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Dreamed 1999/7/23 by Chris Wayan

Cover of Dan O'Neill's 'The Collected Unconscience of Odd Bodkins'. Click to enlarge drawing.

By my feet is a huge series of thick yellow magazines. Too short and fat for National Geographic. The title of one issue rings a bell: looks like a parody or reference to Dan O'Neill's classic underground comic Odd Bodkins. I pull it out but can't find anything resembling Odd Bodkins or with a title matching the spine. It seems to be New Age mysticism at first, but slowly start to realize it's advanced physics without the math, with moody, dark, mysterious graphics interwoven and even behind the text, instead of little boxed schematics. String theory, many-world theory... pictures of the convoluted manifolds created by possibility-branches!

Basically what I have here is... back issues of the universe! No, make that multiverse.

It all seems like speculation though, till I discover a local college is actually conducting cross-time experiments. One man has accessed many nearby timelines, and even led a few students briefly into parallel worlds. He's a vain, balding physics professor suspiciously like John Lithgow playing Dr. Solomon on Third Rock from the Sun.

I don't much like him, but I respect him: he's learning to hold his own wave-function suspended, uncollapsed, so a whole fan or sheaf of possible selves can coexist for hours, even a couple of days. This gives him great strength, since he has all those selves' pooled knowledge and a much wider repertoire of impulses and habits.

The main problem was overlooked at first because it was subtle and could have been chance: crosstime experimenters get sick much more often then random. It seems that if you merge a whole branch of your possible selves and one of them has a virus, it averages out--all of you have a fractional infection! And holding the subtle differences between alternate selves in suspension means mildly suppressing one's immune system, so these virtual viruses get a chance to decide they're real, and spread. He and the others often come down with colds a few days later. Not always, not severe, but a pattern.

To fix the problem, you should visualize and seek out only HEALTHY alter egos; better yet, seek ones who can cure already-rooted illnesses. It should be quite possible--after all, shamans have been using exactly these techniques for eons.

My girlfriend and I go investigate rumors of a shaman who could help teach the physicists what they need to know. S/he lives near the university, in a nearly windowless concrete hut on a street corner. It's covered with huge murals--painted by the current residents, or much older? Have a 1950s look, though spraycanned I think. Dark sky, flying saucers, squiggly nebulae like squid--which all look the same, as if stenciled.

Spraycanned/stenciled mural on my girlfriend's house, of deep space or the multiverse: dream sketch by Wayan.
Some words are also stenciled on repeatedly, mostly one like BLAINE or CLAINE, which at first I tried to read as BLAME or CLAIM but later realized was a proper name. The words and logos form a rough grid--is this a CALENDAR? I think so! A schedule of the groups or classes this guy teaches here! Quite extensive too. Maybe I should go to one...


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