Table of Contents
Google listing of all pages on this website
Johnson's Facebook page
Johnson's YouTube channel
Toby Johnson on Wikipedia
Johnson Amazon Author Page
Secure site at
Also on this
Toby's books are available as ebooks from
smashwords.com, the Apple iBookstore, etc.
YOUR OWN TRUE MYTH: What I Learned
from Joseph Campbell: The
The Role of Gay Identity in the Transformation of Human Consciousness
Things Our Homosexuality Tells Us about the Nature of God and the
SECRET MATTER, a sci-fi novel with
wonderful "aliens" with an
Afterword by Mark Jordan
LIFE IN PERSPECTIVE:
Fantastical Gay Romance set in two different time periods
THE FOURTH QUILL, a
novel about attitudinal healing and the problem of evil
TWO SPIRITS: A Story of Life with
Navajo, a collaboration with Walter L. Williams
LIVES: Spinning Straw into
Gold: GaySpirit in Storytelling, a collaboration with
Steve Berman and some 30 other writers
THE MYTH OF THE GREAT
Appreciation of Joseph Campbell
IN SEARCH OF GOD IN THE
SEXUAL UNDERWORLD: A Mystical Journey
Crane Gay Spirituality Series
Review of Samuel
Dimensional Structure of Consciousness
Coincidence: "Aliens Settle in San Francisco"
About Liberty Books, the
Lesbian/Gay Bookstore for Austin, 1986-1996
The Simple Answer to the Gay Marriage Debate
Bifurcation of Gay Spirituality
Why gay people should NOT Marry
The Scriptural Basis for
Same Sex Marriage
Toby and Kip Get Married
Wedding Cake Liberation
Gay Marriage in Texas
Shame on the American People
The "highest form of love"
Why homosexuality is a sin
The cause of homosexuality
origins of homophobia
about Jungian ideas in gay consciousness
is Gay Spirituality?
Jesus said about Gay
Experiences Unique to Gay
Is there a "uniquely gay
purpose of homosexuality
Interview on the Nature of
What the Bible Says about
Ideal for Straight Men
of Gay Spirituality
of Gay Liberation Activity
The Gay Succession
Wouldn’t You Like to Be Uranian?
The Reincarnation of
Why Gay Spirituality: Spirituality
as Artistic Medium
Easton Mountain Retreat Center
Andrew Harvey &
The Mysticism of
upsidedown book on MSNBC
Always About You"
The myth of the Bodhisattva
Campbell's description of
Not A Wave
Joseph Campbell Talks
What is Enlightenment?
What is reincarnation?
How many lifetimes in an
Emptiness & Religious Ideas
Experiencing experiencing experiencing
Going into the Light
Meditations for a Funeral
The way to get to heaven
Buddha's father was right
What Anatman means
Advice to Travelers to India
The Danda Nata
& goddess Kalika
Nate Berkus is a bodhisattva
John Boswell was Immanuel Kant
The Myth of the
Change: Source of
Suffering & of Bliss
What the Vows Really
from the Subtle Realms
& the Multiverse
est Training and Personal Intention
Dreaming in Ursula LeGuin's The Lathe of Heaven
Toby Johnson Believes
Joseph Campbell Connection
Mann Ranch (& Rich Gabrielson)
& The Pre/Trans Fallacy
Nature of Religion
What's true about
Gay is a Blessing
Drawing Long Straws
The subtle workings of the spirit
in gay men's lives.
The Sinfulness of
for a study of gay nondualism
Having a Church to
Harold Cole on Beauty
Immaculate Conception & Assumption
Not lashed to the
Monastic or Chaste
Is It Time to Grow
the Aging Process
Notes on Licking
Gay Consciousness changing
world by Shokti LoveStar
Evolution of Gay Identity"
"St. John of the
Cross & the Dark Night of
at the Baths
Tell You a Secret
Articulations of the
Step in Evolution
The Moulting of the Holy Ghost
is a Bodhisattva
Hero's Journey as archetype -- GSV 2016
The Gay Hero Journey
On Your Own
Prostitution and the Nature of Evil
Hu: "God is present here"
The Life is
in the Blood
Gay retirement and the "freelance
the Edge: AIDS as an occasion for spiritual wisdom
are you looking for in a gay science fiction novel?
