||RETURN TO PART 1
One, two, three!
During the week he planned. Happily he planned, for he knew he could not stall any longer. The last class was coming up! He had to make his move ... a gentlemanly move, he assured himself, feeling that would be more successful. one. Two. Three.
It was the last lecture. She was not there when the Tibetan banner paintings were projected as slides upon the screen. He heard the professor go on. "Yes ... images are exceedingly ... EX ... CEE ... DING ... LY... important in the Buddhist REE ... LI ... GI ... ON!"
He stared at the mandalas, but kept looking back at the door. He was waiting for her arrival. He was then looking forward to the end of the class. But she did not come. She did not come late. She did not come at all.
He felt his lungs tearing and shredding as he looked within the mandalas. The mandala of Aksobhya Buddha ... the mandala of Amitayus Buddha... the mandalas ... All of them were beautiful, yet ....
Yet, he was alone.
He took the circles and squares with him, in deep sadness. He walked through them as he crossed the streets. He reached through them when he gave a panhandler some coins. He saw them, unknowingly, seemingly unseeingly, when he looked up at the sky. They floated everywhere, right and left, but especially above him, overhead.
He sighed and exhaled. And they floated down and merged with him and his pain.
He despaired at the thought of never seeing her again. The more hopeless it seemed, the more he wished he could see her. one fed the other. And meanwhile he struggled with concentrating on his work, with line after line of numbers. 123,222. 133,330. 332,555. 334,565. 111,332. one, two, one .... He could barely stand it. It was like burning inside. In so many different ways!
Then of course he thought. of it. The second semester! She had asked about the course's continuation. Of course, of course, he thought. She was interested in the second.... He should have thought of that first! It would have been so much easier! He had to get to the school quickly and enroll. Of course, he should have first thought of the second semester. The continuation of the Buddhist art course, the mandalas. It was still time to register. It was the last minute, but it was the first night of the course offerings. He hurried.
In the crowded lobby, full of the chattering of the crowd, questions about room-designations and locations, amidst all the new plumage, exaggerated beauty and exaggerated ugliness, he elbowed his way to get sight of the bulletin board. What he saw there froze him in his tracks, and he did not feel the people pushing and maneuvering past him. He felt as if he had died.
Upon a dark background, white letters appeared to inform any who read them. Horizontal, row upon row, names and numbers, white upon black, one column sitting next to another. All listed times, the names of professors, and room designations. Solid lines. Some, however, were interjected with a terrible word--cancelled.
The course was cancelled! The continuation was cancelled! No procrastinating professor. No lingering images. No chance to see her again!
"What has happened?" He heard a voice in the crowd of people. It did not register at first. For it was not a particularly distinguished-sounding voice. But then his nostrils joined the words with a perfume and his existence raced to the top of his skull. He prevented its exit, and turned to look at the young lady next to him. It was ....
She turned to him, looking more vulnerable than sophisticated. "Do you know why 'Buddhist Art' was cancelled?" She spoke directly to him. She did not seem to recognize him, but how could she? They had always been in the dark together.
"I...I.-don't know," he started. "I was interested in it also ... "
"Oh, that's too bad... I..." she answered.
Her green-grey eyes were like jewels. He did not note too critically the heavy mascara. He did not see whether the yellowblonde hair was natural or not. None of that mattered. His thoughts raced.
"She's here. But in a moment ... any moment ... if I cannot do something ... She's here ... in a second... first here ... then ... second ... she'll be gone ... if I don't ... How can I make her stop ... first... from going ... VANISHING?"
However, his voice was cool.
"Let's inquire. It may be a mistake."
And without realizing how it happened, he took her by the elbow and directed her from the lobby. He touched her on the back, as he directed her away from the tumult of people. His fingertips recognized the form of brassieresnaps under the cloth in the middle of her back.
"Do you think it could be?" she asked, bumping against him., looking up at his face. She was a good head shorter than he. But her eyes looking up like that put him at a disadvantage.
"Perhaps," he endeavored to say, wishing to risk no more, either with his voice or in giving information which might disrupt this journey. At least, for now, they were temporarily together.
The harried clerks, in the midst of late-registration, had no time for detailed replies to his insisting questions. "Cancelled! Cancelled!" one said, waving him away, a mouth filled with a horizontal red line with an eraser on it.
"But why?" she pressed against him in the line.
"But why?" he demanded, pressed against the counter.
