I know it sounds incredible, but this is how it happened. . . .
I was flipping channels on my Fake News cable box, hunting/searching for a morsel of something tasty, digestible and real, when suddenly there was a strange buzzing in my ears, I felt a bit dizzy, I lay down on my sofa, and I heard a high-pitched, electronic-like voice—some static, I mean—messaging:
“You there? Hello?”
“Yeah . . . , it’s me. . . . I, ah, I ah . . . who is this? And, ah, what are you doing in my head?”
“No worries mate,” says the voice in high-pitched Australianese. “This is Dugan. From, Xanthum Gum. You’re being channeled!”
“What? Why me? And, what the hell is this? Some new cable service I did not request?”
“No need for alarm. You’ve been selected among the 7-odd billion earthlings to receive this transmission . . .”
“Okay, it’s a good joke! Ah . . . hold on a minute, will you?”
I looked out my window. No drones in sight. No chemtrails in the sky. Somewhere between wonder and alarm, fear and amusement—bemused!—I decided to take a chance; play along.
“You won’t find anything out there,” the voice assured me. “This is one-on-one. You’ve been selected. You’re being channelled. From Xanthum Gum.”
“Where the hell is Xanthum Gum?”
“A galaxy far, far away. . . . A time way, way back.”
“What the hell kind of name is ‘Xanthum Gum’ . . . for a planet?!”
“What the hell kind of name is ‘Earth’?”
“It’s got ‘heart’ in it; and ‘art’ . . .”
“And ‘tear.’ All kinds of tears!. . . . And Xanthum Gum has ‘human’ in it. Maybe that’s our connection. . . .”
“Yeah. . . . Okay. . . . So?”
“So. . . .”
“Hold on a minute, will you? I’ve had the TV on mute while we’re talking. . . .”
“I know. . . . By the way, the word is ‘channeling’—not ‘talking.’ . . .”
“Yeah . . . right . . . whatever. . . .”
I turned up the sound to catch the “Breaking News.” The station was breaking into its live coverage of Nikki Haley at the UN, condemning the “Syrian” chemical attack on civilians in order to tell all of us credulous listeners about Stormy Daniel’s latest revelations about her affair with Trump and her “alleged” hush money. . . .
No! That wasn’t it, either! That was just background noise—the lead-up. The real “breaking news” was that Trump’s personal lawyer had had his offices ransacked and documents seized because of that alleged pay-off to the stripper to keep her mouth shut about that alleged affair some ten years ago! And somehow it was all related to the Mueller investigation!
“You call that news?” said Dugan in my head.
“Pretty pathetic, isn’t it?”
“For that they interrupt news about a chemical attack on civilians and the possibility of a major war? Even a nuclear war?”
“Yeah,” I sighed. “It makes me ashamed to call myself American!”
I nodded. And answered in my head: “Yeah. . . .”
“I mean,” channeled Dugan: “Where’s the beef?. . . . I mean, don’t you have to have credible sources of information, reliable witnesses—all that? Before declaring war?”
“We used to think so. . . . Now it’s just accuse, confuse and abuse. . . .”
“I’m not sure you’re gonna make it. . . . your species, I mean. . . .”
“Neither am I. . . .”
“Well. . . .”
“Yeah. . . .”
“So. . . .”
“Yeah. . . . You wanted to tell me something? I mean. . . .”
“Of course. . . . The channeling. . . . You’ll get this to the right people, won’t you?”
“Only the best. . . .”
“It may shed some light. . . .”
“As Ross Perot used to say, ‘I’m all ears!’”
I could have sworn I heard something like a high-pitched chuckle on the other end. “So are we,” laughed Dugan. “We’ve got 4 of them. . . . 4 eyes, too!”
“We used to call kids with glasses, ‘4-eyes’!”
“We know. . . . That would amuse us!”
“What else can you tell me about yourself?”
“We’re highly evolved, of course. Much higher than you. We’ve been around much longer. We’re organic and high-tech/IT—macrobiotic, macro-conscious, androidal, androgynous, amphibious, ambidextrous, and, for the fun of it—somewhat ambivalent and ambiguous! But, we make it work! The best of both worlds . . . all worlds, really. We’re in touch with beings across our galaxy—and now yours. We’ve been watching your development—your evolution and devolution, your yin and yang—since your Cro Magnon days. In spite of numerous setbacks—horrors, really!—we thought there was hope for you. . . . Now, we’re not sure. . . .”
“You’re here to save us?”
“Oh, no. . . . We can’t do that! The “Prime Directive,” and all that! Only you can do that! I mean, you-plural. Acting together. You know—to save the planet! To save yourselves! It’s “Love-it-or-Leave-it” time!”
“But, you’re here! I mean—in my head! You’ve got something to say, some guidance?”
