This is my psychiatrist's couch. Take from it what you will.
But do leave a note.
I still am a late middle aged former government worker marking time until the cliff.
Short Fiction, Doggerel and Insensitive Opinion are spoken here.
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"I have to give you folks credit on your stamina through all this. Usually at this point, everyone is kvetching like an Israelite in the desert." A gleam comes across his eye. "Of course, I'm a Demon and my lips are sealed. And that gets us to the next presentation.
A slightly disheveled man in a battered hat holding a jack o'lantern enters and stretches.
"Yaaawwwnnn" He pulls out a melted clock, brushes the horse manure off it and looks intently at the dripping face.
"Oh, crap. Am I late again?
Marty gives him the stink eye.
"Yes, Rip, you are."
The old man makes an obscene gesture.
"You said I had twenty years to rest and I took it."
With a wave, a small dragon replaces the pumpkin. The old man tosses it toward the back of the room. There is a thud and scream. No one turns around to see the result. The smell is enough.
"Hey, just because this is about Sloth, doesn't mean you get to sleep."
Seriouly annoyed now, Marty chucks the remote at the figure. He snatches it without looking.
"My name, if you haven't guessed, is Rip Van Winkle, world famous sleeper. You try to kill time and this is what you get. Teaching the number 2 of the number 2 of sins. It's enough to make someone not give a...whatever word... about it. And it is what is important in this discussion. I'm so lazy about prep, I stole Ichabod Crane's bit for my act."
A touch of the clicker brings up another picture of Father Paul. This one shows him in a ripped robe, dejected as the congregation points the way out the door.
"Picking up from Draper's blather earlier, we see Father Paul being ordered out of his position. We might not know the details, but rest assured DQ was involved. It may have been directly through him or one or more of the church members. It doesn't matter. We got this phase of the job done."
The next picture shows people mourning at a grave site. A group stand apart with their heads low, apparently speaking about the situation.
"The next phase is to remove care and passion about what happened. Rumors and bad data are important tools in this. By diverting their coping scripts, we inactivate a number of the support programs such as community and compassion Maker wrote into Mortal. This can have some interesting effects. As mentioned in the last class, The Supporters will follow the leader as the Deriders try to pick up the pieces. The message we at DQ give to both of the them is: 'The future is no more uncertain than the present.' Soon both groups lose energy and become Cynical. They know it can't be better. It is useless to try."
"The more cynical Mortals, the less work is done on behalf of Maker. We have found Mortals are much easier to control when divided. Let's go back to the Mortal 3.16 project. Granted, Maker had his own agenda when we started, something about giving them one last chance or such. Our job was to break the target. Ultimately, we weren't able to. But enough discord was generated to scatter future generations to the winds like weeds."
"And in this dispersion, we energized a lot of other parts of Maker's group against the the concept of Charity, while scared Cynics did nothing and watched as the weeds pulled from the garden by their own kind. Maker wasn't completely pleased with us, but we are set when the next project comes. And there will be fewer Supporters or Deriders who care when it does. This cycle of divide and conquer will continued forever"
"In conclusion, I want to remind you there is no finish line here and the next project probably won’t be the last. Maker is in it for the long haul and so are we."
"After all, where is he going to put us if he lays us off?"
Dan and Marty come back from the restroom. The dagger gleams just below Marty's collar. He reaches back and pulls it out as Dan taps the microphone.
"Ahem...O.K. everyone, Ides of March is over. Put down the yellow snocones and let's get down to business."
A high definition digital billboard slinks in place behind him. The image of a broken disco ball scatters light around the room, while the entwined skeletons of Andrea True and Easy-E lip-sync a gangster rap version of "More! More! More!". Holographic visions of steel rings and costumed bracelets dance in the air. The audience begins to nod in time with the noise, while grasping at the invisible bling. Draper smiles at the reaction. Suddenly, he shuts everything off, bringing moans of complaint from the students. With a serious look on his face, he faces the audience.
"Glad to see even in death, it works." A pause and a grin. "I evoked the Greed response in almost every one of you."
Gluttony is the over consumption of resources. Greed, on the other hand, is about the acquisition of those resources. It doesn't matter whether those resources are food, sex, or in the last example, entertainment. The design is to mindlessly suck them up. Cut the supply, a sub routine is triggered to prompt them acquire more. When Mortals are successful by whatever arbitrary reason in vogue at the time, just the threat of disruption is enough to drive the exploit. What I did just then was trigger the deprivation reponse in you."
