ECSTATIC EMERGENCIES

Book, Lyrics, and Music by Arthur Kegerreis


At the Gun Show
(Intro)
When four horsemen appear
you’ll lose all you hold dear
including the US of A

It’s all in the good book
So let’s take a hard look
and see what the prophecies say

The UN is a sham
it’s the big final scam
which may cause your allegiance to sway

When the trumpets all peal
be equipped with a deal
with support from the good NRA

(Verse)
At the gun show
We’ve something for each boy and girl
At the gun show
Why not give grenades a whirl?

We carry Smith and Wesson,
Silencers, Ammo and
even a twenty-two

At the gun show
There’s no time to be left behind
At the gun show
We’re simply selling peace of mind

Please don’t get mad get even
don’t get burned; freedom’s earned;
reload and fire away

Ventura Gun Show
I pull into the parking lot in the rain. The Ventura fairgrounds are shrouded in mist, and puddles make the walk to the door difficult. I’m wearing a black beret and a outdoorsman’s grey jacket. I hope I look like a soldier.

Many signs clearly state that no photographic or recording equipment is allowed in the gun show. I turn on my little cassette recorder, conceal it in my pocket, and buy a ticket.

Salesman:

“Let me know if you need anything.” The salesman wears an Army cap. He has a crewcut and a short blonde beard. There’s anger in his eyes. I bet he’d be a good sniper.

Arthur:

“This is a great gun”

Salesman:

“Yeah. I have several of those. But this one’s better.”
I look at the preferred rifle, an AR-15. They all look the same to me.

Salesman:

“It’ll slice through a bulletproof vest like butter.”

Arthur:

“Is it an automatic or semi-automatic?” I see the look on his face. I’ve said the wrong thing.

Salesman:

“What kind of gun do you have now?”

Arthur:

“Well, actually I don’t have anything yet. I was thinking I might get an automatic.”

Salesman:

“What do you want it for?”

Arthur:

“Hunting, I guess.”

Salesman:

“What do you want an automatic for then?”

Arthur:

“Well - Hunting - and self-defense.”

Salesman:

“You a cop or something?”
The other man behind the table laughs.
The salesman walks to the other end of the table and ignores me.

-----------------------------

As I walk down the aisles of guns and ammo I overhear four guys ahead of me. They almost look like businessmen; pressed white shirts, very clean-cut, but they’re wearing jeans.

Bruce:

...this is a Spiritual battle we’re engaged in. We’re not out to kill the Philistine enemy. We’ve been called to save them. Yeah, I know, I know, sometimes it seems like it’d be easier to shoot them.

They both laugh.

I’ve been looking at it differently though. I prayed for awhile over this, and the Lord has helped me see it differently. You see, we’ve been called to become warriors in prayer; prayer warriors!

Joe:

But do you really think prayer alone is enough to confront these wicked pro-death activists? Think of their friends in the abortion industry - and the politicians they’ve got in their pockets...

Bruce:

Think of what happened when David and Saul battled the evil Philistine army.
These people are the Philistines!

Joe:

So... I see... Our demonstrators are like David and Saul! We’re fewer in number but we have God on our side!

More laughter

Bruce, your faith is such an example for me.

Bruce:

This is beginning to sound like a militia meeting. They both laugh again.

Joe:

Do you really think we are going to get these people to risk six months in jail and $10,000 in fines, though?

Bruce:

I’m quite confident God will honor our faithfulness. He’s moved heaven and earth to bring us together. Look at what happened in Rochester.

Joe:

So tomorrow we call God’s army to war in Anaheim?

Bruce:

Exactly. He will lead them to us. Vineyard Fellowship is a strong Christian...fortification! The Christians there value the sanctity of human life.

Oh, look at this! A stun gun! I bet this could come in handy!


-----------------------------

I go up to another table strewn with rifles.

Arthur:

“Do you have an AR-15?”

Salesman:

“It’s right in front of you.”

Arthur:

“How much?”

Salesman:

“Make an offer.”

Arthur:

“Let me take a look at it. – Say, I’m looking for this woman Trudy. Do you know her?”

Salesman:

“Lots of women around here.”

Arthur:

“Leathery complexion. Really tanned. Beautiful blue eyes.”

Salesman:

“That narrows it down to about everybody.”

Arthur:

“She’s got a little kid who wears a pith helmet.”

Salesman:

“Nope.”

Arthur:

“She sells shovels and survival gear.”

Salesman:

“I said no. Do you want to look at the rifle or not?”

Arthur:

“To achieve victory first you must seek it... The U.S. Taxpayers Party! You a member? Trudy had one of those buttons too.”

Salesman:

“Which rifle are you interested in?”


-----------------------------

A video table is lined with hundreds of WWII Nazi propaganda videos. I’m looking over the titles, when the salesman walks over.

Salesman:

“Which one’s you looking at?”

I silently indicate one about Hitler’s rise to power.

Salesman:

“You know, there’s been quite a lot of interest in those recently. I think there might be something to it, don’t you?”

Arthur:

“Hmmm. Yes. Yes. Which one’s would you recommend?”

Salesman:

“This ones not bad.” The occult history of the Nazis.

-----------------------------
While I’m talking to him, I see another man, very darkly tanned, with a crewcut, in fatigues - talking to the anti-abortion people I was following before. He looks over at me, and they all look over at me too. They nod and look away, then they walk away and he walks over to me.

Man:

“I understand you’re looking for Trudy.”

Arthur:

“Yeah! Yes, I am. Do you know her?”

Man:

“How do you know Trudy?”

Arthur:

“She sends me mail sometimes. I send her mail too. I guess I send her a lot of mail. We seem to have a lot of interests in common.”

Man:

“I’ve never seen you before.”

Arthur:

“We met at the Pomona show. She was telling me about her shelter. I thought I might help her fix it up. But all I have is her P.O. Box in the middle of the Mohave Desert.”

