Later that night Toby Jay activated the classic Oak station and tuned into Aerosmith’s “Walk This Way”, which soon segued into The Doors’ “Roadhouse Blues”, the combination of which signaled that it was time to head to Willie’s Saloon to usher in the Cowboy’s Diamond Anniversary with a few spirited brews. When he opened the old pioneer door, the place was packed and all the waitresses were dressed in black. “Jeez, it’s like some sorta feminine mystique conspiracy around here,” he sensed in jest, while suspecting that this black-clad observation was further proof that the Diamond Anniversary was indeed sympathetic to the inscrutable methods of sisterhood.
But then, shortly after Toby Jay purchased a Bud longneck, he spotted David and Jeffrey on the far west side of the bar as the old Wurlitzer jukebox was blarring Waylon Jennings’ heart-felt “Luchenbach, Texas (Back to the Basics of Love)”.
Jeffrey was beligerently fucked-up drunk, while David was his usual reposed self. “Jeff and I are patiently waiting for the main table,” David moaned as he took an elongated gulp from his Samual Adams lager.
Moments later, Toby Jay turned around just in time to see, from a distance of about twenty feet or so, the eight ball on the main table sink into the left side pocket. In fact, the female half of a fairly attractive rodeo-style couple, who appeared to be playing for the sheer goof-off fun of it all, began to jumped up and down, shouting, “I won, I won…Oh my God, I won!”
“Finally,” David muttered.
“Rackem’ up!” roared Jeffrey, who then downed another shot of Jagermeister right as the gentle strum of Waylon Jennings’ guitar merged into Johnny Cash’s knee-slapping “Jackson”.
Fortunately, Jeffrey’s girlfriend Molly, who was also dressed in all black, scored Toby Jay a prime seat at the bar where she was sitting. Since she, at one point, began to fondle his beaded hippie-gypsy necklace, telling him how much she liked his taste in clothes, he couldn’t help but wonder, “Is Molly coming on to me, or is she just being overly friendly?” She even started to probe into his personal life, asking him questions about his current occupation and academic history.
“So where did you go to school,” asked Molly, who, come find out, was on scholarship at OSU, pursuing a career in biochemistry.
In response, Toby Jay explained that he had majored in both philosophy and economics at OU in the process of attaining his Bachelors degree in 1990. “Then naturally,” he continued, “I entered grad school to pursue my true passion – that being philosophy. So I eventually received my Master’s at OU three years later in ‘93. After that, I began working on my PhD.”
Then Toby Jay turned a bit nostalgic, and at one point confessed, “Looking back, some of the most meaningful moments of my life occurred while teaching introductory courses at OU.”
“So you’re a real wise guy,” said Molly, taking a quick sip of fresh draft from her festive red Solo Cup.
“Nah, not really” Toby Jay responded, forlornally. In fact, he then informed Molly that, due to considerable soul-searching, he eventually decided to drop out of the Ph.D. program, siting the myopia that often inflicts academic modes of inquiry as the primary cause. “No doubt, analytic philosophy has its virtues,” he attempted to explain, “but it can also be very stagnate and sterile and ultimately very stifling. I just felt I needed to get a bit of intellectual fresh air, so to speak. I really needed to open myself up to a new range of possibilities…new schools of thought…new conceptual paradigms…new ways to interpret my life.”
“So what are you up to now?” Molly inquired. “Do you still teach?”
“Nah…I wish, though,” Toby Jay responded. But then he proceeded to inform Molly that he was currently in the process of penning an autobiographical novel in the form of a majical diary. “Hopefully, in the end,” he concluded, “my book will demonstrate, amongst many other things, the gross inadequacy of analytic philosophy.”
“Gee Jay, that sounds like quite an undertaking,” Molly responded rather dauntingly. She then paused to take another sumptuous slip, but immediately thereafter inquired, “So I’m curious, what exactly is this book of yours all about, anyway?” Quickly, she added, “I’m assuming, since it takes the form of a diary, it’s basically a memoir…or telling your life story?”
“Well, yeah, for the most part,” said Toby Jay very hesitantly.
“For the the most part?” Molly asked. “What do you mean by ‘for the most part’?”
“Well, things are bit more complicated than…”
“Like complicated how…how complicated?”
“Actually, very complicated. Probably too complicated…”
“Now Jay, you know you’re vastly underestimating my amazing mental prowess,” said Molly jocularly, taking yet another quick sip, only this time wearing a wry, almost omniscient smile.
OK then,” Toby Jay acquiesced. “I’ll try be as succinct as possible, but it won’t be easy.”
“Shoot,” said Molly with a delectable grin.
In turn, Toby Jay immediately readjusted himself, took a hearty swig from his Bud longneck, and began by saying, “Really, almost everything of any real significance in my diary can ultimately be traced to my discovery of Jungian psychology.”
“Jung,” Molly quickly interupted, “isn’t he the guy who coined the term ‘synchronicity’? The collective unconscious guy?”
“Yep, that’s him,” Toby Jay buoyantly repied, as he proceeded to take another hearty swig. “See,” he continued, “shortly after I dropped out of the PhD. program, all this really strange shit started to happen to me. Now, of course, I don’t have the time to explain to you all the details surrounding these bizarre events. Yet, virtually all of these events involved, in way one way or another, the rather slippery notion – time. Somehow, someway, time always seemed to be at the center of the strangeness. Continually, I began to experience all sorts of weird ‘coincedences’. Day in and day out, these so-called coincedences (here, he gestured with air quotes as an obvious downplaying tactic) began to mount, one upon the other, into a multi-layered, hyper-meaningful, complex matrix of sorts. Eventually I realized that I had to somehow come to grips with this thing we all call – time. In fact, I became convinced that in order to truly understand what was happening in my life, to fully grasp the true meaning of my life, I had to quest for a deeper, more expansive understanding of time,” Toby Jay explained, passionately, pausing to take a deep drink. “So it was then, fresh out of grad school, equipped with all the rigorous tools that analytic philosophy had to offer, I, quite literally, went off the academic grid, so to speak, in search of a better, richer understanding of time.”
“Interesting…that’s really interesting,” said Molly, who then, perhaps due to the gravity of the conversation, somewhat sheepishly reached into her purse and pulled out a pack of Marlboro Lights. “Sorry, it’s a guilty pleasure,” she said, “I only smoke when I’m out drinking socially.” She then, rather hastily, as if she felt as though they couldn’t continue the current conversation fast enough, flicked her Bic and proceeded to take a visably satisfying drag.
“So,” Molly continued, only now in a somewhat sultry voice, “I’m guessing this where Jung comes in.”
“Correct,” Toby Jay replied. “Almost everything in the diary, in some sense or another, is directly or indirecty related or perceived or interpreted through the lense of Jungian psychology. So much so, in fact, that in the book, I chose to name this present year, the Year of Mysteriously Synchronicity.”
“Wow, cool,” Molly crooned as she took another satisfying drag.
“However,” Toby Jay continued in a tone of obvious caution, slightly squinting his eyes, ”I had no idea, whatsoever, as to what sort of spiraling, cosmically inter-connected Jungian rabbit hole I had actually entered. In fact, I’m still traveling through that rabbit hole right now, as we speak.”
Instantly, as if she had received a tiny shock, Molly’s entire body slightly flinched. Yet she remained speechless, staring deep into Toby Jay’s dangerous burning-blue eyes.
“Before I knew it,” Toby Jay continued, “I found myself deeply immersed in the study of the ancient archetypes, which, in turn, morphed into an academic obsession with all things celestial, especially the various interpretations of the zodiac, particularly my sign Sagittarius, as well as my greatest nemesis, Cancer.”
Again, only this time to the mere utterance of the word ‘cancer’, Molly, ever so slightly, instinctly flinched. Still, however, she continued to peer deep into Toby Jay’s burning-blue eyes.
“Furthermore,” Toby Jay continued without breaking verbal stride, “my quest for cosmic self-discovery, and this overriding interest in astrological symbols, in turn, entailed a corresponding knowledge of numerology.”
Suddenly Molly’s eyes widened with intrigue.
“Unexpectedly enough, in the process of attempting to connect all the esoteric dots, I eventually came to realize that there is this really bizarre, but nonetheless undeniable, connection between numerology and conspiracy theory.”
With the mere mention of the word ‘conspiracy’, somehow Molly’s eyes managed to subtly kick into smolder mode.
“Just think about James Bond…what automatically pops into your head?”
“007,” Molly said in the tone of a loyal co-conspirator.
“Precisely,” said Toby Jay emphatically. “Now this Bond reference may seem simple and silly, but I’m telling you, there is simply no way you can separate the numerology from the conspiracy. In fact, this is partly the reason why I’ve chosen not to write under my mundane name…but instead under a pseudonym.”
“Gee, I wonder what that might be” Molly gleemed, glancing to the ceiling as though there was a galaxy of stars.
“It’s actually pretty cool.”
Indeed, it was then that Toby Jay took a big gulp of beer, stood up briefly to fetch from atop the bar, a flyer for the band Red Dirt Rangers, and then asked the busty, vampy waitress, who was standing nearby, for a pen.
‘Here ya go sweetheart,” said the waitress.
“Hey, while you’re at it,” Toby Jay asked politely, “Can you please grab me another Bud.”
“Sure thing, sweetie…comin’ right up.”
So then, with pen in hand, Toby Jay flipped the flyer over and quickly, yet nonetheless decisively, scripted in full flare (NASA rockets and druid numerology included), his majical pen name.
“Here ya go honey,” the waitress said as she handed him his second beer of the night.
“Thank ya, mam,” Toby Jay knodded like John Wayne, leaving her a crisp two dollar tip. He then took a huge chug-a-lug, and sat back down at the bar with Molly, who appeared to be radiating with great expectations. “The anticipation is positively killing me,” she said, not entirely kiddingly.
“OK…ready?” Toby Jay asked in the manner of a frisky George Clooney.
“Ready” Molly smiled.
Consequently, it was then that Toby Jay flipped the flyer over to reveal his secret, occultist identity.
“Jesus, Jay,” Molly muttered in disbelief. She then began to stare deep into the majical inscription. “Christ, what exactly is that?
