Shaman of Centraxis 9
The executive is true to his word. After bonding with the hitchhikers in his obtusely provocative fashion, The Man is volubly talkative while his boxy German car thrums along the next hundred miles of ever narrowing highway. He opens up and becomes friendly with the young Centraxians, even though they disagree with every second or third sentence he utters.
After the exec had explained the cathartic crossroads of his life’s unvoiced choices - when he confronted the young men with his corporate ideology on the blasted plain of shattered woodchips - the suited, tied-down company man treated his passengers like old friends. His whiskey was of infinitely better quality than the volatile stuff the young men had been offered the night before, in the wagon of their would-be attackers.
The executive’s words emerge with flattening tones of attenuated emotion as their tripartite conversation transforms into a monologue while the road unreels beneath the new Mercedes sedan. The hippy passengers let The Man ramble on and spout motherhood statements and glowing appraisals of as yet uncreated future technologies which would one day solve all the world’s problems, while the Cold Wanderer rereads his paperback copy of Gordon Dickson’s Soldier, Ask Not.
Now that Ram’yana knows what lies just off the highway - concealed by the narrow fringe of apparently limitless forest that blurs behind the speeding vehicle’s windows - his mind shifts gears and he contemplates an inescapable image of the Great Southland’s verdant forests reduced to dry eroded wastelands.
The road surface decays a little more with every passing mile. “Here it is,” the driver announces when they reach the border. “No quarantine gates any more, as you can see.” After they cross the ramshackle wooden bridge that marks the provincial border the executive continues talking until they reach a roadside depot, where he links his passengers up with a truckie who can take them all the way to
The cabin is spacious and the casually uniformed driver is particularly laid back and relaxed - for a man on speed who drives the huge vehicle along the decrepit winding highway at a breakneck pace. He handles the truck as if it was an extension of his oily muscular body and hardly speaks a word after telling the long haired passengers his nickname. Mac’s demeanour is as cool and aloof as the suited executive’s, and the company driver is obviously uncomfortable sharing his cabin with the strange young hippy men.
For their part, the Centraxians feel uneasy about getting a lift with yet another representative of the ‘timber extraction’ industry; they both feel a vague disquiet at intimations of hypocrisy which steal into their honourable young hearts and environmentally aware minds.
The driver warms up a little when his passengers show no reaction as he downs a couple of pills with a can of Coke. He fetes the exhausted Centraxian change agents with cans of cold beer and a selection of sandwiches and chicken drumsticks; the Cold Wanderer tucks in wolfishly while the prince examines the fare with the reluctant disdain of a newly converted vegetarian.
Ram’yana eventually decides to work his way through a proffered cheese and salad sanger – after surreptitiously removing a slice of dead devon - to buffer his system enough to handle a steel can of strong chemical beer. He eyes the drumsticks warily; after a short lifetime as an unthinking omnivore the teenage Centraxian is swiftly transforming his diet, but the familiar taste of roast chicken still lingers on his tongue and the scent of cooked bird flesh assails the resolution of his will.
When the first famished flush of feasting has ended, his Canadian companion burps out the open window and slouches back into the capacious bench seat. The unceasing chatter of the C.B. radio and the driver’s execrable taste in country music smother the deep rumble and grind of the prime mover, which is hauling a load of milled timber hundreds of miles to their common destination - the island continent’s second largest city.
The cabin’s height places the passengers at a distant remove from their fleet fleeing surroundings, zipping past and fading around the travelers in the translucent afternoon. They feel completely insulated from the reality of the passing world as the coast-hugging road winds round forested hills and grassy headlands. The vehicle bursts from the dense foliage of the foothills and the southern highway winds around cliff tops to reveal world-spanning ocean views to the travelers’ appreciative gazes.
