by Fielding Goodfellow
As strange as it seemed, the road less traveled had become so congested that it was nearly impossible to get where you felt you should be going. Sam Fischer had been tirelessly looking for an exit ramp as he found himself suffocating among those who would be equally lost no matter what road they traveled. It wasn’t always like that though, I mean one day everything just changed. It happened all at once really, and there was absolutely no time to prepare. One minute he was out there, wandering in and out of the doors of perception and sailing across the topographic oceans, and in the next he found himself all dark and broody in a universe he was no longer able to understand. On that night of magic mushrooms and The Twelve Dreams of Dr. Sardonicus, he discovered that Sam Fischer was dead, an apparent victim of psyche suicide. And in the emptiness created when Sam catapulted himself into a black hole and exploded into a gazillion pieces spread out across a million parsecs of space, Arlo Cool emerged. It was as good a name as any I suppose, considering Thelonious Monk had already been taken.
We were all comfortably high the night he crossed that point of no return, and in some higher level of consciousness that propelled him through a series of unforgettable hallucinations and gave rise to his very essence, Arlo Cool discovered that he no longer had any use for Sam Fischer. Everyone seemed quite concerned about Sam’s demise, but I was pretty sure that he was still in there, somewhere. It wasn’t the first time I’d seen that kind of thing, I mean there was a guy I knew in school who disappeared regularly. Every now and again he’d go missing for short periods of time without ever really going anywhere, leaving somebody else to take his place in the parade. One day he left and that was that. He returned years later with a head full of chlorpromazine and a souvenir tee shirt from his stay at the Merriman Sanatorium and Country Club.
Once it happened, they always believe that they were some kind of super hero, but I wasn’t so sure, I mean they were nothing like the ones I knew from Metropolis, Gotham or Capital City. Arlo Cool was certain that he was destined for heroics, but it was far more likely to simply be the effects of the hallucinogens, I mean weird shit goes on in your head when you’re fucked up on psilocybin, but I suppose its hard to know the difference when you’re frantically trying to stop the pterodactyls circling overhead from belting out another chorus of Grand Funk’s ‘We’re An American Band’.
“I don’t think it was suicide.” Tate said. “Sam wouldn’t do that.” He may have been right I suppose, but I didn’t believe for one minute that Sam Fischer was immune to the darkness that might very well cause someone who would never do that to do exactly that. I don’t suppose any of us ever really are, I mean its always far more complicated and a bit more sinister than that, but I guess anything was possible. I really didn’t have a fucking clue, I mean none of us did.
Sam had been a fan of Osmosis Jones, the founder of Bio-Essence Transcendentalism. He said it was science, but it always sounded more like science fiction. It was a cult really, but it seemed to lack that element of fanaticism that’s required for cult status. We never realized just how unhappy he was, but bio-essence transcendentalism seemed to give him whatever he was looking for. Jones stated that he was able to separate himself from his physical being at will, and soar effortlessly across the astral plane. He believed that the soul was the essence of all life, but while attached to a physical being it is nothing more than a significantly disturbed entity with no limit to its capacity for delusion. He proposed that what we call mental illness was simply the soul’s response to the chaos inherent in a meaningless, physical existence. “Religion” he had said “is a poison responsible for the death of far more souls than it has ever saved. There is no salvation to be found in the rituals and tenets that were created by men in order to explain the unexplainable. Not one single soul has ever been saved through prayer or atonement simply because there’s no one there to listen.” He was certain that there was no God. He believed that the extra-terrestrial travelers who had visited earth millennia ago had simply been misunderstood by the spiritually and cognitively limited inhabitants of this planet. He was convinced that to free ourselves, we needed to separate body and mind from the essence. Sam was certain that Jones was right, and I suppose he could have been , I mean I had no idea really, but it certainly didn’t sound any crazier than all of the other shit I’d been told over the years. And if Sam had chosen to take that plunge into the black hole, I suppose he was better off, I mean after spending time in the sanatorium with chlorpromazine coursing through his veins, he wouldn’t really be Sam anymore, anyway.
Sometime during ‘The Morning Will Come’, the effects of the psilocybin began to intensify again, and Arlo Cool found it almost impossible to hold onto himself. He drifted in and out of time and space and none of us could really be sure if he was who he said he was, anymore. Even the pterodactyls seemed to have grown weary of his impetuousness and impertinence, I mean he really was an ass, and as the walls began to disintegrate into multiple pools of neon colors, we could see through to the other side and there was Sam, playing saxophone with Be Bop Deluxe. Arlo was close to invisible by now, and in the blink of an eye, the pterodactyls swooped down and picking him up, and carried him away through the opening in the wall, leaving Sam and the band in his place.
I had always thought that once a soul goes, its gone, but I suppose I was misinformed, I mean Sam came back. I don’t know how it happened, but I guess the soul never really leaves. We may not be aware of it, but it seems that its always nearby. It was good to have Sam back, I mean Arlo wasn’t a real super hero. He really was an just an ass. It turned out that Sam was the real hero, I mean he managed to find his way back from the darkness without getting himself all messed up at the Merriman Sanatorium and Country Club, simply by riding the ‘Kiss Of Light’. He seemed much better when he returned. He said that he had seen what our ancestors had seen, and he was able to understand it all. He said that he had the answers, but he couldn’t tell us as we just weren’t ready to hear it. All he would say was that Osmosis Jones was right. As for Arlo Cool well, he spent an exceedingly painful eternity in the grasp of the pterodactyls. He hardly ever showed up anymore but in the event that he did, we were prepared, I mean Tate had gone out and secured a couple of pterodactyls just in case.