"How should I know?" glaring. "Insufficient enrollment. Not enough interest..."
"But I'm interested," she squeaked. He nodded.
"I'm interested too," he said, clearing his throat. "Very interested. "
The clerk glared, turned and called for help.
"Frederick! Will you take care of these people? okay," ignoring them. "Next? What? Course 3340? Sorry, that is closed. Yes. Too many students .... Well, how about a similar one...Investment Management?"
Frederick looked as if he had not slept for two days, perhaps three."What can I do for you?"
They both explained at the same time. He shook his
head. "Look. It's too late. If you had been earlier, it may have
kept. But its too late."
"Well," he said lamely, "I ... we ... didn't want to register too early...."
"Now," Frederick blinked at them, red-eyed, "it is too late." He scratched the side of his nose. "That course is cancelled for lack of interest. How about a substitution? 'Ethical Choice in Nineteenth Century Novels'?"
"No," he said, angry.
"No, thank you," she said, tugging on his elbow. She held his elbow until they were free of the crowd. They buttoned their coats against the cold. They both hesitated before they stepped outside onto the sidewalk.
"Too bad," he said. "I was looking forward..."
"Yes," she said, "me too."
"It was very," he said, "good the first semester."
"Oh!" Her lashes blinked at him. "Did you study with Professor... 11
"Yes," he calmly said as he went through the revolving door, "all..." he continued, "..~.last " and she came through "...semester."
"Oh. I didn't see you..."
"Were you..." he pretended, "there?"
"Yes. Were you?"
"Yes. I turned the lights on and off."
"I didn't notice," she started, giggling, touching his arm. "I mean, I did notice the lights going on and off, but I didn't know it was you...."
"It was me," he offered. "All semester ... very interesting ... too bad...continuation...."
She did not seem to notice his disjointedness, pulling up her collar against the wind. Some dirt from the gutter blew up into a whirling column of dust and fell back.
"You," she said, directing her gaze right into his unblinkingly, "heard all the lectures? How wonderful!"
"Yes," he said, worried about the next few minutes and how they would progress.
"I missed most of them," she said, looking down at the cracked lines in the cement. "I had to be out of town with my work... "
A long silence while they both stood on the corner, alternately looking at each other and staring past each other.
A hook-and-ladder came wailing and whistling up the avenue. Its interrupted moaning quaked the sidewalk where they stood glued. Its passing lights, flashing, temporarily bleached out the details of their features, leaving them faceless. But only for a moment.
"Come and have coffee," he said, gently taking her arm and directing her south. "I'll tell you about it."
"Oh. That'll be very nice," she beamed. "Then I'll discover what I missed. "
"I'll tell you everything," he said, "that I know. Then you'll have missed nothing."
"Nothing?" she asked.
"Nothing, " he said.
That is how it began. His knowledge was the excuse.
She was interested in hearing him talk. But he was even more interested in talking to her.
When he started to run out of knowledge, he got some more. For her.
Her name was Melody Harriman, and she worked as a publicist for an uptown theatre. She was smart, but not brilliant, which suited him fine, for then he could keep his edge of expertness on the Far East intact. He only kept it day by day, by the skin of his teeth. She seemed to gobble up everything that he offered her. But that too was something she seemed to expect him to want. After a while, they relaxed in regard to all oriental knowledge and just enjoyed each other.
But before that, the mandalas and the Buddha-images were the excuse for them to keep seeing each other. It was a transparent excuse, but harmless. For they were both interested in the art, and they both were a little shy, despite their college educations and their professional positions in a tumultuous cosmopolitan city. The art, visual, and the words, auditory, about it, were cementing factors in their growing relationship.
Of Chinese art, they found examples easily enough, at the museums, manifested as wooden relaxed Kwan-yins, or in galleries, as porcelain Buddhas or jade dragons. They were able to meet at lunchtime and take quick visits here and there, mixing the swirl of inkstrokes in Japanese scrolls with the electricity of holding hands, laughing at shared pleasure and a continued learning together of Asia, its art, and each other.
Sometimes the lunches became extended and, like students on a spree, they did not go back at all that afternoon. Their positions allowed such flexibility. on those occasions, they managed to explore what was closed to people who had only evenings and weekends. Hidden behind the scenes at one museum, The American Museum of Natural History, was a treasure of oriental art. Budgetary considerations had long closed the far-eastern exhibits, with their cases of samurai armour and Tibetan thangkas. Through great opportunity, good furtune, and dumb luck, they managed to see the long-closed Tibetan room in the round tower.
