Scene 13

The caravan arrives at dusk. Tiki torches are lit across the tiny settlement of Earth ships (the houses set into the ground,) school buses, and hay bale and adobe houses. The vehicles park in a field of deeply rutted tire tracks and wounded sagebrush. The newly arrived VW buses, vans, and trucks disgorge the residents of The Land and their guests. They walk up to the cluster of dwellings. There are many happy shouts as people greet each other. Freddy’s Gang is seeing old friends for the first time in a long while.

A throng of revelers gathers around Aria, taking turns gripping her in their arms. She introduces me and Jules. Eventually we scatter to the refreshment tables. I find a quiet place on a rock near a bonfire and watch the goings-on. I learn the residents of this settlement call it Gaia Outpost #7. There must be about 40 people living here. All ages, including children and old people. They have drawn well over 100 guests to this party. The dress is of the “tribal” variety. Lots of home-made leather garments. Cotton shirts, denim jackets with patches roughly sewn on and displaying mysterious logos. Everyone looks like the red dust of the area has ground into their skin over the years. People of all races. American Indians, too. Lots of zany people.

A young boy walks by wearing a sheer white underslip and sandals. An effeminate, slight man sports a black leather miniskirt and a tight black wife-beater. Men in various skirts and dresses, tights, high black leather boots with high heels. Women in the same. Other women in dungarees and work shirts and Mexican style cowboy hats. One woman wears a dress made of hubcaps. Another, a bikini of woven strands of fiber optic cable.  They mix happily with orthodox crusty old cowboys, leather-faced farmers, Southwest Latinos with bolo and cowboy hat, who are enjoying the revelry as much as anyone else.

A group of men and women and children clusters in the center of the gathering, beating drums. A floutist, an Andean Pan pipe player, and a clarinetist play the melody above the base rhythm. People dance, and the throng seems to sway together, as if they were one body.

Around the crowd, a ring of fire dancers and fire twirlers forms. Their figure eights, ovals, and spirals of fire create a constellation that, I imagine, must be visible in the heavens.

I fend off the advances of a teenage girl wearing nothing but a thong. It’s not that I’m not turned on by her cute little breasts, her friendly smile, her Satyr horns. It’s just that all this stimulation is too much for me. I hate crowds. A month ago, my headset was my only company. Now I’m in a crowd of well over a hundred. I walk around the settlement for a bit until I find a quiet earthship. I climb down into it. I pour myself a cup of water from a cistern. Outside, the music quickens. I collapse on a couch built into the floor of the dwelling. After I close my eyes and my mind steps onto the path to the world of shapes, I hear voices approaching. I don’t want to be discovered here, so, idiotically, I sneak into the bedroom and climb into the closet. It is a walk-in closet stuffed full of clothes and equipment. The door is a swinging saloon door. I push myself to the back.

I hear two women’s voices in the kitchen. A long conversation, then silence. One of the women laughs. As I peek out from behind a Carhardt coat, two nude women are silhouetted in the bedroom doorway hand in hand, then they’ve both flopped onto the bed. The smaller woman reaches up and caresses the larger woman’s face. Suddenly the larger woman rolls over onto the smaller woman, straddles her, leans her hands on her rib cage, and sits up. Aria’s face shines in the light of the firedancers.

She looks down at the woman under her and massages her grapefruit breasts. The smaller woman caresses Aria’s arms.  She sits up, too, and they kiss deeply, passionately. And Jules’s face burns in the torchlight. Aria pushes Jules down, puts her whole weight on her, spreads her legs apart with her legs, and rubs her crotch against hers. Jules moans, the moan of a she-wolf in heat. Aria grips Jules, her long arms around Jules’s shoulder, torso, and back. Aria kisses her hard. Jules sucks for air and groans. She wraps her legs around Aria’s waist. With her crotch, Aria rubs Jules’s crotch, at the bottom and at the top, above her pubic bone, harder and harder, faster and faster.

Jules is receptive, like an impassioned worshipper receiving the sermon of an enlightened priest. She melds her body to Aria’s, and they pant in unison. Jules’s pleasure gives way to one shout, then a louder, high-pitched one, barely heard above the drums and pipes outside.

Aria arches her back, and she and Jules shudder against each other violently, stronger than most men have ever connected with another person in battle or in love.  Aria collapses on Jules and they lie in pant and sweat for several minutes. I am trying to control my racing breath

Jules plays with Aria’s mane of hair − Aria, her head on Jules’s shoulder, looks into Jules’s eyes sleepily.

− I don’t think you really believe all that bullshit you tell me about working for The Man, Aria mumbles to Jules.

Jules smiles.

− I don’t think you really believe the Kumbaya horseshit you are trying to force down my throat, Jules returns.

Aria smiles back.


3 Responses to “Scene 13”

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