“Well, it’s not a that, it’s a who. In short, it’s me…only I’m cloaked in the sacred symbology of all things profoundly esoteric,” Toby Jay tried to explain. Then, as Molly continued to stare into the majical inscription, he suggested, “you might, metaphorically speaking, think of it as a personified spiritual or cosmic shield.”
“So it is a that,” quickly Molly inferred.
“Well, I did say personified.”
“But a shield, nonetheless?”
“Then it is a that!
“Well, if you insist.”
“I insist,” said Molly playfully. She then briefly paused to take another look at the majical inscription. “So what possessed you?” she asked in a tone of pleasant puzzlement.
“Nothing, really. It wasn’t of my own doing.”
“What? Now I’m really confused. I thought this was supposed to be your alter-ego.
“Then surely you played a part?”
“Care to explain?”
In turn, Toby Jay just shrugged his athletic shoulders, and said, “Well, you probably won’t believe it. And honestly, I wouldn’t blame you if you didn’t. It’s pretty Twilight Zone-ish.
‘Try me,” Molly said zealously.
“OK then, but again, you won’t believe me,” Toby Jay said in forewarning, chugging back a big gulp of brew. “Anyhow,” he continued, “earlier this year, I think around mid-June, I was sitting at my desk, reading books on numerology and conspiracy theory, when I suddenly realized that I couldn’t rightfully write under my own mundane name; that I had to write under an alias of sorts. So, for the remainder of the summer, deep in the back of my mind, I was trying to come up with the perfect nom de plume. Then, one night in late August, as I was sitting at my desk, reading this book about religious symbolism, this transcendent conduit of a voice suddenly spoke to me. Amazingly, right then, out of thin air, it was revealed to me that my rightful name was Otto Blaast.”
“Freaky,” Molly replied, intrigueingly. “So you believe in voices, do you?
“Certainly…and witchcraft as well.”
“So that’s why you said nothing was really of your own doing? Instead, this shield, or whatever I should call it, was given to you by some higher power?”
“As crazy as that may sound, yes…that’s exactly what happened. I was informed, directed…spoken to by a higher source.”
“Now for the sixty-four thousand dollar question,” Molly mused as she paused to savor another drag, “What exactly is this higher power?”
“For that, you’re gonna need a half pack of cigarettes and at least three more beers,” Toby Jay jested.
“It’s that interesting, eh?”
“I think so.”
“Please elaborate, Mr. Blaast.”
“Well then,” Toby Jay proceeded to explain, “this rather serpentine explanation ultimately begins back in grad school. Turns out, I couldn’t have written the book, if I hadn’t acquired the requisite concepts, if I hadn’t been thinking about these issues for quite some time. Ya see, I took this class in grad school called Metaphorical Theology, in which we studied the idea of god, almost exclusively, by way of metaphor. In the process, I began to develope an aversion to the generic term ‘god.’ To me, it had become almost bastardized; that is, so many things, so many opposing interpretations, seemed to fall under this one, singular place-holder, this thing we all call – god.
“OK” Molly said in a tone that said, “please, continue…”
“Now, over the last couple of years, due to all these bizarre events – synchronicities as I prefer to call them – I’ve come to believe that the concept of god, properly understood, necessarily involves the notion of active information. In fact, to anyone who would listen, I began to espouse the doctrine, “God is active information.” Indeed, that became my main mantra, my first guiding theological posit or principle…again, “God is active information.”
“Fascinating,” Molly marveled at the notion.
“Now, flashback to that mysterious August night, to when I was spoken to by the higher source or power, and informed that I was to assume the alias, Otto Blaast. See, for what seemed like the longest time, I struggled with how exactly to connect the appropriate dots, how exactly to put all the puzzle pieces together in order to form a coherenent theological perspective. On the one hand, I had this view that god was not only, in essence, active information, but was also the creator of the space-time continuum. On the other hand, I had this direct encounter with this rich, inner voice. Now I felt it was important not to conflate the two; important to not commit what might turn out, in the end, to be a classic category mistake. Surely, this primordially creative, generative god of mine was not identical to the voice I’ve been alluding to. Yet, no doubt, it seemed to me that there was an obvious, intimate connection between the two. Eventually, I came to refer to the creative force of this cosmic equation as the Great Generator, and the corresponding informative vessel as the Great Voice.”
“Alright,” Molly replied. “But I fail to see how Otto Blaast fits into to all this.”
“Well, I gather you’ve heard all about what Christians refer to as the Sacred Trinity?”
“Of course, both of my parents are devout Irish Catholics. In fact, I attended private Catholic school my entire life, until I landed my scholarship here at OSU.”
“So you know all about the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit?”
“Yep, all about it. Even though, to be perfectly honest, I’ve never really completely understood the Trinity. It’s actually very hard to explain, right?”
“Agreed,” Toby Jay nodded in affirmation. “How, for instance, are these three, supposedly distinct, entities actually only One? Good luck with that ontological account,” he quipped, briefly pausing to take a deep swig. “But to cut to the chase, you can think of my theological apparati as just a heavily borrowed but nonetheless new take on the original Christian conception of the Holy Trinity.”
“How so?” Molly inquired, squinting her eyes as if she was struggling to understand.
“Well, within my theological framework, God the Father is replaced by the Great Generator, whereas the Holy Ghost is replaced by what I call the Great Voice.”
“Now Jay, don’t tell me…” Molly said incredulously as though she suddenly sensed the prescence of a New Age snake oil salesman.
“Tell you what?”
“That you’re the Son of God…that Christ theological system of yours, has been replaced by Blaast.”
“Dang, you’re good…you’re really good. In fact, tomorrow I’m gonna talk to the Dean and have him triple that stipend of yours,” Toby Jay replied faceciously. “But honestly,” he conceded, “I must admit I’m less than overjoyed about this. I’m not altogether comfortable with this implication, myself.”
Very earnestly, Molly peered deep into Toby Jay’s dangerous eyes and said, “If we’re going to continue this conversation, I’m definately gonna need another beer. Besides, I really need to use the girls’ room. So hang tight, I’ll be right back.”
“OK, cool, sounds good to me.”
Consequently, for the first time that night, Toby Jay found himself sitting solo at the bar. In doing so, he twirled his bar stool around, facing the main pool table, and watched Jeffery smash the break, sinking a whopping total of four balls in the process.
Not long thereafter David approached the bar to buy another Samual Adams lager.
“Looks like Jeff’s really on a roll,” noted Toby Jay.
“Yeah, the guy’s on fucking fire…absolutely unbeatable. I don’t think he’s missed but one shot all night, and he’s already on his third or fourth round. A real Willie Mosconi that guy is,” David muttered as he knocked back a big gulp of lager.
But then, shortly after David moseyed back to his stool near the main table, a ludicrously cute college girl, sporting slightly darker than lavender hair and cheerleader-like pigtails, casually sauntered by. Impressively, she was wearing a vintage Jimi Hendrix Are You Experienced? T-shirt, perfectly tattered Levi jeans, and a purple pair of Chuck Taylor sneakers. With a long string of love beads graped around her neck, she appeared to be the archetypcal New Age hippie chick.
Tempted to introduce himself, instead Toby Jay viewed her from afar, knowing that nothing could possibly come of it, since he was sworn to celibacy for the entire year. This did not, however, prevent him from fantasing privately in his own mind, while watching the hippie chick socialize with a vivacious pack of party people, most noteably with a tall, thin, hipster dude, who was a dead-ringer for Jackson Browne circa Late for the Sky, only wearing a big, round pair of T.S. Elliot-like glasses.
As a result, Toby Jay began to wonder what the chances were that this hippie chick, unlike the many he had previously laid, had a nicely manicured vagina. Indeed, this was the essential paradox: on the one hand, even more than the sporto or nerdy type, Toby Jay preferred the hippie chick prototype; yet, on the other hand, this usually entailed gross, hairy pussy. So hippie chick was great in theory, at a distance, for enlightening geopolitical conversation, and rock n roll comeraderie, but once she slipped her panties off, it was Puke City. She was, sexually speaking, utterly undesirable.
And since Toby Jay began to intuit from afar that this hippie chick was probably no different than all the rest, he soon turned his attention to a female he sensed would better fulfill his vaginal criteria. In fact, he would have bet the farm that this particular female was completely shaved, or at least had a tidy landing strip, or perhaps better yet, the proverbial pervert patch; that little patch of hair some girls leave two to three inches from the top of the vulva. Visually, this female checked all the inferential boxes for indictions of “well kept pussy”; that is to say, she had nicely styled hair in the fashion of Jennifer Aniston, pink immaculately manicured nails, and her makeup had been very tastefully applied. Most all, though, she had a smile and corresponding glint in her eye that said she not only probably possessed a smooth vaginal surface, but was probably perfectly willing to perform anal. And as far as Toby Jay was concerned, this particular combination constituted a kind of sexual Holy Grail.
But then, a bit sooner than expected, Molly returned. “I’m back” she said, holding a fresh draft beer, reaching for another cigarette.
‘Hey, before we continue,” Toby Jay remarked, “I really want to thank you for having this conversation with me. To tell you the truth, I’m really a hermit at heart. And lately, I’ve tried to model my life after the ancient alchemists, who were extremely reclusive. In fact, tonight is the first time I’ve been outside my house in months. Believe it or not, you’re the first person I’ve discussed this stuff with. So, in all seriousness, thanks for hearing me out…thanks for taking the time to listen to all these crazy-ass theories of mine.”
“Oh no, it’s my pleasure,” said Molly. “It’s not every night I can come to Willie’s and sit down at the bar and have a nice chat with the Son of God himself,” she poked fun with a dimpled, irresistible grin, bearing an uncanny resemblance to a young Splendor in the Grass era Natalie Wood – that nose, those eyes, those lips…
“Cute…very cute,” said Toby Jay dryly. “But seriously, to pick up where we left off, I feel like I really need to explain myself…explain this whole Otto Blaast aspect of my mission.”
“OK, let’s hear it,” Molly said as she took a long, satisfying drag.
“Well, I know you’ll probably think this is really lame, not to mention entirely too complicated, but have you ever heard of ‘string theory’?”
