The Puppet Shaman – An Ouroboros Short Story

“Einstein proved that time is relative and that there’s no reason why time should always be moving forward. There’s the time’s arrow thing; that something happened before and it caused this. But, what if they’re not sequential moments in time but are momentary snapshots that we, because we have memory, phase into and out of in a linear way,” Alex said excitedly.

“Okay, maybe I’m just high, but I didn’t understand any of that, Alex,” Greg giggled. After the service, those of the Mokeyists who indulged in hallucinogens stayed behind for a kind of second service. Usually, it was only Alex, his girlfriend Faith, and Greg. Nathan and Laura usually attended the second service but he hadn’t heard from Laura since the breakup and Nathan would only just be arriving in Korea.

“Okay,” Alex paused. “What if every moment in time exists simultaneously however we can only experience one snapshot at any one time and after we phase through that one snapshot it goes back to the whole where every snapshot in time exists simultaneously.”

“Sweet!” Greg’s unfocused eyes were almost completely dilated. Alex knew Greg had grey eyes. But the three of them had just taken mushrooms so now the colour was swallowed by pupil. Part of Alex wanted to check the mirror to see if his eyes looked like Greg’s but he knew that mirrors were often unfriendly on psychedelics. While all that was going on inside his head, he’d forgotten that he had a body outside of his thoughts and just sat there with a slack spine, staring into Greg’s eyes.

“Posture!” Faith reminded him sweetly, stroking his shoulder lovingly.

Alex snapped to attention and puffed out his chest. His over correction made both his friends collapse in teary laughter. Alex took a long while to properly calibrate his spine and then tried to remain still, as if it needed a period for the new alignment to take. He relaxed slightly but was still very aware of keeping good posture. He asked Faith to remind him and it made him feel so loved that she did so in such a gentle way. Faith was still laughing as she started to stroke his spine softly, reassuringly. The feeling took up the whole span of Alex’s awareness. He ceased to feel like Alex and he stopped seeing his girlfriend as a distinct and separate being. It was an unrestrained cloud of awareness that hovered formlessly around them. It was almost like an orgasm but exponentially more intense than that. That was an almost pitiful comparison, wholly inadequate actually.

It was Greg’s voice that shocked Alex back into the confines of his physical body and the change was cripplingly depressing. He stared at Faith to see if she’d felt it too but she was trying to suck in deep breathes and get her hysterical laughing under control. When she saw the look on Alex’s face she frowned.

“What’s wrong?”

Alex stared into her eyes and the concern drained the irrational sadness that was welling up inside him. She hugged him and the last of the sadness dripped away as Faith’s energy flowed into him replacing it with brightly sparking happiness that made him smile.

“Alex,” Greg said, clapping his hands in front of him. “What were you saying?”

“Oh!” He tried to retrace the path of his meandering an non-sequential thoughts. “Oh, Time Travel. Yah, so like Mokey from the sermon tonight, um,” Thoughts weren’t usually this hard for Alex to express on mushrooms but he was still thinking about the non-physical cloud of oneness he’d just shared with Faith.

“Yah?” Faith’s laugh was soft, airy, and wonderful.

“Um,” Alex started, “would that be time travel? What if we were able to phase into the next snapshot of time out of sequential order? That rather than going from this moment to the one directly proceeding it I actually go back through the collection of snapshots and decide that, ‘hmmm, this date in ancient Rome is the next moment I’m going to experience’,” Alex smiled.

      “VALIS!” Greg shouted and Alex jumped, he puffed out his chest again and then tried to calibrate his spine to the shape it ought to be. “The empire never ended!”

      “Sorry, what?” Alex said after he finally got his posture right.

      “The Empire never ended. Makes me think of VALIS by Philip K Dick one of the characters is convinced that reality is irrational and the ones who are well adjusted are insane and those who are insane are actually rational beings as perceived by irrational beings that inhabit this irrational reality.”

      Faith and Alex were staring out at nothing, contemplating the sparking ideas inside their heads.

      “The more Philip K Dick I read the more I’m questioning my sanity. I do highly suggest reading the VALIS trilogy, (and his Exegesis. …. not for the faint of heart though!! The ideas presented to the reader inside of PKD’s Exegesis are very convincing and uncomfortable. I thought I could read anything and keep objective, but a couple times I came too close to being sucked into the void. Some of the ideas are so paradigm shattering that it’s difficult to go back once you’ve thought. What has been seen cannot be unseen, I think is the saying. It’d hard not to entertain ideas so important and profound, (while equally disturbing if they’re real), without it messing with your perception. The worst thing, or best, it’s relative I guess, is that the ideas in Exegesis and a lot of the fundamental expectations that modern society has about what reality is, are very incompatible. And the feeling of dissonance is a very disconcerting feeling to live with. In that way, maybe you shouldn’t read the Exegesis until you read more of his novels. Once you drink the Kool-aid there’s no going back.”

      Alex rushed over to get his notebook. Read Valice by phillip kaedyk.

      Greg bellowed heartily as he read over Alex’s shoulder. “No, no. V.A.L.I.S,” he slapped Alex on the shoulder. “And it’s Philip, stop, and with one l, capital K, stop, and then Dick as in penis. Have you never read any of his stuff before? I mean, you’ve seen Blade Runner right?”

      “Yah! That’s him?”

      “Yah, but it’s based on something he wrote called “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep. He also wrote Total Recall!”

      “Fuck yah! Okay, I’m totally gonna read it,” Alex continued to write his future self a message.

      “Reader beware, though. That’s all I’m sayin’. Reader beware. It’ll change you.”

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