Man:

“Trudy doesn’t need any help with anything.”?

Arthur:

“Isn’t her kid great? I mean he was crawling around under the table while we...well, you know, we sang a hymn together. The Battle Hymn of the Republic! Uh, You know I’m sorry, but I don’t even know... how do you know her?”

Man:

“Are you a Christian?”

Arthur:

“Well, I was confirmed when I was small and all that.”

Man:

“That’s not what I meant.”

Arthur:

“Look, it’s really important that I get to talk with her.”

Man:

“If I see her, I’ll tell her I saw you.”

Arthur:

“But I didn’t even tell you my name...”

Man:

“I know your name.” He walks away. I follow, at a distance. He heads outside, and leaves the fairgrounds. He gets in a jeep and drives away.


Follow “him” offstage.

-----------------------------
Video Overhead: Revelations & Constitution Text, Sunset.

To hear a recording of this section click this link.

Live Receptionist:

Hello, You have reached the office of Howard Phillips and the U.S. Taxpayers Party; “Fighting to restore American jurisprudence to its Biblical premises.” How may I direct your call?

Arthur:

Uh, yes, I’m trying to reach someone I think may be working as a...

Live Receptionist:

Please hold.

Music - Hank Williams, Battle of Armageddon

Live Receptionist:

I’m sorry. How may I direct your call?

Arthur:

Yes, I’m trying to reach a volunteer named Trudy.

Live Receptionist:

Trudy. Do you have a last name?

Arthur:

Maybe you know her? It’s very important I reach her. She runs Genuine GI Surplus, you know, turn or burn?

Live Receptionist:

Do you know what department she’s with?

Arthur:

No, but it’s very important I talk to Trudy. We’re both going to face the end times together.

Live Receptionist:

Excuse me?

Arthur:

You know. It’s in the last book.

Live Receptionist:

Please hold. Music continues.

Live Receptionist:

Hello. How may I direct your call?

Arthur:

I’m trying to reach Trudy.

Live Receptionist:

Let me connect you. One moment please.

Recorded Receptionist:

You have reached the US Taxpayers Party Message Center. Howard Phillips and the US Taxpayers party is working to get the Tax-Users Off the Backs of the Tax-Payers. Our goal is to limit the Federal government to its Constitutional boundaries.

Please listen to all choices before making your selection.

If you wish to make a donation to the US Taxpayers Party, please press one to talk to a representative. If you know your parties extension, you may dial it at any time.

If you wish to receive information on how to change your voting status, please press two.

For information on our various policy issues, please press (beep) three.

I’m sorry that is not a valid option. You are being transferred to our policy issue message center.

You have reached the US Taxpayers Policy Issue Message Center. Please listen to all choices before making your selection. If you wish to speak to a representative you may press Zero at any time. (beep)

I’m sorry that is not a valid option.

If you wish to listen to a recorded message detailing our plans to appoint only judges who acknowledge the legal personhood of the unborn child, please press one. (beep)

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I’m sorry that is not a valid option.

If you wish to listen to a recorded message detailing our plans to fully safeguard the Bill of Rights, including the rights of property, speech, religion, and the right to keep and bear arms, , please press three. (beep)

I’m sorry that is not a valid option.

If you wish to listen to a recorded message detailing our plans to withdraw from all New World Order treaties and organizations, please press four. (beep)

I’m sorry that is not a valid option.

If you wish to listen to a recorded message detailing our plans to provide for the common defense, including the immediate deployment of a strategic defense and the retention of strategically crucial U.S. bases at the isthmus of Panama, please press five. (beep)

If you wish to listen to a recorded message detailing our plans to terminate Federal funding for Planned Parenthood, AIDS education, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Legal Services Corporation, and all forms of ideological advocacy, please press eleven. (beep)

Arthur:

Eleven?

Recorded Receptionist:

Please press six. (beep)

Thank you for calling the US Taxpayers Party. Pragmatism has not worked. Don’t waste your vote on the lesser of two evils. Invest it in what you believe to be right and know to be necessary.

“To achieve victory, first you must seek it.”
You may leave a message for a volunteer after the tone.

Arthur:

Hello, I’m trying to reach a volunteer named Trudy. It’s very important that I speak with her. Trudy, it’s me - we met at the gun show. I sent my letter to your PO Box. Did you get it? You were right. It’s just like it was spelled out in the bible. This war going on is another sign. We’ve got to get together to prepare for the final...

Dial tone. Shit.

-----------------------------

Walk on stage, very “cool” and “hip,” snapping fingers as you deeply dip the shoulder of the snapping finger, and humming and whistling at the same time:
(Ahh oooh mmm. Ahh oooh mmm. )

Stop abruptly and notice audience, turning to them.
Then – a funny thing happened to me on the way home.
Start humming and whistling at the same time again. Turn away from the audience and walk among them, looking them over, around the hall, then stop somewhere among them and address a single individual.
Oh, you'd like to know what it was?
Back to the stage. Intensely:
I was out at the edge of the park by Mentryville. Beautiful place. I thought I’d take in the trails and mountains for a little while. Parked at the end of the county maintained raod. That’s up the Old Road behind Stevenson Ranch, for those of you who didn’t know. This cop pulls up.
I walked over to his car.

Arthur:

Hello, officer.

Cop:

“Can I see your license and registration?”

Arthur:

I didn’t think I was doing anything wrong, officer.

Cop:

“Stand away from the car, please. Hands out in front of you. I’m going to have to pat you down. You don’t have any weapons I should know about first, do you? You’re not carrying any guns, knives, grenades...?”

Arthur:

“Grenades? You’ve got to be kidding.”

Cop:

“This is an out-of-the-way place. You never know who you’ll find out here. It maybe isn’t such a safe place for you to be. What’s this?”

