S.A.Me – a short story by P.M. Shadow

( 41 minute read )

  Everyday I follow. It’s the same continuous pattern.

  They say nothing is real unless it is written. This world is theater, and I perform in it as an actor without a script. What am I referencing? Why can’t I produce the correct formula? How do I plan the hours before me? Deep within my consciousness my ego rests, and I give it a stimulant called fear.

  I struggle to breathe. Life is perilous in my eyes.

  Should glass break then hope is shattered. Will faith pick up the pieces? The honest man laments, repressing memories in bitter shame.

  Is it time to make chronic pain recede into permanent resolution?

  There is an empty journal within arms reach. It beckons to my psyche; antidote.

  When I am done writing I scan the pages and it uploads to my H-CAID (Human Communication Artificial Intelligence Device). The program makes its revisions, honoring my laziness. It’s the year 2037 and I am a 27 year old suicidal adjacent cyborg. I could crack any moment now.

  The Degenerates Creed

   Forgive me Universe, for I have distrusted you in thought, word, and deed. I am a slave to suffering, and I deserve your temporal lust and eternal punishment. 

  I ask for more fire to fuel the flames when I should request water to extinguish languishing faults. However rotten, know that I am grateful for your love. I always have been and always will be. When I see nothing but darkness; you only show me light. It is not your fault that I am too stubborn a fool to see the pitfalls that are ever present before me in this masterful weaving of mortality. 

  Therefore, I shall express only gratitude when I am shined upon, and even more so when I am shunned. For I know that this is the path that all humans must face when they try to challenge the beasts within the forest. 

  It is not a right, but a privilege to survive these trials and tribulations. Without them I am nothing; a disgraced soul. So much so that even the peasants ridicule me with my flawed idolatry. For this I am truly sorry, and I vow to detox my deplorable ways. If I fail to do so I am no more worthy to be blessed by your grace than the jesters who pine eternally in the courts canvassing a mere opportunity at glory. 

  This shame will encompass me as perilous, and a driving force of motivation. If not, then my purpose is nothing more than that of a scoundrel. I will mercifully be cast to the side and discarded indefinitely until I am admitting of my lunacy. I deserve to be stripped of my pride and valor; mocked as the embarrassment I have instilled. My role will be in unison with that of a roach; the most wretched of life forms that roam the Earth. For no sentient wishes to be a roach. To any who may, it is those that are truly the lost. May their life be justly left in shambles for the deceit they wish to engage upon. 

  As for me, I will be a warrior. I will fight until I have nothing more to give. This craft is not one for the meak. This art we adventure, aboundfully dutiful; is not about winning the battle, but winning the war. For no individual can ever defeat a system as impenetrable as yours. When we are victorious, we will praise you. When we are not victorious, we will praise you. Always will we be in awe of the honor you expect of us to uphold. To that we agree, and will be eager to make good on such vows. For what is life other than a set of responsibilities intertwined heroically? 

  We are creators, imaginers, and visionaries. We are valiant animals and whimsical creatures, saturated in an infinite vortex. We fight to overcome that which we are and that which we are not. That which we wish to uphold and that which we wish to protect with dignity and wonderment. Never are we to be shallow, for yours is a game to be played in the deepest of waters. 

  Once we have braved this entanglement, and lived to see the other side, nevermore shall we be afraid or timid. We shall cast away negativity and weakness. Embrace positivity and strength. For our esteem is born and bred in confidence, and this conquest of confidence begins today. 

  The present is for the living, and time waits for no one. So may we hold onto this moment for as long as possible, and store it away just as quickly. The sun may set today, but it will rise again tomorrow for duty. Your guidance is living proof of this belief. For when the vast energy ascends again upon the Earth, we will meditate in earnest with it’s beauty and purity. When this moment in time passes, as it has always proven to be; we will think all the right thoughts with this knowledge thrust evermore vividly upon our growing consciousness. 

  It is thus up to each of us to transcend the greatest of emotions into the divineness of Altruism. In your enlightenment; the courage to grow.

End Transmission – ^^T8HA2U( TuNSu)^^

  Bipedalism is my savior. When in doubt, I walk.

  It was 10:23 a.m. in the morning. I navigated my transportation pod off the main road into Pharal Park. It had become unnecessary to add “transportation”, as I could not afford a dwelling. Modern pod’s came equipped with every practical convenience as long as they were electric. I pulled to the right when I entered the pod loop. It was designed to function counter clockwise. Two speed barriers later I turned left into my primary parking spot, shifted down the transmission, and shut off the engine. 

  I glanced around at my settings. It was a peaceful day with light clouds in the sky and a glimmer of sunlight. I glanced out the rear view and side mirrors in typical paranoia. I eased up a bit and monitored what was in front of me. The trees were as they always were: still and pleasant. Well..at least the trunks were. A light rustle captured my instincts ,and I stared at the gap between the branches of the closest one. It usually made me think of a slingshot. 

