The Dinner Party Chapter 8

Dinner Party Stuber 8.1

Tad kicked a rock and smiled at Bob Marley. The warring troops were gone, the spies were in place. The spiritual temperature around Ganandauguay was heating up. Tad had figured out that it was probably Wide Hawk who talked to him in the Raspberry patch. Tad had observed his abilities: Wide Hawk’s consoling of Bobbing Tail and Fawn confirmed Tad’s belief that the shaman could tap the benevolent spirits whenever needed. It was 6:45 in the morning.
Marley was sitting with his knees pulled up to his chest. Kind of the Jamaican version of hunkering down, but a much easier position to hold for an hour or two if necessary. Tad’s thoughts of Wide Hawk were interrupted.
Marley: I had this terrifying dream last night.
Tad: That wouldn’t be surprising. This seems to be a wild dream area. Just look at the wild dreams Running Bear had about our arrival.
Marley: There is this hallucination who looks like some hula dancer trapped in my brain. She seems to be a spirit, but I can’t figure out what she says to me yet. Each day I concentrate on the spirit and try to bring her back so I can communicate with her while I am awake, but nothing works.
Tad: I’ve got a hint for you. Just go about your normal business. If you are being visited, your songs will show it. When you least expect it, the riddle will be solved.
Marley: I hope so, because these dreams leave me sweating and in a trance for hours when I wake up.
Tad: Are you sure that isn’t just a pot hangover?
Marley: I doubt it. I’ve never gotten any kind of hangover from pot. The only thing that can happen that is remotely like a hangover is that you just stay high.
Tad: I never smoked much of it. I had really bad lungs in my former life.
Marley: Former life is damn straight, this is the fourth place I’ve visited since dying.
Tad: Since dying? I don’t remember dying.
Marley: This must be your first post mortem experience then.
Tad: You mean I’m dead?

Stuber 8.2

Marley: Yeah, just like the zombies in Night of the Living Dead. You don’t know it, but you’re dead.
Tad: No wonder I have all these religious thoughts running around my head.
Marley: I think all my experiences have been the equivalent of some weird god’s sense of heaven.
Tad: You mean all your experiences have been just as strange as this one?
Marley: They sure have. I think it relates to the Harry James notion of separate universes. Do you know what I mean?
Tad: Not really. All I know is he and his family were some type of American philosophers.
Marley: Exactly. Only they were philosophers in a land and place and time that was so unique, their ideas transcend the philosophers of their era. It took decades of negative weirdo Dadaism and nihilism to catch up to the James family.
Tad: What do they have to do with this?
Marley: Like I said, I believe that we are the result of a decision that was made too late. Their theory states that every time any human being makes a decision, a separate universe opens up for whatever decision they make. For instance, if you make a decision to live a fun life, and just follow the Grateful Dead around, and go play music with your friends, the universe for those decisions had already been set up. Once you decide to do it, you can do it. All these separate universes exist at the same time. they are all out there, but we only see the ones we’ve decided to follow. Food clothing and shelter will be provided by the gods of the universe you decide to go for. Therefore, the human brain is a heaven of its own, if used effectively.
Tad: It all may be true, but what experiences have you had that make you think you’re a part of somebody’s alternative universe?
Marley: I’ll let you decide about how this dream we’ve fallen into is a separate universe. But if you agree with me that fits the scenario, then it will be up to all of us to discover who’s universe it is, when the decisions being made led us this way, and how to get out of this place.
Tad: The goal is to just clear out? I thought our goal was to leave this place better than when we found it.