Arthur:

(Aside) We’re only a five minute drive from Stevenson Ranch. Not even.

Cop:

I asked you a question.

Arthur:

Oh, that’s just a tape recorder.

Cop:

Let me see it please.

I hand him the tape recorder. He turns it on. “This kind of sounds like a militia meeting, doesn’t it? Laughter.” He turns it off. He looks uncertainly at me.

Cop:

“What is this tape of?”

Arthur:

“Uh, the gun show.”

Cop:

“Is this your current address?”

Arthur:

“Well, no, that’s where I was living before. But I couldn’t afford the rent, so I had to look for another place. I stayed with some friends for a while because I couldn’t afford the apartment I really wanted – I had some credit problems, you know, so I didn’t get that apartment, but then I found this one I really liked, and I kind of wore out my welcome at the friend’s place, so until I could live there I sort of camped out for a while – in the park, you know? And then I... ”

Cop:

Do you have a current residence?

Arthur:

Yes, I do. I found a new place, and it’s pretty nice. Really nice neighbors and...

Cop:

“Just tell me your new address.”

Arthur:

24789 Race Street. Newhall.

?Cop:

“You live on Race Street?!? Wait here.”

I stand by my car for several minutes until he returns.

Cop:

“I’m afraid I’m going to have to respond to this warrant. I’m not going to take you in, but you’ll have to come to the station within 48 hours and answer some questions. I’ll have to keep your license until you appear. Oh, I’m afraid I’ll have to keep this tape too.”

Arthur:

“But I didn’t do anything!”

Cop:

“You’re lucky I’m letting you drive home. Goodbye.”
-----------------------------
When I get home there’s a message on my answering machine. It’s my landlord.

“Hello, I’ve been getting some complaints from the neighbors. They said that the police have been asking them about you. Now I told you when you moved in, we only have good people in our apartments. Maybe you should... I think you should start looking for another place to live. I’m sorry, but we discussed this. I want my tenants to have a safe place to live. I expect you to be out at the end of the month.”
-----------------------------
Well, let me remind you of the sixth article of the Bill of Rights. You learned this in school, right?

Intoned rapidly
Article the sixth..
The right of the people to be secure in the persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be seized!

Whispering conspiratorily:
Did you get that, oath or...aff–ir–ma–tion? You know, Margaret used to say affirmations could change the world. Margaret used to say affirmations with me. She said she met me because of affirmations. I just don’t understand why when I said them the relationship still ended.

Pull up a chair and sit down. Speak normally:
But can't you just imagine a policemen reciting an affirmation to issue a warrant?

Pick up a mirror and look into it while singing.
Harmonic on lowest possible fundamental note, like Tibetan Tantric Monks
Intone on same note:
I am a responsible law enforcement officer and I have a warrant with probable cause to arrest a (rise in pitch a half step) lawless citizen.
I am a responsible law enforcement officer and I have a warrant with probable cause to arrest a (rise in pitch a half step) lawless citizen.
I am a responsible law enforcement officer and I have a warrant with probable cause to arrest a (rise in pitch a half step) lawless citizen.

Get up, address the audience
Well, that's not particularly complete, is it? Because the article says (intone again, as notated above) “particularly describing the place to be searched and the persons or things to be SEIZED.”

Pick up the mirror and look into it again while intoning:
I, a responsible law enforcement officer, have a warrant to arrest a driver on the road with brown hair and blue eyes, while driving a silver gray 1980 Toyota Corolla. I, a responsible law enforcement officer, will seize their license and registration, and will haul them away in (rise in pitch a half step) handcuffs.
Turn to audience again
There, that more or less makes a better affirmation for a warrant of arrest. Because, –– remember, –– an affirmation is supposed to be positive. And a lawless citizen isn't exactly positive, is it? I mean is he. I mean she. Look at that, I just automatically assumed a lawless citizen would be male...

Lip buzzing, like a motor noise – low G up to A– cough, lower pitch glissando up, rising buzzing noise, ingressive gasp, rising buzzing noise as if you were shifting gears. Move around the stage as if you were a kid driving a car.
-----------------------------
Vineyard Christian Fellowship

I walk into a large warehouse-like church. There’s popcorn in the lobby, video monitors showing everything that’s going on inside. Several women are standing around bobbing squealing babies up and down.

On the television monitor is the man I overheard at the gun show.

Video Starts. Dialogue following over it.
-----------------------------
Video:

Bruce:

I was shocked to see the news last night. Maybe you saw the spot. A baby was found in a dumpster. Yes, in a dumpster. It’s not all that suprising really. You see, if you can chop ‘em up and spit ‘em out before they’re born, why not kill ‘em afterwards? Abortion cheapens life.

A man's voice shouts "Amen!"

You know, the government wants us to believe that a small family is a good family, but this is entirely false. A small family is not a good family. What happens when a family stays small? The woman goes out and seeks a career so she can be fulfilled. Then the kids are put in day care and government-run schools. This is how the government gains control of our families and our personal lives! There is a new movement to have big families, and people are going to have big families no matter what anyone says!

The up-coming blockade will result in yet another constitutional challenge to the Freedom of Access to Clinic Entrances act. It might seem like a lot - asking everyone here to make the personal sacrifice of risking arrest and the possibility of six months in jail, $10,000 in fines, and separation from our families, friends, and work. But we must let the world know that we won’t allow people to commit murder of innocent, defenseless children. It is our duty as true Christians!

I led a rally at one of Miami’s largest abortuaries just last week. One pregnant woman came up and one of our volunteers talked with her, and after they talked, she accepted the Lord, and they kneeled down and prayed together. She broke down and cried, and they kneeled there together, and then she turned around and she went home. We saved a poor innocent babies life that day!

Several voices shout "Amen!"

As I said before, We must engage in spiritual battle with these Philistines; in doing this, we must become prayer warriors! I will be leading the charge next Saturday morning when we confront this mighty evil army!

