Tag Archives: fiction

First Trip

“You okay?” the tech asked as he leaned in over me, checking the IV. I nodded, too nervous to speak. “Okay, then,” he said as he closed the door on the isolation tank. I heard the latch on the tank’s door snick closed and then a slight click as the intercom came on. “Can you hear me?”

“Loud and clear”, I replied.

“All right,” he said. “Get ready for the joy juice.” I couldn’t hear anything, but I knew he’d pushed the button that injected a rather large dose of Ketamine into my IV. “Have nice trip.”

In the days since signing up to be a test subject for what I thought would be everyday, run of the mill psychiatric research, I had spent a lot of time in working in sensory deprivation. Hell, it was getting so that was more comfortable in the tank than I was in my own bed. I can still remember when we’d found out that astral projection wasn’t just esoteric bat shit craziness, but something actually worked; the entire lab was silent for a second, then erupted in a full-blown nerdgasm when everyone realized what we’d done. Since then, I’d traveled outside my body more times that I could count and it was the single most exhilarating experience I’d ever had.

It wasn’t long after that the government guys showed up. We’re with DARPA, they told Dr. Zemanski and we’re interested in what you’re doing here. We think it may have applications in government service and we want to give you tons and tons of cash to further your research. Okay, so they didn’t say quite that way, but that’s what happened. The money rolled in, along with all kind of new toys and a bunch of new people with new ideas; one of which we were testing today. Some guy, supposedly a bigwig neuroscientist who knew all about this stuff, heard about a claim that hallucinogenic drugs heightened the out of body experience. He pulled out the old MK Ultra data, some of the most comprehensive research on the subject, and did some math or something and the next thing I know, I’m being asked to take another trip. If he was right, the combination of the tank and the drug should take things to a whole other level. And, I was about to find out just where that level might be.

I repeated the phrase and performed the hand movement that had been planted in my subconscious to automatically induce a hypnotic state. As I did, I felt the drugs begin to kick in. The Ketamine would induce sleep paralysis (for my protection) and, more importantly, open my mind and let me access the portion of my brain that allowed to me travel outside my body. And this time, not just travel, but actually do things. Real, physical things.

The “K” began to take hold and I felt the vibrations that signaled the beginning of the process of separating my consciousness from my body. Then came the high-pitched whine that let me know I was ready. I went to take the first step away and all of sudden I flew up and out of the tank, hovering for a moment on the ceiling. Holy shit, that was strong! In all my trips, I had never felt anything like that.

After a minute to get my shit together, I stretched out and aimed for the door. This first trip wasn’t going to be a long one, just get out and about and see if I could actually make things happen. Opening the door would be the big test. Of course, I had no need to open the door; when you’re projecting, walls and doors are no barrier at all. But, if I could open it in front of a group of observers still in the physical realm…, well, that would be a major step in the program. It would validate all the time, effort and funding that gone into it and Dr. Z would be very happy. And, when Dr. Z was happy, everyone was happy.

Getting to the door was nothing, By this stage of the game, I was an expert at moving around a room while traveling etherically. Once I got there, though, that’s when things got serious. With the enhanced hypnogogic state induced by the ketamine, tapping the part of my brain that made my consciousness concrete was much easier than I expected. I looked down at where my hand should be and sure enough, it began to manifest. I was only supposed to do my hand and open the door, but it felt so good that I kept going. Before I knew it, a entire body was standing there at the door, in front of the assembled scientists. But, it wasn’t my body. Well, it was and it wasn’t. It looked familiar, but it didn’t appear…, well, substantial. It was sort of like a solid shadow. For all of that, it looked a whole lot better than my physical body did. Muscular but not like a body builder, it was lean and athletic; like it could outrun that trouble that came its way, but fight like hell if it couldn’t. I looked down at the hand and the fingers, my fingers I realized, and smiled. This was beyond cool.

After spending a few moments appreciating this new and improved me, I reached out for the door knob, expecting my hand to pass right thru like it had every other time I had tried to touch something while projecting. But, it didn’t. It wrapped around the knob. I stood there for a second, not believing what I was feeling. My god, I was in the astral plane and touching something in the physical! No one had ever done this before! My mind relayed the command to turn the knob and the hand in front of me obeyed. The door opened effortlessly. I turned to look at Dr. Z and his colleagues. Most of the other scientists were stunned, a couple of mouths even hung open. No one thought we’d actually be able to pull this off. No one except Potter, the government guy whose idea this was. He’d been certain from the start and now wore an incredibly satisfied smile. He looked at the technician and said, “That’s enough for now. Bring her back.”

No, I thought (speaking hadn’t been worked out yet), I want to stay. But, the tech pushed in the drug that would counteract the “K” and bring me back down. I felt it flow in and, in seconds, my strong, beautiful shadow body began to fade. As the effects increased, I felt my consciousness being pulled back into the tank and my physical body and, then, in a rush, I was back.