The rooms were very cold and dusty ... very dusty... but the walls sang with the splendour of victorious colors and resounded with the energy of crackling contours, whether as peaceful deities or ferocious demonic-appearing ones. This visit came about because of their habit of going to the Tibet Study Room, tucked away deep in the upper reaches of the museum. At that time, it was not difficult to do so. There, in happily-perusing paintings stored in the room's cabinets, they met the Dalai Lama's brother, who was working on a cultural history for the museum.
"May I introduce Mr. Norbu?" the courteous curator had ventured.
"How do you do?" he said, shaking hands with the broad-faced man, who smiled broadly. "This is Miss Harriman and I am...."
"How do you do?"
Mr. Norbu's brother was the present Dalai Lama of Tibet, who was in exile in India. As a supposed incarnation of Chen-re-zig, the Bodhisattva of compassion, the Dalai Lama had been both religious and temporal leader of Tibet until the Chinese began open strife in 1959. He, and thousandst some say 80,000 of Tibetans, fled into neighboring countries for sanctuary, six years before. The high lama, called the "presence" by his followers, was either in Mussoorie, India, or in Dharamsala--it wasn't quite clear. The Indian authorities were protecting him with Indian troops, both from any embarrassing accidents and from any ideas that the refugees might have concerning creating a governmentinexile to wage war on China from bases in India.
Everyone protested that they had no wish to do so. "We are a peaceful, re).)igious people," said Norbu. "Such fighting would be useless..."
It was such comfortable visits to the study room which allowed them one day, almost casually, to visit the closed wing.,
Dust was everywhere. It coated the glass cases behind whose surfaces they could see thousand-armed versions of the Bodhisattva of compassion, head attached to head, in a great pile, in multiple colors, some with faces looking north, others southl others east and west.
"Isn 't the Bodhisattva the same," asked Melody, "the same..."
"As Kwan-yin, the Chinese goddess of mercy..." he answered. "Yes..."
They were left alone for a few minutes in the round room.
"What's going on here?" she asked, squinting through the dusty glass. "It is very complicated."
So it was, with dozens of little figures surrounding two central large ones. Flames seemed to engulf them all. There were claws and fangs and horns growing out of their bodies. They held skull-cups of splashing blood. He smiled.
"Look closely." His hand was at the small of her back. "They're all standing together, male and female..."
"OH!" she said, suddenly not moving. "They're together. They're in intercourse ... But what is that doing...."
"In religious art?" he asked her in return, pulling her about. He bent his head down to hers. They embraced and kissed in front of the copulating deities. His mouth pulled on her tongue, hers on his tongue.
"Just like," she gasped, "like in-the painting!"
But in the painting there was only one tongue that belonged to them both. And in the painting, what appeared as two bodies surrounded by dozens of couples
They heard a footstep in the corridor next to the round room and pulled apart.
"Thank you very much," they said to their guide.
"You are," he said, "wel-come." They never embraced in that room again.
In those days of their first meeting, there was an almost secret little museum of Tibetan art on Staten Island.
"Staten Island? Are you sure?"
"Yes, I have directions. It's on Lighthouse Avenue."
"I don't know if we'll ever find it." And they almost didn't.
The ferry ride was joyous, like an imitation ocean voyage, with glimpses of the tilts of the ocean and smelling of its possibilities.
No one seemed to know about it on the other shore. In fact, on either shore, people of whom they asked information knew nothing.
"Everybody knows nothing!" he said at the ferry terminal.
"Must be a widespread commodity," she smirked, and they walked off, hand in hand, as if they knew where they were going. Luckily, the weather was warm.
After a few futile inquiries, they found a bus that would take them to Lighthouse Avenue, although the driver knew nothing of a museum, Tibetan or otherwise.
"Nothing," smirked Melody.
It was, it seemed, an endless ride that eventually ended. They were dropped off. "In nowhere..." he laughed.
Luckily, Lighthouse Avenue started at their stop. It went sharply up a steep hill and blended into a sidewalkless street on a sharp turn. Trees were everywhere. There was a scattering of houses.
"Look!" she said, pointing. "There is a lighthouse ... Standing mutely, still higher. They passed it. In fact, they passed the museum without knowing it.
"Wait a minute...." he said. "What is this stone wall?"