Draper taps the clicker. A picture of a Priest in his late 40's appears.
"I'll start with Father Paul. A clergyman and supposedly in the direct employ of Maker Industries. In his mind, he believes he is destined to represent Maker's brand of Mortal Discipline. He trains in the Seven Charities (Maker's version of this training) and endeavors keep those under his care on their programming. He comes equipped with high speed empathy and organization loops to manage the assigment."
"This 'market leader' position, if you will, comes with talents and resources to maintain the group. The Charities program refers to it as 'tending the flock'. I like sheep references myself." A sly grin comes across his face. "Make the pasture green right up to the slaughterhouse."
"But, I digress. Maker's Charities message to Mortals is consistent, no matter which of the Sage, Prophet or Tradition firms used. It goes: 'Be humble and work together to the goal'. That is, have all His creations work in harmony. Our job as Demon Testers is to divide and divert everyone against themselves to prevent this. Good ol' Paul here is often the key."
Marty Mammon raises his bloody hand and Draper hands him the mike. The Billboard switches to a picture of Paul in uniform chatting with a young couple.
"You see, when a Mortal like Paul gets chosen he is looked on as a 'better' and is expected by everyone else to run his programs flawlessly. But he's still a Mortal and just as weak as the rest. When all of you Demons were topside, you heard about how this Parson or that Rabbi had been taken down by Lust. Give a Mortal a chance to sin, they will take it. But we have found Greed and Gluttony to be much more effective on clergy over time. Religious types can't help themselves, especially if the bait seems to further Charities' aims."
A picture of ham steak sizzling next to an omelet on the stove pops up.
"They get drawn further and further down the path, the sacrificial pig for Ham and Eggs. This is how the recall script for Mortal 3.16 worked, although we had to run it on several people at once to get the result we needed, since the main target was so stubborn. After it was done, The remaining chickens flailed around, telling stories of the death of Kings, ready for the rest the programs to take effect. "
Draper takes back the make. In his best announcer voice, he yells.
"But, Wait! There's more!
Draper touches the remote again. A picture of the aftermath of a battle is shown. Burned and broken bodies litter the ground as the air reeks of death.
"After the leader falls, the Mortal unit subdivides into three pieces Supporters, Deriders, and Cynical. It will be your job to pick a side and promote or deny acquisition and consumption. Every time the cycle repeats, tension grows between the factions. Soon you will be able to kick in Envy and Wrath, especially with the Deriders. They often will be looking for revenge on supporters of the bad egg."
"So, how much time does this take? There isn't a deadline most of the time, so take as long as you need. We will get an 11th hour request from Maker to work on somebody specific occasionally, like a Walter A'Becket or a Joan of Arc. And we can do those in a New York minute, if I can use a phrase from topside.
Suddenly, an alarm clock appears on the screen. The sound was a cross of Big Ben and a Fighter jet. Rotten eggs drop down from the ceiling, covering the class in sticky sulfur.
"I’ve wasted time, now time doth waste me, to coin a phrase."
Marty shakes Dan's hand and he turns stage right. A trap door opens just past the podium. Dan drops screaming to his office. An embarrassed look crosses Marty's face.
" We really need new elevators. Anyway, get some rest. Or don't. The next segment will put you to sleep anyway."
Before we continue our series, a word from our sponsor.
In this, the beginning of our eleventh season of Blogophilia, I need to take a moment to introduce myself the newer readers. My internet name is Another Government Employee and I have been infesting the internet for roughly 15 years and have been a part of Blogophilia since the beginning of season 2. As the name implies, I was a bureaucratic drone for about 25 years when I caused an allergic reaction to the government organism. I was expelled and now spend my time consulting on benefits issues and exploring my imagination.
The name itself originated on the old Neal Boortz radio program website, where I was an occasional contributor. There was already one guy called Government Employee, so I became another. You may find older posts with the tagline “6th house on the right, off 9-27, PDK Atlanta. Often my exchanges on the Boortz site involved aviation, and I really do live next to the airport and often post pictures from there.
After the short break, Marty comes back to the podium.
"OK, everyone, Elevenses is over. Quit choking on the stale pastries and come to order. You in the back. Please leave the cups on the table. They are designed..."
A small explosion leaves the cup holder in a pile of ash. Silently, everyone steps around the smoking pile.
"...to self destruct if taken five feet away from the table. I guess I should have warned you." A huge look of glee comes across his face. "But that wouldn't have been any fun."
