Commander Blevins — part one

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COMMANDER  BLEVINS
Purveyor of the Akashic Records
GREEN IS FOR GREED

     Prologue
1.  From Whence He Came
2.  Another Day of Shivering
3.  Up, Up and Away
4.  Welcome to My World
5.  The Jumping Off Point
6.  The Downside to Focalshifting
7.  Pterodactyls, Heros And Rumps
8.  Akashic Gardens or Bust
9.  Old Traders And Rogue
10.  The Passion Pit Rehabilitation
11.  These Are Your Lives
12.  Diamonds In The Wall
13.  The Webs We Weave
14.  Then There Were Three
15.  Green Is For Greed
16.  No. 7 Haight Mauls Muni Victim No. 7
17.  Windsurfing In A Firestorm
18.  Cayenne, Water, The Chronicle
19.  Unexpectedly Visiting Club Paradise
20.  Readjusting The Strategic Appendage
21.  Reprimands, Illusions, And Awareness
22.  A Time For Reappraisal
23.  Boy, This Is Boring
24.  Sunday Morning Arrived Late
25.  Free Earrings: Twenty Bucks
26.  Like Does Attract Itself
27.  Too Sick To Know
28.  Happy Spiritual New Year
29.  Riding The 22 Filmore
30.  In Search Of Diamonds
31.  Conversation With A Dancer
32.  Hatching A Hammering Plan
33.  Capitalizing On A Fault
34.  On The Road Again
35.  Is Anyone Home Tonight?
36.  Let’s Get To Work
37.  Diamonds In The Sky
38.  Guilt And Karma

PROLOGUE

In previous lifetimes he had been a she, often, had pushed the then acceptable limits of behavior in various directions, had enjoyed a few periods of rest and harmony, had railed at freedoms lost; but mostly had slugged out the slow, small steps of Soul in the human consciousness torn between love and power, reaching for a glimmer of Its true self.

In this lifetime…

…his parents named him Zither.  Zither P. Blevins. The Blevins had agreed the baby’s gender would determine which parent chose its name.  Mrs. Blevins yearned for a daughter and thought “Marion” would be both a fine name for a boy, only a vowel away from “Marian,” her choice if the baby was a girl.  Mr. Blevins loved nothing more in life than playing his hand-made Bavarian Zither. When the baby was born male, Mr. Blevins was adamant the arrangement be kept, saying to his wife, “A deal is a deal,” and immortalized his musical passion through his son.

Little Zither would not tell anyone what curious middle name lay quietly behind the “P.”  He was not enthralled with his first name either, but lived with it for eleven years. During the summer of Zither’s eleventh year his father bought a small sailboat from a friend and a Navy Commander’s cap from the Army-Navy Surplus store in Indianapolis. Zither claimed the hat.  Sporting the Commander’s cap stuffed half full of wadded newspaper to keep it on his head, Zither and his father set sail in the boat on a nearby lake.  Zither was named honorary Commander.  The day was windy and raw. Experienced sailors stayed home during March in Indiana, listening to the state high school basketball championships; but Mr. Blevins did not follow basketball or weather reports.

Zither, then his cap, got wet.  By the time Mr. Blevins was soaked through to his skin, and shivering, the newspaper in Zither’s cap had wilted.  They turned back toward the dock.  Zither struggled with the main sail rope and Mr. Blevins manned the tiller, guiding them toward the safety of shore.  On what should have been their last tack downwind, wind and spray caused Zither’s cap to shift over his eyes. He was blinded, just as Mr. Blevins was nearly bounced off the back of the boat by a large swell.  Mr. Blevins yelled. Zither heard him, tightened his grip on the rope and grabbed for his cap.  He felt the rope slip through his fingers and clutched it harder. Mr. Blevins righted himself.  Zither hit his cap with stiff fingers, knocking it farther over his eyes.  His father yelled for him to let some slack into the rope.  Zither was consumed with holding onto the rope and regaining his vision and did not understand his father.  The rope began to hurt his hand.  Mr. Blevins yelled again.  The boat pitched.

Zither’s fingers were numb, but finally found the front of his cap and pushed it back.  He was looking down into the water, not out over it, and his other hand was frozen around the rope and burning.  Then Zither was in the water.  Mr. Blevins, too, was thrown overboard as the sailboat overturned. The spill happened near the shore, so Mr. Blevins and Zither were able to save themselves and drag the boat on it side through the water to the dock.  Once the boat was loaded onto the trailer, they drove home dripping, freezing and silent.  After Mr. Blevins thawed out, he regained his sense of humor.  They compared notes and discovered that by holding fast to the rope in a strong gust, when Zither needed to play out the rope so less wind would catch the sail, he had caused the wind to push the boat over into the water.

Zither had managed to keep a hold of the Commander’s cap as he had swum ashore.  He was soon hounded by his family and friends with the now-teasing name of Commander, which he secretly love.  When the joke tarnished, he kept the name going.  By the time he was an adult only his family knew his true name.

By the time he was an adult, Zither–Commander–had also developed a unique ability to consciously leave his physical body and explore the Invisible Worlds.  Eventually, he crossed paths with a group of people who shared his interest and, to some degree, his talents.

A combination of Inner World Travel and Outer World marauding left Commander Blevins wide open for Psychic Parasites.  These Parasites are beings who have become so out of balance in their physical body that, when they leave it, are unable to move into their next reincarnation. Trapped in the physical realm, the Parasites have needs but no physical body to satisfy their desires.

These beings lose their gender and become “Its.”  The overriding passion that keeps a Psychic Parasite in the physical world past the life of Its physical body often determines what It craves after dropping the body.  The only way a Parasite can satisfy Its craving is to attach to a Host being who still has his or her physical body.

A Host being makes himself available–or not–to these Parasites by choices made.  After many choices in a particular direction the Host being’s aura develops a small rupture; even more choices of a similar nature and the rupture becomes a fissure.  When this fissure is large enough, a Parasite can sprout a small tube from part of Its no-longer-physical body and attach this tube to the Host being who has been abusing his or herself.

When this attachment takes place, a relationship begins. What the Parasite wants, the Host being now begins to want. What the Host being experiences, the Parasite begins to experience.  The relationship continues–usually without the Host being becoming aware of the Parasite–for a short while or longer, occasionally lasting throughout the remainder of the Host being’s current lifetime in his or her physical body.

Commander Blevins, rarely satisfied with the mundane, compressed several lifetimes of risk-taking into a mere score of years.  The result of this mania for life on the edge– without the clarity of wisdom–was an intimate relationship with Physic Parasites. Awareness only sometimes follows experience for Blevins, however, and he now struggles blindly with his own webs of Cause and Effect, occupied with simple survival, spiritual growth an hazy apparition.

Chapter One
“From Whence He Came”

“I’m so excited I could just molt,” Ember said.

“Molt?  That’s real talent,” said Pins.

“Well, hanging around this Bozo’s is dead end stuff.”

“I want to watch a Wire-Sitter molt.”

“Oh, can it, Charcoal Butt.”

“Gripe, Gripe, Gripe,” Pins said.

“Am not.”

“Are too.”

Pins had been named by an old gnarly acquaintance who thought the youngster’s pin-striping was hilarious.  Pins had continued the custom of naming new arrivals and had dubbed Its new, uninvited company, Ember.

“Lookeyloo!  There’s an invitation if I ever saw one.” Ember said and pointed It’s stumpy little arm down and across the street toward a skinny fellow walking and shaking at the same time.  Small tremors ran up and down the man’s body.

“That’s a piece of work, all right.  Probably gonna last another month at best.  But be my guest, but unhook first.”

“Nah, I think I’ll just snake a line over to Ol’ Graceful, there, and still keep a hold of the Slug, too.”

“Not on anybody’s life,” said Pins.  “I’m not going to be party to that kind of blowout.  Two hooks is guaranteed chaos.  Not in my backyard, Jose.”

“Oh, this is childish.  I’m not talking anymore,” Ember huffed.

The Two sat in silence on the drooping high wire that ran from the pole in the middle of the block to the pole at the end of the block.  Cars drove by, buses threw soot into the air at Their feet, people walked by in varying states of consciousness and lucidity: all climbing or descending the hill beneath them.  No one minded or noticed the two Wire Sitters; but then people usually do not react to what they cannot see.  Special people can see the unseen.  Theses people are rare, though, and do not come along often, especially on sunny afternoons on Fillmore Avenue in the Lower Lower Haight of San Francisco.

The Two Wire Sitters loved to bicker, but for now were locked in Their funk, short-circuiting Their warped little imaginations and making conversation difficult.

A dirty grey line of fuzzy light ran from Pins diagonally across the street and through the intersection on the uphill side of where It sat.  The line of light hung like a cord stretched over half a block, pulsated slightly and emanated a feeling of small-time evil.  Had one of the special people who can see unseen things seen this cord of light and stood on a tall ladder to smell it, they would had wrinkled their nose and climbed down from the ladder quickly. The light cord smelled rotten.

The light cord swayed in the breeze, even when there was no breeze–which was seldom on Fillmore in the Lower Lower Haight.  The breeze that blew the light cord back and forth, though, was not the same breeze that stirred newspapers and played havoc with Commander Blevins’ state of health.

Blevins was directly involved with this light cord, which at the moment stretched across the intersection of Fillmore and Page Streets above the tops of the buildings and down into the roof above apartment number 307 at 600 Page. The cord passed through the ceiling of the apartment and ended by implanting in the middle of Blevins’ back.  He did not know this: Blevins was not one of those special people who could see things most people could not see.  Had he been able to see this dirty grey line of fuzzy light, he would have reached around and jerked it out.  Commander Blevins was, after all, at times a sensible fellow not without talents.

At this particular juncture of Time and Space–ruling as they do in the Lower Spiritual Worlds–Commander Blevins was sitting in the kitchen patiently disassembling an old Burroughs Adding Machine.  It was eleven o’clock.  The oven was on low; its door was open; and the dirty grey light cord passed through the back of the white kitchen chair in which sat Commander Blevins.  The light cord quivered slightly.

In previous days, after one of Commander Blevins’ more memorable forays into worlds unseen, Pins’ light cord had been a lustrous, shiny black and had glowed brilliantly. Pins thought Its cord was majestic.  Soon after Ember arrived everything changed.  Ember craved only warmth.  Picking Commander Blevins as Its host was a combination of fortune and karma: good fortune for Ember, short-run bad karma for Commander Blevins.  At some point in Its evolution, the Soul that was today known as Commander Blevins in the Physical World, would learn the particular lesson underlying Its relationship with Ember.  Then Ember would get to face Its next test.  So it went.

