Aphelion Issue 263, Volume 25
July 2021
 
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The Cosmic Cowboy

by Charles E.J. Moulton




The sign by the main gate, letters burned in on an old oak plank, were anything but friendly. The board squeaked and croaked in the breeze hanging from a severely rusty old chain. “Damn,” I whispered to myself, “why the hell did you send me here?”

I guess the only people that actually stopped by here were people who actually lived here, had relatives here or had to deliver something. But who the hell would want to deliver anything here?

“We don’t like strangers!”

If you didn’t have business here, you better not appear at all.

Not even my horse seemed willing to trot in past the main gate.

The phrase didn’t actually invite anyone to ask to join in on the barn dance. I even imagined those hoagies staring at anyone not from town, spitting and sneering: “You don’ dance like we do, so scram ...”

I kicked the horse into motion across the dusty road of High Gate City, a gust of wind throwing up sand in my face. From what I saw, not a helluva lot of action was going on. One balding, tobacco chewing butcher looked up at me as a rode by. The balding gent looked over at a guy shoeing a horse on the other side of the street. Both men shrugged, throwing each other cynical half smiles. Once the shoeing and meat cutting ceased, a third man, a barber, slowly walked out of his shop, a razor in his hand. I guess these guys had not seen a strange rider come in here for what had to be a long time. I signalled a friendly hello all the same.

I had seen cowboys do that from time to time.

The gateway was not even that high and, besides, this was not even a city. More like a village.

Who the hell founded a city based on an entrance?

This was Missouri, all right, but a kind of sorry looking part of it. I wasn’t really impressed by these guys, nor were they a threat to me. I felt sorry for them, guys stuck in this God forsaken place.

I kept forgetting the young man’s name. All I knew was he was skinny and young and had bad teeth. What he actually was doing here without his brothers was something I was asking myself. According to my records, he rarely appeared without them. And what did he do here? But I wasn’t here to ask questions. All I knew was that I had arrived here after the civil war and that these guys were just beginning their criminal career. So he couldn’t have that much killing experience.

As I stepped off my horse, my mind wandered. “J”-something. Johnny James? I wasn’t absolute perfect regarding the history of the Old West. Okay, I had seen the photo, fair enough, but how did the guy look in real life, that was the question. Apparantly, this was going to become a well known criminal.

I didn’t ask why I was crossing the time-lines, slapping a note in front of their faces, but it made sense that this would somehow change something, somehow, whatever it was.

I reached into my vest pocket and picked out my watch. The guilded thing was an immaculate piece of jewelry, really, with little silver decorations in the forms of leaves.

“Nice touch, Jenkins,” I crooned.

A fine time to meet a bandit. High noon. Fine time to walk through screeching screen doors.

Dead silence followed when I strode in. Two old codgers, one older than the other, looked up from a table by the window. Whatever card game they had been playing, it ended right then and there.

Not only was the bartender not polishing the bar when I came in. In fact, no bartender could be heard popping the cliché: “What’ll it be, stranger?” at my face. Neither did anyone say: “In here, we pour whiskey!” It wasn’t until I looked up toward the second landing that I realized that the man working here was cuddling a woman in scanty clothing. He wore a white shirt and a bow-tie, so I gathered he was the guy serving the drinks.

“Can I do something for you, Sir?”

I scanned the saloon, looking for someone fitting the description, so I overheard the man’s question.

“Want a whiskey, Mister,” the man growled in a hoarse voice, way more rugged than his appearance. In fact, the bartender looked like the kinda guy that would have owned a really tender tenor. But no. He sounded like, what was that 20th century trumpeter’s name? Ah, yes. Satchmo.

“I don’t want nothin’ to drink,” I replied, trying my best to sound like a local, finding what had to be the bandit I was looking for sitting by the bar. “Jus’ wanna talk to the guy sitting there by the bar.”

The “guy” turned his head toward me, his body still facing the bottles and mirrors. A skinny looking fellah. Not very handsome. In later centuries, he would’ve probably been diagnosed as undernourished or sick. His teeth certainly were not white, not from where I stood, anyway. He would not have been more than twenty, but inside that mouth were brown fangs. That’s what it looked like from here.

“Jesse,” the bartender croaked, “ya’ got company.”

“You related?” I asked, raised my eyebrows.

“Them cowboys‘re distant cousins,” one of the toothless men cackled.

