overhead. There was gunfire on the ground. Much of this was directed at the thing called Grimor, a quasi-reptilian beast the size of a Cadillac. The fact that the thing was missing an eye undoubtedly contributed to its snappish demeanor.
Having unleashed the beast—I can only imagine it must have been pretty spectacular to see that, too—wish I hadn’t missed that part, actually—Cole led Woody, Stan, and Tribal to another part of the property, the back house down the hill. Brandished in Woody’s hands was a three-foot length of high voltage wire, thirty-five or forty strands of copper wire in rubber insulation, and the Big Guts that crossed his path bellowed like dropped oxen at the heavy thuds conforming the wire to the contours struck, so that Woodster had to straighten stick on the run.
Stan the Man had scuttled over to his car, got the trunk open, and managed to slip out an old suitcase, having to crouch down mostly from stray gunfire being wildly fired at Grimor by screaming 4A snipers perched in trees on the Samana’s property. This suitcase he carried with him down to the back house, using it as a shield for protection.
Being a big boy and waggish large lad by nature, Tribal connected with his warrior spirit in a manner that made his fists instruments of sheer unbridled joy, and he had to consider with great warmth the number of times he’d seen NARG cars cruising through Dreem with Anti-Bigfoot bumper stickers and the words BIGGER LOVER in a circle and a slash line crossing through. Sternums were struck. Some fascist 4A fell from a tree trying to shoot Tribal and took the tip of Woody’s boot to the side of the face. It was only a hiking boot, but still, pretty harsh.
It really truly was absolutely awful. But what else could be done? When could reasoning occur? When was there an opportunity for civilized discussion? What could any person say to possibly contend with the ceaseless bombardment of dehumanizing images which comprised the entire culture? How could rationality possibly prevail?
With all the bullets flying around it was only a matter of time before someone got hit. And someone did. Yells came from inside the house.
At the back house door, Cole, Woody, Stan, and Tribal had managed to converge as a NARG chopper roared down with a strafing gunner whose line of bullets sent clouds of dust rising at their feet.
“Fuckin’ locked!” screamed Cole at the door.
“They shot Velvet!” someone yelled from the house. “They shot Velvet Crowne!”
Suddenly it was as though the sun itself had permanently dimmed. Everywhere one looked, angry open mouths were yelling, unhappy faces contorted with primate rage sprayed spittle. Somewhere people standing in line with groceries in baskets were tearing out each other’s hair, and scratching at each other’s eyes, shoving packets of fat-free pudding and boxes of instant flavored rice into each other’s faces with crinkly little package sounds and sharp corners of packages hurting, hurting, and everywhere people fighting, shooting, pulling triggers, making big sounds of boomboomboom with the death and the blood and unhappiness, all the misery and decay and hate.
You have to understand, everything happened so fast. Everything always does.
Cole had just kicked in the back house door when the cry rang out about Velvet. By what we will call sheer chance, the handful of NARGs, couple of 4As, and whatever if any Big Guts were left standing had finally dispatched Grimor, and the NARG choppers could be distantly heard but not seen.
It was a moment of odd calm, and it lasted about twenty seconds.
A light wind picked up.
From four speakers subtly located outside the back house there suddenly blared Jimi Hendrix’s “Jam Back at the House.” This was the earthquake that sent the tsunami, and the tsunami that rolled was Stan the Man.
Through the open door he burst, full-on in attack-mode, though no sword held he, and I’m pretty sure attack-mode runs counter to the principles of Aikido, but you can’t expect to become a whatever-degree black belt without encountering a lot of other martial arts. His hands, his feet, his elbows, his knees, everything about him was a total deadly weapon. There was a folded Cinzano table umbrella laying next to some rounds of madrone, and I thought sure Stan was gonna jam that thing right through this one NARG, but instead he stuck it through the legs, tripping him up. That guy took a header and wound up splitting both his lips open on the inside of his riot gear mask which he lost in the tumble.