Not for the first time, Ram’s photographic eye drinks in the ineffable skyscape and he wishes it was possible to capture the expansive beauty and subtle hues of the glorious sunset – or of any sunset or dawn. The sea glows in luminous reflective harmony with the gilded westering Sun and the crimson sky of oncoming night is the source of the journeyman artist’s delight. He understands that the unrepeatable instant can never be captured, but impresses the scene on his memory with an act of will, knowing it can always be recalled from the chaotically arranged library of his random access memory. Remember this…
The limitless ocean stretches away beyond the invisibly hazy eastern horizon, its choppy waters circling remote antipodean
There are only a few small settlements on the potholed highway and the heavily laden truck slows to a crawl with every halfway steep incline. Afternoon drags to an ineffably beautiful conclusion, and as the hitchhikers drift into quiet contemplation of the great green living landscape they become entranced in dreamy reflections.
When the horizontal rays of the setting sun strike their eyes the Centraxians automatically rouse from their reveries and make their customary greetings to the solar orb – silently on this occasion, in such close conjunction with the stranger who drives them southward. They make ethereal contact with all the far-flung members of their tribe and immerse their dreaming beings in a golden web of flowing contact, implicately linked with the locations, thoughts and emotions of their peers. In moments the bearded logician and the teenage shaman are both certain that all is well within the tribe of the Centrax and their eyes shine with identical inner knowledge as they glance into each other’s hearts in the rumbling cabin of the hurtling semi-trailer.
Ram’yana witnesses shifting scenes and faded transparent episodes in the fluorescing afterglow of evening - images captured out of time, superimposed over their route along the winding coastal highway. His random access memory recalls earlier trips he’s taken along this same road, and his previous tracks are overlaid upon the present journey - other trucks and cars, other drivers and companions on the same black tar river that can’t be stepped in twice.
An image of the driver who picked him up when the teenager first ran from his home in the
The scene fades as the young shaman catches a glimpse of a near-naked black man standing by the side of the road, hefting a long wooden spear and an intricately woven bag in his sinewy hands. Blazing brown eyes stare back at the teenage shaman, and he knows the black-skinned Aboriginal is aware of his presence on a multiplicity of levels. It’s more than my memories I’m seeing…
Ram’yana realises the impossibility of a near naked spear-carrying native standing beside the modern bitumen highway while his mind treads alcohol-laced water. It’s a scene embedded in the land’s memory, recorded in the landscape or the matrix from which everything arises… Then an inescapably unanswerable question recurs; Or is it all a dream? All this…
The driver notices Ram’s brooding countenance and mistakes his contemplation for incipient sleep. He invites the teenager to crash in the sleeping compartment behind the seat and the exhausted youth accepts the offer gratefully. The tribal shaman pushes the backpacks to the rear of the cavity as he crawls onto a lumpy mattress and prepares to enter a dream within a dream.
“I can tell you a story for your trouble.” Wanderer begins to regale their host with an accurate account of last night’s hideous adventure while his blood brother begins to drift off in the cosy rocking nook, comfortably ensconced within the hindbrain of the lumbering juggernaut. The young prince rolls into a ball and draws a rough woolen blanket over himself, more for security than warmth. How long? His last thought before he flies from his body is a familiar impassioned question that the young man wonders for the umpteenth time. How long will my bed be simply a place for sleeping and dreaming?
“Anywhere here’s fine.” Wanderer’s hand shakes the young Centraxian shaman awake and the magician returns to his slumbering flesh. “Hey – we’re here. Grab your pack.” A vision of a geometrical stone city half sunken on the edge of a sky-blue limitless sea fractures and fades from his consciousness. Ram’yana recedes from a refracting scene of his own slim frame, growing ever more distant as he drifts away from his astral doppelganger - who stands on the rocky seashore stroking a small Siamese cat, while a beautiful naked woman snaps his photograph from slowly rising waves that lap at her slim calves and thighs.
Running on autopilot, the teenager grabs his backpack and clambers from the oily-smelling rear compartment into the dimly lit cabin; he wakes up in a hurry when a rush of cold air washes over him and penetrates his thin clothing as he slips halfway out the vehicle, and suddenly realises how far it is to the ground.