Stuber 8.3

Marley: Look around. Not everyone has even opted for the peaceful course!
We could easily make a mess of this universe. It wouldn’t matter. The rest of the world will still go about their business based on the universe they have created for themselves in their living brains.
Tad: Now you’re going a bit too far.
Marley: The first people to read the James family ramblings felt the same way. It was because they were hundreds of years ahead of their time.
Tad: OK we’ll discuss you’re idea later. Now explain to me the three previous experiences you have had that make you think you’re dead.
Marley: In short, I was first in a bizarre world of nothing but color, then on earth again in what must have been the future. Maybe about the year 2500 or so. I then slipped back into the color world of being continually high after solving some very difficult problems of violence and, uh, widespread famine.
Tad: How could one person solve those problems in one lifetime?
Marley: It was easy. Don’t forget, if this is heaven, we all have a little Jesus in us. All you have to do is tap a whole ton of Jesus and you can solve any local, national, global or universal problem.
Tad: Well, let’s see how we do here.
Marley: This isn’t an unusual situation for me. The last time, my worst enemies were also from strange periods of time either way before or after whatever year I was in.
Tad: I guess there are examples of miracles coming true, but you’re saying that anyone, given enough faith, can tap into those miracles.
Marley: Absolutely. Look at my musical career.
Tad: You were great though.
Marley: Just lucky and determined, and blessed. Let’s take a look at how many prophecies Nostradamus was able to come up with hundreds of years before they came to pass.
Tad: He wasn’t perfect.
Marley: How do you think you would do trying to predict things hundreds of years into the future without any help but from planetary movements and meditating on the good vibes of the positive gods?

Stuber 8.4

Tad: I thought Nostradamus was a Christian Monk.
Marley: And Jesus is just one of the many positive spirits anointed by creatures all over the universe.
Tad: Hmm. Anyway, what about this crazy visitor from New Zealand.
Marley: I can’t really get a handle on much of it.
Tad: Maybe I can help. I lived in New Zealand for six months when I was a kid. Does your visitor have a name?
Marley: I can’t make out her language, but one of the words she says the most is something like Wairua.
Tad: Wairua, that sounds like a word I had on the license plate of one of my cars. The word was Waiata. It meant “party” in the Maori language. The Maori were a tribe of natives that lost a war in Hawaii and traveled by long canoes all the way to New Zealand.
Marley: Oh, sure, Hawaii to New Zealand by canoe. Sounds like a tougher trip than Cuba to Miami. How could they make it that long on the sea?
Tad: They had goats and dogs on board. Even chickens. The eggs and meat obviously lasted long enough for them to sail right by Micronesia and Macronesia. It is believed some ended up in Tahiti, but the majority made it all the way to New Zealand.
Marley: Wild. If this Wairua lady is really from a New Zealand tribe, this dream is like the United Nations of indigenous people!
Tad: I guess so. If you count the one and only Bob Marley being the vehicle for an ancient goddess. It sounds like a cross between Shirley MacLaine and Doonesbury if you ask me.
The two were sitting in the grass on a point that had plenty of flat land that had been created by the deltas of small creeks. The southern end of the lake featured steep cliffs diving to 300 feet of water. You could step out in the water maybe ten or fifteen paces before dropping off to a steep decline. The water by the points was shallow for quite a ways due to a constant influx of fresh pebbles. The two waded in.
Marley: This water sure is refreshing.
Tad: Mighty cold though.
Marley: Not on a hot day like today.

Stuber 8.5

Tad: It will take me a while to get used to anything cold. Before I dropped in here, I had lung disease and heart problems. I used to have to carry my oxygen around on my back. It was a medical discovery that became a phenomenon after you died. Eventually, you could see people carrying their oxygen around in almost any shopping mall. Anyway, all my physical problems cleared themselves up when I showed up here. Then I got visited by this medicine man. I think it was Wide Hawk.
Marley: Why wouldn’t you know for sure who it was? Was it in a dream like mine?
Tad: No, he was with me, but wearing a mask. He talked to me about becoming the spiritual leader of our group.
Marley: Do you mind if I smoke?
Tad: I guess not.
Marley: It will help me meditate on this problem of Wairua and her New Zealand pals.
Tad: Maori, they call themselves Maori.
Marley lit up a peace pipe. He had traded a bright colored hat for the pipe, two friendship bracelets and leather shoes. He had felt out of place in sneakers. After three or four puffs, Tad reached over and had a smoke himself. The two sat in silence for some time.
Marley: This Wairua is not the name of my visiting goddess I think her name is Papa. She said she is the earth goddess. She’s telling me that she mated with the sky god Rangi, but after bearing seventy children, evil took over and she was separated from her love. She said that I am a matakite. It means she thinks I have a second sight. I guess she thinks I’m a psychic. She’s wrong on that one.
Tad: You may be one without knowing it. A lot of things from our previous lives appear to be changed here. Plus, don’t you think some gods were looking over you in your time on earth?
Marley: Maybe.
Tad: Maybe? You represented the struggles of your entire people. That privilege isn’t handed out to just anyone.
Marley: These matakite people are supposed to listen to the feelings they

