Billy Sees An Android Civilization In the Future
The following afternoon Billy Bayber meditated, as if dead to the world, with no desire to join Uncle Giovanni for a round of golf at Minor Park . The idea of following a ball around a golf course and striking it into a hole seemed hideously trivial; but there was also a second reason: His old high school friends frequented the links in southern Kansas City . Billy could not bear to see any one of them out of embarrassment for what he had become---in his mind, a failure. Through the afternoon and into the evening he meditated.
Streams and streams of beingness washed over him as if from some omnipotent source of power---and suddenly he felt as if he were in the hands of God. For an undetermined amount of the time he languished in this feeling of one-ness; a glow bathed his face in heavenly light and his body felt buoyed by an endless fount of energy. Yet, in time, signs of discontent began to spoil his peaceful façade, for he was never able to languish long in eternal love. Always his energy devolved into the firmament. Always the visions came. One after another, terrible dream images descended upon him from some inconceivable height far above, eroding the peace, love and light that he languished in for most of the afternoon. His posture became increasingly rigid so that, as he sat in bed, his muscles begun to tighten. His eyes darted in their sockets, his hands trembled, and blood trickled from the sides of his mouth when he bit his tongue. A storm of electrical activity brightened his brain with visions of the future in which he saw images of mankind's spiritual death.
The experience was mentally grueling, but also took a physical toll on his body. During a week of painting he suffered through several panic attacks, migraine headaches and sleeplessness, which seemed to cast a permanent haze over reality. Feelings of light headedness would arise and he would have to lie down in bed with a wet towel covering his face. Staying close to home was necessary because any type of loud noise or confusion placed an unbearable strain on the young man's nerves. All his strength went toward recording on canvas the dream images that he saw appearing like morning mist in the future time spiral. They were images of an android civilization. The images ignited his mind so intensely, yet so clearly, preliminary sketches were un-necessary. For a week straight he painted bizarre-looking half-human, half-machine androids whose eyes glowed as if a lamp shined in their skulls. Their faces were completely expressionless.
To relieve himself of the mental stress he decided to attend the Kansas City 's Ballet's Thursday night performance at the Lyric Theater. Twelve ballerinas and twelve male dancers entered the stage holding hands in a line that swept across the back of the stage, looped around to the front, then formed a circle that came together and parted, broke apart and re-merged, rhythmically and triumphantly while additional characters entered the stage: prince Siegfried, the Prince's Tutor, the Queen, a man attired in a jester's uniform. All of them were dancing. The scene was festive and gallant. Towards the end of the scene the jester performed a solo full of silly leaps and frolicking jete's that caused a ripple of laughter to spread through the audience.
As he watched the ballet he slipped into a state of mind he usually induced when engaged in artwork, not unaware of time, but aware of its pulse on a different level, his mind immersed in those dark, brooding chords that preceded the opening scene. When the curtains re-opened into the famous night scene he sat straight up in his seat and unknowingly clutched the velvet arm rests. The space above the dance floor offered itself to his mind as if the diffuse, ice-blue stage lights beamed from no direct power source; but rather from the floor up, this luminous, ice-blue color seemed to hover about the ballerinas as it might in some Cimmerian dream forest where the sun shines as if through a majestic sapphire. Billy followed with his eyes a man whose costume was all black and whose swift stealthy strides---phantom-like in the ice-blue color---conveyed evil implications. This character, The Evil Genius, waved his arms as if casting a spell over the maidens, changing them into mythic beings, and suddenly the ballerinas moved as if hypnotized; they danced very slowly, elegantly and always in unison, their arms now rising and now lowering, their feet now pointing, their bodies now spiraling in wispy, immutable revolutions of exotic water spirits bathing in clear waters.
Briefly, Billy attended the post-ballet reception. In his cheap suit --- a light-blue suite and fat tie---he was painfully self conscious. Worried over a stain in his jacket, he gripped a handkerchief and started rubbing the collar when Astrid strode to a nearby table; heads rippled in her direction. A photographer snapped her picture. Her slanted, almond-shaped eyes---bright and piercingly blue in color---beamed at the camera. A second burst of light flashed upon her face. She had red auburn colored hair and a fair complexion that seemed to attract a gorgeous light upon the surface, a pristine glow. It was Astrid's first ballet performance since the national release of a movie in which she starred, and the girl was a bit of a sensation locally.
to be continued...