His boots just miss Wanderer’s head while his companion prepares to leap to the pavement from the base of the short ladder. Ram’s backpack feels inordinately heavy as he shoulders his dusty burden and climbs from the jutting step. The hitchhikers clamber down from the high cabin and stumble to the cold hard ground, peering around to get their bearings in an impenetrably foggy sulphuric yellow haze. The air is exceptionally cold and crisp and
“Thanks, mate.” The Cold Wanderer grabs his pack as the driver passes it down and salutes him. “No fuckin’ worries. When ya gedda job, make sure ya join the union, ya flamin’ anarchist.” He shifts the semi trailer into gear with a loud guffaw and leaves the hippies standing in the middle of a wide empty road.
The truckie has deposited his passengers in an anonymous suburban streetscape and Ram’yana stands transfixed halfway between a far more pleasant dream of a sinking civilization, and the brimstone-scented amber-lit scene of tawdry offices and flats that confronts him. “We can walk to Loren’s from here.” Wanderer shrugs when he sees the younger man’s stunned expression. “It’s only a couple of miles and it’s not too late – they’re all uni students.” Wanderer hoists his backpack by its straps and Ram’yana follows suit. “Yellow streetlights?” The teenager doesn’t recall seeing their ilk before.
“Because of the fog. They’re starting to spring up everywhere – sulphur instead of mercury. The wavelengths are better for penetrating water vapour,” Wanderer informs him. “This is ‘
“Wasn’t it founded by Batman?” Ram’yana asks. “That would make it
The chill night air reeks of half-burned petrol fumes and industrial smog mixed up with an urban funk of cooking smells, garbage and dogshit. Ram’s rarified senses rebel at the toxic-smelling atmosphere. After a couple of days and nights on the long breezy coast highway that slices through the living green skin of the Great Southern Land, everything in the city smells like chemical offal. The shaman reels before the onslaught of ubiquitous odours which he wouldn’t normally notice as a habituated city dweller.
Synchronised syncopated flickerings glimmer through curtained windows and blind-covered apertures as innumerable households of
Ram’yana’s never been to this section of
The hitchhikers arrive at the door of Loren’s courtyard sanctuary - one of four student apartments at the base of a balconied concrete well. It’s well after midnight and the tired travelers are relieved to see that Loren’s light is still on. The hulking building’s bland, brightly-lit modernist edges are softened by a well tended small garden of shade-tolerant potted plants. Patti Smith’s Horses plays loudly enough to assuage the young men’s fears that they’ve arrived too late to expect a warm welcome. The Cold Wanderer straightens his back and smoothes his hair and beard before tapping out his signature knock on the paneled teak door.
A young long haired woman with a stunned and wary expression on her face appears in the chain-latched doorway. Loren is a tall thin Patti Smith clone – her equine face is handsome rather than beautiful, and the bright artistic student fortuitously lacks the pasty-faced singer’s burdensome penchant for harder soporific drugs. She stares at the Centraxians for a pregnant moment until recognition washes the puzzlement from her lean tanned face. “Wanderer!” She unclips the chain and throws the door wide. “I wasn’t expecting you… well I was, but not so soon! Come in!”
“Hey, it’s been two moons, just as we agreed!” The Canadian shakes his head and they glare at each other for a few heartbeats before Loren’s long lean arms fly around his wiry frame. Wanderer closes his eyes and smiles over her shoulder while they hug. “I wrote you last week and told you we were coming.”
Loren’s laughter is imbued with the same equine motif as the album blaring from somewhere deep within the flat. “You know Ozzy Post –you’ve arrived faster than the mail, even hitchhiking!” She grabs Wanderer’s elbow. “Let’s have a pipe. You can drop your packs in my room.” Their hostess graciously offers to take their coats, so the men struggle out of their confining heavy traveling gear and hand over their jackets.
Loren folds the coats over her arm and drops them onto a tall wicker basket as she leads the way through a narrow hall. They wade through piles of books and assorted sundry belongings, picking their way between tea chests, milk crates, magazines, furnishings and labeled cardboard boxes stacked up against both walls of the narrow hall. “You remember Ram.” Wanderer’s mention of his companion is almost an afterthought.
Loren stops and twists around on the spot so quickly that Wanderer almost bumps into her. “Hey Ram! Hare Ram, huh! Good to see you again! Of course I know him.” She hugs Wanderer once more with a warmly effusive display, smiling at the younger man over his shoulder; the young woman is so tall she looks down her nose at him as she winks. “We have to talk when we get the chance…” Loren smiles at the teenager while her hands rub warmth and life into the Canadian’s bony back.
