I am currently going through the text with the aid of the software Grammarly and will be creating a revised edition of the text. If you have purchased a copy of the book, I will gladly send you the final copy once it is available at no cost to you. Thank you for your patience and understanding.
FRIDAY, OCTOBER 5, 1979
I’m back in my own bed again. A glance at my watch tells me I’ve lost almost two weeks! Am I going nuts? Is it really Tezcat that’s behind it all? These black outs have got to be her fault, otherwise, if they’re not I’m in big trouble. If so, how is this all going to lead me to my great destiny? When is Tezcat going to give me some hints as to how I’m going to open up the gate and get Jon back to Lana? I’m so confused. What does she want with me? She said she would help me find Jon. How is this helping? I need to ask her. I need to go to her temple.
Let’s review the situation. I know that Jon is in Dreamland, though where, Tezcat ain’t telling. I should have started to search for him a long time ago. Why didn’t I? Why have I forgotten all about this while I was in Dreamland? As soon as I return, it’s off to the search I go, no matter what dangers lay ahead.
Hmm? Lana, I’ve got to talk with her. She should be told about Jon. But how? How do I make her believe me? I wonder if Miriam has any ideas? I can’t ask her now. Damn! Time ticks away. I’ve got to get ready for school. Damn! School! What difference will it make in the grand scheme of things? I’ve been chosen. Chosen, yes, but I have few choices. I’m not the master of my own fate. I can’t not go to school. I’ve got to go. I just have to go and get through the day. Wait till the school day is done and then it’s to the Gift of the Goddess I go. I need help. I’ve got to find a way to stop these black outs.
MONDAY, OCTOBER 15, 1979
Where am I? I’m in a darkened room with only one source of light. The source is perched over my shoulder. The glare from the light presses hard on my eyes. I wish it would go away. It hurts my eyes. But, like the raven in Poe’s poem, it ignores my plea and remains where it is. I focus and take stock of where, and of when, I am. A glance at the clock tells me it’s a quarter to ten. A feeling of horror grips my throat as I feel the gibbering of madness lying in wait for me just beyond the so-very-thin walls of sanity I’m now living within. I’m in my own room!
It’s night and before me sits my finished homework. I feel the pit of madness become a huge gaping mouth waiting to swallow me up.
“Where have I been all this time? Dear God in Heaven, what’s happening to me?”
I feel stiff and sore. Sore? Every muscle in me is complaining. Have I been having that nightmare again, the one where I was hanging naked, and getting whipped? Hmm. No, my body feels sore but not that way. Like all my muscles have been stretched. Hey, my body got muscles. I’ve been working out. What’s going on? I check my watch for the date. Oh no, it can’t be possible. I’ve lost control of my own body since September. Dear God! I need help. Who? Who can help me? Who will believe me? Who? Miriam! I’ve got to get to her. I’ve got to talk to her. The store is still open I can call her. My fingers tremble as I punch the numbers. The phone rings. Come on, Miriam, pick up.
“Hello, Gift of the Goddess, how can I help you?”
“Miriam! Help me please.”
“Who is this?”
“It’s me, Lamont.”
“What are you doing calling at this hour? What’s wrong?”
“I keep blanking out, losing track of time.”
“Calm down Lamont. Center yourself. Tell me slowly what you are talking about.”
“Lamont! What’s wrong? Lamont?”
(Keep quiet.) “Nothing is wrong. We’re sorry we called. We’re sorry we bothered you.”
“Lamont, what’s going on? First one thing now another. You don’t sound like yourself, are you ill?”
“Do not concern yourself.”
Click. The sound of a dead phone line. Bloody Hell! What’s...going...on? Why...
WEDNESDAY, OCTOBER 16, 1979
I settle in, after cleaning up the dishes from dinner, to finish the remainder of my homework when my mom barges into my room unannounced. She speaks but I can barely hear her. Her words are drowned in the lyrics of the Moody Blue’s record album ‘On the Threshold of a Dream’ feeding into me directly from my headphones. I reach over,
turn off the music, and put the textbook down.
“Come on in Mom.”
“I am in.”
“Daughter, something odd happened last night. Lamont called. I need you to talk to him. He’s not himself.”
“The Kid called you? Why?”
“I know not. He started to tell me and then he seemed like he talked himself out of telling me. I’m worried about him. He hasn’t been coming to the store in over a month, either.”
“He does not strike me as someone who goes a long time between one hit from his drug of choice to the next.”
“Speak English daughter.”
“I was, get with it Mom. A hit from a drug, craving one hit after another, the Kid and books, inseparable. Books are his...”