Today what tied them together was another light cord: a well defined, dull-red line of warm light.  It looked much like the heating element in the electric oven when Commander Blevins turned the thermostat knob to high and left the door open.

This well defined, dull-red light cord was also fastened to Blevins’ back and ran through the chair, up into the ceiling, out of the roof, across the intersection of Filmore and Page and directly into the yahooney of Ember.  Pins had a yahooney, too.  Yahooneys enable Misplaced Entities to generate light cords and attach to people, animals, and other life forms.  It is this process of attachment which keeps a Misplaced Entity–or ME, as They are called by those who call them anything–misplaced.  Had these two Beings that were now MEs not been so attached to one passion or another when They left the Physical World, They would have been able to transit in a normal way and get on with their development.  Instead, They became stranded in an in-between level that is not normally a rest stop in the evolution of Soul.

The MEs were living the result of a lifetime spent in the Physical World presuming that life was a singular occurrence fully perceivable by the five senses.  Contrary to that limited viewpoint, life does not stop after death. Death and birth are different ends of any single loop in an ongoing spiral.  Birth on one level follows death on the same, or another level.

There were both differences and similarities between these two MEs.  Ember was fat, dumb, and happy, a condition It could–with the cooperation of Commander Blevins–occupy for an embarrassingly long period of time.  Pins was whithered, dumb, and wretched.  The arrival of Ember had a direct impact on Pins’ unfortunate state of affairs.

They shared a basic trait of all MEs: Their focus.  The MEs were completely consumed with themselves, with ME: the striking characteristic of a Monomoron, a name of a species that also describes the species.  Some MEs could not even say the word “you” in polite conversation with other MEs. MEs did, however, revel in slandering Their host whenever They did not draw up enough juice through Their light cords to satiate Their tunnel visioned little minds.

“Here he comes now,” said Ember.  It fluttered Its energy around and through Pins’ aura.

“Hey, cut that out, Emberhead.”  Pins moved away a little.  “Where’s he coming from?”

“He’s coming from his apartment, oh Winsome Apparition of Bratwurst.”

And that’s exactly what Commander Blevins did.  He opened the front door to 600 Page Street, squeezed through it with his two bags of laundry, wearing a good portion of the rest of his wardrobe, and walked across Page Street.  Two light cords followed him, whipping in an unseen breeze and trailing back up to the MEs sitting on the telephone wire.


Chapter Two
“Another Day of Shivering”

A barely audible tap-tap-tap came from the front door. Commander Blevins had just returned home from putting his laundry, and many dimes, into the dryer.  He got up from the white kitchen table and bumped the corner with his hip. Several hundred small metal parts rattled.  They used to be a Burroughs Model 17B Adding Machine.

“Rats,” he said.  The yogurt tub that held a quart of undiluted household cleaner sloshed and spilled onto the towel spread over half the table.  There was nothing to be done with the spill except to let it soak into the towel.  He made a mental note to wash the towel before using it in the bathroom again, put the lid on the yogurt tub, and clicked it shut.

Commander Blevins shuffled across the hardwood floor in his yellow and orange “Goofy” slippers as he made his way to the front door.  Two light cords brought up the rear. Pressing one eye to the peephole, he jumped back suddenly. Staring back at him through the peephole had been another eye, a big eye.  The eye was accompanied by a muted squeak from the hallway.  Blevins took a deep breath, reached for the door knob and open the door.  He shivered as the cool air from the hall whirled in around him. Standing in the hall was a middle aged woman wearing a purple hat and a startled expression.  “Oh, hello,” she blurted.

“Good day to you,” Commander Blevins said.  “In what way might I be of assistance.”

“Is this the office…er home of Commander Blevins?” She kneaded her handbag.

He pointed to a small card pinned to the door just below the peephole, “Read that”.

“Oh, dear, I shall have to get my glasses.”

Blevins waited patiently while the woman rummaged through her purse.  Finally she pulled out a burgundy and lavender stripped glasses’ case, opened it, and put on an old fashioned pair of spectacles.  Squinting, she read out loud, “COMMANDER Z. P. BLEVINS -PURVEYOR OF THE AKASHIC RECORDS – OCCULT DEBUNKING.”

She removed her glasses and said, “Did I get it right?”

Commander Blevins nodded.

“Is Commander Blevins in?”

“Barely.  One more step and I will be out.  Is that all you wish to know?”  Commander Blevins had a very dry sense of humor, especially when he was interrupted in the middle of a project.

“Oh, gracious no,” she said,  “There is so much I wish to know.  May I come in please.  I can pay you.”

Blevins’ eyes brightened.  “Of course you can, dear lady.  But I warn you that payment is rarely necessary.”  She slipped her glasses into their case, tucked it into her purse and permitted Commander Blevins to guide her by the arm into the flat’s foyer.  The main room was off to the left and he accompanied her across it and to a deep green velvet love seat near the window.  Other than the kitchen, bath, one large walk-in closet and a connecting hallway-foyer, this room was the apartment: living room, bedroom, study, and consultation room.  Commander Blevins prepared for a consultation.

“My it is warm in here,” she said, noticing there were three heaters in the room.

“Here, let me turn that down.”  Commander Blevins reached down to the heater next to the old Victorian love seat and turned the thermostat from 9 to 4.  The little fan stopped its whirring.

“Thank you,” she said.

“May I get you some tea,” he asked, “I’ve just made a fresh pot.”

“Why yes, that would be so nice.”  She wasn’t thirsty and was already overheated, but thought a little tea would be refreshing.  She was also chronically polite.  Commander Blevins padded off to the kitchen, wrapped warmly in his floor length terry cloth robe, light cords following.

Moments later he reappeared with two steaming mugs of tea.  He handed one to her and then sat down across the room in his overstuffed reading chair.  The light cords blended into the back of the chair on their way up to, and through the ceiling.

“Now tell me…what was your name?”

“Gladys.  Gladys Frumpwooler.”  Gladys Frumpwooler looked around frantically for somewhere to set the steaming cup of tea.

“I see.  And tell me Mrs…?  Miss…?”

“It’s Mrs.  Mrs. Frumpwooler.  But I’m a widow. Malvandian passed on three years ago this August, bless his heart.”  She sniffled a moment and started to reach for her hankie.  The mug of tea was too hot to be held by a single hand, though, so she quickly abandoned the idea.  She was too polite to set the cup on the floor.

“Well, Mrs. Frumpwooler, what is it that brings you to my doorstep.”  Blevins took a deep swallow of his tea.

“Commander Blevins, I don’t quite know how to begin.” She paused.  Her mind fully focused on the reason for her visit Mrs. Frumpwooler relaxed her vigil with the hot mug. She took a long sip of tea.  Her glasses steamed up.  Molten lava flowed down her throat.  Her eyes bulged, she opened her mouth wide and sweat beaded on many parts of her body.

“I can see that this is something that affects you deeply, Mrs. Frumpwooler.  Please take your time and begin anywhere you like.”

She did take her time.  She had to.  Slowly her breath returned, then her voice.  The shock of the tea had washed away all reserve.  “Thank you for your patience,” she said with a slight rasp in her voice.  “I was walking around the Palace of Fine Arts Tuesday afternoon.  It was a pleasant day, sunny and a crisp breeze was blowing off the Bay.  I passed a large tree and felt something pop.” She paused for a minute and took another sip of her tea.  Gasping moderately, she continued, “As I walked on wondering what this pop was all about, nothing felt akimbo you understand,” she fluttered her eyelashes, “I slowly became aware that where I was wasn’t where I had been.  If you follow.”

Commander Blevins nodded his head, careful to do nothing to interrupt his new Client.  She resumed her monologue, “I stopped, stood still, and listened.  There were sounds echoing from where I couldn’t tell and the breeze had stopped completely.  These were sounds I had never heard before and yet they were as familiar as…as Malvandian’s snoring was for nearly thirty-four years.

“I decided to walk on a bit further and did so.  Then I stopped again and turned around.  You know, I just don’t know why I did that, but I did.  That’s when I got the shock of my life.  Standing right behind me…was myself!  And I had my back to myself.  Can you imagine!”

Commander Blevins could imagine and did.  In fact he put himself in Mrs. Frumpwooler’s picture and looked around at the grounds of The Palace of Fine Arts.  There was nothing unusual about what he saw or heard: just a run of the mill sub-Astral transmitigation.  He shifted back to listening to Mrs. Frumpwooler talk as she sat in his apartment while simultaneously watching her scene unfold in the Inner Worlds.

“…everything I did.  It was so fascinating.  And a bit unnerving, I must say.  Anyway, I finally decided just to run after myself.  I was starting to get alarmed, not knowing how long I might be stuck where I was.”

Commander Blevins watched as Mrs. Frumpwooler hurled herself at her physical body in the Inner World replay.

“That’s when I saw this silvery-looking cord.  It was coming straight out of my stomach!  And it curved around in front of my…other…self.  Oh, this is all so difficult to get a hold of.”  She paused, drank some more tea without noticeable effect, then continued.  “So was I surprised when, as I took the first step–thinking, ‘what is this silver thing coming out of my stomach’–I felt a rushing feeling and heard a volcano or tornado or something rumble in the distance.  Just as quickly as that I was back with myself.” Mrs. Frumpwooler looked up from the area rug in front of the love seat and directly into Commander Blevins’ eyes, and said, “Now, isn’t that the darndest thing you have ever heard?”

Commander Blevins shook his head gently and withdrew his attention from the shimmering ground around The Palace of Fine Arts.

“No,” he said.

“Oh, yes.  Later that day I told my neighbor, Mrs. Glockenspiel, about it and she told me about you.  In fact she said to give you her very warmest.  She said you were always catching a chill.  ‘Poor dear man, he’s always catching a chill.’ she said.  She said she used to bump into you at the strangest places.  And that you knew about the ‘other worlds’, as she called them.”

“Thank you for the kind message.”  He vaguely remembered a woman who might have been this Mrs. Glockenspiel.  For a period of a couple months, during the time when he was researching the Fall of Lemuria from the Inner Worlds, he had run into an extremely tall, thin woman several times a week in the Physical World.  They had met in odd places, like the unisex bathroom at a little coffee shop in the Mission, or coming out of a thicket of bushes in Golden Gate Park.  Once he had been speared in the back with a loaf of bread while laboring up a hill in North Beach.  When he had turned around, he had come face to face with this same woman.  She was holding a slightly blunted loaf of sourdough bread as though it were a battering ram.  She had smiled.  He had smiled.  Then he had hurried on his way.

“Well  I now understand what brought you here.” Commander Blevins was silent for a moment.  “Do you have any idea what you would like to do, now that you have arrived.”

Mrs. Frumpwooler looked completely blank.  Finally she said, “Why I thought you would know what to do next, Commander Blevins.  Don’t you?”

