Mark - I felt like my molecules were slowing down to a crawl. It was probably the salt crystals. I felt like I was going into suspended animation. I remember a friend saying to me "It sounds like you are in a hot air balloon drifting above the landscape, able to see very far, and you are getting a new perspective." I glanced toward the sky and my atoms slowed to a crawl.
Mara - I kept climbing. At one point I saw some velcro goats, contentedly pausing on the cliff face with ironic looks on their faces. "Yeah, I'm coming" I thought "Ha!". Instead I sat and shrugged off my rucksack. "Somewhere in here is the stewpot and flint.. Ah!" Removing the small bicycle (documented by Ripley's Believe it or Not) I prepared to go gather ingredients for the January Stew.
Mara Thompson's Velcro Goats
Five hours of foraging. Five. Hours. I've a sack full of mushrooms, thyme, onions and olive oil. Will this make a savory stew or a strange brew?
Mara Thompson's Small Bicycle
Susan - When they saw it barreling down the slopes even the Velcro goats slipped off the cliff. “What now?” screamed William Evertson as one of them landed near his workshop splashing the sawdust onto his face! “What in tarnation is making that ruckus? So many interruptions, sheesh, I’m trying to carve a huge sign so maybe we can get off this damn island!” “I’m looking for Boris the Musical Bear and have travelled far. Where is he, I can smell him?” bellowed this greenish steam punkish thingy. I saw Boris in the corner of my eye and told him to freeze! No one would find him! Well, here's another nice kettle of fish you pickled me in Susan, whispered Fish talking through the corner of his pursed lips. (He watched a lot of Laurel and Hardy as a minnow) Right, like no one can see his lips move!
Susan Shulman - Boris the Musical Bear ©2015
Kathleen - "Mara, has Susan been eating your stew? We could ask her about the mushrooms. Savory stew or strange brew, indeed!"
Mara - Still mucking about the bush with a gathering bag and razor blades... make that a March stew.. let it march right to me and into the bag. I pulled out the musical comb and began the self gathering nut tune.
Mara - As I continued to play with the other hand I dumped out more from my rucksack and found the large cooking pot. It won't be long now before it'll be time to build the cook fire.
Mara Thompson - Contents of Rucksack
Mara - Mark: "You look at the world and you report on it. That’s it. You spend time with a tribe, observe the way they fish and hunt, discern the contours of their rituals, beliefs and superstitions, tune into their unspokens and taboos. Then, after a year or so of this, you lug your note-packed trunk down to a dilapidated jetty from which a series of small rubber-trading boats and giant ocean liners carry you back to your study, where, khakis swapped for cotton shirt and tie, saliva liquor for the Twinings or iced scotch your housekeeper purveys you on a tray, you write the Book on them: the Great Report that maps the world you have been observing at its deepest and most intimate level, sums the tribe up, speaks its secret name". Sounds like a dream. After which Mark startled by the shifting of a log in the cook fire, woke and gave a groan. "Soup coming along nicely,,, welcome back" said Mara, her backed turned to him while stirring the pot.
William - Fish regarded Mark and Mara with lidless eyes then returned his gaze to the notebook open on the table; he sighed as he wrote "Le monde est fait pour aboutir à un beau livre" in a fine cursive then paused for another sip of saliva liquor.
Susan - Get up and dance...we will read later!
Susan Shulman - Get Up and Dance ©2015
Mara - Bivouacked and, for now content.
Mark - I was dozing and I heard William, “Figures and I thought we were trying to get off the damn island. Wait until Mark hears about this!” He was glaring at Susan, sternly, and she looked unphased. But after four years of thinking he was ascending Bill realized he was still going in a serpentine route that only lead to mid slope at best. "Serpentine! Serpentine!" I yelled unexpectedly, my way of letting them know I was awake and could read Bill's mind due to my delerious state. I was half in, half out. Half fish, half bird to them.
