by Robert Patrick
1837 N. Alexandria Ave.
L.A. CA 90027
(flyer by Steve Nelson; photos by Allan Gassman)
(The setting is the living-room of Auntie Matter’s apartment in Arlington, Texas. The time is the present. We see up-center the entrance to her convenience kitchen. Right center is the exit to a bedroom. Most of stage left is devoted to a sofa, coffee-tables, a T.V., with many doilies and photos of Rachel, Posner, Little Mark, Auntie’s husband Grey, Rachel’s parents (none of Big Mark, please), and perhaps a few of gods, angels, space-creatures, etc., all autographed to Auntie, of course. Somewhere, a hall door.)
(At rise AUNTIE MATTER is discovered in a miasma of ominous smoke, waving the calibrator, a hand-held device that looks like a small walkie-talkie, heroically at her retreating foes. SHE is a lady in the vague sixties or seventies, white hair curled, flower-print housedress, bifocals, a bead necklace, fuzzy slippers,, support-hose.)
AUNTIE MATTER: Ooooooooooooooooooh, them disgustin’ space lizards!!! Look at this mess. They done left my convenience apartment all ever-which-way like a henhouse seen a hawk. Oh, gods, I don’t know why I have to be the only critter in the universe with sufficient good sense to take care of that dawgoned portal to the alternate inferno. Looky here, my National Enquirer done gone an’ got space-slime all over the exclusive Joan Collins diet, an’ my little pink plastic swan-shaped barometer done turned fuchsia-puke-pink from them star-hoppin’ stink-toads’ ungodly emanations! Oh, if only they was somebody else could take care of the portal and guard the world from utter destruction so’s I could get me some rest and some relief. Don’t seem fair I have to be all alone, retainin’ human form as a little ol’ lady in a tiny Texas town, unappreciated and an’ unsung an’ sufferin’ from lumbago night an’ day just to protect a unappreciative bunch o’ ape-shaped humans from the degeneracy an’ deprecations of interstellar hordes of disgustin’ space lizards! (She gets and idea and makes a magical gesture at the phone, picks it up and in her sweetest voice speaks) Rachel? Hello, honey. I want to go get a little chain at the drug-store,, so I can keep the catastrophe-calibrator around my neck. Could joo come over an’ guard against space lizards for a while?…It’s me, your Auntie Matter, who’d ja think it was?…Oh, come on, Rachel; you know if I was a extra-dimensional simulation I’d of dialed your phone-number backwards. I swear, I thought I taught you pre-Newtonian physics when you was six……Well, you can bring the child. I’m only askin’ you to come over for maybe a hour, so’s I can drive down to the shoppin’ center and get one of them little neck-chains for the calibrator. I was already out once’t today prunin’ my hemlockr an’ I don’t wanna push my luck…….Yes, they was a attack this mornin’ already….Oh, I was a little slow, an’ some of ‘em may of infested Southeast Asia, but that’s lost already anyways, an’ I just – What?… I will not have you talkin’ to me that way, Rachel ben Koomis. I am your aunt an’ I can still give you fallin’ nightmares. Now, I never get no sleep night nor day because I have to guard the world from mind-benders, an’ I watch that kid for you ever’ time you want to disembody, so I do not think it’s too much for me to ask you to mind the portal for one lousy hour, what with Big Mark away on penance, anyhow. What else do you have ta do, may I ask, besides hang in the air an’ glow?…..Yes, you do, an’ don’t think I don’t know about it!….. Humph. Well, yes, I should think you would be sorry…..Yes, I’ll be here. You take little Mark out of warp an’ I’ll make him some peach ice-cream….No, peaches is too high here, I’ll blip some in from Georgia…….It is not neither stealin’. I done saved them from Space-lizards two years in a row, an’ what thanks do I ever get? Humph! Hang up on me, will she? Well,. I’ll just show you, Rachel ben Koomis. I’ll teach little Mark’s alternate personality how to synthesize Nile mud, an’ watch you come out of stasis sometime an’ find a hippopotamus in your camper! (Eerie light suffuses the room, sickly green-purple) Oh, lord, not twice’t in one solar day. Where’s that calibrator? Did I leave it in the estivator? Oh, it’s one of them purple-aura advance squads. Where’s the room deodorizer? No, the calibrator first. Oh, here it is,, right in my woad bag. All right, let’s, see now, purple aura is… eight-point-five on the rectified rhomboidal. Ah! There! Eat electro-dynamics, slime-muck! (Lights flash and flicker as Auntie repels attack of Spacelizards. Purple light disappears. A lovely pink light comes on with a tinkle of music) Oooooooh, don’t thank me, Demeter Mediterraneus, just go pacify the Gaza Strip! (Pink light and music vanish) Whooooo-eeeee, where’s my Airwick? (Finds it and sprays) Thing I hate worst about demoniac forces is the pissy smell!