Stuber 8.6

receive from Papa. The feelings are delivered through Wairua. Aha, that’s what a Wairua is!
Marley’s eyes remained closed, he was zooming in on the cosmic debris, trying to come up with the good stuff while talking to somebody he didn’t even know. Tad was sitting in amazement. He wasn’t sure whether Marley was tripping, pulling his leg, or actually recounting some mysterious messages from the gods.
Marley: She is saying that the Wairua is our soul. She says that the soul leaves the body when you die, but that it also leaves the body when you are sleeping or dreaming. This Wairua can travel the world and bring back knowledge from other places as long as a matakite is open to receiving. Papa’s Wairua is visiting me because my Wairua had been visiting her.
Tad: This is amazing. Maybe my stay in New Zealand in 1972 had something to do with this too. The shaman who talked to me through a mask suggested that I become the spiritual leader, but maybe it should be you.
{These two are full of themselves aren’t they?}
Some sea gulls called to each other.
Marley: There must be more important subjects.
Tad: I was thinking about the miscarriage that Fawn was yelling about.
Marley: What about it?
Tad: I seem to remember the Maori having some very strange beliefs about miscarriages. One of the Maori girls in my brother’s high school had a miscarriage, and she didn’t show up in class for weeks. Afterward, she became a paranoid mess. It ruined her certification tests. She ended up failing, which meant no shot at university. It was a real tragedy because she was mighty smart, at least how my brother told it.
Marley: Well, that will give me something to talk about with this spirit I am communing with.
Tad: I’ll let you commune. I’ve got to find Jeanne Larsen and borrow some writing material so I can write out what I remember about the Maori beliefs, especially the miscarriage omen.
Marley: See you around.
Tad got out of the water and headed back to the collection of Ganohses that

Stuber 8.7

made up the meeting place. The trek was up hill but he had no problem walking to his unfamiliar surroundings in the village. He was free to walk around without the pain of physical travails. He smiled then quickly cried as he realized he may be free, but that he was probably dead. He took ten steps and shook it off because he knew the challenge of keeping his fellow invitees in order was going to keep his moments busy. No time now to ponder the consequences of slipping into another dimension.
He saw Jeanne Larsen leave from Bobbing Tail’s sleeping quarters. He borrowed 20 of sheets of paper from her and headed into the house he had been sleeping in. He kept the flap open for light and sat near the doorway writing.
He wrote: I’m glad I’ve got warm clothes because I know this place. I am sitting on the east side of Canandaigua lake, it seems like about August or maybe late July. It can’t really be the era right before European colonization, because I am here. I guess I’m dead. The Indians are all weirded out by our being here, so I’m sure this is an alternative universe, like the kind Bob Marley says Henry James talked about. Who the hell was Henry James, I don’t know, but I appear to be the only visiting time-traveler who has been to this exact place before. Between 1966 and 1978 we lived right on the lake. We were over on the west side. Tichner’s Point to be exact. Maybe it’s my prior knowledge that makes me the right choice to be the religious guru of the peaceniks. What a weird job-description.
I can’t believe “Stephanie” is here. When she danced topless in front of the fire I wanted to take her hand and start a horizontal mosh pit. I had no idea I’d be able to dance hard, no less keep up with her all night. It feels great to be walking around, running around, playing lacrosse all afternoon without even being winded.
{Tad opened his wallet and looked at a few pictures before he kept writing.}
I’m sure I would have had Kim or Sharon for life if I had been this free in my last shot at an existence. A long list of beauties from my previous life just reappeared from my wallet. What a life. One of the best weeks I can remember was bombing around Edinburgh Scotland during the 1987 British Open. It was a pretty good summer. My whacko brother had sent in 100 postcards to ESPN to try to win a trip to Scotland. The promotion was called “Tee Time in Scotland.” He had predicted different winners on each card. He had even drawn charicatures of the players he liked best, or knew how to draw. I laughed my butt off when he spent the