“Do you guys want something to eat or drink? How about a cup of tea – oh, that’s right, how could I forget? Black coffee, right?” Loren holds the Cold Wanderer at arm’s length and then hugs him close again. Her head easily overtops his and her deep hazel eyes smile down on his companion as he replies. “Coffee or tea would be great.” Ram’yana smiles at her as he removes his felt beret and sheets of long brown hair cascade around his pale high-browed face.
Loren pats the Canadian on the shoulder and opens a door leading off the hall. “Better drop those packs in here.” Her bedroom was once a placidly decorated beige suburbanite’s study, tastefully lined with stained wood skirting, hand-inlaid features and carved architraves; now the chamber is overlain with a fragrant and colourful caravanserai of silk and batik hangings.
Loren’s bedroom is a treasure-trove of kitch statuary, imported rugs, stacks of hardcover books and a phantasmagorical array of psychedelic posters. Slim lead-glass windows are curtained with heavy deep green velvet and Loren’s low unmade queen-sized bed is covered with a large brood of mismatching cushions. The young men plant their heavy backpacks against the wall and follow Loren’s slim swaying hips through a cluttered loungeroom toward the brightly lit kitchen.
“Look.” Wanderer’s elbow nudges Ram’yana as he nods toward a dimly glowing light-fitting that stands on a walnut cabinet; the illumination emanates from a misshapen glowing plastic mushroom - one of many hundreds that were created and sold by a good friend of theirs, back in the
“It’s a particular pity as the light they cast is so subtle,” Ram’yana opines. “Until your house burns down. He used the wrong plastic.”
“Who did?” Loren fondles Wanderer’s beard and carefully removes his glasses. Ram’s unused to the sight of the taciturn intellectual enjoying himself so thoroughly.
“Roger,” Wanderer replies as he rolls a strand of the young woman’s straight brown hair around his fingers.
“Wilco.” Loren grins as she carefully envelopes his wiry body in her serpentine black-clad arms. She winks over his shoulder again and smiles at the young prince before kissing her beaming beau passionately through his unkempt beard. “Come with me.” She draws Wanderer into the relative privacy of the communal kitchen and Ram’yana decides to give the reunited lovers some well deserved space. He slips into the embrace of a purple corduroy beanbag and turns off the dangerous plastic mushroom, leaving the room bathed with a subtle candlelit ambience that soothes his tired young eyes.
“There’s a mull bowl and bong on the table,” Loren calls from the kitchen. “Help yourself. Mull up enough a few rounds, if it’s not a hassle.” The hippy takes her up on her generous suggestion, more than happy to have something to do with his restless hands. “And don’t eat all the cigarette papers,” the young woman commands. “I remember you, all right.” Ram’yana diplomatically shifts the topic. “Do you mind if we don’t use tobacco?”
“Yecch!” she cries. “That’s right – you use that shit in mull up there in Convictville. And you never use filters.”
“Actually, Ram does,” Wanderer intervenes in a partial defense of their city and selves. The rivalry between their respective metropolises is unending and legendary; Bleak City was founded by freer settlers than the convict-built beginnings of the larger and more renowned Emerald City of Oz, and the denizens of the southern hive are always ready to mention that historic detail with a ritual show of smugly superior disdain.
“Will chamomile be all right?” Loren calls. “It’s all we have left.” The lovers giggle as a clatter of pots resounds through the flat and the avant-garde album’s climactic track pounds to a conclusion. “Please.” Ram sizes up the long lounge and wonders how comfortable its soft cushions will be if it becomes his bed for the night – or week. He crumbles the mixture of leaf and heads into the ceramic bong’s brass cone. The pipe is shaped to mimic Ned Kelly’s iconic armored bushranger outfit and the cone’s mounting is set into the flaring muzzle of an anachronistic blunderbuss.