“Well I know many things that can be done next.”

“Is it a matter of money?  I have several hundred…”

“Oh, don’t profane your experience with talk of money. What needs to be determined is why this happened to you.  And why it happened at this particular point in time.  It could be, for example, a significant zoidation which represents deeds left undone in the past.  It could be a whirling dervish out to have some fun and picked you at random.  Or it could be something you planned long ago to wake you up at this point in time and space to accomplish something pre-ordained.”

“Do you really think so Commander Blevins?  This is so exciting.  How do we find out?”

“There is only one way Mrs. Frumpwooler.  Only one way.” He hesitated while anticipation grew in the room, emanating from  Mrs. Frumpwooler.  “We must Journey back to the root. To the fundament of your existence.”

“Where is that?”

“The Akashic Records.”

“Your card on the door said something about that, didn’t it?”

“Yes, of course.  Do you want to go?”

“Yes!”

“Some people come back changed.  You can never tell what will happen when you open your past.  You must be completely sure you wish to know.”

“I am completely sure.  Can we go there now?”

“Yes we can.”  Commander Blevins relaxed into his chair for a moment.  The light cords quivered.

Outside, a half a block away, the First and Second Ones also quivered.  Ember quivered with anticipation and fear. At the end of Commander Blevins’ last foray to the Akashic Records Pins had attached to Their host during Commander Blevins’ ‘re-entry’ into the Physical Worlds.  Pins might drop off next time; They might have more company; the Slug might returned even more drained; or he might not return at all…it was like rolling dice.  Pins quivered without knowing why: It was generally excitable and although It had experienced plenty of opportunities to figure out the process, this newest member of the club was solidly in the dark about many of the basic laws governing life as an ME.

Mrs. Frumpwooler interrupted Commander Blevins’ reverie. “What do we do first?”

Commander Blevins bolted to his feet, empty tea cup in one hand and said, “We shall have some more tea.” He marched over to where Mrs. Frumpwooler sat, picked up her cup, and strode into the kitchen.  Mrs. Frumpwooler sighed.

Chapter Three
“Up, Up and Away”

After several minutes of clanking, groaning, and off-key humming, Commander Blevins reappeared with the two refilled mugs of steaming tea.  Thrusting the full cup back into Mrs. Frumpwooler’s pink hands, Blevins began pacing the room: three paces one way, three paces back.  Mrs.  Frumpwooler watched him cross the room in each direction as though she was a spectator at a slow-motion tennis match played on an extraordinarily small court.  Partially mesmerized, she began sipping the tea again.

“Is there a problem, Commander Blevins?”  She finally asked, rasping.  Her stomach was just beginning to turn sour as dizziness settled upon her.

“What?  Oh, Mrs. Frumpwooler.  I was just…reviewing… possible…approaches.  He sat down, slightly winded and regained his focus.  “Well, now where shall we begin?”  He took a large gulp of tea and was silent for another minute. Mrs. Frumpwooler felt it was her duty to respond, but had no idea what to say.

“That’s it.  We shall jump off near the Casual and…no, I think not.  Mrs. Frumpwooler, are you stout of heart? Ready for some derring-do adventure?  I can personally guarantee you that whatever we run across, no matter how it may seem, nothing will not be able to adversely affect you. Unless you choose to be adversely affected, that is.”

Mrs. Frumpwooler nodded wide-eyed, sipping her tea.

“I need to hear words, Mrs. Frumpwooler.  It is very important that we are both prepared for our little Journey.”

“Well, then in that case, yes, I am ready for an adventure.  And if you say nothing will harm me, then I believe you.  What are we going to find out?”

“That is the big question isn’t it?”  Commander Blevins stood up and walked over to the edge of the love seat, near Mrs. Frumpwooler.  Taking the cup of tea from her very red hands, he placed it on a narrow little shelf which he pulled out of the arm of the love seat.  Mrs. Frumpwooler looked at him with admiration and relief.

He walked around behind her.  “Now, if you will relax and allow me to remove this stunning purple hat of yours”–he did so and tossed it casually on his desk behind him–“I will open your upper chakras.  Please close your eyes.”  He placed one hand on the top of her head, mashing her well-lacquered hair, and the other across her forehead.  “Now, I want you to relax and gently let your attention rest on a place in the middle of your forehead, just above your eyebrows.”  He gently massaged that area of her forehead with the ball of his hand.  “Let a calm sea take shape in your mind’s eye. Let yourself feel the rocking of the waves and smell the fresh sea air.  A sea gull caws in the distance.”  He stopped massaging her forehead for a long minute then began rubbing the very center of her head with his other hand.  “Now I want you to feel a gentle breeze blowing across the sea toward you from all directions.  Feel it brush across your face and turn upwards, so it is flowing straight up around your head.”  He paused again, then slowly removed both hands and said, “Hold the image of the sea and feel the breeze flowing up around you.  Gradually, as I tell you, the wind will increase and exert a stronger pull upon you.”

Quietly Commander Blevins walked around the love seat over to his overstuffed chair.  Draining his tea, he settled down into the cushions, put a pillow behind his back, drew his robe tight, pulled the elastic cuffs of his sweat pants down snugly upon the tops of his slippers, sighed deeply and closed his eyes.  Then he opened them again.  He quietly reached over to the table next to the chair.  Two electric digital clocks sat behind a pile of books.  One read “1:47,” the other “1:51.”  He carefully picked-up the fast one and reset it to noon and made a note that the slow one was the Journey record this time.  He sat the clock down and closed his eyes again.

“Mrs. Frumpwooler I can now see the same sea that you see.  The waves are rocking us, a stiff breeze is blowing, the sun is shining and we see no one else on this sea but us today.  The wind is blowing stronger.  It now feels like it will surely suck us right up with it.  Do not be afraid.  I will prepare you for each step of our Journey today.  In a moment I will reach out and take your hand and we will step up into the wind.  Extend your arm and open your hands. There I have you now.  Let’s–on the count of three–take one big step.  One…two…three.

Several things happened at once.  Commander Blevins neatly stepped out of his physical body.  The telephone rang. The neighbor dropped a bottle of milk in the hall and cursed. And Mrs. Frumpwooler raised one arm and stood straight-up so fast she caught the front edge of the love seat with her calf and dumped it over on its back.  She then floated gently out of her physical body with a serene expression on her face.

Commander Blevins and Mrs. Frumpwooler hovered in the room, near the ceiling.  He watched her closely.  They each looked nearly the same as their two physical bodies, which were unmoved from a moment earlier: he sitting comfortably in the easy chair, she standing at erect attention with her right arm sticking out and up.  Blevins considered re- entering the physical and repeating the process in the hope his Client would exit her physical body more smoothly on the second try.  He quickly vetoed the idea.  The door was locked, a few sore muscles would be soon forgotten by Mrs. Frumpwooler and a transmitigation was a transmitigation.

Several moments passed and Mrs. Frumpwooler tuned in,

“Commander Blevins!  This is quite amazing.  I feel the same way I did on Tuesday when I was outside myself.”  She paused. Little lights twinkled throughout her.  “Is that the correct way to put it?”

“Close enough.”

“Oh, and look, there’s the silver cord coming out of my stomach.  I wish I had a necklace that was as pretty a silver as this is.”

“There’s something…”

“Commander Blevins, you have one, too.  Only your silver cord is coming out of the back of your head.”

“Yes, yes.  We all have one that connects our Astral body to our Physical body.  Its the natural order of things, and means nothing…unless you choose to break the cord.”

“Break the…”

“Now, there is something very important we need to work on before we go any further, Mrs. Frumpwooler,”  Commander Blevins said.  She nodded.  He had her complete attention. “Please look to your right.  Put your attention on the far corner where the wall meets the ceiling above the window.” Mrs. Frumpwooler followed his instructions.  “Now think about being there,” Blevins said.

Mrs. Frumpwooler was suddenly there, though she did not appear to move.  One moment she was next to Commander Blevins hovering in the middle of the room, the next moment she was hovering just below the ceiling near the wall over the window.

Mrs. Frumpwooler looked at Commander Blevins with awe. Her mouth was open and moving slightly, but no sound came out.  “You are a quick student Mrs. Frumpwooler.  I commend you.  Lesson number two you are currently practicing, though I imagine it is by accident.  The Law of Silence is very important to understand.  Its basic principal is that you can wreak all kinds of havoc by talking about things that need to be kept as they are…in the Inner.  When the Inner Secrets are brought to the Outer Worlds, forces are unleashed which we can not control.  Also, if you have a good thing going in some respect, and you talk about it, often it will go kaputt. Instantly.  So please keep this in mind during our adventures…and especially after we return.” Commander Blevins floated around the room a bit, peering at unseen things.  A silver cord did spiral out of the back of his head, shimmering and pulsating.  This cord wound its way down to his physical body, connecting to the back of his physical head.  The two light cords which attached to the back of his physical body also pulsated and in an identical rhythm to the pulsing of his silver cord.  They did not, however, make the leap to his hovering Astral body.

“In case you are wondering.  I am looking for a Blipspule.”  He was quiet as he looked further.

“Can I ask what a ‘Blipspule’ is?”  Mrs. Frumpwooler asked.

“Of course, Mrs. Frumpwooler.  Asking is how any of us learn.  Asking a question is much different that talking about something you already know.  A ‘Blipspule’ is one of those little wonders of the Inner Worlds that are so often overlooked.  If you will look down at yourself, you will notice thousands of little sparkles sparkling about on and in yourself.  We are, by the way, in our Astral bodies.  If someone were to walk into the room right now, other than your physical body’s unusual posture, they would see nothing out of the ordinary and would presume that you and I were probably asleep.”

“Oh dear,” Mrs. Frumpwooler said.

“Not to worry!” Commander Blevins said.  “No one shall walk into the room while we are gone.  We shall not be gone long by Physical World standards, anyway.  We aren’t going to completely leave the time track in today’s little Journey, but time does move differently in the Inner Worlds.  It’s not hard to bend time to one’s wishes, so long as the wishes do not affect another person in an ill way.  No that’s not entirely true.  It could be bent to…Oh, that’s not important.”  He stopped for a moment, lost in his muttering.

“Oh, hello.  Yes, now as I was saying we are looking for a Blipspule.  It will look very much like one of the little sparkles that are dancing–Oh, I know what I was going to say!  Darn but there’s a lot to keep track of sometimes.  If someone ELSE walked into the room now, someone with the ability to see unseen things, that person would see two clouds of little sparkles dancing about and floating here and there.  That is if we choose to float around.  If that person were uninformed and/or weak constitutioned, they would probably run out of the room screaming.  But if they had been able to see unseen things for a while, then they would either be naturally a sound person, having strengthened themselves, or be in an institution by now.  This, my dear Mrs. Frumpwooler, is where all this bunk about ghosts comes from…from the uninformed, and/or weak constitutioned people who stumble onto things they should not…  Well, enough about that for now.”

