I am a veteran telepath who can pick-up the baby-booming thoughts of his restless peers: A chorus of, "I told you so! I fucking told you so!" I respond, "No, I told you so!"
Everyone has been watching human civilization totter (again); everyone saw it coming; now, in a nightmarish house of mirrors, everyone is telling everyone so.
It had been a while since I'd seen my desert friends- Jesus, Betty the Coyote Creator Goddess and Robert the Telepathic Gila Monster- and I felt the need for their company. They sensed my desire. One morning I wandered a few hundred random yards into the desert and there they were.
They scanned me as I approached. Betty's thoughts arrived first.
Betty: Harry, we like your house of mirrors metaphor.
Robert: If it makes you feel any better, all the gila monsters are saying "I told you so."
Me: That makes me feel so much better, Robert.
Betty: Harry, don't be cross. The gods are saying it too.
Jesus [suddenly appearing]: You rang?
Me: What the....?
Betty: It's ok, Harry. Jesus visits us from time to time.
Jesus gave a nod to Robert.
Jesus: I was on my way to commune with you, Betty, when I picked up Harry's thoughts, about everyone saying "I told you so." That's a subject close to my heart. Harry [turning to me], as it happens there's something I've wanted to say to you.
Me: Really? What is it?
Jesus: I told you so.
Betty and Robert guffawed.
Jesus [to Betty and Robert]: Would you mind if I had a few words with Harry?
Betty and Robert exited the scene. Jesus surveyed me for a moment, while I surveyed him. He kept changing. One second he was right out of those paintings of Jesus I used to see in Woolworth's, or like the guy on those devotional candles at the Family Dollar Store, idealized images of a man suffering from knowledge he is not supposed to have.
Then he shifted and looked like a homeless guy in ragged pants and flannel shirt holding a dusty bag of belongings.
Jesus: Sorry about that. Meeting me for the first time can be disorienting.
Me: What did you mean by, "I told you so"?
Jesus: Just joking. But if we had spoken I would have told you so.
Me: What would you have told me?
Jesus: I would have told you that you are right: humankind is lost in a major way. You have no bearings, no reference points, no morality.
Me: No morality? I thought you and your father were supposed to give us that.
Jesus: No, we influence you to do or not do certain things, but it doesn't add up to a morality you would understand.
Me: What's the point, then?
Jesus: I can't tell you the point, because you would not understand it.
Me: Figures. Just to pursue this, why wouldn't we understand it?
Jesus: The mythic stories we inspired in you describe you as fallen.
Jesus: And that is literally true. You have fallen from yourselves. Your "minds" are not connected to your perceptions.
Me: But we see and hear things.
Jesus: I don't mean your five senses. I mean other senses, stronger ones.
Me: Sometimes I feel or think things and don't know why.
Jesus: That's from your mind trying to assimilate perceptions from the hidden senses, trying to decipher and represent them to you. The hidden senses can only communicate with your mind in dream-like symbols, because straightforward perception would severely disrupt your ideas about who you are and your place in things.
Me: Why? What is our place in things?
Jesus: I think you should talk to my disciple, and the next Anointed One: Maury Glickman. He lives in Woodland Hills, under a freeway overpass.
Me: Woodland Hills! You've got to be kidding!
Woodland Hills is a suburb of Los Angeles at its northwest limit. You may have heard of it from the movie My Parents Are Aliens, in which ET aggressors attack earth through Woodland Hills when they discover it is humanity's weak spot.
Me: Well, it would give me something to do.
Jesus: That's the spirit.
Me: Can I ask you something else?
Me: Well, I'm Jewish. In the big picture, the one you see, what does that mean?
Jesus: You're not supposed to believe in me, of course. You've been very good about that.
Me: Yes, but... why aren't we supposed to believe in you?
Jesus: Because it is necessary, in order to guide your benighted species, that we "divide and conquer you," for want of a nicer way to put it. If your kind were united, spiritually, intellectually...if you were aware, prematurely, it would be a most unpleasant disruption for all concerned.
Me: But we seek enlightenment.
Jesus: You won't get it while you seek it.
Me: Oi! Are you Jesus or a Zen master?
The entire desert shook with Jesus' inscrutable laughter as he shimmered and vanished.
It was sundown in the desert. I walked to my little cabin and checked the gas in my car. Next stop: Woodland Hills!