Saturday, January 15, 2011
Clicking the link, Jones finds himself at a download site for the GNOMON program. It’s verified and has a security ticket, so he downloads GNOMON. Once it installs, Jones opens and begins to navigate the program. His brief investigation suggests the application largely resembles a blog with strange things curated from around the internet. There aren’t any tags, instead just being a feed of videos, images, and texts. There doesn’t seem to be much in the way of a pattern to them, although he can surmise that the videos largely seem to feature emotional content disproportionate to or divorced from the actual content of the video. The pictures are primarily soft focus, and featuring notable amounts of green in the color palette. The text is of variable readability. The whole thing is frustratingly vague.
The other side of the program appears to be a system for taking questionnaires. When Jones taps it, it opens Questionnaire #38547. Jones decides to take it out of spite.
Meanwhile, Leah goes to her parents’ house to speak to Pam. They get lunch and Pam seems interested in her idea for a charity auction to support the effort to find Jasper. Leah contacts Melker, and he says he can be over around 2:00 PM.
As Kevin rides over to Jones’ hotel, he notes that traffic seems especially heavy, especially for a Saturday. Along the way, he swears he sees a swirling patch of blown garbage spell out “SEE YOU SOON,” although it’s gone before he has too much time to dwell on it. There appears to be a lot of road construction, among other obstructions, and he is forced to take a rather circuitous route. While stopped at a red light, he hears someone call “Kevin Springday” from a nearby alley. He looks to see three homeless men sitting inside the alleyway. They gesture for him to approach, and he does; the three men speak in unison and each have similar mannerisms. They indicate they are representatives of the Los Angeles Rats, and further note they have heard he has some facility with the hidden mystical gates around the city, and that he has discussed such matters with the King of Scales. They will aid him with whatever he needs, but he has to exclusively assist them in researching these gates. They ask that he gives them an answer soon and send him on his way.
Strangely, traffic seems significantly lighter after he leaves their presence. He makes it to the hotel without incident, grabs Jones’ stuff, checks out on his behalf, and rides back to Leah’s house. When he arrives, he finds Jones still engrossed in his quiz. He drops Jones’ stuff in the foyer and heads to the backyard to meditate on the “holes.” He finds one and gazes through it into his living room. He tries to see if he can reach through and manipulate an object, an empty can on the coffee table. He concentrates, presses forward, finds that the barrier gives, and finds himself hurtling forward into his own living room. He causes quite a clatter as he crashes through the detritus in the room. There’s a beat before Felicia and Otis emerge from Otis’ room, hastily dressing, and ask if everything is all right. Kevin whoops triumphantly, says everything is great, and he’s going to go surfing. Otis says he’ll join him in a minute. Kevin grabs his surfboard and runs outside.
True to his word, Otis joints him shortly.
Jones eventually finishes his survey and finds, to his surprise, that Kevin is not around. Jones’ stuff and Kevin’s bike are still in the foyer, but Kevin is neither in the house nor yard. After poking around for a bit, Jones calls Kevin. Surprisingly, Felicia answers, saying that Kevin’s out surfing, but she figured she ought to pick up in case it’s important. Jones says it probably isn’t, but is Kevin’s bicycle at the house? Felicia says it’s not. It doesn’t make sense that he would walk without his bike, and Kevin would have made it to his house all-too-quickly, but Jones doesn’t know what might have happened. He says he doesn’t think Kevin is some weird double of himself, but he’s not sure what might have happened. Felicia says she’ll keep an eye out and asks if she ought to get him, but Jones just says to relay the message when he gets back.
Jones also calls Leah to let her know about the questionnaire — he just recommends she try the GNOMON app if she’s bored — and that Kevin’s not around, but he’s guessing everything is okay. Since he seems a little agitated, though, Leah instructs him to make himself a cup of tea. Once off the phone, he does so, and continues to do a little research about the Fitzroys. He doesn’t learn anything new, although in looking around for pictures and such, he does notice that things coincidentally line up from time to time, such as Jasper being framed in a shot such that the crown on a Burger King sign frames his head, or candid shots resembling Renaissance art. However, none of these things confirm or deny that he was consciously attempting to channel the True King.
Meanwhile, once Melker arrives at the Fitzroys’ house, he, Leah, and Pam start hashing out the details of the charity auction. Leah notes that she has a lead on a copy of the lost Paramount film One Glorious Day, among other potential collectibles.
