KISS OF A SAVAGE
Dreamed 1993/10/28 by Chris Wayan
A huge picture on a museum wall. On the wall, not hung on it. An ancient mural! Two images survive--a standing Bodhisattva and a rampant unicorn. At the foot of each are the code numbers the archeologists wrote when they found them. Not dug them up, just found--the plaque says the wall was standing here long before this current civilization arose! The museum was built around the wall, because of it. A visitor says "This is the oldest surviving wall in the world. It dates back 15,000 years--to around 2000 A D. The painter was also an author."
The speaker and his two friends touring the museum, talking about the ancient mural, turn away at last to the next exhibit. It's a cube of air, with three ancients frozen in time. It dates from only a little later than the wall, when the Ancient World collapsed in war or eco-disaster. Not a mock-up: three real people who tried a desperate time-experiment and froze. They're still in their own space and time... they've never reacted to outside events.
The contemporary three look close at their frozen ancestors... and the ancients' eyes flicker. Follow them! Slowly their time-cube MELTS. No one ever looked at them closely enough before, to wake them! Now their timeberg thaws and melts into mist. They slump out of stances they've held for millennia. Glance around and realize... their world is gone. Time-castaways, with no way back.
And me? I'm one of them. A time-savage.
The moderns show us around. I'm surprised--San Francisco is still a city, there still are cities, and even cars! well, ground-level vehicles. Amazing. We even travel on a road, south along the old path of Bayshore Freeway through town to the low pass near Candlestick Point. There's a red warning light on the right side of the dashboard. I wonder if it's a seat-belt warning, but they seem okay. I check and check for what's malfunctioning, and realize at last it could be inherent, nothing I'm DOING: the light may be warning that dangerous wild animals may be inside the car.
Wild animals like me.
South a few miles to Brisbane... and the road ends at the sandy shore of the Bay, which has risen a little, covering the old mudflats. From here, cars drive on the sandy beaches, bare of houses and hotels.
A line of eucalyptus stands in the water: this flooding is recent. I remember I walked along the path under those trees once. It's disturbing to think that was 15,000 years ago, that these are distant descendants of those trees, that they're drowning now in brine and time... yet our ancient path is still there, flooded in silver. I walked there. And now there is gone.
We get out and hike up a canyon into the hills around San Bruno. Ahead, the canyon ends in a near-cliff that oozes with water and weird color. Mushroomy flower bushes. Like soft coral, or big bulgy tastebuds--red, lurid yellow, violet. They glisten with moisture. I feel shaken--lost in an alien time. What are these things? There's a sign at the foot of the slope. Maybe it explains. I stoop to read it...
Whack! Someone threw a clod of mud at me! Look around, can't see who. Kneel to read the sign. Splat! Just missed. Slam! That didn't. But this time I saw my attacker. It's a mushroom bush. They must be aliens who have naturalized here. The Mushroombush People.
Do they sense I'm a savage too, or do they just hate humans in general?
Do they have good reason for that?
I look sharply at them and they quiet. Only resort to mudslinging behind my back, do they? These Mushroom Bushes are a little too old-style human for my taste.
Later, back in town, I notice that modern devices generally regard us savages from the past with alarm, treat us like wild animals straying into their city, but the modern PEOPLE seem to like savages. They say we have passion.
When the boyfriend of the modern girl is away, I give in to my attraction to her, and shyly kiss her. To my astonishment she responds with delight! I was thought of as very shy in ancient times, but she sees me as wild and spontaneous.
We have a wonderful affair.
Her boyfriend returns, a Greek god, with black curly hair and strong perfect features... intelligent, knowledgeable, big-hearted, flawless. I know she won't stay with me, though for a dangerous moment I want to try to compete with this god from the future. I don't even know why she had even a fling with me--I can't compare.
And he comes up to me, grabs my head in his hands... and kisses me on the forehead and says "Take my blessing. I knew I could never keep her love, once she'd met you. A savage with true passion." He's wry, a little bitter, but sees no point in trying to change her mind. He can't compete with imperfection.
With the kiss of a time-savage.
NOTES IN THE MORNING
When being savage is a blessing. In our processed world.
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