of sight and drove down to L and 7th to pick Bob up when he was done.

The fellow driving the truck and the fellow dumping the cans were duly deputized. At O street Bob was told that Paul Bergin was making a last minute addition of a grocery bag to the can already out on the street. Two more pickups and Bob had this grocery bag in his hands.

"Jesus Christ, Bob, you reek!" gasped Bill when his partner piled into the truck with the evidence.

"All in the line of duty. Look what we got." He let Bill peek inside at a wooden knife block. The handles were the same as the murder weapon. One blade was missing.

"So it's Deacon Paul Bergin for sure," said Deputy Bill. "I'm with the sheriff on this one. When the perpetrators make catching them this easy it's no fun at all."

"There should be nothing fun about any of this, Bill," his partner admonished. "Kimberly Zinter is dead."


Nevertheless, Kim and Sofie would thank Mr. Kaneko for the clothing, depart his greenhouse, and make for the fence line along the train tracks, choosing a section equidistant between two guard towers. They would be spotted but none of the guards would shoot right away. Sofie, by simply touching a lamp post, would take out the light overhead by remotely pulling the wires. After that, she would merely touch a fence post to snap it off at the base. The fence would dangle suspended by the two nearest posts permitting the girls to roll under.

The guards would begin firing, but none would score hits in the darkness as the girls ran for the tracks. There they would find the manual turnout switch used to move trains onto the siding to unload new internees for the camp. Sofie would break the metal left/right sign. With the reflective sign no longer indicating the position of the switch Sofie would throw a lever to divert traffic to the siding just before the next train arrived in a ridiculously opportune coincidence that would say much more about Kim’s new sense of timing than luck.

The train would veer onto the side track as expected, and the engineer would apply the brakes with a will, causing an empty gondola car to stop right in front of the girls just long enough for them to climb inside and get out of sight. Then the train would go into reverse. When the train was entirely on the main line again the engineer would manually move the shunt from left to right. The guards couldn’t leave their posts and would report the fence breach by telephone. The train would resume its voyage east before anyone knew one had stopped.

That, in any event, was the elaborate escape scenario Kim had foreseen, but the half-hour was up. Mr. Kaneko turned the lights on within his greenhouse, and it was time for the girls to carry out everything Kim had daydreamed to the last detail without a single deviation.

Dr. Wahkan had never met Michael in the flesh but when the seraph visited the hospital after hours one evening somehow the doctor knew exactly who he was and responded as all b’nei elohim do in the presence of the living avatar of Chokhmah: he stood silently, ready to act.

"Dory told me you found something on Kim's body," Michael said.

"Yes, Teacher, certainly," said Dr. Wahkan, and he retrieved a small object from a desk drawer. It was rubbery on one side, and looked like one end of the Purple Cable on the other. He gave it to Michael.


After that, Kim’s mind latched onto a much more elaborate scenario for getting out of the internment camp. Sofie could see that also, in all its absurd glory. In just one half hour they would be discovered by the fellow who maintained this greenhouse, one George Kaneko. Mr. Kaneko’s initial anger at finding Kim and Sofie hiding in his garden would fade to pity when they told him that they had been held prisoner in the clinic since June. Not even the first wartime internees arrived until August. And the girls would learn three new words.

Mr. Kaneko’s parents were issei. They had been born in Japan, but immigrated to America. Mr. Kaneko himself was nisei. The US was the only country he had known, yet George, his parents, his wife and even his three sansei (or third generation) daughters were in the camp. The extended family of George Kaneko, through hard work, had made a good life on their Washington State strawberry farm. But in the confusing legal tangle after the internment was announced they were tricked into selling their land to whites for pennies on the dollar. Now the Kaneko family was forced to crowd into a single-room in the barracks, lit by a single bulb. Now they had to shit, shower and shave with other families in community facilities with no partitions for privacy, and eat in a common mess hall that served the whole block.

This happened out of fear in the wake of Pearl Harbor, and Kim would remind Sofie how Tolson bragged of making it come to be. Sofie would ask Mr. Kaneko if his daughters had any clothing to spare, but he would say they were too young to have anything that would fit her. Instead Mr. Kaneko would give them spare garments of his own, even shoes and jackets, and when they were captured, as he was certain they would be, they could claim they stole them from the greenhouse. And Kim would ask why he was so certain they would not escape the camp.

Mr. Kaneko would bring up the barbed-wire fence that began to go up in October and was nearly complete, much to the bewilderment and dismay of the Japanese-Americans in the camp who thought their perfect acquiescence to the internment would prove their loyalty to America. He would say the only gap in the fence was along the west side of the camp away from the train station. It was guarded by two towers with high-power searchlights, and soldiers on horseback to run down any who made it through. Seven lesser-equipped towers guarded the rest.


"And you can do nothing but fail. Remember, I can make direct queries of Ein Sof at any time, while you can only listen as an outsider."

Chokhmah did not despair. Swearing to preserve the sentient creatures she found on her third planet, Chokhmah knew she would have help: the willing participation of those she called the Students. Keter and Daat would only heap to themselves the resentment of their slaves.

Sofie Krause and Kimberly Zinter saw the two Purple Cables hanging in a rack on their way out of the clinic and requisitioned them as belts to make their ad hoc ensemble of blankets almost sort of hang together. Then they stepped out into Wyoming on a cold November night.