It was Mulka and Bill repeated someones famous words from some fucked up idea of heroism and clutched Mara's map tighter...Damn the dolphins...full speed ahead. Everyone stared over the top of our meager fire at hut 19....Bill said he realized he "hadn't spoken in 3 months!" But Susan would have none of it; She responded to Bill as if they were engaged in a long continuous game of hut tag: "Like as I was telling Fish the other day in hut 14. “Look man, I mean Fish. man…just chill out. Soon you will make it to number 15. You stress too much. Be mellow ... You are way off the planet. Just look at Marky Mark over there" (motioning to me, not knowing I was positioned behind a wall of ice, half goat half frozen cloud, so she could not see the real me) counting the salt crystals from the ocean. Whoa, Hey, don’t look backwards or you will be frozen like a statue!" Then added "William…slow down and listen to the blues!”
Meanwhile Mara kept climbing. At one point she saw some velcro goats, looked right at me, then at Lee, contentedly pausing on the cliff face with ironic looks on our faces. "Make dinner" I said under my breath in goatspeak. The thought had been planted. "Yeah, I'm coming" she thought "Ha!". Instead of what she was going to do she shrugged off her rucksack. "Somewhere in here is the stewpot and flint.. Ah!" I thought of Ria who was in danger of disappearing and Mara began removing the small bicycle. "Bivouacked and, for now content" she muttered. "Will this make a savory stew or a strange brew?" she said as she began to toss bric a brac to and fro, hither and yon. The she spoke what sounded like a spell, "What rath vented spleen and conjurred Kathleen what path meant to brew Kathleen McStew" and with that Fish appeared and did a strange jig.
Dance!!!! said Susan. She spoke quietly at first then yelled. She clapped. She cackled wildly. It woke me up. I threw off my goat hooves and joined in.
Kathleen McStew appeared. long vacant, she had been mistaken for Mark who had been missing for quite some time. "You look just like him when your gone" Susan told her. "Nut gathering corpses be damned! Dance!!!" she shouted.
Mara accused Mark of disappearing and he replied with a sorry Who Me? amd continued waking up. Susan could see him all along. "I have been in the most incredible Labyrinth" he explained. "A conundrum, a Sphynxian dwelling of some kind." But now it was time for some answers. "But I remembered the Gordian Knot and hacked the edges off the bastard" and smiled. "You were right there in the hut" Susan said. But Mark went on explaining how they were going to get off the island to no one in particular. "Where were you? Where was he?" muttered Mara to Lee who was now in her sheep outfit and eyeing the veggies.
Shuffling mushrooms, thyme, onions and olive oil into the pot, Mara fiddled with the stew as Kathleen danced. Mark whispered to Bill "The world is made to achieve a beautiful book. I want to call a meeting."
Pretending it was his idea, Bill eventually told all the campers to gather round the fire after dinner. He whispered to Susan who was busy poking Kathleen with the dull edge of a broken saliva bottle, "When the stew has been eaten we'll have a meetin" and so the first meeting we had gathered for since the previous Mulka was secretly underway.
Susan - You put your left foot in
You put your left foot out
You put your left foot in
And you shake it all about
You do the Hokey Pokey and you turn yourself around
That`s what it`s all about!...pass the mushrooms!
Susan Shulman - Left Foot In ©2015
William - What a masterpiece...an artistic achievement that should find a place of honor in the Tsuff Museum.
Susan - Time was moving backwards with every step we took following the directions of the hokey pokey until finally it seemed we were all back to the beginning, when the only thing we thought about was the next day when we would meet at the park.
William Evertson was smiling from ear to ear…”I caught it Mara Thompson…I caught the ball, did you see it?” He screamed at the top of his lungs. We all ran towards him skipping and jumping in the air. I wonder if this time we should not leave the playing field.
Susan Shulman - Play Ball ©2015
Mara - Keep Playing!
William - Play Ball!
