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Authors: Robert A. Wilson

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BOOK: Masks of the Illuminati
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A skeptical sound came from behind the newspaper.

“Have you ever seen a man vanish into thin air, right in front of your eyes?” the Englishman asked.

“Well, no,” said the doctor.

“Then don’t tell me I need an alienist,” the Englishman said. “Perhaps the world needs an alienist … perhaps God Himself needs an alienist … but I know what I’ve seen.”

“You’ve seen a man vanish as in a magic act on the stage?” the doctor asked gently. “That is certainly most extraordinary. I can understand why you might fear nobody would believe you.”

“You are humoring me,” the Englishman said accusingly. “I saw it all … and I know it … the conspiracy that controls everything behind the scenes. I had all the evidence, and then it simply vanished. People, post-office boxes, everything … all removed from the earth overnight …”

Overnight, overnight, overnight:
it was as if the train wheels had picked up the rhythm of the word.

“You have had some dreadful experience, certainly,” the doctor said very gently. “But is it not possible that you are confused about some of the details, due to shock?”

Overnight, overnight, overnight
, went the wheels.

“I have seen what I have seen,” the Englishman said flatly, rising. “Excuse me,” he added, leaving the compartment.

The doctor looked at the Russian still in retreat behind the protective newspaper.

“Did you hear the Beethoven concert while you were in Basel?” he asked cheerfully.

“I have more important business,” the Russian said in
his cold curt tone, turning a page with exaggerated interest in the story he was reading.

The doctor gave up. One passenger deranged and the other uncivil: it was going to be a dreary trip, he decided.

The Englishman returned with drooping eyes, curled in his corner and was soon asleep. Laudanum, or some other opiate, the doctor diagnosed. An acute anxiety neurosis, at least.

Overnight, overnight, overnight
, the wheels repeated. The doctor decided to nap a bit himself.

He awoke with a start, realizing that the Russian had involuntarily grabbed his arm. Then he heard the Englishman’s voice:

“No … no … I won’t go into the garden … not again … Oh, God, Jones, that
thing
… the bat wings flapping … the enormous red eye … God help us, Jones …”

“He’s totally mad,” the Russian said.

“An anxiety attack,” the doctor corrected. “He’s just having a nightmare….”

“Gar gar gar
gar,”
the Englishman went on, almost weeping in his sleep.

The Russian released his grip on the doctor’s arm, embarrassed. “I suppose you see a dozen cases like this a week,” he said. “But I’m not used to such things.”

“I see them when they’re going through these visions wide awake,” the doctor said. “They are still human, and they still deserve sympathy.”

“Nobody of
his
class deserves sympathy,” the Russian said, returning to his cold curt tone and drawing back into his corner.

“The Invisible College,” the Englishman mumbled in a silly schizophrenic singsong. “Now you see it, now you don’t … into air, into thin air …”

“He’s talking about a secret society of the seventeenth century,” the doctor said, amazed.

“Even Jones,” the Englishman went on muttering. “He existed but he didn’t exist … Oh, God, no … not back to the garden …”

The outskirts of Zürich began to appear outside the window.

The doctor reached forward and touched the Englishman’s shoulder with careful gentleness. “It is only a dream,” he said softly, in the Englishman’s own language. “You can wake now and it will all be over.”

The Englishman’s eyes shot open, wide with terror.

“You were having a bad dream,” the doctor said. “Just a bad dream …”

“A lot of nonsense,” the Russian said suddenly, coming out of his aloof coldness. “You would be wiser to forget all these imaginary demons and fear instead the rising wrath of the working classes.”

“It wasn’t a dream,” the Englishman said. “They are still after me …”

“Young man,” the doctor said urgently, “whatever you fear is inside your own mind. It is not outside you at all. Please try to understand that.”

“You fool,” the Englishman said,
“inside
and
outside
are the same to them.
They
can enter our minds whenever they will. And they can change the world whenever they will.”

“They?”
the doctor asked shrewdly. “The Invisible College?”

“The Invisible College is dead,” the Englishman said. “The Black Brotherhood has taken over the world.”

“Zürich!” shouted the conductor. “Last stop! Zürich!”

“Listen,” the doctor said. “If you are going to be in Zürich for a while, come see me, please. I really believe I can help you.” He handed the Englishman a card.