With Hendrix heading the magic, the tide of battle ran high in Hippie favor. Surfer-type Hippies, Rasta-type Hippies, and survivalist-type Hippies alike all fought back jointly. I don’t want to glorify violence, but it was pretty fuckin’ spectacular. Everybody really got into it. A lot of the fascists simply ran out of bullets. Between most of them not being very good shots—they were, after all, mostly only poor people denied education and brainwashed by 24/7 propaganda from the corporate right-wing media—plus losing a lot of their equipment to telekinesis from Sid, Ananda, and Cole—oh yeah, those guys got their asses kicked. Hard.
This one chick started whipping up some hair-spinning magic, long thick braids with beads sent spinning. Once that chick got rockin’, that big hair went round and round looking like she might leave the ground. In the chaos, NARGs nearby got loopy, started stumbling around, everything mismatched for them, going all Picasso….
A dude doing an intense dance which may have had some martial arts mixed in managed to affect the long-stemmed bulbs Sid and Ananda had planted nearby, so that he was able to say, “Wanna… jam?” right as a mass of flowers shot like porcupine quills directly into the barrels of a dozen NARG guns, stuffed real tight.
Guns were flying out of hands like hats off heads in a strong wind. People with turtlenecks, sideburns, and bell bottoms swung Egyptian ankhs on long necklaces. People with pointy collars, mustaches, and afros used leather belts with big brass peace symbol belt buckles.
Unfortunately, it’s only about a seven or eight minute song, and the last one on the disc. So the music magic, major force in Hippie history that it is, stopped right when the choppers came in. Pretty bad timing for us. And that was also when all the backup NARGs showed up on the ground.
This was the low ebb. This was when the candle was most in danger of being completely blown out.
My consciousness returned to the crystal cave when I felt that Mindy Crow had died. It bothers me greatly to think about that. When someone that you know has died, maybe someone that you love, you can’t believe the callousness with which death is portrayed. The total lack of honesty around it. You can’t believe when you go to a movie how death is made to look like a form of entertainment. A character in a story will die, and it’s like no one understands. There went a life. That was something precious. It can never be returned. But for the purpose of making a fiction work, nothing stops, nothing changes. You realize, yes, we have to go on. But you’d like it to be with some greater understanding, because to see the same old business continue, this business of ignorance regarding death, and what it means to be alive, it’s like getting a Ph.D. and having to go back to kindergarten.
Indeed, it seemed the Hippies lost. That the battle for Dreem had been won by the vastly but not endlessly equipped forces of exploitation. That the trees would go down and the malls would go up. It looked like Bigfeet would be in zoos, and stuffed on display in people’s homes. It looked like genetically-modified food and chemicals spritzed in the sky to make the rain and control the weather would be causing the sicknesses that would throw the natural world completely out of balance, all because somebody somewhere stood to briefly profit. And maybe it is hard to feel sorry very long for someone whose primary weapons in her verbal arsenal included, “I’ll quit this job, so help me, I’ll quit on you!” as well as the all-purpose, “I’ll lie about you!” but hey, at least she liked the Ramones. Even Kandy Kane deserved better than what she got from her own.
I took the torc off Mindy’s neck, per her instructions, and loosed the belt from off her waist, and held in my hands the long wooden staff.
The skies were ashen, the trees were green, and the mountains rolled.
Choppers hovering over the Samanas like wasps over an apple were beginning to drift away, as though they’d had their fill. Yet as the choppers departed, a sound from the ground could be heard. Thuds, snaps. Thumps, cracks. What was this? Something coming…something up in the woods. More than one something. Multiple somethings. Big multiple somethings. Could it be? Oh yeah.
I wish I could have seen the looks on the faces of those NARGs when the Bigfeet burst through the brush.
I was flying high in the sky with my Walkman on, wearing the kind of headphones that fit on each ear neatly, no bulky apparatus going over the head. I did love flying but wasn’t too keen on having to hold the staff in order to do it. What I really wanted was to have my hands free.
Personally, I think the aliens should have made the flying devices be wristbands, with nothing having to be held. The torc, though, I do like. I get a good vibe off it. Plus, I put that thing on and man, I’m Doctor Fuckindolittle. That’s how I got the five nearest Bigfeet to come pay a visit. That I made sure to do when still in the crystal cave to bolster my powers extra. The body of Mindy Crow I left temporarily there with some protectors, the mountain lion foremost among them.