“Funny you should ask,” Molly said in a tone that suggested the word ‘synchronicity’ instantly popped into her mind. “It just so happens that my favorite uncle, Earnest, actually teaches physics at the University of Texas. In fact, during summer breaks, one of my favorite things to do was sit-in on his lectures. He’s a real kick-in-the-pants. He always performed these incredibly fascinating experiments; the most amazing things would happen right before my very eyes. And believe it or not, one of his pet interests was string theory. In fact, his lectures on string theory were probably my favorite. Yet, a lot like the Trinity, I’m not really sure I understood things entirely. As I recall, string theory is some pretty abstract stuff.”
“Abstract, indeed,” Toby Jay replied. “But from the sound of it, you probably know as much as I do.”
“I seriously doubt that. I just know the basics, really. I’m certainly no expert on the matter. But yeah, I think I’ve gotta pretty good grasp of the essentials.”
“Well, let’s hear it.”
“OK then” Molly gladly acquiesed. She then paused to take a quick sip and another deep drag. “As I understand things, string theory was devised in order to resolve a crisis or perennial problem in theoretical physics. That is, on the one hand, you have Einstein’s baby, so to speak, the Theory of Relativity, which works remarkably well on the macroscopic level, like explaining space-travel and the rotation of the planets. Yet, on the other hand, you have quantum theory, which I believe was originally invented by a guy named Max Plank, and which was specifically designed to explain the bizarre behavior of tiny sub-atmoic particles. Unfortunately, for a number of reasons, not the least of which was faster-than-light signaling on the sub-atomic level – the phenomena Einstein referred to as ‘spooky action-at-a-distance’, perhaps better known as ‘quantum entanglement’ – these two giant theories collided with one another early in the 20 Century. That is, it was determined that these two theories were fundamentally at odds with one another…that they were essentially incompatible. Correct, so far?” asked Molly.
“Absolutely,” Toby Jay nodded in affirmation as he chugged back his Budweiser beer.
“As a consequence,” Molly continued, “a crisis of sorts naturally emerged. You can’t, in other words, have two giant theories that are, at root, incommensurable. So, in order to harmonize or reconcile these two famed theories, scientists set out in search for the TOE, otherwise known as the Theory of Everything, which is generally regarded as the Holy Grail in modern, contemporary physics. Accordingly, it’s thought that if someone could somehow harmonize the macroscopic world with the microscopic world, that is, harmonize the Theory of Relativity with quantum mechanics, they would have, in effect, explained virtually everything. “So far, so good?” again Molly inquired.
“So far, so good” Toby Jay replied. Then, in his best faux-hick voice, he added faceciously, “Boy howdy, sounds like your old uncle Earnest really learned ya well.”
In turn, Molly just chuckled and continued by saying, “So eventually, in order to create this grand, unified synthesis, scientists started to appeal to the notion or idea of superstrings; the physical universe is, in essence, comprised of nothing but these tiny little strings. Now, while this may initially strike some as manifestly absurd, string theory is actually founded upon an elegant mathematical system, which is proving to be remarkably consistent with the real world. Correct?” Molly, once again, inquired.
“Perfectly,” Toby Jay responded rather resoundingly, thinking to himself, “Man, Molly might just be the most impressive person I’ve met since grad school.”
“However, as my uncle Earnest would warn, despite all this hope for profitable or unifying explanations, new problems emerged.” At this point, Molly paused to take another drag. “Unfortunately” she continued, “I don’t’ remember all these problems. But as I recall, there was this really weird consequence…that in order to make the mathematics work, scientists were forced or compelled to postulate the existence of numerous, entirely unseen, dimensions. As I recall, things began with a ten-dimesional schema, but eventually ballooned all the way up to a twenty-dimensional conception. Am I remembering this correctly?” asked Molly.
“Yes, absolutely,” Toby Jay affirmed, vehemently. “In fact, this was precisely why I brought up string theory in the first place. It’s this issue of added dimensions that’s at the very heart of my justification of the Otto Blaast aspect of my mission.”
“Hmm…how so?” Molly mused as she took a quick sip.
“Well, let’s recap. In the quest for a unified theory, scientists soon found promise in string theory, largely due to certain mathematical symmetries. Yet the cost of this apparent symmetry was the rather undesirable – anti-Ocham’s Razor – postulation of a multitude of highly speculative dimensions. In other words, there’s an obviously unappealing price to be paid for this apparent harmony; this being the rather extravagant and ultimately undesirable postulation of a whole host of counter-empirical entities or dimensions,” said Toby Jay, who then paused to take another elongated gulp.
“Yeah, well, I really don’t see where you’re going with this,” Molly said quizzically.
“Well, to cut to the chase, given my theoretical framework, Otto Blaast is a lot like those added dimesions. Or in other words, Otto Blaast is, in some ways, an undesirable aspect that nonetheless helps to harmonize or unify other related aspects or concerns. In order to complete my new-fangled conception of the Trinity, Otto Blaast was a necessary, yet obviously uneasy, consequence of previous theological commitments; these being, of course, the Great Generator and the Great Voice. Again, neither Otto Blaast nor the added dimensions are ideally desirable; yet they are necessary to harmonize all things concerned – to create conceptual cohesion.”
“Yeah…OK…I think I sorta get it now,” Molly replied. “Given your prior theological commitments or framework, it makes sense to infer that the name that was bestowed upon you was meant to complete the Trinity. Otto Blaaast as the completion of the Trinity…pretty good, right? In fact, you might want to quote me on that someday,” said Molly teasingly.
Indeed, I will” Toby Jay replied. “In fact, the way this conversation is going, I reckon I’ll be quoting you on several accounts.”
“Really?” earnestly Molly replied.
“Truly, it would be an honor, Mr. Blaast.” She then stood up, took a quick sip, and suggested, “How bout I put a few coins in the jukebox?
“Sure, go ahead.”
“Got any requests?”
“Well, I doubt this jukebox has “Bennie and the Jets” or “Levon”, which is what I’d really like to hear right now. So, barring that, how bout some Dwight Yoakum, preferably “Guitars, Cadillacs” and something from The Dead, like “Friend of the Devil.”
“OK, comin’ right up.”
. . .
Soon, Molly returned. Immediately, she suggested, “Hey, I noiticed that there was a booth in the back. How bout I go tell Jeff where I’ll be, and we’ll meet up in the back?”
“That’s cool with me,” replied Toby Jay, who then proceeded to purchase yet another Bud longneck.
Afterwards, as Molly suggested, Toby Jay promptly headed to the back of the bar. Sure enough, in the very back, there was a singularly open black booth.
When Molly returned, she effortlessly situated herself within the black booth and proceeded to take a big chug of beer. She then confessed, “I’ve got to admit this whole Otto Blaast thing is really starting to grow on me. It just seems like there is a ton of symbolism built into this one name or thing,” she said with emphasis as she paused to take a drag. “I mean, there’s all these meanings spinning around in my mind.
“Let’s hear it,” said Toby Jay enthusiastically. “I’m actually very curious as to how your interpretations might mesh with mine.”
“Well, when I first saw the signature, I automatically thought – Big Bang! But then, I flashed back to my childhood, back to when I used to stay up on Christmas Eve and watch midnight mass at The Vatican. I already told you I went to Catholic school, right?”
“Yes, of course.”
“Well, I was always mesmerized by all the adorments surrounding the Pope. Everything was either circular or in the shape of a cross, much like your Otto Blaast signature. I mean, there are three T’s and two O’s. Correct?”
“That’s very observant of you,” said Toby Jay.
It was then that Molly treated herself to another sip and drag. She then continued by saying, “But you have to admit, this whole Otto Blaast thing has a certain profane aspect to it as well.
“Profane…like how, exactly?” Toby Jay inquired.
“Like masturbation for one. In fact, Otto Blaast sounds like some sorta alpha-male porn star circa the era of Blade Runner. Heck man, it’s the best futuristic porn name ever!
Naturally, Toby Jay busted out in laughter. But, of course, he was not about to reveal to Molly how spot-on her interpretation really was. That is, he was not about to share his perennial obsession with pornography, nor inform her that he was actually an afficianado of sorts. So instead, he addressed what appeared to be the obvious oddity here, namely Molly herself, who looked so impossibly young and yet was so amazingly bright and well informed.
“I know it’s not proper to ask a lady how old she is,” said Toby Jay sheepishly. “But you look entirely too young to be having this conversation.”
“I know,” said Molly. “I get that all the time.” She then went on to give a very brief summary of the past four to five years of her life, which began with the somewhat startling fact that she had actually tested out of high school at the age of fifteen and now was currently a sophomore at OSU.
“So I’m nineteen,” finally Molly confessed.
“So how the hell did you get in here?”
“Oh great, so I’m a witness to a juvenile crime.” Toby Jay jested. He then paused to take a big swig. But immediately thereafter, he playfully remarked, “So if I’m a real wise guy, then that must make you a genuine smarty-pants.”
“Actually, you’ll never believe this, but my uncle Earnest nicknamed me, Mollymath, as a play on the word ‘polymath’.”
“Nope…I believe you, alright.”
Molly then went on to reveal that she was an official member of Mensa International and that she was once one of the top-ranked junior chess players in America. She also mentioned that she had received offers from Stanford and Cal Berkely, but felt it wise to remain relatively close to her home in Austin, Texas.
“I wanted to get out and experience the world, go on the road, on a journey, but just not so far from home,” Molly explained. “After all, I had just turned sixteen…just received my drivers license. But I have to admit, it didn’t hurt that OSU offered to pay for absolutely everything. So far, school wise at least, I haven’t had to pay a dime.”
“Wow…sweet deal. Indeed, that’s very, very impressive.”
“Yeah, I count my blessings,” said Molly, who then paused to take a robust drink from her red Solo Cup. She then continued by saying, “you know, it strikes me as strange that we’ve been talking about this book of yours for almost an hour now, and I don’t even know what the heck it’s called. Wouldn’t supposed that’s top-secret esoteric information as well,” slyly Molly smiled.
“Actually, it kinda is,” Toby Jay said with a straight face. “In fact, the story behind the title is just as bizarre, if not more so, as the story behind my alias.”
“Not the Great Voice again?”
“Yep, the Great Voice again. Only this time the circumstances were far more strange and mysterious. At least when my alias was revealed, it was something I had been thinking about; something that was already on my mind. The title, on the other hand, came to me completely out of the blue, two years prior to my actual undertaking of the book. So, in this case, there was zero context.
“Whoa, that is strange,” said Molly, taking a quick drag.