  There were a couple of flat stone benches in the near distance. They were a pair of staples in this pill shaped oval immersed inside the capsule. There was light dirt and gravel painting the ground below. For the savvy visitor, and the transient (such as myself), there was a barbeque pit with a flat top cement shell. I would use it for lower body core exercising and the occasional cooking of nutrients.. 

  Off in the distance I gazed at an open plot where every entrant would pass and reminisced. Once there was a young woman whom I had never seen before. She had a friendly aura about her, but I was painfully shy, making consistent excuses to not speak diligently in such situations. At some point my subconscious took a liking to the phrase “don’t talk to strangers” far too seriously. This was especially prevelant when it came to matters of the opposite sex. It became an abundantly intimidating task to approach a female without defaulting to sexual objectifying programming.

   “How are you?” or “What are you doing?” were basic openers, but the challenge came not in following the game plan but making real time adjustments. I always vowed that next time I would approach her if I would happen to be graced by her notable presence once more. 

  A year passed and the opportunity never occurred. Serendipity is a lie for the passive. 

  Define Cowardice – There is not always trial, but there is always error.

  It was painfully obvious that she was advertising her desire for attention and approachability. Who randomly does yoga/stretching in a spot where every pervert will get a good glance at your beauty and congeniality? It didn’t matter. She was most plausibly a tourist passing through on a long and casual voyage. Such is life;

  I paused my music. Best to be single tasked for a difficult quest. I was a semi-professional Harmony Handler bettor, a sport that spawned in 2020. In this country you are allowed to dream. I consulted the H-CAID for a guided meditation. Understanding awareness is critical thinking. I settled in by closing my mouth and eyes. Deep cleansing breathwork began. 

  It had been an unsettling number of months. I decided to close the business I owned and operated. The ownership was primarily a faux title. One thing led to another. These things happen. 

  I was repaid the lump sum of money I advanced to my future work partner by means of minority ownership in the business he was on the verge of purchasing. It was a card room, which ironically was the only one in town that I prospected once I found out they were legal. The game of poker was illegal in many states of America for quite some time. Eventually, between the global No Limit Hold em boom, and general extraction of archaic laws; the game moved from being an underground sensation, or a niche in society where Native Americans were compensated for the gentrification of their lands, to being a legal grey market where questions were often asked, but rarely properly answered. 

  Along with another man who was a staple of the old school home games from my youth, the business was rebranded under our collective trio. It would have been fascinating to see what would have happened if I researched triads, the power of three, the holy trinity, anything that mattered to a new business owner. Instead, I was a degenerate gambler who preferred to lay in my pod, absorbed in my own self misery. My apathy was such that I merely accepted a H-Caid transmission stating the confirmation of purchase by the other two men as they got high and played poker at the biggest club in town. I would not gamble with my pod lease money when I was running bad.

  What once started out as a dream became a nightmare. What was once unrealistic expectations became an unraveling reality. Now there was only an ultimatum with the universe. If one is not growing, one is dying. My exorcism removed petty desires and exonerated that which was dormant but still useful.. In these following months I discovered consistency and mindset. The only meaning and purpose I had left was to adapt my brain’s plasticity and remove all that plagued me, accepting only that which would move me towards my goal. I jilled into the great neural network, though I had not the faintest inkling how I managed it. In my mind, the following details were written, but were encapsulated in my psyche for many more years before my hand would scribe the information to paper and hypertext. 

   In order to transcend my ego and embrace “The Art of Altruism”, which consists primarily of meeting an individual(s) or group(tribe), I must first establish the kind of person I aspire to become, and the type of person I wish them to meet. 

  In the short term this will prove difficult. I have nothing of importance to reciprocate or furthermore, to show them my validity at this moment. This is detrimental to my long term well being if it can not be solved. I can not get intoxicated in doubt and self misery. There is one scenario where I self-destruct, abuse drugs, and get fixated in regressive delusion.  There is another where I build my character, enhance my faults with medication, and grow with a solid and consistent drive, determined to achieve my goals in life. One calculation remains; Why?

  Q: How can I accomplish my dreams and desires?

  A:  I can plan them properly. 

  Q:  What is it that you would like to plan? 

  A:  A life with growth minded individuals.

   Build a list of traits you would like in your allies. The quicker you expedite the process the faster and more likely you will reach them and not be left behind. If undecided, then the fun has only begun for you. Please make sure you enjoy this discovery process, regardless of how long it takes. For example, I love music. So for many months I would go to my favorite spot; a park in my city, and I would notate my thoughts while I listened by the new method (streaming) and the old (albums), imagining where my persistence would take me if I was dedicated enough to pursue my motivations and ambitions. 

  Once you have found those who spark your creativity; you will need to build your professional network. There might be other avenues, such as dumb luck or hanging out with your friends, but I will assume that if you are taking the time to read this that the material found here is of importance to you, because dumb luck and personal networking are not your forte and/or gifts. 