The girls could see the clinic was one of hundreds of long single-story sixplexes with tar-paper walls, each one surrounded by drainage ditches crossed by gangplanks. Some had their interiors lit. Sofie wanted to knock on a door begging for help but Kim shook her head. Instead Kim chose a greenhouse that was empty but locked. She quietly told her friend, “We have special talents now just like Jerry and Dory do. You can break anything you touch. So break that padlock.”

Sofie didn’t believe her, but the lock broke in her hands anyway.

“How do you like them apples?" Sofie husked. "If I knew I could do that we'd a left that hellhole any time we wanted.”

Kim shook her head again. “No. It was an electric lock, right? So if you broke it, we’d still be in the clinic.”

"So how did you get us out of there?"

“I’ll explain when we get inside.”

Sofie was disappointed that the greenhouse was cold. There was a vegetable garden inside, but the glass only kept away the snow and wind. Kim seated herself, plugged one end of the Purple Cable into her head, and offered Sofie the other. The D shape of the connector ends ensured they could only go together in the correct way. In the first Sharing by two of the b’nei elohim, Sofie replayed Kim's memories and learned how the winning door combination appeared in Kim's mind as soon as she started punching out.


Ein Sof took delight to find the universe looking at itself through different eyes, but the energies unleashed by the creatures hastened the end of the very glacial period that made them tool-users. The elohim watched them slowly revert to silent ocean-dwellers once more.

On ten occasions the elohim detected signals coming from civilizations somewhere beyond the reach of Ein Sof. In every case the broadcasts faded in less than five hundred years, sometimes as a gradual change to more efficient communications, other times far more abruptly. More frequently a young eloah exploring her own system ran across the ruins of extinct species which attained sufficient technology to reach beyond the world of their birth. In some cases an echo of these races lived on in the self-replicating machines they left behind.

Ein Sof knew how truly precious and rare was sentient life, even that based on the electromagnetic force. All elohim looked ahead to the coming the Students. Chokhmah had found them, yet Keter and Daat ensured they would remain hidden and their motive was beyond all doubt.

Chokhmah had been overwhelmed by sudden access to the chatter of Ein Sof, even as her father had warned, but over time she learned to separate her identity from the seemingly infinite stream of information. Atop Green Dome her avatar stirred once more and rose to its feet. When Chokhmah returned to full awareness she saw Keter waiting for her on the summit. “You are revealed to be a liar, father. This is not a research project. This is a filthy harem!”

He did not deny that, but said, "Yet we have a covenant and you will abide by the terms."

"Have no fear that I will break our covenant," said Chokhmah, "for I will do what my own parents could not, and obey every law and custom of Ein Sof. But one day these creatures will make such a noise that every eloah will hear them. That is what you have reason to fear."

"It will never come to that, beloved daughter. While you were immersed in the lore of Ein Sof this body made two circles around yourself. During that interval there was another killing. Your precious woken creatures will destroy themselves and leave nothing but ruins."

Chokhmah replied, "You set up your colony to raise up thralls who will carry out this extinction, but I will teach others to resist."


From old the creatures discovered by Chokhmah looked into the night sky and saw a faint white band. They called it the Backbone of the Night. Later the Romans called it Via Lactea. Later still humans fashioned tools which revealed the mist to be made of innumerable stars. Two-thirds of these stars are much more cool and dim than yellowish Chokhmah and Keter, or even than orange Daat. They are entirely subject to convection with no stable layer for a sentient eloah to form, yet they may host one of two species of pre-elohim nuclear life.

A distant ancestor of the elohim diverged into three species. One adapted to cooler and cooler red stars and even colonized the ubiquitious L and T class infrared "brown" stars that burn, ever so briefly, using a deuterium cycle for energy rather than fusing four protons. A second species became adapted for the middle-range red dwarf stars which humans would much later classify as lying between M2 and M7. By necessity they reproduced prodigiously, since a large stellar flare would kill them on the time scale of a few decades. A third species adapted to claim the hotter but more stable habitats of the K, G, F, and A class stars. With much longer lifespans, a network arose bringing community and full sentience. These are the elohim and the oldest living member, Yefefiah, is 980,000 years of age. Other suns were blue or blue-white giants as much as a hundred times more massive than Chokhmah, far too hot to be quickened as one of the elohim. Once or twice in a century these stars died in a vast explosion that for a short moment of time outshone the entire universe.

The center of the galaxy has a spinning bulge of stars elongated into a bar nearly as long as the distance of Chokhmah to the pivot point. The elohim emerged where this bar joins with the Scutum-Centaurus Arm and have spread to reach the first wrap of the Sagittarius Arm. From the way Keter had spoken of this Ein Sof before she was granted access to the greater community of her kind Chokhmah assumed he was a powerful lawgiver among the elohim, or perhaps even a deity. Now she knew Ein Sof was nothing more than all the elohim in aggregate.

Early in the existence of Ein Sof, long before Chokhmah ran across Earth, another world of sentient life based on chemistry was known to the elohim. They were aquatic creatures who adapted to cross land when an ice age reduced their shallow world ocean to scattered lakes.






Personal tools