Doubling back, they found an entranceway and a closed gate. "Closed?" A small sign swung near the gate.
"Hours say it's open."
"There's a bell..." Reaching in, he found a string.
"KLING KLING! kling kling-ng-ng-ng!"
That brought the little wild-haired woman. She looked like a cartoon of a wild-haired little woman. She was hunched over, with missing teeth and one white blinded eye. They were a surprise to her.
"Hello! I thought I heard something .... One moment ... one moment...."
And of course she had a huge ring full of keys. One opened the gate.
Her forehead wrinkled and unwrinkled. All the lines were broken. She stared at them with her one good eye, leading them down the side of the hill. A building was attached to the wall--a building all made of fieldstones. The steps went past to another. It was a Tibetan temple! The windows, the doorway, the structure of the flat roof,
with the beam endings protruding, were all those of a Tibetan monastery, but built there in Staten Island. Just across, over, on the other side by ferryboat, from New York City.
The mouldy library with its red and purple-bound books did not keep their attention long, the water seeping from the walls drifting slowly beneath their feet. "Had that fixed," said the old woman, as fierce-looking as one of the terrible guardian deities, "but it leaks anyway. No money. No money anymore."
In the library was a conspicuous lifesized bust of the founder, set high on purpose so as to cause people to look up to her. A strong face, with the hair, the terracotta, painted redorange, formed into a halo, as if of flames.
"Ran out of money after the lawsuits .... However, still hanging on..." The ring of keys and quick choices. Step. Step. Wobble.
A large temple-room faced them, and they were more than surprised. It certainly was not like the Tibetan study room. An altar built in teirs contained rows of glistening bronzes, Bodhisattvas, lama-teachers, Buddhas. Cases were full of ritual daggers, great beaked masks, teapots and drums.
"Huom," the woman said. "I suppose you want to see the dirty ones..."
"What?" he asked. And spotted a bronze with many arms, consisting of two figures, obviously male and female.
"The sexy one filthym she said, pointing. Melody looked a little sheepish. He stepped over to the bronze.
"Samvara," he said in as dignified a manner as possible.
"Sam ... who?" Her eye flashed, and in that moment he knew that she was playing with him. She knew this place and its contents inside-out. And she was playing the old fool. Why?
"Well," she seemed to mock herself, shaking her keys, "SamVayr-rah ... is filthy! Lookit that!" Melody allowed herself to move closer to the golden intertwined figures.
"It's religious," he iAsisted, looking straight at her good eye. The clouded-over white one he could not take. She kept twisting to present him with her blind eye, opening and closing her mouth, saliva accumulating. "It's symbolic," he continuedf watching her sway before him, feeling Melody close by, out of range of his vision. "It is a material form of oneness, the blending of duality, eventually understood as .... "
"Nothing," the said, rattling her keys. "I know nothing about the sub-sub-ject!" She made a tight wide smile and both of her eyes seemed to twinkle. "I'm glad someone knows," and she turned, "something! I guess .... maybe it isn't .... She looked up, hearing it before they did.
KLING! KLING! kling kling-ng-ng!
She left them to open the gate. But not before warning them, "Don't touch anything! Allright, I'm coining... kling kling...."
With the woman's presence in the room, they looked at the yab/yum, the gods in intercourse, without even touching each other's hands. They could hear her at the gate. "No! No children...It is not fit for children ... they might ... fall down the stairs ... No!"
He stared at a small painting almost too high to view on the stone wall. Its central portion caught his eye--a central circle with a tit-tat-toe nine-part division. Each section was another color--white, blue, orange--and over the colors were some marks that looked more like shorthand than Tibetan script. Around that was a circle containing a series of animals--rabbit,, tiger, and so forth. What was most curious was a circle of sets of lines. They each had three, some broken, some solid. No two were alike. "One for every direction, " he thought.
Keys jangled. And the bundle of energy was back.
"You like the Me-Ba?" she asked.
"What?" he puzzled. "I don't know that word...."
"Sure, sure ", she smirked, looking towards the Samvara bronze. "And what are those little lines?" he asked, pointing at the golden strokes, solid and broken.
"You don't know?" she asked, forehead wrinkling, white eye growing larger. He shook his head, feeling uneasy in the pit of his stomach, waiting for something to change. Nothing happened.
"Sure, sure..." she smirked.
They thanked her and left her a donation.