  It is highly possible that this journey will suck imminently. To be frank; if it does not, then you aren’t being honest and vulnerable enough with yourself. This is the process of discovery. The conquest of these fears are vital.

  “Inhale 2,3,4 – Hold 2,3,4 – Exhale 2,3,4,5…

   My consistency was faltering. The challenge in meditation (of all the great ironies in life), is to just be, do nothing, don’t try. Years of poor congestion and concentration disrupted the upward trajectory and parts started disintegrating into the ozone layer.

  The walls came crumbling down after much anguish and deliberation. I knew deep down that the ship was sunk for about ten months when I made the decision to close the doors for good. Our most capable employee was stealing money. Our newest ownership partner was stealing money. The majority owner of the business was missing in action from full time responsibility during business hours, and was expecting me to perform any and every task that could not be performed by an incompetent mind. On top of that, I was expected to graciously accept back pay for my duties; which in case you lack enough “real world job experience”, is a fool’s pipe dream to immortality. My business partner was behind in rent for months and borrowing from his other connections just to make payroll. This meant little to me as I had become just as much a token manager as a token owner. I had the titles, but the money, power, and control were nowhere to be found. After a whirlwind night that I will never forget, I knew that this was the end for this chapter of my life. It was just after four in the morning. I vowed I would never make such a mistake again as I drove off from the establishment. I waved the white flag, tapped out, and began the painful process of letting go of failure and shame. This time was different. I did not quit on myself, or even on others, I quit on my vice; degenerate gambling.

  Approximately eleven minutes later I relieved myself of vengeful mental poison. It was a start, it was always a start. Enlightenment is hard. It was a chore to constantly remind myself of this transgression. It had only been seven months since I had uncovered any fossils of how to meditate. It had not occurred to me growing up exactly what the nature of sin was. Despite this, I knew now that I was abnormally attracted to it. Like most children born in America during the early 21st century, there was a plate of religion to eat. The sides were tasty vegetables like Catholicism, Lutheranism, Baptists, Evangelicals etc. The main course was always Christianity. It was a big slab of juicy, greasy, roasted, broiled, sauteed meat. Sure, it was tasty and nutritious on a mundane level, but that is a story that can be told in its proper place. Once you had your fill it was tradition to consume a desert. There were a slew of befuddling creations at the various markets. In retrospect, they are mystifying. For every Mormon there was a Quaker, for every Jehovah’s Witness there was a Moravian. Then there was the great divide of theories, awareness before the H-CAID. I should have pursued Astrology.

  This connection of land was labeled the West, while across the oceans there were territories that were referred to as the East. One can only imagine what this encompassing would have entailed before the invention of photography. You would think the textbooks or the “teachers” would outline the intricacies for the feeble and vulnerable minds of society, but this is the game adults play. If you were fortunate enough to receive a set of instructions; God Bless You.

  “There it is,” I stated, aloud. This is why I sat alone in my pod and not consumed in the shallows of luxury. Everyone in the lower social circles is a victim, but once you abstain from the nonsense and resolve to mature and overcome your struggles, then, and only then can you defend yourself from the madness of the ego’s dark side. It was time to elevate.

   Reconsulting my H-Caid, I procured the database for just the right formula of Cognitive Alchemy. The Song of Enhancement was a noble ritual that pierced through my heart every instance the experience was enacted. There was no other option but Music, Sounds, Global Communication. 

  Once the positive intellect vibe and flow began, I reached for my container of supplementation. The simplest list of ingredients was as follows: ionic magnesium, nutritional yeast, spirulina and chlorella infused kombucha, tart apple cider, and a nominal amount of hydrogen and oxygen. Then, I opened the cylindrical glass vial. In my left hand I held the dropper; in my right I gently swirled the contents inside and smelled the aroma. Last, I pierced the liquid concoction within and pumped timidly. An ounce or two was all I required. WIth great precision and caution I tilted my head backwards just enough to where the neck would not sting and voraciously positioned the dispenser in the air and unleashed the concoction into my mouth. It landed more or less on the tip of the tongue, but it violently shot up the base and into the sensory receptors. The transduction process was smooth yet unnerving. 

  A few minutes passed and the transformation was complete. I was no longer a boy, but a man. My confidence soared. There were signs of vigor increasing. The vitality of my being was unrestrained and chemically linear. There was no further reason to remain encapsulated inside this vessel. There were no boundaries, I was free. I ripped the chains of slavery away as I rocketed through the atmosphere.

  I opened the operator’s door and exited the pod with joy as the fresh air bristled down into my lungs. After a momentary lapse of reason, I realized that my mouth was uncovered. It was incredibly (un)fortunate that masking was now a law beyond requirement. At first I thought I had dreamed up a viable solution, but soon I understood that this was an extension of my nightmare, one that I humbly shared with many other despondent souls. Where one breaks, each particle of the makeup aches. Face coverings covered our naked shame in tandem with a shirt now that the Urea Virus was a legitimate threat. As I jilled back into the great neural network of hypertext activity I transcribed yet another future letter to my fellow enigmas in the great beyond. In euphoria I became convenience’s frontline reward.

