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?