I had to leave my wife and seven children back home in Florida in order to do this. I’m even missing my poor daughter's third birthday party, but God has moved heaven and earth for me to be here, and when God talks to me, I listen!

Many of you here have agreed to cross the chasm which separates us from the Philistine army. I have come all the way from Florida to cross it. I would like to call those of you here to the altar to join us in prayer and holy communion.

Roughly 30 people approach and kneel before Bruce, among them Joe, joined by his family.
Hello Joe. Praise God. Praise God! What a blessing. I would like you all to see this. What a blessing! Joe White and his children are kneeling here together! Isn’t it a truly beautiful sight, seeing a family stand together for what they believe!

Amen!

“Heavenly father, we thank you for bringing us together in your name...”
-----------------------------
I watch the women and crying babies. I walk up to one.

Arthur:

“You haven’t met a woman named Trudy here, have you?”

Woman:

“Trudy... Trudy... no, I don’t think so. Are you related or something?”

Arthur:

“Well, we’re just... I think... we’re... there’s a really important connection between us.”

Woman:

“Oh. Uh. I see. Are you dating or something?”

Arthur:

“Well, I wouldn’t call it that, exactly, it’s more like...uh...”

Woman:

“I think the service is ending. I’m going inside. It’s nice to meet you. Bye.”
-----------------------------
I walk up to the visitor’s desk.

Man:

“How long have you known the Lord?” asks the attendant.

Arthur:

“Well, I was brought up as a Methodist.”

Man:

“That’s not what I asked you.”

Arthur:

“I know.”

?Man:

“See that man over there? He used to be blind.”
I look over at a man in black glasses holding a cane with a guide dog.

Arthur:

“Why’s he wearing those glasses then?”

Man:

“Go ask him.”

Arthur:

“Uh, you don’t... you haven’t happened to have met a woman named Trudy around here have you?”

Man:

“Trudy...hmmm. Not Teri?”

Arthur:

“No, Trudy. Has a little boy, about 6 or 7. He might’ve been wearing a pith helmet.”

Man:

“A pith helmet? Not in here, he wouldn’t’ve.”
-----------------------------
I walk up to the former blind man.

Ty:

“Hello. You know the Lord has brought you here for a reason. He’s reaching out to you. He knows your pain and he wants to help you.”

Arthur:

“Uh, OK - and what’s your name?”

Ty:

“Just call me Ty. My friends call me Ty.”

Arthur:

“Is it true you used to be blind and now you can see?”

Ty:

“Just like Bartimaeus.”

Arthur:

“Why the dog?”

Ty:

“A guide dog is a man’s second best friend. You know who the first is, don’t you?”

Arthur:

“How many fingers am I holding up?” smiling, jovially

Ty:

“Who’s Margaret?”

Arthur:

“How do you know about Margaret?”

Ty:

“I see it... written on your forehead. Ask the Lord for help.”

Arthur:

“How do you know about Margaret!”

Ty:

“Do you want to accept the Lord into your life? Would you like to pray with me?”

Arthur:

“How do you know Margaret? I’ve never seen you before in my life. How do you know Margaret?”

Ty:

“Maybe you’re not ready yet. We’re here every Sunday. It’s been nice meeting you.”

Arthur:

“Look, its been years since Margaret – I’m trying to find this woman named Trudy. We’re meant to be together.”

Ty:

“Pray. You’ll find your answers in prayer. It’s been nice meeting you.”
------------------------------
Desert Search (Victorville) / Article the Sixth

I’m driving through a long stretch of desert. Joshua Trees are doing slow dissolves in and out along the side of the road as the sun comes up in my eyes. I wonder why I’ve got my headlights on, but I figure in my situation, I better obey the road sign for the next twenty miles.

The following and all of the policeman’s dialogue should be said with a southern twang. Start to walk over to the piano while speaking:

Another cop pulls me over.

Asks for my license and insurance. Well, I have the insurance. I show him the paper the other cop gave me - warrant, ticket, whatever it was. I can barely read the thing. Prints all muddy so you can barely make out what it says.

Then...

Cop:

“get out of the car and (nearly fall over forward and land on your forearms on the keys, in a ff double forearm cluster on the piano) put your hands on the hood.”

He starts patting me all over my body. What the hell, you know – what’ve I got to lose now?

Arthur:

(shout in a Brooklyn accent) “I dink I cud get to like ’dis –you got women cops too?”

Cop:

“Have you been...drinking?”

Silently walk in a straight line across the stage, toe to heel, arms extended, as a tightrope walker might. You’re walking the line for a sobriety test. Then return to the piano.

Arthur:

Start playing an intro on the piano and then start singing along with it:
Well, what do you mean by drinking? I had a glass of orange juice, I had a cup of coffee, I had a glass of cool spring water...

Cop:

cutting me off (shout)
“STOP!” (very quietly) “Recite the alphabet... backwards.”

Arthur:

Z Y X double U V U S R Q P O N M L K J I H G F E (pause and look to the left) G F E (pause and look to the right) (look up thoughtfully) N B C! (Smile) D C B A! (look up triumphantly, smile, cross arms, chin up)

Cop:

“Uh, you left out – (count on fingers to 26 mouthing alphabet forwards while humming one note per finger while humming game show waiting music) –T,” he says.

Arthur:

(at piano again) I had a glass of orange juice, I had a cup of coffeee, I had a glass of cool spring water...
and I drank some TEA, too. (pause)

?Cop:

“Don't move,”

Arthur:

(strike an awkward pose and stand perfectly still)
(Continue maintaining the pose as before, low fundamental and move up and down harmonic series)
Oooooommmmmm....
(Intone on the low fundamental)
I, a responsible law abiding citizen, have the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, including harrasment from random law enforcement officers.
I, a responsible law abiding citizen, have the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, including harrasment from random law enforcement officers.
I, a responsible law abiding citizen, have the right to be free from unreasonable search and seizure, including harrasment from random law enforcement officers.