"I don't know," she said, going up the steps slowly before them, unlocking the gate, "how I'll do it." melody exchanged glances with him, not speaking. "How will I do it? I must hold," she swung the gate open, "hold it all ... all .... together." He felt that the words included more than the museum. Accidentally, Melody brushed the bell. KLING! KLING! kling-ng-ng-ng!
It was a long time before they became physical lovers to each other. They had kissed and thought of it and almost spoken of it, but always at a time or place where anything further was impossible. It was almost as if they had planned it that way. There was no sense of rush. And they were hesitant about injecting any false, quick developments. Perhaps they were unusual in that, perhaps not. Other people sometimes spoke of love, physical and otherwise, but perhaps they falsified it with newspaper-type declarations of quickness and ease.
They were happy to hesitate, and let it evolve and come about in its own circumstances. Eventually, it happened, late at night, early in the morning. It was just before dawn, and there was a long, continuous roll of thunder and a series of linked bolts of lightning which accompanied the event. A downpour of water--the entire ocean went to the
sky, purified itself, and came crashing down. They wondered why the buildings did not get crushed and have all the air squashed out of them.
"What lights!" he said.
"What sounds!" she said.
The wind was blowing hard from the south. Dust came with it, ripped up from the arid hillsides. It looked as if it might rain, but that was all in the sky, tumbling, or far to the south.
But just at twilight, as every day before, the wind had slowed and died. The dust settled as well, not to move again until the wind began the next morning at about ten o'clock.
They broke the window on the rooftop and dropped a rope into the darkness below. Two of the men were fastening and securing the other end of the rope to a corner of the gompa's roof.
He stood at the window, waiting and watching them at work. He looked at the darkening skies. In the distance, the snows of Tilicho Peak grew grey and then were lost in clouds and the incoming night.
"How are you doing?" he asked impatiently. The others did not answer. "C'mon!" he snapped irritably.
"Okay, Okay," mumbled one of the others, and then, to his companion at the rope, "You got it, Patrick?"
"Yeah, Yeah," giving it a tug, "It's fine."
They came to the window and he could barely see their faces.
He didn't dare to be doing this when it was so dark.
"Okay?" asked Patrick. The other shadow loomed. "Yeah., you ready?"
"Yes," he said, "sure. Gimmee a flashlight."
"We can't use it..." Patrick mumbled.
He frowned, and the dried blood-clot on his forehead cracked. But it did not start to bleed again. "I know that!
For inside and he whispered. He did not know why he whispered in the middle of a desolate wilderness, "...Inside..."
He unbuttoned one button of his shirt and pushed in the unlit flashlight. "Okay, here I go..." feeling about first for broken glass on the window's edge. His feet dangled within the upper reaches of the temple. He grasped the rope and slid further down into the black hole of dusty air.
"If I yell," he said, staring at the grey rectangle with the shadows of the two men, "pull me up fast!"
"Hell, man," said Patrick, "why should we have to pull you up?"
"Who knows?" said the voice, lowering itself into the black hole. "But... if...Get me out!" The rope tightened and he was gone, completely invisible.
He was in no hurry to descend. Moving his hands, he lowered himself a foot or two and stopped. His feet swung freely in the air. He stared up at darkness. He stared down at darkness. Was it really a building? It felt.... it seemed like a bottomless pit. He began to perspire. He moved down a few more inches.
Patrick called from above, "You down yet?"
He clenched his teeth. "Don't rush me!" And the rope twisted, spinnirig slowly in the darkness. "Slowly!" he said. "Don't need this!"
Getting a tighter grip with his right hand, he reached into his shirt and snapped on the flashlight. It struck out, like a sword, into his eyes. In reacting to it, he caused the rope to spin. The light, half-muffled by his shirt, revealed things in patches. It spun as he spun, aiming up. He caught a glimpse of Patrick, the painted beams of the temple's ceiling. The rope rubbed against a blue Buddha. Then there was darkness. Then there was a blue Buddha. A sword of light. Below it was even darker.
"Get going!" Patrick growled above him.
He reached inside the shirt to pull out the light with his left hand. He had it out, and saw spinning beams, when his right hand began to slip. Panicking, he grabbed for the rope and the light fell. He didn't hear the crash, for he was cursing loudly. He swung violently on the rope, kicking his feet, hoping to hit something in the darkness. The light was out. His hands slipped and he fell. He thought the inkiness would continue forever, but it was a short fall. He struck with his feet and fell over onto his knees. Dust rose uncomfortably around him, into his mouth, into his nostrils.
