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David Alexander

Mirror Fugue Gas Money

I got the car double parked outside number nine on the park and I'm standing in the vestibule, ringing the bell of six-F. "Yeah, who's there?" comes the guy's voice through the loudspeaker.

"First Avenue Pizzeria. Got a pie for Joe."

"Take the elevator on the left," says the guy and buzzes me into the lobby. "I'm at the end of the hall."

So I take the elevator on the left up to the sixth floor and go down the hall to the end and I rap on the door of six-F.

"Yeah, who's there?" comes the guy's voice from behind the door.

"First Avenue Pizzeria."

"Wait a minute," he says and I figure he's getting money or putting on his pants or something but there's this weird light shining through the crack at the bottom of the door and this weird noise coming through the door from inside the apartment.

So then after two minutes the door opens and this guy stands there with no clothes on and I can see behind him there's something funny going on, maybe the kitchen's on fire because this light's behind him. But look, I don't stick my nose where it don't belong. I'm just here to deliver a pizza, that's all.

"That's seven ninety-nine," I tell the guy.

"Come inside," he says.

I figure this fuck's a crazy, so I answer with a "Huh?"

"There's a problem with the pizza," he says.

"You don't want the pie?" I ask.

"No, there's just a slight delivery problem."

"You Joe?"

"Yeah," he says. "The pie's cool. But you gotta come inside with it."

Okay, so I think lemme bring the pie in the house and get the fuck outa here. So I go inside and I see there's definitely something wrong with this guy's kitchen. It's got like a hole in the air in front of the stove with this colored light shining out of it.

"That's seven ninety-nine," I tell the guy again.

"Look man, I got the money, but I can't pay you because Joe ordered the pizza."

"You want I should take back the pie?"

"No, you gotta deliver it to Joe."

"Where's he at?"

"He's in there," he says.

"You ain't Joe?"

"I'm Not-Joe."

"Nacho?"

"No, Not-Joe. Joe went through either a time warp or a manifestation of Buddhatatha which opened in the kitchen just after he ordered the pizza. I don't know which yet."

The guy points to the hole in the kitchen.

"So you don't want the pizza?"

"Not as simple as that. I want the pizza. I could eat the pizza, at least theoretically. But at the same time I don't want the pizza and I can't eat it. Joe could definitely eat the pizza because he's one of the tripartite manifestations of his Pizza-Self. One the other hand, I'm a manifestation of Not-Joe's Not-Pizza-Self."

"So which one gets the pie?"

"Joe's Pizza-Self manifestation gets the pie. That's the short answer, anyway. It could take you many incarnations to figure out all the nuances."

"Okay. Where's Joe at?"

"Hard to say."

"He in the house?"

"It could be that Joe's Pizza-Self manifestation might exist temporally at the Holiday Inn at Scranton, Pennsylvania."

"We don't deliver there. Only the neighborhood."

"You don't understand," the guy says to me. "You don't really exist. You are, essentially, an emanation of Joe's Pizza-Self manifestation.

"You, the pizza you carry, even the pizzeria from which you come, are the dharma-energies created during the placement of Joe's telephone order.

"I too, as Not-Joe's Not-Pizza-Self manifestation, am also an emanation of these energies, as are Not-Not-Joe's Not-Not-Pizza-Self manifestation on the plane of mudra just beyond this universe, and so on."

I don't wanna tell the guy that this is a bunch of bullshit and fuck you because I just started this job and I gotta pay for my girlfriend's baby, so I can't fuck up with this job, so I tell him I gotta call my boss, he got a phone I can use. He says right behind you.

"Yeah, Mario?"

"Yeah, who this?"

"This Ulysses, Mario," I tell him. "I got this guy who says he didn't order a pizza but he wants me to deliver it to this guy."

"What's the address?"

"Nine on the park. Six-F. He says the other guy's in Pennsylvania, but. So I tell him I dunno if we deliver that far. I gotta check it out with you."

"The guy there?"

"Yeah. He here."

"Put him on."

So I put the guy on the phone and he tells Mario all this shit he been telling me about this fucking bullshit with this pizza shit and not-pizza shit and all, and then he hands me back the phone.

"Yeah, Mario."

"This guy's a good customer. Just deliver it where he wants. He'll give you gas money." Mario hangs up.

"Okay," I tell the guy. "Where you want this pizza to go?"

"Like I said before, in there," and he points to the colored hole in the air in front of the stove. "But you can't go in there. Only your tripartite Pizza Boy-Self manifestation can go in there."

"So what's that mean?"