Susan - I was almost hypnotized by the swinging movement. My eyes were following the spins drifting back to those summertime Yo Yo blues. Not a care in the world except checking the tension, the string, and swinging around. Fun on a hot day, perfecting the Flying Saucer, Under the Mountain, Around the World, and ya, the Sleeper! That is what I am starting to feel right now. Sleepy. “Hey Yo Yo Man, its time for some games on the mountain” roared some menacing creature from the mountain. William Evertson turned white!
Susan Shulman - YoYo Blues ©2015
Susan - The humming was getting louder and piercing my eardrums. Waves seemed to jump out of the ocean and reappear into middle of the horizon hovering over the hot sandy beach in front of us. The sand started to twirl and swirl into a funnel connecting to the sky as water began to squirt out of a kaleidoscope of lights that were blinking in this chaotic landscape manifesting a great deal of steam. The once calm beach became a blanket of smoky fog. The aura of colours started to dissipate and a strange person came into focus with a dog wearing a scarf. “ I am the Time Traveler, and we are here to bring back Susan and where’s the alehouse, we’re a bit dry?” He barked in a Liverpudlian accent!
Susan Shulman - Alehouse Time Traveler ©2015
William - I gently slapped him a few times...slap...slap .....slap. His lidless eyes seemed to come into focus.
Stupidly I ask, “Are you OK?”
“Where? What happened? The last thing I remember was saying this is the easy part”
“Fish, take it easy you might have a concussion; you’ve done a bit of a header trying that last pitch.”
Fish stared obliquely at me with his good eye and said, “I had a thought just as I reached for the rope...what if Mt. Analogue is every obstacle .....you know ...metaphor....allegory...”
He trailed off and I knew I was stuck. Here I am, ice ax buried but trembling from ropes holding a 1200 pound Flounder who thinks he’s some kind of cross reincarnation of DH Lawrence, Sartre and Hunter Thompson.
“I thought, what the hell did I do in my last life to deserve this? “I need some help here”, I yelled to my friends further up. I waited for the rest of the team to haul us out of the damn crevasse while I pondered the possibility that we were living in an allegory.
Susan - We all stared up at the sky while Fish was reciting his distorted dissertation of SRV the “Sky Is Crying” since it was the anniversary of his helicopter crash. As we all shed tears and blues our noses, William pointed up to the sky screaming “DA Plane, Da Plane”. Help had finally come to the mountain. My wish had come true; the caffeine canteen had finally arrived.
Susan Shulman - The Caffeine Canteen ©2015
William - Momentarily I was distracted by the sight of a giant coffee cup floating in the breeze and involuntarily loosened my grip and reached to the sky.....Fish slipped another 10 meters into the crevasse.
“You humans...there’s nothing human about you”, he shouted.
Oops, my thoughts snapped back to the present...no time to be thinking about good coffee with a mate in the hole.
Truth be told I did have a picture in my head of hauling his sorry ass back up and posing for a selfie....like in the old days when it wasn’t PC incorrect to pose with your fish upside down on a line.
Mara - It was not a well timed nor a pleasant awakening. Someone was knocking or scratching to get in. Not yet overly concerned I hauled out of a complex dream state to attend to the plea for attention. A quick peek outside confirmed it was nearing time to belay the loose ends!
Still, why rush? Returning to the sheets I turned over and punched to fluff the pillow for a cool side. Too soon the scratching sounds resurfaced with an additional layer of wtf!
William - My ice ax lost purchase and I rolled, flipped and caught the very edge of the crevasse. Fish yelled, "Cut me off, save yourself".
I yelled, Mara!!!!! Wake Up!!
Susan - Hey down there, anyone hear me? Turn on the damn runway lights. I can’t see anything in this mess! Looks kinda mountainous down there, like some peaks! I need to land! There’s a special delivery for a Mister Fish.
