Chapter 5 ~ Dropping the 1st mask

The Pretender decided that she would Like the Magician, which was not so unusual in as much as she often made such decisions on the spur of the moment. It was her custom.
She took off her first mask saying:
“I will become you
I will become your creation
I will change my self into something else so that you will never ever want for anything else
I will be everything you need so that you will never leave me.”
The Pretender opened her hand opened everything but her eyes saying:
“Let me buy you with my sex
Let me open my body, but not my heart
No
You may not touch me there
Never, ever there . . .
I will show you everything but my soul.”

Chapter 4 ~ Departures and Sojourns

They left in clear sight but no one saw them leave.
They walked across the fields, walked across flower dappled meadows, through oceans of golden wheat. And when they had walked a day and a half they came to the coast.
As her foot hit the sand of the beach the Pretender turned and regarded the Magician. His eyes have taken the hue of the Sea and his beard has become the grey of winter skies.
She turns to face him, “Which way is your ship?”
He looks out to sea, “My ship has a mind of its own and there is really no way to know.”
“Oh what a lazy captain, that you let your ship steer itself. . .”
“It is not a life-style I would suggest for everyone but it has worked reasonably well for me.”
“How shall we call this ship of yours?”
“It comes when it comes, perhaps patience is . . . “
She says, “Where’s the damn boat?”
He points. “There.”
And sure enough, just cresting the horizon, a tiny cyan ship coursed toward them against the tide.
“Does it have a name?” she asked
“It is called the Heart.”
The ship was such that it was sometimes difficult to make out at a distance. It could easily be mistaken for a graceful sea bird, it’s billowing sails could be clouds . . .
It moved onto the beach and sailed the sand to their feet. The Magician offered his hand and the Pretender boarded the Heart of the Magician.

Sub Chapter 3.2 ~ Masks within Masks, Alpha Contact

The Cocktail Parties of the Furies always have the most interesting music and the décor . . .
On this particular evening the invited guests sashay through fantastic landscapes, different in every room. They glide, awash in the brilliant colors of Midnight, the low dull thudding of the Infrareds, the shark toothed Ultra Violets. They eat the most peculiar things and are encouraged to wear very strange hats.
The Magician is holding an azure drink filled with twinkling stars.
Off to his right the Pretender glides through shadow and shade. Her gown, a whisp of gossamer, a hint of feather and down.
She seldom turns to look face on, but sees everything in the room. She seldom stops to talk at length, but speaks to each and every one in the room. If you’re lucky you might glimpse the grace of a hand involved in a perfect gesture, the hint of a smile, the lilt of her voice.
She flows through the room like water and congeals where the Magician converses with a werewolf . The Magician is visibly unsettled by the beautiful woman suddenly standing beside him.

Chapter 3 ~ The Magician meets The Pretender at the Cocktail Party of the Furies

Constance meets Manjag at the door, reminding him to remove his sandals. He notices that all the guests seem to have been likewise invited to park their shoes. She takes his cloak and asks for his staff. The Magician used sleight of hand to sequester the staff into a hidden pocket, says he’d be naked without it. Constance smiles, the leaves in her hair undulating in the breeze that curls through the door.
Sabote turns to regard the new arrival and immediately slips on her “Oh, it’s only you . . .” face. The Magician pulls a rabbit out of her ear, everyone laughs.
Anxi reprimanded her sister, reminding her that they were civilized and as such Were required by code and custom to welcome all invited guests. The tentacles that covered her torso enfolded the Magician. He extracted himself by offering her a tiny ornate box of candy he has pulled out of the air.
Horrence clapped and made the most annoying noises. She tried to grab him by the nape but succeeded in only grasping his shoulder. Dangling him from her pincer she held him up for all to see. The Magician waved to them.

Chapter 2 ~ Manjag the Metamystic Metaphysician, an Introduction

Current speculation has it that Manjag Entaphulus was born in far Caleiberiera or The Eastern Land of Xundenda in the year of the Gloam. There is even some conjecture that he might have roots in the Land of Blue Ginger. All of this is hearsay and idle speculation of course because there are no records.
The records do show that he achieved high marks in Metaphysics in the ivy encrusted halls of Herseck DeKammers and while he was not first in his class he was graduated with honors in the study of Metamysticism from Tuzeca.
The title of his Thesis: “Its Not So Much About Learning the Truth, Its About Proving Yourself Right”. A Tome that caused a bit of a stir.
It is a matter of record the faculty were divided in their evaluation of his work, some claiming it was an inspired work of biting sarcasm, others cited the documented facts as irrefutable proof of their own pet theories.
Unable to resolve the issue of the document’s intent they decided to award him an advanced degree and rid the campus of him.
It is generally said by those who knew him that Manjag has always had the unnerving habit of transmuting Reality into Metaphor and Metaphor into Reality with equal ease. He was known to twist Light out of Darkness and conjure songs out of memories . . .songs filled with words dark and true. In addition the Magician has a small talent for making up the most marvelous lies. His lies, like all really good lies, has at their nucleus a kernel of profound Truth. In some ways his lies were more akin to the underlying Truth of the Universe than most of the so called facts of everyday life.
To the best of the records, he never tried to pass any of his lies off as truth, but with a man such as this one, who can ever be absolutely certain?

Dreamcatcher for Heavy Integers

Artificial AI
Overclocked anxiety about the thrust to lift solutions
to the equations that we no longer even think about

Binary Zen only uses memory for a millisecond or two
and revels in the knowledge that information
passes the Turing test with respect to Reality
if there are enough inputs
and you are running above 16 bit resolution

You’re taking a Schrodinger nap
where you’re never really sure if your awake
dreaming about sleeping
or asleep
dreaming about being awake

Nedd Wants a Passport

Nedd A’Egwen is trying to get a passport
at a post office
somewhere in the dark corner
of the northwestern part of the southeast

And the clerk is trying to be helpful
(honest, she is)
“Nedd Egan?”

“A’Egwen.”

“I’m not sure how you’re spelling this.
This apostrophe. . .?”

“This is the spelling they gave my grandfather
when he emigrated in 1863.
He was Welsh.”

“So it’s A. . .’. . .E. . .gwen?”
I swear I’m typing this right.”
The computer keeping putting typos in all his data.

“Do you have a picture for your passport?”

“They told me you could take one here.”

“It will cost you extra.”

“That’s fine.
Please.”

And the camera refuses to work correctly

She looks at Nedd
He is not really tall or short
His hair is very dark but. . . silky?
It’s like there are these electric blue highlights moving
across the world of his head

Its strangely hard to meet his eyes
Turquoise
the color of robin’s eggs
and his face is strangely regular

But the camera just can’t seem to focus on his features
and when she uses the Auto-Smart-Fix tab
it gives him a different face every time she takes a picture
Some of the portraits are angelic
others frightening
and most are just boring

Nedd walks up to the camera and says something
that sounds like he is quietly barking at it
(he is actually speaking pulse-width modulated binary
into the audio pickup of the digital camera)
then pets it like it’s a good animal

He returns to the stool
and she snaps a perfect picture of his features
She quietly slides a copy of his photo
into one of her private files. . .
for later