Previously in our serialization of this critically praised (“two thumbs decidedly up” -- Karen & Marcia, The Olney Times) epic, our heroine Daphne Ridpath found herself soaring off into space in a runaway flying saucer...what a pickle!
(Click here to read our previous episode; go here to return to the only dimly-remembered beginning.)
So, there I am, the absolute verge of panic. I mean the verge. This quite acrid green smoke just billowing all around me, but even so I could see on the big screen the earth just getting farther and farther away, and so I knew I simply had to go get Dick. I mean Dick is really a marvelous driver, and having been in the navy he knows all about steering boats and things, so I thought, if he was feeling up to it he must be able to do better than I’d been doing and maybe find some way to land this thing without killing us all.
So up I jumped to go get him.
But then as I’m wandering back through these mysterious winding purple-lit corridors all of a sudden I start to float, I mean literally, float.
Oh, hooray, and there am I, desperately trying to swim my way through the air when all of a sudden we went through this weird thing.
I later found out that we had in fact passed through into another dimension of all things.
Quite an odd feeling, believe me.
But fortunately I’d taken enough psychedelics in my time that I was not entirely unused to weird states of being. Not that normal life isn’t weird. But this very nearly was the limit, even for me.
For a minute there I sort of was the universe, which of course includes so much more than the mere physical universe, which I’d always known anyway. Just as I’d always really known deep down that people like the Maharishi and the Pope and whatnot haven’t really got the ghost of a clue. I mean they try so hard. They really do. For these exalted states. But I’ve always known ever since I was a little girl that anything you really have to try, try, try to do just cannot be worth it. Because trying is essentially boring. My philosophy is if it doesn’t come naturally to you then the hell with it. And personally I’ve always thought Heaven or Nirvana or Satori sounded like such a bore. And more than a little creepy, too. It’s so much more fun just being alive and, you know, all the little things, of being alive, those little things. So I suppose I did heave a rather audible sigh of relief when I came out of this little mini-Satori, lying flat on my back on the floor, no more freefall now.
And so I got back up onto my own two feet again, a little wobbly, but no worse really for the wear.
But never a moment’s rest. Because now that awful uriney green smoke has caught up with me, rolling down the corridor like an enormous evil cloud, and I am so over this whole mess. So I ran and ran, really getting a little upset now, and after what seemed like ages running up and down these purple corridors in these two-inch pumps not made for running, green smoke now billowing from vents in all the walls and ceilings, I finally get to the first room and there among all those dead spacemen and humans are Dick and Harvey, sitting up and rubbing their eyes and wondering what the hell the deal was, and who could blame them?
“What’s that smell?” says Dick. “Is something burning?”
Well, I didn’t really want to tell him I’d peed into the works, so I said I didn’t know.
Then there was a great big thump and we all bounced up about a foot into the air, and we just knew we had landed somewhere. Or at least I knew. (I don’t think the boys knew we had been flying in the first place.)
But just then this absolute tidal wave of this foul green malignant smoke comes rushing into the room, and we’re all suffocating and coughing like crazy.
And that’s when I remembered the button panel by the doorway. Now, which ones had that second spaceman guy told me to press? And in what order? I couldn’t remember for sure, but what did I have to lose? Because to stay in that spaceship was simply to die a horrible and painful death from asphyxiation.
So I pressed, what, second button once, first button twice? Whatever, the important thing was (oh, hooray for real this time!) the door began to slide open!****
(Continued here, relentlessly; a Shel Talmy Production.)