mystical experience at the Servites' Castle in Riverside
A Most Remarkable
Great Dance according to C.S.Lewis
The Techniques Of The
Part 1: Brer Rabbit and the
Part 2: The
Part 3: Jesus
and the Resurrection
Part 4: A
Course in Miracles
Secret of the Clear Light
the Clear Light
How Gay Souls Get Reincarnated
Campbell, the Hero's Journey, and the modern Gay Hero-- a five part
presentation on YouTube
About Alien Abduction
honor of Sir Arthur C Clarke
Karellen was a homosexual
with the movie When We Rise
about Gay Mental Health
at the California Institute
Ideas for gay
Kip and Toby,
friend and nicknamesake Toby Marotta.
Hay, Founder of the gay movement
About Hay and The New Myth
Heinrich Ulrichs, the first
man to really "come out"
About Michael Talbot, gay mystic
About Fr. Bernard Lynch
About Richard Baltzell
About Guy Mannheimer
About David Weyrauch
About Ask the Fire
About Mark Thompson
About Sterling Houston
About Michael Stevens
The Alamo Business
Our friend Tom Nash
Second March on
Spirituality Summit in May 2004 and the "Statement
Be Done on Earth by Howard
Pay Me What I'm Worth by
The Way Out by Christopher
The Gay Disciple by John Henson
Art That Dares by Kittredge Cherry
Coming Out, Coming Home by Kennth
the Light by B. Alan Bourgeois
Over Coffee: A conversation
Partnership & Conservative Faith by D.a. Thompson
Janet Planet by
Kairos by Paul E. Hartman
with Jesus by D.K.Maylor
Kali Rising by Rudolph
Missing Myth by Gilles Herrada
Secret of the Second Coming by Howard E. Cook
The Scar Letters: A
by Richard Alther
Future is Queer by Labonte & Schimel
by Charlene Spretnak
Spirituality 101 by Joe Perez
Cut Hand: A
Nineteeth Century Love Story on the American Frontier by Mark Wildyr
by Eleanor Lerman
Rizzoli by Felice Picano
to Unlocking the Closet Door by Chelsea Griffo
of the Heart by Diana Finfrock Farrar
Razor by David Duncan
Demion by Mel White
Gay Men and The New Way Forward by Raymond L.
Dimensional Stucture of Consciousness by Samuel Avery
Manly Pursuit of Desire and Love by Perry Brass
Together: Longtime Male Couples on Healthy Intimacy and Communication
by Tim Clausen
Between Materialism and Spiritual by Jean-Michel Bitar
Serpent's Gift: Gnostic Reflections on the Study of Religion by
Jeffrey J. Kripal
America and the Religion of No Religion by Jeffrey J. Kripal
Invitation to Love by
Consciousness, and God: A Lonerganian Integration by Daniel A
Walk with Four Spiritual Guides by Andrew Harvey
Can Christians Be Saved? by Stephenson & Rhodes
Lost Secrets of the Ancient Mystery Schools by Stephenson &
Being: Energy Meditation and Synchronization Exercises by Adrian
Trust by John Marsh
Tantric Song by Rollan McCleary
A Special Illumination by Rollan McCleary
by Lawrence Scott
by Payam Ghassemlou
Landscapes by John Ollom
& Pumpkins by David Hatfield Sparks
Yes by Brad
Blood of the Goddess by William Schindler
Roads of Excess,
Wisdom by Jeffrey Kripal
Dharma by Jay Michaelson
in Salome's Lot by Brett W. Gillette
The Man Who Loved Birds by Fenton Johnson
Vatican Murders by Lucien Gregoire
& About with Brewer & Berg
Episode One: Searching for a New Mythology
Soul Beneath the Skin by David Nimmons
Holy Ground by Donald Boisvert
Revotutionary Psychology of Gay-Centeredness by Mitch Walker
by Perry Brass
The Crucifixion of Hyacinth by Geoff Puterbaugh
Silence of Sodom by Mark D Jordan
Never About What It's About by Krandall Kraus and Paul Borja
edited by Catherine Lake
by WIlton Barnhard
Faith: A Skeptic’s Journey by Fenton Johnson
Dating the Greek Gods by Brad Gooch
Truths in Church by Mark D. Jordan
Substance of God by Perry Brass
Tomcat Chronicles by Jack Nichols
Things Gay Men Can Do to Improve Their Lives by Joe Kort
Jesus and the Shamanic Tradition of Same Sex Love
by Will Roscoe
Third Appearance by Walter Starcke
The Last Hours of Ancient Sunlight by Thom Hartmann
and Thriving After a Life-Threatening Diagnosis by Bev Hall
Homosexuality, and the Gods by Ronald Long
with Ron Long
Queering Creole Spiritual Traditons by Randy
Conner & David Sparks
An Interview with
and Time by Gerald Heard
and the Sacred by Daniel Helminiak
Blessing Same-Sex Unions by Mark Jordan
by Joe Perez
Undeniable Longing by Mark Tedesco
for the Soul by Larry Chang
MM4M a DVD
by Bruce Grether
by David Ranan
Transcended Christian by Daniel Helminiak
in Love by Kittredge Cherry
the Eye of the Storm by Gene Robinson
Starry Dynamo by Sven Davisson
Paradox by Fr Paul Murray
Spirituality for Our Global Community by Daniel
Gay & Healthy in a Sick Society by Robert A.
