When Harry Pothead remembered the releasing spell he'd learned at Hogwash School of Magic, we escaped the time warp we had been stuck in, a future Bolinas of Horsepeople and their servants. Through no faultline of our own, we had been cursed by Queen Esprit, a powerful witch in that coastal town.
Harry was there to escape public beheading for his cypress vandalism. I'd been banished to a horrible future for impertinence. We landed back at the Laundromat, our clothes still weren't dry.
Not much had changed, except most of the cypress trees were now brown and dead, strung up like old Christmas trees. "You'd think she'd be grateful, look at the money I saved her in long term tree trimming costs", Harry whined. I advised him not to send her a bill. There was still a reward for his head. He had girdled them on Independence Day, because July 4th had been canceled by the Brighton Avenue Legion of Decency.
I pointed out that Queen Esprit doesn't worry about wasting money. Those cypress were planted as a display of that carelessness. She owns several houses in town filled with antiques and kitsch. Her possessions calmed her down, better than meds.
Like the cardboard queen, when she's upset, watch your head. Queen Esprit would roar down from the castle, swinging her diamond studded ax, shouting "Off with their Heads," if downtown employees weren't sufficiently servile to her coven.
TOGAS AND TOADSTOOLS
Harry Pothead was feeling paranoid although you couldn't find pot even at gun point in town.
It was time for a roadtrip, he said, to the North Country. He wanted me to drive with him in his minivan to the Bohemian Grove Gathering in Mendocino County. This is a sylvan retreat for a powerful and elite group of men, in a bucolic setting of second growth redwood trees.
I had read of this gathering of wealthy, white men in conspiracy journals. It's an invitation only event for the men who run the world, where they spend time male bonding, running around in the woods, sacrificing Care. "How are we going to get in, we can't pull my McBurning Man trick there." I was sure they had better security than that techies in RV's bacchanal.
"As kitchen staff, the pay is $100 a day, in cash, and all the Mendo pot you can smoke. That's so if you talk, you can be easily discredited, 'he's deluded and his memory's bad'. I know a cook there, who says we can get hired if we act stupid and stoned enough. Shouldn't be hard and I could use the cash."
We headed north on the coast road, a little past Tomales he lit up a fatty he'd had hidden somewhere in his beard. "Maybe we can find out the Secret of Bohemian Grove. It's some kind of secret society, like the Skull and Bones society at Yale that three generations of Bushes have belonged to. George W.'s grandfather Prescott Bush allegedly stole the skull of Geronimo, and they do weird things in secret rituals. See, how that's how they bind each other to secrecy, watching each other do shameful and disgusting acts which would destroy their reputations, like the Marines."
I'd learned it was better not to interrupt Harry on a roll, even if he held the joint in his hand during his rants. "There should be a lot of loose tongues with all the alcohol they consume, we might hear about Project Cerberus, or Hydra, or The Octopus conspiracy. Maybe something with even more limbs, say The Squid. They're basically there to get shitfaced, put on little skits, and sacrifice kids.." Truth was I needed the cash, too. Even though I disapprove of sacrificing small children, even by Hollywood, a job's a job. That's how we ended up as scullions in the Bohemian Grove kitchens, getting intensive schooling at DWI, the Dish Washer's Institute.
We started early and ended late, but they gave us plenty of breaks from the hot steam of the Hobbit dishwasher and scouring pots, to smoke green bud spliffs. We had to trim our own, this was government issue, from seized goods. They wanted us happy and dazed, which we were pleased to oblige.
There were about a dozen of us, few with any real skills, except inhaling. We had the seven mental dwarves Dopey, Stony, Baked, Fried, PuffDaddy, Dazed and Confuzed. They all claimed to have done Sleeping Beauty while she was snoozing. I won't say what they did in the food.
Our smoking room was inside a circle of redwood trees which had sprung up from the stump of a giant, felled in the first clearcutting a century before. The food was basically prison style with an open bar.
The kitchen crew wasn't allowed to mingle with the guests, only the entertainment crew and they were all deaf mutes. Mime was the main event outside of the member's skits. Our chances of overhearing secrets were limited to the lunch line.