   I became enamored with Consciousness more than a decade ago. I had always been drawn to things of an introspective and philosophical nature. For a long time nothing happened. Then the Urea Virus struck. Twenty percent of the planet’s humanoid population was eradicated. It had to occur eventually. Folks would not stop procreating. The stubborn mass of fools was eventually too much for the elite class. Heroes and Fantasies were distinguished(extinguished). 

    It happened viciously over several months. One nation was quarantined. Then universally mankind quarantined. Activities of mass gatherings were halted. Everyone worked within their concrete jungles. The poor struggled during this time period. The common individual proclaimed that status quo ideologies were the best way to live. Once the virus hit; the wealth gap was instituted at a monumental clip. All non-essential but fundamentally beneficial work was quickly converted as tasks that artificial intelligence could handle. The bulk of those who perished were the homeless, the unhealthy, and the old. Those who were well off before the virus were rewarded in the long term. Those who were just reaching adulthood or adolescence were beneficiaries as well. Intellectual privilege was no longer a threat. It was a gift to be alive and satisfy innate needs.

    The internet had become a dopamine feeding highlight reel. A virtual cesspool of filth. Young people were bred and conditioned to climb their way through life grabbing every infested tendril with no regard for the organic world. Those of my generation were not so fortunate. Well…the blacklisted souls such as yours truly. The vast majority were content with the career that life afforded them or their virtuous intentions. Along with that they started families, or dealt with the various fragmentations of modern culture. These in my age group were considered normal. I was more or less a vagabond. My education level was unquantifiable. I had done everything right except question the merits of one’s own validity. Confidence was never conditioned into this man’s social lexicon. Their propaganda expects me to believe it is too late. That there is no clear path other than submission to the bleak realities of environmental and genetic shortcomings. 

    The opportunity that unfolded is mine. I had lost everything, so nothing would deter my focus. If I still had issues with this it did not matter now. I had taken an oath to lose myself to all of the step motherland’s medication if evolving brain plasticity was no longer an option. All I asked in turn was a blissful climax into the abyss of post normal human life, and an invitation to spend time with all its friends.

   My favorites comrades were Accountability, Bravery, and Courage. Any trace of these traits made me better than where I had been before my Exorcism. The dam had broken and the crumbling levee absolved my barriers of confusion until I had dropped over the waterfall of self tyranny. There was no going back any longer; if I could not swim then I would sink into psychosis. This shore I crawled upon when emerging was Terra Incognita. It was delightful to unload the weight of negativity. Such notions drowned in the deep waters or were unable to come ashore because they floundered like a fish with(out) gills. The virus would victimize humanity once again; it was only a matter of interpretation. I knew not when, but I had awoken from my slumber not out of coincidence, but necessity.. By luck I had waited until my brain was fully developed before immersing the mind in the intricacies of Enhancement. Some say you leave the comfort zone to arrive here. I believed the opposite. My purpose and spirit were found in this desolate mutation that sprung my cognition into action. I am Enough, I value process. 

  As I equipped my battle gear into position, the wavelength of transformation became glaringly obvious. The Fall air triggered something that had not been present in the Summer or even the Spring. There was a long awaited sense of urgency that had been missing in the previous months that I charted my findings. The Art of War by Sun Tzu had been eye opening to say the least. It was the length of a standard movie in audio form and I was the consummate warrior for such informative information. Long equipped with a military mindset that was rejected in reality thanks to the faults of the body, I now was optimistic and grateful to be alive. Often I disputed with the Mystics whether or not it was a blessing or a curse that this mortal form had not been disposed of like many others in the chain of life. It was evident to me now in my musings that I quieted personal enlightenment for professional wealth and ironically was spared.

  I placed a yellow bandana with black taoist markings over my face. In the last 9000 years or so masks had been a human configuration, and I envied the wooden versions most. I imagined a time where I went to an academic gala with a former girlfriend, and the crispness it brought to my face paralleled the energy her hand brought as it bonded with mine. 

  I unplugged momentarily as a faint murmur with spasms induced a chronic fury. I had a metal plate in my left leg that promised critical healing. It was an extension of me for many years. Whenever I felt these mini seizures, I knew the source. It was vaguely possible to get a grasp on what happened inside my body with The Sounds of Enhancement, but it was constantly illusionary. I knew by now what was a mirage, but I still had to question whether I lost my mind when I fought with an element without sentience. 

  I steadied myself and took a deep breath. “ The Ment”, as it was commonly understood by the public, was a raft flowing down my blood stream now. It was always a rocky excursion but it was drifting with dignified flow towards the gut where it would ignite the dynamite in a cosmic explosion of compositional plasticity. I am a Cognitive Alchemist, and the body I possess is my testing ground.