Coming Out: Irish Gay Experiences by Glen O'Brien
by Robert Goss
Towards Gomorrah by Dan Savage
Flesh of the Word by Richard A Rosato
David Garrett Izzo
for Gay Men by Bruce Anderson
the Path of the Urban Mystic by Darren Main
by Malcolm Boyd
Times Seven by Salvatore Sapienza
Does "Queer" Mean Anyway? by Chris Bartlett
Critique of Patriarchal Reasoning by Arthur Evans
the Soul by Dale Colclasure & David Jensen
Legend of the Raibow Warriors by Steven McFadden
Prayer by Gregory Flood
are the Messengers by Daniel Plasman
The Human Core of Spirituality by Daniel Helminiak
The Final Odyssey by Arthur C. Clarke
Religion and the Human Sciences by Daniel Helminiak
Good Parts by Daniel Curzon
Reviews of Books with a Message
Interrupted by Michael Parise
Confessions of a Murdered Pope by Lucien Gregoire
Stargazer's Embassy by Eleanor Lerman
Living, Conscious Aging by Ron Pevny
Footprints Through the Desert by Joshua Kauffman
Religion by J.L. Weinberg
The Mediterranean Universe by John Newmeyer
is God by Jay Michaelson
by Dennis Merritt
Home by Fenton Johnson
Hard Lesson by James
by Jay Michaelson
of Tears: Sadness and the Spiritual Path by Jay Michaelson
Fred by Richard Alther
the Son He Expected by Tim Clausen
9 Realities of Stardust by Bruce P. Grether
Afterlife Revolution by Anne & Whitley Strieber
Queer Spirit Awakening by Shokti Lovestar
Facing the Truth of Your Life by Merle Yost
Super Natural by Whitley Strieber & Jeffrey J Kripal
Jeffrey J Kripal
House by Jonathan Lane
Walking on Glory by Edward Swift
of Porn by Don Shewey
Is Heaven for Real? by Lucien Gregoire
Enigma by Lloyd Meeker
Paper, Rock by Fenton Johnson
Books on Gay Men's Spiritualities:
Things Our [Homo]sexuality
Nature of God and
Perspective is available as an audiobook narrated
by Matthew Whitfield. Click
Gay Identity and
the Transformation of
Spirituality is now
available as an audiobook, beautifully narrated by John Sipple. Click here
Lives: Gay Spirit in Storytelling
& Steve Berman
Lammy Award Winner for Gay
Getting Life in
A Fantastical Romance
Life in Perspective is available as an
audiobook narrated by Alex Beckham. Click
The Fourth Quill
The Fourth Quill is
as an audiobook, narrated by Jimmie
Moreland. Click here
Two Spirits: A Story of
with the Navajo
with Walter L. Williams
Spirits is available as an
audiobook narrated by Arthur Raymond. Click
Your Own True Myth: What I Learned from Joseph
Great Secret III
In Search of God in the Sexual Underworld
The Myth of the Great
Secret: An Appreciation of Joseph Campbell.
was the second edition of this book.
available in other ebook formats from Smashwords.