He continued his inspection of the area above the door to the large walk-in closet in silence.

Bravely, Mrs. Frumpwooler asked again, “I would still like to know, Commander Blevins, what a Blipspule is and how you know if you find it.  There seems to be a cluster of little sparkles hovering over here by the window.”

“Really!”  Commander Blevins joined Mrs. Frumpwooler by the window in a blink.  “Mrs. Frumpwooler, I must commend you again!  You have found a veritable bevy of Blipspules!” He peered at them closely.  “Eureka!  Great Fortnoy!  Grab my hand, Mrs.  Frumpwooler.”  Commander Blevins extended his sparkly arm.  Mrs. Frumpwooler grasped his hand firmly with hers, though it did not feel firm.  Nothing felt firm to her at that moment.  Before she could think, focus her attention on any other spot in the room or even consider violating the Law of Silence, she was speeding down a bright blue tunnel. Commander Blevins stood in front of her: legs apart, a frozen smile on his face, one hand reaching back to hers and the other pointed ahead, his forefinger leading the way. Although they seemed to be speeding toward whatever was ahead of them at breakneck pace, Mrs. Frumpwooler did not feel any wind racing by and Commander Blevins was certainly not leaning in the direction of their travel in any instinctive aerodynamic fashion, as might be expected.  Perhaps they were standing still and the bright blue tunnel was rushing by them.  It was this curious thought that occupied Mrs. Frumpwooler until everything around her changed.


Chapter Four
“Welcome to My World”

The bright blue tunnel disappeared slowly.  Commander Blevins and Mrs. Frumpwooler found themselves standing on a white path, still holding hands.  Their bodies looked a little less solid than a moment before but still twinkled with many little sparkly sparkles.  Some birds chirped in the distance.  They were moving again.  Mrs. Frumpwooler looked down.  The path whisked them along at the pace of a brisk walk.  It seemed to be made of thousands of small pebbles that moved closer to each other, then farther away. Underneath the surface of the path ran a swift stream, or so it looked to Mrs. Frumpwooler.  Waves were apparently rolling down the stream at regular intervals pulling the top layers of small pebbles along with them.  This much made some sense. Missing, however, was the sensation of rising and falling with the waves as they moved beneath the pebbles.  Mrs. Frumpwooler suddenly had a vision of riding on the belly of an infinitely long white snake.  She looked up quickly, unsure just where she was being taken.

Commander Blevins stood in front of her, legs still apart, taking deep breaths and facing forward, his hands clasped behind his back.  “What a grand tour, Mrs. Frumpwooler, wouldn’t you say?”  Hearing no response he looked back just as she looked up.  “Chin-up stout heart. Our adventure’s just begun.”  He looked again in the direction of their travel.  A grove of scarlet trees passed by on the left, outlined against a pale yellow sky.  The trees were tossing bouquets of flowers back and forth to each other, catching them in long tendrils at the ends of their branches.  “It’s true we are taking the long way to our destination.  But what’s the hurry when time is an ally,” he said, turning and winking at her.

“W-W-Where are we, Commander Blevins?”  Mrs. Frumpwooler stammered slightly.

He turned back, looking ahead.  “We are in a sub-Astral World, Mrs. Frumpwooler.  It is the most immediate Inner World to the physical.  Called the Moondog World, it’s a thin veneer between the Physical and the beginning of the Astral Worlds.  From that point on, each world has many sub-worlds within it.  Don’t take this too literally, though.  Inner World borders are tough to pin down.  Usually I am able to jump the Moondog.  This time we didn’t.  Oh, well.  Perhaps it was because of the little commotion we had getting you out of your body.  You’re a trooper, though I must say.  Imagine you won’t even flinch next time.” ‘Next time’ echoed through Mrs. Frumpwooler mind.  She was puzzled with Commander Blevins’ voice.  His mouth moved, but she heard him before he spoke. 

As she was about to break the Law of Silence about her concerns, a hot breath blasted the back of her neck.  This diverted her attention. She turned around and found herself staring directly into the open mouth of a huge white dog.  Its teeth were barred, its ears pointed straight-up and were higher than Mrs. Frumpwooler could reach, even on tippy toes.  The enormous dog was running full tilt, but not moving any closer to her. She screamed.  Commander Blevins turned around and laughed. The large dog continued running, breathing hot with hard eyes fixed on a point far in the distance.

Commander Blevins took Mrs. Frumpwooler by the shoulders and gently pulled her over to one side of the path way.  “Its only the Moondog, Mrs. Frumpwooler.  I told you we were in the Moondog World, remember?”  She nodded numbly.  The huge white dog began to move past them.  They were standing still on the pathway and moving past the country side at a pleasant clip.  The Moondog was running at full stride on the pathway and yet moved past them slowly.

Commander Blevins put out his hand to touch the Moondog and Mrs. Frumpwooler eeked.  “Don’t fret Mrs.  Frumpwooler. Watch this.”  He put his hand into the side of the Dog as it passed, legs churning hard.  Sparks showered them, coming from where Commander Blevins’ hand entered the Dog’s side. Commander Blevins laughed.  Mrs.  Frumpwooler giggled.  “See wasn’t that fun, Mrs.  Frumpwooler?”  She nodded in silence. “That’s his way of welcoming us to his world.”


Chapter Five
“The Jumping Off Point”

They continued on for what seemed like an eternity to Mrs. Frumpwooler.  She was grappling with Commander Blevins’ statement that time was now at their mercy.

The scenery was pleasant, nothing much out of the ordinary happened.  The white path of rippling motion pushed them along.  Commander Blevins commented on passing items of note, most of which Mrs. Frumpwooler did not hear, caught as she was in her mind. A steep hillside faced them.  Beyond it the sky was now a midnight blue.  The white path wound straight up the hill, though pulsing strangely at times.  Mrs. Frumpwooler wondered if the path was coughing or slightly afraid of something. She thought this until she realized what she was thinking. Before she could chastise herself for such absurd thoughts, the path came to an abrupt end.  Beyond it lay only the deep midnight blue sky.

“Well, here we are,” Commander Blevins said.

“Where is here?”  Mrs. Frumpwooler asked.  “And when will we be wherever we are going?”

“Why the Jumping Off Point, of course.”  He ignored her second question, took her by the arm and led her up to the end of the path.  His fingers glowed slightly where he touched her.  The little white pebbles undulated right up to the end of the path, then turned back upon themselves, blending in with the steady march of white stones coming up from behind, and heading into an unseen reservoir of white pebbles to be used again when needed.  The irregular pulsing that Mrs. Frumpwooler had noticed earlier was more pronounced now.

“What’s out there?” she asked tentatively, not really sure she wanted to know.”

“Why, the Astral Worlds, of course.”

Mrs. Frumpwooler thought Commander Blevins was beginning to sound like a stuck record.  “How do we get there?” she asked.

“We jump.  That’s why it’s called the Jumping Off Point. Are things really that difficult to understand?  You should be letting go of that choke hold on your mind by now.”

She looked at him like he was crazy, which is exactly what she thought.

“Now, I didn’t mean ‘you’ in particular,” Commander Blevins said.  “It’s common for Soul in the human consciousness to be so afraid of losing what it thinks is control over itself and its world that it gloms onto its mind as though its life depended on it. A mind is a wonderful tool and a lousy master. By holding on so tightly to the mental machinery, people inadvertently buy into a gross illusion. Most of the Physical World is illusion, my dear.

“So as we wind our way into the Inner Worlds in this Journey, you will have the opportunity to slowly relax your death grip on your mind and experience a somewhat more direct connection with your true self. If we should go far enough, which we won’t today, we would go beyond the mind all together. That’s the only time when someone can truly say they have gone out of their mind,” he said chuckling to himself at the joke.

Mrs. Frumpwooler stared at Commander Blevins trying to digest what he said. “It” kept running through her mind.

“Lighten up, my dear. I know you have it in you.” He gave her a little squeeze around the waist and said, “Here we go now…”

“Go wheeerrreee…” she said, suddenly pulled along.

“Jumping ooooooooffff…” he said.

And jump off they did. Really Commander Blevins did. Since he was holding tightly to Mrs. Frumpwooler, she went too.

Descend, though, they did not. The deep midnight blue swallowed them, along with Commander Blevins’ parting “Wheeeee”, and then, almost immediately, deposited them gently into a large field of purple flowers shaped like little drums. There was a pink cast to the light all around them.

Mrs. Frumpwooler was beyond shock and amazement. Commander Blevins was as happy as a duck in mud, looking around, drinking in the meadow and the pinkish-red sky. Yellow clouds shot overhead in formations, zig-zagging the sky like an Astral precision flying squadron. Which they might have been. The Astral differs little from the physical in most ways. Many beings are able to run their bodies on more than one Inner World, while at the same time living “fully” in the physical. “Time” here is, of course, a different matter than on the physical, though it cannot be done away with entirely. Only in the higher Inner Worlds is time–and space–left behind.

“Welcome to the Astral, Mrs. Frumpwooler,” Commander Blevins said. There was some trumpeting off in the distance and the little purple flowers began beating themselves with small appendages. “I think we are in for a sound storm.”

“Sounds more like a parade to me Commander Blevins. And I must say you look dashing.” He did in fact look quite handsome. Gone was his old robe and slouching posture. In place stood a trim, erect figure glimmering with a solid coat of sparkles. Mrs. Frumpwooler was similarly transformed.

Ignoring the personal comment, Commander Blevins said, “Well things are different here, Mrs. Frumpwooler. “They aren’t always what they seem.” The trumpeting grew louder and the flowers divided into two choruses: one beat fast staccato rhythms of three runs of three beats each, with the accented beat rotating. The second chorus provided a slow, steady background beat that gradually rose in intensity. It would peak periodically with the last accented beat of a set of three threes by the first chorus. This went on for a while, then dimmed somewhat, then got louder again, but coming from a different angle.

Suddenly all was quiet. A point of light hovered on the horizon. It grew to show a brilliant orange center surrounded by luminescent green circles. Them it came nearer quickly and filled out to become a solid looking sphere. Mrs. Frumpwooler shrieked when she first saw it, hovering in the near distance.

Commander Blevins aid quietly, “It’s all right Mrs. Frumpwooler.”

“But it is coming straight at us Commander Blevins!”

“Yes, it surely is.”

“But it looks like it is going to eat us,” Mrs. Frumpwooler said, standing up and looking around frantically.