“Drug? Nu? From where do you know all this about drugs?”
“Nu, they teach you this drug talk at school?” Mom asks.
“At school, but not in school. You just hear it. In the halls. At lunchtime. At school.”
“I think I’m not so happy that you can just hear this kind of talk at school.”
“Would you rather I go to dad’s Yeshiva in the East Bay?”
“Ha! No chance of that. You got out of there as fast as your feet would carry you. Okay. Nu, just don’t listen so well to this drug talk.”
“Of course Mom. So. The Kid is way past his usual time for putting in an appearance at the store. I will check it out.”
I find myself at Sarah and Rebecca’s, though I don’t recall how I got here. Sarah is trying, and failing, to hide her impatience with me.
“You’re late for today’s lesson.”
“Sorry. I don’t know what happened to me. I seem to have lost track of time.”
“You need to be disciplined if you are ever to finish your apprenticeship.”
Oddly enough, I seem to be aware of spending more time in Dreamland. I don’t really recall my Waking World activities. Anyway, I finally get some free moments from my lessons and I wonder what I can do with them. Then I recall my meeting with Lord Mictlantecuhtli and the contradiction between about how she’s supposed to keep out certain bad apples and what’s actually going on. This has been smoldering in the back of my mind. Now that I have some free time, I think it’s time to pay a visit to Mictlantecuhtli. She’s long overdue for a job performance review.
I fume over those and many other such thoughts and questions as I stomp through the Primordial Forest and up the winding Steps of Deeper Slumber toward the Cavern of flame, where Mictlantecuhtli holds court. As I step into the cavern, I’m awestruck once again by the eerie display, the pillar of chlorotic green fire in the center of the ring of scarlet sand.
“Greetings, Lamont Corazon,” as usual, she speaks in her deep important-sounding tone. “What is it that brings you to stand before us?”
“Hello lady. I would really love to just chat with you about old times, but I’m here on some urgent business.”
“And what pray tell might that be?”
The anger within starts spilling out as my earlier flippant tone shatters into harshness.
“When I first came here you, claimed to be conducting some sort of inspection of those new dreamers who make their way here. Is that right?”
“I made no such claim. I avowed that this is merely what function I serve,” she answers defensively.
“Really? Oh really! How in the name of all that’s holy do you explain the presence in Dreamland of the parasol wielding punk and his ilk who almost killed me? Or are you going to tell me that he got by you when you were out on your coffee break?”
My angry tone blasts the prior smugness off her countenance, revealing guilt.
“I have done as I have always done; I confront all who enter Dreamland.”
“Well, damn it! What in Heaven’s high name is going on?”
She tries to regain her composure as she responds. “I confront all. I inspect all. I pass judgment on all who come to this realm.”
“You’re beginning to sound like a broken record. Why are you repeating the same line?”
“To this question I am unable to answer, Lamont Corazon.”
“Of course you can’t, that wasn’t a real question. Wait a minute! You aren’t a country bumpkin, so there must be a reason for the tall, dark, and stupid routine. Hmmm. You keep repeating that you’ve been doing your job all along.”
“That is correct.”
“Then, some-when along the way, your powers to affect those who you’ve been inspecting ceased being effective?”
“Lamont Corazon, I am not able to say whether that of which you speak is a truth or a falsehood.”
“Of course you can’t! You were appointed to do a job and you were given the power to do it, but you have no control over those powers. And part of your job description limits what you can and cannot say. Now, who is it that put you in this job? Damn it, I know I read it somewhere. Or, maybe it was something someone told me?”
“Now you have asked a question to which I am able to answer, Lamont Corazon. I was selected personally by the High Lord of Dreams, our Lord, Tezcatlipoca.”
“What? Is this widely known?”
“No. No one else had ever bothered to inquire.”
“Really? So, it’s Tezcat who’s behind your impotence?”
“Do not be too hasty, Lamont Corazon. Recall that it was Tezcatlipoca who bestowed upon me this position of honor and responsibility.”
“Hmm. True. Why would Tezcat have you guard the gates and then stop you all of a sudden from doing the job that she set you up to do? No, Tezcat can’t be to blame for the sudden drop in your abilities. So, who is behind this?”
“Your inquiry should not only concern itself with not merely who, but you must also endeavor to ascertain how it is that I have been restrained from performing my duty, Lamont Corazon.”
“Great, as if I didn’t have enough to do already. I’ve run into that proverbial brick wall. Oh well, chatting with you further isn’t going to do me any good. I need time to think this through and figure out how to frame the proper questions that you can answer. And I’m not sure when that will be. My social calendar is pretty well booked by Sarah and Rebecca. Oh well, I’ll be back whenever. For now it’s adios amigo.”