“Well, I’ll never forget the day” Toby Jay tried to explain. “It was November of 1994, right around Thanksgiving, when suddenly, as I was sprawled out on the sofa, watching MTV, the Great Voice spoke and informed me that I was to write a book in the coming years and that the title of this book was to be Gold Connections.”
Immediately Molly remarked, “That’s a really cool name. It sounds very dignified. In fact, once again, I’m reminded of The Vatican. Have you ever noticed that all those circles and crosses I was referring to earlier are almost always gold. To me, gold is very noble…the very pillar of human civilization, actually.”
“Gee, thanks. I love your interpretation. It’s very kind of you.”
“So tell me,” Molly inquired, “what’s your interpretation?”
“There’s not enough time in the day…or in this case, night.”
“Oh come on, just use a little Ocham’s Razor.”
“Well, if I gave you the whole story, I’m sure, afterwards, you’d want to take a razer to Ockam’s Razor,” said Toby Jay, who then proceeded to take a big chug of Bud. “But OK, if you insist,” he continued, “I’ll try to make it brief. First, as for the word ‘gold’, it actually took me quite some time to figure things out, though the meanings were right there under my nose the entire time. Yet it took time to develop the proper context in which to make these rather obvious implications clearly evident. But like most things significant, the realization came to me all at once. In a flash, I finally realized the obvious, that is, there are literally three words that are part and parcel of the word – gold; three very powerful words at that. Of course, you’ve got ‘go’ and ‘old’ and ‘god’. Which now, in retrospect, is mind-blowingly appropritate, given that a big part of my book deals with resurrecting old gods, like Jupiter and Zeus. So, aside from God is active information, I now had another motto, “Go old gods!”
Immediately, Molly busted out in laughter. “Sounds like you’re a cheerleader for all those lost, largely forgotten deities of yore.”
“I’d certainly like to think so,” Toby Jay replied, knocking back a big chug of Bud as George Jones’s “White Lightning” was blaasting from the old Wurlitzer jukebox. He then continued by saying, “Now, as for the word ‘connections’, it has a much more modern, contemporary connotation. It’s really one of the new catchwords of the Computer Age. Just recently, almost everyone has acquired their own personal computer. As a result, people are now connecting with one another all across the world. So the term ‘connections’, little did I know at the time, is actually the perfect contemporary compliment to the decidedly more ancient implications of the term ‘gold’. Now, in retrospect, I’ve finally come to realize, after pondering over this for years, that the title of the book was meant to fuse the ancient with the new-fangled. To create a metaphorical synthesis of all things young and old, where the sign of Sagitarrius is trending on AOL and the mythology of Zeus is zooming through the circuitry of Apple computers.”
“You know, this is at least the second time you’ve mentioned the sign Sagitarius. So, would I be correct in assuming that your birth sign is going to play an important role in this tale of Jungian inspired self-discovery?” Molly asked.
“Absolutely. In fact, the sign Sagitarius is at the very heart of my work. Symbollically, it’s arguably the richest, most complex, and compelling sign in the zodiac.”
“Well, both of my older bothers are Sags, so I know all about you guys – the good, the bad, and the ugly.” Molly chuckled as she paused to take a drag and then a quick sip.
“Pardon me?” Toby Jay quickly countered incredulously. “For your information, there are no ugly aspects. Even our negative traits tend to be somewhat endearing.”
“Hmm…since when has being a foolish, gluttonous bigot ever been endearing?”
“Well, I was thinking more along the lines of being extremely blunt…opinionated…self-righteous…and over-the-top extravagant.”
“That’s the merely bad, not so much the ugly,” said Molly. “But I have to give it to you Sags, you guys are the quintessential philosophers. You guys also tend to be extremely generous, not to mention naturally athletic and optimistic. But if I had to summarize you Sags with two favorable words, they’d probably be “expansive” and “freedom-loving.” From what I’ve read, it’s next to impossible to get a centuar to walk down the aisle. In fact, you guys give an entirely new meaning to the phrase, ‘Don’t fence me in’,” Molly chuckled, as Willie Nelson’s athem “On the Road Again” was now blarring from the old Wurlitzer.
“Well, that much is certainly true,” replied Toby Jay, pausing to take another big chug of Bud. “But enough about me,” he continued, “I’m curious…what’s your sign?
“Hmm…turns out I know all about you as well. So I reckon it’s my turn to offer a pointed critique?”
“I guess,” said Molly reluctantly. “But can you make it quick? I’d really like to get back to this blasphemous book of yours.”
“Certainly,” Toby Jay replied as he knocked back another big swig. “Shall I start with the good, the bad, or the ugly?”
“The bad. And for brevity’s sake, you can just skip over the ugly, if you don’t mind?”
“Well then, as for the merely bad, you Aquarians tend to be decidedly deviant, even downright subversive. Furthermore, you tend to embody a curious blend of aloofness and insubordination.”
“So,” quickly Molly inquired, “are you suggesting I become a politician or spy?”
Of course, Toby Jay couldn’t help but bust out in laughter. “Actually,” he responded, “the way things are trending nowadays, combining biochemistry with espionage might not be such a bad idea.” But he then continued, “However, on the positive flip-side, you Aquarians also tend to be very progressive, futuristic and naturally apt to become trailblazers where modern invention is concerned. Did you know Thomas Edison was an Aquarian?”
“I did not” Molly replied. “But I probably should have, since Edison is one of my uncle’s favorite historical figures.”
“I’m gonna go out on a limb here,” Toby Jay paused for a drink. “But your uncle Earnest wouldn’t happen to be a huge old-school Star Trek fan?”
“Actually, he’s a big fan of both. But yeah, you’re probably right. He probably favors the old-school stuff over The Next Generation,” said Molly, as she stopped to take a quick sip, but immediately thereafter asked, “I’m curious, why did you ask?”
“Aw, just tryin’ to put my intellectual intuitions to the test, that’s all,” said Toby Jay dismissively.
“So I’m curious,” said Molly, who then paused to take another deep, satisfying drag. “What brought a guy like you to a town like Stillwater?” She then quickly added, “I bet that’s a real doozy of a story,” as she downed her very last sip.
“Yeah, it’s a real humdinger, alright,” said Toby Jay stoically.
“Well then, I’m definitely gonna need another beer.”
“OK, but this one’s on me.”
“Oh no, you really don’t have to…”
“I insist,” Toby Jay averred. “Are you kidding? You’re like the brightest person I’ve ever met, not to mention this is, by far, the best, most cathartic conversation I’ve had in years. So yeah, from here on out, the drinks are on me.” He then asked, “So what kinda draft?”
“OK, Coors Light it is.”
So Toby Jay slid out from the black booth, then said, “hold the fort down, I’ll be back in a flash,” and promptly headed straight to the bar.
“What would you like, sweetheart?” asked the busty, vampy waitress.
“Give me another Bud longneck, but this time, can you please get me a Coors Light draft as well?”
“You bet, sweetie,” the waitress said with a Dolly Parton wink.
. . .
“Watch it…it’s pretty full,” Toby Jay said as he handed Molly a red Solo Cup filled to the brim with the still sudsy draft.
“It’s my pleasure.”
Then, wasting no time, Molly said, “So let’s hear this doozy story of yours,” while savoring her first taste of fresh draft.
“OK, buckle up,” Toby Jay warned, knocking back a big chug of Bud. He then continued by saying, “there were basically two factors that led me to Stillwater…the first being the current real estate market. Ya see, I came into a very large sum of money from an insurance settlement, and, of course, I wanted to invest my money wisely. Now, at the time, the real estate market in Norman was super inflated. Otherwise, I’d probably be in Norman right now. But it just so happened that the market was perfect for me, here in Stillwater. So I sank the bulk of my money into two properties, a very small house, and a very large house. In fact, my large property, you’ve probably already seen.” He then turned to the west side of the bar and said, “Just up the street from here, at the top of Washington Street, you’ve probably seen the big two-story house with the sign out front – Westing Manor?
“No way…you really own that?” Molly asked, disbelievingly.
“Yep, sure do.”
“Boy, that must have been quite the settlement, eh?
“Yeah, but I was actually awarded over twice as much,” bitterly Toby Jay replied, as he knocked back another big gulp of Bud. “Turns out,” he continued, “the old crooked fart of a judge refused to let the jury’s verdict stand. So the insurance company attempted to wait me out, hoping I would die in the process, but they eventually settled like eight years later.”
“I hope you don’t mind me asking, but what…
“No, that’s fine,” quickly Toby Jay anticipated, “I was hit by a drunken driver and broke my C-5 vertebrea. “Here,” he pointed out. “Can you see the bullet-hole-like scares on my forehead?”
“Oh my god,” Molly reacted rather dramatically. “Looks like they put you in one of those awful halo braces?”
“Halo brace, indeed,” said Toby Jay stoically. “Actually, it was pretty gross. I could barely get around. But the worst part was that I couldn’t take a shower, so when they eventually took the brace off, there was layer after layer of old rotten, dead skin.”
“Oh, you poor thing,” Molly said sympathetically. “That must have been extremely traumatic.”
“Yeah, well, I’m not one to throw a pity party,” said Toby Jay as he choked back another big chug. “Actually, I feel very blessed to have survived such a violent crash, without any notable deficits. And to tell you the truth, I’ve always been uncomfortable talking about my own suffering. I guess I’m a pick-yourself-up-by-your-boot-straps kinda guy.”
“That’s admirable enough,” said Molly, who then took a quick sip and promptly asked, “So then, what’s the second factor?”
“Oh boy, this is where things get truly bizarre,” Toby Jay confessed, taking another huge gulp of Bud. But then he continued, “Believe it or not, the second guiding factor was the SPI station. In fact, the SPI lies at the very heart of my mission. If it weren’t for SPI radio, I might very well have landed elsewhere.”
“How so?” asked Molly, looking rather perplexed.
“Again, this is where things get pretty weird. And I’m really not sure I can do things justice. I’m reasonably sure I’ll sound like some sort of kooky tin-foil-hat quack. But if you really want to know…
“Of course I want to know,” quickly Molly said as she titled her head back to take a deeper than normal drag.