Cop:

“Listen buddy, get outta here. I don't wanna see you again. And you better respond to that warrant if you know what’s good for you.”

Arthur:

Who knows? - Maybe affirmations DO work?
Start humming while whistling and snapping fingers and walk offstage
(Ahh oooh mmm. Ahh oooh mmm. )

-----------------------------------------
You know, of course, that you can’t tell a militia person when you see him. The guy sitting next to you could be one. Your next door neighbor could be one. The cop who gave you a speeding ticket could be one. They arrested a guy in Stevenson Ranch with a weapons stockpile in his garage. He worked in the Saugus Bagel shop. Everybody said he was a real nice guy. A former cop. Of course he got off easy. But the friends of his in the Valley didn’t get off so easy.

It was only news because of the Oklahoma City bombing. Nobody cared when they found bunkers of weapons buried in Calfornia State Forests north of here. They were preparing for the Apocalypse.

-----------------------------------------
Barstow
Finally, I get to Barstow.

In the Chamber of Commerce, this gal, all tan and blonde and picture of wholesomeness, tells me about Rainbow Basin; how beautiful it is, how I should make the trip since I’m there; “the road’s not bad - don’t try it if you’re driving a Mercedes, but look out for flashfloods!”

She’s sizing me up to see how well off I am.

"A Mercedes."

“Yeah," she says, "after a flashflood you can’t really tell what the road is going to be like. You’ll be driving along and it’ll be fine, and suddenly there’s this big drop where the road was and nothing but a gully!” She takes her kids up there to explore the caves. Out in the desert sun again, her face lingers in my mind as I head down Main Street. But Trudy...Trudy. Maybe there are other women like Trudy around here.

-----------------------------------------

Rainbow Basin
So I go to Rainbow Basin. There’re turtle crossing signs, but no turtles. The radio’s off now. I’m listening to books on tape, driving through this winter desert.

"Remember, that I am thy creature; I ought to be thy Adam; but I am rather the fallen angel, whom thou drivest from joy for no misdeed. Everywhere I see bliss, from which I alone am irrevocably excluded. I was benevolent and good; misery made me a fiend. Make me happy, and I shall again be virtuous."

I drive across this washboarded dirt road and I’m going too fast and the whole car is shaking like it’s gonna start rattling apart when I achieve lightspeed and I come to the entrance to this canyon - It’s Rainbow Basin, I’m there - and I realize the road runs right onto this streambed, and I drive on in, and keep going, and the rocks rise up on both sides of me and the Rainbow canyon cliffs are all around, and it’s beautiful multicolored stone looking like it’s covered with moss, but it must be limestone, and I keep going, deeper and deeper down this canyon, and the rain storm clouds come over the mountains ahead. Then I realize that she wasn’t kidding about flashfloods, and the road is really bumpy and rocky and I wonder if my suspension can handle it, and I hope I don’t hit any bad rocks, or get stuck in sand because this looks real sandy, and I keep going and it’s incredibly beautiful and I want to get out and look around at those caves and climb up there, but there’re these storm clouds overhead and I figure I better hurry up and get the hell outta there before I get caught in a flash flood and how long is this road and I step on the gas, and I’m going too fast, tearing around these tiny canyon roads, hoping nobody else is parked in the canyon and it keeps winding and winding and going deeper and deeper into the mountains, and I realize the water when it comes can only come one way, which is the way I’m driving, and I wonder if it’ll go higher than the roof of my car, and then I reach a turn and suddenly I’m coasting back down a long washboard of a dirt road and all I have to look out for is turtles and mud.

"I was benevolent; my soul glowed with love and humanity: but am I not alone, miserably alone? You, my creator, abhor me; what hope can I gather from your fellow-creatures, who owe me nothing? they spurn and hate me. The desert mountains and dreary glaciers are my refuge. I have wandered here many days; the caves of ice, which I only do not fear, are a dwelling to me, and the only one which man does not grudge. These bleak skies I hail, for they are kinder to me than your fellow-beings. If the multitude of mankind knew of my existence, they would do as you do, and arm themselves for my destruction. Shall I not then hate them who abhor me? I will keep no terms with my enemies. I am miserable, and they shall share my wretchedness."

I pray to make it to Fort Irwin. I pray I’ll make it inside. I pray I won’t get hassled. It worked in East Berlin. It’s a long drive up to this Base.

-----------------------------------------
Fort Irwin
So I drive half an hour before I reach paved road again. It doesn’t rain. But the sky’s all gray and white and black and grey. I turn up the road, and head towards the Army Base, Fort Irwin. The first sign that of it is a small white cross with names on it, and some flowers along the road. I round the corner and there’s nothing for 40 miles in every direction, but a long string of cars coing and going from the base. And the road is lined with little crosses with flowers on them. Every cross for somebody who’s died defending our country.

This base is way the fuck in the middle of nowhere, and just one road leads up to it.

Down in the valley to my right is a dry lake bed in the middle of the Mohave desert. When I get up to the top of the hill; tank crossing signs.

Tank crossing signs, do you believe it? And Graffitti like you’d expect to see on a high school water tower, huge rocks painted with the names of every year’s campers. Alone in the middle of the field I see a huge rock that looks like a chimney.

In the middle of the field, probably a mile or two away, some tanks barrel across the desert.



Ecstatic Emergency: Tongues Cadenza - (Music Under)
I stop to take pictures of the graffitti on the rocks and stare out into the haze over the desert valley extending miles into the distance. I think I make out a faint figure of a man in the haze, trudging erratically up the hill. A man in a cowboy hat, with a pack on and a cane. A continual train of cars is rushing by. Whoosh... Whooosh... Whoosh... But I hear something else - a strange moaning sound, almost a scream, but not quite - somewhere off across the field.

