the evening of August 4, 2001, the above
familiar characters from past issues of Stik
Mann's OtherSpokane, along
with Norm, the sad, hemophiliac prince (not
pictured because I screwed up his photo),
purposely ventured into the Dark Wood to tiptoe,
dance and ultimately stagger along the boundaries
of the Wilderness.
We all embarked upon this
expedition of our own free will -- for the
purpose of discovery for discovery's sake -- with
much faith in the existence of undiscovered
treasures there, and some healthy fear of the
dangers involved in The Pursuit.
document, for you my faithful readers, some of
We meet at Heidi's
Tavern in Metaline Falls. We eat and drink and
achieve a state of Merriment. Later, outside,
Phopaw agrees with me that the town is very nice
and the region beautiful, then asks me how I can
believe in a God who allows His children to
suffer. Arp and dewD eventually put things into
It's a Nice Little Town
the whereabouts of resident Roger of the North,
but he is nowhere to be found. So, after a quick
check of supplies, we depart this fair village
and aim the envoy north, following Sullivan Creek
upstream. Soon we locate a wonderful site: an
overhang of tall trees, a primitive fireplace, a
small clearing at the bank of the creek that
reveals the northern sky. We set up camp. Arp has
a big tent.
We gather around
the fireplace -- as if it holds flames, which it
does not -- and pass the Peace Pipe. I point out
the fact that Arp has a very big tent and
everyone seems to agree. "It is indeed a
very large tent," says Norm.
Phopaw tells me his latest Impact Dream. I offer
Later, dewD tries to take Phopaw's photo without
a camera. He does not succeed but does cause tiny
cherries to appear in his mind's eye and his
mouth while the atmosphere in a distant field
momentarily flares up. Still, the experiment is
considered a success by all. See Photo
Upon the glories of Spokane, dewD and I do
rhapsodize. As we do, a small collection of tiny
birds chirp loudly all around us, as if they are
Phopaw asks if I will baptize him. I decline.
preforms the task Himself when He reaches down
from His Heavenly Throne and pushes Phopaw into
the creek while he (Phopaw) is washing his face.
I point this out
to Phopaw but he responds with a strong defense
for the continuance of Reason, suggesting that
perhaps he merely "slipped on a slick rock."
I consider his
explaination yet remain unconvinced.
Later, Phopaw and I search for things off in the
distance that aren't there. See
I ask Arp if he
read my story about my encounter in Mexico with
the Zapatista's in the Spokesman-Review. He said he hadn't but
would catch it when it somehow shamelessly finds
its way into the next issue of OtherSpokane.
I am eating a bag of chips when I feel a rustling
within the bag. I peek inside as a beautiful,
impish spirit girl shoots out and kisses me on
the lips. See
The dewD/Arp Xigar
dewD and Arp are talking. But they are far enough
away that I can not hear them unless I
concentrate, which I chose not to do. Still, my
brain interprets their cricket-like chirping
sounds and I find it to be an enlightening
experience. Click the link above to see if it
works for you.
A broken tree momentarily transforms into a totem
pole. It fades, but reappears throughout the
evening with greater frequency and intensity. See Photo
I ask Phopaw
what he thought about my comments regarding the painting, "The Alchemist's
Experiment takes Fire," by Heindrick
Issue 17 of OtherSpokane.
"At first I thought your analysis was crap,
but then I re-read it in Sister Wendy's voice and
found it quite insightful."
Suddenly darkness is upon us. We light the fire
and all stand around in silence as it grows and
reflects in our eyes. An undeterminable amount of
realize that we are all sitting down, though I
can not recall anyone actually making the
transition from upper to lower positions. I am
about to mention this to the others when Arp
clears his throat...
The Ballad of Arp
ArpXigar gives a very special fireside recital of
his modern Surrealist classic. He receives a
rousing ovation and we are animated once again.
And again, we pass the Pipe of Peace.
Many of us also
partake in a few doses of Arp's snakebite
medicine. While no snakes have been spotted, we
elect to retain a precautionary spirit.
Arp in the middle of a mood
And, having changed -- Mood
and Mood 2
reason that it would be beneficial to have a code
word or code phrase to shout out in case a bear
happens to wander into camp. After much debate we
finally agree on "Oh, shit! Bear!"
Not Gay (look at me look at her butt now)
We talk about the Heavy Metal Eighties and the
bands that screamed anthems to their sexual
potency and prowess. We decide that these rants
were their way of shouting, "We're not gay!"
A song comes to me. It festers in my mind for
many days until I finally write it down. It's
pretty stupid. (But, according to OtherSpokane
copy editor, seer, and person down the hallway,
Madame WickLip, it's all part of a greater
Norm finds a
stick that looks like a snake. We all re-dose
with Arp's medicine.
dewD takes the stage. What follows I have
rendered here in comic strip form.
We stand at the
edge of the creek bank and gaze at the star-filled
sky. Aurora Borealis makes a
brief appearance in the form of a thin, green
flame. As it fades, so fades our troop. Only
Phopaw and I remain.
says Phopaw. "If God told you -- and you
knew for sure it was God -- if God told you to
kill me, would you do it?"
There is silence,
except for the sound of the creek and the distant
crackle of the campfire. The green flame in the
sky finally disappears. "Yes," I
finally answer. "But with the hope that you,
being my friend, would understand my dilemma."
faces strangely illuminate, as the moon peeks
over the distant mountain. A patch of cool air
passes by us, as if riding upon the current of
do it," says Phopaw.
I sleep next to the fire. I dream that I sleep
well and wake very early and hike
up the nearby hill.
I sit up and
open my eyes and see Phopaw and Norm standing
above me. "Where did you go? Where did you
I ask. "You mean...up on the hill?"
you," says Phopaw.
from his tent. Bear growl-like snoring comes from
the very big tent of ArpXigar. Phopaw and Norm
pack up their gear. I realize that I am standing
though I cannot recall the transition from the
lower position to the upper.
We all shake
hands and agree that next time we will go even
deeper into The Wood. Phopaw and Norm depart.
dewD and I walk over to the very big tent of
I whisper. "Bear."
leader probe you too?" says dewD. "Man,
There is a
rustling in the big tent, "Huh? Wha--"
I say. "Did you see what happened to Norm
and Phopaw? You know where they are?"
gone, man!" says dewD, a slight degree of
desperation in his voice. "What's goin' on?"
happening?" says Arp, popping up from his
slumber like a jack-in-the-box.
stuff is here. But they're not." says dewD.
"We've looked everywhere."
something else," I say. I turn away and
stare down at the ground, then, with a worried
face, I look quickly back to dewD.
sleeping bags," says dewD. "They've
been, like. . . scorched."
I say. "And they're filled with some kind of
it!" dewD shouts at me with wide-eyes.
"It's ashes, man," he sobs to Arp.
"All that's left of our buddies is ashes,
going home now?" says Arp.
I say. And eventually, we do.
Suggestion: A good way to e-ease
back to reality --
Go to Stik Mann's WebFinds for
Next Issue: All Hallow's Eve 2001