No, no, it’s not about the eating of the apple of the tree of knowledge at all. The story that I heard goes like this: God said to Abraham, kill me a son, Abe said man, you must be puttin’ me on, God said no, Abe said what, and God then issued warnings on his next coming and gave instructions to meet on Highway 61. We have to find Highway 61.” Haile was certain of it.
“Emancipate yourself from mental slavery! None but our self can free our minds!” Ja chimed in.
Haile’s interpretation of the god of Abraham and their mission in the space time of the there and then and most of what s-he knew about anthropology came through lyrical music. The twosome with whom Tante and B now traveled had been plugged in full time since day one on planet Earth and they were deeply immersed in electronic culture. Their Taphao Thongian nature made the resonance of lyrical music particularly compelling.
They were both super adept hackers. Jampa Alaric Yetiyahu, aka Ja, was a marvel of recombination, his mother’s Tibetan roots intertwined with those of the Dali Lama, his father’s rich with the passions of his beastly nature. His mother had spent her lifetime meditating in the caves, solitary until she met the Yeti, Yahu, who won her heart with nary a word. Ja was a man of intellect.
Haile was an adept at popular culture. Just so totally hip, it hurt.
“Seriously, it all goes back to sibling rivalry between Isaac and Ishmael and Sarah’s stupid jealousy over Hagar and whose Mom was prettiest and the getting cast away and every conflict that’s gone on among the members of this ridiculous species since its history began.” Haile had a certain smugness, traces of some Cleopatran biochemical karma. “It’s still going down in the Promised Land right now and in the oppression of people of color everywhere.”
The crone was taken aback. The further away from the Outback they travelled, the more bizarre the innate complexity of this species and how diverse its manifestation of the Taphao Thongian spirit seemed to her. It was nice having Baltha’s transmogrific companionship, it held a nice primality.
“Born to be Wild!” B. was back in canine mode, howling, now a big yellow lab hanging his head out the window, tongue and tail wagging, enjoying the fresh air and change in scenery as they made their way through the mountains toward Sydney.
Tante envied her companion’s ability to check out of the conversation so tactfully.
“You’re being so limited in your interpretation of history. My mother’s people have a fifty thousand year oral tradition that doesn’t give a wallaby’s butt about the brothers from the other end of Gaia. We’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden. I came upon a child of god, he was walking along the road and I asked him, tell me, where are you going, and this he told me.” Tante was pretty sure of her perspective, too, and getting cranky. She didn’t do well seated for long periods of time. She liked to walk in wide open spaces; proximity to too many diverse signals distracted her.
In fact, as it turned out, all the Taphao Thongians were particularly susceptible to the resonance of music, vibes of all sorts, particularly at close range. When Ja changed the tune on his device to Death Metal, Tante started twitching.
“That music does not suit me.” Her tone was cold, lifeless, like a computer voice generated very badly.
Ja turned and grinned at her, cranking the volume up a notch, doing a little head bang to its beat. “We hold space for all forms of expression. Anarchy rules!”
“I want minstrels, live, now. Dressed in silk. I want acoustics. Four part harmony. Songs about gardens and wooden ships and loving the one you’re with. That. Music. Does. Not. Suit. ME!” A tantrum of the Tante was brewing, clouds gathered and the air chilled.
Haile pulled over and turned to face Ja. S-he smiled.
“I suspect the vote is about to go against Monstrosity and Septic Flesh, finally. Perhaps we can take a break from the music for a while, start thinking about how to best approach our mission here.”
“It’s the end of the world as we know it”. Ja folded his arms tightly across his chest and settled into Buddha frowning pose.
“What’s to know, we’ve all just shown up here.” Baltha was briefly Baltha, her Hijab a lovely deep purple. She smiled at Ja and he smiled back. She really was irresistible; it’s what made her such a great Jidda.
“There are others on the planet who’ve been here long term. It’s really quite a nice place time, all sorts of lovely potential. The system has simply kind of mucked up the adolescence of its existence and the humans are threatening the whole works. It’s time for a reset. Every one of the cultures has a legend of end times, we’ve just got to figure out how to bring it off smoothly, salvage what we can here. The genes are interesting, you must admit.” Haile was gazing into the review mirror.
“Well, all I know is what’s there in the Revelations, that’s the part I was given, the script I was handed. The information uploaded included all the stories of the species, and we each have a certain set of instructions, our back memes. We’re each gaining new perspectives as we exist in this place time, we’re acclimating and our stories are evolving as we go. The synchronicities of how I came to be seem to make me part of the resistance against the manifest destiny of what the white folks did with baby Jesus’ teachings. Quite a shame, really. At any rate, I am the Auntie Christ, like it or not.”
“I am the Anarchist”. Ja had claimed his title of non-conformity to the tribe.
“I’m just pretty”. Haile struck a pose. “Well, pretty and smart and all around wonderful. I’m so totally enlightened. And fashionable. I do believe I will simply be me.” S’he smiled brilliantly, shone with it. “Oh, and the Rastafarians love me, I’m part of that network connection. I’m all about connections.”
“I am B., the shapeshifter. So now we are four.” Baltha was undecided how to approach the big city. A lot of that depended on Tante. Like it or not, babysitter was the role she’d agreed to with the shapeshifter add-on to her visit to the material plane package deal.
“You guys are lucky. I have to be the evil one, the old crone, the bringer of doom. I don’t have any tech skills, my look does not appeal to the masses, the cool white horse that I thought would make my childhood dreams come true won’t work here, and there aren’t any minstrels. I thought there’d be minstrels and foot baths and nice buffets. And I suck at networking.” She started sobbing; it was way past time for some sleep, nearly sunrise by the looks of the glow at the eastern horizon. “I don’t do well at high population density. I want angels and milk and honey and wine.”
Ja turned and offered Tante a large blunt from the front pocket of his shirt.
“Here, try this, you might like it.”
“Don’t worry, things will get better when we get to the compound and you meet the twins. Hooking up with them is vital to smoother transition into the bodies we’re wearing.” Haile's vibe was very reassuring, the lilt of voice like a layer of honey sweetening the surface of the air.
“Yin and Yang. You’ll like them a lot.”
The car headed into the Wild Dog Mountains just west of Sydney, up to the house in the hills where other travelers from across space time were already gathered, all of them gathering together as part of an effort to disrupt a timeline of some distant genetic relatives, just for fun, mostly.
But one never really knows with such things. The adventure was on.
The End is Near