Before she could do anything provocative–such as running amok though through the little purples flowers–Commander Blevins gently griped her arm and said, “Please do get a hold of yourself, Mrs. Frumpwooler. It is not going to eat us, though I do hope we will be able to use it to our benefit.” His hand glowed brightly where he touched her. She did not notice. She did notice the gently tickling sensation that came from her arm and was torn between investigation it and the crisis at hand. Mrs. Frumpwooler’s knees became wobbly.

Griping her around the waist with his other arm, Commander Blevins continued, “As we go higher in the Inner Worlds our thoughts will manifest more quickly. This is one of the secrets of living on the physical: understanding that what we think does manifest in our lives. It does not happen quickly enough for most people to make the connection. Our manifestations also involve what we are doing on the Inner Worlds, so not all the forces that each of us brings to bear on our lives in the physical are readily apparent while we are locked into our human consciousness.” He paused for a moment. The brilliant orange sphere was hovering in front of them, a small pebble toss away. “Are you with me so far?” he asked.

“Uhhh, yes, I think so,” Mrs. Frumpwooler forced back a giggle.

“Good. Now keep this in mind. Controlling the mind is a matter of attention, not effort. I will help you for the next little while.” Commander Blevins pressed his right index finger against the ridge which ran behind Mrs. Frumpwooler’s right ear and he hummed a simple little sound. Sparks shot from the point of contact.

“Oh, that is better,” she said at once. Her urge to giggle, or do anything but smile, dissipated.

“Good. Now relax into the feeling of serenity while we step into the next world. Transitions are the most tricky, but I will be here with you every step of the way.” As he was speaking, a large orange tongue unfurled from the center of the sphere. It spread out before them, stopping about shoulder height. Three green lines ran straight up the middle of the tongue and disappeared into the brilliant orange sphere. They looked like racing stripes.

A moment later there was a faint crackling from the end of the tongue. Two little doors opened outward and a set of steps unfolded from the inside of the tip of the tongue. The steps stretched out into mid-air and down, completed their extension stopping just before crushing several purple flowers. The steps had a purplish cast to then at the bottom, which turned to crimson, then red orange as the steps neared the tip of the tongue from where they came.

“Hold my hand and here we go,” Commander Blevins said.

Mrs Frumpwooler, wide-eyed, did as requested. They stepped in unison onto the first rung on the stairs. Immediately the sky changed hue and the orange sphere shot out away from them, toward an increasingly chartreuse sky. Trailing the sphere, the tongue further unfurled at a now furious pace. Still standing on the first rung of the stairs, they watched as the tongue laid out in a long straight road before them. The road led up and into a suddenly pinkish red sky.

“Wow,” said Mrs. Frumpwooler.

“See, this is jolly fun, isn’t it?” Commander said, slipping monetarily as they mounted the steps. He held fast to Mrs. Frumpwooler’s hand, but the finger on his other hand left the ridge behind her ear monetarily. A thousand two inch Pterodactyls instantly swarmed around them, diving and biting Mrs. Frumpwooler.

“Oops, sorry about that,” he aid regaining his balance and repositioning his finger behind her ear , unaware of what has just materialized.

Mrs. Frumpwooler watched as the little Pterodactyls disappeared one by one in grey puffs, like victims of unseen and unheard anti-aircraft fire. With a bit of prodding from Commander Blevins she finished climbing the stairs: eyes wide, mouth open, and a guttural scream frozen on her lips.

They stepped onto the tongue, something began whirring, and they began to move ahead. Mrs. Frumpwooler decided to keep her attention only on what was directly in front of her. Commander Blevins could deal with the rear. Their movement increased in speed. The orange tongue rolled up fast behind them, becoming larger and larger and pushing them along. To someone initiated in the ways of the Inner Worlds, it looked like it was about to squash them flat.

Commander Blevins hummed merrily and chatted about whatever crossed his mind while keeping his finger on the ridge behind Mrs. Frumpwooler’s ear. Her panic dissolved. At one point his comments about the nature of a person’s past lives–and how choices made manifest in both Inner and Outer Worlds–caught Mrs. Frumpwooler’s attention. The event on the little steps took on new meaning. She also listened to Commander Blevins’ contention that e-v-e-r-y-t-h-i-n-g–he had spelled it out for emphasis–which comes into our world is there because we create it on one level or another.

“And if we create it,” he said, we are also responsible for it.”

Chapter Six
“The Downside Of Focalshifting”

Suddenly they were flying through the air in an elongated arc.  Puffy, light blue bushes reached up and caught Mrs. Frumpwooler as she entered the final approach to her landing.  She was all akimbo as she came down: her arms and legs flailing, her mouth open and she was unable to completely suppress one of her guttural screams.  As she landed she got a glimpse of the brilliant orange spheres’s center opening, which puckered, then closed.  The tip of the sphere’s tongue poked through the opening and then retracted just before the sphere closed up.  Then the sphere was gone. In its place spread a lovely lavender sky.  Mrs. Frumpwooler had the distinct impression they had been spit out of the orange sphere and into this world.  Something pushed at her gently.

Commander Blevins landed neatly on his feet a few meters away and inhaled deeply.  Off in the distance, a large pole split the horizon.  He glanced in the direction of Mrs. Frumpwooler; saw she was being gently righted by the blue bushes and focused his attention on the pole.  Immediately he was standing in front of it.

It was as he had hoped, a signpost.  Large arrows were attached at different intervals and pointing in many directions.  He walked around it slowly, reading each sign. Some seemed almost familiar.  Several were printed in German and a few in English.  “Menchgruten.” “Slippery Pete.” “Bal.” “The Dump of Dumps.” “Fantasy Number 9.”  Some of the signs were printed in characters completely unknown to him.

“Eureka!” Commander Blevins shouted.  He glanced toward Mrs. Frumpwooler.  She was standing up, looking around and swatting at something behind her.  She held one hand against her forehead over her eyes.  He thought he could see her mouth moving.  He put his attention upon the area next to her, and was there.

“Oh! Gracious Commander Blevins, you’ve done me out of years of good health!” Mrs. Frumpwooler cried out.  “I was worried sick you’d been eaten or something and that I was left here at heaven-knows-what’s mercy.  Something keeps poking me in the back.  Then you pop up next to me without even a modicum of warning.  Gracious!”  Her breast heaved. “Where are we anyway?  And where are we going?”  She looked him up and down.  “And why are you all stripy!”

Commander Blevins WAS stripy.  Mrs. Frumpwooler was stripy, too.  Gone were their transparent, shimmering bodies of a thousand sparkles.  Instead they both wore oblong orbs of striped light.  Little stumpy legs and feet protruded from the bottoms of each of their orbs and their faces shone through the light of the orbs, which extended well beyond the tops of their heads…or where the tops of their heads would normally be.

“And you don’t have any arms!  And I don’t either. What’s going on here…my nose itches…oh, there’s my arm. And you have one too!”

Commander Blevins had raised his arm to show her that he still had one.  He also had not heard a word of what Mrs. Frumpwooler said.  He nodded, reading her lips as she moved her mouth.  Neither had she heard what she said, in the normal way.  She was not talking so loudly that the internal resonation of her speech blocked out any awareness that her vocal cords no longer functioned.  Commander Blevins was relieved to see that she appeared to be basically in control of herself.  He elected not to place his finger back behind her ear, for the moment, and lowered his arm, which blended into the side of his orb again.

“Mrs. Frumpwooler,” he said.  His voice came through very clearly to her, slightly deeper and with more warmth than before.  The sound seemed to resonate from within her rather than come from him.  His lips did not move, nor did his mouth open.

She moved her lips, though, jumped and stammered, “What, what was…how did you do that!”  Of course he did not hear her and she did not hear herself, but he knew what she was saying.

Commander Blevins continued soothingly, “Listen to me for a moment, please Mrs. Frumpwooler.  We cannot communicate with our mouths here.  In fact, as we travel closer to our destination our mouths will blend into the rest of our faces as we become more light and less matter.  Sound does still play an important role, but will be different and will resemble the Inner Sound which you have heard many times before.

Mrs. Frumpwooler cocked her head like a puppy trying to understand.  Commander Blevins continued.  “For example, remember when you were walking around the Palace of Fine Arts–you know, the reason you came to see me…?”  Mrs. Frumpwooler nodded her head so vigorously the light orb around it left tracers to each side of her head.  “…and the sound you heard just before you rejoined your body.  Do you remember that?”

Mrs. Frumpwooler nodded yes, slowly, her lips pressed firmly together.

“Good.  That sound is the Inner Sound I’m talking about, which takes many forms.  In the Inner Worlds–and where we are now is the second of the lower Inner Worlds–the Sound is more readily available to us.  By vibrating with it, we are able to talk without needing vocal cords and all that.  In fact, we don’t even have them.”

Mrs. Frumpwooler’s eyes shot open and she clutched at her throat.

Blevins ignored her dismay.  “Now I want you to remember our little experiment in my apartment when you first left your physical body.  Remember that I asked you to focus your attention on the far wall.  The next moment you were there, right?”

Mrs. Frumpwooler nodded again, still holding her throat.

“Well, we have left our Astral bodies back in the Astral Worlds, just like we left our Physical bodies back in the Physical World.  You’ll notice you have no silver cord anymore.”

Her mouth opened, she released her throat, looked down and felt around on her stomach.  Her hands sunk into her body a little.

“The silver cord is used to connect the Astral and Physical Bodies.  We now have only our Causal bodies and our Mental bodies between our present consciousness and our true selves, sometimes called our higher selves or Soul.  These bodies are like overcoats.  They protect us from the harsher vibrations of the respective lower worlds in which they are designed to be used.  When we pass into the next higher world, we cannot take our coarser body with us.  It is like pushing ourselves through a finer and finer screen, shedding the larger dross each time.”  He paused.  “Are you with me so far?”.

Mrs. Frumpwooler’s eyes were a little glazed, but she bravely nodded yes and stopped looking for her silver cord.

“Grand!  I knew you were a trooper.  Now since we are one step closer to the Mental Worlds, we have one less layer between our minds and our consciousness of the moment.  What we think, therefore, will manifest even more quickly.  To talk, you only need to think of what you want to say and to whom you want to say it.  To move you only need think that you want to move and to where you want to move.”

Mrs. Frumpwooler’s eyes widened: she was momentarily overwhelmed.

“Now please don’t get alarmed.”  He gently took a hold of her arm.  His hands sunk part way into her body, glowed slightly and the stripes on her arm diverted around where he held her.  “Here in the Casual Worlds we are limited.  For example we can only communicate with someone we can see. This has something to do with discrete materialization, I think.  At any rate, in the worlds of pure spirit, above the Mental Worlds, all limitations are removed.  Here, though, we also must be able to see our next destination and we cannot manifest something which will harm us.  There is still illusion here, though, so keep that in mind.”

