It had been five years since Fat had died. As I sit here listening to Chopin and drown myself in red wine, my thoughts keep drifting back to him. Our conversations together, how we met when I was just a kid - anxious to meet the craziest (and according to some, greatest) writers of our time. Our generation's Kafka, or Hesse.
I used to argue with him that there was too much coincidence between Jim, Jimmi, and Janis all leaving us in a matter of years, Leary in jail, and the White & Black Panther party - as well as the Weathermen - all but totally disbanded. Too much "containment" in too little time.
"Cool it!" Fat used to say. "Just roll us another number and just calm down. You're Paranoia stresses even ME out."
"Damn, Fat. Hearing something like that from someone as Paranoid as YOU really does make me feel a bit nuts, thanks."
"Always glad to help, Slim. Just keep rolling us those numbers, and putting your Paranoia's down in your stories, and you'll turn out just fine."
You know, the usual back and forth, you get the picture. God how I miss those conversations. Him lecturing me on smoking too much, me lecturing him on taking too much snuff. Sharing stories about our felines and our checking out girls - or 'Cat-Watching' as he liked to call it. A hobby we both shared with a passion. Those days are over now, and melancholy settles in. I wonder, though, if he could see the number of bodies so far, would he call me so Paranoid?
Horselover Fat, dead in his fifties. Here we are, at the height of the Regan Era, with one of the greatest champions of the Nixon overthrow now dead for half a decade. Dead, by a stroke and eventual heart failure - the two most common forms of assassination (minus 'Staged Suicide', of course). Ronnie and Gorby are buddies now. Deals with Red China, and blind-eyes turned to the atrocities in Tibet. Selling weapons to Iran and Iraq, so they can kill each other - all to fund our little 'Drug Ventures' in South America.
Fat was right, Stalin opened the door for the conversion of the USSR from Communism to Fascism, and we fell right in line - all under the guise of 'National Security', of course. In a 'Cold War', what's going on isn't nearly as obvious as in a real War, so more things can be 'gotten over' on the public, who don't and can't pay as much attention. No one noticed as the US became a Fascist police state, as Russia did. No one noticed as our "Authorities" turned into the KGB. Like a 'change-over' on a projection reel, no one notices the difference.
Tagore is nowhere to be found, and it seems as if Zebra/Valis/whatever is no longer making contact. Transmissions from Albemuth have been cut off. Any progress that was made seems to be lost. We are once more alone, and without a Prophet, or a Sibyl. No more Divine help for the Republic. Our losses have been great. The King, Kennedy brothers, Malcolm X, and now John Lennon assassinations. The passing - possible assassination - of Horselover Fat. Who, then, are we to look to? From whence shall our Hope and Salvation come? Yes, we can break down the "Black Iron Prison", but not until we're awakened. Who is to open the eyes of the masses?
Certainly not me. I'm neurotic, of a sensitive constitution, and a giant coward to top it all off. Granted, though, Fat didn't exactly ASK for the job, either. He certainly had his share of issues, and phobias. Why does "IT" choose the neurotic, sickly ones? Is it because we are more sensitive, so pick up on the 'Message' better? Or, perhaps, it's because we are "ill", it uses that fact, driving us to feel that we must heal the World to heal Ourselves.
If it is supposed to be me, though, I'm certainly not getting any signals. Perhaps my job, my place, is just to watch for them. To alert others to the possibility that they exist. Whatever it may be, I try my best and hope that Salvation comes before we go too far to be saved, or destroy ourselves.
In a way, I guess `ol Horselover got off easy. He could have never watched us loose so much of what we tried to win back. Even if they hadn't killed him, Fat's ticker couldn't have handled seeing how things have turned out. One thing saddens me, though, about the whole thing. I know how much he was looking forward to Future, the new Millennia. May it be everything he dreamed it would be.
- Zebrahunter Slim