The Arrival of the Visitors
from the Lammy-Award winning gay science
order any of Toby Johnson's printed books,
by Toby Johnson
Revised, updated and
the author for 21st century readers.
With an Afterword by Mark Jordan
Bonus: "Adam & Steve" -- a whimsical essay about a profound truth
the new SECRET MATTER
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The Arrival of the Visitors
Kevin Anderson fell asleep worrying
new job he'd be starting soon after graduation next week in San
Francisco the width of the country away.
Kevin was proud of himself for getting this lucrative
appointment, but worried his ivory tower schooling in Virtual
Architecture wasn't going to have prepared him for the real world work
of the reconstruction of the City after last year's devastating
He had been working at his computer now for hours, and
little groggy. He was finishing the final revisions on his senior
thesis, "Generating Autosolidifying Plane and Solid Surfaces in
Parameter-free Virtual Space with 3-D Force Replication: A
Computer-Assisted Energetic Design Model." What's that got to do with
the real world, he fretted.
As he prepared for bed, he was also fretting about his
roommate's absence. Not that it was unusual for Tim to spend weekends
in New York. The City was so close and, after all, Tim had the money to
enjoy its cosmopolitan delights. But, in spite of--or perhaps because
of--their friendship, Kevin disapproved of what he suspected Tim was
doing down there.
Even though unconsciousness came hard for Kevin, once he
asleep, he slept soundly, drifting in and out of dreams of an idyllic
vacation with his family in the backwoods of Maine where his dad had
sometimes taken the family when the kids were young. Kevin slept so
soundly, in fact, that he was not aroused by all the noise in the yard
outside his Harvard University dorm a little after 1 a.m.
For weeks afterwards Kevin was going to regret
through that event.
Timothy Lewiston combed his hair, still wet from the
glanced over at the clock to see it was after 1:30 a.m. Social hour
in New York City, he thought to himself. He'd told a friend he'd meet
him between 2 and 2:30 at Zoncko's in the West Village. The cab'll take
about twenty minutes, he figured. I've still got about fifteen before I
need to leave. He turned back to the mirror.
Tim Lewiston was an attractive young man. He was small
solid. Except for his height he looked all the part of a rangy
redheaded Texas cowboy with tight wiry musculature, a brush of reddish
hair across his chest and down the centerline of his torso, blue green
eyes, and a smile as beguiling as a country cowpoke. His Texas cowboy
appearance was a little deceiving. It correctly identified his Dallas
roots, but belied the fact that his grandfather had made a fortune in
the oil business and had had the incredibly good luck to sell his
holdings just before the Texas oil slump in the 1980s. His father, in
turn, had the same good fortune to get out of the market at the end of
the '90s just before the dot com collapse. Tim's mother and dad had
retired to the California gold country about the time Tim started
college in Cambridge. They had a ranch in Nevada City and a condo south
of San Francisco in Hillsborough. And the family still maintained this
bachelor apartment on the Upper East Side, though Tim was now almost
the only one to use it during occasional jaunts to New York.
And the fact was, Tim did make those jaunts fairly
without his parents' knowledge. He wasn't quite ready to tell them yet
that he was "experimenting" with his lifestyle, hanging out at the bars
along the newly renovated and hyper-chic Christopher Street. A young
queer has to learn to hide things, he told himself. Indeed, he'd
learned at Harvard he'd survive only if he kept on top of his feelings.
Sometimes that had meant being practically merciless and occasionally
As he slipped into his clothes, he thought again
unpleasant confrontation he'd had over dinner with his now
ex-boyfriend. And he recalled the conversation earlier in the week with
his therapist as he acknowledged the failure of that relationship. Tim
had remarked what a cruel joke it was that he felt unloved and
unlovable because there were too many people who wanted him and he
never knew if it were for his money, his body, or himself. "So I've
just never believed in love," he said. "I guess I need to want
He glanced out the window hoping to find a cab waiting
outside the building. He noticed a commotion on the street. A crowd had
gathered down by the corner. A number of people were pointing up in the
air. At first Tim thought maybe his building was on fire but, before he
panicked, he realized they were pointing at something much higher than
the building. He stuck his head out to see what was up there, but
couldn't see anything.