(RACHEL BEN KOOMIS, Auntie’s niece, enters carrying Little Mark in one of those chest-slings. RACHEL is about thirty, long-haired, wears a poncho, jeans, and thongs.)
RACHEL: Auntie Matter! Auntie Matter! Are you okay?
ATJNTIE MATTER: Yes. Peee-yew, it was some of them saurian troglodytes; they always leave the place smellin’ like a bunghole.
RACHEL (Holds out two peaches): I caught these two peaches in my lap
halfway over and I knew you was in trouble,
AUNTIE MATTER (Snatches peaches): I wasn’t in no trouble. Come the day I can’t repel a buncha purple frogs, I’ll just seal myself in the
quarry on Easter Island. I had most o’ them peaches here when them stink-toads’ started psi-forcin’ the membrane.
RACHEL: Auntie Matter, you oughta get someone to come live with you. What are you gonna do if the temporal torus ever cross-intersects and you get caught in a backwards battle?
AUNTIE MATTER: I don’t need no one takin’ care o’ me, Rachel ben Koomis. Since I got my bifocal contact lenses, I ain’t never mis-set the calibrator by one microphase. An’ just who on this plane of existence, may I ask, is better qualified to counteract a T.T.C.I. than R.C. Matter?
RACHEL: Okay, okay, Auntie Matter. I was just thinkin’ of you and all humankind. Don’t freeze me. I’ll put little Mark under the pyramid and help you with your peach ice-cream. (Exits to bedroom)
AUNTIE MATTER (Fussing around the kitchen): Good God of the moment! I should think I’d qualify for a little respect from my own kin-group.
Stuck here in the form of a silly old woman in Arlington, Texas, without even cable. Raisin’ my own kids an’-my sister’s kids, too. An’ no ectoplasm to work with ever since they sent up that Sputnik an’ marbleized the Heavyside Layer. Oh, if the elder demons was still within gravitation, don’t think I wouldn’t teach you a lesson, Rachel ben Koomis, I’d put the fear of Haley’s Comet into you!
RACHEL (Re-enters without baby): I pointed him true north. Is that the right direction for the constellation Vega this cycle?
AUNTIE (Throwing down a pan): Oh, you know darn well where Vega is, don’t sweet-talk me. You know it was your mama got the star-polarity. Now, you just take the calibrator an’ run over your contra-magnetism tables whilst
I look for the rock-salt an’ the whippin’-cream.
RACHEL: You need any help with that ice-cream?
AUNTIE MATTER: No, I just need someone to understand what it’s been like for me in this incarnation what with two pillars of Stonehenge missin’ an’ my own family intermarried with mammals!
RACHEL: Aw, now, Auntie Matter, don’t be upset. I understand, really I do. I took a sine-curve to get here quicker, ’cause I know you don’t like little Mark to get teleported, an’ I ran into a real bad field o’ ultraviolet cusp displacement, an’ I know how that affects your racial memory.
AUNTIE MATTER: Well, then, show a little kindness, Rachel. It’s been hard on me since your Uncle Grey passed on t» the next world – an’ never come back.
RACHEL: I know, I know,
AUNTIE MATTER: What with me bein’ the last of the pure line –
RACKEL: Yes, Auntie, I know, I know.
AUNTIE MATTER: But we do have the tradition of social service in our family, an’ if Grey was to come to me today an’ say, “Rose, I wanna
» go mutate Neanderthals in a alternate universe, can you handle the kids’ evolution yourself?” I’d say today what I said then. I’d say, “Grey, I think homo sapiens can make it, but I can see how anyone would lose their trust in ’em after the increase in advertising to children. They’s plenty o’ other dimensions, an’ if you wanna go zap the Cro-Magnons in that one an’ give Bigfoot a break, why you just follow your karma an’ be sure to come back the same size.” That’s what I said in 1952 C.S., an’ that’s what I’d say now.
RACHEL: Don’t blame yourself, Auntie Matter. You had Ma and Pa with you then, and you had every reason to believe they could get him back.
AUNTIE MATTER: Well, an’ I had little Posner at home then, an’ him already an advanced warlock.
RACHEL: I know, I know.
AUNTIE MATTER (Recovering somewhat): There. Hand me my talisman an’ I’ll put. a little ol’ genie to turnin’ that ice-cream freezer. I just wanta drive down to the shoppin’ center an’ get me a chain for the calibrator. Oh, where’s the calibrator?
RACHEL: Right here, Auntie. I got it set on warnin’. I don’t know why you don’t leave it that way.
AUNTIE MATTER: I can’t stand them bells, is why. I can still stay awake to watch for auras.(SHE is changing into space-shoes)
RACHEL: Welllll. or you could let someone else take charge of it for a while—
AUNTIE MATTER: Not no one who ain’t nowhere half the time, no sir-ee!
RACHEL: Oh, don’t start that again, Auntie.
AUNTIE MATTER: Well, don’t you- start, Rachel ben Koomis!