"Okay?" came the voice from above. "You Okay?"
"Yes-s-s," his knees ached. His eyes were wide, his hands stretched out in front of him, palms up and fingers extended. He did not move from this position, perspiration pouring down his back. This caused him to feel the movement of cold air in the room.
"Who's there?" he asked.
"Who's moving in here with me? "
Blackness moved on blackness. Second darkness, darker than the first, third darker than the second, fourth darker than ....
Cold air on his wet skin ....
"Hey, man!" came the bodiless voice above him. He fumbled in his pockets and found a box of matches. Shaking, he tried to strike one. Its head sputtered and flew off, illuminating a square inch of dust on the floor.
"Damn Asian matches!"
"How's the light?" called the voice above his head.
"There is no light!" he snapped, more to himself than to Patrick. He fumbled again, perspiration beginning to coat the striking edge of the box. He moved quickly. Nothing. He heard the scratch of the third match. NOTHING! His eyes moved back and forth in the darkness. Was it thicker there? Was it thinner here?
Match! It flared and held. He lifted his hand which held it. "The light will let me see...."
He gasped. He was face to face with a towering blue-black creature, whose huge mouth and white fangs were dripping blood, whose razor-sharp claws were reaching....
"Ah!" he choked on it. The match burnt his fingers and he gladly dropped it to blot out the sight before him. Covering his face, he cried aloud, quivering and cringing, waiting for the creature to strike.
"What is this scar?" he asked, running his finger on her abdomen.
"Ohl it's ugly," she said, trying to distract him by scratching behind his ear.
"An operation?" he insisted.
"Yes," she said, rolling up to kiss him. "Appendicitus. "
They discussed it no further.
Along the turnpike in the rain, coming back from the monastery, he stared out of the window of the bus. The raindrops kept being thrown back, hitting the glass, almost in horizontal streaks. Some of the drops tried to follow gravity, but the moving force would not let them change.
But the landscape changed.
First, on the left side, he saw flames. They were great bursts, half-hidden by clouds and smoke. Great orange--great orange--pulsating claws that leaped and grabbed at the sky. They came out in a rhythm which began to match his heartbeat.
A world of steeples arrived on the right side of the road. However, they were not all steeples. Some were straight black smokestacks. others were derricks. Mixed with these were steeples of churches, orthodox and unorthodox, greendomed and golden-domed. Double spires reached, single black wooden ones reached. Each was topped by a cross. It meant nothing to him. Not anymore.
As he passed, buildings lined up in configurations only seen for a split second. one such moment caught his eye for some unknown reason. A square building juxtaposed itself in front of a round-topped oil storage tank. It seemed to give the building a dome. Beyone that, riding into temporary position, a sharp blade of a refinery structure seemed to strike a dull moon in the sky. Was it really there in the rain? Then a burst of flame crested them all, and the lineage--of images--went towards opposite directions.
He remembered that more than anything else in fifty miles of travel.
Melody had not wanted to make the trip to the monastery in New Jersey. She had, over the phone, changed her mind at the last minute, saying she wasn't feeling well and that he should go on anyway, "...and enjoy yourself."
"Enjoy myself? With a couple of old monks?" he retorted. "It would be nicer if you were with me..."
"It's raining, and.... "
He gritted his teeth, waiting.
"I don't," she hesitated, "feel
"Well," he said, "if you don't feel like going
"But," she said, "I'd like to I want to. But"
"I'll go by myself."
"You know that..."But I'm sick
"Why didn't you say so? I'm sorry, I just thought"
"No, no really go on. I'll talk"
"Okay, I'm off to a nunnery
"Talk to you later" she laughed.
"Okay. If I come back" he said amost half-seriously. "I might become a monk ....
"You wouldn't like the haircuts..." she answered, smiling.
"I've got a good skull. You would like seeing it..."
"Then," she continued, "You wouldn't like the celibacy..
"You know," she laughed, and then caught herself coughing.
"Hmmm. perhaps NO."
Perhaps yes," he mumbled, "but more likely,
"Okay," she prompted, "on your way! You'll miss the bus to Freewood Acres."
"Okay. I'm on my way. I'm on my way to the Big Buddhist Turnpike heading south."
"Goodbye," she giggled. "Goodbye," he said without smiling.
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