Harry was concerned about this, but he didn't need evidence to back up his conspiracy theories, facts often just got in the way. He believed that humans were being controlled by reptilian aliens who feed off human's emotional energy, and subliminally control the world. Now they are poisoning humans off with the creation of their evil alchemists, financial wizards led by Lord Voldemort.
He expounded to his captive audience during smoke breaks on the history of reptile worship, from Sumeria to SUV's. He detailed the blood lineage of the alien lizards who had bred humans as slaves, then mated with the daughters of man to create god/kings to rule over us. Harry claimed their descendants were still ruling, he discreetly pointed them out when we bussed their dirty dishes. Alien half-breeds who control the world's financial and political structure, dressed in togas.
He was sure that once a year they meet at the Bohemian Grove to relax, sacrifice Care to the Owl Goddess, and discuss their plans to rule the world by destroying it. All I saw was a bunch of pasty, fat white men in sheets, shoving to get to the head of the lunch line. It could have been the Diaper Club.
When they talked between mouthfuls, it was mostly about the skits they were in or what they wanted to buy next. If these are the men who control the world this explains the sad state of affairs, I told Harry.
"That's just their outer disguise, they shapeshift into their reptilian form when they're sacrificing kids. On the outside they look like guys who've sacrificed their health and integrity to pursue wealth and power, but inside they are multidimensional, immortal beings just like us, but they have reptilian DNA."
I'd learned not to argue with Harry Pothead, the forgetful wizard. He could remember just enough of his Hogwash spells to be dangerous. That's why the cooks and I went along with his plan to spike the pizza night with magic mushrooms.
I warned him about the liver thing, mixing mushrooms with alcohol, and how ethically questionable it was to dose someone without informed consent. He said "Don't worry, dude, it's karma. If this works, we'll start a takeout chain, Fun Guys Pizza."
Pizza Night was a big hit with the Boho crowd, even bigger with the kitchen crew. The dwarves were melted down in the redwood circle, chanting mining tunes when Harry and I put on togas and left the kitchen confines.
We wandered among the gleeful Bohemians in the torchlit night. It was the night of the big Burn, white men were drifting towards the bonfire for their annual ritual of sacrificing Care. Who needs it when you're raping and pillaging the earth.
Yet, the magic mushrooms had effected some of them on a deep caring level and they stumbled on their way to the Burn. The psychedelic fungus touched their souls. Wealthy and powerful men were off sobbing and blubbering in the shadows of the redwoods on the way to the pyre.
HIGH ON COCAINE
Including George W. Bush, who was sobbing away, reliving his youthful indiscretions. Harry wasn't a compassionate conservative, libertarian maybe, he kept going while I stopped. I didn't have the heart to ask him why it was still OK to put kids in prison, but not to ask him about his drug use. Instead I began whistling his theme song from those days, a Grateful Dead tune about a train wreck.
"I'm a failure, all my friends are megamillionaires, and I'm always bugging em for money. They're gonna be mad if I don't win because of major league assholes. My most shameful secret is that all my businesses would have failed without my daddy's rich friends. I've never actually pumped any oil, not one drop, even though they call me an oilman."
"I wouldn't worry about that, guv, baseball has been very good to you. Besides many of your buddies gave cash to Gore too, they won't be too disappointed. At the speed this train's headed for a dangerous curve, it won't matter who's at the helm.
Why don't you slip Ralph Nader some soft money and insist he be included in the debates, you'll look Presidential and he could take Gore out like a Pinto."
He stopped sniveling and perked right up.
Then it was on to the sacrifice. I've been to better toga parties, but the drums, fires and torches, with a totem pole owl sculpture looking down on the pale men, awkwardly dancing and chanting, was hypnotic.
It was too dark to see any reptile shape shifters, even near the barbecue of kids turning on spits. Harry was hovering in the shadows nearby, always a secretive sort, rarely revealing what was going on behind that smile.
We'd agreed it was best to split up, take some space, slip out the back, find a new friend. I felt freed yet wounded, regretting being made the fool.
I tried to get into the ritual but it seemed hollow. My soul still Cared. Splitting up is painful, even with a bi-polar wizard who never believed in me.
When the sacrifice came around I politely turned it down. I never really liked goat, since I've so often been the scapegoat.