The door to my car is open, lights on, engine running, and the tape player is still playing.

"I soon perceived that, although the stranger uttered articulate sounds, and appeared to have a language of her own, she was neither understood by, not herself understood, the cottagers. They made many signs which I did not comprehend; but I saw that her presence diffused gladness through the cottage, dispelling their sorrow as the sun dissipates the morning mists."

I walk out into the field and see the silouette of a strangely turtle-like tank emerge and disappear at the crest of the hill. Then the man’s silouette appears atop the chimney rock. He’s holding the stick up into the air. I walk out towards him, but the more I walk, the further away I realize he is. The desert plays strange games with your sense of distance. Still I hear him. Is he moaning? - talking? He seems to be yelling and moaning and speaking at the same time, but it’s not like any language I’ve ever heard before. Sometimes he sounds like... a siren? I realize the voice is not alone; there seem to be other voices, but they seem to be coming from the rocks around him.

“Iana, kanna, saree saree kanai,
karai akanna kanai karai yahai,
oh saramai,
saramoi-yai
iana kanna”

“Koina kara, lamani, mera!”

“Koina, lamani karana!”

“Ishana el erra modana! Gurashi! Gurashi!”
“Sona machina lanah, jura, lura, manakilira!”

“Kupula menora manai!”

Ee como hashana

anae yah (From the rocks:)
Yeah!
aney lah-bo!
All right Jimmie!
bo lashenah! (he is crouching over)
Yay!
bo mana (he returns to upright)
Yeah!
aney ya na (he crouches over again)
o moehs imperialah ahn
Praise praise praise!
anae yah
Praise him praise him!
oh na-mey (gasp)
Praise. Praise. Praise.
ohhh naaaahhh
Yes thank the Lord.
aaahhh
aaahhh
aaahhh (he returns to an upright position)
Praise. Yes thank the Lord.
Thank you
aneh yesanah...

Then the sun sinks behind the mountains in the distance and I realize I need to hurry back to the car, but I can barely find my way amongst the rocks in this desert field. The wind picks up and the desert dirt is whipping into my skin. It feels like I’m being sandblasted, and it gets in my eyes even though I turn away from the wind.
-----------------------------------------

Cut Music Silent Abruptly:
I’m on the coast of Cape Cod with Margaret. The sand is kicking up in a coastal storm. We can’t see where we’re going. It’s bitter freezing cold. Our skin is about to crack off our faces.

-----------------------------------------
Music Back up suddenly:
I trip in the desert sand, I slip and fall over, I nearly hit a rock, I skin the palm of my hand; I think I make out the headlights of the car – finally I’m back.

The engine is still running and the tape plays on.

"For a long time I could not conceive how one man could go forth to murder his fellow, or even why there were laws and governments; but when I heard details of vice and bloodshed, my wonder ceased, and I turned away with disgust and loathing."

A helicopter flies low overhead through the clouds of dust, with a searchlight sweeping the ground, disappearing down into the valley below.

The desert wind has blown my maps all over the inside of the car, and there’s sand everywhere inside the car.

Whoosh... Whooosh... Whoosh...

All I hear is the traffic again, the howl of the wind, and my engine and the book on tape. I pull back into the traffic, looking off into the dark field I was just in. It’s jet black. There aren’t even lights off across the desert. Stars start to appear overhead.

"And what was I? Of my creation and creator I was absolutely ignorant; but I knew that I possessed no money, no friends, no kind of property. I was, besides, endued with a figure hideously deformed and loathsome; I was not even of the same nature as man. I was more agile than they, and could subsist upon coarser diet; I bore the extremes of heat and cold with less injury to my frame; my stature far exceeded theirs. When I looked around, I saw and heard of none like me. Was I then a monster, a blot upon the earth, from which all men fled, and whom all men disowned?"

----------------------------------------------
Barstow Cafe: Tom
I go into the Barstow Cafe. I meet Tom. He tells me that his brother is a militia guy. I ask what he’s like.

Tom:

“He’s the kind of guy who shakes you down when you come over. He’s not a very nice guy. He lives in Oklahoma.”

Arthur:

Really? What’s he like.

Tom:

Oh, like that. That’s about it.

That’s all the information I’m going to get.

He tells me about this girl who lives in the trailer park. Named after a song by Lynrd Skynrd. Disappeared for a while. Turns out she was pregnant. The sperm donor’s claim to fame was that he was a cell mate to Charlie Manson. Of course, he was out of the picture. A nice enough guy and all that, but anyone would want to think twice about having his baby. This gal, as nice and kind as she is, is not a Mensa member.

Arthur:

“Why is she gonna have the baby?”

Tom:

“Because she’s seven months pregnant!”

Arthur:

“But she wasn’t seven months pregnant when she found out.”

So my new friend turns to me and says,
-----------------------
A Baby is a Wonderful Thing - Music

A baby is a wonderful thing–
there’s reward in multiplyin’
it’s commitment signifyin’
a baby shows you’ll always be true.

When it looks at you,
and its eyes will leave you sighin’
and it says goo-goo,
you just ain’t got a chance ‘cause–

A baby is a wonderful thing!
True, it’s poop is stupefyin’,
and it may need pacifyin’;
just hold your nose and play peek-a-boo.

Wonderful babies–
they don’t really need much.
Babies–
they’re cuddly and cute.
Babies–
couldn’t you die today for one?
At your age you’re probably much overdue.

A baby is a wonderful thing–
even when it’s cryin’,
entertainment it’s supplyin’
no toys more gratifyin’
its a lineage you’re buyin’.
Babies are a won– der–
Babies are a wonderful wonderful wonderful wonderful thing–
to have!

------------------------------
Rancher Monologue: Son of a bitch cow

I tell him I was up at Fort Irwin. This guy is over at the bar, and he overhears this. He comes over and sits down with us.