His curiosity urged him to rush as he pulled on a
locked the apartment door behind him, and waited anxiously for the
elevator to let him out on the ground floor.
As he stepped out of the building, he saw people
past him toward the end of the block. He still couldn't see. Whatever's
going on is certainly causing a lot of excitement. Maybe the Empire
State Building's on fire. When he reached the corner and turned to see
what everybody was looking at, Tim realized he should have gone up to
the roof where he'd have had a much better view
Tim's worries about love and sex all seemed suddenly
Green light flickered over John Marshall's face. Around
the darkened room of the Space Defense Research Facility at March Air
Force Base in Riverside, CA, other crew-cut young airmen steadily
watched the hypnotic radar screens sweeping the skies for signs of
invasion by missiles or bombers or, potentially even more threatening,
space objects, like asteroids or large meteors, or maybe alien
spaceships. Sometime in the future--if the current research going on
just down the hall, John knew, were successful--such signs would be the
occasion for activating the space shield, a force field that would
surround the United States stopping all invaders from entering our air
Some of the other faces seemed intent, but most looked
bored. John had had the job of supervising the radar monitors of the
experimental facility now for several months. Most of the time he too
was bored. Tonight he was thinking about his girlfriend. Before coming
on duty, he'd talked with her on the phone. She'd told him she was
going to be away for a couple of weeks on a job assignment. He hadn't
liked that. He was jealous. But he had been too tongue-tied to
explain his feelings. She's flying all over the world on assignment,
hoping to reestablish her career with CNN after last year's fiasco. It
was her own fault. And she's just too intent on this career of hers.
But damn it. I can't talk to her about my feelings. If she'd just give
me a chance…
After his shift ended, John hung around for a while.
reluctant to go home. He knew Joan would be there. Probably packing.
And he didn't want to face her. I'll just freeze up and we'll both get
upset. He drank an extra cup of coffee to get himself alert enough for
the forty-five minute drive back to Covina, the suburb they'd agree was
halfway between his job in Riverside and hers in Hollywood. And he even
smoked a cigarette. He'd quit smoking months ago and was not happy that
he'd bummed one without thinking.
Finally he left the station, asking for another
his way out. He stopped just outside the door to light it. And then
stood for a minute looking up at the sky. If only Joan and I could
It was a dark, clear night. The stars were brilliant.
was surprised how little haze there was. He gazed up at the
stars, testing his memory of astronomy, as he smoked the
cigarette. He forgot that he was peeved with himself for smoking it,
for not being able to do what he really wanted. John was just thinking
he'd identified the star Regulus in the constellation Leo, when
suddenly it looked as if a hole had opened in the sky. The stars were
blanked out in a circle almost directly overhead.
John blinked and then rubbed his eyes before he looked
again. Oh my God. Just then he heard the horns go off signaling an
Sister Margaret Mary Alacoque sang the words of Compline
with the other sisters at St. Benedict's Home. The elderly voices
occasionally hit sour notes. Margaret Mary didn't think of herself as
as old or feeble as the rest of the sisters around here. But then she
thought, down inside, probably none of them thought of herself that way
Two years ago, when Sister Margaret Mary came to St.
Benedict's she'd been happy to give up teaching and happy to get away
from the cold winters back in New England. She'd been looking forward
to the opportunity to spend her days in prayer. But by now she was
feeling bored. Instead of a house of contemplation, St. Benedict's Home
turned out to be an asylum for dotty old nuns. Margaret Mary might not
have been so dissatisfied if she finally achieved the kind of mystical,
religious experiences she'd longed for as a novice fifty years ago. It
seemed like she had been waiting all these years for a chance to
discover contemplation. And all she was getting were old women.
The world has changed too much. Nothing makes sense
But better to believe in all those old stories, even if they were
wrong, than to believe in nothing. Maybe I'd be better off dead. But,
God, I wish just once You'd give me a vision, something to prove all
these years of waiting on You were worthwhile.
After night prayers Sister Margaret Mary headed back
room. As she often did, she went the long way around the outside of the
building. She liked getting a little fresh air before bed. She was
cantankerous enough herself that if the side door were already locked
she didn't mind ringing the bell and making that young sister who was
in charge of her wing of the residence hall come let her in, Sister
Jennifer. Not a proper name for a nun anyway. She needs a little
The night air was cool, but not
uncomfortable. Sister Margaret Mary sat down on a bench overlooking the
convent garden. She was surprisingly out of breath and felt a sudden
pain in her chest. My heart? she wondered, only half-afraid.
