Chronicles of the Cosmic Couple
I pulled into the parking lot of the Third Eye Coffee House, shook my head to clear away the multitude of thoughts fighting for attention, and tried to focus on the present moment. I couldn’t shake off the creepy feeling that something was very wrong—not only in Sedona, but wrong with the planet as well. It felt like the horizon was slightly off-kilter, that the long-predicted planetary shift had finally happened; that our whole civilization somehow had become unhinged.
I walked through the door of the Third Eye and was immediately swept up in the vibe of the place, which was frantic and fearful. The new, huge TV dominating one wall of the place was fairly throbbing with Breaking News, and the forty or so pairs of eyes in the coffee house were glued to the TV. “…millions of refugees on the move from one end of Africa to the other,” intoned a solemn announcer voice. I watched transfixed as a montage of human misery played across the giant screen in HD.
Benny Bravo came rushing up to me, breathless. “Marty, Marty!” he said, grabbing my shoulders. “It’s happened! It’s finally happened!”
“Get a grip, homeboy. What’s happened?” As I pried his fingers off my torso, a shudder of icy dread crept up my spine. I had an idea what he was going to say.
“The tipping point, Marty. The freakin’ tipping point. All hell is breaking loose like all over the planet. One disaster after the other. Just like they been predicting. Check it out, brother!”
The TV was tuned to CNN, and the assault on the senses was relentless. It looked like doomsday, with vid clips of fires, explosions, floods, oil spills, refugees, from all over the planet. Most of Southern California was on fire; millions had been evacuated. Half of Australia was on fire.
And equally scary, CNN showed a montage of banks around the U.S. closed and locked with thousands of account holders screaming outside for their money. Some computer hackers had messed with the banks’ core networks, freezing accounts and even transferring large sums to secret Swiss accounts, so no public transactions were possible. Pharmacy computer networks had been hijacked, so nobody could get their prescriptions. Or food, because the big computers had been put out of commission and supermarkets couldn’t function. Looters had taken over the business of food distribution.
I turned away and took Benny Bravo by the arm. “Benny, mi hombre, this ain’t no tipping point. The tipping point means that us humans have fucked with the environment for too long and Mother Earth is tired of it and starts fucking us back. No, this is somethin’ else. Yo, homey, let us go outside and discuss this,” I said, aware that our communal table might still be bugged.
“Why? Are they dirty?” I looked down at my hands. They looked normal. “I haven’t done number one or number two for awhile. Why should I wash my hands?” I asked, that same feeling of dread surrounding me like foul cigarette smoke.
“Just go,” said Benny. “Turn on the faucet. Then I’ll meet you outside.”
I went to the rest room behind the coffee bar, looked in the mirror, noted that my eyes were wild, and turned on the faucet. In an instant my worst fears were realized. What oozed from the faucet was an ugly, lumpy brown substance; it looked like a cross between liquefied dogshit and raw sewage. The water, the water! I muttered to myself.