“Very distant,” the other chimed in, giggling along. “Sometimes, they don’ talk at all.”

“They just spit,” the first one filled in.

His friend hocked the biggest loogie I’dd seen and emptied his gum, nearly causing me to vomit.

“State yer matter and get the hell outta here,” Jesse spat.

“You be nice to the man, cousin.”

“What’s it to you? You never visit us!”

“But he pays for your drinks,” one of the toothless codgers croaked. “You been guzzlin’ more liquer here than I ‘n that’s sayin’ somethin’.”

Now I remembered the young man’s name. Jesse James. God only knew where his brother Frank was. Maybe robbing the Pine City Stage. The bartender quickly went back to necking his harlot, a voluptuous looking thing with very big breasts, hanging out of what had to be the scantiest piece of red clothing I had ever seen.

“I have a message for you,” I croaked.

“Who da hell sendin’ me messages?”

“God.”

The two other men in the joint, elderly gents with even less teeth than Jesse, cackled. Even the scantily clad lady giggled, the bartender in her arms rasping a chuckle.

“No shit,” Jesse spat, standing up from his barstool, grabbing his holster, “why don’ you tell him to gimme the ability to shit gold!”

Now the group laughed even harder.

This was turning into a vaudeville sketch.

I took three solemn step up to the little guy, leaned forward toward him, almost an inch from his face, taking my gun out of my holster and pushing it against his chin.

“Can you read?” I said, taking my note out of my pocket and slapping it on the bar in front of him.

“Is it a love letter?”

“Maybe it’ll lick your behind.”

Jesse James gritted his teeth, kicking down the bar stool so badly, it broke into several pieces. Now, there were only shambles of it everywhere. Mr. Croaky Bartender slipped out of Miss Titty’s hug, running down the staircase a few steps. The buxom beauty didn’t shriek. She laughed, exclaiming what had to be a “Yay! A fight!”

“You gonna pay for dat, Jesse!” the bartender croaked.

“Nobody threatens Jesse James,” Jesse spat at the bartender.

“Read the note!” I screamed, grabbing the bandit by his shirt.

Jesse James punched himself out of my grip, grabbing at the note. It took quite a long time for him to read through the seven lines, but when he did, he looked like I had just farted.

“What the hell is this horse shit?” he cried. “Sunday school?”

“It’s heaven’s gate,” I whispered threateningly.

“Sunday’s comin’ fast, runt,” the first toothless gent smarmed.

“No,” the second one growled in long tones, leaning forward to his buddy as if he was now performing for a large audience of drunk whores. “But dead cowboys are!”

“I bet Missouri was gonna talk about this for a hundred years.”

Jesse breasted himself, his bow legged stance now even more bow legged. Darned, this was a little upstart, a short little boy, unshaved and very unremarkable.

To think this little squirt would be responsible for 26 hold-ups.

“Talk about what,” Jesse croaked, displaying his fangs.

“Your demise,” I remarked.

“You better be careful, Mister,” the bartender croaked. “Jesse is faster than his pa’.”

I looked over, shaking my head. “Don’t worry.”

By the time I looked back, Jesse had pulled out his gun, firing one shot into the air, causing splinters to rush down from the ceiling. I now saw the Colt Peacemaker Jesse was holding. All right, I thought to myself. My research had paid off. Back to the Future III had actually included an homage to Jesse.

“I’ll be darned,” I wowed.

“You’ll be what?”

I did what I had to do, using my knowledge of martial arts to kick the gun out of his hand. Soon, Jesse was on the dusty floor of the place and the gun was in the second holster I wore under my jacket. Jesse whimpered like a kitten. I enjoyed sitting on his back, pressing my fist into his shoulder blades.

After ruffling his hair a bit, I lifted him off the ground and set him down up upon the bar. The cocky youngster had now turned into a really fearful squirrel.

I took out my own gun, firing my own shot into the air. Mine hit a gas lamp that came crashing down.

“You guys gonna pay for this?”

“This is a message from the heavens,” I shouted, sounding like a Baptist pastor speaking to 300 believers. There were five people here, but no matter. “Human beings have been dependent on the wrong people, addicted to hatred even, listening to advice from outside sources for as long as we can remember. It is time that we change.”

Dead silence in that saloon showed me it was time for me to perform like the banana upon seeing the ice cream. I even thought Jenkins had frozen the time-line. But I saw the old farts breathing, so I gathered that I was still back in the Old West.