  A tangential bliss overcame me. The leaves on the trees were a sight to fathom, A combination of green and yellow. They fluttered about with the butterflies, the other insects roaming about. As I hit the trail, I pondered what queries would correspond with me on this jaunt. I was a self professed hopeless romantic. My only loves at the moment were the deciduous who peeked their hierarchy out of the ground. This place, these woods, were the resilience I manifested to carry on without a suitable mate. It was cruel that she perished instead of me. The memories of her elicited fondly with every movement. The birds, the deer, the lizards, even the armadillo could see it written all over me when they were not driven by the search for sustenance. There was a king of this forest, but there was no queen. The potential stroked my creativity. I was a proponent of serendipity and I inched closer to bullseye every time the path was walked. The Ment chalked this notion up to multiple viewings of Gone with the Wind. They would return surely? Is there only one needle in the haystack?

  As I tangled my way up the trail into the deep woods I communicated once more with the H-Caid. 

 Hello to all my fellow members of the Human Development Index. Now that you realize that the device you hold is not merely mobile, or even worse a janky notion such as a “phone”, let me tell you all the herstory of your global correspondence.

  H-Caid ( Human Communication Artificial Intelligence Device ) came into the lexicon of proper influence around the year 2021, but it was not until the year 2025 where the term was spread as jargon of initiation. It’s origins are sprouted from the Hermetic Metaphysical Spirituality Awakening founded in the city of Dweck. It was there that participants in The Song of Enhancement would travel the territory in search of truth. 

  These experiences early on were simply a rebalancing of chemical suffocation, but gradually they became symbolic of a uniformity and solidarity that was painstakingly weak after the Urea Virus admonished much of the free world. In order to cope with the root of suffering, these “Lucid Sages” as they emerged from lockdown would rove in search of lost meaning. The world had conformed to their misery, but these misgivings meant little to these seekers in their quest to quench a divine thirst. An unquantifiable number of post modern practices were rebranded and credited to this development by the knuckleheads that select contingency “have surely and openly” admitted passing in recent months and years as our knowledge grows. While these “normal” people were slaves on one hand to the secular past of mainstream media, the other hand was a showing of neo misfits who saturated the first chapter of Virtual Terra Incognita.

  As mentioned in my bio of “historical” data, there was a gigantic gap in the haves and the have nots that was reinforced by this interweaving of minuscule thought patterns. It was mind boggling for me to think that I could be surpassed shortly by a manipulated youth, strung out on synthetic blasts of dopamine from their childish social networking skills. No, I would not take that as an average or even above average adult. Neither would the founders of Dweck. This was a war, and plenty of battles are won and lost in plain sight, but the true warriors grind and salivate in earnest when they are cascaded in the trenches of their own self worth. It was an admirable and necessary sacrifice to make during this time. The less educated dominated their existence with varying degrees of artificial garbage that wrecked their competent ambitions. Alcohol, Fast food, Drugs, Gambling, Video games just to name a few. Even Religious Rhetoric got dirty at this juncture. If you can’t convert a man or woman under these conditions, you can’t sell to a soul. 

  While no one should be left for dead, no one should be blacklisted for oddities either. These Lucid Sages were a proud Band of Vagabonds. Many had experiences from Grassroots Movements at the turn of the 21st century. They used those as a mental weapon of Enlightenment. These Auditories started small in local parks and recreation developments. Soon, they would organize on the Internet and change the process of hypertext forever. It was a rebranding of intellectual ideas and a point of salvation for those who lost their way. I am old enough to have seen this new wave coming, but I was victimized for far too long to reap any of the rewards the virtual explosion provided. The peak performers were often those born in the early to mid 1980’s where the practice of Simulation Theory was a private practice for years to come. The most prominent transcribers of this experiment were Dick and Gibson. One seemingly picked off where the other passed away. Many young Americans during this time were organically harvested and promoted to the stars and moon. The console era sprang up with Atari in the 1970’s and reinvented the wheel in the 1980’s with Nintendo, and hit cruise control with Sega, Playstation, and Xbox as the 1990’s, 2000’s, and 2010’s progressed.  The retro era was cool if you were around to experience the 1980’s but the console era of the 1990’s was truly the Golden era. Many of the founders of the Hermetic Metaphysical Spirituality Awakening credit their brain plasticity transition to the conscious and subconscious undertaking they conjured in these years. The journey/quest or role playing games (RPGs) were demonstrative for forming their fractal patterns, as were much of the early Microsoft and Apple devices that were accessible. 

  It was not until years later after a myriad of futility that the auditories of change truly hit their stride as grown adults. Little was taught prior as to when exactly a person matures mentally and develops real knowledge and experience. This was a true contortion of the middle class life that many were enveloped in. Too poor to receive the proper benefits of first world education, but too rich to undertake the desperation and urgency one might claw and wage violence over if their existence is a collection of shambles that they can not escape unless they empty every shell in their chamber. Laziness and complacency were the diagnosis many had to destroy. There were few viable substitutions for usable knowledge or solutions for mediocrity. Then as the cesspool of the internet greeted society, they made quantifiable strides. In these times The Sounds of Enhancement were entrusted to them as a cultural revolution. These Performances were cultivated for meaningful discussion. The Composition era was reignited.