Susan Shulman - Twin Peaks ©2015
Mark - I was standing on the edge of a precipice, about to fling the typewriter over the edge when all of a sudden, much to my surprise, Susan appeared and snatched it out of my hand and replaced it with a more electronic model. Then she disappeared.
Needless to say, I was startled then relieved because I knew this was the moment I was waiting for. An ethereal figure replaced Susan or should I say replaced the time and space where she had just been hovering. I took it as a sign that everything was going to be OK no matter how bleak things appeared. I could feel myself moving forward and backwards in time simultaneously, able to see all the mistakes I had made and also able to have a good laugh about them.
The malaise I felt that I thought was unique to me was suddenly opened up to include all people. I could see how each of them had a time slit within their own selves and how it expanded out into a plane and then finally into a three dimensional gaping maw. Through the din I could hear Ria was muttering something about my favorite words as footage of Gurdjieff began to play.
"Distortions and corruptions always creep in, because objective truths can only be truly understood through states of objective consciousness," the voice over said. Fish affirmed its claims, speaking from experience, "When the subjective mind attempts to comprehend objective truths and/or their representations and forms of expression, it ends up leading to delusions."
Bill, poking his head out from behind a nearby tree trunk said, "Since human language has developed in order to express the impressions of subjective consciousness, it is a poor vehicle for the expression of objective truths. Therefore, people with access to objective knowledge have used myths, symbols and verbal formulas of various kinds in order to express, preserve and transmit their knowledge from person to person and generation to generation."
Susan, now invisble shouted, "Those forms are designed to transmit knowledge directly to a person’s higher centers of consciousness, and cannot be truly understood through the ordinary, subjective mind!!!!"
"But symbols were designed for the higher intellectual center, and myths for the higher emotional center," Fish calmly explained.
Susan - “You down there. Look up! I got some candy for you climbers! Join me on the edge of reality and I will share my treats with you!” We couldn’t really hear it; the creature was too high up, yet the words flashed through our brains as we all looked up the sheer face of the mountain. Fish’s fins started flapping erratically as William stared up speechless! “See, Mark, voice is not important anymore, those forms are designed to transmit knowledge directly to a person’s higher centers of consciousness, and cannot be truly understood through the ordinary, subjective mind!” This place was really starting to make us all on edge! The lines between dimensions were blurring and the monkeys were nowhere in sight! Susan started to draw in the sand!
Susan Shulman - Candyman ©2015
Mara - "Sorry, I've been sleeping in the caves since the end of August". Mara had some serious pillow marks on her face. "The weather got so stupid hot, it's all I could manage", she muttered softly. "Any coffee around?"
Susan - “Lets split this crazy world Fish! I think the island has “DENGUE WOMAN BLUES” fever! Can’t get that song out of my jumbled head!” “Just hang on Susan…the tides going to change…and you will be able to think again!” as Fish dove into the froth of the sea. He always knew exactly what the right medicine would be. Ya, to ride the heavy waves. I saw in the corner of my eye the climbers jumping up and down on the beach trying to get my attention. The wind started to howl and it started to get dark, I think a storm was brewing and I was afraid I might wipeout!
Susan Shulman - Dengue Woman Blues ©2015
Lee - It may be time to real Susan in & head back to the caves to ride out the storm..I'm sure the monkey's will be waiting with a party as usual.
Mara - (Did you mean real or reel... They do both apply!)
Lee - Ah yes.get real and reel her in.
Mara - No sooner than I'd had my first cup of coffee a storm moved in. Those on shore watching Susan's fish tricks scampered back to the cave opening. Sheltering there was Monkey with a Fez, the barber. He looked at me sharply and said, you do know you are scheduled for surgery tomorrow, hunmmm? "I am?" "Yes, be at the shop 7:00 am sharp! Oops, sorry I mean promptly." "So," I thought, "internal exploration it is then."