I have no idea how long Jesse remained sitting on that bar. I just now that, as I rode off down High Gate City Main Street that day, the whole damn village was silent as a church choir during the Sunday sermon.

Three minutes after I rode out, away from High Gate City, the holographic beam came shooting down from my dimension. Picking me up into the swirl, my horse transformed back into my scanner and my cowboy clothing again became my magnetic uniform.


*****



“What the hell was that?” Jenkins hollered, pacing back and forth behind his magnetic desk. “You were supposed to give Jesse James the note and leave.”

I pressed the hidden button at my back of my head, causing a small black disc to be ejected. I threw it onto Jenkins’s desk. “What happened to Jesse after I left? Did I change history or something?”

Jenkins grinned a very sardonic grin, his usual thrusting and manic expression turning slightly sleepy. “Jesse James decided to give up crime after you left, so Frank and the other boys went on without him, horrible failures all, leaving Jesse to pursue a career as a Baptist pastor. Anyone mentioning Jesse James now will think of God. Henry Fonda was one role poorer.”

“Correct me if I’m wrong, Boss,” I sang, “but aren’t we here to improve humanity? I mean, that’s the reason we go down there in the first place, prove me wrong.”

Jenkins slammed his fist onto his desk, throwing down a few virtual tea cups.

“We’re going down there repeatedly to find someone,” he spat. “Not change history. Jesse James is now synonymous with the romantic idea of a gunman turned into a good priest. The result was a whole flood of western priest movies. Clint Eastwood no longer played the lonesome cowboy in ‘For A Fistful of Dollars’. He played the solitary priest in ‘For A Bunch of Bibles’... Shit. And, hell, I use to love Sergio Leone.”

I held up my hands in front of my chest in a forfeiting gesture, turning around to face the view of the space station. “Oooh, I’m sorry for insulting your majesty, I didn’t know I was supposed protect the pirates in order to benefit Hollywood.”

“What your next trick, Gordon?” Jenkins smarmed. “Turning Hitler into a Nanny? Stalin into Pennywise?”

“No,” I joked, “but I could repeat the trick and inspire Vlad the Impalor to try impaling skewers on a barbecue.”

“That left Bram Stoker without ideas for a story,” Jenkins cried. “Bela Lugosi stuck around in Hungary for good, ending up as Budapest’s oldest operetta tenor. Hollywood has become so damn boring because of you.”

This really did piss me off. “Come on, man. You gotta admit that we can do some good along the way. What harm would it do to do some good for a change? I mean, if we could convince that principal of the art school to take on Adolf Hitler as a student, maybe he would have become one of history greatest painters.”

“Mary Magdalene has disappeared,” Jenkins spat back. “We now know beyond any reasonable doubt that the phrases on your note were amongst the original phrases of the Lord’s teachings. I thought the butterfly effect of showing Jesse the phrases would actually lead us to find Mary in one of her incarnations as a woman in the 1860s in the old west. But now the only effect is us bancrupting the entertainment industry.”

“How do you figure Jesse Frigging James would lead us to Mary Magdelene?”

“Because, Marcus,” Jenkins spat, “my records show Mary’s soul was tracked to High Gate City sometime around 1867.”

“Well, that’s where I was!”

“And?” Jenkins spat.

“No idea where she was, boss!”

“Well,” my boss shrieked, pulling his hair. “Good ... work.”

“So we can track reincarnated souls,” I answered, grabbing of few of Jenkins tidbits from his hovering biscuit bowl as it flew by. “Maybe Mary does not want to be tracked. Ever thought of that?”

“We are extra-dimensional beings, Marcus,” Jenkins croaked, sounding very much like the bartender I had just met down on Earth. “But that doesn’t mean we mess with the Lord’s creation.”

I shook my head. “The Lord only wants us to love each other.”

Jenkins took a long look at me, gitting his teeth, growling even, throwing himself down on his flexible chair. “Ah, go to hell.”

“Hell is boring,” I remarked. “They only play cards down there.”

“Ah, go stuff it,” Jenkins grinned sweetly.

“Something like that.”

“Sex is a prolonged embrace and the tool of procreation?”

Jenkins eyed heavenward.

“Gosh, why did I choose you for this mission?”

I sighed, rather annoyed of this having become my only task around here. I had actually become an astronaut to change things for the better. I was actually doing that for humanity, but Jenkins wanted me to stick to the facts, not change much.