RACHEL: I’m sorry I said anything –
AUNTIE MATTER: An’ I know what choor gonna be sorry for next if’n you dare to say it! You’re not gonna use little Mark’s second self to run no calibrator when you’re immaterial, just so’s he can safeguard the known universe! He’s got more important things to do!
RACHEL: Okay, okay.
AUNTIE MATTER: Now, you sit here an’ watch that calibrator an’ I’ll be back with my prescription an’ one of them little neck doohickies. Oh, an’ here’s a piece o’ pure silver for the genie when the ice-cream’s nice an’ soft. Remember to hand it to him with your left hand or you’ll be inside out when I come back an’ I don’t have no blue chalk to make no pentagram!
RACHEL: Yes, Auntie.
AUNTIE MATTER: They’s been two attacks already today an1 that’s usually it, unless it’s the end of the world. If it is, they’s a stack of Holy Books of all faiths under that Mandela. Hold ’em at bay ‘til you hear me honk. My Volvo’s slow startin’ on these cold days, so you may have to’ resort to voodoo, but that shouldn’t be no trouble with Saturn an’ Mars con-junct. I’ll pick up some powdered rhinoceros horn to make little Mark a birthday treat. Oh, an’ one more thing—
RACHEL: What, Auntie?
AUNTIE MATTER: When I come back, I better not find joo levitatin’. (Exits)
RACHEL: Oh, Auntie! (Kicks around the room, fuming) Mark? Mark, honey? Are you meditatin’? This is Rachel……Oh, okay, honey, I didn’t mean to drag you into dream-state. I’ll use the telephone. (Makes a gesture at phone, picks it up). Hi, honey. Is this a bad time to call, biorhythmically?…..Yeah, I’m over at Auntie’s, mindin’ the portal…..No, no, I sine-curved…Yes, Little Mark’s fine. He said the cutest thing today, but you couldn’t hear it if I repeated it, most of it was supersonic. Are they treatin’ you badly enough there?…That’s good, you oughta be exorcised in time for Little Mark’s human birthday…….Naw, I was just feelin’ a little sanpaku. Auntie’s havin’ one of her “You married a mammal” days…….Well,, it’s hard for her what with Posner on trial and Ma and Pa vaporized and me not really existin’ you know. Aw, Honey, don’t worry. I know it’s-not easy for you to understand, you beln’ mostly mortal. Don’t let it throw you into logical categories or it’ll delay your purification. (Green glow from bedroom). Oh, little Mark’s second self is comin’ in. Radiate sanctity, sweetheart. I gotta get rid of a genie before this Egyptian spirit comes in. He don’t believe in them and I’ll have to explain and explain. Yes, sugar, I worship the deities of your forefathers, too. ‘Bye. (kiss noise) Oh, honey, did them name-tapes stay sewed into your hair-shirts? Aw, he’s gone, (Hangs up) Okay, genie? (Little yellow light comes on). That ice cream’s ready now. Here’s your silver piece. Tell your overlord to pray for my true self. Oh, wait a minute, do you serve Shiva the Thousand-Armed? You do? Then forget about it. Auntie don’t like human sacrifice. She says it ties up your court-time and the judges get to know you. Avant, phantasm. (Yellow light vanishes) You can come in now, Inexorable Presence. I’m sorry to be informal, but our frankincense connection is in Tibet for a holy orgy. You want some peach ice-cream?
(AKPTAH RA enters. HE is in high Egyptian priestly regalia, and very disoriented)
AKPTAH RA: I am AkhPtah Ra the Magnificent, Pharaoh of Both Rivers. What is this place, winged lady?
RACHEL: This is Just a poncho, AkhPtah, I have arms. This is twentieth-century America and you’re trapped in my mostly mortal baby, remember?
AKPTAH RA: Oh, right. How’s little Mark?
RACHEL: Sleeping the sleep of the live. And my folks are space dust, and Posner’s on trial. Uncle Grey is an atavism, my mate is in penance in the Carlsbad Caverns, and Auntie’s tryin’ to park at the mall. That’s all. Did you materialize for anything significant, or can I do a little housework while we chat?
AKHPTAH RA: You are the niece of the Guardian of the Portal?
RACHEL: Yeah. She’s out. If you wanna leave a message, I speak the Twenty Tongues. A little slow on the Netherworld ones.
AKHPTAH RA: I have come to give a great warning.
RACHEL: Auntie’s in her Volvo. I’d hate to telepath her because of her weak brakes. You want to wait for her or tell me real slow?
AKHPTAH RA: Cataclysm Is imminent. Attend my premonition.
RACHEL: Okay. Could you hold it down a little? The baby’s teething.
AKHPTAH RA: Sorry. Your time-frame is menaced by Anti-Olympians, right?
RACHEL: And their detestable hordes. Auntie never gets any sleep.
AKHPTAH RA: Okay, you’re the ones, then. Lo, a massive offensive is being staged. Beyond the orbit of the other Pluto, the legions of the Opposite Gods rally in multitudes.
RACHEL: Do you have figures on that?
