"...the creatures of the air have their knowledge and know their times and seasons because they, unlike man, are in the order of their life and have not perverted that order by reason."
James Joyce, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man
Timothy of the TU (Telepathic Unit) watched me enter security at LAX and continued to beam waves of information into my head that I think I accepted at some subconscious level. I was sure I was under his control. Above the dark sea through the plane's porthole I watched a waning moon cross faint stars, then a furiously too fast dawn and descent into Dublin. A vague man had been waiting at the terminal to whisk me to the Viking Museum in the old city, where I beheld manikins stopped in time, one a resourceful Viking wiping his ass with moss, and nearby a thousand-year cross section in ten feet of Dublin earth wedged six inches thick between panes of glass, the strata labeled English, Irish, Norman, with Viking sticks of wood at the bottom, the vague man beaming into my head the whole time, until I feared I was going mad and I longed for my friends- Gregory, Rebecca, Anthony- and tried to reach out to them to tell them it was a trick, that I was losing consciousness though no one around me could tell, that the TU cared only about the scripted war and I was here for some sort of brainwashing.
Then a period of no memory, blackness, through which I had travelled quickly across the land to a wooden sign reading Dingle Peninsula leading onto a long path, rain, a cool grey sky (though all of Europe and L.A. baked in yellow-sky heat) producing oak forests, lush grasses, happy brooks. It's Ireland!, he said, a new man, standing with his staff by an oak, beyond a wire fence whose purpose was to stop sheep, and I recognized Arthur, the Time Artist! Arthur! I called, What is happening? It's Ireland, he repeated, and I understood this time. So I was right, I cried, Earth's mind rises through the surface and infects the life forms at each place. Ireland has spiritual hot spots, where Earth's mind is unfettered, where lifeforms, even ours, cannot bind it! Yes, said Arthur, and you were right that Timothy is not your friend. Although he does not need to kill you or your partners now he does intend to co-opt you into the war scenario, seducing you with membership in the club, using your talents and collecting your intel. Killing you comes later. But the Time Artists have other plans for you, and for your species. I'm here to help. Then the oak was still there but Arthur was not. This might have snapped me out of my fugue but at that moment an old man on a bike halted at the wire fence, dismounted and leaned on a post, a box of graham crackers in his hand. A white and brown mottled burrow ambled up and eagerly gobbled crackers from the old man's hand. I approached and they looked at me. This is Ned, the old man said. May I scratch him? I asked. Oh yes. Ned's thoughts, soothing and benign, became music in my ears: How grand to be an animal here (unless you're a sheep)! Welcome to our realm, Harry the Human! For scratching my forehead I grant you three wishes! Just kidding! Meet my friend. I looked up to see a goat wearing a crown. King Puck of legend! I cried, who warned the people of Dingle that Cromwell approached! In the flesh, he said, you are among friends now. We know about the plans to set the world aflame. Not every spot will burn. This place is inhabited by spirits vanquished elsewhere, guardians of the Earth's mind; it will not burn! How can you stop the burning? I asked. We cannot, said King Puck, The earth will stop it, but not everywhere.
The animals and Arthur restored my strength. When I saw Timothy again at the train station in Cork he stared at me as a wolf might stare at a rabbit while his faithful hound Franklin growled softly. I was right, I thought at Timothy, when I wrote in Chapter 15 that the war consortium would bomb civilians during the Republican and Democratic conventions when few were paying attention and those paying attention were enjoying the show. You brought me to Ireland to take me out of circulation and destroy my selfhood. You have failed because though you are more powerful than most people you are less powerful than the earth! No! cried Arthur, who appeared in front of a banner heralding the Celtic soccer team, Timothy and the TU must not hear this or they will kill you out of principle, even knowing the earth will defeat them anyway. I have taken care of Timothy. He knows nothing. Don't dissemble. Don't speak. It is done.
Then followed a more sober flight back to L.A., and I sit now at my desk in Pearblossom, the sun sizzling the carcasses of the less heat-resistant creatures outside, the gila monsters laughing at my pitiful struggle. I'm jet lagged and can write no more today. I will rejoin Gregory, Rebecca and Anthony this evening and look forward to regaling you with updates this coming Thursday!
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