Loren’s laughter echoes through the flat in response to an inaudible comment from the not-so-cold Wanderer. “And you can choose another record if you like.” Ram’yana leans back into the beanbag and lights up the bong using a rechargeable propane stove lighter that’s sitting beside the bowl. He holds the smoke in his lungs for half a minute before he replies; “I like.” He taps the cone clean in a ceramic Aztec-design replica ashtray and bounces to his feet.
A colourful fugue of hallucinatory dizziness assails the teenager while he reels on the spot and attempts to recall what he was about to do. As Ram’s senses stabilise he remembers the record player and removes the twelve inch album from the turntable. He rolls Horses back into its sleeve and bends to examine the communal flat’s eclectic music collection. While the vagabond prince rustles through the alphabetically arranged albums the rush of strong mull returns in dizzying waves, and he crouches in the dim candlelight as his hypersensitive hearing detects a key turning in the front door.
He glances up as a duo of young women enters the cluttered hallway. “We’re ba-ack!” A golden-haired girl wearing a long coat and a dark turtleneck sweater sings-songs her way down the brightly lit hall, while another young woman closes the door behind them. The humming girl stumbles against her companion and they giggle in drunken glee and steady each other, tottering between the insecure stacks of books and milk crates.
Both are snugly dressed in upmarket ensembles; fishnet stockings and high heels, elegant faux-fur-lined coats and carefully applied makeup that makes it difficult to accurately judge their ages. Ram’yana guesses them to be unattainably older women who won’t have any serious interest in him - somewhere between twenty and twenty-three, just like Loren. He hastily selects a likely-looking album which he hopes will suit the late night ambience and places it on the automatic turntable.
“Hi,” a giggling voice greets him. “Who are you?” The golden-haired young woman squints into the candlelit darkness as she hangs suspended from the taller brunette’s arms. Both are exceptionally pretty and the young artist and filmmaker can see that their beauty runs deeper than the confected artifice of their appearance.
“That’s Ram. Ram, meet Dot and Penny.” Loren enters the room and places a tray of cups on the coffee table before packing a cone and fitting it into Ned Kelly’s blunderbuss. “How was your night?” Her face flares in the gaslight as she ignites the herb superb.
“I need a bong. Now. Please.” The blonde slumps onto the lounge and kicks her shoes from her slender net-sheathed legs. “The pub was full of drongos and werewolves. I thought they were only s’posed to come out on full moon.”
Loren repacks the bong, sashays over to the lounge and passes the freshened bushranger to Dot, who climbs onto one elbow and props the bong beside her on the cushions. “It’s always drongo season if you go to the pub,” Loren remarks with a snide edge to her voice. “Did you bring anything back with you?”
“Only this.” Penny produces a quart of tequila from her handbag. She staggers toward the kitchen as Wanderer appears in the doorway holding a teapot and a silver bowl of sugar. “Hi,” he drawls as he steps out of the way to let the brunette pass. Loren introduces everyone while she packs another cone. She finishes her hostly duty with a resounding endorsement; “They’re genuine hippies from the north coast. Just got into town.”
“Did you bring anything with you?” Dot asks, sitting up on the couch as she draws her knees up to her chin. She slips her arms from her heavy coat and sloughs it from her shoulders to reveal a short black skirt and a pair of high bouncing breasts, completely revealed by the stretchy fabric of her blue-black turtleneck jumper. Her nipples are clearly visible through the clinging material and the teenage prince has a hard time keeping his eyes on her comely face as he answers. “Just some Mullumbimbi Madness.” Dot leans forward on the couch as Ram’yana reaches into a hidden pocket inside his vest. He produces a leather pouch and unties the thronging that seals it while pleasantly familiar music penetrates the night.
“Breathe, breathe in the air.
Don’t be afraid to care.
Leave but don’t leave me.
Look around and choose your own ground…”
Ram’yana drops a clump of fragrant heads into the bowl as Loren passes the bong to Wanderer. “The election’s going to be a crock of shit,” the tall student announces, sitting beside the other girl to crush the dried flowers between her slender brown fingers. “Wow,” she says, sniffing the air. “Real heads! And hardly any seeds…”
“So you guys are real heads, huh?” Dot smiles at the longhaired shaman as Penny plants a clutch of shot glasses on the table; she holds four glasses balanced around the fingers of one hand like oversized crystal thimbles and places the fifth between the circle they form on the inlaid table. Her glossy black hair is coiffed atop her head, arranged in coils that are held in place by tortoiseshell implements shaped into moths and butterflies.
