Child of the Counterculture – Round 5 : Page 6

November 10th, 2016

I didn’t die, and life without magic turned out to be bearable, if not nearly as enjoyable and somewhat duller than the hallucinatory realm of infinite interconnectedness where I’d written my novel and danced the transcendent jitterbug with ghosts. Now I sleep regularly, and some of the things I say make sense. Life is more peaceful, anyhow.

But where do I really want to spend my last days? In the empirical Purgatory of mundane rationality, or the mystical mad corridors of the liberating labyrinth? It’s no choice at all. Question is, can I cleanse my karma of the awful stain of my transgression? Will Goddess yet forgive my presumption on Her designs? Only one way to find out.

I crumple the love-spell chart and toss it aside with the other junk.

All of it in the burning bowl. Time to clean house.

I handle the ceramic container with care, treating it like toxic waste as I take it to the yard. Setting it down on the brick barbecue, I squirt a shot of butane on the tokens and strike a match. Blue flame erupts to consume the years. I turn my back.

Inside, I spend twenty minutes or so rendering the first page of Transmigration Blues, newly ejected into the hopper of my creaking laser printer, into an oragami pyramid, and insert it in the cornucopia. I wet the crystal, light the incense, and extinguish it with moisture and my breath. “Bless my work and soul,” I  murmur as smoke swirls. “Make me a vessel.”

Glowing with satisfaction, I don my finest suit and check the mirror. Time was when “suit” was no more than a synonym for soldier of the establishment; the lifeless uniform of the voluntarily conformist. But one day when I’d a pocketful of cash and a blank daily planner, curiosity had led me to wander into an uppercrust tailorshop and learn the attraction such nonfunctional attire held for men of means.

Having previously styled myself as a child of the counterculture, it blew my mind to be treated with deference and respect. I wrote checks without providing corroborating identification. A patrolman tipped his hat to me. Waiters vied to seat me in their section at restaurants. The unlikeliest women flirted with me; mush-mind golddiggers, most of them, but I sorely needed the attention in the wake of my heartbreak.

I became addicted to the disguise, assuming it ever more frequently for slumming jaunts uptown to get a handle on how to behave as a rich person, though of course in my heart I knew I was still on the other side. Secure in my identity, I no longer had to conspicuously display my affiliations. And after the bust, the monkey suit getup became an indispensable part of my wardrobe. Wearing it to court every day broke the fabric in nicely, and I learned to be more comfortable in a double- breasted than jeans. Now I seize every pretext to make like a banker.

I fondle the yellow Post-it sticker again, feeling the same strange resonance. I examine the address, and it is burned eternally into my memory, slipping it into my breast pocket.

I skip to the driveway without even bothering to lock the house or activate the burglar alarm. Goddess will protect-and if not, who cares? Stuff. Let them have it.

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