A Dangerous Opiate

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by Jan Herman

The country was overrun by “shakers” and phosphorescent moisture. A new revelation which was carried as straight news they way they will in the TV studios. And the Senator on W-O-R-D radio.

“There is no safety this side of the grave,” he says.

It seems any judge or any senator can do anything with the Princess of Democracy. He has no restrictions. The ordinary records, inspections and controls, like the old institutions, facing ducksoup in their offices because religion is a null area in the law. It is difficult to distinguish the “real” religion and the dark side of the laboratory quack’s ear short of establishing a “state” religion. Remember that motto Bee Jay? KILL THYSELF FROM THY PAGES? It was written all over the church walls and all churches are equally immune, remember, if they swing a block of immunity. It is hard to point out what leaped into the room…maybe the Tabernacle of Canterbury.

As the Senator dissolves into the mindscreen you can hear one of the guards:

“Have to watch the badges in the ESP room.”

No one gets that far Bee Jay without shedding his badges.

The Senator worms himself into all earphones. And the machine stutters and stops. Throws the words onto colorless pages: THAT. PAYS. THREE. FOR. ONE.

“You’ll notice your sins touching your collars, gentlemen . . . looks like this is a job for the clergy,” says the Senator.

Token eyes barely visible in the light. The sinner feeds himself back into the magic lantern. Time and another page overtake him by an asphalt road.

“Some of our most faithful sheep got their start from a lapse,” says the Reverend Judd. “Here we are in the Tabernacle of Canterbury.”

He gestures with a cigar more than one night. The same message unsound and cowardly. He’s never been moved.

“. . . lousy shape that’s why you’re here . . . off your asses gentlemen . . . we’ll save you yet . . .”

There is nothing left for them to do. Take them all Reverend Judd. And all that heavenly manna coming down in the left column.

Written by Jan Herman and originally published in VDRSVP 3, 1969. Republished by RealityStudio in April 2010.

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