AKHPTAH RA: I’ll transmit them neurally while we talk. My time is not long.
RACHEL. Okay, do them reeeeal slow. I have to translate from Egyptian to binomials.
AKHPTAH RA: The underlords are aware of your parents’ absence from this sub-sphere.
RACHEL: Oh, golly.
AKHPTAH RA: What’s wrong? I didn’t get to the bad part yet.
RACHEL: Oh, it’s my fault my folks are gone, is all.
AKPTAH RA: Don’t get causal. This is important.
RACHEL: I’m all right now. What else?
AKPHPTAH RA: Your aunt and yourself and your cousin Posner are the last of the pure line. The three of you combined with the calibrator can repulse this onslaught provided you mesh seamlessly with the Ever-Living One.
RACHEL: Oh, dharma-bummer.
AKHPTAH RA: What’s wrong now?
RACHEL: Well, you might as well know. Industry and aerospace experi-ments have mucked up Earth’s atmosphere. The Ever-Living One’s parameter contacts are all in another dimension. We haven’t heard from her in two thousand years. This onslaught of Opposite Gods might be real serious.
AKHPTAH RA: This is a great error. You must begin preparing.
RACHEL: Well, there’s more.
AKKPTAH RA: What more could there be?
RACHEL: Posner’s on trial for recidivism and – Oh, hell, I’m not real. I told you all this before, but you must be time-tripping. I guess that’s why you were mad at me last time we talked.
AKHPTAH RA: Then this time-sphere is unavoidably doomed?
RACHEL: As far as I can tell,, but I haven’t kept up training.
AKKPTAH RA: That means my mortal coil on this strata will be non-existent. I must transmit back to the Devic bardos and remain sus-pended in the agony of pre-sentience for untold millennia until the inevitable cyclic resumption of this instant?
RACHEL: I think so, but we’re a matriarchy and only Auntie could say for sure. She must be on the way back. Can I tell her after dinner to soften the shock? She’s immortal but she’s old right now and I hate to put a strain on her, much less the end of the world.
AKHPTAH RA: Do as you must. It Is my fate to leave you now and return to the soon-to-be-evaporated shell of your infant son. (He is backing away)
RACHEL: Okay, I’ll put: a pot-roast on for Auntie. Will you change little Mark?
AKHPTAH RA: Into a pot-roast?
RACHEL: No, his diaper,
AKHPTAH RA: If you promise to make every exertion to rescue infinity from evil.
RACHEL: Okay, but it’s really gonna mess up my marriage. (HE is gone) (SHE gestures at telephone, picks It up). Hi, honey. Me again…..Oh, well, I could call back after the ceremony…..Oh, that’s okay then, they have to get through all the air-signs before you come up, I’ll rush. Honey, all material manifestation is menaced by the Opposite Gods and it’s all my fault, so I’m going to have to donate myself utterly to the galactic flow for a couple of days and might not phone you, Don’t get upset. This is the sacredest part of the ceremony you’re in now, and if you open your eyes the priestesses will eat you…. They have to, honey. That’s their job. And this is nine. Goodbye. Try to under-stand. (Hangs up) Oh, why can’t I do my part to maintain the phenomenal continuum, and make a relationship work, too? Well, no use cryin’ over spilt galaxies. Be brave, Rachel. Be strong. You know what you have to do. I just wish there was a alternative besides eternal dam-nation. Well, serves me right. Serves us all right for epiphanizing as critters that still have egos. Okay! (SHE intones ritually) Flamboyant gesticulation, otiose vocabulary, arcane incunabula, melodramatic manifestation, get on it! (Knock at door) I’m comin’!
(SHE opens door to admit MIZ LILITH, dressed as frowsy housewife, flowered wrapper, slippers, curlers, etc. )
MIZ LILITH: See here, Rose Matter, I told joo about makin’ all them strange noises. I got headaches an’ you’re drownin’ out “The Days of Our Lives.”
RACHEL: I recognize you, Miz Lilith, come in and drop the simulacrum.
LILITH (Enters and closes door and whips off disguise, to be reveaed in punk-dominatrix gear): At last I am revealed! I, Lilith, mistress of malevolence, princess of pandemonium, nemesis of positivism—and three times winner of the Miss Mass Hysteria Trophy! So, Rachel ben Koomis, I hear from you.
RACHEL (unruffled): Yes, we have to talk.
MIZ LILITH: For subjective centuries I have savored this confrontation. What is it,
little cosmic cleverness? What gives you to my sight?
RACHEL: Well, I figure you probably can guess. I’m ready to make a deal with you.
MIZ LILITH: Our last encounter, as I recall, and as Lilith, seeress and spirit, damned and damning, you may be sure that I recall it all, our last encounter was similarly prefaced – mine hostess – and as I recall I came off not the better for it. Why should I descend and condescend to deal with you, make deals with you again?