"Before you can go in there you have to perform certain ritual exercises designed to liberate your Pizza-Boy-Self manifestation from your physical body as well as the pizza-manifestation from the pizza. Then these manifestations can enter Buddhatatha or the time warp, whichever it is, leaving your Not-Pizza-Boy-Self and the not-pizza here in the apartment."

"Who gonna pay me?"

"Joe's Pizza-Self manifestation, once you reach it."

"So he in there, right?"

"Yeah."

"He gimme gas money?"

"Yeah, probably."

"He got the seven ninety-nine for the pie, right?"

"Yeah."

"You sure?"

"Yeah."

"So what's this shit I gotta do first?"

"First you have to take off all your clothes, then you have to sit down on the floor right here on this mandala and that's pretty much it. I'll talk you through the rest."

"Hey, man," I tell the guy. "No way I take my clothes off. Fuck that shit."

"If you want to deliver the pizza, you have to take off your clothes. Otherwise you can't enter the realm of Buddhatatha."

"You ain't no faggot or nothing?" I ask the guy.

"No, I'm heterosexual," he says. "You just have to perform the ritual in the prescribed manner, that's all."

Okay, so I take off my clothes and I sit on the mandingo or whatever the fuck he calls the rug on the floor and the guy says I should put the pizza box in front of me and then I got to masturbate or not masturbate but some shit like medicate on the pizza box and on the pizza inside it and then go deeper into the pizza-nature until my mind is one with the pizza and I'm the pizza and the pizza is me or some shit like that.

"Can you hear me?" the guy asks finally when I'm really into the pizza-nature of the pizza box or whatever the fuck it is I'm medicating on.

"Yeah," I tell the guy.

"I'm gonna speak the mystic syllables in a second, so get ready," he says. "When I speak them you'll be able to enter Buddhatatha. Okay?"

"Yeah."

"Hom! Phat!" the guy says and all of a sudden I'm standing in the kitchen with the pizza box in my hand like I was when I came in. Then I look down and I see I'm still sitting on the mandingo or whatever the fuck it called masturbating or whatever the shit on the pizza box.

"Yo! What's that shit on my head, man?"

"That's a feather," the guy says.

"What the fuck you putting a feather in my head for, man?" I ask the guy.

"When I uttered the mystic syllables hom phat it caused an aperture in your head to open and your Pizza-Boy self manifestation to become separate from your Not-Pizza-Boy self manifestation. The feather keeps the aperture open so your Pizza-Boy self manifestation can re-enter your physical body when you return from Bardo."

"I thought I'm going to Pennsylvania."

"Pennsylvania is the temporal manifestation of Not-Joe's Not-Pizza Self within the realm of Buddhatatha, which you reach by way of Bardo."

"That's in there, yeah?"

"Yeah, in there," he says. "Just step inside Budatatatha and listen for my voice. I'll walk you through it."

"I can hear you inside that shit?"

"Yeah. No problem. You just listen to where I tell you to go and keep going till you see this big white light. That's the Holiday Inn at Scranton, Pennsylvania where Joe's Pizza-Self is waiting for his pizza."

"Okay, yeah," I say and go inside this shit. Almost right away I'm pretty far inside because when I look back I can't see the guy's kitchen no more just this colored light all over the place.

"Can you hear me?"

"Yeah."

"What's it look like where you are?"

"I'm in this long tunnel with this purple light all over. Shit, I just saw some crazy shit jump out. Guy with wings and a monkey's head."

"That's probably the demon Hogol. Don't worry about that. Just keep walking straight ahead. Keep following the road you're on. Just stay on the road. Don't look to the sides. You'll see the light pretty soon."

"How come I can't look to the -- wait a minute, there some guy calling me."

"Don't talk to him."

"Hey, man. This guy's telling me I can have a brand-new BMW for free. All I gotta do is get in and drive it away."

"Don't get in the car. Keep walking."

"You crazy? I'm getting me a BMW."

So I get into the BMW and close the door and the guy hands me the keys to the ignition and I turn the key in the ignition. The next thing I know I'm not in the car anymore but running on my six legs then all of a sudden I get sprayed and I flip over and kick up my legs. Then I'm holding the pizza box again. I holler out if the guy can hear me and he says I just got reincarnated as a cockroach.

"Say what?"

"Your Pizza-Boy Self is in Death Bardo," he tells me. "That means you can be reborn."

"What the fuck you mean, 'reborn?'"

"When I uttered the mystic syllables your selves became separated. I already told you that. In Death Bardo they try to trick you with stuff you really want. Luckily your life as a cockroach only lasted an hour and a half before you were sprayed."

"This is bullshit, man."

"Just keep walking till you see the light. Then you can deliver the pizza."

"Bull-fucking-shit."

