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11.07.02 11:54 p.m.

There is only one difference between a madman and me. I am not mad.

  -Salvador Dali  

Previously in Xenology: I had wisdom, which needed to be surgically removed. New Paltz crystals were found.

Credibility and Novocain
A few weeks ago, I had my wisdom teeth removed. Yes, I promise that this is going somewhere that informs your opinions of the characters and introduces plot points. I do not write to bore you. For the obvious reason that I little liked the idea of being drugged into unconsciousness and cut by a stranger, I sternly refused to go to sleep the night before. Insomnia seems to be my answer to fear, which helps ever so much as it tends to make everything more sluggish and harder to deal with.
The doctor who would be doing the prodding was nice enough, though he seemed rather distracted. Though I didn't give it much thought at the time as I was just barely containing my fear, such could have been quite disconcerting. As he was dosing me with N2O, I questioned whether he would give me my teeth when he was done, as I had grown quite attached. He insisted that they were a biohazard as they would be covered in blood and told me to breathe more deeply though my nose in order to knock me out more quickly. I countered with the logical argument that it would be my blood, to which I had absolutely no aversion. He sighed and told me that he would be giving me an IV soon. Before I could ask another question, he insisted that I could not have my teeth and that the IV would knock me out. I began to get lightheaded and assented to the IV.
I actually opted for being knocked out. While it was terrifying to know people in masks would be poking, jabbing, stabbing, and severing parts of me, the concept of being aware they were doing it was quite a bit worse.
When I awoke, I was rather vague on what was happening. I began to ask if I had been trying to speak while I was coming out of the anesthesia, though my mouth full of gauze prevented this. As such, various medical professionals looked at me in confusion and I tried to mime that they should not mind me, as I was ignorant of my condition. A nurse may have handed me seven white pills to swallow and I may have spat blood all over my shirt. This also may not have happened, as I can't imagine they would give pills to a person with a mouth full of gauze who was coming out of sedation and my shirt received no stain. It's just like an alien abduction. Except some of this actually did happen and wasn't a wacky hypnopompic state.
I slept for a few hours and was rather spry thereafter. I had supposed I would be confined to my bed, but this was very much not the case. I was speaking fine only a few hours after the surgery and feeling excellent, aside from acquire a deep loathing for whoever decided it was necessary to remake "He-Man." The show was fine when I was a kid, they should just show the original episodes and let us baste in the homoeroticism and incest.
The doctor prescribed me Vicodin, but I never saw cause to take it. I became a bit achy from time to time, but never so much that I wished to render myself useless. The idea that I would be unable to write if I so chose was a little bit more than I cared to handle. A few sore sockets are nothing to that.
On the whole, I do not wish to take any drug that may alter my awareness of my surroundings. I was discussing this with Sarah (who is of the opinion that I should experience drugs at some point in my life) and realized one of the main reasons I currently want to stay away from such substances. I semi-publicly admit to seeing and feeling very strange things. Ghosts, a UFO, strange blue dancing lights (these are new, only since the ritual). My skeptical and tenuous belief in the paranormal as evidenced by these sightings is something that is immensely important to me. Were I under the influence, I would no longer be able to believe what I was seeing. I can't sacrifice that right now as it is too important. I need to be able to believe. I have been on this particular path... probably since I was three and knew I had seen a ghost (though, of course, my mother insisted I hadn't). As soon as I could read beyond sounding words out, I devoured every non-fiction books on the paranormal my elementary school's library had to offer. When I think of it, I suppose it is a sort of fate. It makes me feel that I am destine to accomplish something, though I cannot imagine what.
When I returned a week later to have my stitches removed (the mere idea that I had stitches in my mouth more than put me off the idea of eating food), the nurse noted my age and where I had gone to high school. I was a bit confused as to why my former high school was on my medical chart, but live in the ignorant world where I can believe most things about me are on medical charts. She asked if I had known a certain girl. I thought for a moment and waxed fondly that I had a crush on said lass when I was in tenth grade. The woman seemed a bit put off by this statement and conceded, "She is a very beautiful girl." I gently stated that she was brilliant and well spoken, insinuating that I was attracted to her less material assets. Inquiring at to the fate of this schoolmate, I was informed that, after graduating from Vassar, she had become the curator of a museum in the city. I became quiet and gazed out the window, thinking how she is leading a life I wish were mine. I could have gone to Vassar, but was too poor. Had I, I don't know that I would be so baffled as to what to do after I graduate. The answer would be a resounding "pay off student loan bills until I am on Medicare."
See, that didn't hurt a bit, now did it?