Mrs. Frumpwooler’s relaxed a bit, began to move her lips, but then stopped.  Slowly, but clearly, her voice filled Commander Blevins.  “Wha, why did–can you hear me, this feels so silly,” she said.

“Yes, yes.  I can hear you fine.  Please continue.”

“Well.  I was wondering why we haven’t used the thinking way of moving since that one time in our apartment.  It seems that we have walked so very much, needlessly.”

Commander Blevins was quiet for a moment, then said without speaking, “That was a great job of using the Inner Sound.  I can see that you are right on top of things and that is terrific.  Keep in mind, though, that we need to learn many things that may not seem relevant at the time.  We haven’t done any focalshift traveling until now because I wanted you to get used to being out of your physical body without having to deal with too many things at once.  I often lose my perspective with a new traveler.  But are you ready to try it again now?”

She looked around for a moment.  No orange sphere loomed anywhere in site.  The lavender sky was calming and no other life forms were to be seen.  “Why yes, I believe so,” she didn’t say.

“Transborneo!” Commander Blevins exclaimed.  “Let’s get on with it then.  Do you see that tall pole off in the distance there?”  He pointed toward the signpost.

“Yes, I do.”

“Well then, follow these instructions.  Place your attention gently on that pole and drop all else from your mind for a brief moment.  In that moment simply visualize yourself standing next to the pole or wherever you want to go.  Got that?”

“I think so.”

“Ok, now you can go first or I can, which would you like?”  Commander Blevins didn’t say.

“Well, why don’t you…oh no then I’d be left…but I don’t want to go by myself.”  Mrs. Frumpwooler looked at him with despair.

“I’ll tell you what,” he said, “we shall both go first. On the count of three we will both momentarily clear our minds and picture ourselves by the pole.  All right?”

“All right.”

“Ok.  One.  Two.  Three.”  Just as Commander Blevins said “three,” a large red rabbit whizzed by on the right side of Mrs. Frumpwooler, heading in the general direction of the signpost.  It stopped about two-thirds of the way there. Commander Blevins materialized five meters to the left of the signpost.  He had wanted to give Mrs. Frumpwooler plenty of latitude.  Mrs. Frumpwooler appeared a hare’s breath away from the rabbit, which then shot skyward in reaction to the sudden company.

The rabbit came straight down and bounced first on top of Mrs. Frumpwooler’s head, then landed on the ground.  It immediately ran back the way it had come.  Mrs. Frumpwooler screamed and fainted.  Her stripy body became hazy as it sunk to the ground, but held its shape.  Little stumpy legs and feet stuck straight out of one end, held off the ground by the firm orb of light.  Commander Blevins sighed and focalshifted over to her.  He waited the few minutes needed for Mrs. Frumpwooler to regain her wits.  Her stripes were still cloudy when he heard her not speak to him.

“What…oh my…something hit me.  A red blur!  Are there Communists here too?”

Commander Blevins placed his right hand under Mrs. Frumpwooler’s neck and let his index finger rest on the ridge behind her ear.  He pressed slightly.  The stripes cleared and he thought to himself that in spite of her distraction with the red rabbit, she did very well to speak to him without trying to use her mouth, while she was still half conscious.

“Oh…hello Commander Blevins.  Why am I here on the ground?”

Silently, he expressed undying gratitude for the Point of Infinite Peacefulness, then didn’t say, “You are fine. Just rest a moment.  A one in a million occurrence caught you just as you were about to focalshift to the signpost.”

“What signpost,” she asked.

“The post over there, that was our destination, is a signpost.”  He released his pressure on the ridge behind her ear, helped her up and pointed to the post.  “I think we had better walk to it while you regain your equilibrium.”

“Thank you,” she said.  They began walking.  “What was that anyway that hit me?  And why didn’t I go to the signpost?  Did you?”

“Yes, yes.  I made it fine, but came back to check on you.  Just as you we were about to shift over to the pole, a shooting hare zipped by.  I kept my attention on the signpost, you did not…so you went where you were looking and focusing: to the rabbit.  Your sudden appearance startled the bunny, it jumped straight up and then came down on your head.  I imagine its little heart was racing as fast as yours at that point.  I can’t imagine how the rabbit knocked you out.  They are soft as feather pillows and weigh about as much, too.”

They were nearing the signpost when Mrs. Frumpwooler asked, “What happens if someone looks somewhere but puts their focus somewhere else?”

Blevins chuckled.  “You are a marvel Mrs.  Frumpwooler. Hopefully you will never have the experience.  Usually nothing happens.  The person shifting simply goes to the point that they locked onto the strongest.  Once in a great while, however, the locks will be evenly balanced.  Then we have the Ping-pong effect.  The focalshifter goes from one spot to the other, back and forth.”

“How does this ‘Ping-pong effect’ end?”

“Usually an outsider steps in and neutralizes one lock so the Ping-ponger stops at the other point.”

“What’s an ‘outsider’?”  Mrs. Frumpwooler asked.

“In this case, it’s a person outside the Ping-pong effect.  I have heard that in truly extraordinary cases, the lock was so balanced that the person split in two and went to both places, then switched back and so on.”

“But…how could that happen?  Does the person die or get back together or what?”

“I don’t know.  I’ve never seen it.  Here we are now.” They were standing at the base of the signpost.  Commander Blevins walked around to the far side of the signpost.  Mrs. Frumpwooler followed, reading the signs that were intelligible to her.  “Here it is,” Blevins did not say.”

“Here what is?” Mrs. Frumpwooler said as she joined him.

“Our next port of call.”  Commander Blevins explained as

Mrs. Frumpwooler looked up.  This sign read “AKASH” and pointed in the direct of a low-rising mountain.

“Is that mountain called ‘AKASH?'” she asked.

“No, I’m afraid not.  I think that must be the Nodule Range.  Akash is across several more valleys and a great desert which lies between us and the Shining Shores Sea.

Akash is a port town on the Bay of Bubbling Lights.  Are you up to some more focalshifting?  I think you will be fine this time.”

“Ok, I’ll try again.  Those certainly are silly-sounding names.”

“Silly is as silly does, Mrs. Frumpwooler.” Commander Blevins grinned at his own silly comment.  “Now let’s shift to that first peak up ahead of us.  You focus on its right side and I’ll take the left.  Ready?” She nodded.  “Ok.  On the count of three: one; two; three.”

They both stood in a pale raspberry meadow lining a small dip on the mountain top.  The meadow was dotted with little dark grey toadstools.  “Congratulations Mrs. Frumpwooler!” Commander Blevins said.  Mrs. Frumpwooler smiled and glowed proudly.  “Lets try it again now.  You pick a spot over there, go first and then I’ll join you.”  He pointed slightly off to their left toward a gap between two peaks where a valley dotted with swaying trees and large, stationary boulders stretched out before them. A moment later Mrs. Frumpwooler was a small waving figure in that valley between the two mountain tops.  Another second later Commander Blevins joined her.

“Wheee, this is fun,” she chortled.

“Glad you are enjoying yourself.”  Blevins smiled.

“Shall we go for that next peak?”

They hopped from mountain top to mountain top, their stripy bodies disappearing from each peak almost as quickly as they arrived.  Mrs. Frumpwooler followed Commander Blevins to a very tall summit and braced herself against a strong wind blowing at them.  “When are we going to get there?” she asked without saying, then looked at the strangely-colored valley floor below them.  “Oh, mercy!  That is so beautiful. What sort of land is it?”


Chapter Seven
“Pterodactyls, Heros And Rumps”

“A desert.”

“But it has so many colors and they are all moving!”

“Yes, it’s called The Collage.  Though it IS a desert, some also think of it as a Sand Lake.  Sand is continually brought up to the surface from its depths, moves about from one place to another, then slips below the surface again. The flowing colors make this valley floor unique.”

“Oh, look,” Mrs. Frumpwooler said as she pointed to a geyser of forest-green sand.

“That is often the way sand comes back to the surface,” Commander Blevins said.  “If you will watch that geyser until it stops, you will be able to see that the sand does not blow and scatter, even in this wind.  It acts much like a highly viscous liquid, like molasses.”

“Oh, I see what you mean,” she said as the geyser stopped erupting, sank into the desert floor, forming a pool that first collected on top of the sand, then blended into it.

“The desert is remarkable not only because there are different colors of sand, but because there are also different breeds.  Each species of sand has its own color and cycles, so the different patterns are virtually without limit.”

They both stood and watched as long fuchsia tendrils of sand sprung from the green pool left by the geyser.  The sand tendrils moved out in wheel-spoke fashion, crossing patches of marbled sand, shifting trapezoids of single and multiple hues, a whole section of ultramarine quilt-like patterns–each section having a different blueprint of darks and light tones–and other areas with colors and designs that neither Mrs.  Frumpwooler nor Commander Blevins had words to describe.

“Can we walk on it?”  Mrs. Frumpwooler asked.

“No.”

“Well then how are we going to…”

“The Sand Lake Express runs straight across the desert and into the suburbs of Akash.”

“Suburbs…?” Mrs. Frumpwooler asked.

“Yes, suburbs.  You know, outlying areas away from the central hub of activity.  You haven’t forgotten those sorts of things have you Mrs. Frumpwooler?.”

“Well, no.  I’m just surprised to find something so…”

“So normal?  So Earthly?…here in the Causal Worlds?”

“Yes, I guess that’s it,” she said.

Commander Blevins puffed up slightly, his stripy, luminescent body noticeably bloated.  “Well, don’t fret a moment.  It’s a very common assumption that the Inner Spiritual Worlds are…have to be totally different than life in the Physical World.  In fact, the situation is nearly the opposite.  The Inner Worlds, the lower ones at least, are quite like each other.  There are differences of course.  Did you know that Heaven, such as it is, is ever-changing?  The Heaven many religious people in the physical talk about–the one with people walking around with long white robes, and all that–that Heaven is at least two thousand years out of date, and it’s hardly ever higher up the spiritual ladder than the Mental Worlds.  There are many Heavens, you see, and where one goes after leaving the physical realm is to an Inner World for, very probably, another lifetime.  Then back to the physical for more doom and gloom.” Commander Blevins leaned close to Mrs.  Frumpwooler and whispered, “I call the Physical World ‘Spiritual Boot Camp”.  Chuckling, he winked, deflated to his previous state and began walking down a path running along the mountain top.  The wind blew in hard from the desert.  Absorbed in her thoughts, Mrs. Frumpwooler had to run to catch up with him.