She looked up at the night sky, as if she could peer
the heavens into the celestial realms. In lieu of her vision, she
reminded herself of the good she'd done in her life, of the success of
the students she'd taught over the years. Why just last night I saw
that pretty Joanie Salado on TV. Sister remembered Joanie clumsily
reading Shakespeare in Speech class. She smiled with the thought that
something she'd taught had prepared that young girl for being a TV
commentator. And Sister remembered this morning getting an announcement
from his mother of Kevin Anderson's upcoming graduation. He was a sweet
boy, a little bit of a sissy, but so talented. She used to get him to
draw elaborate cartoons on the blackboard to spice up the daily
announcements. You'd think he'd have made a better weatherman than an
architect, she chortled. And then coughed painfully. She strained to
sketch of Kevin, 'Bel, and Sr. Jennifer
by artist Shane
the cover of the
1995 Peregrine Ventures release
She limped along the side of the old red-brick
Coming round a corner, she saw the lights of Los Angeles spread out
across the horizon. Just then Sister heard a roaring sound behind her.
For a moment she felt afraid. She started to turn around when the sound
overtook her. She looked up, thinking it was a jet airplane flying too
close to the ground. Instead in the sky above her, moving in with
ponderous grace, was a huge darkness. As she strained her neck to see
better, a circle of amber lights flashed on above her. It was as though
a golden halo opened in the sky. Her fear suddenly disappeared.
Margaret Mary sat right down on the sidewalk with a bump.
didn't feel the clutch at her heart. My prayer's been answered, she
thought gratefully. She hadn't expected death to be like this. She
hadn't expected God to open a hole in the sky and carry her soul up to
him. But here it was happening.
She let her head fall back and she closed her eyes.
could feel the whistling wind blowing across her face and she imagined
that now angels were descending from the golden circle in the sky,
coming to carry her away. And, very gently, she gave up her soul to the
"This joint's about as short as it's ever gonna get, Joel.
sure you don't want the last toke?"
"Well, Bunny, since you put it like that," Joel
giggling. "Sure I'll take a toke." As he reached for the joint the
older lady offered him, he added, "Wouldn't want the joint to get any
shorter now, would we?"
"Huh?" Bunny responded quizzically. She had not quite
understood the innocent fun Joel was making of her peculiar syntax.
"I'm just as happy with the moodie," Joel continued.
the doctor's been prescribing these for me, I haven't been smoking as
"So I've noticed." Bunny fell silent a moment, staring
into space. The two were sitting on the narrow deck of the Victorian
four-plex they lived in on the edge of San Francisco's Mission
District. "Look at all the stars," she mumbled under her breath.
"You wanna save the roach?" Joel asked struggling to
his breath as he passed the joint back.
Taking a look at it in the dim light illuminating the deck
her kitchen, Bunny replied nonchalantly, "hardly enough to make it
worth throwing away."
Joel giggled again as he flicked the roach over the
As a wave of euphoria rushed through him, he leaned over and gently
hugged his friend and neighbor. He felt suddenly warm and affectionate
toward her in spite of her eccentricity and occasionally maddening
distortion of the English language.
Though now at least in her mid-sixties, Bunny lived
like the hippie chick she'd been as a girl. Her flat next door to his
was mostly empty. Unless he invited her over for dinner, it appeared
she ate nothing but carrots and brown rice. But in spite of her
apparent poverty, she was always bringing homeless people around to
share her carrots and brown rice and to get high with her--and, Joel
imagined, probably to have sex. "Make love, not war," was one of her
Bunny frequently went up to Mount Shasta where she was
connected with a band of UFO watchers who fervently expected and
prepared for extraterrestrials to come rescue them just before the
nuclear holocaust or the depletion of the ozone layer or the flood from
the greenhouse effect devastated all life on Earth. Bunny herself
called the group "fanatics" and had never moved permanently to the
mountain commune, but added in her inimitable way that, "Still you
never know when you might not want to be there--just in case. After
you might get a chance to make love with an alien."
