Saturday, June 01, 2013
33) Into the Valley of Shadows.
These stories, that have been available on Blogspot for 10 years for free, will now only be available on Amazon at the address above. They are contained in “Vagabon Freak”, the 1st volume of a trilogy titled “The 7 Lives of the Punk Poofy Cats”. I have been the archetypal starving artist in his garret, painting, drawing and writing, writing, writing as if I were some waif crying out in the wilderness. Now I need you, dear reader, to hear my cries and go to Amazon and buy a copy of my book and keep me alive. There you will find my complete tale, from beginning to end, in one place, for you to hold in your hot little hands. When you read it straight through, I assure you, it will blow your mind.
Below are introductory paragraphs and some pictures that I still retain to illustrate this story, hopefully to give you a come-on to get my book. Thanks for giving me a go, TZ.
When Arthur crossed the border from India into Pakistan he felt like he was breaking through an insulating bubble made of myth, dream and delusion, back into the real world where there were no dreadlocks, chillums or cows in sight. The Islamic State of Pakistan did not impress him; everyone was dour, their daily activities proscribed.
In Lahore he stayed in a cheap hotel much favored by junkies, with Pink Floyd’s “Dark Side of the Moon” echoing repetitively up the stairwell like the soundtrack to a nightmare. Gaunt, spectral hippie-types hovered in the doorways, yellow from hepatitis and covered in sores, their haggard faces hungry for a fix, eyeballing Arthur desperately, as if he were to be a sacrificial lamb on the altar of their addiction. He trod the hallways carefully, for this was the end of the road for the weak and unwary, and he didn’t dally long, as the junkie’s paradise looked more like Hell to him. This was because brown sugar/unrefined heroin was as cheap as dirt here and many a dope succumbed to its dark embrace.
He liked to get high as much as the next idiot but there were limits, he was too much of an adrenalin freak, and action was the stuff of life, being comatose just wasn’t interesting. And besides, the skin barrier was sacred to him, no needle was ever going to bust it and Hepatitis B gave him the creeps. Feeling sad that he didn’t have the resources to help anyone but himself, he quickly made his escape and jumped on the next bus leaving town and made it through the fabled Khyber Pass and into the vale of Afghanistan.
He arrived during Afghanistan’s short-lived attempt at being a democratic Republic and all was quiet on the streets, Hippies free to wander where they will. Yet Arthur felt estranged, he was not an Afghani freak and the torpid, fly-blown restaurants on Chicken Street held no appeal for him. There was a sense of disquiet in the air; the men were grim, unfriendly and possibly full of presentiments of things to come. To Arthur, Kabul in early 1976 seemed hardly a city at all, more like a vast huddle of crumbling concrete bunkers in a bombed-out moonscape, and this was before the Russian invasion, the civil wars and the Taliban.
After the palatial splendors and freewheeling grunge of India Arthur could not see why Kabul was a famous site of Hippie folklore; he could hardly make it down the main street for the mud-holes and piles of rubble. Apart from the extraordinary, stark landscape, all the country had to offer the intrepid, freaked-out tourist was high-grade hashish, intricate carpets and the Bamiyan Buddhas. He didn’t realize Alexander the Great had passed through here and he was blind to the treasures languishing in the Kabul Museum.Lost in a warren of walled-off courtyards, Arthur could find nothing to entice him except for a trinket shop where he poked through the bric-a-brac looking for a memento. He’d come in out of the intense sunlight, his turquoise eyes sparkling, and the hook-nosed young shopkeeper hovered over him excitedly, chatting him up, eventually offering an ounce of primo hashish if he would allow the guy to sodomize him in the cool shadows of the shop. Despondent at finding himself in a harsh, alien land he badly needed a tranquillizer to quell his anxieties, still it was not an appropriate proposition as the men all seemed to be brutes, he could get his throat cut in all the excitement and he politely begged off.
(If your curiosity is piqued please go to the WEB address above and buy the book to read further.)