“We can help. That’s in our nature. We learned to manage our best natures.”
“And . . . can you teach us?. . . .”
“You already know. . . . It’s in your ‘Good Book.’”
A slight chuckle on the other end. . . .”That’s true! You’ve had a few. . . . Inspired souls along the way. . . . And lots of bullshit, too!”
Resolutely: “Yeah. . . .”
“‘A false balance is abomination to the Lord: but a just weight is His delight.’ That’s the gist of it. That’s the one I meant . . . the one I was thinking of. . . .”
“Yeah. . . . ‘The Marriage of Heaven and Hell.’”
You know Blake?
“Of course. . . . He was one of us! A little make-up, voice-training. . . . There were others, too.”
“Mochiron!. . . . as they say in Japan!”
“Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Susan B. Anthony, and—“
“Yes. That’s fine. That’s enough for now. . . . Now let me tell you what I want you to do.”
“Sure. . . .”
“You go to the best news outlets you know . . . and you tell them, “Donald Trump had sex with Xanthum Gumians!”
“It’s ‘cognitive dissonance.’ You humans are so f’cked-up now, you don’t know what to believe, who to believe. . . .”
“That’s true, but. . . .”
“Yes, it is true, by the way. . . . We’ve got the tapes!”
“It all happened several years ago—long before his candidacy.”
“But. . . . But. . . .”
“You’ve got to be shocked! You “people”! Wars don’t shock you anymore! Killing children doesn’t shock you. Planetary devastation doesn’t. . . . The obscene disparities between the disgustingly wealthy and the impoverished living in disgusting conditions! How do you break through? How do we break through? Divert, and convert.”
“Invent a story about a sexual diversion and that’s going to save the planet?”
“The implausible being plausible! “Tell all the Truth, but tell it slant,” Emily Dickinson wrote.
“Sure. . . . One of us. . . . Why do you think she preferred her hermit ways?”
“I don’t know. . . . I mean—it’s so far-fetched!”
“But it’s true. . . . I was there. . . .”
“You . . . were . . . with . . . the President?”
“He wasn’t President then. I told you. . . .”
“It was. . . . I mean. . . . How was it?”
“As “My Fair Lady” sang: it was ‘loverly.’”
“This is kind of hard to take in!”
“Of course. . . .”
I staggered off the sofa. “I . . . I . . . I need a drink,” I stammered.
I drank a glass of red wine, telling myself I needed the resveratrol to clear my head.
“Have a second,” said Dugan. “Resveratrol and long life to you!”
“Cheers!” I said to the empty room.
But it wasn’t empty anymore. It was full of a cast of characters I knew from books and movies and TV. Unlikely characters, who played their parts and then were gone. Tragic characters and humorous ones. Laurel and Hardy and Charlie Chaplin, Hippocrates and Socrates, Jesus and Muhammad. All in the great whirl.
“Any clearer?” Dugan wondered.
I shook my head. “At this pivotal, crucial moment in history, the evolution of our species, the fate of the Earth—I think we are all the problem!—the “masses,” the Left, the Right, the in-between, the elites, “educated,” and “uneducated,” Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu, anarchist, Socialist, Capitalist, the too fat and the too thin! People ”knew” more when Tom Paine was a pamphleteer than we ”know” now with all our infotainment! We’re tainted with what we know and do not know. There are too many of us, too many clashing cymbals (and symbols).”
“That’s right! Now you’ve got it! Or at least you’re getting it! Clear the decks!”
I sighed audibly. “With the fantastic? The unbelievable?”
“What else do you have?”
I sighed again. . . .”Are you a woman?” I asked Dugan.
“Depends. . . . Are you proposing . . . or propositioning?” Dugan answered.
“No! Just wondering. . . .”
“If that’s what you prefer . . . so be it. . . .”
“But what do you look like? I mean—beyond the 4 ears and 4 eyes?”
“And 2 noses?”
Dugan laughed: “Whatever you want me to look like; however you want me to sound.”
“Then . . . you’re just in my head. . . .”
“Little man! Go to the desert! Go to the mountaintop! Behold your Milky Way in an unpolluted sky, flooded with stars and rivers of worlds, flowing beyond imagining. Just in your head? Can you still dare to imagine?”
Dr. Gary Corseri’s articles, poems, fiction and dramas have appeared in hundreds of global periodicals and websites, including Pressenza, The New York Times, Village Voice, and VeteransNewsNow. He has performed his work at the Carter Presidential Library, and his dramas have been produced on PBS-Atlanta and elsewhere. He has published 2 novels, 2 collections of poems, and a literary anthology (edited). He has taught in US public schools and prisons, and in universities in the US and Japan. Contact: Gary_Corseri@comcast.net.