"Joel, you know, I'd worry about those moodies if I
you. I don't trust doctors. After all, Goddess gave us marijuana and
peyote and magic mushrooms. They're organic. How do you know about
these, uh, chemicals? …what they might be doing to your mind?"
Joel laughed to himself for a moment. Of all people to
about what something might do to your mind! Bunny's taken enough drugs
to burn out all the lights in Schenectady. Joel stopped himself,
thinking, Oh God, now I'm starting to sound like her.
"But, Bun, they're legal, they're cheap, they're
They've taken the crime out of drugs. And they address the real
"The real problem?"
"Sure. Drugs were a problem of technology. Technology
created them, imported them, and sold them,. And the technologization
of society got people so uptight they needed or wanted them. And like
with all the other problems of technology, the only solution is in
better technology. The answer to the drug problem was better drugs that
provide euphoria and get you high without doing any damage, dulling
consciousness, impeding judgment, or slowing response time."
"I still don't trust the government," she replied.
"Well, at least the government finally started telling
truth about drugs. That's what was necessary before anything could've
been done. Now, if only they'd start telling the truth about nuclear
weapons and international diplomacy and that force field they want to
build in the sky…"
"…and UFOs," Bunny interjected one of her favorite
"After all, the people deserve to know what we all know we know"
Joel was just thinking that Bunny's communication
might have been a whole lot better if there'd been moodies back in the
old days instead of acid, when suddenly Bunny's mouth dropped open.
She slowly began to stand, pointing up into the sky
Joel's head. "Here they come," she managed to say.
"Oh, Bunny, come off it," Joel commented skeptically,
thinking that as soon as anybody mentioned UFOs around Bunny she starts
"No, Joel. I mean it. Look."
He turned around.
Joel felt the blood rush from his face. He wondered if
had been right. Maybe the moodies can cause hallucinations.
"Oh my God," she said, "It's as big as if it weren't even
Called back to reality by Bunny's nonsensical
Joel did a little reality testing. He asked himself if what he were
seeing slowly move across the sky could be explained as an airplane or
maybe the Goodyear blimp.
But no, the flat dark shape, encircled with golden
was obviously not a blimp. That just couldn't be anything else but a
real flying saucer.
"Damn," Bunny said, "here I am in the City. This is no
to not be at Mount Shasta."
"Yeah," Joel answered, feeling more euphoria than any
combination of drugs could produce. "But you don't need to be at Mount
Shasta. They're here, Bunny. They're right here ."
Joan Salado watched TV most of the night, switching
five hundred and twenty channels the cable brought in looking for new
news. She was excited and she was worried. It was almost 3 a.m. and
John still wasn't home. She wasn't surprised that he might be held up
on base, but still she worried. What if more is going on than is
getting reported? What if the Aliens, uh, Visitors--what should I call
them?--are hostile? What if there've been attacks?
She'd once read a story about a team of scientists
faked an alien invasion in order to get the conflicting countries of
the world to see they could cooperate with one another. For a moment
she wondered if this invasion had been faked. But she had looked out
her own window only a few hours ago and watched the ship move slowly
across the Southern California sky. She knew it was real.
Remembering the awesome size of that ship, Joan felt a
of fear and respect pass through her. The world is never going to be
the same again.
That was not an all together unwelcome idea. Part of
upset this evening had preceded the arrival of those spaceships--or
whatever they were. Joan was still trembling with the embarrassment of
this morning's scene at the Air Force Base. And wondering if her career
with CNN could withstand one more blow like that.
A year ago Joan had become suddenly famous as the CNN
staffer to report from the Great San Francisco Earthquake. The public
loved her and her down-to-earth reaction to and reporting of the
disaster. She produced a series blending warm, "womanly" human interest
stories with hard-hitting catastrophe footage, characterized by her use
of compact, mobile cameras--in which she was sometimes shown climbing
through ruined buildings or under collapsed freeways helping perform
rescues as well as report on them. Her star was rising.
Just as the quake story was dying down, Joan
a Department of Homeland Security project to generate the space shield
had been going on in a facility in the Rumsfeld Research Park in San
Francisco and that the experimental device had been turned on at the
time of the earthquake. Joan accused Dr. Maxwell Humphries and the
military of covering up the fact that this device may have been
responsible for triggering the quake.