They opened the tank and helped me out. It took me a minute to steady myself and, when I did, I turned and saw Dr. Zemanski standing there, Potter right beside with that smug smile still plastered across his face. “Well, Samantha,” Dr. Z asked, “how was it?”
I was shaking from the exhilaration I felt. I reached out and grabbed his arm and said, “More! Send me back. I’ve got to have more!” And, then, I promptly passed out.

God Bless Grace Ann


Just want to make sure everyone takes this for what it is.
Just to make sure everyone understands this for what it is.

Today, boys and girls, you’re in for a treat: I’m turning The Progressive Redneck over to a guest blogger, my boyhood friend and idol, Jefferson Davis Dudley, a great American. Jeff was born and raised in Volunteer, NC and is a graduate of Little Bethel Free Will Baptist Bible College in Pilot Mountain, NC (not far from the Robert E. Lee Natural Bridge).This caused some trouble between Jeff and his father, a hard-shell Primitive Baptist who couldn’t see the need for all that learning. He believed that a pastor should be uneducated; that way, you knew whatever he said came from God, not man. Jeff’s rejection of Calvinism did not help matters. Because of the tension between them, Jeff moved to Randolph County and founded The Mount Moriah Fundamental Independent Baptist Church. Jeff now resides in the Cedar Square community with his wife, Peggy Ann, and their sons, Ronald (21), Wilson (19) and daughter Reagan (age 9). Jeff and I met when we were boys during my visits to Aunt Nannie and Uncle Wesley’s house (they lived in Volunteer till the day they died). While our views have diverged over the years, Jeff and I have remained friends. When he found out about my blog, he asked if he could contribute a different viewpoint now and then. I thought that was great idea. This is his first post.

First of all, I’d like to thank my friend for the opportunity to address you folks. It’s not often a dyed-in-the-wool, Bible-believing, red-blooded Christian American like me gets the chance to reach a bunch of heathens group of progressive Christians like this and I am very grateful. Let me begin by saying that I love each and every one of you fine people and would love to share the Good News of Jesus Christ with you. I hope each and every one of you will accept the freely given gift of God’s grace and know true peace. Honestly, I pray for that daily.

Today, I want to talk to you folks about an important matter. It seems that a fine Christian woman has set about writing a family friendly version of those Satan-inspired Harry Potter books. This good Christian soldier (well, not really a soldier. As we all know, ladies can’t be soldiers, if only because they shouldn’t wear clothing as pertaineth to man) is removing every reference to witchcraft and sorcery and replacing it with prayer, miracles and other good conservative Christian values. I don’t know about you, but I think it’s about time someone stepped up on this.

In her version of the story, Harry’s aunt and uncle aren’t painted as narrow-minded, status-seeking conservatives (which everyone knows isn’t possible), but as hippy-dippy liberals who believe in gender equality (which is totally possible) with Uncle Vernon actually doing housework and Aunt Petunia working outside the home (where she probably wears pants and makeup). Voldemort is re-imagined as a thinly veiled caricature of the Muslim in the White House President Obama who is “pushing an agenda in congress which will stop us from practicing our faith freely.”  The school has been transformed into Hogwarts School of Prayer and MIracles and has been moved from the land of godless socialism England to that shining city on a hill, the good ol’ U. S. of A. Instead of the den of satanic iniquity portrayed in the original books, Hogwarts is now a godly place where boys learn to be warriors for God and girls learn to stay in their place what their role in life truly is. Best of all, before Harry and Hagrid are transported there (via prayer), Harry asks our dear lord and savior into his heart. Finally, a Godly alternative to all that demonic drivel!

If you’re wondering why the author (who goes by the name Grace Ann) is doing this, hear her own words on the subject:

““My little ones have been asking to read the Harry Potter books; and of course I’m happy for them to be reading; but I don’t want them turning into witches! So I thought…..  why not make some slight changes so these books are family friendly?” So they can have all the adventure and good morals of the Harry Potter books without all that bad stuff bogging it down.”

What a fine Christian woman. The world could use a few more folks like her.

Of course, some clowns are trying to minimize her contribution to families everywhere by saying Hogwarts School of Prayer and Miracles is satire on how some folks have reacted to the Harry Potter series. I don’t think so. I believe this is a mother doing her part to keep our young ones pure while we wait for our blessed savior’s return. Saying anything else is sacrilege, maybe even heresy, and should be dealt with severely. The same goes for all you infidels progressives out there making fun of her. She’s doing God’s work, so when you mock her, you’re mocking God. And, God will not be mocked.

Well, that’s my time. I want to thank you all for taking the time to read this. Remember, God loves you enough to send His son to die for your sins. If you don’t love Him back, He’ll send you to eternal torment in the fires of Hell. Believe me, you don’t want that.