“Go with our blessings Lamont Corazon.”
Hmm. I don’t get it. The pieces don’t fit. If Old Mictlan were right, why would Tezcat set her up and then stop her from doing her job? Hmm? That’s not the only thing that’s been bugging me lately. I keep on thinking I’ve been forgetting something, something important. Something I wanted to do here in Dreamland. But I can’t remember. It hurts my head trying to remember. I should be doing something while I’m here. But what?
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 23, 1979
I wake up with my head aching and my heart pounding. I’m in Dreamland at Sarah and Rebecca’s house. Remnants of a scary dream evaporate under the heat of the rising sense of consciousness. Hmm. I’m starting to have a string of nightmares. Why? Something tells me I don’t want to think about that now. Hmm. So far, I just haven’t found any time to go to the Temple of the Queen of the Night and meet Miriam. Or to go back and find the stairway back up (?), down (?) to talk with the, so-called, guardian of the gateway to this place. Sarah and Rebecca’s plans keep me way too busy with errands and training. Through their efforts, I hope to soon become a Dreamer and not merely someone who dreams.
Sarah has gotten me out even before the sun had finished rising in Dreamland’s sky. She sits in front of me on her home’s back porch managing to convey the impression that she’s sitting down to tea, even though her legs are crossed in the traditional lotus yoga position under her long khaki skirt. I’m trying to be comfortable sitting with my legs crossed.
If I wasn’t so uncomfortable, I would be quite satisfied.
I managed today to do some Dreaming of my own. I got the color of my Dream suit to change from that drab mousy gray to a deeper storm cloud gray. Sarah explained my triumph as merely an outgrowth of my ego, or as I would re-phrase it, a strong sense of self. She said not to let one quick and very minor success go to my head.
“Lamont! Meditating is not wool gathering.”
“Oh. I didn’t realize that was what I was doing.”
“Meditation is the art of unfocused concentration. Not focused un-concentration. Now try again. Breathe deeply from your diaphragm and do so to my count. Focus on my counting, till it fills all of your conscious thought.”
“But first, I have a question for you.”
“Well, what is it?”
“You mentioned a few days ago, something about the riddle of apprenticeship, so what’s the riddle?”
“Finding out the riddle is part of the problem in solving it.” Sarah taunts.
“Oh. Any clues?”
“No,” she says, with obvious satisfaction.
“But, once I do figure out the riddle and solve it, then I’m officially no longer an apprentice?”
“Correct. At that time, you can present yourself to the mayor of this the city and to her court. There you will demonstrate whatever skills or talents you have practiced which display your Dreaming abilities. Then you will be awarded a gem stone so you can become a full citizen of Dreamland.”
“Where do the gem stones come from?”
“I’m not sure. I believe they are provided, at a price, by the so-called Men of Samarkand. Now can we return to your meditation lesson?”
I do better with the visualization exercises than with the meditation. Rebecca tells me that her lessons will be more fun.
“To become a creative Dreamer,” Rebecca instructs,” you’re going to have to follow the example set by the White Queen and practice ‘to believe as many as six impossible things before breakfast,’ the more contradictory, the better.”
“What do you mean?”
“Actually belief is at the very heart of the matter.”
“You’re dancing around me with verbiage. What are you trying to explain?”
“The key to this world of Dreams. Though knowing the key won’t do you much good. It never has. There’s still the problem with the lock and the needed strength, or courage, to turning the key.”
“You’re doing it again. The key is what?”
“The key to power in Dreamland is this; you’re limited only by what you believe. As Rabbi Hillel would say, all the rest is commentary.
Hmm. That’s it? That’s true in the Waking World, in a different way and to a different extent.”
“Ahh, but such a difference it makes. Enough with metaphors let’s go for concrete analogies, have you ever tried juggling?”
“You should, or rather, you will now.”
As she speaks, three orange colored balls appear in her hands. She juggles them as she continues.
“You see, an excellent metaphor for thinking about how to Dream in Dreamland is juggling. Like juggling, here you must learn to do many things all at once and to do most of them unconsciously. Many people say they can’t do two things at once. Yet, we actually do that and more. For example, we can walk, breathe, and without out any difficulty, even talk, all at the same time. Different levels of the mind are concentrating on the different activities. Here we take this multiplicity of mental levels of activity one step further and Dream many Dreams at the same time, on many levels of the mind.”