While jogging to my American Literature course, late once again, I walk by and, in a fluid motion, scooped up another New Paltz crystal. I had assumed that whoever was placing them had graduated, but evidently they or a copycat have decided to continue wasting money providing me with new rocks.
This one was sitting on one of the cement toadstools outside Humanities. It is several crystals, connected to a smoky base. It is not as pretty as the other ones, though this does not mean it does not qualify.
I will solve this mystery.

Birthday Wishes
Tuesday was Zack's birthday. What did you get him?
He invited me over to his bosses' home, where he was house/dog sitting. I got a trifle lost, which is pathetic considering that it was five minutes from my house and I have lived in this town for as long as I can remember. On the plus side, when I turned on my cell phone to call Zack and ask him for closer directions or landmarks, I had voice mail from Emily singing to me and telling me how completely in love she is with me. That was enough to completely banish any anxiety from me.
When I arrived, I noticed that no one else was there. Zack sadly related the fact that no one else could come over and spend his birthday with him. Veronica hadn't even bothered calling to wish him a happy birthday yet, which certainly hadn't improved his demeanor.
However, he quickly turned happy while showing me the joy that is sliding a small, hyper dog along linoleum. Really, it is a remarkably bit of amusement. We spent a few minutes passing the dog to one another as it tried to run in the opposite direction. Don't worry, the puppy loved every second of it.
As we played, I got a page from M who thanked me for petitioning her company, though having to awaked before five the next morning prevented her from joining us.
Strumming his cares away  
Strumming his cares away
Nonetheless, while one of us played with the crack addicted puppy, the other chatted with Emily who mostly seemed to tease me and talk about the stone dildos one could buy from the spirituality catalogue at which she was looking. This led to the inevitable discussion about the best stone from which to hew a sex aid. I decided soapstone would be ideal. I am sure you have all had this discussion innumerable times, so I won't bore you.
However, Zack did share his plans to start a theater troupe in the area. Unlike most people on earth, when Zack says this, he means every word of it. He has the ability, location, connections, and talent. Of course, Emily and I get to share in the vision by being in the troupe. We would put on ensemble performances and possibly even tour. You know what I was saying about being prepared for one's destiny? This is precisely what was occurring and I was reveling in it. Zack will help shape the destinies of many while beginning to fulfill his.
We decided, as no one else was going to show up, to go out to a nice restaurant. Failing that, we decided to eat at a restaurant next to the train station in Cold Spring. It was quaint in a very ordered way. It had always looked as it did when we entered, though it still seemed to be trying too hard to seem older. Our waiter was, in Zack's opinion, a genie of some sort. I suggested that we rub out water glasses to invoke him, though this only resulted in a few horny naiads. They are invisible and incorporeal, though, so they slithered away when we ceased to acknowledge them. The genie didn't bother asking for Zack's ID, which was a shame. The whole point of ordering one's first legal alcoholic beverage is being hassled. The genie stole a normative experience from Zack. I always knew the Djinn could be cruel.
I was having a hard time thinking of what to say to Zack, which is especially strange considering that I have known him for something like seven years. I was very likely having one of my introspective nights, though I did not feel particularly introspective, merely tongue-tied. I wished Emily were with us, as she always succeeds in loosening my tongue. She is my social lubricant. Of course, given that our genie wouldn't respond to being invoked, I knew my wish would go unfulfilled.
I dropped Zack off at a bar on the way home, as he was meeting some young ladies for karaoke. After dealing with an unresponsive genie, I didn't think I was up for banshees.

Soon in Xenology: Grad class. Red Dragon. Nights with Zack. Eileen. Matrimony. Apartment violation.

last watched: Easy Rider
reading: Candide
listening: Surfacing
wanting: to live with Emily.
interesting thought: Zack still cannot rent a carpet shampooer
moment of zen: smelling snow in the air.
someday I must: see America.

Thomm Quackenbush is an author and teacher in the Hudson Valley. Double Dragon publishes four novels in his Night's Dream series (We Shadows, Danse Macabre, and Artificial Gods, and Flies to Wanton Boys). He has sold jewelry in Victorian England, confused children as a mad scientist, filed away more books than anyone has ever read, and tried to inspire the learning disabled and gifted. He is capable of crossing one eye, raising one eyebrow, and once accidentally groped a ghost. When not writing, he can be found biking, hiking the Adirondacks, grazing on snacks at art openings, and keeping a straight face when listening to people tell him they are in touch with 164 species of interstellar beings. He likes when you comment.

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