It’s Just Fiction?


I don’t know about anyone else, but stories have always been a big part of my life. One of the most fond memories from my childhood is sitting with my grandfather while he told me tales about growing up in the Southside neighborhood of Greensboro. Not only were they entertaining, they made the history of my hometown come alive in a way that a non-fiction book never could. Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure that was a major contributor to my becoming a history nerd, so I guess it’s a wash.

Albert Einstein once said “If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” Al and I agree on this because, as I said just a minute ago, I’ve learned a lot from stories and fairy tales, probably more than I have from text books, biographies and other types of non-fiction. I believe that’s true for most of us. But, for some reason, we are incredibly dismissive of the former, saying “Oh, it’s just fiction”. As if something has to factual to be true.

It wasn’t always that way. In the days of the oral tradition, knowledge was passed through folktales, songs, ballads, etc. These methods of transmission weren’t necessarily true, but they conveyed truth. Take the creation story in Genesis, for example. The author of Genesis tells us the earth was created by God in 7 days and humans and animals sprang into being in their current form during that span. Science, however, has shown that the universe was formed in the The Big Bang and the earth in its inhabitants evolved over almost 14 billion years. From a viewpoint ruled solely by facts and “truth”, the Genesis story is bunk, unworthy of serious consideration. But, if we read it as a fairy/folk tale, it is so much more.

Scholars believe that most of the Old Testament assumed written form during The Babylonian Exile (6th century BCE). Before that, the stories that made up what became those books existed primarily in oral form, stories told to impart wisdom and knowledge. Now, it could be that those early Israelites believed the world was created in a literal seven days, that there really was a Garden of Eden and the Fall occurred because a woman listened to a snake and ate some prohibited fruit. But, there was another level to the story, one that still informs us today: this story may not be factually true, but it is truthful because it tells us we were created for more than eating, sleeping and screwing our way through life.

It’s this kind of thing that keep from getting too upset when someone refers to the Bible as a fairy tale or fiction. It grieves me, though, that fairy tales and fiction have gotten such short shrift in our modern world that they’ve become an insult, a dismissal. One of the more intriguing and, for me, encouraging, aspects of this post-modern era we are entering into is the re-emergence of the importance of story in passing knowledge on to the next generation.

So, by all means, read your children fairy tales and bible stories, tell them tall tales and stories about your childhood, embrace all manner of other fiction. As Einstein said, it will make them intelligent. But, while you’re reading and telling, pay attention yourself. Because no dog is too old to learn a new trick.

Saint? More Like an Ain’t

FYI, the first two paragraphs of this post have absolutely nothing to do with the actual subject.

the ain'tsLately, I’ve struggled here at But Not Yet. Topics have been hard to come by, the words have flowed haltingly (if it at all) and the numbers have sucked. Basically, I was burning out. Last week, I even began to wonder if this thing had run its course and it was time to find another avenue for the tiny bit of creative spirit I am possessed by. It was all a bit depressing.

Then, Terry Smith posted a Facebook status about something called NaNoWriMo, aka National Novel Writing Month. According to the website, NaNoWriMo “is a fun, seat-of-your-pants approach to creative writing” where participants are challenged to write 50,000 words in the month of November. For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to write fiction and it seemed like this was as good a time to start as any, so I decided to take some time off from But Not Yet and do it. I mean, it’s like things were going that all great here. As usual, almost as soon as I made that decision, things started looking up. I had a couple of days with great numbers and ideas started coming out of the woodwork. So, I’m going to try to keep things up here as well as working on some fiction.

One of the ideas that popped up this weekend reared its head at church during the All Saints Sunday service. As I listened, I started wondering what, exactly, is a saint?  With my definition fetish, you know I had to look it up. Like most words, there are several meanings. Of course, there’s Catholic version where the individual is formally canonized and there’s the way the original Christians used the word: any believer who is “in Christ” and in whom he dwells. There were a few others and it seemed to me the common denominator in all of them was holiness. As in, “a person of great holiness, virtue or benevolence”. If that’s what it takes to be a saint, I am most certainly not one. If anything, I’m an ain’t.

Years ago, when I was in the Air Force, I had a friend named Sid who hailed from New Orléans. This was back in the bad old days of the New Orléans NFL franchise when fans wore bags over their heads during games to hide their shame and said they weren’t the Saints, they were the Ain’ts. Like, they ain’t no good, or they ain’t ever going to win a game. I’m an ain’t instead of a saint because I ain’t ever been holy and virtue and benevolence ain’t in my bag of tricks. Of course, the New Orléans Ain’ts never gave up. They kept the faith and one day, they weren’t the Ain’ts anymore; they were the New Orléans Saints and nobody wears a bag over their head these days. Does that mean if I believe and keep following Jesus, one day I’ll be all holy and virtuous and benevolent? Who knows? But, they do say, with God, all things are possible…