"And speaking of choking, it is my pleasure to introduce our next instructor. An expert at the practice of both Gluttony and Greed, he had quite a run as a Mortal, inventing some of the most diabolical consumption prompts ever used. Please welcome Mad Man Don Draper."
Polite applause as a clean cut Demon comes on stage,wearing a pink Armani suit with a clashing scarlet tie. The audience grimaces at the sight
"Hello and welcome to DQ, or Hell as we sometimes like to call it." A few snickers come up as he pauses to adjust the microphone. Yeah, I used to say that when I was Topside."
"So, Marty, this is a quickie, right?"
Marty nods sagely as the snorts grew louder. Draper clears his throat.
"No, this isn't a continuation of Rachael's talk, although she was...uh " a sly wink "...good to me around 11 last night, if you know what I mean." A pause for the hoots to die down. "I take that back, it really is. This talk is about is how you extend the hard wired condition of Lust and sex into a frenzy of over consumption."
"It always starts with a lie: 'you don't have enough'. Sometimes, it isn't a lie because of circumstance, but in most cases it is. Maker designed his architecture for the most efficient use of power. However, the distribution has dips and surges. One target doesn't have food and a second target doesn't have a mate, so you begin with the lie. The shortages balance, but program assures neither target is satisfied. The exploit keeps running until it is translates to 'nothing is enough.'"
He takes a sip of water and gags a bit at the warmth. Shooting an evil look at Marty, he continues.
"Even us Senior Demons are still lacking in comforts."
"In my case, the lie started when I tricked my Commanding Officer to take a bullet instead of me, allowing me to escape being poor. When I had nothing to lose, I had everything. When I stopped being who I am, I found myself. Switching dog tags with the corpse, I became successful topside with the fake identity. Gaining confidence over time, I became the master of lie and half-truth, even thriving when the magic was revealed.” Pausing for another sip of water. “They told me I paid my debt to society. Funny, I never got a check. But I digress"
"Over the next few years I tricked millions through mass media campaigns convincing them to by stuff they never wanted or were blatantly harmful. This hits at the heart of what Gluttony truly is. When you were topside, you were told it only involved too much food, like Porky and Petunia making bacon on Mars." Laughter erupts. "But it is so much more, a weakness in the Mortal condition so easily exploited, it is silly."
"The exploit was invented by Mr. Beezlebub himself when he overheard Maker tell the Mortal not to eat something. The original curiosity loop for Mortals was exposed and Old Luke found a willing snake to provide the cover. Variations developed as circumstances required and over time it became the first law of Advertising: 'Tell people they can't have a thing and they will want it.'"
"There is a flaw in the Gluttony exploit. Effectiveness wanes after each iteration. We came up with two ways around this. First, present it as being New and Improved to your target. If they haven't seen it before, the guards tend to come down. Second is the use of Nostalgia. In Greek, it translates to old pain. Remind them of Dear old Mom, or Grandpa and you will have them eating out of your hand. When you combine the new and old it completely overwhelms any other defenses the Mortal might possess and they consume even the stupidest of baubles."
"The excess created where Gluttony has done it's job make the storm tossed targets vulnerable to more complex schemes. While it was as fictional as me, it is the basis of an apocryphal story I had hand in topside, Ocean's Eleven. Casino gambling is based on a combination of Gluttony and Greed (which we will go into in more detail in the next lesson). The characters see the excess and want it so bad they gather explosives and build a plan large enough to break all ten of Maker's major program stops in twenty minutes. I only bring this up to show you how far you can take any of the tools in DQ's vast array."
"I see some eyes glazing over. Get used to it. One of the hallmarks of DQ is density of our lessons. But, I do need your attention for the next part, so take five and we'll move on to good old Greed."
Marty Mammon enters the room and taps on the podium. The silence is immediate.
"Hello again, everyone. I have a treat for you. Let me introduce you to your next instructor, Rachel Jezebel."
A slender cheerleader bounds into the room. She is dressed in the traditional DQ red uniform of a red jacket and skirt over a white, wide collared blouse, which makes her look suspiciously like a flight attendant. The voice fills every crevice of the room.
"Hello, everyone. My name is Rachel and I will be your guide to the wonderful world of...LUST!!"
With a tug, the uniform comes off, leaving her in a Baywatch style one piece. All of her assets are outlined for all to see.
The room is silent
"What? No whistles? I must be slipping.” She smiles. “Oh, wait. The program is disabled. Demons can't care."