RACHEL: Okay, enjoy it, I guess you got it comin’ after the silly teenage tricks I pulled on you, but please, if you got any mercy left in your ligaments, please get your dramatizing and teeth-gnashing over with, and let’s parlay. And don’t take long. You can’t take long, because the reason I called is – there may not be long.
MIZ LILITH: Oh? Have our guardians gone agley? A A little negligence in our cosmic consciousness? Some slight senility in the Portal’s protector? Has our much-praised Auntie Matter succumbed to mortal menopause or taken to temporal tippling?
RACHEL: Please leave Auntie Matter out of this, Miz Lilith, you got NO call to malign her. She’s a good woman – only I guess you wouldn’t know nothin’ about that.
MIZ LILITH: Careful, petitioner. I may not be anxious to do business with one who personally persecutes.
RACHEL: Oh, Miz Lilith, give it over. You know the only thing I’d want from you an’ so you know what I called you here for. Now tell me the terms and don’t be vengeful. You’re gonna get yours soon enough and you know it as well as I do, so can we talk conditions and reverbs?
MIZ LILITH: So, at last it has come. And she who made raucous all the catacombs of Hell with mockery of me sues for suavity and good manners? No, halfling, you will suffer for what you have made me suffer, you will twist and writhe in agony and expectation, you will flagellate yourself and betray all guardiankind before I yield to your pathetic and contemptible beseechal –
RACHEL: Oh, cut the Mephistopheles stuff, Miz Lilith. If you don’t deal and deal quick, the known universe will end without me havin’ sinned sufficient, an’ you’11 never get the bad mark off your book, so can it and talk turkey.
MIZ LILITH: Well, if you put it that way. You want to sell me your soul. Is that vulgar enough for you?
RACHEL: That’s vulgar enough,, if you malevolent trash call plain speakin’ vulgar, but it ain’t what I want at all, so who’s omniscient now, smarty-pants?
MIZ LILITH: Well, then what in the blue thunder— pardon me. Well, then what is your plea, world-watcher?
RACHEL: Haw! Caught choo with your country showin’, didn’t I? Well, let me gloat, you’re gonna “be gloatln1 all ‘over the firmament soon enough. Miz Lilith, what I want is a fair trade with fair terms –
MIZ LILITH: Fair! She says fair! Recording angels, underline that adverbial! The wench who wheedled me out of my rightful wrongful due stands on a planet with gravity and says she wants fairness when all the spheres still sing with her duplicity –
RACHEL: Come down, Lilith! All right, all right, you’re right. Morality don’t become quadri-dimensionals. When I took all them bad drugs in the sixties and started gettin’ in touch with you serpent-spawn, I had plenty warnin’s from Auntie Matter and the Rosicrucians. But I thought I was a big thinker and a self-taught psychic, and I got enmeshed with you fork-tongued sharpies just like some suburban cheerleader playin’ with her poltergeist. Still, you knew what you was doin’, too when you smelled that roastin’ goat and come up out ‘of the New York City Sanitation System,
MIZ LILITH: I knew more than that, gatekeeper; I knew I had finally got my tentacles onto a member of the Matter family, and I was overjoyed!
RACHEL: And I been payin’ for it ever since. So if you been laughed at, I been cried over, so can we start just slightly later than the Big Bang and you tell me what you want for the loan of my body?
MIZ LILITH: Ooooooo, when I realized you’d tricked me and made a covenant for me to take your body rather than your soul, I was so enraged I spat asteroids.
RACHEL: I always suspected you was the cause of them Guatemalan earthquakes.
MIZ LILITH: No, not I! You! You and your clever contractual codicils.
RACHEL: Blame Harvard Law School. I was sleepin’ with a baccalaureate.
MIZ LILITH: So now I have your body forever suspended in a tessarect, and what good does it do me? And you have the mostly mortal husband and child you pled for.
RACHEL: Yes, if I don’t lose ’em today forever.
MIZ LILITH: So you want your body back? For what? Your Auntie Matter used the last globule of ectoplasm left in this quaternity to make your substitute. Has anyone ever noticed the difference? Has your mostly mortal mate ever flinched from carnal caresses because he was holding a bundle of firmament-foam? Has your little diapered dreamer ever missed a step in evolution because he nursed at your pullulating paps? No, you’ve had it all. You gulled me, you escaped the fate of your generation, you crossed the forbidden barrier between the twice-immortal and the eternally undead and came back functionally whole, and on top of it all you have had mortal love and motherhood, which’ I was denied at the dawn of comprehensible time! What more do you want? Why do you need your body back?
RACHEL: Ain’t for you to question why. I need it for an afternoon. And I’m willin’ to pay for it, so what’s it to you?
MIZ LILITH: I will be satisfied. I know if I bargain with you, you will be mine forever if you should ever accidentally die. But forever is not enough when you’ve been there. I want the facts now! Facts are all we have of now and then, who have no other sense of then-and-nowness. Tell me why you want your body, my booty back – and no lies. I can detect any lie!