The Russian arose with a skeptical rumble in his throat and left the compartment without a farewell.

“This is my card,” the doctor repeated. “Will you come to see me?”

“Yes,” the Englishman said with that mechanical insincere smile again. But after the doctor left he sat there alone staring into space with empty eyes, dropping the card to the floor absently. He had only glanced briefly at the name on it: Dr. Carl Gustav Jung.

“I don’t need an alienist,” he repeated listlessly. “I need an exorcist.”

IN THE HEART OF THE HELVITIAN METROPOLIS

Stately, plump Albert Einstein came from the gloom-domed Lorelei barroom bearing a paleyellow tray on which two mugs of beer stood carefully balanced, erect. Baggy trousers and an old green sweater, their colors dark-shadowed in the candlelit Rathskeller, garbed carelessly his short gnomic frame, yet his black hair was neatly combed, dandyish, and his black mustache jaunty.

“Oolf,” said Professor Einstein, almost colliding with another beer-laden figure in the gloom.

James Joyce, gaunt and pale, raised drunken blue eyes to survey with a lean intense look the shadowdark room and the diminutive figure of Einstein approaching. “Ah,” he said thoughtfully, too sozzled to articulate further.

Einstein deposited the amber tray with care on Joyce’s plain unpainted table; but before seating himself he danced three Dionysian steps to the tune of an accordion played by a one-eyed factory worker in the corner. Something almost girlish in the grace of the dance struck Joyce, who once again said, “Ah.”

“Jeem,” said Einstein, “why so silent suddenly?” He seated himself carefully, watchingfeeling for his chair in the candlelit gloom. Seated safely, he at once drank deep dark drafts of the mahogany-hued beer, relishing it. Joyce continued to survey him with pleasant, amoeboid impassivity:
a spiflicated Telemachus. “Are you drunk?” Einstein demanded.

“An Irishman is not drunk,” Joyce proclaimed dogmatically, “until he can fall down three flights of stairs and the coal chute without hurting himself. I was thinking in fact of the Loch Ness sea serpent. Today’s paper had a story about some Scotsman named the Laird of Boleskine who’s here to climb mountains. Reporters asked him about the monster and he said, ‘Oh, Nessie is quite real. I’ve seen her many times. Practically a household pet.’”

 

ACTION
SOUND
EXTERIOR: CITY STREET. NIGHT. MEDIUM
  CLOSE-UP.
SATAN and SIR JOHN
Running feet.
BABCOCK confronting each other, BABCOCK terrified. [This shot is held for the minimum possible time to almost register as a distinct image; the audience cannot quite be sure they saw it.]

Q: What did Joyce find most admirable in Einstein?

A: Churchlessness, godlessness, nationlessness, kinglessness, faithlessness.

Q: What did Joyce find least admirable in Einstein?

A: Jewish sentimentality and refusal to drink enough to enter into amusing and instructive alternative states of consciousness.

Q: What did Einstein find most admirable in Joyce?

A: Churchlessness, godlessness, nationlessness, kinglessness, faithlessness.

Q: What did Einstein find least admirable in Joyce?

A: Hibernian irascibility and feckless willingness to drink until arriving at deplorable and bizarre alternative states of consciousness.

Q: What conspicuous differences between Mr. Joyce and Professor Einstein were neither noted nor commented upon by either or both of them?

A: Joyce had escaped from the normal constrictions of ego by pondering deeply what it feels like to be a woman; Einstein had escaped from the normal constrictions of ego by pondering deeply what it feels like to be a photon. Joyce approached art with the methodology of a scientist; Einstein practiced science with the intuition of an artist. Joyce was living happily in sin with a mistress, Nora Barnacle; Einstein was living unhappily in marriage with a wife, Mileva Einstein.

ACTION
SOUND
EXTERIOR. SCOTS FARMLAND, DUSK. MEDIUM
 SHOT.
Little MURDOCH FERGUSON, age 10, walking across a cornfield.
Voice of Rev. Charles Verey [over]:
“Then, in 1912, came the appalling case of the Ferguson boy—young Murdoch Ferguson, age 10, who was quite literally frightened out of his wits, returning home around twilight.”
EXTERIOR. SAME. CLOSE-UP.
MURDOCH stops in his tracks and stares with horror at something off-camera.
Verey’s voice [over]:
“I fear you might smile at what the lad claims he saw….”