“You mean like, I’m listening to you on one level, I’m watching those three balls your flipping around on another, I’m talking to you and planning what I’m going to say as I say those words, and on still another level, I’m visualizing myself wearing this dark gray outfit?”
“That’s it exactly."
“Hmm? Did you realize that juggling is also good in getting the two sides of the brain activated, because you have to coordinate and use both your right and your left hand, and in my case, my right brain, which controls my left hand, is under used, since I, like most people, don’t expect the left hand to do much. Although, I can type and so....”
“Enough with brain babble, now, look alive!”
She tosses me first one ball, which I barely manage to catch in one hand, and then tosses the second ball. I drop the first ball to try and to catch the second. It bounces out of my hand. I look at her sheepishly and shrug my shoulders. I start to bend over to pick up the fallen balls.
“Don’t bother.” She snaps her fingers and the balls disappear. “Now, let’s try that again.”
She slowly tosses me a new ball that she conjures up and has me toss it back. We do this a few times before she adds a second ball. She keeps this up, forcing me to join in her juggling act as she continues to talk.
“Now, while paying enough attention to the balls, I’m going to give you some general rules of how Dreaming and Dreamland operate. One: You have to suspend your judgment of disbelief and to expect the unexpected. Two: You need to train your mind to regain its child-like flexibility. To return to the time of playing ‘let’s pretend’. Three: It’s
easier to imagine one object in a new form than to conjure up a new object out of nothing. Four: It’s easier to conjure up very personal common items than exotic and extraordinary items. Five...”
“I just thought of something.”
“In the real world, I...” Before I can finish my thought, my coordination goes out to lunch. I fail to catch the balls she tosses at me. My mouth hangs open as I watch them bounce off me.
“You have just suffered from the results of having committed the sin of Dreamland. In this case, the consequences were minor, a few balls bouncing off you. If you were to make that error again, it could be at some more critical juncture and then you would have invited disaster.”
“What are you talking about? What did I do?”
“You were in the act of referring to the Waking World as the “Real World,” implying that Dreamland is not real. Once you fully believe that, your unconscious may follow through with that belief and consequentially you will no longer be in control of your Dream environment. All that you have conjured up will start to unravel. Your very Dream existence could be threatened. Always refer to Dreamland in terms that confirm your belief in its complete reality.”
“I got it, boss.”
She laughs. She conjures up new balls and we start again.
“Now, what were you going to say, and this time be careful to rethink and rephrase that thought.”
“Ah... usually, I’m not very coordinated at all. Yet I seem to be getting the hang of this juggling, how come?”
“Well, here it’s not so much the physical coordination, but the mental coordination and agility that counts. But, as for how good a juggler you are, try this.”
Now she has two balls, one in each hand, while I hold the third. She tosses me the first and then rapidly tosses the second. I toss mine back and try to catch her first one, which I barley manage to do, as the second bounces off my chest.
“What were you saying about how good a juggler you are?”
“Ah,” I contritely reply, “What I really meant to say, it’s amazing what a good teacher can do in compensating for someone’s lack of skill.”
“This teacher thinks you need a lot of practice.”
 Lewis Carroll, a.k.a. Reverend Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, Through the Looking Glass: and What Alice Found There, pg. 177, Oxford University Press, World's Classic Paperback Series, 1865, 1982.
“Have you ever tried juggling?”
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 18, 1979
I wake up, again. Except now, I know by the sound of music that my clock radio has gone off and I’m back in my bedroom. Once again, I leave behind the vestiges of Dreamland by removing my pajamas and clothe myself in the attire of the Waking World.
Thank God. Time moves in its normal pace, slowly. I’m aware of its passing clearly. During lunch hour, I check out the local paper at the school library looking for any mention of the odd happenings on Strawberry Hill and Jon going missing. I didn’t expect there to be anything, so I wasn’t disappointed when I came up empty. It would have been significant if there were some mention of the strange storm that night. Oh well, no external collaboration is to be found.
Hmm. There’s that sense of déjà vu again. Have I done all that before? I can’t seem to keep things on the straight and normally narrow path lately. I wonder why? After school, I go to The Gifts of the Goddess.
“Nu, Lamont, how goes your dreams?”
“I found it, Miriam. I found the stairs and I went to the city of Atlantis.”
“Ahh. This is good,” She says.
“Is it real?”
“Ha! First, you try to define for me what this thing you call reality is?”
“Ahh. Okay, never mind. How did you know about the stairs?”
“I’ve been down them. I first walked the ancient cobble stoned streets of Atlantis when I was young, like yourself.”
“And now? Do you still go to this Dreamland?”
