(01-27) On Blue Mesa

“What’s in your pocket?” the troll asked without a trace of slyness, because trolls are thick as brick and they are controllers. A troll is just missing the first syllable, con, so he’s no con man. He’s missing his mercury. He’s missing his gold, too. A troll is pretty much made out of leaving and dross. One day he shines and the next day he tarnishes. He lives east of Eden and tills stony ground. But he never complains more than pointing out you can’t win with a losing hand. That’s about the size of it.

Jules was an infant but he was already thinking out loud, having no need to master anything. For Jules, thinking was as easy as the weather. There was no effort involved so there was no concept of effort. Right now he was making up a story and telling it to his mother. She had been reading to him from “Midget with a Dwarf Tattoo.” She’d read a passage about her brother, Troll, and asked him if he knew what a troll was. “A troll lives under the bridge,” he said. “When you move to a new operating system you have to bridge from an old system that needs a lot of laws, to a new system, which needs fewer laws. When you cross the bridge the troll comes out from under it and asks, 'What's in your pocket?'"

“That's a fine story,” Paris said, looking down at the infant, who was cooing happily, suckling at her breast while he told the story. He had not bothered with developing spoken language because it was far too slow to accommodate his needs, even as an infant. He used holographic transfer of information, in which the foundational patterns and some colorings were provided in shared images, but the surface was left to be filled in by projection. This provided a way in which the child could still be loved, even if he was also a god. He knew it is the pattern which is important, and that the story is always twice as nice when it's told as a collaboration.

It was meaningless to say how many languages Jules spoke. He spoke none of them but he contained all of them, and so they all understood him. The patterns were the same, and the projections of the intellect used their own particular language construction to hang words on the streamed images. She put him over her shoulder and patted him on the back until he released trapped air and sighed happily into her shoulder.

“Here comes Rambo,” he said, visualizing Indian Shadow coming into the hogan. A few moments later the event overlay the visualization with uncanny perfection.

“There’s two more of them on the mesa,” Indian Shadow said, ignoring his baby at play, "but these two are men."

Paris shifted her attention. Actually the baby released her attention but she wasn’t conscious of that. "Nobody knew we were coming here but Dexter."

"Yea. Dexter might have said something but I don’t think he would have. We waited for two days in that thicket with black helicopters coming and going up and down the coast, and he was the one who thought about bringing us up to Blue Mesa."

“Then who are these people?” Paris asked.

“You know who they are. You can’t keep something like this a secret. It’s like trying to keep the alphabet a secret. It just reveals itself.” The infant shifted from the right tit to the left tit, making smacking sounds and sending a cascade of light and color through everything with which he was connected. The first few times they'd experienced that, Paris and Indian Shadow felt obliged to talk about it as religious experience. Now it was becoming like oxygen. When the energy subsided Indian Shadow continued:

“Take Dexter for example. The reason he won't betray us is that he's part of a revolution. His whole life has a new meaning because suddenly the Christ story isn’t back in history somewhere, ; it’s a drama unfolding in his own life, complete with Roman law and the political intrigue surrounding the new king who’s still in the cradle: so easy to kill such a soft little thing.”

Paris drew back from that image. “His name is Jules. We named him after Jules Vern, remember? Don’t start thinking of him as the reincarnation of some other baby.”

Jules shrieked with laughter.

“He’s spooky,” Indian Shadow said.

“He’s spooky all right,” Paris agreed, and the child stopped laughing and looked surprised. “I have to change him,” she said. “Do you think these people know about Jules because he’s here, and they dream it?”

“That’s what they say. All we know is that people are starting to show up here.”

“I sent for them,” Jules said

Indian Shadow leaned back into a big pillow. “It was two guys this time,” he said. “One of them’s tall and a little overly polite. He’s got blue eyes and light hair, and wears expensive shoes. He looks like he might float off into the air. The other one’s short and dark, and talks like a Roman senator whose had a couple of drinks. When he talks he pushes his hands together and makes eyes.”

“Makes eyes? Like he’s flirting?” Jules speaking wasn’t audible to anyone he wasn’t connecting with, but when he connected he stimulated the language centers in the brain, and held his listener in thrall.

“I guess like that,” Indian Shadow agreed.

“They’re all here now," Jules said. "I’m afraid in my present state I have to have your help, mom, and yours, dad …” Indian Shadow flushed with pleasure, to be recognized by Jules as his father.

“What do you need, son?”

The first visitors were women, heralded by a tall woman with angular cheekbones and sharp, quick eyes. She had inspired confidence through her manners and education. Once Paris and Indian Shadow had introduced themselves and there was no-one else but the baby, she bent down like she might begin to coo and tease, and said with measured amicability, “You must be Jules. I got your message.” She didn’t raise an eyebrow to learn that it was the baby who’d sent for her.

Paris and Indian Shadow were excluded from the conversation as the stranger held Jules close to her and they engaged in some exchange known only to them for fifteen minutes. Then she put Jules back into Paris’ arms, refused any food or refreshment, and slipped away into the darkness.