“Commander Blevins, I do not agree with you that the physical–that Earth is all negative.  Not everything is ‘doom and gloom.'”  She moved her mouth as though she was shouting over the noise of the wind.  No words came out, of course, but her thoughts resonated within Commander Blevins more forcefully than usual.  Sparks bounced off her cheeks. Surprised at the sparks, she looked down to see that she had a hold of Blevins’ arm.  She let go immediately.  Her fingers tingled strangely and glowed where they had touched him.

He had stopped and turned around.  Looking at her softly, he said, “You are so right again Mrs. Frumpwooler! There is much beauty and love in the Physical World.  There also is an equal amount of negative energy.  There has to be. That’s the nature of the physical.  It is, by design, the repository of the negative in the many worlds of positive and pure positive energy.  God, by whatever name you choose, has set it up so that we–each of us as Soul, our higher selves– will learn, grow and mature while living in the Physical Worlds.  That act of maturing does not, alas, take place in the worlds of pure spirit for unmatured Souls.  In the worlds of only positive energy and Divine Love, the young and inexperienced beings tend to languish.  You and I, therefore, must wind and bump our way along the road of our choosing, having our rough edges ground smooth by being continually pulled back and forth between the positive and the negative. The negative force is as much a part of God as anything and everything, doing the job it was meant to do.  And a wonderful job it is Mrs. Frumpwooler.  For without this training you and I, and myriad other beings, would suffer from narrow vision and over-involvement with the little self–the human conscious–and could never grow enough to find our way back home to the pure spiritual worlds, where each of us has work to do in the running of the multitude of universes.”

Commander Blevins paused for a minute.  They both looked around and then at each other.  A little spark of recognition ran between them.  Mrs. Frumpwooler smiled shyly.  Commander Blevins said, “I usually don’t talk this much, but I seem to know so much more when I am here in the Inner Worlds.”  He then blushed, quickly turned back to the path and said so quietly that it barely resonated in Mrs. Frumpwooler, “We must be on our way.”

Distracted by her thoughts once more, Mrs.  Frumpwooler was surprised to suddenly find herself a long way behind Commander Blevins and wondered why he was walking and not focalshifting from place to place.  Feeling confident she decided to shift to a point about a hundred meters ahead of him. As she flew through her unseen arc, a raucous “caw” shattered the serenity.  Commander Blevins stopped, turned in his tracks and acted quickly.  He had to.

The moment ended with Mrs. Frumpwooler standing next to Commander Blevins, in the spot where he had stood the moment before she launched herself.  He had an arm around her waist and was visibly holding her up.  Little sparks were shooting out from underneath his arm in a steady stream.  She had a crease across the her behind…or where her behind would be if her body where not a shapeless light orb.  The crease was wide and deep, but was not bleeding and did not appear to be a serious injury.  A large winged creature was crumpled on the desert floor, far below them, slowly being bled dry of its color by the sand around it.

“Good grief…what happened?” she said.

“It is totally my fault dear Mrs. Frumpwooler.” Commander Blevins did not say.  “I walked on without taking proper note of your joining me.”

“I seem to remember being grabbed by something.  Oh, my tushy is so sore.”  She ran her hand over her backside, “And dented!  What did happen Commander Blevins?”

“Well, what I neglected to tell you was that we do not focalshift near the desert, under any circumstances.  There are extremely large Pterodactyls that live just on the other side of the veil here.  They can cross over in an instant to catch anything that moves through the air.  That’s why there are no birds or other winged creatures near the desert.”  He paused for a moment, then added, “Though I can’t remember anyone being grabbed so quickly as you.  Usually the Pteras stalk a while before striking.”

“You mean to tell me that a PTER…O…DAC…TYL grabbed me and dented my tushy?   But I wasn’t flying.  You said yourself that focalshifting was being one place one moment and another the next.”

“True, that is what I said.  Again, you are too clever from which to hide any truth, Mrs. Frumpwooler.  When we focalshift, as long as we have a body of any kind, we are actually traveling through space.  The movement happens so quickly that the normal laws of displacement do not apply. These crossover Pterodactyls, however, are amazingly swift. That one caught you in mid-flight and was about to be off with you.”

“Which one?  And be off to where with me?  Good Grief.”

She sat down on a nearby boulder, her stripy body shuddering all over.  Her stripes wobbled like unset jello on a paint mixing machine.

Commander Blevins pointed toward the desert.  Mrs. Frumpwooler looked around slowly.  “Oh, Mercy!” she exclaimed.  What is happening to that creature?…And it looks so small. How could it possibly carry me and dent my tushy like this…Oh its still so sore…And….”

Commander Blevins saw that Mrs. Frumpwooler was heading straight into a crisal vortex.  He placed his free had on her neck and pressed his index finger onto the Point of Infinite Peacefulness, the ridge below her right ear.  She quieted instantly, meowing softly.  He felt it was important for her to retain her general awareness of what had just happened–to grasp the danger of focalshifting near the desert–and, therefore, released his hold on her neck almost as quickly as he had applied it.

“Oh,” Mrs. Frumpwooler said and burped.  Her body, and stripes, no longer shook.

“The creature we see down there on the desert floor was the one who grabbed you in mid-flight.  It does look small from here, but remember we are many thousands of meters above it.”

“Why is it half maroon and half that sort of bleached eggshell color?” she asked.

“That is one reason why we cannot walk on the desert. It absorbs the color of anything that touches it.”

“Oh,” Mrs. Frumpwooler said again and was quiet for a while.

Just as Commander Blevins was about to suggest they beginning walking again, Mrs. Frumpwooler asked, “If that thing had me in its mouth,” she shuddered for a moment, “what happened to cause it to be down there and for me to be up here with you?  I was aiming for a point farther up the path, I think.”

“Well, once the Pterodactyl caught you and your focalshifting arc was interrupted, your destination no longer mattered.”  Blevins was then silent.

Impatient, Mrs. Frumpwooler asked again, “Well then how DID I get back here.”

Commander Blevins blushed and kicked some pebbles by this feet.  “Uh, I er…I brought you back here.”

“YOU brought me back here.  From where?  And how?”

Reluctantly he explained, “When I heard the screech of the Pterodactyl I knew immediately what had happened.  I turned and focalshifted to a point just in front of where I saw it flying.  You, I and the creature arrived at nearly the same point in time and space simultaneously.  I grabbed your arm, was swept along with you as the Pterodactyl’s huge wings beat for a brief time.  I then managed to convince the Pterodactyl to release you.  As soon as it did, I focalshifted us back here, to keep from plummeting straight down to the ground.  We were extraordinarily lucky there were no other Pteras in the area.”

“My, Commander Blevins, you are a living Hero!”

Commander Blevins’ stripy body blushed the length of its orb.  His stumpy little legs were unaffected by Mrs. Frumpwooler’s sudden adulation, except that they quivered slightly.  “I’m only doing my job, Mrs. Frumpwooler,” he said.  “And it was necessary only because I didn’t do my job right in the first place.  I should have warned you.”

“Oh, I think you are doing just fine, Commander Blevins.”  Mrs. Frumpwooler’s orb pulsed with deep throbs. Holding her beating heart, lest it rip from her luminescent breast, she shifted gears quickly and asked, “Just how did you ‘convince’ that thing to let go of me?”

Commander Blevins was silent for a moment.  Then he said, “Oh, lets just say that I intruded upon a rather sensitive and personal area of its body in a way that completely diverted its attention.  The Ptera opening its jaw to protest was a lucky break.  Exactly why the bird landed in the desert is a complete mystery to me.”

They both stood quietly for a moment.  Blevins then asked, “Are you ready to push on Mrs. Frumpwooler?”

She wanted to ask more questions, to find out exactly where and how Commander Blevins had intruded upon the horrid bird’s body, but felt it was impolite to press further.  She said, “Yes, I believe so.”

Push on they did.  Blevins led the way.  Mrs. Frumpwooler, preoccupied–and rubbing her behind–was nonetheless careful to follow Commander Blevins closely.

They wound their way along the top of the ridge.  The wind died down.  Suddenly Commander Blevins got shorter and shorter, then disappeared completely.  Mrs. Frumpwooler was keeping only one eye upon him, still trying to fit together all the pieces of her mental puzzle.  When she finally did notice he was shrinking, and was then gone altogether, her distress was intense.  She came up to the point of his departure and looked down a wide and graceful stairway cut into the side of the mountain.  Commander Blevins was a couple dozens steps ahead of her.  She hurried along to catch with him, very relieved.

“Hey, wait a minute, Commander Blevins,”  she said panting somewhat as she caught up with him.”  Where are we going now?”

“Down the stairs, Mrs. Frumpwooler,” he said.  His eyes were slightly glazed.

“Well yes, I can see that.  I am not a total ninny.”

Commander Blevins was jolted slightly by Mrs. Frumpwooler’s sarcasm.  He stopped and turned back toward her and said, “I am so sorry, Mrs. Frumpwooler.  Apparently I’m getting a little too absorbed in the journey.  Yes, of course you can see that we are going down the stairs and no, I do not think you are a ninny, or anything remotely close.

We are heading down the stairs to the desert floor.  It is time for us to cross The Collage and head directly for Akash.”

“But you said we could not cross the desert.”  Mrs. Frumpwooler said with a whine in her voice.  She was still a little annoyed.

“I think you are mistaken this time Mrs. Frumpwooler.  I said we could not walk on the desert floor.  But we can cross it on the Sand Lake Express.”

They locked eyes.  Mrs. Frumpwooler seemed unwilling to relinquish her irritation.  Blevins waited.  Finally she sighed and said, “Oh, I am being a pill.  Of course you mentioned the Sand Lake Express.  You haven’t mentioned what it is though.  Do we find it at the bottom of these steps?”

“More or less.  Follow me, it will be a surprise,” Commander Blevins said, and started off down the steps again.

“I’m not sure I’m up for another surprise just yet, thank you.”  Still feeling unaccountably cross, Mrs. Frumpwooler set off after Commander Blevins, keeping him in close sight. Rubbing her still tender rump, she followed him along the stairway which led around an outcropping.  A splendid view of the desert unfolded in front of them from their vantage point a couple hundred meters above the valley floor.

Mrs. Frumpwooler gasped at the vivid colors of The Collage. The sight restimulated her overactive mind, and she ask without saying, “Commander Blevins where was that thing taking me?”

Caught in his own reverie, he said, “What thing, where?”

“That horrid Ptera-ptooey thing that dented my tushy!”

“Oh, sorry,” he said.  “The Ptera was taking you back to its lair.”

“To its lair.  Where in the world is that?”

“I don’t know.  Probably in some of the less accessible regions of the Moondog World.”

“Oh, that sounds awful.  Why ‘inaccessible’?  Can’t we go anywhere if we choose to?”