So I got no other choice now but to keep going through this shit and no matter what I don't want get scammed again and be born as no fucking roach or nothing, I mean, fuck that shit. I just want to get this pizza delivered and get the fuck outa this Brigitte Bardot shit. Fuck that roach shit.

The guy is still talking and asking me if I see the light yet but I tell him no, I don't see no light yet, and he says just keep going you're gonna see it any time now. Meanwhile, there's all this crazy shit going down on the side of the road.

I mean, there's more of these fucked up guys with bat wings breathing fire and shit on me and then once or twice I saw a gold Rolex watch just laying on the road and I could have just picked up the watch but the guy warned me not to do it so I kept walking.

I'm going for awhile when I see something that stops me cold. You not gonna believe this, but there's Madonna laying naked on a waterbed. And she wants me, man! She's calling my name and telling me how bad she wants me to fuck her.

"Don't do it," the guy says.

"Man, she hot for it!"

"It's not really Madonna," the guy says. "It's just a manifestation of your dharma-energies resolving itself into a Maya form."

"Fuck that shit. She begging me for it, man."

There's no way I'm gonna pass Madonna by when she wants it like this. Shit, I might pass up Gloria Estefan but not Madonna. So I go and fuck Madonna, but like the minute I stick it in Madonna catches fire and I get all burned up then all of a sudden I'm back on the road with my pizza box again.

"You remember what happened?" the guy asks.

"Yeah. I got born again, yeah, it's all coming back now. I was some guy who fought in a war and he stepped on this mine and his arms and legs got blown off and then he spent the next like twenty years as a fucking cripple in a wheelchair and his wife was taking his money and fucking guys on the side and then one day she comes to him and puts a pillow on his face and that's it."

"You should have listened to me," the guy says.

"Never again, man. I just wanna deliver this pizza."

"Don't fuck anymore women in there."

"Yeah, I gotcha."

"Don't get into any BMWs."

"No way."

"Just keep walking."

So I'm walking for awhile, and all of a sudden, I think I'm starting to see something up ahead that looks like it might be the Holiday Inn at Scranton, Pennsylvania. It looks like this big neon sign and it's straight ahead, but it's still pretty far away.

But I keep on walking toward it and that shit gets brighter and brighter and bigger and bigger until I can't stand the shit no more. It's too big and too hot, so just when I can't take it anymore I hear this lady calling my name and she says I should just jump into her wading pool and chill.

I tell her no fucking way, Jose, because she's trying to fuck with me like before and I keep trying to head into the light, but it's like being inside a fucking microwave or something I mean you heard the expression put it where the sun don't shine, well there ain't no place on me where the sun ain't shining man and I just can't take it and I start to make a run for the wading pool.

"Keep going," the guy's voice tells me.

"Can't hack this," I say.

"Just keep going."

So I keep going until I'm inside the light.

"Yo! Joe! You around?" I holler. "Joe, I got a double cheese pizza for you!"

I keep yelling out for Joe inside the light and I keep walking through the light until I come out of the light and I'm in the lobby of the Holiday Inn at Scranton, Pennsylvania. I'm trying to talk to the guy at nine on the park but I can't hear him no more. So I go up to the reception desk.

"I got a pizza for Joe."

"Joe who?" asks the guy behind the desk.

"I dunno his last name."

"I can't help you."

"Look, man. This guy made me come all the way here from Brooklyn with this pizza. This guy he wants the pizza, okay?"

"I'll try paging him," the guy says.

So he makes an announcement for Joe who ordered the double cheese pie from the First Avenue Pizzeria to come to the lobby and pick up the pizza which just came. I wait around but nobody answers the page.

"Sorry, but I tried," the desk guy tells me.

"I gotta call my boss," I say.

"Phones are over there," he says and points to the other side of the lobby.

So I go to the phone and I call Mario long distance.

"Yeah, Mario?"

"Yeah, who this?"

"This Ulysses, Mario," I tell him. "You know this guy who said he didn't order a pizza but he wanted me to deliver it to this other guy at the Holiday Inn?"

"What's the address?"

"Nine on the park. Six-F."

"Yeah, that guy just called," Mario tells me. "He says you should just forget the pie. They don't want it no more."

"He canceled the order?"

"Yeah, he canceled the order. So you take the pie you got back here right away."

"I'm all the way out in P.A., man."

"So what?" Mario says. "He gave you gas money, right?"

"What?"

"I said he gave you money for gas."

"Never mind, Mario. I see you later."

"Don't forget to bring back the pie."

"Yeah."

I hang up the phone and walk back across the lobby of the Holiday Inn, looking for the light I came in through.

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