“Long you live and high you fly
And smiles you’ll give and tears you’ll cry
And all you touch and all you see
Is all your life will ever be…”
“The way it’s going it looks like the plebs are gonna be fooled again,” Wanderer opines as he sits beside Loren, his hand nestling on her forearm. “Every second page in the running dog papers is a full page ad by some trans-national corporation saying Whitlam has to go and that the Coalition is the only safe bet. The writing’s on the wall…”
“Bullshit.” It’s the first word to emerge from Penny’s mouth since she entered the flat. Her nasal tone and twanging accent mark her as a fair dinkum provincial Aussie. “No way are they gunna vote for those arseholes again – not afta everything Labor’s done for ’em. The workers aren’t stupid – they know which side they’re bread’s buttered.” She cracks the tequila and fills the shot glasses. “Workers of the world unite!” she declares, raising her glass.
The others all race to catch up as they raggedly echo her Communist toast. They clink glasses and down the oily spirit. “I haveta be at work inna factory tamorra,” Penny says as she slams the glass down on the table. “Gotta get smashed fast.”
“Run, rabbit run.
Dig that hole, forget the sun,
And when at last the work is done
Don’t sit down it’s time to dig another one…”
“Let’s try some of that Madness on its own,” Dot insists when she notices Loren is about to add the heads to the remnant mix in the bowl. “You guys going to be staying the night?” Before either of the young men can reply Loren answers for them. “A few nights – if that’s okay with you guys – and Claire.”
“It’s fine with me.” Dot smiles at Ram’yana as he settles into the beanbag. “So long as ‘ey don’t make a mess,” Penny insists. “Nostrovia!” Another round slides down their throats to the strains of Pink Floyd.
“For long you live and high you fly
But only if you ride the tide
And balanced on the biggest wave
You race towards an early grave.” *
The song’s lyrics penetrate Ram’s intense contemplation of Dot’s slender knees and the long curves of her fish-netted shinbones, and his eyes close as the psychedelic classic washes through him. His mind stirs amid the coloured patterns roiling behind his eyelids; How do I know I’m alive?
“Tired?” Dot’s hand slips onto Ram’s knee and his eyes snap open as her fingers wander along his cotton-clad leg. “No,” he smiles into her barely focusing blue eyes, “just wondering if I’m actually dead and dreaming all this.” The girl tilts her head to one side and the flickering candlelight flares across her memorable profile. “Huh?” she says and her hand lifts from his thigh as she puts Ned Kelly’s helmet to her lips.
“Don’t mind him,” Wanderer laughs as he pours the chamomile tea into a trio of handmade ceramic cups. “He’s still tripping is all.”
“Really?” Dot coughs and sputters. “You have any acid on you?”
“Nah,” the Canadian sneers. “He never comes down.” Ram’yana reddens as he bites back a reply.
“It’s getting pretty rare around here,” Loren says. “There’s been a rush of crap masquerading as LSD.” She stares at the shaman expectantly in the flickering light. “Speed, mainly – but some strychnine too. You know those tiny pyramids - cones, really?”
Wanderer nods. “They’ve been everywhere – back home, too. Looks like they shut Owlsley down fer good. We had some of the real deal – but it’s all gone.”
“Uh…” Ram’yana flounders as he stares at the Jimi Hendrix poster on the wall behind Dot’s golden mane. The guitarist is portrayed as the multi-dimensional
“How many?” Penny pauses as she prepares to pour another round.
“Only a couple of overweight assholes,” Wanderer replies. “He got away from them anyway; what a waste.” He realises his error and hurries on. “Oh – he dropped a full sheet of a hundred Green Dragons.”
“Not quite a hundred,” the prince replies. “I think about ninety-three…” Dot drops the bong onto the table and her fingers grasp his thigh again as Penny gasps. “Fuck me dead!” The dinky-di brunette spills a dram of spirit as she leans toward him. “How long ago?” He wrestles with a temporal clutter of dates and moments, finding the extraordinarily full days and nights hard to reconcile with the passage of time. “A couple of days ago. Three, now…”
“How was it?” Dot asks.
