Yes, Prince, Clear Surprise!

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by Jan Herman

Dan rolled the cigarette tight and a black flame rose in his dim eyes. Carl, making certain not to lose ground, waved him through the dangerous opiate into the ESP room. Dan put his cigarette into the blue ends of his imagination possessed by windfalls of moisture and disarming affability. It was by 1887 a clear pinch of this and that. Dreams of chemists bumped off the body, the mind, the universe. Dan had come for their high radiation. Blind crystals firing tea in modest silence. He crossed his legs through the back door of l’academie francaise. Gave an eminent lecture “The Mystery of the Dwarf” 19th century style, full of snowstorm and the debris of tomorrow. He sat before an immense desk made by a late Cartesian. His lymphatic hand rose and fell. More real than mortality percentages. A large world he said, larger than the splinters in his heart.

Jan Herman, Yes, Prince, Clear SurpriseCarl could see he’d been travelling through Utah neither plus nor minus as soon as Dan walked in the door. He had come many miles to this place.

“Who walks in Dan when you walk out?”

Could see he’d been travelling miles by the dried streaks of democracy on his car. It was a station wagon of the medium class, blue shiny and economical.

“Speakin’ to me?” he said.

But was he really the calamitous Princess of Democracy? It seemed a case of trading stamps.

Dan and Carl wandered through the old institutions then. Plexiglass ducksoup merry-go-round they were not ashamed to tell you. They had come through the Powder River Pass. The car kick out in Sundance, Wyoming. The show that night the buildings they entered – in the wind. Stars and stripes of glory paid off in journalistic myths.

On the desk was a large ashtray where Dan flicked his ashes. Sundance martini taking over. The air was thin and they giggled like two antique relics from past time. The whimper of old lies when great fortunes were made. The buttons on their shirts deserted of people and now Dan and Carl withdrawing into white sand and bone sky down the shivery beach. They were not alone travelling with finality. They could smell yesterday coming back, stopping under a modernistic shelter. Sat like a couple of fisherman in rippling water. Distant mountains of two ancient bodies touched like the first snows of winter. Beneath the buildings one hundred feet up and a black flame under the door.

Steaming in the hall Dan remembered slow circles and colorful whores.

“Thy hand glides easy,” someone said.

“Yes, prince, clear surprise.”

Covered his spine the small hotel painted against the wind. Letters of gold radiated bodies and streets.

“You are one of the common fold, Dan – turn left.”

Electric static passed through them. Cut off dream time. In wide dust they were an old appearance. They waved a dotted line.

“The natural problem poses a dilemma. We may begin in the parapsychology lab,” said Carl, “but that is certainly not where we end up.”

Dan’s consciousness expires in the counterfilm. It rises parallel to the timberline about a thousand yards. His flesh wide open. You can almost hear him through the binoculars.

Written by Jan Herman and originally published in VDRSVP 1, 1969. Republished by RealityStudio in April 2010.
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