For Your Amusement

Surreal Sailing Stories Part 3: 2020 Existential Identity Crisis

As we were discussing theories and watching the wildlife, this creature swam up to us. “G’day mate,” they said in perfect English with an Australian accent. Eric and I looked at one another and shrugged. “Uh, hi!”

“We’ve been watching you both. You are getting closer to the goal and saving us all, the universe and beyond.”

“Uh, okay. We are a little confused though. Just how are we going to do this?” I said earnestly.

“You will know soon, just keep moving. We’re not here to fuck spiders,” they said enigmatically and dove below the surface.

Eric looked at me and said, “You know, for guiding us along the way and answering the questions of the universe, these helpers aren’t very helpful for practical how-to tips.”

We dove back below the surface and Eric said, “I want you to meet someone, this is Oliver.” Oliver was a little octopus that crawled onto Eric’s head. I had zero surprise that Eric had made friends here. He is the most chatty, social creature I’ve ever known. Oliver told Eric that because we were reunited, it was time to say goodbye to this world. “But Oli, how do we leave? I’ve been looking for so long for a way out.”

“We needed your combined forces and experiences for this next step,” Oli said. Then he started to spin on Eric’s head. Faster and faster and faster Oli went. The whole world started to swirl around us. I was resigned at this point to whatever, I mean…2020.

Another kind of black hole started to form, but it felt different this time. Like we were being stretched. Not just our bodies, but our minds were turning into tiny little threads being pulled infinitely in many different directions all at once. It was hard to have a sense of center or solidity anymore. As promised in 2020, this is where shit gets even weirder.

It was like our essence was string threading through needles and poking through the cloth of space-time. We plunged into a world full of color and clouds. There was no ground at all. Our bodies somehow snapped around our essence making form again. We were buoyant and floating in the sky.

Then something happened that nearly blew my fucking mind. We were approached by a being that looked very much like me, felt very much like me, but was definitely not me. She had pink wings, pink hair and a fucking talking flamingo on her hand.

The flamingo and pink flying Jenn looked at me, then one another, and started to laugh. It was my loud and cackling laugh! The other very pink Jenn exclaimed in my same voice and tone, “What the fuck is this?” The flamingo said, “I have no idea, but she has no wings or color. She is super dull and obviously not magic. And look at her pet! He doesn’t even have a horn!”

Eric was beside me, somehow we were managing to stay together through this. He grabbed my hand, I always feel reassured when he touches me. Then we heard a magical shimmery whinny in the distance.

Riding up to the pink flying Jenn was a magnificent Centaur-Alicorn. An alicorn is part unicorn, part pagasus, and this one had a centaur flair because there was Eric’s familiar face and torso.

“This is my pretty pony,” the pink Jenn said. “He is curious and playful, but you cannot touch him. He is mine.” He nuzzled her wings and snorted affectionately.

Just as I was about to say something snarky, we were being pulled back out through the fabric and eye of the space-time needle. We were spinning again. But we had picked up something along the way, a tiny spark of shiny magic. Like a one time use nugget of a wish, I held it close to my heart.

We next landed in a cold and beautiful world. My obsession with Storm in the X-Men seemed to come to haunt me. Another Jenn walked over all silvery sass and style. When she spoke I could feel icy hot cold run through my veins. She was surrounded by lighting and wind, statically charged she was magnetic. “Hello mortal, what are you doing here? You don’t belong in this world.”

I froze, literally and figuratively. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t speak. “Don’t worry,” she said, “I can read your mind. I have frozen you so you can stay alive. You are not meant for this environment.”

Stepping up next to her was an Eric I could have never imagined, yet totally made sense. He said with a hollow echo, “What are these mortals doing here? They are far from home.” In all of our minds we heard my Eric exclaim a simple yet profoundly uncomfortable yet excited, “eek!”

The two ice gods stared at us and I spoke through my mind explaining our quest. “Yes, yes, we know about the impending doom. I am surprised they choose earthlings and not us. We are far superior in every way to your fragile bodies and simple minds. Alas, we are not in charge and the leaders have their plan. Why are you here though?”

I gave a mental shrug. As if I know why anything in 2020. This is when the two ice gods came over and blew a simple stream of air into our ears. It was like plugging into a port of energy. I could feel a surge go through my soul. Then we were off again.

The next world was fucking scary. I was met with a me that I have fantasized about often. A wrathful and powerful Jenn, beautiful, sensual and destructive. She is clever, charming and seductive and will fucking blow shit up indescriminantly with laser beam eyes at will and on a whim. Contempt and rage oozed from her wounds. She had been tortured once, kept in a cage. I knew her origin story instantly and it broke my heart. Her disgust at the world was given to her, earned through psychic and physical scars. You do not fuck with this woman.

She laughed when she saw me. A meniacle sort of giggle. “It’s too late,” she said. “I will not participate in this ridiculous plan to save anyone. We will burn it all, as the universe deserves with its cruel and unfair distribution of pain. We will start with destroying you.”

From the sky rode a giant tortoise with Eric on its back. It came for us. Just as the lasers from all eyes turned toward us, an unexpected thing happened. I started to do Tonglen, the Buddhist practice I have used on earth for decades to cope with the uncertainty and struggle of exsistence. It is an automatic response now when I don’t know what to do. I breathe in the pain and hurt and breathe out compassion and equanimity. It is an exchange of the heart for the bigger picture, for the interconnectedness of it all. As I breathed in, the lasers absorbed into my being. As I breathed out, it was like mirror. It reflected the laser beams back to these scary rage filled figures. They exploded on the spot, and as they did so, all the passion and power they held funneled right into us, turning it into determination and fierce love. My fire goddess fantasy was real, and now ended, she had integrated into the righteousness of the quest. She was absolutely right, we have to do something to end the pain. She was wrong though, we can’t do that through more violence. We must create peace. We must use kindness and compassion. We cannot surrender to hate. With that awareness, we were pulled back out again to yet another world.

Finally some fucking clarity of how we got into this fucking space-time mess. We threaded onto a beach, it looked just like Golden Gardens in Seattle but void of civilization. Landing all around us were the round space ships. Out of one of the ships walked….you guessed it: another Jenn. She walked over to us like a fucking super model, all confidence and sass and took off her shades to stare us down. She looked exceptionally like my Basic Jenny double.

She said smoothly and with authority, “You…..finally. We’ve been waiting.”

Turns out that in this world I am leader of a rebellion faction trying to fight for equity and inclusion of all beings across the universe. After meeting so many fantastical versions of me and Eric in so many worlds, all I could say was, “Why us?!”

She gave a sarcastic snort and said, “Because you are the least expected and the most basic.” It is funny how life tends to turn around and bite you in the ass. Some call it karma. Basic Jenny just said I’m basic—of course.

A new swaggering Eric departed from another ship and walked up to us. “General, it is time. I have the ship prepared.” He looked over my Eric, gaze assessing up and down. He said doubtfully, “I hope he can do it.” Then he turned and walked away. I couldn’t stop myself from checking out his nice butt. My Eric cleared his throat and nudged me out of my trance.

General Jenny said flatly, “It’s time. Chief Science Officer Finn has prepared your vessel and it is ready to go back to earth. It is equipped with all you need to shift this mess and save the universe. You just have to get it back to Earth and get the technology and message out. It is in your hands, fair winds.”

With that we were threading the needle again.

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