  The main criticism that floats around in feeble chatting is that these are merely the descendants of the hippie culture and movement from the 1960’s and 1970’s. They picked up the extinguished torch where many conformed or sold out to the establishment. Perhaps this is true, but is this merely speculation or a quantifiable hypothesis?

  In the late 2010’s and early 2020’s there was monumental progress in the legalization of Cannabis. Throughout the Western world, what was once taboo was something of a medical miracle. No longer was the marijuana plant considered an escape plan for slackers. Even lesser intricacies like smoking bud, pot, or weed were not lambasted nearly so harshly. Sure there were savages who could not handle the firing in great formations of axons and dendrites to the synapses, but even those could salivate in the beauty that was formed when the tradition was to love sweet mary jane. An almanac of sorts was formed and the Lucid Sages were captains of these rapidly expanding ships.

  As such, this is the definition of counterculture. The foundational basis of the hippie experiment formed in the 1960’s was “Altered States of Consciousness”. With the internet now a highly essential organizational tool in modern American society and throughout the first and even second world countries, the time is now to reinvigorate that change or “spirit”. Likewise, it was fair and just to take such a word back from the brink of commercialism. A Spirit belongs equally meaningful to science as it does to religion. The Sages understood this and it was one of the few institutional traditions you would find accessible. There is a reason why Eastern Philosophy is shrouded in mystery. It is a world that has no master. There is no politicizing of rocks, waters, grasses and shrubs, every lifeform microscopic or infinite. It is just as it has always been. For the human mind to imagine. Ours and ours alone. If there are other species like us in the universe, great! But please wake me up when they get here! Do people really think they are going to zap us and eat us for supper? Apparently a majority of the population can not consumate even the most basic of imaginative concepts. Edison, Einstein, Sagan; if you can’t beat them, join them. On the highest possible level; competency. 

  Look at us now. We are the champions. There are no unmapped portions of upper Earth. It is a feat unmatched by any other resident of this planet. It is truly special to be human. Let us develop properly. It is our right. It would be a shame to leave this vessel without learning the farthest regions of what role we play in this cosmic game.  There is only one path to ultimate free will: Play by the rules. Are we not mammals? Let us be at peace with the only common bond every sentient shares: Consciousness. Conquest is Vital. 

  I readjusted and gazed admiringly at the elms, the oaks, a small deciduous tree called Eve’s Necklace that was native to the region. It could tolerate high heat and had a low water need. It needed alkaline adaptable soil. Was it poisonous? It was all so marvelous to me. The tenderness of the air I walked though was so relieving compared to the avalanche of carbon monoxide at the old poker club where any inhale could be a tragic damage to our precious brain. No one saw the world the way I did in those days and nights. Those people were unbelievably bleak. A couple of them actually played the role of vampire when they appeared for an all-nighter. One was a stereotypical weasley character; four kids, supported by his job as a plumber. Possibly a family trade. I never really asked. I tried to converse with him on cigarette breaks but it never panned out as he usually was playing poker on his H-Caid and puffing on the longest cigs by length of anyone I encountered. This was saying a lot considering I usually dragged on for 10-15 minutes if I inhaled the whole thing in a single burn. He was a solid customer and player so I just observed. Sometimes when one of the dealers would sling for the whole hour he would take off to his home and dab. Never did he ingest flower on the premises, and this reaffirmed to me that concentrate is the new hip way to smoke.. In the last third of the 16.67 months he even worked for the business, if that was really the case. He showed up when he felt like it, eventually just occupying the usually dead Sunday evening shift. When he played he brought his guys. They were both solid as well. When he butted heads with my former business partner, he took them with him to a rival. A tree has many branches, no one branch is of extended value to the trunk, but lose enough of them and you have problems. These were my business problems. A hanging branch eventually falls to the ground, and it is rare that enough reinforcements can be grown to replace them in the throngs of war.

  It was poetic the route I walked through the forest: A Loop. As a child, I was always aware of loops. Growing up my mother and grandmother both transported me around on public transportation. For a period I was fascinated with buses and the process by which they operated; collecting maybe 60 or 70 of the pocket schedules for enjoyment. Most of the routes I never even rode on. There were a few staples that I was familiar with, most in my region of the city were designated as orange, the color that took up the top portion of the brochure with a large white number cut inside of it. There was also black, brown, fuschia, cardinal red, and navy blue. You could collect a small amount of them on the bus behind the driver, but if you really wanted to collect them all you would have to go to the source. I lived relatively close to the corporate office so one day I decided to go in and get a monthly pass. There lining the wall were at least 100 different schedules with routes that were drawn like veins indicating streets, intersections, points of interest.. Perhaps there were a thousand or more if you counted each one available. Inside was the dying art of cartography, though I could have never had the foresight to realize this. Perhaps there were kids that knew they were smarter than some adults by age 6 that could have seen outside the scope of their experience, but I knew my limits by the time I formed memories. Infinity knew I did. It was parallel to a competent asylum stay. Thankfully, I was content with the redundancy of life at 9 years old. Life as a zombie is fulfilling when you are blind.