With a wave, the stewardess suit reappears. Snake like, she scans the young trainees.
"I use this demonstration for a couple of purposes. The obvious one is to draw men, specifically, to forget what they were doing and watch me. The second is to trigger other programming errors that Maker left in the original operating software."
"Replication Lust is code all Mortals have and it forms the basis of everything DQ does. One, Dante Allegheri, described it as being tossed by a never ending wind. It is desire, not superficially like Envy. But in the deep, visceral need to continue the Mortal species. And because it is hard wired, it can be exploited in more ways than the imagination can perceive. "
"I'll give another example:"
"This picture is similar to my swimsuit demo in the men start thinking: ‘Oooh, Biker Chick! Bet she doesn't play by the rules.’ The women on the other hand, either think ‘Wish that was me.’ an escape from a boring or hateful existence; or ‘What a slut!" referencing a threat to their long term replication hopes. This distinction between the genders is important to keep in mind as you go along. Men and women differ in base programming, so you have to treat each case accordingly.”
“When Lust is successful, the distraction from following Maker's protocols opens back doors to turning them over to our side. Each project will have their own goals, but the process is still the same. Distract, exploit, and turn.”
“One method is to pit Men and Women already in replications runs against each other by giving them the chance to swing with multiple partners. This is always at a cost to their souls. Most mortals don’t care, though, until each partner learns they aren’t the only one. To say no one is jumping for joy is when it is revealed is an understatement. It is a thing of beauty when the loops overheat, leading to all DQ’s assets coming into play.”
“From time to time, you will run into ones with enhanced error traps to catch the basic version of distraction. These traps recognize the mating function works better with long term partner parameters. The workarounds to this aren't difficult. Lust isn't always about mating. It is the unnatural attraction to anything. Gold and Food are substituted when sex alone doesn't do the trick. Resources attract mates and mates have sex, both good and bad.”
“As I said, the self-perpetuating protocol includes resource gathering as well as replication. If one isn't weak, the other usually is. When you go down the resource gathering route, you will find upgrading to the more complex sins like Greed and Envy will enhance the Lust component to spin your target into a hypocritical mess, completely unusable to Maker industries. Or, you can combine Greed and Wrath end up with a replication routine that destroys rather than creates. It doesn’t matter. In the end, you will have captured one or more souls to be put to work for Mr. Beezlebub.”
“It has been a pleasure, but my time is up. Let me leave you with this.”
“As every kiss begins with Kay, every DQ deception begins with Lust.”
“I wish you every success in your toils.”
[Rachael leaves in a puff of smoke. Marty waves and coughs a bit]
"OK. Let's take a short break, Easy Riders. Cold coffee is the back of the room."
[Back in the conference room outside Dallas, Tx. Marty is nattily dressed in a red blazer with a gold open collared shirt. He steps up to podium and looks out at the junior demons. A wicked grin spreads across his face]
Good Day, Everyone. Please settle down.
[With a quick clearing of the throat, a puff of smoke quickly surrounds his head.]
If you don't remember, my name is Marty Mammon and I have been assigned as the lead instructor for your Devil's Quill training. Every have their manuals? Good. Can't be a good Demon Troll without the play book.
[A projection screen slides down behind him. With a clicker, he begins a PowerPoint show]
Over the next several sessions, we will demonstrate basic and expert level deceptions to get Mortal Souls to stray from their assigned path and into our assembly lines. While all will stray eventually, it is our interests to accelerate the process to keep the world moving. When this training is finished, you will be equipped to leap the highest of hurdles found in the breaking of mortals.
[He clicks and points back at the screen]
This course is broken into seven parts, each centering around a known human weakness.
Lust (What Lovers Do)
Gluttony (Eat It, or When Is All is Not Enough)
Greed and Avarice (More! More! More!)
Sloth (Not What You Think it Is)
Wrath (Daddy's Got a Gun)
Pride (Blind Me to the World or I’m Maker)
[Turning back toward the class]
You'll notice I opened this class with the term "Good Day", rather than Morning, Evening or what ever. You see, here at the great DQ, we asked ourselves whether time was irrelevant. Frankly, it doesn't exist. Time is artificial construct created by humans as they watched Maker’s light swing back and forth in the cosmic breeze. In their silliness, Mortals attributed it to Maker, who didn’t mind the attention. But the cycle concept still rose from the curiosity trait Mr. Beezlebub first exploited back in the Garden of Eden, and we have continued to use until today.