She'd made a splash in the news with the story, but
story was squelched by the Pentagon and dismissed as ludicrous and Joan
was professionally discredited. She'd been reassigned to the Hollywood
office and given jobs reporting on celebrity weddings and fancy night
Coincidentally Dr. Humphries' research program also
south to March Air Force Base near Riverside. The move was officially
explained as a precaution to protect the delicate equipment which had
been damaged in the San Francisco earthquake, but Joan fervently
believed the lab was moved to get it away from a fault line so future
experiments wouldn't cause another earthquake. In part to resurrect her
career and prove she was right and to prevent further earthquakes,
she'd continued on the sly to trace down stories about the space shield
She'd learned through her current boyfriend whom she'd
at one of those night club openings and whom she'd pursued in part
because he was in the Air Force at March A.F.B., that Maxwell Humphries
was giving a talk to Pentagon contractors at March just that morning.
She'd sneaked into the talk--with her mobile camera tucked
over her ear like a wireless headset--hoping to get a clue about
Humphries' work that could exonerate her.
As the lecture began, Humphries explained that even
the Terrorist War seems to have cooled with the establishment of the
U.N. redress and reconciliation courts mandated by Al Qaeda, there was
still threat against the homeland. Now it came again in the form of
attack by air. The three missile attacks on New York City in the last
few years was evidence.
The latest international hot-spot was the Nasserine Civil
The Loyalists, Humphries said, were believed to control missiles
capable of reaching the United States. He reminded the audience that
recent intelligence reports indicated that Saudi space-based weapons
and even old-fashioned, but still firable, Russian ICBMs had ended up
in the hands of the Nasserinian rebels, and perhaps even former Iranian
and Iraqi insurgents, South African Reactionaries, Korean Sovereignty
Partisans, Russian Neo-Czarists, and who knows how many others.
His project, he explained, has been to create a "space
shield" over the country which would prevent missile intrusion. Once
expanded worldwide, the shield would be able to block unauthorized
military actions anywhere on Earth. And he added that, theoretically,
it might even protect the planet from collision with an asteroid.
Joan was just congratulating herself on getting into
lecture--and thinking about how to position her head so the camera
pick up Humphries' every facial expression, when the scientist
recognized her in the audience and started shouting, "THAT woman, get
her out of here."
She was surrounded by security guards and literally
out of the room. She'd never been so embarrassed in her life.
Her supervisor had left her an email notice that he was
expecting to see her in his office first thing tomorrow morning.
All evening Joan had been worrying about getting fired
reminding herself that the arrival of the spaceships changed
everything. But still John wasn't home. It was admitting to him what
had happened this morning that she feared the most. John had never been
sympathetic with her effort to undermine Maxwell Humphries' research.
After all, he was now working in Humphries' own department. And he'd
kept reminding Joan how careful he had to be to not let slip anything
about his relationship with her.
Just then, Joan's dime played a gentle ringtone, Edith
classic L'hymne a L'amour (Let It Happen), resurrected as the
poignant love theme for last year's Oscar-winning sci-fi tearjerker
romance, When Worlds Collide.
The dime, as they'd come to be called, was the all-in-one,
hand-held phone, text and voice messaging device, satellite computer
link, gamer, and audio-video save/play pod that, under a number of
different brand names, had become the essential work and play tool of
21st century DIgital-MEdia-sophisticates.
L'hymne a L'amour was the signal the call was
"Hi, honey," he said. "Sorry I'm so late calling. The
was locked down tight till a few minutes ago."
"I guessed as much," she answered. "Hey, got any hot
for me?" She tried to keep the conversation light. She had no intention
of mentioning this morning's embarrassing scene, at least not on the
"I probably know less than you do. I haven't heard any
We've been on red alert since the ship first appeared over the base…"
"Where's it now?"
"Still right overhead."
"Hmm? You think they're interested in the
"Look, Joan, I probably shouldn't be talking about
stuff. And don't mention the space-shield," he said coldly. "Anyway,
the reason I called was to say I was late and to, well, apologize for
what I said earlier, I mean, about resenting your assignment…"
"Well, that'll probably change anyway. Everything's
"'cept us?" John asked sheepishly, hoping she'd
the veiled import of his communication.
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