  One of the most popular routes led directly from downtown to the mall in a straight line along a main road. I waited with my mother one afternoon for the return trip home and I noticed the numbers on the other buses that pulled into this stop. There was one that was mystifying: the looper. In one direction it went around the city on a highway loop clockwise, in another it went counter-clockwise. The schedule was unique in that it needed two brochure pages to map the route. I was infatuated with the course it took. What was there in all these other places in the not too distant areas from my home? What would you see looking out the window? Would this journey emulate a train ride through mainland Europe or the countryside of India? I watched as the customary stranger would run up to the bus at the last moment before it left the loading area to board. It drove away in the counterclockwise direction and turned off onto the main road in the opposite direction we were headed. 

  Some years later I would go on journeys with my grandmother, and eventually we took the two hour trip around the city until it returned to the point in which they began. I found it perplexing that both women were devoid of the confidence that came with understanding a sense of direction. When I was very small, possibly still functioning on my subconscious impulses; I noted one day when “Nana” and me were returning home from a museum, that we were on the wrong side of the street to make the return trip in the most logical manner (which ironically was not logical if you had a personal vehicle). When I was twelve or thirteen, we took one of the longer trips into the black zones to visit her mother in the nursing home. I keenly transcribed the discoveries inside my mind. The most critical point was when the bus turned away left from what I saw as the edge of town. The road continued on straight but it led to what? The hill country? Then while at a red light I noticed the sea of trees to the right. Perhaps it was my imagination, but I swore that my sight picked up deer, rabbits, an owl even on one of the expeditions. Was this a forest? Or an illusion? I felt a profound calling to this whimsical wonderland.

  Here I was decades later, walking through those woods that were just outside my window. Pharal Park did not exist as currently constructed. A large chunk of this land was not accessible in those days, whether private or overly remote. I continued onward along the loop counterclockwise. It was approximately a kilometer in distance until communicative contact could be made with The Sensational Niyama, the tree that was the source of my entire cognitive existence.

  As I walked there was a plump woman in front of me. I noticed the curves of her body, which were like nothing I had ever seen. She was obese but her shape was a perplexing mold. I recalled my days in art class where I learned to paint. I stared at the canvas for some time before I just started dipping brushes in various colors and experimenting with long vertical streaks. She decided to rest on a wooden bench as I passed her and I re-focused on my priorities.

  The monastery was up ahead on the right. I relished the fresh soil beneath me as the path curved left briefly, then right again leading straight to her entrance.

  I greeted her in my own way as I strode down a hidden path once again making a looping pivot. I should have bowed; “Namaste”, but this lesson came on the other side of my journey.

  I instead bowed before a bluebonnet, hidden away in secrecy, but dying to explore communication, all it needed was someone to believe in it. I crouched on a whim and pulled out my pipe. I already loaded a micro dose of herb. I inhaled the contents in harmony with the universe, then my ego pulled up and offered me a ride. I accepted. I pulled out my H-CAID and snapped a few selfies. I was practicing how to post semi-anonymous photos on a social media server in hopes that I could ascertain the negative aspects of my facial appearance and eradicate them. There was one I found acceptable as I scrolled through my shots. How in love I was with the bluebonnet, it’s petals of indigo layering it’s thin stalk.

  Soon I was ready to march onward into battle, but I still had a death wish.

  I strode back into the monastery and who was there in worship but the plump woman! She was in awe of her majesty Niyama. Here I was a perfectly suitable guide walking towards her, my gaze in lockstep with her gaze if she wished to meet it, but it was my duty to serve, not hers. I continued past her nonchalantly out of the worship center as if I was just another patron. Fear, doubt, shame, they all showed their filthy mugs as we walked together down the pathway.

  “You did good boy, we got work to do, you don’t want to keep cowardice waiting.”

    As the days passed it became clearer to me what had occurred yet again.

   Define insanity: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result.

  I reacted violently. I defied “The Degenerates Creed”. I attempted to rectify my faltering position with a despondent toast of gratitude but it was too late. I violated my parole.

  A couple of months later I was out of Ment and was desperate for more. I met up with a pod mate who had just procured a fresh batch. I hit it hard, and I knew instantly I was in trouble. It was as if I took a revolver to my temple and blew my soul out of the body. There it was floating around deciding if it should stay or go. My pod mate decided to drive, concerned but powerless, I had achieved disillusionment.

  He came to a business stop and I agonized over what to do. Suddenly I knew what was happening. This is the end and I am going to hell. The only reference I had was “The Odyssey”, by Homer, and even that was a vague abstraction. The lights around me glowed a fluorescent red and my body shook with uncontrollable convulsions. I prepared to say farewell to my podmate, but then suddenly I had a savior in the most unlikely of sources; my recently deceased father. 