The second woman was hardly a woman at all, but said she was eighteen. She just said Jules had sent for her and she needed to see him. She, too, held the baby, but she didn't talk to him. She just laughed a lot. It was in fact difficult for Paris and Indian Shadow to sit and watch the spectacle, because the girl seemed to be incapacitated by laughter and they were afraid she would forget she was holding a baby. But when Paris would approach her to offer to take the baby, or guide her to a chair, she would wave one hand in the air and move away, saying, "It's fine, it's fine."

The two men arrived when she had gone. Indian Shadow heard them talking well before they were close to the hogan. He went to meet them outside. “What do you want here?” he asked them.

The short one delivered a slightly oily oration on their virtues, shamelessly name-dropping and building a hasty cirriculum vitae on the spot. Indian Shadow felt an instant suspicion of him, especially the way his fussy smile and his lingering eyes. He could have been shopping for ice cream and trying to decide on his flavor. The taller one was more charming, with a girlish laugh. He was slightly bent, as if he had reached an accommodation with lower back pain, and he was elaborately polite.

"We had the dream together didn't we, Roland?"

The short, plump one beamed and said with careful modulation, "We did indeed, the very same dream. I was grinding coffee with this new grinder we got from a dear, dear friend in Santa Fe. The beans go through a grinder from the top and you hand grind them. That sounds like it would take a long time, like making ice cream by hand, but it doesn't because this is a very expensive German grinder. And of course you don't have to freeze the coffee beans so that wasn't a good analogy. The ground coffee drops into an ebony box."

“You were doing this in the dream?” Paris asked.

“In the dream there was a grinder, so when I was grinding coffee I thought of the dream. That is, we really do have the grinder and it was made by our friend in Santa Fe, who is very green. Her partner cuts hair, which can be boring if you have a dismal clientele but that’s not the case. They know everybody.”

"You went completely off the subject," the tall one said. They looked at each other and did something odd with their eyes which made the pupils move rapidly back and forth for an instant. Then the tall one took over telling about the dream. "It was the grinder that made him think of it, and at that very moment I thought of it too."

"We dreamed it together and then we remembered it together," Roland said.

“I think we’ve established that. Can I continue? There was a woman grinding corn, and she was Navajo."

"We knew that directly." Roland couldn't keep out of the story and the taller one suddenly looked peevish and shot him a warning. Roland shrank back like he'd just been stuck by a whip. The taller one continued.

"She was grinding corn and then she was making bread. When I looked at it, it was in the shape of a baby, and the baby said, 'Know where you are.' So I looked around and I was on a mesa, this mesa, except I was also up above it like I was in a flying saucer, because it was quiet."

"If it was a helicopter there would have been engine noise," Roland said, warming his eyes like toast as he served. He put one finger to his lips. "Sorry." He smiled at Indian Shadow.

"Did you want to tell it or are you going to let me finish?" He didn't wait for an answer, in the manner of someone who is always in command. "There were numbers and I thought I should write them down but it was a dream. Who remembers? But the ending of the dream was what brought me here."

"And me," Roland said.

"It was the most beautiful man in the universe, and he needed to see both of us. Luckily we both remembered the dream and Roland remembered the numbers and knew they were coordinates."

"What does he need you for?" Indian Shadow asked.

"He said he wanted to download my sense of color and design, and I don't know what he could want from Roland."

Roland smiled and said, "I can remember numbers."

"He doesn't need help with that," Indian Shadow said.

"You know him then?" Roland asked.

"Just that he's a gorgeous human being," the tall one said.

"He's just a few weeks old," Indian Shadow said, to the visible disappointment of the visitors. "And he's not just a human being; he's a cross between a human being and a computer so powerful it can't really be imagined. So remember that even if what you're seeing is a baby, he's actually the one who's in control."

When Indian Shadow finally led them to the hogan and showed them inside the taller man finally revealed his name to be Cary. He carefully complimented the beauty of the setting, there on the mesa, and the furnishings of the hogan, spending some time feeling the fabric of one of the rugs and remarking on the fineness of the weaving and the quality of the natural dyes. Then he thew up his arms as if the baby was a rattlesnake he'd just stepped on. "Why look at you!" he said, and swept the child into his arms, babbling to Jules in baby talk before finally asking, "May I?"

After a little while his face changed and he looked more grounded and peaceful than he had before. In fact he looked like he might get emotional, and he quickly handed the baby to Roland, who accepted Jules like he was accepting a contract. He examined the baby through narrowed eyes for a moment. Then his face turned into a narrowed musical instrument and through it he played, "Ouuwoochie wid da baby boo."

Nobody ever figured out what it was that Jules downloaded from Roland.

When they hadn't left after an hour Indian Shadow finally realized they were afraid to walk back to where they had left their rented four wheel drive Lexus, so he got a flashlight and walked back with them. At the car, Roland made a little speech about how seldom one gets to participate in the resurrection of the god in child form, and how crass it might seem to offer worldly treasure, but, did they need money?"

"We always need money," Indian Shadow said. "We have to feed the baby."

Posted: Fri - September 26, 2008 at 03:52 PM