“What do we do when we find her?” I asked, looking out at the spinning space station.

“We convince her to return to Earth.”

I turned around, taking a long look at my boss.

“Then what?”

“Then an era of peace will begin,” Jenkins said, signalling for the hovering bowl to bring him some snacks. “That’s why it’s important for us to keep a low profile. Only she and Jesus and other prophets like that are allowed to create changes like the ones you made. You get what I’m saying?”

Jenkins sat up, the chair bobbing up and down in the air for a bit.

“Can you imagine the anarchy if every time traveller changed history? We would have a different time lines popping up every week. Oh, Napoleon turned into a dancer in Gay Paris. Oops!”

I raised my eyebrows, pursing my lips.

“Where do you want me to go now?”

Jenkins shook his head, swishing and swooshing his hands across the holographic chart that had appeared by his chair. He made a few strange humming noises, sounds that sounded like one of Sinatra’s scats. “Try ... the French Revolution. You will be posing as Marie Antoinette’s lover. His name is Axel von Fersen.”

Jenkins rummaged in his drawer. It took a while for him to find the right chip, but when he did he really looked like the happiest man in space. He handed me a small black piece of metal. “Stick that into your head. That’ll give you a nice outfit and a wonderful pre-history.”

I held the small disc in my hand, letting it glimmer and shimmer in the light from above. For the first time in my years as a dimensional traveller, I had an Honest-to-God-hunch. As I said, I had joined this league to make a difference, working to actually create a better humanity, correcting wrongs. After all, the lower level of reality I visited so often compartmentalized everything, putting things in boxes, searching outside itself for the answers. If Jesus, or even Buddha for that matter, had wanted anything, it was for believers to search inside of themselves for the answers.

“You want me to stop the French Revolution?”

Jenkins shook his head. “We have heard Mary Magdelene was reincarnated at the Versailles just before the Revolution started in 1789. Vive la revolution? Wasn’t that what they cried at the Bastille?”

I held up my hand. “Hold on, Jenkins. That whole deal is invented. We don’t even know if the storming of the Bastille was the beginning of it. I might be jack shit at remembering the villains of the Old West, but I do know my French history. From what I know, that was the third least important event that year.”

“Be that as it may, Smarty Pants,” Jenkins spat. “We can only usher in the Age of Aquarius if we find Mary Magdalene.”

“Why is she so important?”

“Jesus was persecuted for far deeper reasons than just wanting a kingdom of love,” Jenkins whispered, leaning back into his chair. “The first bishops perverted his entire philosophy, turning his ideas of free love and anti-establishment into a huge stately dogma. But look behind the scenes into the real documents and you will find that Jesus didn’t even want to found a religion. He said humanity needed to find faith within. But humans were never ready to face that.”

“So what has the French Revolution have to do with that?”

“If Mary is hiding, where better for her to hide than among the aristocracy?”

“Are you kidding me, man?”

“Somebody made her forget, Marcus,” Jenkins whispered, leaning back into his chair.

“Who, Jenkins?”

“You tell me, Gordon. You tell me.”

Jenkins sighed, very serious this time. More serious than I had ever seen him.

“Because, by the 18th century, the original message of her beloved Jesus had been totally forgotten.”

I kept reviewing my past missions. In the Old West, now shortly before the French Revolution. Where had I been before going to the west? Rome? Or was it Napoleon? I know at some point I had travelled to other planets. The weirdest thing of all was that Jenkins really seemed to give me stranger and stranger reasons why travelling to a certain time would cause us to find Mary. Most of it was due to the “butterfly effect”.

Mary Magdelene’s reincarnation in the Old West.

And who could have been interested in keeping her from realizing her true nature?


*****



Well, I inserted the black disc and soon found myself on the front lawn of what I knew as the Petite Trianon. A fine piece of baroque architecture, to say the very least. There were quite a few of us here, most of us dressed to the occasion. I don’t know why I recognized this place, but I did. Of course I had read about the place. Either that or it had been a part of the programme already inscribed in the black disc.

Sometimes that little machine they had inserted into the back of my head hurt, but what does one not do to heal the world? It was necessary, as well. I got to travel through the centuries, trying to find lost souls. Mostly souls that had lost their way for one reason or another. This one, Jenkins had always pointed out, was special. If we found Mary, a soul in limbo, he called it a “reincarnation loop”, we would really embark on a fantastic journey of love. One where humanity could evolve into a better species.