“Yes. I’m a priestess at the temple of the Queen of the Night. My duties include acting as the librarian of the temple archives.”
“Cool! That means I could see you in my Dreams!”
“Yes. So, tell me of your Dreams.”
I do so, sort of. I tell her I’m still no further along in finding a way to help Lana. I decide not to tell her about Tezcat. How she’s been getting me to do the trance thing, which is supposedly how Tezcat plans on showing me how I can help Lana. It’s getting late again and I need to go home. As I leave, I foolishly bump into an incoming customer. I’m about to apologize when I notice the smell of cinnamon.
“Hey Kid, you should watch where you are going.”
It’s Basha! “I... I’m....”
“What are you doing here anyway? I did not think you would be into Goddesses.”
“I came here...” I try to answer coherently despite being overwhelmed by her sudden appearance, “I mean I come here...because of my dreams.”
“Looking for books on dreaming, right?”
“Sort of. Why are you here, Basha?” (Good grief, that was audacious of me.)
“I live here,” Basha says, “that is, most of the time. Some weekends I am off to Berkeley to be with my dad. He works with the Chabad house on the Berkeley campus. He is runs a Yeshiva to train future rabbis. I owe the joys of shuttle diplomacy to divorce and joint custody.”
“Huh?” I articulate.
“Which do you not understand?” Basha asks. ”the divorce or the living arrangements?”
“The living arrangements. You live here?” I ask.
“Above the store is our house,” Basha answers.
“Our?” I ask.
“Kid,” Basha sighs. “Do you have a hearing problem or are you usually this slow?”
“Lamont, Basha is my daughter,” Miriam laughs at my confusion and fills me in, “I didn’t know you knew my daughter.”
“I didn’t know I did either,” I confess.
“Mom, remember I told you about the bookworm who has the locker next to mine. Well, this is the bookworm.”
“Hmm,” I muse, “We all must be members of the same karass.”
“Car-ass?” Miriam asks, “I don’t know from Car-asses. Explain Lamont.”
“Mom, Lamont is referring to a made up term from the novel, Cat’s Cradle, by Vonnegut.”
“Vonnegut?” Miriam mutters, “with such a name is he perhaps Jewish?”
“I do not know Mom.”
“With a name like that,” Miriam replies, “he must be Jewish. Are you sure he’s not Jewish?”
“If you say so,” Basha continues, “anyway, karass is a word from this made up religion. In this religion believes that humanity is organized into teams, teams that fulfill some sort of divine plan without ever discovering what they are doing. This team is called a karass. We created games and the divine created Its game which is the karass.”
“According to the Books of Bokonon,” I interject. “If you keep running into a person, it is not mere coincidence. Your lives are tangled up with one another for some larger destiny.”
“Lamont, you believe such ideas?” Miriam asks. “You perhaps consider yourself Bokononish?”
“Hmm. Now that’s an interesting question. A quick answer would be no, but after longer consideration of the question, who knows, perhaps I would.”
“I think, Lamont,” Miriam continues. “That perhaps not only is my daughter a member of your karass but so is Lana.”
“You might be right.” I respond. “Who knows? The Shadow knows, but he ain’t telling.”
“Resorting to old radio programs. The radio programs were fun, but I liked the books better,” Basha comments. “On that note, perhaps we should just give this a rest. Good night Lamont.”
FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 21, 1979
What’s going on? Bloody Hell! I lost it again. What time is it? It’s as if I’m sharing my body with someone else who takes it over without my knowledge or consent. Tezcat? It must be. I’m in my pajamas, in that
Shaman ritual position and I hear the beating of rattles. All I hear is the rattling. Everything else fades away.
Journey into our darkness.
My room melts away. I am dancing in the jungle at the base of the obsidian mountain that is Tezcat’s temple. Hundreds, if not thousands, dance and sing. Spattered with our own blood from our obsidian daggers are we. All sense of meaningless singularity has dropped away. We give our voices, as we want to give our blood and lives to her! With our combined breath, we chant: “In her house at Tenochtitlan, dead Tezcatlipoca lies dreaming! That is not dead which can eternal lie, and with strange eons, even death will die!”
 The Books of Bokonon is the sacred text of a religion which was unknown outside of the Caribbean Island Republic of San Lorenzo until Kurt Vonnegut, Jr. in his 1963 novel Cat’s Cradle (Dell Publishing Co. Inc.). “I do not intend that this book be a tract on behalf of Bokononism. I should like to offer a Bokononist warning about it, however. The first sentence in The Books of Bokonon is this: ‘All of the true things I am about to tell you are shameless lies.’(pg. 14, Cat’s Cradle)