Rancher:

I was at Fort Irwin.

Arthur:

Really? You were in the army, huh?

Rancher:

Yeah – not for long. I’ve got a ranch now.

Damned developers. If I don’t take their offer, they put all these houses around me and hassle me for trying to farm. They’re like coyote. They’re smart. They’re sneaky. You’ll see. They’ll put houses all around me and then they’ll make some law - they’ll pay off somebody in City Hall - they have them all in the palm of their hand anyway - they’ll pay off somebody in City Hall to make a ruling saying you can’t farm in a suburban area. Just you wait and see. I’ve seen how these people work. Just like a coyote. They lure you out to where they’ve got you alone and then they attack.

Its dry up here. It's dusty. I get thirsty up here.

When I came here, I liked it because I could do what I want. Nobody bothered me. At least they didn't use to, before they put these damn homes everywhere. Now you have to worry about all the kids around here. Did you see in the paper that guy hit the kid in his truck? Now the parents are suing him. I don't mind kids much – other people’s.

This bitch left me a year ago. You don't tell anybody this, you hear? She wants my money. Not that I’ve got any.

Money. This winter it's been so wet - last summer it was dry, now it’s too wet - I've got clay mud sliding down into the field. The pig loves it. The cows hate it. The chickens...well, the chickens...

I had to shoot my cow today. Named it after that bitch. I had to shoot it. You know. To eat it. One less hassle first thing in the morning. Damn milk cow. Wasn't giving no milk no more. No money for meat – it was time to eat the meat. Shouldn’t’ve named it after her. If’n I hadn’t it probably wouldn’t’ve quit giving milk. Animals’re smart, y’know? They sense things. This cow knew.

Yeah, I looked into that heffer's eyes when I was about to shoot it

(Music up - Ecstatic Emergencies Tongues Cadenza again)

– damn if I wasn’t back at Fort Irwin. Never got to shoot those bastards in Nam. Fucking government was giving me full license to kill whoever they wanted - a paid assassin for the US Government - but...

Hey, lemme have another beer, alright?

I looked in that bitches eyes and I was right back there. Middle of a field in the Mohave Desert.

I laid a bullet right in this guys head. I didn’t wanna fucking do it. He was my friend. He was my best friend... Jimmy lying there on the ground, blood flowing out of his head, pooling up in his hat... that cowboy hat he always wears, no helmet for Jimmy, no fucking helmet... that walking stick he always carries flying up through the air... and WHAM! it lands in the dirt and sends a cloud of dust up around me, blowing up past chimney rock. Nowhere to run, no excuses, – "Oh my God, I can't believe what I've fucking done. What's gonna happen when they find out?" I just start running across the desert, as fast as I can, 40 miles to the nearest town – I'm running through the middle of the desert in 95 degree heat, sweat flowing all over my body, my throat partched as hell, tears flowing down my face, my body so dry the tears won’t come anymore - adrenaline pulsing through my veins, thinking of Jimmy lying dead in the middle of this 40 mile wide field in the sun, Jimmy who’s never gonna sit in the corner of the mess hall talking to nobody. My body baking in the heat, a hundred degrees, hair matted with sweat, couldn't keep up the speed, couldn’t keep up the speed, couldn’t keep up the speed... the dizzyness hits me, this engine roars behind me... over me... Things getting fuzzy - sweat in my eyes - heat coming off the ground... slipping and rolling down the hill through clouds of dust and sand, filling my mouth, mud on my arms, mud in my mouth, the megaphone voice telling me to stop. A shot, and another, bullets whizzing through the desert grass near me... They’re fucking shooting at ME! My own flesh an blood shooting at ME! It’s not my fault! It not my fault. It’s not my fault. I didn’t kill Jimmy. I didn’t. I didn’t kill Jimmy. I didn’t. It wasn’t me. It wasn’t.

(Kill Music)
He breaks down for a second... snaps out of it and comes back into the present room

What the hell, I was as good as dead at that point anyway, right? Well, I put my hands up in the air. They cuffed me. They hauled me to the pen in front of all my fellow officers. God sure reamed me with that one.

Pause.

So I’m about to pull the trigger and Jimmy - I mean that huge bitch kicked and looked at me with that wild fear in it's eyes. They know, I tell you. Animals are smart.

Pause.

So I pull the trigger. Bitch falls over. Bastard bucked and nearly knocked the fucking wall outta the stall. Kicked and nearly got my leg. Another inch and I’d be a cripple. I let another shell into it's head, and it started squirming and bellowing, and lets out this long half-groan, half moo, from deep down in its throat... finally it quits moving. Got up every morning and milked that bitch for 2 years. And again at dinner. Wasn’t that regular for the bitch I named it for.

Son of a bitch cow.

Got that bastard tied up, came down here.

I tell you. Can’t get that guys bleeding head outta mine.

You ever in the war?

Arthur:

No.

Rancher:

No. Well...

Musta tossed down nearly a case and Oral shows up to see the dead cow. He'd brought another case – we let into it. He starts telling me the apocalypse is coming this summer. This summer. There aren't gonna be wild forest fires this summer – gonna be the fires of hell. He seen it in a dream, and his daughter had the same dream. Oral’s a prophet. He's shown me how all these bible verses talk about everything that's happening in the mideast right now. Happens right before armageddon. I tell you, it's gonna make the army look like kid's play. Our only hope’s to start cleaning up the world before the shit hits the fan. Oral used to be a cop. They're in on it too. It's all part of a worldwide plan to bring the antichrist to power. There's nothin’ to be done about it by the government...

Shit.

I've got a dead cow in my barn and the world is about to go up in flames.

-----------------------
Milkshake piece
(real video media)

Then I get my milkshake.

Lights down; a flashlight is under the cup, shining through it onto Arthur's face.