I gather that Jenkins was mad at me for changing history.

Who could blame him? I was ... clumsy. Let’s put it that way.

Apparantly, I had done that on quite a few occasions, changing the date of the fall of Rome, losing the first landing site of the Vikings of America, misplacing King Arthur’s round table, accidentally throwing away the Holy Grail, things like that. Oh, yeah, and Noah’s Ark. Hmm. That ended up on a mountain top in Armenia. Holy shit. How did I do that?

Well, I had actually turned Jesse James into a hero, even if that meant turning Clint Eastwood into cinema’s most infamous priest.

Be that as it may, I now walked around a splendid garden, so filled with statues of naked Gods, dahlia gardens, cranes walking about, corners filled with wisteria and dainty sheep. More pretty hats and opulent dresses could be seen here than anywhere in history. Not even in ancient Rome had I seen such beauty.

I recognized the music, as well. If I remembered correctly, the ensemble was playing music from Le Roi Soleil by Jean Baptiste Lully, music at least a hundred years old back in 1789. A happy bunch of counts and lord and ladies were cuddling, some of them in a foursome in a bush, by the ensemble. Others were feeding each other grapes. Three couples were actually dancing what had to be a minuet to the music.

In the midst of all this voloptuous opulance, there was a buffet filled with food. Most of the meat was accompanied with the birds and feathers of each animals. A stuffed swan above the swan meat. A stuffed pheasant with the pheasant meat and so on. Three servants in full uniform stood at each table, ready to serve each aristocrat food.

One table toward the back, very much closer to the Petite Trianon, was a chocolate table: marzipan truffles, nipples of Venus, cacao de triomphe, apricot brandy truffles and small candy covered plums dipped in whipped cream.

The sun shone down on this ensemble of lovelies, who were so oblivious to anything else but the sheer gorgeous splendor of everything they were experiencing here.

Everyone knew me, apparantly, nodding at me, telling me: “Bon jour, monsieur de Fersen! Where is Marie today?”

I nodded, obviously knowing where she was, she will be here shortly.

As if ordered to come, a woman with rosy cheeks and giggling mannerisms, a parasol in her right hand, came rushing up toward me. There was no hesitation in her voice or her passion. It simply burst out of her. She was not married to me, I knew that much. But I also knew that I had slept more with her than her husband, the king of France, ever had. She adored me. I saw that in her whole personality.

“Mon amour,” she crooned, diving into my embrace. “My eternal love.”

At once, I recalled every kiss, every hug, every embrace.

This woman really knew how to kiss and there was so much passion there. She threw herself into my arms, reaching into my white shirt and caressing my chest.

“Marie,” I sang, the new disc obviously giving me all the information I needed. “I love you madly.”

“Come,” she said, biting her lip, pulling me away from the crowd of rococo revellers, busy licking Venitian candy-nipples. “Let’s find a bush to copulate in.”

Before Marie and I could actually consummate what seemed to be her most profound wish, a man in a white shirt and a long black scarf tied around his neck came rushing down the gravelled path, holding what just had to be a very important piece of paper. “Your majesty? Your majesty! Excuse me fo interrupting!”

Marie was obviously not happy about being disturbed. Evidently, rolling in the bushes with me was probably her most desired occupation. What did make me rather edgy, though, was the man’s raspy voice. It sounded almost like another voice I had heard in Missouri back in 1867. Was there a connection?

“Monsieur,” she said, standing tall, taking a few decisive steps up to her servant. “I am about to spend some time with my good friend Axel here and I wish not to be disturbed.”

I now saw that the piece of paper entailed scribbled notes in French. From what I could read, it said that the Bastille had been stormed. Gunpowder had been stolen.

“Read the messanger’s notes,” the man said in a raspy voice. I really felt awkward. He had such a resemblance to the bartender, it was uncanny. The same moustache, the same facial form, the same voice. “The king is panicking, wondering if he should pull back his troops or let them stay there or send more troops to the Bastille.”

Marie’s expression changed entirely from one filled with lust to devour me to one diving into what indeed seemed like hell. This was suddenly no longer the cute, frivolous princess. It was the Habsburg princess from Austria, the French Queen, who had not been left alone for one day since her arrival in France almost twenty years ago. This was the woman the king called his “most trusted advisor”. Lucky for Marie, there was a marble bench for her to slump down upon.

She held on to the document as if her life depended on it. Well, obviously, it did. If things continued along this path, she would lose everything from the neck up in less than four years.