RACHEL: Yeah? Well, you believed Lucifer when he said he could beat Jehovah, and make you Queen of the Angels, didn’t you? So where was your never-dent lie detector then?
MIS MIZ LILITH: Oh!
RACHEL: I’m sorry. I’m sorry- I didn’t mean to hurt you in the only feeling you have. I’m sorry, Miz Lilith, please forgive me.
MIZ LILITH: Forgiveness is not my business. As you have so plainly pointed out, damnation is. Hurry – and be damned fast.
RACHEL: Everyone who lives forever knows truth is its own reward, for No torment in eternity is worse than one’s own confusion. Okay, you want it, you got it. They’s a major attack of Anti-Olympians en route, an’ I need my body to fight back.
MIZ LILITH: That should be nothing for you and your aunt and her son.
RACHEL: It wouldn’t be – but Posner ain’t available.
MIZ LILITH: He what?
RACHEL: How the hell do you think the space-scum got Southeast Asia? Posner tried to pass.
MIZ LILITH: What?
RACHEL: Yeah, he got intimidated and took to joinin’ gun-clubs and beatin’ up women, and he’s away on indefinite trial. That make you happy?
MIZ LILITH: Ooooh, what I would have given for Southeast Asia!
RACHEL: Well, I’m sorry I ain’t got it to offer. You wanna fight space-lizards for it, you’re welcome, and get the Anti-Olympians on your back for a change.
MIZ LILITH: No – no – not even to see the juncture of the Tigris and Euphrates again and stick pins in the bones of Adam. No, we are content to let your flock fight the space-saurians. Sooooo, Posner is gone.
RACHEL Yes, can I have my body back now?
MIZ LILITH: But still, even you and Auntie Matter by pooling your powers with those of your offspring- –
RACHEL: NO! Little Mark, has somethin’ else to do besides —
MIZ LILITH: Aha! Besides what? Now it comes. Besides what? What has
little Mark to do?
RACHEL: Lilith – though it betoken the death of mankind, the breaking of the Seventh Seal, and the pulping of all material being and the condemnation of all souls to endless unreincarnation, I shall never reveal that. So help me Chronos and Rhea.
MIZ LILITH: Here, now! No need to talk filth. I believe you. I once had a goal, you know.
RACHEL: All right. So about that body –
MIZ LILITH: You have me, you know. I must give you your body or the universe goes? At least tell me why.
RACHEL: You’ve got me, too. There are glands in my original body that were not duplicated in this dupe. Auntie was wearin’ Ben Franklin’s bifocals that he gave her for helpin’ with the Constitution, and she left out a sub-microscopic mutant system. I can’t save the world without it.
MIZ LILITH: Does she know?
RACHEL: No, I never told her. It’s the only mistake she ever made.
MIZ LILITH: So, for a delay in medical optometry, I am at last to have the
soul of a Matter. Creation was worth it, after all. Very well, Rachel ben Koomis, prepare to triple-trans-substantiate.
RACHEL (Bows) : Like this?
MIZ LILITH: Palms forward.
RACHEL: Okay. Sorry.
MIZ LILITH: That’s all right. Oh, orbital displacements inter-transect and permit cathexis. Even as she who is made of pain commands, trickle the compound captive in my tessarect one dimension down, and thus replace the groveler at my feet with her solid twin. All this, forces that shape themselves from names, so that Rachel ben Koomis may be un-twained and in soul and substance be single.
RACHEL: Just for about twenty-four hours.
MIZ LILITH: Ha? You think so? Forever!
MIZ LILITH: It is too late. You are real again!
RACHEL: But that means –
MIZ LILITH: Yes, little brilliance! It means now that someday you will most certainly die and there is no escaping me. You have sinned and you will die and you shall be mine forever!
RACHEL: OH, it’s true! It’s true! I can see and hear without that hook-up to the Plutonian computer. I can smell Little Mark’s diapers! Oh, what joy! Oh, what pain!
MIZ LILITH: You are in phase forever, issue of the Matter matrix. And I have defeated you. Ah, what weariness.
RACHEL: All right, go now. But remember – your torment for this treachery is retroactive and will begin at the beginning of time and be added to your already intolerable load.
MIZ LILITH: As if that mattered – as if anything mattered -when all is Maya and illusion and deception in all sectors. (SHE dons her frowsy disguise)
RACHEL; Well, at least the world will be saved and time will endure a bit longer, though I swear I really don’t know what for. (Opens door)
MIZ LILITH: Why, hesh up that existentialism, Rachel ben Koomis. Gosh all gumdrops, what will the neighbors think? (Exits. Rachel closes door)
RACHEL: Forgive me, Auntie Matter. Forgive me, Little Mark. Forgive me Mark , my darling. Forgive me absolutes of subsumation. I’ve paid, and I will pay, down through the anguished ambuscades of Abaddon — but you’ll pay more – ’cause you only got your Rachel ben Koomis for one lifetime,
(AUNTIE MATTER enters in new shoes, with packages)
AUNTIE MATTER: Well, stand there and look unredeemed, why don’t choo? I threw all the toll booths out of phase with my telekinetic negative ions an’ we was backed up on 30 like zombies. I smell ozone? You had the TV on?
