Тэд Уильямс: Go ask Elric

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Тэд Уильямс Go ask Elric
  • Название:
    Go ask Elric
  • Автор:
  • Жанр:
    Фэнтези / на английском языке
  • Год:
    1994
  • Язык:
    Английский
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Go ask Elric: краткое содержание, описание и аннотация

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GO ASK ELRIC


TAD WILLIAMS

Up From the Skies was rattling the windows. Sammy never played Hendrix at less than concert volume, no matter the hour, whether his parents were home or not. It was one of the things Pogo admired about him.

“Church,” Sammy said, and took another hit on the bong. He puffed out his cheeks like a trumpet player, trying to hold in a cough.

“Yeah. Man was God,” Pogo said, nodding. “Is God.” He started to reach for the bong, but decided that too much dope would interfere with the rush when the acid hit.

“You know he’d hate it now,” Sammy said. “All this shit. Gerald Ford. Hardly any acid. Disco.” He waved his hand in a loose'wristed gesture that summed up and dismissed the entire decade of the Seventies to this halfway point. “He’d be bummed.”

“Fuckin’ A.” Pogo flopped back into the beanbag chair and contemplated the decor of Sammy’s room. Roger Dean album covers, an M.C. Escher drawing with self-absorbing chameleons, and three different portraits of Jimi Hendrix were thumbtacked to the walls. The walls behind the pictures and all of the ceiling had been painted black and covered with whirlpools of white stars — the artistic end'product of a weekend’s speedathon. The northwest'Corner stars were little more than blobs. Sunday afternoon, Pogo remembered, when they started to come down.

It was a cool look, he thought. Like floating in outer space, but with posters.

As he watched, the stars shimmered slightly and the sable field behind them seemed to recede.


“Man! You feeling it?”

Sammy nodded. “Gettin’ buzzy.” He leafed through his sideways stack of records, motor-coordination already starting to short-circuit. “Dark Side of the Moon. Sick of it. Surrealistic Pillow? That’s pretty trippy. ‘Go ask Alice, when she’s ten feet tall...’, ” he sang in the familar — and tuneless — Key of Sammy. He stared at the cover, then dropped it back and riffled further. “How about Close to the Edge7.”

“Nah. More Hendrix. Electric Lady land.”

Sammy tried to stand up, laughed, and crawled to the turntable. As the needle came down on the wrenching wah-wah of Voodoo Chile Pogo smiled a tiny smile. He needed the Hendrix right now. Jimi was a friend, in a way no one he had ever met in real life could be. Jimi was... well, maybe not God exactly, but... something. Something. He raised his eyes to the picture over Sammy’s bed. The Man, flanked by his Experience — black Jesus and two pasty thieves, all wearing haloes of frizzy hair. Hendrix was smiling that little half-smile, that you can’t judge me brother until you’ve been where I’ve been smirk. And his eyes... Jimi... he knew.

“Whoah,” Sammy whispered from somewhere nearby. The room was getting dark, as though the sun was setting, but Pogo felt fairly sure it was still early afternoon, and the summer twilight hours away.

“Yeah.” He chuckled, although nothing was funny yet. Hendrix was watching him. “Here comes the rush.”

And as the stars reached out for him — Laughing Sam’s Dice, Pogo thought, that one’s all about stars and acid, Jimi was hip to stars — he felt himself drifting, like a rudderless boat in a sea of pack ice. Something was pulling at his mind, something he wanted to articulate and share.

“Sammy, check it out. Hendrix, man....” The thought was elusive, but he knew it was important. “Like, the stars, man — he was saying that the stars are playing dice with the world, man, with the whole universe. And that when you take acid, the acid... it takes you out there. Where the dice are rolling.”

If Sammy replied, Pogo couldn’t hear him. He couldn’t see him either. The bright stars were burning before his eyes, and the interstitial blackness was empty beyond imagining. Pogo felt himself sliding forward, pulled as though by slow, slow gravity.

This is some really fucking good shit, he thought. Then he plunged into a silent white bonfire.

\

It was black — no, more than black. It was negative black, an absence of

illumination so complete that even the memory of light was tainted.

That movie about Jimi’s life, Pogo remembered, and was relieved to have at least his own thoughts for company. That guy said Hendrix was somewhere between sleep and death, and he just chose a different trip —just floated on out. Did that happen to me? Am I dead?

He had a dim inner vision of himself, Pogo Cashman, lying on Sammy’s floor. Would there be ambulance men? Sammy’s parents? But Sammy wouldn’t even come down for hours, so it might be hours until he noticed his friend was dead.

In a strangely unworried way, Pogo hoped Sammy wouldn’t find him during the teeth-grinding, gray, post-trip state. That would bum him out for a long time, and Sammy was a good guy.

Jesus, it was dark. And silent. And empty.

So am I dead? Because if it’s gonna be like this for eternity, it’s really boring.

What if he had just gone blind and deaf? That would be more in line with the horror-stories about bad acid trips he’d heard. But that would be almost as fucked as being dead. No tunes, no movies. Well, at least he wouldn’t have to go to school. Maybe he could learn to play pinball, like in Tommy.

As for the first time he seriously contemplated what entertainment pinball might provide to the deaf, dumb and blind, the darkness was effaced by a dim smear of light.

Coming down, he thought with some relief. Maybe I should have smoked some of that Colombian and cut the rush a little. This shit is pretty intense....

The light bloomed, shimmered, then stabilized in a pattern of concentric rings. Several moments passed before he recognized what he was seeing. He stood in a long stone corridor, like something out of a Dracula movie — torches in brackets, moss-bearded walls, puddles of water throwing back ghostlight from the torch flames. It was a long tunnel, winding away out of his sight some hundred yards ahead.

What the fuck...?

Pogo looked down and was relieved to find his very own body still attached to him, unchanged since Sammy’s room — desert boots, patched Levis, his Rock and Roll Animal shirt covering the merest beginning of a hard-won beergut.

So when you die, you get to keep your Lou Reed t-shirt. Mysterious and weird are the ways of God... or whatever they say.

But the longer he stood on this spot, the more restless he felt. Something was calling him — no, not calling, but drawing him, as a cool breeze might summon him to a window on a hot day. Tickling at his thoughts. Something lay ahead of him, down the corridor. Somebody there wanted him — was calling to him. Somebody....

Hendrix. The thought was electrifying. I was thinking about Jimi. It must be himlike his spirit or something. He’s got a message for humankind. And I’ll be his messenger.

He hurried down the corridor, absently noting that, just as in the Dracula movies, his footfalls echoed unpleasantly and small furry things scuttled out of his path, vanishing into the shadows.

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