I looked across her shoulder, soon sitting down upon the bench next to her. “Marie,” I crooned. “If I may suggest something?”

Marie, in what seemed like a daze, looked up at me with an empty gaze. She didn’t answer me. I waited for a reply. When none came, I spoke from the gut. I had read about how Louis XVI’s decision and reaction on the 14 of July had excellerated the revolution. It was not by far the only reason for the dramatic events to speed up, but it was one reason.

“Marie, my dear,” I finally said, “tell your husband to suggest negotiating with these people. It is high time for a change, but we can do this peacefully.”

I had no idea why I felt this, I just knew that my visit here at the Trianon could change history, no matter what Jenkins thought about not mixing in and changing events.

“Are you mad at me, mon amour?” Marie said. “They call me Austrian whore.”

“No, I could never ever be mad at you. Ever.” I shook my head profusely. “But I do know that they are spreading lies about you, putting words into your mouth you never said. Words that Rosseau said and not you, framing you with purchases you never conducted, blaming you for only producing a princess.”

She sighed, kissing me again on my lips with such an erotic tenderness and gentility, I nearly skyrocketed back into my own dimension. “You gave me a prince,” she answered.

“The people are unhappy because they feel like the monarch withholds the stately treasures, living well while they suffer.”

Marie’s gaze now grew very serious. She turned away from me.

“Axel,” she said, folding her hands into her lap. “They hate me. I have always known this, but ...”

She sighed, the whole world seemingly on her shoulders.

“My mother put me here like a pawn in a chess game.”

I shook my head, absolutely convinced that I could change this. Now I knew what this was about. If I could save this gorgeous woman from her ill fate, I would.

“Please, Marie,” I demanded. “Tell your husband to negotiate with these people.”

She nodded. “It’s better than tyranny.”

“It’s better than being lynched,” I said, very earnestly.

Marie now looked back at me, very seriously. Her gaze changed from one filled with scepticism to one of worry. There was a realization there. One of a future that she might have that really was not a good one. “If I could stop this ball from rolling by suggesting to the king he speak to these people, negotiating a truce ...”

I don’t know why, but I immediately looked up at the servant. As if he had something to do with it. He had been standing by our side for a long while now, listening to us speak, exchanging ideas. His expression was distant, not happy, but still protective. How weird was that? Now, if the bartender was the reincarnation of the servant, was the hooker on the saloon landing the reincarnation of Marie? In that case, who was I? St. Peter?

God, this was confusing.

I lay my hand on Marie’s lap, knowing in my current visit on Earth as Axel, that I had embraced that body many times over. I remembered everything, although I couldn’t have, could I?

In my mind’s eye, I could see Axel and Marie in her sweet little corner room overlooking the garden. The bed with the guilded frame, the desk, the large terrace doors and the hallway leading to the back, the large continuation of the room leading to a corner of blue and golden chairs and a couch. I had made love to Marie so often. Sometimes we just talked. Mostly about her. I listened to her stories of the king’s lack of love and his neediness for advice. I heard her speak that she pitied him that he couldn’t show her love. I heard her tell me that the whole arranged marriage never would have worked under normal circumstances. If she could choose, she would elope with me any day. Her mother, the Empress of Austria, had arranged for it.

She went from Scylla to Charybdis, though, hated by France because she resisted and even questioned the etiquette.

“God, Axel,” she had told me on so many occassions, many times after a wild night in her secret boudoir, “you’ve saved my life so many times by now. Why can’t I just save yours?”

“You have, my love,” I would giggle. “You have.”

Well, these were my recollections as I sat there with Marie, who obviously was travelling in her mind between a rock and a hard place.

The servant seemed more stoic than critical. I saw him again gazing at us with a kind of detective-like inspection. There was something of Hercule Poirot to him with his swirled moustache and everything. I couldn’t help myself, but why did I see Jenkins in that stare? Okay, Jenkins was manic, a tornado with frizzy reddish hair above his blue shiny uniform and tendency to over-eat. The spark inside the servant’s eyes, though, was the same.

Marie now lay her hand on my lap, smiling and kissing me very gently. It was a long kiss, one that had me travelling eons back in time, seeing universal creatures binding and morphing, restructuring into human form and back into ethereal bodies, making love and making babies, inspiring other creatures to make babies, as well, then becoming the sky and the tempest and the sunshine again.