“Well, as I recall, everything really begins when I returned home from seeing Guided by Voices in Dallas. Strangely, shortly after my return, tons of insanely weird shit started to happen to me. Of course, I couldn’t begin to recount all these bizarre events. However, looking back, there is one happening that always immediately comes to mind,” Toby Jay paused for a quick chug. “This happening,” he continued, “occurred when I was living in Edmond on historic University Steet. Still to this day, I can very vividly recall, the SPI station was airing the late night CD of the Week program, which this particular week was featuring The Jesus and Mary Chain’s Psychocandy. Now I can’t remember which specific song was playing at the time of this happening, but Psychocandy was nonetheless blarring through my windows and my front door, which was wide open,” Toby Jay dramatically gestured. “So, I decided to step outside, onto the concrete steps, right outside my apartment, just to sorta chill and enjoy some cool night air. Now, mind you, at the time, I was on an ultra-high, having just seen GbV in Dallas. So you’ll just have to trust me here, I was on this completely indescribable spiritual plane,” Toby Jay tried to explain, pausing to take an especially deep drink. “Anyhow, the stage is set…I’m chilling outside my apartment, looking northward toward Stillwater, staring into this red traffic light on University Street, when suddenly, at the instant I felt myself merge with my immediate surroundings and my own perception seemed to actually penetrate directly into this red light, everything blacked out! I shit you not, Molly, the entire street just blacked out. In fact, to make sure I wasn’t hallucinating, I immediately ran into the house and asked my girlfriend at the time, Isabelle, to come outside and verify that University Street was, in fact, blacked out. Sure enough, she confirmed that the traffic lights were, indeed, blacked out.”
“Holy crap” Molly gasped. “This sounds like something straight out of a Philip K. Dick novel. You know, where the distinction between mind and matter is unsettlingly blurred?
“Yeah, I know,” Toby Jay responded. “No doubt, this was a truly definitive moment in my life. In fact, I felt as if I had been directly spoken to in this astonishingly profound, yet completely mysterious way. From that moment on, I found myself under the spell of the SPI. And now, looking back, I realize that my mission was actually being guided by the SPI, all along. However, it wasn’t until I purchased the small house I referred to earlier that everything, including this life-altering blackout, finally came together and began to make perfect sense.”
“Hmm…how so?” Molly inquired.
“Remember that Jungian rabbit hole I mentioned earlier?”
“Well, I’m about to take you – as a guest, of course – through this actual rabbit hole right now.”
“Why do I feel like I should be very afraid?”
“Well, I did say guest, did I not?”
“Yes, you did. But these things…these rabbit holes tend to have osmotic, residual effects, do they not?
“Indeed they do. So perhaps…
“Not a chance,” quickly Molly countered, “I’ve come this far…I’m not about to turn back now,” as she proceeded to take a quick sip and decidedly long drag.
“OK then,” Toby Jay acquiesed. “Like I said, everything began to come together and make perfect sense, shortly after I purchased the small property, which is now my present home. Ya see, when I finally decided to sink the bulk of my money into the Stillwater real estate market, I contacted a realtor. In turn, I instructed him to find me a little one-bedroom house I could call my own, so I could save most of my money for the purchase of a much larger property, like Westing Manor. Now my realtor, who turned out to be a total godsend, was right up front with me, from the very start. In so many words, he said that this was going to be a very tall task, since there were very few one-bedroom houses in Stillwater, let alone ones that were relatively close to the campus – this being one of my few demands. However, in early March of last year, I received a call from my realtor, alerting me that a one-bedroom house, reasonably close to campus, had just hit the open market. Sure enough, it was exactly what I was looking for, although admittedly the house was in pretty rough shape. Yet, with it being surrounded by all these majestic trees, I saw tons of potential. Quickly, then, I sank well over thirty thousand dollars into it, the result being a tiny modern-day alchemically inspired digs of sorts.
Now admittedly, I went a bit overboard, especially with the chandeliers and the custom-made window treatments, but there’s no doubt it’s one of the most captivating one-bedroom homes in America,” Toby Jay asserted emphatically, as he paused to take a deep drink. “However,” he continued, “shortly after I completed the renovation process, and began to settle into my new lifestyle here in Stillwater, I started to suspect something was not quite right with my neighbor across the street…this old lady who I had previously just written off as overly eccentric. But now, no longer preoccupied by all the distractions surrounding the replacement of the roof and windows and flooring and tile and whatnot, I finally had the time to closely observe my neighbor. Soon, I began to suspect something rather sinister. And yet, I couldn’t quite put my finger on it. Continually, I struggled with these, seemingly very paranoid, suspicions of mine.”
“But there must have been something, right? Molly inquired. “I mean, this old lady had to have done something to illicit these intuitions of yours.”
“Oh yeah,” Toby Jay responded. “There were actually several things. And when taken in total, they didn’t appear to add up.”
“Like what, for instance?”
“Well, for starters, she would get into her old green Oldsmobile, usually right before sunset, and rev the engine extremely loud, but never actually leave for town. After a while, I began to suspect these revving rituals of hers were being used to summon certain supernatural forces.”
“Now Jay, you have to admit, this does sound pretty kooky.”
“I know,” said Toby Jay. “But that’s just for starters. There’s actually a lot more…
“OK, I’m listening.”
“Really, what first struck me as strange was the window on the southside of her home; a window clearly visible from the street. At night, this window would light up with this eerie glow of actual hellfire; this deep, menacing, yet strangley vibrant red. But weirder still, from afar, it appeared as though this window was oddly deformed or warped, like it had somehow been melted from within.”
“Creepy,” replied Molly, taking a serious drag.
“Yeah, but it gets better…or creepier shall I say,” said Toby Jay. “Ya see, one night my curiousity got the best of me, so I crossed the street to investigate the matter. With this overwhelming sense of trepidation in my every step, I slowly…very cautiously approached this window. Now immediately, I became bewitched by its wrinkled, grim glow. Thankfully, however, I quickly snapped out of it, and continued my investigation. In doing so, not but ten to fifteen feet from this completely inexplicable window, I soon approached the side door that this old lady likes use, usually right before she performs one of those ghastly reving rituals. And I shit you not, Molly, I looked up and locked onto to this Mickey Mouse sticker. No fucking joke, in the center of the upper glass portion of this side door, which was shrounded with all these long, skinny trees, there was this sticker of Mickey fucking Mouse. Of course, I instantly froze in my tracks, thinking to myself, ‘What the fuck?…this lady is downright demented’!” Toby Jay dramtically explained, pausing to knock back a big chug of Bud.
“What the hell?” Molly asked, slightly dipping down to take a quick sip.
“Precisely,” Toby Jay affirmed, sensing that Molly was slowly but surely growing more sympathetic. “Now get this,” he continued, “with even greater trepidation, I, as silently as possible, made my way back to the garage, or bat cave as I like to call it. Eventually, I approached the tail end of her old green Oldsmobile, which, for your information, I affectionately call the Evil Green Machine.”
“Affectionately, eh?” said Molly rather rhetorically. “Yeah, well, you can blame the British in me.”
“So what’s your last name?”
“Yep, that’s quite British, alright. Don’t suppose you’re any relation to Pete?”
“Probably, somewhere down the line, I suppose. But to tell you the truth, I really haven’t the slightest…
“OK, sorry for the diversion. It’s just that I have this obsession with all things British.”
“Well, join the club,” Toby Jay affirmed, taking a quick sip. “Anyhow,” he continued, “as I approached the tail end of this old green Battlelac of hers, I noticed that there was this sticker stuck to the upper portion of the back wind shield.
Now this sticker was in a Unversity-like font, and said “The Principia” in green and was trimmed in yellow. So immediately, I’m thinking to myself, ‘what the hell?…The Principia, huh’?”
“Actually,” Molly quickly replied, “that’s the name of perhaps the greatest work ever penned in the natural sciences. I’m sure you’re probably already familiar with Sir Isaac Newtons’s Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy, right?
“Indeed, I am. In fact, I had to digest that work very thoroughly for a philosophy of science seminar, back when I was in grad school. And I definitely agree, it’s arguably the single most important scientific treatise ever penned,” Toby Jay affirmed, pausing for another drink. “But guess what?” he provoked.
“After doing a bit of research, I’m almost certain that this sticker is connected to this school for Christian Scientists, which was founded by this lady named Mary Morgan, back around the turn of the century.”
“So this old lady is a member of the Church of Christian Science?”
“Yep. In fact, she actually confessed to teaching Sunday school at the Stillwater chapter.”
“Confessed?” Molly inquired. “So you’ve actually spoken to this Principia lady?”
“Many times,” said Toby Jay, straightly. “But hold your horses, I’ll get to that a bit later. Heck, you don’t wanna ruin the story now, do you?”
“Of course not.”
“OK then” said Toby Jay, somewhat sharply, as he proceed to knock back a big chug of Bud. He then, in his best mystery voice, said, “So now the plot thickens…” leaving a tension-filled pause.
“Well, not long after I started putting two-and-two together, I got this knock on my door. Now mind you, it’s the fourth of July, and I’m drinkin’ up a storm, rockin’ out to The Stones’ Some Girls, having a good old time, right. Well, I open the door, and much to my surprise, it was my ex-girlfriend, Isabelle. Out of fucking nowhere, she just shows up at my front doorstep…on the fourth of July, nonetheless!” Toby Jay exclaimed, chugging back more brew. “Now, even though we parted on very sour terms, I was willing to put the past behind us, and try to make a real go of it; so we both agreed to give our relationship one last shot. In doing so, very quickly we began to bond. In fact, we both worked tirelessly, day and night, painting and refurbishing Westing Manor. As I recall, there were a lot of hot summer nights, tons of Corona beer consummed, and just this general frolicking all about,” said Toby Jay, flailing his arms, then pausing for a quick swig. “Anyhow, I eventually began to share with Isabelle my suspicions about this old lady. In turn, she began to investigate the matter herself; so one night she did precisely what I had done…she crossed the street in the dead of night to inspect the window, and the two stickers. And when she returned, I’ll never…ever forget her response,” said Toby Jay, who then gave a lengthy, dramatic pause as his eyes continued to burn an incendiary blue.
“Well, what did she say?
“She suggested that we break into the house.”
“Seriously?” Molly could barely believe. “But what if you guys got caught? I mean, you could go to jail for that, right?”
“Holy crap,” Molly cried. “I think I’m gonna need another beer.”
“Heck, I haven’t even gotten to the good stuff yet,” said Toby Jay playfully.