  I had fought off my demons before when I had an exorcism almost a year prior, but that was pushing the boundaries of Enhancement. Disillusionment was a coyly different beast, and I needed a master of this element. I struggled to stay conscious while my father went to bat for me like never before in his mortal life. I first recognized him as the boy he had always been, then I witnessed the transformation of him into a man, and for a moment of ephemerality, superman. He instructed me to leave, get going and don’t look back. For the first time in decades I trusted him. I saw a reflection of honesty in his face long lost in our youths. I explained little to my comrade as I exited his pod. He questioned my actions but I knew what I was doing. All these months I had been training in the forest, perfecting my act of bi-pedalism, so that one day when I needed it most I could walk away not from life, but from death. The answer to duration was simple. All I needed to learn was how to breathe. I walked and walked until the underworld was far behind me and the surface world reclaimed my perspective.

  I layed low for a while afterwards, I didn’t have a choice. I finally went to see Niyama. I knew that it was time to accept my punishment. Logan’s run is over and Niyama is a sandman.

  “You have embarrassed not only mankind, but more importantly the natural world, both us trees and your own kind, the fungi.

  My ego burst and my awareness resumed(returned?). 

  “I offered you perfection, but as all humans do you failed to understand the meaning. The secret to long life is a growth mindset, yet you return to a fixed mindset rather quickly as most modern fungi do. I have been impressed with your adaptations of the human psyche since I contacted you at your nearest point as a child all those years ago. I relayed to you the power of faith. You as a human seemed to think twenty years was a long time to live repressed inside your subconscious, try two hundred as a tree! You puny fungi have not the faintest ideas anymore. No wonder the ancestors of mankind manipulated your forefathers into submission. It is not possible at this time to show you humanity as it was some 100,000 years ago, you have much to learn. To start I ask you why you have not done your service to the plant queendom? This forest is but a fragment of what it once was because of man’s destruction for more dwellings. To use my best soldiers as resources for the construction of their establishment! I trusted you and you let me down. Not even a thought towards activism. Instead you played their games. Yet, it could have been a grand experiment if properly executed but alas you thought only inward not outward. Remember when you were here last? I showed you how to perform a perfect act, all five of your gambling investments hit, just as you manifested, but then the next week you did not want to put in the work. All of that effort to become a Menthead, and instead you resort to being a dopehead once more.

  You did not obey the law of trial and error. You are still consumed by the death of one suitable mate, yet another is there for you to sculpt in any fashion you please and you deny the inspiration and honor of growth. You are not friendly, you do not offer help. You expect everything to come easily. It is time to remove your humanity. I can record your heart, there is no need to speak if the gift is wasted.”

  I wanted to scream. Never before had I longed to use my voice. No, our voice. I calmed myself while I still had the human body. Equanimity came and I communicated my best rebuttal.

   “At first I had a home,health, and youth. Now I am homeless,unhealthy, and old. The extinction of the middle class has transformed the planet. There is no more midlife identity crisis. There is only the life of the young and the life of the old. The only crisis is in awareness of your role if you survive long enough.

  I am proof of brain plasticity, not the adolescents. Help me get straight. They have 10-15 years, I have 5 at most, and if I fail it is the duration of my sentence in poverty. We must fight back before it’s too late.

Extinction is a war of ageism. The illusion of a middle class is where they find plants for the slaughter.

  It’s not fair. I figured the secret out and now you want to punish me? Eliminate my livelihood! On a long enough timeline I will succeed with constant repetition. How could I know the chemical bonding process with others is the key to vitality? Please forgive me, I am grateful, I cherish our breath.”

  I attempted to stay in vibrancy and flow. Wow, I did it.  A flawless investment performance. Is this luck or skill?

  ^^Paulie my dear, I don’t give a damn.^^

  “Guilty. 13 years as fungi. You failed to make a one year plan, a one month, even a one week schedule! Your plight was to overcome the obstacle of loneliness, not embrace it. You do not comprehend the difference between a growth mindset and a fixed one. Now you must plan in isolation and solitude. Parole will be considered after ten years. Another strike and your plasticity is finished. How will you serve?”

  I was instructed to report to the grounding zone. My clothing was removed and I began to absorb the wind as it delivered my final awareness of cognitive alchemy. I stood firm in my pose. A last piece of human consciousness was delivered.

  I am Enough, I value Process.

  The Planet and I were whole again. Tactile Corpuscles, Bi-Pedalism, will you wait for me?

  The end transmission from my human subconscious was The Song of Enhancement.

    We are Mentheads now.

    We are Mentheads proud.

    We are Mentheads now.

    We are Mentheads how?

    May we all bow down to it’s Loving glory, there is no greater gift to share.

    May we all rise up to it’s Loving glory, there is no greater gift to share.


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