Illustration by Justin DeVine.
ALL RIGHT, I think everyone’s a little tired, a little careworn, a little frayed. And we’re looking at the juncture between my thumb and forefinger, and we’re relaxing. Deep breath in. Deep breath out. Good, good.
Notice where we carry our tension. In our jaws? In our spines? In our backpacks? Let that tension pass, like a state trooper on the highway. And in. And out. That’s nice.
You whack away the cares of the day like golf balls from a sand trap. You fry and crackle your worries like moths in a bug zapper. Your mind is a bug zapper drenched in honey. GZZZ! GZZ-GZZZZ!
Shhh, that’s all right — We’re breathing. I’m holding you. You’re safe.
And SWOOOOOOOOOOSH! We’re airborne, lifted by our noiseless battery-powered chin-strap propeller hats. Isn’t that summer air pleasurable? I’m wearing my velvet purple unitard, which arouses you, and you feel a freeing desire for my supple, knifelike body.
I’m a fatherly figure, a yogi.
Suddenly on land you feel my hand on your back, and now it steals lower, lower, and lightly cups your left buttock and comes back up. You laugh! It’s an encouraging, cheering gesture and you’re grateful for it. I make a second grab — you giggle, you think it’s playful! I’m a source, a guru. I’m nourishing you, stimulating you.
You want to touch the stamen of my healing flower. I am the earth, the sky, the wind. I am the impregnating cottonwood fluff. Go on. Touch my stamen. AH! But when you attempt to pat my handsome stamen, I deflect your clumsy efforts. You bad, bad child!
And now I’m chasing you! I tackle you and muss your hair and give you noogies quickly and roughly, then run away — you chase me, but I’m too fast for you to catch! Look at me skip away through the purple prairie! “Ahhh!” you think. “He’s beautiful! That physique! What a fine specimen! His muscular back forms a perfect, rippling V!”
And as you contemplate the Michelangelo’s David–like suppleness of my torso, suddenly all 11 to 50 of us are holding hands, floating in a circle in a frog-ringed pond, looking inward, children’s football-sized pill-shaped Styrofoam floaties strapped to our backs. What fun! We laugh as we feel the muddy, algal water pulse into and out of every orifice. In and out. From me … into you … into him … into her — fluids intermingling freely, healthily, cleansing and rejuvenating us in a homeopathic way.
Oh! But what’s that? Through the scrub weeds there! It’s a deer! And right behind the deer — a prodigiously genitaliaed naked hunter … who’s now CHASING THE DEER AROUND AND AROUND THE POND, AND — OH MY GOD! — THE HUNTER TACKLES THE DEER AND TEARS INTO ITS THROAT WITH HIS FANGS AND SCURRIES BACK INTO THE TREACHEROUS SCRUB WEEDS!
OH, YE NUDEST OF PREDATORS! DEFILER OF BEAUTY!!! COWARDLY, UNCLAD VILLAIN!!! NEMESIS! BAAAAAANE!!!!
Ah, but what’s that? A cooing and gurgling on the opposite shore! It’s a baby. Awwwww! It’s you as a baby! Full of hopes and dreams and baby food!
But what’s this now? Why is baby-you crawling into the pond? You’re too young to swim! OH MY GOD, BABY-YOU IS DROWNING!!!! THAT WAS SO QUICK! THAT’S TWO CORPSES NOW FLOATING ON OPPOSITE SIDES OF THE FOUL POND! A MANGLED DEER CARCASS AND WATER-PUFFY, BLOATED BABY-YOU! NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
And as you paddle to shore to dry yourself — crying, panting, drained and helpless on the spongy sand — you look back at the bloody, twitching, just-dead deer and wee, lifeless, blue, bobbing baby-you. Then I’m there, your guide, to comfort you by reaching into your body to massage your organs, one by one. Now your spleen, now your pancreas, now your left kidney, now your right.
And suddenly — how can this be? — that same deer, NEWLY RESURRECTED, parts the brush just up the hill, and … what’s that on his back?! It’s BABY-YOU! ALSO newly resurrected! HALLELUJAH!!!!
And our propeller hats fly us up and away from the pond again, into the sky, then farther to the permanent night of space. And as Earth becomes a tiny speck below, you slowly wake, back in the company of your guide, the most visionary writer of the infant millennium.
And 3-2-1 we’re a-WAKE! [*SNAP!*]