Sound over, on PA:
I thought of you today. It’s funny how these memories come up at the darnedest times. I was having a milkshake. They say when you eat sweets you’re trying to fill something that’s missing in your life. I thought about that in this sweet moment, as the delicious milky substance travelled through the straw into my mouth... I’ve often wondered if you ever told your mother about what happened. Sometimes I think it was wrong to tell you not to, since you two always talked about everything.

I never told my parents, and I doubt they’ll ever know.

I got a list of alumni who live in this area and your name was on it. It only seemed to make sense; we always seem to end up in the same towns whether we knew it or not. Sante Fe, Rochester, Amherst, New York. Why not California? I wondered if you and your husband have a farm somewhere out here now.

I wonder how old he would be today. Isn’t that just like a man? What if it had been a girl? I always stop myself before I start counting the years. Actually I’m lying. What if we had a twelve year old now? Or would it be a thirteen year old?

Amplified sound of suction at bottom of cup; it goes on for several seconds.

---------------------------------------------
Say a Prayer
So then Oral walks in and sits down at our table. Now Oral wasn’t his given name, but after he got saved, he decided he’d take Oral Roberts name for himself because the Lord told him to.

They introduce Oral to me, and he looks at me.

Oral:

“you know, you remind me of the guy that my wife ran off with. A good looking guy with no spiritual life at all.”

The other people at the table just dig into their food and watch to see how I’ll react.

Oral:

“But you know, I’ve learned this prayer that can change that for you. Do you want to learn this prayer? I’m not going to force it on you. In fact, I’m not going to tell you how to do this prayer unless you really want to learn it.”

“I went into the store at the gas station the other day, and the guy there is Pakistani or something, and I start talking to him, and I ask him if he believes in God, and he says he’s Hindu and they’ve got their own God and he knows how to pray to him. So I’m offering to teach him how to do this wonderful prayer and he doesn’t want to learn.”

“Do you know, the next day I get the paper, and I see somebody came in and robbed the store and they killed him.”

“He died.”

“He could have learned this prayer and avoided all that.”

“You see, God doesn’t want to be taken lightly. He says right in the bible that you shall have no other gods before me. It’s right there in the book.”

“You read the bible?”

“No?”

Arthur:

I just bought one.

Oral:

“Read it. You see what happened to this other guy. You seem like a nice guy. I wouldn’t want that to happen to you.”

“Ah, at last. Here’s our food. Thanks Susan. (To Arthur) Why don’t you lead us in grace. “

Arthur:

(aside) I suddenly am losing the appetite I had developed.

“Look, I don’t feel like leading us in grace.”

I’d leave the table, but I’m parked in by the people sitting around me and my food, though still undelivered, has already been ordered. Tom turns to me:

Tom:

“Listen, I’m worried about your relationship with God.”
The others nod in agreement.

Oral turns to Tom.

Oral:

“How about you, Tom? Why don’t you lead us in grace.”

Tom says grace.

“Thank you. You know a lot of your problems would get straightened out if you made the effort to improve that. I can tell by the look on your face that you’ve got some problems. It’s OK. You don’t have to be ashamed of it. Everybody has problems, it doesn’t make you a bad person.”

“What’s the biggest problem that’s facing you today? It’s OK. You’re among friends, you can tell us.”

Suddenly, this is the last person I want to entrust with my most painful pressing issues.

“...Like Tom; he leads us in grace because he’s thankful we’re all friends here, we’re all blessed today. If you ask him, you wouldn’t believe the problems he had when God led him to us. Today he’s a happy man. Now I’m not saying he doesn’t have problems today, right Tom? But they’re nothing like they were, are they?”

“You see, Tom was out in Lancaster.. tell him what you were doing Tom.”

Tom:

“Building bombs”

Oral:

“And? He wasn’t building bombs for the government, were you Tom?”

Tom:

Tom laughs. “For the government? in a way...”

They all laugh.

Oral:

“Lets thank the Lord for leading you away from that Crystal Meth. Tom used to listen to devil music too, didn’t you Tom?”

Tom:

“Yep. That’s what was making me do it.”

Oral:

“Who was that? Jezebel’s Nails or something?”

Tom:

“Nine Inch Nails.”

Oral turns back to me.

Oral:

“So, anyway, tell me, what’s really bothering you?”

Arthur:

“I met this woman Trudy, and I don’t know what’s happened to her.”

Oral:

“Well. There you go. Now, to Christ, that’s a small problem. I mean I’d be worried too if that was my problem. Of course I wouldn’t have a problem like that because I’m a Christian, so I wouldn’t get into a situation like that in the first place. In fact, I’ve only been involved with Godly Christian woman that I’ve grown to know and love through the church. You see, not only have I found a strength more powerful than any human to help me through my troubled times, I’ve found a way of life that taught me to walk around these problems.

Now, you know about medicine right? You know how there’s preventative medicine or there’s regular medicine? You see, a life in God is not only a cure for your problems, it’s a prevention for your problems.

So do you want to do this prayer? (I nod) You do. Well, I’m not going to tell you because I can tell you’re just saying that to please me. If you really wanted to know the prayer you’d ask me. I’m not going to tell you until you ask me. You see, God wants to really feel the earnestness of your desire to know him through Christ. If you are just going through the motions, it’s a lie. It’s even worse than not asking in the first place. Because you aren’t sincere. You have to want to know the love of Christ more than anything in the world.”

“Look, until you’re ready, why don’t you come with us tomorrow. The Gun Club from church is going out to the shooting range for target practice.”

Arthur:

“Look, could you do me a favor? Could you teach me that prayer? I really want to learn it.”

-----------------------------
At the Gun Show - Music - Reprise

At the gun show
There’s no time to be left behind
At the gun show
We’re simply selling peace of mind

Please don’t get mad get even
don’t get burned; freedom’s earned;
reload and fire away