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Say the name or cite any of the works of Philip K. Dick and thoughts immediately time warp to futuristic dystopias, internal and external, to alternative realities where dark forces vie for control of a world that may not even exist. Dick was definitely a deeply confused and conflicted individual evidenced by the number of times he married (five) and his frequent bouts with depression and drug addiction.
Yet many of his works have been translated into film, the most famous of them being Blade Runner (Do Androids Dream of Electronic Sheep), Total Recall (We Can Remember It For You Wholesale), Minority Report (The Minority Report), Imposter (Imposter), The Adjustment Bureau (Adjustment Team), and a series for Amazon.com The Man in the High Castle. So paranoia, delusion and alternative realities sell it seems.
But some of us also have life experiences that seem to transcend our normal perception of space and time. One recently happened to me, and I was wide awake having a cup of tea at a crowded cafe on the Embarcadero at the time – so I wasn’t dreaming – I think.
First let me backtrack. A little back story is useful for a Kazkar to spin a yarn anyway. Years ago I was stationed at a small Naval facility on the south coast of Puerto Rico – Fort Allen (called then “the Navy’s only fort”). It was remote, in the middle of a sugar cane field, tucked away behind a small forest of palm trees about a half mile off the main road on an old WW II Army Air Force emergency landing strip originally called Losey Field. From the air the place still resembled a landing strip, because now and then a piper cub piloted by some unsuspecting tourist would blunder onto the pot-holed tarmac only to be summarily and rudely ordered to go fly his kite elsewhere by the armed shore patrol.
It was a small base, but it did have its amenities; like a nine hole golf course, carved out of the caliche bedrock, riven with gopher trails and with greens as hard as, well the caliche itself. It also had a BOQ, housing for married officers and enlisted, a bowling alley with two lanes, clubs for both enlisted and officers, tennis courts and an Olympic sized swimming pool where, on my hours off duty, I spent lounging on a cot reading a book and working on my salt water tan. What a life, defending the country against its enemies.
Then one afternoon, into this quiet idyllic setting sashayed a creature right out of Wagner’s Ring Cycle. A blonde valkyrie, tall and shapely, clad solely in a white bikini and a knowing smile, swiveled along the edge of the pool right up to my cot then sat down on the one next to me. Believe me, I watched her the whole way and when she looked up at me and said hello, I at least had the presence of mind to utter a response, though for the life of me I don’t remember what, I was so stunned. You have to understand. When this woman was out in public, she caused traffic accidents. She was a menace to navigation. Seriously. I swear an ambulance followed her around whenever she paraded down the the avenidas.
Suffice to say we became friends, then passionate companions, then inseparable soulmates intoxicated with each other, sharing the sun and the stars and the sea and a life we hoped – I hoped – would go on forever. Then, one dark afternoon, she left me as suddenly as she had come into my life – spirited away on a plane bound for the mainland. I did see her on a couple of other occasions, but it was never the same. Our everyday lives had taken over again and the alternative reality we had been living became the fantasy it had been all along.
But enough with fantasy and the past. We were talking about the cafe on the Embarcadero right? There I was, minding my own business, posting some earth shattering revelation here or onto social media when I looked up and there she was. I mean it looked exactly like her – tall, straight blonde hair, tight body sculpting jeans; that face; the way she expressed herself to her swarthy companion. It had to be her but ….. She appeared to be at the most in her early forties and we had known each other fifty years ago when she was thirty-something. I mean, all I have to do is look in the mirror to know this couldn’t be possible. Either she has been taking something from Estee Lauder that none of us have access to or she was a clone or a shade or this was an example of an alternative reality in the flesh. It was uncanny.
Maybe Philip K. Dick was right. Life is either not real or there are many realities that pop in and out of our consciousness as we walk the road of life. Man I wish I had whipped out my iPhone and grabbed a photo. I guess an old one will have to do.
Originally posted August 21, 2013.
© Kazkar Babiy ™ MMXIII
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