As the crow flies, I really wasn’t all that far from the Samanas. I knew I’d need some music magic. I went with the Who’s “Won’t Get Fooled Again.” It runs about eight minutes, so I went ahead and started it in the cave before I left, literally never once touching the ground, just as smooth as you please, like I’d been flying my whole life—which, in a way, I have—and then I rode the wind way up over the trees. Without the slightest nausea. An absolute pleasure. Alien goodies, man. I’m telling you, those fuckers know their shit.
Music-wise, the whole thing worked out right to the second. A couple minutes into the song and behold, there was the Samanas down below. All the way there I’d been calling the birds of the forest and having them race along in front of me in this gargantuan growing multiple species flock. Man, that was beautiful.
From the NARG perspective, the biggest flock of birds any of them had ever seen came down like a tidal wave, or super huge feathery Stan the Man I guess, right when five of the hairiest scariest most monstrous Bigfeet just started tearing the shit out of everything. Some of those birds were going right into guys’ necks.
The biggest one of the Bigfeet was none other than Big Sir himself. Two other males and two females comprised the lot. Any kind of animal nine feet tall and a thousand pounds coming with everything it has even at someone who’s armed is going to present a situation. But when the animal also has near-human intelligence, and good reason to hold a grudge—well, put it this way: it might have been overkill on my part bringing in the birds. I just wanted to be sure.
The choppers, however, were a different matter. Those I left to me, and I didn’t want them exploding on the Samana’s property or anywhere in the redwoods, frankly. I liked where they had already been heading away because that was in the direction of the river.
There had to have been someone on the ground in communication with them, probably to say something wonderfully supportive, as is always so desperately required. “Good job, oh good, good, good job, team! But wait—what’s this? Hey, you guys better come back in those helicopters and shoot some more bullets….”
Indeed. They swept around just in time.
One of the features of the devices: Incredible strength.
I gotta say, I’ve always known aliens are real. It’s absolutely incredible to me that even today there are still people who can’t accept that fact. When you think about the differences in human culture in only a couple of centuries, and then try, just try to imagine a species with a million years of advancement more than our own, then you begin to see. And not one of those NARGs was born in a firepower-equipped helicopter. Those things were simply goodies they were given, too.
So there we were, these three NARG choppers and me high over the redwoods, on the approach, a couple miles apart, five and half minutes into the song, and all I could see were these poor abused abusers, and the whole bogus election, the murder of Car Fix Abbey, murder by telepathically-controlled Bigfoot, and the murder of Kandy Kane herself, and the corporate-owned newspaper and TV station being in the pockets of the same people behind the whole attempt at taking over Dreem, and all the bigotry, all the Antebellum shit, all the divisiveness, all the dumbing down, all the goddam fucking pollution-causing, war-creating, world-killing hypocrisy and lies.
And then that first chopper came up, about a hundred yards off; I knew they were gonna open up, except they couldn’t move like me. All they had was a gun on each side.
I came up under, one-handed the chopper’s left runner, and swung it mid-air—woompa woompa woompa—that chopper was all fucked up for a couple seconds there, then it hit the river and exploded.
Talk about orgiastic. It was cosmic, it was organic, it was orgasmic!
The next chopper came up another hundred yards behind. I saw a barbed wire fence down below. I whipped down there, grabbed on and gave it a quick yank against a metal green stake that snapped the three strands, then jumped back up and flew right over the oncoming chopper. The second the blades hit the wire I let go. That one was a mess. But at least it was right over the river.
I had about thirty seconds of music magic left before the song would be suddenly over, and so for the third chopper I came in fast underneath on the gunner’s blind side and hit the underside with kind of an awkward punch that went TING! And down that fucker went right onto the sandbar, perfect timing with the music...
In CODY AND HEIDI the quasi-reptilian beast Grimor first shows up. It came from the OMANDRUIN-ish world of underground caves. When Kyle pokes its eye out, some blood hits him and Siegfried-like he becomes aware of forbidden knowledge. In THE BOG, Mindy Crow obtains items imparted by aliens to an ancient Celt and achieves god-like powers at a price. All part of the vast Humbaba County cycle of stories.