What we saw on our trip.
by chris bray
NOTES ON OUR TRAVELS
We got bored, me and the adult population, recently, and so went to look for our schoolteacher from back in school, who had been bald. He paid for medicine to grow hair, but didn’t grow hair. Blood came from his head, instead, in strands. Which was close enough for him. We didn’t find him. But we saw other things.
In Carmen Miranda, California, we visited the publicly funded Foundation for Entropic Research, where government scientists allowed us to watch them as they worked. It reminded us in some ways of the time we had breakfast with a bunch of vacationing sea otters, in Phoenix, in 1972. It was hot like a son-of-a-bitch, real hot. Not for the otters. They never even blinked at it, just kept at the bar, sucking down Bellinis. Anyway. We learned things during our visit to the government facility, is what happened. Here is a report on the things we learned.
The hitting-stuff-with-crowbars project was fascinating to view, dozens of pot-bellied little white-coats charging up on office chairs and fresh fruit, taking turns grunting furious blows to the tops bottoms and sides of things and rubbing their chins with clinical amazement as it all burst, collapsed, and exploded into forms that were different than the original forms. We asked one scientist what he had learned so far, but it was too early to tell, so he couldn’t speculate. He did say, though, that he noticed the way money affected things, particularly in stores.
The psychological interview project was very good, too. When we went a somber team of researchers were gathered around a weeping elderly gentleman, rapid-fire asking a stream of questions about such subjects as the death of his spouse, the deaths of his children, his career failures, and his history of childhood abuse. The tears of the subject seemed to support the theory of team members that “things just keep getting worse,” but here again no one was saying, yet. We had to hand it to those government scientists. They were thorough, that’s for sure. Later, the same man was the subject of a study in which pediatricians tormented him on his tiny bicycle.
We talked over lunch with one of the entropists, a man who slept with people to see what would happen when he refused to commit afterwards. His name was Dr. Behan. He was a man. That is why we say “he” and “his” when referring to him.
Dr. Behan was a quiet man, except that he talked a lot and also banged on the table with his fists. His fists were bigger than ours, which you have to respect to a degree. “Dr. Behan,” we asked, “how is the research into entropy going?”
“It’s falling apart,” he said, which he seemed to regard as a breakthrough in and of itself. Interesting how when you study collapse and destruction, failure seems to take on a new meaning. Of course, we’re not a clinician.
Afterward, we continued along the highway to Slipshod, California, the railroad derailment capital of the world. Slipshod is unusual in that the shoes of the locals are tarnished with the mysterious sludge that oozes from every natural and artificial surface within city limits. The locals dislike the sludge as such, but enjoy the way in which it sets them apart from the neighboring area, the unincorporated town of Stoma, where the men have gun- nut sideburns and laugh like: “Heh, heh, heh.”
They were a curious lot, the Slipshodians, armed to the teeth and unfailingly friendly. You could talk to them, and they’d talk right back. One morning between mud tornadoes, the Rev. Hierse-Hinschaw told us of a woman in his congregation who had given birth to several lush verdant trees. She claimed to have lain with the acorns, according to the Rev. Hierse-Hinschaw, but we were unable to verify that she had done this. But purportedly it was out of pity, is why.
The Rev. Hierse-Hinschaw performed a ceremony, and never again did the people of Slipshod die. Except that they still did, of course, in higher-than-ever numbers in fact. But the Rev. Hierse-Hinschaw minded not the dying, which he felt constituted a lesson. (Life continued unabated for those who did not die.) The Rev. Hierse- Hinschaw entered into a rivalry with the other local minister, the Rev. Dusty Tonka, who led a competing faith. It was mediated by Fishblek Capezio, the local tapestry artist, for a nominal fee. The pro and con crowd was there, by the bridge where the water crossed the street, pointing all around for proof. They seemed pleased when the sun came up in the morning, proving what they’d been saying all along.
And that is what we can tell you, commenting in our professional capacity as a professional, about what we saw on our trip.
*Photo by Briana Purser
What we saw on our trip.