by Solomon Tate
There are moments when I have found myself traveling through space and time, much like Vonnegut’s Billy Pilgrim, usually as a result of any one of a number of hallucinogenics I have dabbled in. While laying on the couch in the melancholic office of the maudlin and mundane Freudian psychotherapist, Dr. Herbert Needleman, I found myself once again laying on the beach in St. Kitts with Serena, and I was certain that the good doctor wasn’t even aware that I was gone. Freudians rarely noticed that kind of thing.
I have seen much of the universe this way, bouncing around the cosmos, without warning, travelling into the past or into the future, but it is always, unmistakably in my present, and without the customary flying monkeys, dragons, and munchkins from The Wizard of Oz. Its always spontaneous and often occurs at inopportune moments, but in St. Kitts, the all inclusive resort offered free cigarettes and free booze. As a smoker and a drinker teetering on the edge of alcoholism, this was indeed paradise. The sky was always as clear and as blue as any I had seen. The beach was white sand, with water that seemed to glisten in the sunlight, casting dancing beams across the shore line. Serena was tanned and bikinied, and I reached over and touched her on the shoulder. “Well, I see you’ve decided to come back again.”, she said as she turned on her side to look at me.
“You’re impossible to resist.”, I answered. “By the way its one hell of a view from back here.”
I had been coming to St. Kitts regularly, about 3 or 4 times a year, for about 7 years. Sometimes for a month or so, and other times, less than 24 hours. It was impossible to predict. It was just like that. It took me a while to get the hang of it, but space and time jumping do not adhere to the usual laws of physics. It is not constant, but it never rests. It is random, and it is impossible to control. This spiraling across time and space has bounced me in and out of the bed of Juniper, the barkeep at The Spaced Out Tavern in the trading outpost on Delivyn’s Planet, and Fiona, the wild and wooly Celtic sheep hereder in 17th century Scotland who, I suspect, is my wife.
“How long are you staying for this time?”, Serena asked.
“I don’t know.”, I told her. “I never know.”
I had been seeing Dr. Needleman for years, delving deep into my psyche to try to uncover just what all of this bouncing through the cosmos was about. The Freudian was certain it was a suppressed childhood event of such magnitude that I was attempting to completely dissociate from reality, but I was almost sure it was the years and years of mucking around with my brain, but either way, I just wanted to be able to stay in one place.
“You are going to have to face the fact that you have created this situation entirely in your subconscious.”, he told me. “It exists only in your mind.”
“Are you suggesting that I’m imagining all of this?”, I asked. The Doctor said nothing, and as I turned to look at him I found myself sitting at The Spaced Out Tavern, staring into the eyes of Juniper as she poured me another shot of whiskey.
“So, how long do I get to have you for this time?”, she asked.
“I’m not sure,”, I answered. “Its really not up to me.” And that’s just how it was, every time, everywhere. There was never any certainty to anything. It was impossible to make plans. It was impossible to have a life.
“Hopefully you can stay long enough to get me off this time.”, she said. “You kind of left before the mission was completed last time you were here.” Shortly after successfully completing the mission, and just as suddenly as I had left, I was back in Dr. Needleman’s office. The trips had always left me tired and drained and often with a headache, but now they were simply beginning to wear me down. It was becoming far too complicated to juggle all of these meaningless pieces of existence, trying to put them together like a jigsaw puzzle in order to create a life.
“Would you be interested in trying hypnotherapy?”, he Doctor asked. “The other option is pharmacological intervention.” Neither of the options presented appealed to me. I was not about to embark on a trial of brain eating pharmaceuticals, I mean, I’m sure it was pharmacological intervention that created all of this shit. Hypnotherapy seemed equally unappealing. I was, at this point in time, unwilling to relinquish control of my thoughts, or to be turned into a chicken.
It was cold in The Highlands. I stood on the ridge and watched Fiona tending to the sheep in the glen. She looked up, waved and ran towards me. She threw her arms around me. “I am so glad you are here, my husband.”, she said. “I have missed you.”
“I’m here now.”, I told her.
“But for how long?”, she asked.
“I don’t know, Fiona.”, I replied. “I just don’t know.” We spent the afternoon in bed, as the sheep bleated outside. We drank and laughed, and watched the sun set behind the cliffs.
“I am carrying your child.”, she blurted out. “And I’m sure that its a son.”
“Alright,”, I told Dr. Needleman. “Let’s try the hypnotherapy. But you’re not going to turn me into a chicken, right?”
“Right.”, he said. “No chicken.” I don’t remember much of what happened then in that office. I began to feel drowsy and more relaxed than I had ever been, and then nothing. I remember hearing Needleman speak to me, but I have no idea what he was saying. I felt like I was sinking deeper and deeper into a warm, fleeced lined hole. The further down I went, the warmer and more comforting I felt.
Juniper was waiting at the bedroom door when I returned, naked, with a bottle of whiskey in her hand. “I’m ready.”, she said. She was beautiful. They were all beautiful. When I bounced back to Dr. Needleman’s office, he was still talking, but I was no longer enveloped in the warm fleece that had seemed so comforting.
“It didn’t work.”, I told him. “I have been to see Juniper.”
“Ah, the space girl.”, he replied. I sat up on the couch and was struck with the realization that this really wasn’t all that bad. I got to travel and see things I never thought that I would see. I was involved with very beautiful women, one of whom was bearing my child. I was living a life, although it seemed fractured and incomplete when examined as separate, partial lives, but as a whole, it was a pretty damn good gig. The secret, it seems is in acceptance. Happiness, peace and contentment are found in wanting what you have, not when you have what you want. and not in having what you want. Its all just the perception of things.
I continue to traverse the universe with no particular destination. I go wherever the universe sends me. Fiona and I have a son, a strong boy who is growing up to be a good man who looks after his mother when I am not around. Serena and I continue to smoke and drink to excess at the all inclusive resort where we live, enjoying the sun and the sea. Juniper purchased The Spaced Out Tavern, and has brought in extra terrestrial exotic dancers which has increased the sale of alcohol threefold. Everything, I believe, is as it is supposed to be. I will continue to be a space cowboy until such time as the universe decides that enough is enough. Yipee ki-yay.