[He points to a grizzled female trainee]
Question? Why do I still use "Good"? I have to admit, it is oxymoron. But niceties are kept here at DQ because it makes our jobs as tempters easier by keeping up the charm.Mortals like sugar better than fire, you see. It also reminds us even though Maker Industries is our parent corporation, they are also our largest competitor in soul quality assurance. Their goal is to have souls to show their better sides when faced with adversity. Ours, of course, is just the opposite. And to date, with only a few exceptions every generation, our methods win out over time. But when we are not careful, the process takes much longer than necessary.
[He clicks a new slide into place]
Each of the lessons presented are designed allow the Tempter to assess cases for difficulty and create combinations providing maximum damage. The goal always is to pull the beast out and tamp down any guardian or angelic tendencies. Adjustments in processes are made as times change. Way back, our workers found some Mortals in life's race were impervious to Lust, for example. But when they were exposed to Greed and Envy, they turned over right away.
[A slide showing the snowy Wisconsin countryside comes up]
Wrath has been particularly effective in weeding out the weak minded. Most of you have heard of Hitler and Stalin, but you will learn the most effective uses are on a smaller scale. One of my direct subordinates, Sandy Skinner, worked with a Mortal here in Plainfield [pointing again to the screen]who became a legend for depravity. Using Lust as an opening, he was able to elevate anger to heights not seen in eons. Even Mr. Beezelbub was impressed with the lampshade and matching gloves. I know I cautioned you about not trying to be a Rising Star. But Sandy did receive a promotion to a lead trainer thanks to his out of the box idea. He'll present the lesson on Wrath later on.
[The screen bursts into flame, ending up as white ash on the floor]
But no matter the process, Mortals always turn. And with some of the new technology available from our Global Mass Media division, the delivery is easier than ever. Some of you here today were identified through our latest product, Facebook and its offshoot, Twitter. They are the best Pride and Envy tools seen in many days. I look forward to working with Mr. Zuckerbug when he finishes this event and returns to the Main Office. He’s got a lot of stories to tell, and maybe he’ll even be able to enlighten you in the future.
[Pointing at an impossibly young man]
Another question? Is the job ever done? No, there is never a finish line. I've been here nearly 1000 years and I have never failed to find another challenge. You'll climb walls and do flips, but the process goes on until you turn to ash like the screen behind me, which will be in about 2000 years.
Pic Guesses: Moving (in blog), Hurdles (in blog), race or life’s race (in blog) finish line (in blog), elevate (in blog), heights (in blog), Climb walls (in blog), Do Flips (in blog), event (in blog), Perform, Olympic, Parkour, Street fighter, Urban Hiker.
The words echoed along the sides of my head. Colors turned from green to brown to black. Blacker than any night I had ever encountered. Breath ebbed and flowed involuntarily. Pale lavender edges formed at the edges only to be replaced with the out of focus slits from before. Daylight? Something damp drug across my face.
Slowly, the Blue man came into focus with a worried expression. The image shattered as the van door open and slam shut, as if a pebble had been tossed into a pond. A couple of muffled voices whispered something about what are you doing here.
Suddenly, the girl from the band appeared in the center of the slit, the mass of pink lace partially covered with a red flannel shirt. Putting a purple tipped hand on his Dave’s shoulder, she whispered in his ear.
“He’s cute when he’s passed out. Maybe if I play Princess Charming, Cinderella here will wake up.”
Myke sat with a worried expression in a chair next to the window. I couldn’t hear Dave’s response, but she drifted closer with an odd twinkle in her eyes. The crickets from the forest rang in my ears. More of the room was visible, but I still couldn’t make a sound.
She’s bigger than I thought. Oh, man, the headline will read “Man victim of Sixth Commandment while breaking the Seventh”, or something.
Then I remembered what the Ms. Lisa said about her. Wasn’t I supposed make amends with that Joleene lady first, though? Too late. The steps are coming out of order. I guess there were worse ways to die. Putting mind over matter, I braced for impact.
The cotton candy coated form leaned forward. Warm touch of lips went straight to my heart. A nightingale sing softly in a far corner. Yielding willingly, she was as light as a feather. As the disconnected hands slipped around her ample waist, my body slowly came alive. The smell of hair dye, sweat and a flowered perfume I couldn’t place was lovely. Faint applause and champagne corks bounced in time with my aching head. Muffled laughter joined in as the hands slid up from her hips. I was happier than I had been for a long, long time. With a grin, she slipped out of my arms and stood up.