Synchronously enough, at that very moment, a rather slutty-looking, yet nonetheless very helpful, waitress passed by.
“Miss,” said Toby Jay to the waitress. “Can you bring me another Bud, please, and a Coors Light draft for the little lady here?”
“Sure thing,” said the waitress with an accommodating smile. “But give me a minute,” she said in parting, “as you can see, we’re super slammed.”
“OK, no hurry.”
However, right after the waitress turned for the bar, there was a noteably awkward period of silence. Indeed, it was evident that Molly had become completely captivated by this conversation, and yet at the same time, subtly shaken. She, however, was the first to break the silence.
“So did you guys break in?” very squarely Molly asked.
“Yes ma’am, we shore did,” Toby Jay replied like some sort of cowboy-trickster, reminiscent of James Dean in the movie Giant. He then took a huge chug of Bud and continued in a perfectly serious voice, “We both agreed on the most opportune time, and successfully executed our plan. Naturally, I went first, and told Isabelle to bounce my basketball really hard if the old lady happened to return from town in record time. So shortly after the old lady left for town, I bolted across the street, and immediately headed for the backside of the house, hoping that she had left the back sliding door open. Sure enough, she had,” said Toby Jay, pausing to take another extra-large gulp.
“Well,” Toby Jay hesitated, “this is where I can no longer do justice to this extremely fucked-up tale.”
“Why so, exactly?” Molly asked, taking a quick drag.
“In all honesty,” said Toby Jay earnestly, “it’s truly the stuff farcical fiction is made of. Fuck man, I’m living the shit, and I still have a hard time believing things.”
“Well, you’ve done a nice job so far…I really see no reason to stop now,” said Molly with a rye, almost conspiratorial, smile.
“OK then, but just remember, you asked for it,” Toby Jay said in the devikin demeanor of young Jack Nicholson.
“Oh god, please save me,” Molly muttered as she proceeded to take a quick sip.
“So” said Toby Jay, continueing in a luring voice, “I slowly, very carefully slid the sliding glass door open and very gently peeled back these old shabby curtains. But unbelievably, I couldn’t see a damn thing. The house was completely pitch black inside. So momentarily, I became a bit flustered, thinking to myself, “fuck man, its mid-July…it’s hundred-plus degrees outside, and yet I can’t see a fucking thing!” Toby Jay exclaimed, briefly pausing to take a hearty swig. “So,” he continued, “my immediate thought was that I had to hurry back to Isabelle, so she could experience this preternatural darkness for herself. In fact, the whole time I’m thinking to myself, ‘someone’s got see this…I’ve gotta have a witness here. Fuck man, nobody’s ever gonna believe me!’ So I tell Isabelle as much, and she, in turn, hands me the basketball, and then darts across the street. However, I started to get a bit worried when she failed to reappear. Fortunately, just as these concerns began to mount, Isabelle finally emerged from the back of the house. Now I could tell, even from afar, that she had this really sickened look on her face. In fact, the first thing she said to me was, ‘I really need to go inside, I think I’m gonna puke.”
“Holy shit,” Molly gasped. “So what exactly did she see?”
“Well, shortly after she puked her guts out, she said that she found the darkness to be preternaturally overwhelming as well. But thankfully, she was quite a bit bolder than I. In fact, she actually attempted to survey the place. But again, she said she didn’t get very far, largely due to this almost supernatural darkness. However, as a result of her almost total lack of trepidation, Isabelle noticed things I hadn’t. For instance, she was certain that there were birds freely flying about. She was also certain that she had heard the bark of a small dog.”
“Naturally, of course,” Toby Jay continued, “I was a bit taken aback. In fact, very vividly, I remember responding to Isabelle’s suspicions by saying, ‘Why that’s impossible…I’ve never, in all these months, seen a dog’. And yet, she was absolutely adamant that this was no mere suspicion…that there was, in fact, a small dog inside the house.”
“Ew, that’s super gross,” said Molly in a tone of icky disgust. “You mean, she has this poor little dog, and it never sees the light of day…never let out to go poop or pee?”
“Yep, turns out, Isabelle was right all along, birds and all.”
“So” said Molly, trying to wrap her mind around things, “you’re trying to tell me that this old lady has birds flying about, deficating on everything inside the house, and this poor little dog, peeing and pooping on the floor as well?”
“Yep, it’s a fact, alright.”
“That’s just plain wrong.”
“I know. In fact, funny you say that, cuz that’s exactly what Isabelle repeatedly said any time I’d mention the house…‘that house is just wrong,’ was always her default response.
“So what happened to this creepy lady?”
“You mean, she still lives across from you?”
“And you haven’t reported her to the Humane Society?”
“Heck, she’s my main character. I’d be crazy to sabotage the book before it’s actually finished. Shit man, by some outlandishly bizarre quirk of cosmic fate, I’ve happened onto the most compelling non-fictional character imaginable…or maybe not so imaginable. And I’m sure as hell not about to have the authorities come wisk her away,” Toby Jay said rather emphatically. “Trust me on this, I’m about to pen one of the greatest American horror stories ever told.”
“I certainly don’t doubt it,” said Molly.
“But here’s the real kicker,” Toby Jay continued, “not long after Isabelle entered the house, she, all of a sudden, split to her mother’s home in Big Sky, Montana. One day, we’re domestically bonding over the restoration of Westing Manor, painting up a storm, drinking tons of Corona, fucking all over the place, when suddenly, she just up and went. Now, of course, we both knew that her sudden change of heart had everything to do with this Principia lady,” Toby Jay explained, pausing to take an extra-elongated drink, as though to comfort the residual heartache.
“Gee, I’m sorry to hear that,” said Molly, consolingly. “But I kinda get it. I mean, I probably would have wanted to bail, too.”
“Yeah, there were no hard feelings, whatsoever. In fact, it was as if when she left, she was telling me, ‘this is your war to fight, not mine. But I wish you the best of luck…because you’re seriously gonna need it’.”
“Well, that’s nice,” said Molly.
“Yeah, thankfully, things worked out for the best. And to tell you the truth, I’ve always been a hermit of sorts, so I really enjoyed the fact that I was now completely unencumbered. Finally, I could step back a bit and really reflect, not to mention closely observe this Principia lady.”
“Any revelations? Molly inquired.
“Well, at last, the University Street blackout made perfect, foreshadowing sense. I mean, there I was, looking north, straight toward Stillwater, starring directly into this red light, when suddenly, lights out!” Toby Jay recounted, demonstrably. He then, rather emphatically, asserted, “I’m absolutely convinced that the blackout on University Street was my first action-at-a-distance encounter with Principia.”
“Interesting,” said Molly in a tone that suggested she was thinking, “So we’ve got a real quantum showdown here, eh?”
“But now, the plot truly thickens,” said Toby Jay with raised, slightly madcap, eyebrows. “In fact,” he continued rather resoundingly, “what happened next is the single most significant synchronicity I’ve ever experienced. To tell ya the truth, nothing else comes even remotely close. Indeed, what happened next, completely, utterly changed my life forever. After experiencing this sychrjonicity, it became abundantly clear that there was absolutely no turning back – that I had to write this book that was to be titled, Gold Connections. And, of course, in doing so, I had to enter this seemingly fictional, yet all-too-real, rabbit hole of sorts…this rabbit hole I’m sharing with you, as I speak.”
“OK then, let’s hear it, Mr. Blaast,” said Molly in her best intrigueing James Bond inspired voice.
“Well, again,” said Toby Jay hesitantly, “I’m not altogether sure I can sufficiently tell this tale, but I’ll certainly do my best.” He then choked back a huge chug of Bud and continued by saying, “I’ll never forget the day…it was November tenth of last year, when I looked out of my front window and noticed that Principia was standing atop this dilapidated ladder, attempting to remove these old rain gutters on the creepy southside of her dungeon, the side with the menacing red window and the Mickey Mouse sticker. Of course, I immediately thought to myself, ‘what the hell is she doing?’ Yet, oddly enough, at first at least, I felt almost sympathetic, thinking she might actually injure herself. But then, not long thereafter, it suddenly dawned on me…‘this is your big opportunity…you’ve gotta go over there and actually speak to this scary-ass Principia lady’,” said Toby Jay, who then paused for another big chug of Bud.
“Oh my god, Jay,” Molly gasped. “So how did it go?”
“Well, like I said before, I’ll do my best,” Toby Jay said in a somewhat daunting tone of voice, pausing to take another long gulp. “First off, I have to be perfectly honest here…I really don’t remember a lot of the details. In fact, I found myself enveloped in this surreal fog of mind; what was transpiring before me was simply, unequivocally unreal. So my memory here is a lot more impressionistic than it is strictly linear. Shit, I couldn’t even begin to recall this conversation in its entirety. However, there are a handful of things, still to this day, that really stand out. And for better or for worse, some of these things I’ll take with me to my grave,” Toby Jay said in a decidedly fatalistic tone of voice, taking an exordinarily large gulp of Bud.
He then continued, “So I crossed the street and introduced myself under the friendly, caring guise of concern over her personal well-being. I clearly remember saying something like, “here, let me help you with that,” as she stood on her old creeky ladder. But then, when she stepped down from the ladder, I figured I needed to say something provocative in order to begin to construct a psychological profile. Was this lady just plain senile? Or perhaps she possessed a keen intellect? I really had no idea going in, although my suspicions told me the latter would most likely be the case. And indeed, these suspicions were resoundingly confirmed. As it turns out, Principia is a mastermind of all things related to the I Cbing and the world of the spiritual occult.”
“So what was the provocative hook?” Molly asked.
“My birth sign,” Toby Jay replied, rather steadfastly. “I made up this totally ad hoc reason to mention that I was a Sagittarian. Turns out Molly, from that moment on, it was, esoterically speaking, game on!”
“In fact,” Toby Jay continued, “I’ll never forget how she immediately created her own equally ad hoc reason to reference Erik the Red and the Isle of Man. Of course, right then, the old-crazy-lady hypothesis just crashed and burned. Nope, this certainly wasn’t some crazy old lady. Turns out, Molly, Principia is a real self-confessed witch, with absolutely astronomical powers. But I’ll get to that part a bit later,” said Toby Jay as he proceeded to knock back another big swig.