“No, not by a long shot.  There are power curtains and monkey windows and all sorts of traps to capture the unguided inner traveler.”

“That gives me the willys,” Mrs. Frumpwooler said, shivering.

They walked quietly down the stairs for a while longer. Mrs. Frumpwooler, still preoccupied, brought up the rear. The steps led into a narrow tunnel.  Commander Blevins stopped and waited for Mrs. Frumpwooler.  When she caught up with him, he said, “This is the last stretch before the Sand Lake Express.  It is important that we move through here quickly and quietly.” Before Mrs. Frumpwooler could object, Blevins took firm hold of her squishy striped hand and set off at a fast trot.  She started to protest, then remembered Commander Blevins’ orders and swallowed her complaint.

Wispy things passed by her, whispering little sounds she could not quite hear.  Something began to pinch her once, she thought, but they trotted by so quickly the moment passed before she could swat at whatever grabbed for her.

The pathway turned to the right and a soft blue light filled the end of tunnel ahead.  Then they were out of the tunnel and standing in a large blue underground cavern. A small lake lapped at the shore line not far from their feet.  They both gasped, their stripy bodies heaving from the exertion.

After he caught his breath, Commander Blevins said, “That was the smoothest trip I’ve ever had through the tunnel.”

“Oh, why?” Mrs. Frumpwooler asked, breathing only a little heavier than normal.

“The spiders are such nuisances.  They can cause all kinds of problems.”

“Spiders! What spiders!”  Mrs. Frumpwooler eyes grew large and her breathing accelerated.

“Big mouth,” Commander Blevins muttered to himself as he put his hand on Mrs. Frumpwooler’s neck.  Touching behind her ear, Blevins was relieved to watch her regain her composure. “The Whispering Spiders in the tunnel,” he said, testing her.

“Oh, that’s nice.  Where do we go next?”  Mrs. Frumpwooler was calm, with a detached look and a semi-smile on her face.

Commander Blevins released her neck and watched her closely for a moment.  “We go to the other side of the lake. Are you ready?”

“Sure let’s go.”  Mrs. Frumpwooler focused her eyes as they walked around the lake.  The sand near the water shone a deep azure blue and was sprinkled with shimmering silver slivers.

“Hey what’s that,” Mrs. Frumpwooler pointed toward a short dock protruding into the lake.

“That is The Sand Lake Express,” Commander Blevins said with a smile.

“The Sand Lake Express!  It looks like the roller coaster from the old Land’s End Funn Palace, without the track.  How can that get us across the desert?”

“Mrs. Frumpwooler, never underestimate anything in the Inner Worlds.  First thing: it IS the old roller coaster from the Land’s End Funn Palace.  Second thing…”

“Wait a minute, how could this possibly be that same old roller coaster, and furthermore how do YOU know that it is?” Mrs. Frumpwooler’s moodiness had resurfaced.

“It IS the same old roller coaster.  You may check it out for yourself.  I know because I brought it here myself.”

“I find this incomprehensible, Commander Blevins.  How on earth could you do such a thing?”

“On earth I could not, my dear Mrs. Frumpwooler.  Shall we go have a look?”

“Not on your life, boopsy.  I never trusted roller coasters anyway, especially one that’s in the water.” Mrs. Frumpwooler’s  stripes where rising up from the rest of her orb, pulsing rapidly.

Blevins sighed and squeezed Mrs. Frumpwooler behind the ear again.  The stripes quieted down and the vacant look returned to her eyes.  Leading her by the hand, Commander Blevins walked along the remaining beach.  He stepped on the boardwalk near the dock, turned to help Mrs.  Frumpwooler negotiate the three steps, and cooed, “Upsy daisy now”.

“Why thank you Commander Blevins, you are such the gentleman.”  Mrs. Frumpwooler was calm again…or as close to calm as she was likely to get at this point in the Journey. Their little stubby feet clumped along the boardwalk, echoing in the cavern.  A white, hand-lettered sign was tied to poles, standing about head height.  It announced “Sand Lake Express.”  Smaller letters underneath it said, “Donated by Commander Blevins.”

“Commander Blevins, you donated this?  Why you are just full of surprises!  Wherever did you get it?  And how did you get it here?  You know it looks just like the old roller coaster at the Land’s End Funn Palace.  Do you remember the Funn Palace, Commander Blevins?”

Blevins let all of Mrs. Frumpwooler’s chatter sail past, grateful she was in a pleasant mood.  “If you will step over here, we can get on our way.”

“Oh sure, Commander Blevins.  I wouldn’t want little old me to hold us up.”  He rolled his eyes.  Leading her by the hand, he walked over to the middle of three bobbing cars. “SLE” was painted in blue letters on the side of each one. He stepped in first, then helped her settle onto the soft cushions , then sat down himself.  A round metal bar lowered onto their laps and three blue lights lit up on the console in the middle of the little car’s instrument panel.

“This is exciting, Commander Blevins.  I always loved the rides.”

“Well, I’m happy to hear that Mrs. Frumpwooler.  Just sit back now and relax.  Blevins punched a few buttons.  A backlit monitor came to life.  Questions began appearing on it:  “Pilot?”  “Stability Required?”  “Speed?” “Originating Locale?” “Number of Passengers?”

Commander Blevins punched in: “Creator, Yes, Level 3, Spider Tunnel Lake, 2”.

The monitor responded: “Kosher & OK’d.  Where to Commander Blevins?”

Commander Blevins punched in: “Records, Quadrant 17.863.”

“Roger Dodger, CB.  Akashic Gardens or Bust!” the monitor typed out.

Mrs. Frumpwooler watched in silent fascination.

Just as quietly, the whole side of the mountain rolled back in front of them.  Brilliant light poured in through the opening, blinding both Mrs. Frumpwooler and Commander Blevins.  The Sand Lake Express rocked slightly, the mountain disappear from around them and the desert began moving by, underneath the old Funn Palace Roller Coaster Cars.


Chapter Eight
Akashic Gardens or Bust

“Commander Blevins, what on earth is happening?”  Mrs. Frumpwooler said without saying.

Smiling, Commander Blevins explained patiently, “Mrs. Frumpwooler we are not on earth.  That is why this can happen.”

Three blue and white roller coaster cars rocked serenely in the gentle waters of Spider Tunnel Lake, looking as though they had been manufactured soon after World War I and had been refurbished recently.  Mrs. Frumpwooler was able to stretch her already strained powers of comprehension far enough to encompass the roller coaster cars.  For the lake itself–holding the three cars and two passengers nestled comfortably in its waters–to be rolling along at a brisk clip ON TOP of the desert of many colors, this development was proving too difficult for Mrs. Frumpwooler to accept.

“‘This’, what is ‘This’?!”  She was nearly frantic again.  Commander Blevins had only to bend his wrist slightly.  His right arm was laying across the back of the seat, putting his hand in easy reach of Mrs. Frumpwooler’s neck.  He pressed her Point of Infinite Peacefulness.  She cooed a descending scale and nestled into contentment.

“We are skimming over the desert in a lake of modest proportions.  Any problems with that, Mrs. Frumpwooler.”

“No, why none, Commander Blevins.  It is a charming day for a ride.”  Mrs. Frumpwooler said.

“Good, I’m glad you are able to enjoy the trip.  It really is a unique way to travel.”  He kept his finger firmly on her neck.  “I’m sure I’m somewhat less that one hundred percent objective, but I do think it is the finest mode of travel available in the lower worlds…which rely on exterior devices, of course.”

Mrs. Frumpwooler agreed.

They whizzed along for many kilometers.  Commander Blevins had released his grip on Mrs. Frumpwooler some time earlier.  Soon after that she said, “My, Commander, this is pleasant.”  He had been amused at her familiarity.  She was unaware of her boldness.

The lavender sky backlit several geyser eruptions: three cherry ones had gone up nearby and Mrs. Frumpwooler had ooooed and aaaahed.  A multi-colored geyser sprang up just ahead of them as they passed over a series of gullies.  Mrs. Frumpwooler clutched the lapbar, said “Oops see doop see,” and then asked Commander Blevins why the geyser had not affected their travel.

“The water of the lake deflects anything that hits it,” he said.  “The energy is absorbed and directed out to the side.  That geyser is now a wider than normal puddle behind us.”

Mrs. Frumpwooler looked around behind them, but they had already traveled too far for her to see the flattened geyser. She settled back down.  A short time later she said, “Commander Blevins, remember the time that horrible creature grabbed me and dented my tushy?”

“Wouldn’t forget that for the world, Mrs. Frumpwooler.”

“Well, I was wondering…what would have happened to me if that thing had…if you had not so gallantly rescued me?” She shuddered slightly.

Blevins took a deep breath.  “It’s a little difficult to say, Mrs. Frumpwooler.  I really haven’t been party to a similar development.”

“Well what would have happened to my physical body that we left sitting in your apartment?  It is still there isn’t it.”

“Yes, without question, though I imagine you are still standing.  You were doing so when we left.  If there were any intrusions there on the physical, we both would be pulled back from here immediately.  But whether someone could be pulled back from the other side of a veil, much less from the digestive tract of a Pterodactyl, I really couldn’t say.”

“Ugh.”  A violent tremor went through Mrs. Frumpwooler.

Well what would happen to my body…the one still standing in your apartment if I couldn’t come back?”

“Oh, it would still remain there.”

“For how long?”

“Indefinitely, I suspect.”

“Are you sure?”

“No.”

“Would you come back to get me?”

“Of course, Mrs. Frumpwooler.  It would be my professional duty to exhaust all possible avenues to return you to what is rightfully yours.”

“But if you just couldn’t find me, what then?  What would you do with my physical body?”

“Oh, I’d probably put you in a closet for a while,” Commander Blevins said.  He had a sly smile on his stripy lips.

“Oh, you’re awful,” Mrs. Frumpwooler said in a huff.

“What would you like me to do, anyway?  You brought this subject up in the first place.”

“Well, you don’t have to put me in the closet, for heaven’s sake!”

“I repeat, ‘what would you like me to do?’  Leave you standing in the middle of the room and dust you once a month, whether you need it or not?”

“Well, that would be better than standing in a old dark closet, Commander Blevins.  Really!”  Mrs. Frumpwooler was quiet for awhile, then said, “Maybe you could find a rest home for me.  One that wasn’t too particular, but would keep me warm and dry and feed me and give me a bath.  You know, they take care of a lot of people who are lying down and can’t fend for themselves, why not one that is standing straight up and can’t fend for…”

Commander Blevins pressed Mrs. Frumpwooler’s Point of Infinite Peacefulness again.  She whistled a plaintive tune for a couple kilometers, then fell silent.  The remainder of the trip over the desert was uneventful.