“Good Morning, Sleeping Beauty!” She chirped, smoothing the shirt over her still bare legs. E.T.’s headband had dropped down over his eyes, as if he were embarrassed. I smiled at that. The room was almost in full focus now.
Myke helped me to a sitting position with a relieved expression on his face. Dave was holding out a water bottle. My head was still aching from the event. I rubbed my neck as I took the water, realized I was only in my boxers. Everything must have come off to give me the shot. I wasn’t focused enough to care yet.
“Wow. We thought we had killed you.”
I took a long slug. Balm against the desert dry throat. It went down a little too quickly and I began coughing, but I recovered.
“Yeah, I haven’t had a reaction that bad in a while. But you get out of confession for today.”
I turned back to the girl. The grin was the same one Beasley had leading his lady down the street. I couldn’t help but mirror it. The Psychic was right. There was a lot to love and I most certainly wanted to set up my own private delivery.
“That was quite a kiss.” I kissed the hand. “I don’t think I caught your name.”
“Corrine.” She brushed the technicolor bangs to the side and sat in my lap. “You weren’t bad, yourself. I think I’d like some more...”
Myke held his hand up.
“Sorry, Kids. We don’t have time to find you a hotel room. We’ve got other problems.”
A short green fellow with a comb on his helmet was standing by the front door with what looked like a toy gun in his hand. Next to him was a slightly taller version of the same with some fur lined handcuffs. When did this turn into 50 Shades of Gray?
“Oooh, your dilly dallying is making very angry...very angry indeed!” He looked down at the dog. “Two, grab the the one with no clothes on and tubby. Great One is waiting for us.”
The effects of the wool didn’t take long. Within five minutes, my eyes were slits in rubber balloons. Myke guided me to a small couch in the van and put a pillow under my head. I could sort of see the outline of a lamb, but was it really? I’ve had reactions where I imagined I was at some witch’s gingerbread house out the woods. This was one of those. The back of my throat began to swell. From what looked like the other side of the world, I heard Dave growl.
“We’ve got to get you to a hospital, Chris. Your breathing is getting shallow.
Suddenly, I remembered something. I managed to croak out a few words.
“In my left jacket pocket. Epi...”
The room faded out.
Or more like I went through door to another reality. I was in the forest coming up on the same wood hut as before. It couldn’t be missed, standing as it was against the neon green of the ground. Next to it was a slightly heavy woman with straight red hair in a chair. There was a magical twinkle in her hazel eyes as she rose to greet me.
“Oh, hello.” She said. “Welcome to the Chapel of the Divine Lamb. My name is Ms. Lisa and I’m the resident Psychic. Could I read your palm?”
I was taken aback. Another charlatan? The air was buzzing with the music of crickets and flies, yet none of them were bothering me. Strange. I am the target of every mosquito within a mile of wherever I am. But they seemed to welcome me.
As to her request, I was here and had nothing to lose. I held my hands out.
Taking them both, she considered carefully, finally choosing my right for study. With a shake of her head, all creatures fell silent. It was quieter than a mausoleum and stayed that way for a long while. With a deep sigh, she spoke.
“You are on a personal trip.”
Tell me something I don’t know.
“One occurring on multiple planes. You have been sent here deliberately by the Universe to be taught your sins and how you might repent them.
Sins? What is she prattling on about?
“Your judgement and jealous attitudes toward others have lead you to woe. You have recently lost a job?
How’d she know that? Slowly, I nodded.
“...and you think that psychic phenomenon is a bunch of...I think you referred to it as ‘hooey’”
The woman waved me into silence as she kept looking.
“...oh, I see. You DID have a bad experience and it is clouding your judgement of my entire profession.”
This lady was good. Again, I slowly nodded.
“The Confession is complete.”
Confession? I didn’t say anything.
“You must leave here and go back. The process of getting everybody back to your plane has begun.” She threw my hands down in my lap. “When it is all done, give Ms Joleene a bottle of Retsina and kiss her hand. This will be your atonement.”
The music of the forest began again. Ms. Lisa turned to go back into the rustic cottage. But she stopped before going in and said.
“I didn’t tell you the biggest sin. Without music, your life is a mistake. After you make amends, you are to seek out the girl in the band.” A big grin spread over the aged face. “One of my specialties is the Match Game and she is your Heart Light. Judge not the tattoo. Her touch will give joy greater than the Universe and her happiness will wash away every evil.