“It’s a long story…”
“You can tell her later.” Wanderer hands the shaman prince a scalding hot cup of chamomile tea. “Anyway – Kha-Aan reckons it was only eighty-four. Let’s tell these three wise women about the loggers. And the woodchipping…”
Wanderer begins his tale with a vivid description of the vast swathe of disguised wasteland and the Japanese corporation’s plans to strip the mountains bare. As Ram’yana listens to the Canadian he realises how much more of The Man’s corporate spiel the tribal logician has absorbed than the young man had while he dozed in the Mercedes. Penny’s Communist toast has set the theme of their wee hour revelry as the student revolutionaries and the Centraxian shaman celebrate their young lives. Dot leans against the teenage prince and her perfume inflames his senses as her soft slim body relaxes into his slim frame.
Wanderer tells the trio of inveterate protesters and student politicians all about the executive’s purblind pronouncements of corporate philosophy, before Ram’yana cuts in to tell the rapt women about their hair-raising encounter with the drunken duo of murderous gun-toting loggers the night before. The hitchhikers regale their hostesses with riveting tales of their trip down the coastline - stories that need no embellishment to hold their audience’s ardent attention – until Dot falls asleep leaning on Ram’s shoulder and begins snoring into his armpit when the last round of tequila has been absorbed into their bloodstreams.
The quintet of activists are all thoroughly drunk and stoned when Penny lurches to the turntable and kills the power while the needle grinds around the album’s central groove. She leans down and shakes Dot’s slender shoulder as she slurs into her ear. “Rishe ’n’ shine, Dorothy. We’re back’n Kanshas.” The blonde throws her arms around Ram’s neck and leans into his hair. “Hey, Dotty honey,” Penny says, stoking the girl’s neck. “Bed time.”
The night’s detritus of glasses and cups clatters into the kitchen sink and Wanderer and Loren fill the dimly lit lounge room with their echoing laughter while Penny continues her attempts to rouse her semi-comatose friend. Ram’yana sits cross-legged on the soft cushions of the comfortable couch, immersing his warping senses in the scintillating sensations of Dorothy’s firm breast pressing into his ribcage, her stocking-sheathed leg crooked across his thighs and her sweet-scented breath washing across his throat and face.
“Dot…” he says into her ear while Penny lifts one of her arms from his shoulder. He’s utterly exhausted and feels totally satisfied and unwilling to move a muscle - but his enduring sense of noblesse oblige requires that the horny young Centraxian magician must ignore the erection pressing against the sleeping girl’s thigh as she drapes herself familiarly across his lap. “Dorothy,” he whispers while Penny tries to grab her supine hand.
“Lea’ me be,” the sleepy girl mumbles into Ram’s throat, half rousing as she pulls her arm back out of her girlfriend’s grasp. “I’ll sleep here…” Her palm settles beneath Ram’s vest and wraps around his waist. “I’m okay. Jus’ throw a blanket over me…” Penny stands back as a frown creases her forehead and a grimace spreads across her pretty face. She abruptly turns on her high heels and stalks into the hall. The hallway light snaps off and a door slams shut in the brunette’s haughty wake, leaving a resounding silence in the cluttered apartment - until Wanderer’s laughter chimes through the rooms.
Some time later Ram’yana wakes from a dream of a beautiful warm girl cuddling up to him in a warm moonlit glade, when a blanket falls across his recumbent body. His eyes snap open as someone blows out the last candle burning in the room and Loren’s voice rumbles softly in the darkness; “Have a good night.” The teenager is so drunk it takes a moment to realise that he isn’t dreaming – Dot’s firm heat is still wrapped around him in the near-complete darkness as they lie snuggling together on the couch beneath a thick pile of blankets.
When Loren’s door closes the beautiful blonde lets him know she’s still awake after all…
A True Story.
* Lyrics – Breathe by The Pink Floyd – Waters, Gilmour & Wright.
* Lyrics – Breathe by The Pink Floyd – Waters, Gilmour & Wright.
Images - author's
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