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WAITING FOR PIGFALL
or,
THE POWER OF THE CRANK

Dreamed Halloween 1979 by Chris Wayan

My friend Wally has gotten involved in a cult that I suspect is suicidal. I let him take me to meet their guru in San Francisco. I get in the back seat, but make sure I sit by the window--that's important, because this car has a strange design: the speed and even what you see out the windshield are somehow controlled by the positions of the windows. With the power of the crank, I have as much control as the driver! And I want it--just in case.

We get out at Dolores Park, where Dr Frank N. Furter, the cult's messiah, holds court. He opens with a little speech--he talks as if the whole park came just to worship him. And the worship sounds ominous: a final meal, and then people will "hibernate" until "the dawn."

Still, I have no proof. I follow Wally, submitting to the early steps in the ritual--it's the only way to stay with him. We shop at a local market for our final meal. Slim pickings--snack foods, processed meats, soft drinks. I ask about fruits and vegetables, and the guy tries to sell me maraschino cherries--jars of carcinogenic red! The rest of the store's goods are all processed junk like that. Of course, if I'm right, the cultists won't have to worry about cancer... I dream I'm about to be sacrificed by a cult, but a levitating pig pinata and a floating map of the US delay them.

Next is my audience with their Messiah, in his parlor. He orders me to compose a long letter to a French Emperor--long dead, but he seems not to know what century he's in, and who am I to dispute a prophet? He insists I base my note on a page from my own dream journal! Says he'll kill me if I don't. The entry's not English, not even alphabetic--a weird mix of Chinese and my private shorthand. Pretty calligraphy in colored inks... but hard to translate. I look for paper to copy onto, and only find one blank page. No room for error! I better get it right on the first try.

Time for my big reward: a ritual blessing from his God. Will I survive it? To stall, I insist on a personalized send-off, being a fellow prophet and wonder-worker and all. I prove it by doing a few small magic tricks. Not stage magic, the real thing--though nothing big, I haven't built up my shamanic muscles, but minor miracles. Still, he's impressed--he's bagged an adept! He agrees to a public send-off. Just what I wanted! For outside on the soccer field, the rank and file are being blessed and "hibernated" by his guards--fighting them would be hard, I'd be way outnumbered. But one-on-one, I may be able to beat him. Besides, he's a charismatic type. Kill the brain and this cult will unravel.

The Messiah digs out a large roadmap of the USA, and a huge, pink, pig piñata, and hangs them several yards above my head by a rope from a gallows. He administers the last rites, prepares to release the rope and drop them on me. I'll be crushed under candy and Rand McNally! What a horrible death!

So I chant "Goodbye" as he says to, and wait for the pig to fall, knowing I'm gonna duck out of the way and then go for him with all my magic powers. Or punch his pompous face. Both.

He pulls the switch, the rope flaps loose... but the map and the pig hang in mid-air, unsupported! His powers are real!

For a minute I'm impressed... then annoyed at his showing off. Then puzzled, as pig and map float pointlessly.

"Well? C'mon, Messiah! Let's get this over with!" I snap, irritated, then realize my voice shows I'm not in trance. Did he notice?

No. The Messiah's gaping up at his miracle--as puzzled as I am! Is this delay due to him... or me? Could I really levitate a pig unconsciously? I don't think so.

But that means... has a THIRD magician stepped in? A third force in this farce? I start to wonder, as we both stand there, minutes dragging by, messiah and sacrifice...

Waiting for pigfall.

NEXT MORNING

I thought the guy was testing me, stretching it out sadistically--but was it a third-party miracle, sparing me in spite of his powers? Or was it my OWN power, unawares? I still don't know. All I'm sure of is... somebody likes me. But is it me?

2001 NOTE

Twenty years later, after the 9/11 attack, this dream linking capitalism and religious nuts seems prescient--anticipating the explosion of murderous millenarian cults from radical Islam to Maoist groups to pseudo-Buddhists who gas commuters, to rightwing Christian, Nazi, and survivalist groups. Capitalism still hasn't fallen--that pig just keeps going like the Energizer Bunny! Ah, but who keeps it up there? Now I think it's all of us--an unconscious delaying tactic we all tacitly condone, while the world sniffs about for a fairer successor to capitalism and fundamentalism that won't crash and burn like poor old Marx. So we delay, and endure the hovering pig, to keep the cults from winning.

Who's that third party, that third way? Democratic socialism? Anarchist co-ops? Eco-something-or-other? Some philosophy dismissed now as mere... cranks? I don't know. But as we focus on the murderous farce being played out between Capitalist and Fundamentalist, between Power Tie and Turban... "Waiting For Pigfall" hints that we've overlooked someone--a third wizard in the mix.

Levitating pig: dream sketch by Wayan


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