“Now, staying on course,” he continued, “the next thing I remember is Principia’s response to my next utterly random ad hoc reference; this time I mentioned Jim Morrison. In fact, this was when the conversation turned very dark, very fast. Astoundingly, she shortly thereafter replied in an overtly boastful manner, “You know, I exercised my sister Carolyn”, who apparently lives in Tempe, Arizona. Of course, right then, that surreal fog of mind I alluded to earlier really kick-in. I mean, are you fucking kidding me…my already creepy neighbor just got a whole lot scarier!”
“So what did you say?” asked Molly. “I mean, how is one to reply to something like that?
“Funny you ask,” said Toby Jay. “Since the answer to your question leads to an overall characterization of my initial relationship with Principia. In fact, did you ever see Goldfinger?
“Of course. Didn’t I already share with you my obsession with all things British?”
“Indeed, you did,” said Toby Jay graciously. “Well,” he continued, “my initial relationship with Principia was virtually identical to that of 007 and Goldfinger himself. You know, how each has the utmost respect for the other in an extremely highstakes game of cerebral cat and mosue; all the while, each knowing that, charming conversation aside, they were essentially enemies. This, in a nutshell, is precisely what my initial relationship with Principia was like. I say ‘initial’ because things, of course, eventually broke really bad. In fact, we’re both currently locked in a cosmic battle of sorts. We’re both fighting it out in this completely unfathomable rabbit hole I’ve been alluding to…”
“OK, but how exactly did you respond?” Molly persisted.
“Well, in so many words, I simply told her that if a person was gonna attempt to perform an exorcism, I reckoned the Arizona desert was a wise choice.”
“Haha, you’re funny,” said Molly as she proceeded to take a long, satisfying sip.
“Now the next thing I remember,” Toby Jay continued at a rather brisk pace, “occurred when I was in the act of removing her old guttering. It was during this time that I mentioned how metal was thought to hold secret information, and then gestured toward her old twisted TV antenne, resting all crookedly on the roof. Immediately, she asked, ‘did you know the neighbors’ big black dog died recently…mysterious causes I’ve heard.’ Of course, the inference was as obvious as it was horrific. So immediately, I’m like, ‘did she just insinuate that she’s responsible for the death of this dog; that she did so, via the secret telepathic powers hidden in this old crooked-ass antenna of hers’?”
“This is nuts, Jay…this story of yours is completely nuts!” Molly dramatically reacted. “I mean, supposedly, you’ve got this filthy witch who’s keen on referencing Erik the Red and the Isle of Man, then she claims to be an excorsist, and now she’s laying claim to the death of this dog due to some malevolent powers emitting from her TV antenna?”
“Yep, I told you, you wouldn’t believe me.”
“It’s not that I don’t believe you,” said Molly. “It’s just that this story, if it’s really true, is almost destined to become one of those oddities for the ages. I mean, this sounds like Phil Dick and David Lynch teamed up, and created one heck of a horror story.”
“Well, thankfully, I’ve got actual photos of almost everything, so the story’s veracity is beyond reproach. Only some ardent, asshole sceptic would doubt it,” stalwartly Toby Jay proclaimed, pausing to knock back a big chug of Bud. “But this story gets a lot better,” he continued. “In fact, what happened next, forever sealed my fate. Ya see, not long after I had helped Principia with her guttering, the sun began to set. As a result, there was this general understanding that this little cat-and-mouse game of ours would have to wait for another day. So I followed Principia around to the front of the dungeon, and suggested that she read this book I’d recently acquired called The 21 Lessons of Merlyn: A Study in Druid Magic & Lore. Surprisely enough, she showed an immediate interest. So I wasted no time in darting back to my pad and henceforth knocking on her front door, with book in hand. When I knocked, I immediately heard the bark of small dog. So, right then, I noted to myself, “Isabelle was right all along.”
“Instinctively, Molly cringed. “Again, that’s so gross.”
“But then,” Toby Jay continued, “When Principia finally answered, she barely peaked her head outside the door. I’ll never forget, she had this ritual face and augury tone to her voice, as she reached out to receive the book, only to immediately thereafter say in a very deliberate, matter-of-fact voice, “I’m doing the work of the Devil,” then slowly, ghoulishly, she vanished inside the house.”
“Good god,” cried Molly. She then paused to take a quick drag, but immediately thereafter continued, “OK, let me get this straight, Jay…this old lady actually told you, face-to-face, that she worshipped the devil…and on the first day of your acquantaince, no less?”
“Well, I don’t know if working for actually entails worshiping of, but yeah, she flat-out, very calmly, said ‘I’m doing the work of the Devil’.”
“Gee, Jay, what did you do to engender this type of reaction? I mean, you must have made quite an impression.”
“Actually, I made an impression the first day I hit town, driving around in my Porsche Targa, and two classic VW’s. My guess is that Principia couldn’t help but be impressed by the Porsche, which was a perfect year and model; silver, everything else blacked-out, 1985 – timelessly, wicked cool. But most of all, it was what I had done to the little house that was most impressive. Like I mentioned earlier, I turned my house into this opulent lair of achemical flare.”
“Alright then, this actually explains quite a lot,” Molly figured. “So, right from the get-go, she knew you were a force to be reckoned with.”
“Unfortunately, as it turns out, she’s the real force to be reckoned with…not me. In fact, what happened next is what forever sealed my fate. Ya see, immediately after Principia confessed to channeling evil powers, I hurried back home in this overall state of disbelief. ‘Did that just actually happen?’ I couldn’t help but ask. But when I entered the confines of my home, I realized something truly bizarre. Mind you, when I originally crossed the street to confront Principia, it was relatively warm outside, especially for November. I’d guess it was around eighty-one or eighty-two degrees at the time. In fact, I remember when I was standing on that old rickety-ass ladder of hers, I actually unbuttoned my shirt to cool off a bit. But now, strangely enough, it had actually gotten quite cold. ‘But how could this be,’ I wondered. One minute it’s eighty-plus degrees, then the next it’s fifty-something,” said Toby Jay dramatically, pausing to knock back some more Bud.
He then continued, “So I eventually settled down at my desk, and tried to transcribe, as accurately as possible, the conversation that had just taken place. However, not long thereafter, I heard this pecking sound on the windowpane. Slowly but surely, this pecking sound got louder and louder, as if someone, something was trying to get my attention. So I stood up from my desk, looked outside, stunned beyond all belief by the fact that my house was being pelted by a violent hailstorm. Naturally, at that very moment, I completely freaked-out, asking myself, ‘what are the chances…what are the probabilities that the weather would undergo a radical shift on the very day, at the very time, I found myself engaged with Principia for the first time. One minute Principia is boasting about performing an excorsism, confessing to me that she’s working for the Devil, while the very next, things turn scary cold and my home is struck by this utterly anomalous hailstorm.”
“Freaky synchronicity,” said Molly, slightly entranced.
“But get this,” Toby Jay continued, “the very next day, I tuned into the weather segment of the late local news, and learned that I had just witnessed the second most volatile weather change in the state’s history. Only one other day had been more radically mercurial…in the entire recorded history of Oaklahoma!”
“Super freaky synchronicity,” said Molly, notably disturbed.
“Well,” said Toby Jay very flatly, “this did it…this happening convinced me that there was simply no going back…that I had to tell this story, despite the fact that I have no real literary background to speak of, really. So on a wing and a prayer…”
“Aww, as far as I can tell, I think you’ll do just fine,” said Molly. “In fact, I want an autographed copy.”
“Certainly,” said Toby Jay. “But these things take time, and I suspect it might be very difficult to convince the literary world that this story is actually true, despite all the photographic evidence. But again, I really had no choice in the matter. Given everything I had experienced, I simply had to pen the book.”
“Oh totally,” Molly replied. “There’s no way you could live with yourself, if you didn’t. I mean, you really kinda owe it to the world to tell this story. Who knows, maybe it’ll become the next Amittyville, only a lot less controversial, since you’ve actually got photos for proof.”
“Now if I could only get you to talk to my parents on my behalf,” Toby Jay jested.
“So I take it your folks aren’t altogether sold on this mission of yours.”
“Hardly. In their minds, I should still be teaching. And heck, my dad is convinced Principia put a curse on me. ‘Something in you changed, the day you met that witch,’ he’s quite prone to say, especially anytime my future prospects get brought up.”
“Well, you gotta admit this rabbit hole of yours appears to be pretty perilous.”
“And I’m assuming there’s plently more to this sordid story. Correct?”
“Correct. Actually, there’s tons more. However, it’s getting a bit late…
“Come now, it’s not even half past midnight…last call isn’t for another hour or so. And I don’t know about you, but I’ve got all the time in the world. Pleeeease…I wanna hear more…a lot more,” Molly pleaded as she paused to take a long satisfying sip.
“OK,” Toby Jay acquiesced, “If you’re game, I’m certainly game. Again, this is all super cathartic for me…it’s really nice to actually share my experiences with another intelligent human being.”
“I’m all ears,” said Molly with a simple, true smile.
In which case Toby Jay radiated an equally simple grin, then knocked back another big chug of Bud, but immediately thereafter continued, “So, now that I was certain I had to pen this book, the obvious question became, ‘How am I to proceed?’ Again, except for writing tons of technical, analytical philosophy papers, I really don’t have any literary background to speak of. And yet, I knew from the start that this book had to take the form of a diary. Initially, then, I drew upon my own limited knowledge and began to reread Ann Frank’s Diary of a Young Girl, which I had read back in high school. Now, even though words can’t express how much I love this book, it was clear that this type of first person prose really didn’t suit my purposes. Instead, I needed a lot more narrative distance. Consequently, in order to get some sense of direction, I began to research the history of the human diary and all its possible forms. And Molly, what I discovered…well, it’s utterly incredible…I still find some of these discoveries very hard to believe,” said Toby Jay forcefully, as he knocked back another large chug of Bud.
Meanwhile, Molly just sat motionless, speechless, anxiously awaiting the next big shocker.
“Turns out, Molly, arguably the single greatest champion of the diary, at least in the twentieth century, was none other than Aleister Crowley himself,” said Toby Jay with arched, devilish eyebrows.
“Aleister Crowley?” Molly inquired. “Isn’t he that scary, black majic guy?”