RACHEL: No, Auntie Matter. No…..I was just thinkin1′ silently. Did joo get choor little neck-chain?
AUNTIE MATTER: I did. Cute little thing, too. It’s got ceramic turtle-doves on the catch. And I got me some new orthopedic tennis shoes with ripple soles so’s I don’t fall down if the millennium comes whilst I’m on linoleum. That ice-cream ready?
RACHEL: Yes. Yes, it is, Auntie. I’ll get choo some.
AUNTIE MATTER: Now, don’t go playin’ handmaiden. I ain’t mad anymore._ Auntie
matter’s sorry she lost her oneness with all being, but my corns was achin’ like a tectonic plate. That Little Mark wake up whilst I was surface-travelin’?
RACHEL: No. No. He’s chartin’ the paths of unconsciousness like the little nucleus he is.
AUNTIE MATTER: Rachel, -are you all right? I was gonna bring you some chocolate-covered cherries, but all’s they had was them waxy kind, except a special whereas you get a box o’ them nice English ones with a Harlequin love novel tied onto it with a purple ribbon, but I done read all the novels, and you know how purple draws imps.
RACHEL: That’s mighty sweet of you to think on it, Auntie Matter, but I feel–just as content and happy as I’ll ever be. Oh, I’m so glad I’m related to you. I am. I really am. I can’t think of nothin’ I’d rather be than issuant from your posterity.
AUNTIE MATTER: Well, superflex me, Rachel, I don’t know what to do when you get sentient and mental. Why, I’m proud of you, too, girl, really I am. If I ever seem not to be, I hope you’ll put it down to a tired and overworked pseudo-woman’s maladjustment to atomic stability.
RACHEL: Yes, Auntie Matter, yes. You know I will,
AUNTIE MATTER: There – I got the calibrator hooked on to the little thingamajigs an’ look! It holds real well, an’ I won’t even have to get up from the plumbin’ conveniences if them cold-blooded transportees happen to bushwhack Earth while I’m sittin’ down.
RACHEL: Yes, Auntie, that’s real nice.
AUNTIE MATTER: Ooooh, sugar-formula, you come on over here. What’s gone and got you droopy?
RACHEL: Well, you might as well know—
AUNTIE MATTER: You didn’t go an’ teleport Posner no peach ice-cream out to Andromeda?
AUNTIE MATTER: You didn’t numb Big Mark?
RACHEL: No, no, Auntie. I didn’t’ do any— Well, it ain’t nothin’ I done I want to tell you. Are you steady?
AUNTIE MATTER: All is flux, Rachel. Tell me.
RACHEL: Okay. While you were out – AkhPtah Ra came in –
AUNTIE MATTER: Hmph! He know where he was?
RACHEL: Now, no dishin’, Auntie. This is important. He said the Opposite Gods is massin’ for a major offensive–
AUNTIE MATTER: An’ then went back to mere unendin’ torture, I’ll bet. Just like a cat-worshiper.
RACHEL: So that’s it, I guess.
AUNTIE MATTER: Well, now I know what’s depressin’ you.
RACHEL: You do?
AUNTIE MATTER: Why, of course, I do. You think I need second-sight to tell that the upcomin’ destruction of the universe has you down? Now, look, Rachel. When me an’ your Uncle Grey took on corporeal content, we knew what we was gettin’ into. Sure nuff, we thought this tiny little fleck o’ phlegm Jehovah had gone and made for hisself was worth cultivatin’ and preservin’ an’ fightin’ for. But we always knowed ‘they was a chance of losin’ it. Your momma an’ poppa knew it, too. They never held it against you that they got – well, what they done went and gone and got. Life is different ever’where, and when you get into it, you take your chances of gettin’ involved. They raised you the best they could whilst they was multiplying elements, arid they done a good job. It’s a sign that they done a good job that you have such tender feelin’s for this Creation. An’ I know you feel like you let all these poor pathetic beings down jus’ cause they’s all likely to be destructed into less than dust in a few minutes. But we tried, Rachel, we tried. An’ in the long run that’s what counts. Now you buck up. Even if the world ends and the borders of the uttermost galaxies introvert and all collapses into an alternate inferno – why we’ll go on someplace else, yes, an’ with enough o’ Big Mark left for you to use as a module. An’ above all, Rachel, remember this before that squamous horde of unspeakable horror comes at us with the implements of Ragnarok – above. all, remember that Little Mark will go on to do his truly important work. What’s a few quintillion discorporate gibberin’ entities blown into circular eternal insanity compared to that?
RACHEL: I know you’re right. Auntie Matter. Yes – yes, that’s what’s depressin’ me.
AUNTIE MATTER: An’ just think – we won’t have these damned human bodies to lug about and tend to anymore. Hot that that’s bothered you recently. Oh, auntie’s sorry.
