Council on Interdimensional Relations – Round 5 : Page 9

November 15th, 2016

I make my way through “Box of Rain” and a soulful if off-key rendition of “Black Muddy River” before switching over to the Marley clan, Bob’s “Rivers of Babylon” and Ziggy’s “It’s a Beautiful Day” and “One Good Spliff,” which inspires me to take an ambitious toke from my stealth pipe. Praise Jah. I cough through the chorus reprise before surrendering to silence. Before it seems that very much time has passed, I find myself confronting Illustration Avenue and the parasitic profit establishments operating on its periphery.

Head shops, vegetarian buffets, record stores-the entrepreneurs on the fringe of Religion Row extend the distinctly countercultural atmosphere of Crazy Bear’s kingdom into Babylon, catering to-or exploiting-the material wants and needs of the army of truth-seekers, love- questers and drug-hunters that have lately come to frequent the bizarre free district, who find after a few blissful hours that sampling the mysteries of fern-worship and astral reading of past-life palms is all well and good, but there’s no fucking place to eat.

I navigate past the barely serious and the dangerously so, shameless hucksters and wild-eyed Estimated Prophets mad with belief. Soapbox prognostications mingle with the urban aural stench of brakes screeching, unmuffled motors growling, crowds milling. Windows are lit with neon importunities, advertising instant enlightenment and tax-free karma improvement.

My phobia for large congregations has left me; rather I revel in the psychic juice flowing everywhere about me. I am no longer afraid of my reflections. I paste a smile on my face and push determinedly forward, studiously ignoring all beggars for my attention.

Running out of time.

I reach the entrance of 1620 Illustration, an office-type building probably originally intended for dentists and insurance adjusters. Suite 18 is at the end of a long hall. I pass an open door with the handles of a mop and broom sticking out of it. Council on Interdimensional Relations. Committee for the Abolition of Okra. National Association for the Advancement of Ignorant Bigots. His and her restroom facilities. International Headquarters of the Fan Club Fan Club. Citywide Fund to Assist the Intellectually and Motivationally Challenged. I slip a ten-dollar bill under their door as a donation to the stupid and lazy. They need all the help they can get.

The penultimate door is marked, blandly, “Office”; I bypass that and approach the final suite with first-date or job-interview butterflies. Something significant will happen when I signal my arrival. My paradigm will shift. My lives will change forever.

The door reads, strangely, “Institute for Genetic Research,” though beneath it is a logo I have never seen yet recognize nevertheless as an icon of reincarnation. A solitary waterwheel, floating in space, with tiny figures perched on each of the slats.

I raise my hand to knock, but the door swings open just as my knuckle grazes it. At first I fancy my primitive efforts at telekinesis have finally paid off, but instead I face the grinning lovely visage of Llewellyn Reece. I am not exactly disappointed.

“Entre-vous, Victor-san,” she says gleefully, shifting accents with cultural referents. “I have waited many moons to present you to my friends, though you may find you already know many of them. Welcome to the Order of the Wheel.”

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