“Well, sort of. If you ask me, he’s gotten a pretty bad wrap, unjustifiably so. As far as I can tell, like a lot of historic figures, you’ve gotta learn to take the good with the bad. And Crowley’s majical diary is certainly a very inspiring venture, indeed. In fact, as it turns out, the majical diary is the essential tool for self-discovery.”
“Interesting,” Molly said slowly as though in a slight trance.
“Anyhow” Toby Jay continued, “what I discovered next is what I earlier referred to as ‘utterly incredible’. Ya see, as I was delving deep into Crowley’s conception of the majical diary, I stumbled onto some absolutely astounding facts.”
“Well, Crowley’s specific brand of majical indoctrination was this rigorous program he called Scientific Illuminism. Naturally, intregal to this systematic program was the majical diary. However, a program without any adherence is really no program at all. By nature, all such programs need vehicles or temples or, better yet, associations. And Molly – can I get a drum roll please – just take a wild guess as to the two most important associatons connected directly to this program of Scientific Illuminism.”
“Honestly, I haven’t a clue.”
“Again – drum roll please – the answer to this question is: the AA and O.T.O., otherwise known as the Ordo Templi Orientis. Both of which, of course, are embedded within the icon of Otto Blaast.”
“Holy fuck!” Molly burst. “You’re correct, this really is utterly incredible. In fact, let me get this straight, one night, out of the blue, this voice speaks to you and reveals that your proper conspiratorial name is Otto Blaast. Then, after the fucking fact, you made this discovery?”
“This is so freaky-cool, I don’t know where to begin. Maybe you really are a prophet. I mean, there’s no doubt you’re somehow channeling the esoteric past. In fact, it sounds like you’re somehow corresponding with the ghost of Scientific Illumininism.”
“Too freaky,” Molly could hardly believe.
“So I won’t attempt to make things a bit more freaky by informing you that Crowley’s first mystical initiation was with the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn. Get it, Gold Connections…Golden Dawn.”
“More channeling, I supposed.”
“I reckon,” Toby Jay plainly responded. “In fact, this leads me to my final trick of the night. You wouldn’t happen to have a pen and a piece of paper in your purse, would you?”
“Yeah, I think so. Here let me check.”
In which case Molly reached for her purse and pulled out a green pen and then ripped a piece of light pink paper from what looked like a niftly travel-sized planner. “Here ya go,” she said as she handed things over.
“OK, before my final trick, I have to inform you of a few things,” said Toby Jay as though he was a white-coated laboratory scientist. First, I must inform you that I eventually found out that Principia’s mundane name is Jane Baker. Next, due to my subsequent research related The Order of the Golden Dawn, I learned that certain Kabbalistic practices are part and parcel. Consequently, I began to research the history of the Kabbala. In doing so, I encountered my final trick of the night. Ya see, the Kabbala is this numerical mysticism, a code given to us by God. And so I will now offer proof…
Indeed, it was then that Toby Jay grabbed pen and paper, and began to write out the letter-numeric ascriptions in alphabetical order. He then handed Molly the pink piece of paper, and said very clinically, “Now for the instructions. First, you’ll need to write down the names, Jay Townsend and Jane Baker.”
“OK,” Molly said as she, very carefully, wrote down both of the requisite names.
“Now, I’d like you to consult the alpha-numeric chart I just handed you. Looking at the chart, can you determine for me the numerical translation of my name – Jay.
“Sure, I’ll certainly try,” said Molly as she hunkered down over the piece of pink paper. Then, shortly thereafter, she said, “this is a piece of cake…the name Jay obviously equals the numeral three. In fact, as far as I can tell, it’s as simple as one plus one plus one, which, of course, equals three.”
“Correct,” Toby Jay affirmed. “Now, I’d like you to determine the numeric value of the name – Jane.”
“Certainly,” said Molly. She then continued to hunker down over the small piece of pink paper, only this time she audibly thought through the process, saying, “OK, J equals one…A equals one…N equals 5…and E equals five. So the name Jane is equal to twelve, which I’m assuming is therefore reducible to three. Correct?”
“Correct,” Toby Jay again affirmed. “Now, let’s turn our attention to the surnames. Can you please determine the numeric value of the last name – Baker.
“OK,” Molly eagerly agreed. Again, she thought out loud while doing the calculations, “B equals two…A equals one…K equals two…E equals five…and R equals two, all of which equals twelve, which, in turn, is reducible to three. Correct?”
“Correct,” Toby Jay, once again, affirmed. “Now lastly, can you please determine for me the numeric value of the last name – Townsend.
“Well,” Molly shortly thereafter replied, “looks like this is going to be a lot more complicated. Let me see here…well, T equals four…O equals seven…W equals six…N equals five…S equals three…E equals five…N equals five…and D equals four.” She then briefly performed the calculations and said, “So if my figures are correct, the last name Townsend is equal to thirty-nine, which is reducible to twelve, which, in turn, is reducible to the numeral three. Correct?”
“Correct,” said Toby Jay with eyes blazing an incendiary, all-knowing blue. “So, as you’ve just demonstrated, in regards to Principia and I, it turns out both of our mundane names – just so happen – to be equivalent to the Master Numeral 33.”
“Holy shit, Jay, this is crazy uncanny! Molly cried. “Shit man,” she continued, “this is the stuff that real cults and gurus are made of,” only to pause in order to take a quick drag. “No doubt, you must have interpreted this uncanny Kabbala connection as yet another reason why you had to write the book.”
“Absolutely,” Toby Jay resolutely affirmed. “In fact, still to this day, I have a hard time processing the profoundity of these astronomically improbable correspondences. Because, what you don’t know, Molly, is that the Master Numeral 33 is deeply embedded within a lot of the druid inspired aspects of my book. I mean, even with zero context, this Kaballa connection would have been curious enough. But when you factor in the fact that the numeral 33 turned out to be – after the fucking fact, as you might say – the conceptual, numerological heart of my mission…so yeah, you’re right, this really is the stuff that cults and gurus are made of.”
In fact, it was on this note that Toby Jay began to scoot out from the black booth and said, “hold the fort down, I gotta go take a piss. While I’m at it, got any requests for the old jukebox?”
“Hmm…how bout something from Gram Parsons.”
“Close up them honky-tonks, cummin’ right up.”
So first, Toby Jay hurried over to the old Wurlitzer and selected three songs; first a double shot of “Cosmic American Music”, more specifically, “Close Up the Honky-Tonks” and “Streets of Baltimore” respectively, while afterwards he chose one of his personal favorites, namely Jerry Jeff Walker’s version of “L.A. Freeway.” Then he headed straight to the men’s room with his blatter was about to burst.
. . .
It was during this time, as Toby Jay stood peeing into the urinal before him, he began to plot his next taleteller move. Should he push the envelope and up the narrative ante, and, as a result, venture into realms forbidden. He could certainly increase the creep factor, exponentially even, if he so pleased. To do so, however, would unfortunately require the presence of the Pope. While, as a simple storyteller, he ultimately aimed to shock, especially at this late stage in the game, there were some things Toby Jay simply could not reveal. Indeed, some things were simply too shocking, too sickening, and ultimately too unbelievable to be told. Some things, like, for instance, the night he was standing before the Victorian ritual alter, peering out the golden maple shutters, and noticed something quite odd; that is, from this considerable distance, it appeared as though Principia was sitting in the Evil Green Machine, on the passenger side nonetheless, having presumably just performed the Saturday night ritual. About how he continued to peer through the golden maple shutters, wondering if he was merely seeing strange shadows, or whether Principia was, indeed, sitting motionless in the passenger seat. How he stepped outside the purple door to investigate the matter…how he, from a closer, far different angle, soon discovered that he had not been beguiled by bizarre shadows, but instead by the bust of Principia. About how he immediately crossed the street, and approached the driver’s side door, only to have Principia motion come hither. How he then opened the driver’s side door and sat in the cockpit of the Evil Green Machine, all the while Principia still sitting in the passenger seat, acting unusually amiable, actually grinning playfully. About how he began to sense that Principia had been waiting patiently in the passenger seat in order to instigate a passion play. About how he eventually, very slowly, reached out and felt Principia’s left bosom, and how she grinned like Sneaky Puss, and, in turn, lowered her top to reveal her large, surprisingly suptle, breasts. About how he bent down and began to lightly, but ever so passionately, suck on Principia’s ripe-pink nipples. How he immediately began to feel his member throb. How he therefore began to work his left-hand down the left-side of Principia’s model-thin body, until he reached her tender region, at which time he began to ever so lightly stoked Principia’s kitty, which began to overflow with flowery, effervescent nectar. How he then pulled Principia’s white polyester slacks down to her knees, and slipped her silkly panties down as well. About how soft and gentle her pubic hair felt on his fingertips. About how he could barely contort his body enough to put his mouth on her crotch…how he actually rushed the issue by thrusting his fingers inside, much to her vocal dislike, “watch it, be gentle down there,” she cried. About how he shortly thereafter raised his head for the nights first kiss, as a form of intimate forgiveness, and about how he softly placed his lips against hers, and about how this first kiss quickly turn French. And how their tongues touched and briefly swirled…and how, in turn, he was instinctually repelled by what felt like the tongue of an actual snake; thin, coarse, and severly shriveled.
No, this creep-factor was certainly off the narrative table.
So next, Toby Jay, very briefly, thought about reverting back to where the conversation originally began; that is, conversing about weird science and related matters, like Jungian synchronicity and the metaphysical underpinnings of the Great Generator, only to, in the end, pull another eldritch rabbit out of the proverbial tophat. Indeed, he had earlier been itching to discuss his theory of psychotronics – this being the scientific or mechanistic account of synchronicity – but reckoned this would be a rather weighty indulgence, which would most certainly hinder the pace of the overall tale.
Then Toby Jay comtemplated far lighter topics of conversation, ones where he playfully probed Molly about her favorite musical artists – thus playing directly into his epistemological wheelhouse, allowing him to pontificate and ulimaely indoctrinate in all manner of Lester Bangs, Stooges, and the Velvet Underground – as well as movies, and perhaps even a bit of politics.
. . .
However, when Toby Jay returned to the back of the bar and slid back inside the black booth, still uncertain as to the proper narrative course, it was as if Molly hadn’t missed a beat. “So,” she quickly inquired, “I’m curious, did you ever get your Merlyn book back?”
To be continued…