She withdrew her lips, slowly and succulently: I could literally feel the quantum fluctuations of that kiss. I knew about electron entanglement. Well, in that kiss there were about a kazillion electrons doing a simultaneous Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars.

“I will speak to his majesty, my Royale Suedoise,” she told me. I recognized that nickname, as well. Sweetly sensual feminine grace danced in her eyes now, her slightly Austrian dialect mingling with her French pout. “And we shall make love in the boudoir later, all right? Yes?”

I nodded, Marie giving me a peck again before leaving with the servant. I was flabbergasted at the effects of this trip. I didn’t feel like an astronaut anymore. In fact, it felt like a darned revisit to old territories, changing my own past. I gazed at Marie’s lovely backside swaying as she left, very busily conversing with the servant, who seemed totally oblivious of my existence.


*****



The blue light appeared again above my head. It was amazingly strong this time. So strong, in fact, that I had to hold my hands in front of my eyes in order not to get blinded.

This time, I got sucked into the light, swaying and swirling in my sleep almost. I was not sleeping. I was flying. I saw snipbits of scenes. Me with King Arthur, the round table stolen by the Celts. Me with Joseph of Arimatea, dropping the grail. Me with Jesse James, losing the Old West. Me with Marie. Marie, mon amour. And all the while, the servant flying around in this ethereal blueness, holding up his finger in what seemed to be totally galactic brightness.

“You erased the French Revolution,” he said, his voice now blending in with the frequencies of the galaxies. The weirdly Satchmo-like growl of the bartender’s voice back in the Old West morphed in with Jenkins Irish-like lilt. They became one. “Is that okay with you? Are you aware of what this might mean?”

I now felt completely incorporeal. It felt like having flown out of my body and entered a different universe altogether.

“Do you remember what you did before being assigned to be a time-traveller?” Jenkins asked me, holding up his one long right index-finger, sort like a teacher in grade school.

I shook my head, wincing. “Where am I, Jenkins? What is this?”

Jenkins now leaned forward, his eyes almost popping out of his head. What I now saw amazed me. Jenkins was continuously transforming himself, parts of his body leaning forward and others leaning back. It looked like the pictures of a man looking at himself in one of those laughing gallery mirrors at Disneyworld.

“You are home,” Jenkins spoke.

I shook my head. “Home? But that can’t be. I am an astronaut named Gordon Richards. I travel through time to find Mary Magdelene.”

Jenkins now transformed again from the rococo servant into the Missouri bartender and back into Jenkins. From Jenkins he then became King Arthur, Joseph of Arimatea and back he morphed into Jenkins.

Suddenly, I realized I was not Gordon Richards anymore. I had changed from the cowboy into Axel and now I was a woman. A tall woman with long flowing brown hair and very introspective thoughtful eyes. Eyes that had seen pain, felt pain, healed pain. Eyes that had seen love, felt love, healed through love. I gazed around me, all of a sudden not the blue galaxy around me. No, I was on a field, a plethora of olive trees under a clear blue sky. I wandered around the landscape, a stranger in familiar territory. A soul that had lost touch with its original source.

I knew this place. I had grown up here, had friends and family. I had been embraced by the most wonderful soul I knew, a holy man who had loved me more than anyone I had ever known. His shoulder-long hair and brown eyes radiating that inner peace, his frame had blessed me so many times with so many ethereal vibrations I could not mention all.

“You are home, Mary,” this man said, taking my hand.

I gave the man my hand.

“My God.”

“Yes?”

“Why did I forget who I was?” I whispered.

Jesus looked down on the ground, smiling a very tender smile, one that reminded me of countless souls I had met on my trips through time, little bits of angelic truth strewn here and there around existence.

“Because my original teachings were changed, altered, and the original truth of love were turned into a worldly establishment.”

Jesus looked up at me, smiling, shrugging, the lighthearted truth of his depth again so familiar to me.

“You knew the truth, Mary.”

“That we are all creators.”

Jesus nodded. “Yes. All of us. We make love to the universe and nothing like that can be a sin. Violence, however, is a sin.”

“Then why did I forget?”

“You chose to forget your incarnation. Living with hypocricy was way too much for you.”