Susan - Look Fish, we’re alone again. Mara Thompson has split with Lee Goldberg to the Fez Convention on the other side of the island with those crazy monkeys who are preparing for the year of the Monkey celebration. The rest of the crew has just gone to the train except William Evertson who is carving wood on the north side. I think he’s obsessed with knives. You know these temperamental artists; sometimes they need their space to create!
Listen, I know your think you're human, but baby you are just a fish out of water. Listen to the waves, They are playing your song: CatFish Blues “WELL, I WISH I WAS A CATFISH, SWIMMIN IN A OH, DEEP, BLUE SEA I WOULD HAVE ALL YOU GOOD LOOKIN WOMEN, FISHIN, FISHIN AFTER ME SURE 'NOUGH, A-AFTER ME SURE 'NOUGH, A-AFTER ME OH 'NOUGH, OH 'NOUGH, SURE 'NOUGH “ So many versions of this song have been song over time Fish… from Robert Petway to Muddy Waters to Hendrix to Gary Clark Jr. Look fishy I say, lets take the plunge and become one with the mer. Embrace your inner “poisson”, I feel a change a coming and I want to test out my submersible I have been working on. You game!!
Susan Shulman - Catfish Blues ©2016
Cathy - She found herself lying on the rocks of a fallen scree
(shale of slate blue sharp and smooth, glinting in the sun)
staring into the eyes of a flock of mismatched birds
would she be tasty?
She gazed back
into those pitiless eyes,
or so it seemed at the time,
all the various levels of aches, and pains,
swirling through her being.
bird eyes are like that
Because they have seen too much,
closing her eyes,
she waited for the gurney to take her away
the waiting surgeon
would remove her knee.
the fate of all beings who expose
themselves to foolish tasks.
Susan - The sea bubbled violently. The water churned giving way to spirals of angry waves. Thousands of green buttons came hurdling out of the ocean into the sky. All of a sudden snake-like arms protruded out of the depths. I shook William Evertson arm and asked. “Is that Poseidon?” Before he could answer, Fish said, “No its Orla O’Octapus, St. Patrick’s princess of the sea!
“Where is Karen?” the octopus bellowed, my tentacles are full of healing buttons!”
Susan Shulman - Orla ©2016
Susan - Something’s fishy on Mount Analogue. “Who are you and what are you doing with that in your beak?” I yelled as I stormed through the sand trying to save the minnow. The creature mumbled while clamping down on its tasty mouthful, “Its me.. Fish, I wanted to see what it felt like to be a bird so I borrowed William Evertson’s mask!” We’re just playing tag Susan Shulman. You know it gets really monotonous when there’s no one to distract me here on the beach. Where are all the climbers? Mark Bloch may have his wish, and the end may be in sight!"
Susan Shulman - Something Fishy ©2016
Mark - Climbing and climbing and climbing just wishing I could get to the top of something. Susan was on the beach, all the other climbers except Bill had their Bill masks on and it was getting confusing. I felt so comfortable with these people but with all of them looking alike it was starting to remind me of the monkeys and the other creatures along the path who I knew could help me but I didnt know what to ask for. So I climbed and climbed hoping to arrive at a clearing. I asked em, all of em, as I passed, if I could contact them later just in case I needed to but I couldn't imagine what I might ask for. I was in a complete conundrum. I had overthunk it. It was too late now or so I thought. The monkey looked unhappy but seemed to have all the answers. Maybe he knew nothing but wanted everyone to think he seemed to have all the answers. But he did know one thing, how to get to a clearing, to the top, even but I was too embarrassed to ask him. The bastard monkey.
Why was I so mad? He was just a monkey and a sad one at that. Earlier on the path I has seen a moa and apologized for rudely saying earlier in my travels that I thought his kind had gone extinct. My kind?? squawked the moa and stormed off. But now that I had humbled myself all was well. Yes the moas were extinct yet here was one. Back from oblivion I suppose. So now that things with him were patched up was I going to risk getting angry at a stupid little monkey with a bad attitude?