“And what is our sense of choice?” Joyce demanded. “Inescapable, I admit, but therefore doubly to be suspected.”

Einstein smiled. “Thinking about thinking about thinking puts us in a strange box,” he said. “Let me show you how strange that box is.” He sketched a box neatly with quick fingers on a napkin and wrote rapidly within it. “Here,” he said, offering his Talmudic trap to Joyce:

We have to believe in our free will:
We have no choice in the matter
.

Joyce laughed. “Exactly,” he said. “Now let me show you how we get out of the box.” And he sketched and wrote on the other side of the napkin:

What is inside the box is known:
What is outside the box is unknown:
Who made the box?

“We were talking about socialism when I went to the bar,” Einstein remarked, “and now we are flying perilously close to the clouds of solipsism. Jeem, at once now, no cheating: What do you really believe is real?”

“Dog shit in the street,” Joyce answered promptly. “It’s rich yellowbrown and clings to your boot like an unpaid landlord. No man is a solipsist while he stands at the curb trying to scrape it off.”
Le bon mot de
Canbronne.

“Another quantum jump,” Einstein pronounced, beginning to laugh. “Well, Freud and Jung are studying these discontinuities of consciousness scientifically.”

Nora, Stanislaus: Did they? Don’t think. Judas, patron saint of brothers and lovers. They did. I know they did.

The crypt at St. Giles: How does that go again?

The accordionist started a new tune:
Die Lorelei
. Joyce watched dim shadows ambiguously move, fleeing across the walls starkly as foolish laughter erupted at a nearby table. “I probably never would have met you anywhere but here,” he commented softly. “Distinguished professors from the University of Zürich do not move in the same circles with part-time language teachers from Signor Berlitz’s adult kindergarten in Trieste. Not unless they both detest bourgeois society and have a liking for low bars. I acquired most of my real education from cheap bars and bawdy houses, like Villon.”

The accordionist’s friends began drunkenly to sing:

Ich weiss nicht was soil es bedeuten

“My mother loved that song,” Einstein said softly, as the singers created the image, from childhood, of the Lorelei, beauty and death in her dank embrace.

Overnight, overnight, overnight
.

“The last time I was in Zürich,” Joyce said, following his own flight of thought, “was eight or nine years ago. Nora and I stayed at the Gasthaus Hoffnung and the name cheered me. I needed a House of Hope that year. Now we’re staying there again, on vacation, and it’s changed its name for some inexplicable reason to Gasthaus Doeblin—my hometown, you see, Dublin … Is that not an omen or something of the sort?”

From deep neath the crypt of St. Giles. And something and something for miles. They did. My brother’s keeper.

“Nora is your wife?” Einstein asked.

“In every sense,” Joyce pronounced with unction, “except
the narrowly legalistic and the archaically ecclesiastical.” They did: I know they did. Fucking like a jenny in heat. I know. I think I know.

Q: Locate Bahnhofstrasse precisely in time-space.

A: Bahnhofstrasse was part of the city of Zürich: which was part of the canton of Zürich: which was part of the Democratic Republic of Switzerland: which was part of Europe: which was part of a 41/2-billion-year-old planet, Terra: which completes one rotation upon its polar axis in relation to the sun in every diurnal-nocturnal 24-hour cycle and 1 revolution about a type-G star called Sol in 365 days 5 hours 48 minutes and 46 seconds: which is part of the solar system of nine planets and myriads of asteroids: which is moving together with Sol toward the constellation of Hercules at about 20,000 kilometers per hour: which is part of the galaxy popularly named the Milky Way: which is rotating on its own axis every 8 billion years: which is part of a family of many billion galaxies: which make up the known universe: which Professor Einstein is beginning to suspect is both finite and unbounded, being curved back upon itself four-dimensionally: so that one with infinite energy traveling forever would pass through galaxy after galaxy in a vast space-time orbit coming back eventually to the origin of such an expedition: so that such a one would eventually find again the Milky Way galaxy, the type-G star called Sol, the planet Terra, the continent of Europe, the nation of Switzerland, the canton of Zürich, the city of Zürich, the street called Bahnhofstrasse, the Lorelei Rathskeller: where such thoughts were conceived in the mind of Albert Einstein.

BOOK: Masks of the Illuminati
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