I sighed that painful sigh that had caused me to journey into forgetfulness in the first place. It was the sigh of a thousand wars. The sigh of a thousand crusades. The sigh of the injust preachers who had executed adulterers when they at they same were adulterers. It was the sigh of a woman who had loved a holy man. It was the sigh of a woman who had taught the people of the Roman Empire what he really preached. It was the sigh of a woman who saw hypocricy and wept. She saw people who denied the true teachings, because it would undermine an established religion based on power. After all these years, though, I now realized that I had loved being Mary Magdalene the most. Of all my incarnations, she defined who I was.

“You’re here, Mary,” Jesus said, taking my hand and leading me to the olive tree, “to right wrongs. This time, it’s going to work.”

Jesus and myself, we sat down under the olive tree and I remembered. In visions, I had seen this. Funnily enough, my mind had always cheated me with partial memory. I had seen him, but never me, as if I refused to remember who I had really been.

“You know,” Jesus continued, picking up a four leaf clover and handing it to me, “in all my teachings there was something very prevalent.”

I looked at the little four leaf clover and realized it was magic. The vibrations of this little thing was quantum like stardust. In it, there were C Major Sonatas by Mozart, “Through the Barricades” by Spandau Ballet and paintings by Velasquez.

“I wanted the people to find their own spirituality on their own terms,” he said. “I told them to dance and laugh, embrace each other and make love. I said that spirit would not let itself be imprisoned by dogma. It could have worked, too, if not for money.”

The Jesus I knew raised his eyebrows and shaking his head.

“My inspiration was in the playfulness of Mozart pieces. My love already there in the saxophone solo of Careless Whisper. My soul described the happiness of Offenbach’s operettas. I told people to go out there and love each other like there was no tomorrow. I told them what reality was: anything but physical and pretty much an illusion.”

Jesus took a long look at me as he kissed my hand.

“But you know that,” he told me. “I don’t need to tell you that. Women have always been wiser than men. Really. But men rarely admit that. Not even to themselves.”

I don’t know how long I sat there under that olive tree, looking at my master, my soul, my heart, the very essence of what my soul was about. It was then that I realized that Jesus had been there in my incarnation as a rock star, in my incarnation as a swing singer, in my incarnation as a painter. Jesus had taught me to rock, late nights when I had not been able to stop singing, the crowd screaming for more. Jesus had been there in my efforts to learn all the steps of a dance. Jesus had been there during my efforts at the piano, trying to play “When I’m Sixty-Four” by The Beatles.

In fact, Jesus had always been there, patiently waiting for me to rediscover him.

And as for the jealousy many dogmatic Christians had imposed on him, nothing could be further from the truth. I remembered my conversations with him back then, how impressed he had been by Indian philosophy and how he felt every spiritual philosophy somehow guided us home to God. In fact, he pointed out, his whole point in saying: “You can only reach God through me!” was to say that everything was God, no matter from which perspective you saw him. It was sort of like the mountain in the Italian alps. It looked different from every angle. But it was always the same mountain.

Jesus didn’t like he guilt dogma that the Catholics had imposed on the congregation.

“That was not all my point,” he added, casually leaning against the olive tree, bending his knees, picking up another leaf clover. Amazing, Jesus was always able to pick up musical clovers. This time, it played “Billie Jean” by Michael Jackson. “In fact, that is why I was so angry at the people in the temple. They sold the people pictures of themselves, telling people that they had to feel guilty because they were not as holy as they were. That was just wrong. I had to stop them.”

I shook my head, but this time I didn’t falter or grow depressed. I just leaned against Jesus shoulder, telling him how much I loved him. He caressed my head, embraced me and kissed me on the cheek. “I love you, too, Mary! Go out and tell everyone to love each other, marry, have kids and just make sure that everyone is happy!”

I left Eden again to reincarnate on Earth, just to make sure that things progressed down here.

One thing that I am happy about, though, is that I never ever forgot who I really was. In my heart, I would always be a child of God, eager to explore every facet of the living universe.

In my heart, the seven lines I have handed to the most famous people in history will always be safely inscribed:

“Everything is energy.
This energy is conscious.
This energy is connected to everything.
When connected to love, this energy heals everything that exists.
This energy is eternal.
What is given away in love will return to you threefold.
In that truth, we are all one.”




THE END


© 2021 Charles E.J. Moulton

Bio: Charles E.J. Moulton is the author of 20 books, 250 published pieces in international magazines and the Editor in Chief of The Creativity Webzine and The Quantum Phoenix. He has performed 140 productions worldwide as an actor and singer. Charles is a big band vocalist and an Elvis impersonator. He is married and has a daughter.

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