RACHEL: That’s all right, Auntie Matter. You see, there’s somethin’ I have to tell you—
AUNTIE MATTER: Ooooh, you set it on warnin’ and’ there’s that damned bell.
RACHEL: Well, how else would we know they was comin’?
AUNTIE MATTER: How would we know? Rachel, you can smell ’em. Ready
now. Marshall your psionic forces and cross your fingers. Here the unprecedented legions of catastrophe come. There! There! Decimate ’em! Excoriate em! Sweet Atomic Table, look at ’em — stretchin’ clear back to the rim of conceptual distortion. Well, we’ll take a few megadecagoogols of ’em with us, hey, Rachel? Rachel?
RACHEL (Strangely still): Doom, wrench ’round the colossus of catabolism. Fortune, turn your wheel. Yield to these invaders all they desire – multiply their puissance,, strengthen them thousandfold and thousandfold that thousand to the thousand thousandth power and—-turn the power of their hate on—them! Yes! Them! Go! Them! Slash! Them! Burn! Them! Blast! Blazon! Curdle, waste, and’ pulverize them! Them! Them!
AUNTIE MATTER: As good is a God, Rachel, look – we wiped time clean of them!
RACHEL: The portal is closing.
AUNTIE MATTER: Lock, you can see the Anti-Olympians screeching!
RACHEL: They were coming themselves. This would have been the end!
AUNTIE MATTER: Hee-haw, watch them transmogrifying. Boy, the fabric of space oughta be a long time healing now, before them conceited Ur-buggers ever
dare try to entorquate through Terra again.
RACHEL: It was all worth it.
AUNTIE MATTER: Yessirree. An’ we didn’t even wake up Little Mark.
AUNTIE MATTER: Well, I swear, that kind of mythological triumph always
just gets my olr juices goinr. I want me some peach ice-cream. How bout choo?
RACHEL: Okay, Auntie. Sure.
AUNTIE MATTER (Dishing out ice-cream): Why, that little genie just done gone and whupped up as flocculent a bucket o’ ice cream as I ever did foreshadow. I’m jus’ gonna wrap myself around this an’ watch Phil Donahue. I hear he’s got a group on in favor of masochistic masturbation. You ever hear of such a thing?
RACHEL: No, Auntie, no, I didn’t,
AUNTIE MATTER: Well, here’s your ice cream, let’s just sit down and put our feet up. Y’know, I might of slipped if I hadn’t got me these new shoes at the shoppin’ center. So it sure is a good thing you come over today, ain’t it, Rachel?
RACHEL: Yes, yes it is.
AUNTIE MATTER: Oh, effluvia!
RACHEL: What is it, Auntie?
AUNTIE MATTER: I forgot my tradin’ stamps.
RACHEL: Well, that’s okay.
AUNTIE MATTER: It’s the principle of the thing.
RACHEL: Yes. Yes, I know…..Auntie Matter?
AUNTIE MATTER: What, Rachel, honey?
RACHEL: Auntie Matter, I’ve been studying a little on anti-demoniac logic lately.
AUNTE MATTER: You gonna try to wheedle the Hundred Dozen out of punishin’ Big Mark, you gonna have to get more sophisticated than that.
RACHEL: No. It’s just a sentimental thing from childhood –
ATOTIE MATTER: Aw, that’s sweet .
RACHEL: — and I notice that the wording of the contract with a demon is always of prime importance.
AUNTIE MATTER: Well, I guess you noticed that the sun rose today, too. What’s into you?
RACHEL: So if—an’ this is all for a bedtime story to tell Little Mark — if a demon was to say “Your soul and body will be together forever -” wouldn’t that work out to where the other party would never die at all.?
AUNTIE MATTER: Well, sure, that’s elemental. A demon’d have to be pretty silly or pretty emotionally involved to let that slip by. Can’t take no bodies into Hell.
RACHEL: Right. So I guess that person who got that accidental human immortality would be pretty well-advised to make every possible and impossible effort to preserve the world they happened to be on, wouldn’t they? And to always strive beyond striving to improve it and make it fetter for them and their children and their children’s children’s children?
AUNTIE MATTER: Well, I would think that might be advisable, yes. This gonna be a long story? RACHEL: Maybe.
AUNTIE MATTER: Oh, maybe Richard Chamberlain will do a mini-series of it. I just love him, don’t you?
RACHEL: Well, yes, Auntie, yes, yes, I do. A
AUNTIE MATTER: That ice cream is good, isn’t it?
RACHEL: Yes, Auntie, yes it certainly is. I guess this old world is gonna get fought for pretty hard, I guess.
AUNTIE MATTER: Why, shore it is. Who ever thought of givin’ it up?
RACHEL: Look, there’s a news flash. War – and crime – and poverty – and despair – and primitive pain, and terror night and day. But there is hope, world, there really is.
AUNTIE: Why shore there is, Rachel – Richard Chamberlain will star in anything!