In the late afternoon, Jones receives a phone call from Mabel, indicating she thinks she has information regarding Sabas. Her friend Brian knows about it, but thinks it should probably be shared with Jones, Kevin, and Leah. Could they all gather later tonight so they could have a conference call? Jones says he will contact the others and let her know. He also asks if she would be interested in going out with him later; she says she’d love to.
When Jones calls, Leah thinks the setup sounds a little strange, but she agrees to meet and says she will start wrapping up planning.
A little later, Kevin comes inside, and Felicia explains that Jones called. Kevin notes he should probably call him back, and does so; he indicates he went through one his holes, finding himself in his living room. He doesn’t know what precisely this portends, but it’s a momentous occasion nonetheless. He indicates he’ll meet with Mabel later.
Jones calls Mabel back, and they decide to meet at her house in an hour or so. Jones lets the others know, and they all make their way to Mabel’s house.
Her house is of a similar floorplan to Kevin’s, but cluttered with more things and smells of cigarette smoke. After pleasantries are exchanged, she calls Brian. An elderly man’s voice, sounding somewhat tired, answers the phone. He exchanges pleasantries, saying he’s heard a lot about Jones from Mabel, he met Kevin at the commune when he was very little, and he asks how Leah’s meeting with Old Hippie Tom went. After pleasantries, he says he suspects he has encountered Sabas twice before — once during the ‘68 Chicago riots and once during the early ’70s — and has read about him several times. The alcoholic gonzo writer Dirk Allen has written about him a couple of times, including a comparatively recent ¡Bonzo! article in 1999, and the Gorman diary that was circulating around Los Angeles in the early 1990s mentioned him, with that account originating from the early 17th century. Brian suggests that Mabel might have copies floating around her house, and she thinks she does. The Theosophists refer to this immortal as the Comte de Saint Germain and believe him to be an Enlightened Master. In truth, he’s the First and Last Man, old as the earth. If you consider the universe to operate in the Jeffersonian Deist sense, then he’s the man who winds and repairs the watch. Jones asks about his encounter, and explains Sabas’ question about the broadcast intrusion from the old Elvis on Ed Sullivan broadcast, but Brian thinks it’s probably not of earth-shaking importance — unnatural phenomena accumulate wherever magick is strong, and it probably just represented the old king’s domain collapsing when he leaves. The Comte is just one man, and so typically goes around trying to figure things out. He is also known to give tasks to people, as he’s cleaned up magickal messes a million times before and is interested to see how others will perform on them.
Further questions develop. Jones asks about Jasper Fitzroy consciously channeling the True King, and Brian says that strange coincidences happen all the time, especially where the Archetypes are concerned. Think about it like a muscle: the more you use it, the easier and more rewarding it is to use it. As such, Jasper could have been unconsciously channeling the True King, just because it seemed natural and easy. An outside party might have also tried to push him toward it. Or perhaps he is aware, and it was a completely conscious decision. It’s also notable that several Archetypes appears as old gods; Haitian vodou, for example, has a strong tradition of the gods “riding” their worshippers, with a correspondingly large population of avatars. It is possible that he’s just following the principles of a religion that bring him into alignment with the True King.
Kevin asks about “the House,” and Brian says that’s probably the House of Renunciation. It’s a series of weird Otherspaces, each of which is a particular Room devoted to inverted a particular agenda. It keeps the cosmos in a state of flux.
Jones also asks about GNOMON. Brian says he doesn’t know, as he doesn’t get online all that often, but he can check when next he goes to the library.
Once everyone is satisfied, they thank Brian. He leaves them with the idea that their desires can change things, and he admonishes them to go out and do something. He says if they’re ever out in Chicago, they should look him up and get a drink with them, even though he probably shouldn’t drink. After he hangs up, Mabel notes that he doesn’t come out to Los Angeles much anymore, as it’s filled with too many memories for him. He apparently tried some symbolic ritual to become a god and failed, and has been a shadow of himself ever since. She doesn’t fully believe in his esoteric view of reality and the idea that we make our own gods, but she does think that people make their own destinies.
Kevin also notes his earlier experience with the L.A. Rats, and coupled with his dealings with the King’s Court, he thinks he’s becoming a commodity. Mabel advises him to take no guff from those swine and find his own path.
As Jones plans on taking Mabel out and Kevin still needs to retrieve his bike, Kevin and Leah decide to take their leave.