Tag Archives: sci-fi

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.

The Annual “What I’m Thankful For” Post

thankful-holiday-lazy-thanksgiving-ecards-someecardsFaithful readers of The Progressive Redneck know that I’m great at starting new features or series, even if the features or series themselves aren’t all that good. They also know that I suck at following through on them. There are a couple of reasons for that; some of them were kind of shitty (Christian Dick of the Moment, for example), while others fell victim to my ADHD. But, my annual Thanksgiving post may be the lone exception. Amazingly, I have written one of these since I started blogging back in 2010. That means I was doing this way before it was cool (suck it, 30 Days of Thanksgiving!). Of course, the things I talk about in these posts aren’t what you usually hear when people start “giving thanks”, they’re stupid, ridiculous, trivial…, and real.

  • ADHD _ Yes, I’m talking about Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder. I know I’m supposed to think it’s a bad thing, but I don’t. Not even a little bit. And, really, why bother? It doesn’t help. And, while being so easily distracted can make life difficult (telling the power company you got distracted and forgot to pay your bill doesn’t even get you out of the  reconnection fee, much less get your lights turned back on), it also means an antidote to your boredom is just one squirrel away. Plus, people with ADHD are more creative, funnier, and better looking. So, we’ve got that going for us, too.
  • Science fiction television shows _ I’m referring to Dr. Who, Firefly, Fringe, The X-files and all the other shows that have carried the banner of good story-telling while the networks pretty much abandoned the practice for “reality” television.
  • My mother _ While she’s been on every one of these lists I’ve done, this year things are a little different. Normally, I make some reference to the table-groaning spread she prepares for Thanksgiving. But, not this time because she won’t be cooking. Just a few days ago, she had a total knee replacement and standing in front of the stove for hours is contraindicated in that situation. But, the surgery went well and she’s coming home today.
  • The K&W Cafeteria _ If you’re from a certain part of the country (North and South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia, specifically) you understand this entry. If not, I’ll explain. The K&W is a regional chain of restaurants that serve up some of the best traditional southern cooking you’ll find outside of my mama’s kitchen. I’m including them on this year’s list because they also provide a take-out holiday “feast” for less than $60. What with taking care of our mom, my brother and I decided that was a more attractive option than cooking it ourselves. Having prepared a Thanksgiving meal in the past, I can honestly say I’d pay more a helluva lot more than 60 bucks to avoid cooking this year.
  • Spring Garden Bakery _ I know this is starting to sound like a commercial for local business (not that there’s anything wrong with that), but these guys deserve a mention. Located next door to the shop who works on my car (Der Wagen Haus, the best VW specialists in Greensboro), the coffee is hot and the pastries are excellent. And, no, I don’t get any compensation for this from either place. But, if either business is listening, I wouldn’t turn up my nose at a discount.
  • Greensboro, itself _  Most people have a soft spot for their hometown and I’m not an exception. Unlike Charlotte (which wants to be Atlanta so bad, it hurts) or Raleigh (a city that’d give its left nut to be Charlotte. Way to aim high, Raleigh), we’re okay with who we are: a smaller, more modest blue-collar town. And, working class burgs like Greensboro (and Durham, Winston-Salem, High Point, etc) have funky vibe those bigger cities have spent millions attempting to cultivate. Without a lot of success, in my opinion.
  • Barber shops _ And, when I say “barber shop”, I’m talking about the old-time variety; the kind with actual barbers and there’s not a hair-dryer in sight. It’s possible that American manhood started going down the tubes when we gave up getting our hair cut at a traditional barber shop for getting our hair “styled” at a salon. Of course, it’s also possible that I’m full of shit. If you’re a betting person, you should probably go with the second option.
  • Franklin Graham _ Along with Pat Robertson, Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz and anyone else saying stupid stuff in public. Sure, they’re colossal douche canoes who are clueless to their own privilege, but they have provided me tons of material. Some of it, I didn’t even have to embellish.

Once again, I’ve added to the avalanche of trivial shit on the internet. And, as I said last year, I should feel bad about that. But, I don’t. Not in the least. Happy Holidays, y’all.

You’re Making Jesus Cry, Anne

Anne Graham Lotz recently wrote on her website that “Jesus is soon to return to take all of His followers to Heaven with Him in what is referred to as The Rapture.” She followed that gem up with this:

“While this will be deliverance for His people, can you imagine the impact on our nation, let alone the world, when suddenly every single authentic Christian disappears?

Institutions will collapse. Banks will close. The Stock Market will plunge. Planes will fall out of the sky. Cars will crash on the road. Government in America at every level will disintegrate. Families will be torn apart. In the unprecedented turmoil, our nation will be vulnerable for our enemies to seize the moment and attack us. There will be mass chaos, confusion, fear, grief, despair, anger, threats, danger… judgment.”

Don’t you just love it when Christian celebrities try to evangelize by scaring the shit out of people.

There’s just one little hitch with Annie’s idea of the Apocalypse: it’s not in the Bible. What’s that you say? It is in the Bible? Really? Would you mind looking it up and showing us where it says that “every single authentic Christian” will disappear. Don’t worry, we’ll wait. And, while you do that, the rest of us will check out this cool video:

Didn’t find it? Yeah, I was pretty sure you wouldn’t. Like I said, it’s not in there. Oh, there are a few things that have been twisted around and made to fit that story, but the idea that Jesus will come back and suck all his people up to Heaven while everyone else goes through hell on Earth is…not…there. It gets worse, though: Michele Bachmann is a big believer in the Rapture. And, when you agree with Michele Bachmann on something, maybe it’s time to take a look at what you believe.

This current conception of “The Rapture” started about 180 years ago when John Nelson Darby attempted to interpret St. John the Divine’s fever dream (aka, the Book of Revelation). Ease up, theology nerds; I know it’s eschatological literature and, once you understand the symbolism, it’s not all that weird. But, even the most hardcore among you have to admit that, taken literally, it would make a great sci-fi/fantasy read. Unfortunately, all we have on that front is the “Left Behind” series. Let’s be honest, those books aren’t even good Christian fiction. And, yes, that bar is set just as low as you think it is.

I figure Billy Graham pretty much has to be incapacitated.  As a father, I feel sure if he could still lift his arms, he’d beat both his kid’s asses for the way they’ve destroyed the ministry he worked so hard to build. I mean, seriously, between Anne hanging out (ideologically, at least) with people like Michele Bachmann and Kirk Cameron and Franklin’s Islamophobia/Obama Derangement Syndrome, the BGEA‘s credibility is taking some massive hits. Well, outside of fundamentalist/evangelical circles, that is; in that insular world, they’re probably celebrated for “fighting the good fight” and standing up against the “moral relativism” and subsequent decline of this “shining city on a hill”. Give me a fucking break, will you?

Look, if you want to believe some crazy-ass idea that has absolutely no biblical backing whatsoever, that’s your business. But, scaring the shit out of people so they’ll join your failing club is another story. You really, really need to stop that shit. It makes Jesus cry.