Stuber 8.8

$15.00 to send them in. Then he laughed his butt off when they sent him a letter saying that, out of 35,000 postcards received, they had picked his.
Anyway, we were floating from one pub to another with these two other winners, a guy named Bill and his sister Mary. At this one pub Doug and Mary broke away from us and ran down the hill and turned a left. I was stuck with fucking Bill all night. The reason Doug and Mary had run away was because Bill had thrown a glass at a guy and almost got the four of us into a major U.S. versus Scotland bar brawl. We surely would have lost. But Bill was the type of ass-hole, who, after winning a trip on the Concorde to fly at supersonic speeds with twenty of the best golfers in the world, shows up at the airport in New York in blasted cutoffs. Raggy. dirty, smelly cutoffs, an Ozzy Osborne muscle T-shirt and black converse sneakers.
Fuzzy Zoeller took one look at the guy, turned away from him, laughed his ass off and asked us if we wanted a drink. Who’s going to turn down a beer with Fuzzy? We laughed about this “red-neck on the concord” the rest of the way.
So there we are in Scotland, the only country with more bar-fights per capita than Ireland, and Billy boy decides to throw a full pint of the Queen Anne Pub’s home-brewed Lager at some bloke who’s hitting on his sister. Can’t say I blame Doug and Mary for running away from that one, but here I was stuck with Mr. Billy, the raving Maryland destroyer. If I’d been in the kind of shape I’m in now, the fifteen pints at fifteen pubs we had consumed wouldn’t have slowed me down in my quest to rid myself of this buffoon. Of course, I never would have met Jennifer. She was a red-haired wonder. (Is everyone in Scotland slightly red-headed or what?) Jennifer would have been another full-blown soul-mate if only I had been in this kind of beautiful physical shape back then. Right, back then in 1987. It seems like I’m some time in the 1700s now. {Tad was never very good at history. He wrote on:}
Love’s lost, what a sap. A conquest of “Stephanie” is in order. She’s the Victoria’s Secret type not the “rough and tumble” Jessica appears to be. I’ll have to woo her. Go right up to her and woo-woo her, that’s the ticket. In fact maybe I should try that game of three questions Wide Hawk was teaching me. How does

Stuber 8.9

that go again? The first two questions are always somewhat misleading, and are meant to keep your playing friend at bay. They only hint at the real question you
want to ask.
It would have to go something like this:
Tad: I have a game of three questions, will you play?
“Stephanie”: What type of questions will they be?
Tad: The first two will be questions of time, the last one will be a straightforward yes or no question.
“Stephanie”: That seems like an innocent enough trio. Go ahead, let’s play.
Tad: Do you think forty minutes is just the right amount of time, too long a time, or not enough time to perform cunnilingus on a women?
At first “Stephanie” would be shocked by this question, but then she’d answer the question. {Tad wrote.}
“Stephanie”: Would this be continual, regardless of orgasms?
Tad: Yes. In other words could you stand forty minutes, would it be too much for you, or would you want your man to go more than forty minutes with the love tongue, even if you had twenty orgasms?
“Stephanie”: Forty minutes would be fine, I’d want to harden his hanging meat while he was at it. You wanna know my favorite these days? Right now I’d like to jump up and saddle-ride Marley until he burst with joy.
Tad: Marley, hmmm, I see. Okay, second question: When was the last time your heart went pitter-patter like the first time you were in love during adolescence?
Stephanie would stand there for a while giving that one some thought.
“Stephanie”: That question’s a ball-buster. Only once since I was 18 really. That one time was just the other day.
Tad: Don’t tell me who it was. I’ve had a flutter in my heart recently too.
“Stephanie”: What is your last question.
Tad: You got forty minutes to spare?
“Stephanie”: Well, uh.
Yeah, like you’re really going to try to pull some native’s idea of a bar line on

Stuber 8.10

the world’s perfect torso. Well, it would be worth a try.
{Tad’s writing was quickly interrupted from across the middle of the filed that housed the ganohses.}
Larsen: Hey Tad, you want to join us for a negotiating lesson at the end of the lake?
Tad: No thanks, I’m going to stay here and write.
Oh yeah, Tad thought, I was supposed to be writing about the Maori beliefs of
miscarriage. Shit, how did that go again.
{Tad wrote:}
Wairua is the spirit that gives things life. That spirit is in everything, not just living things, but everything. If the Wairua of an unhappy man who dies gets free, it can come back to haunt the living. It can cause damage. In the case of a miscarriage, the Wairua often acts like a war god. The Wairua of an unborn child has to be kept away, or, has to be kept happy, otherwise it will start a war. That’s it.

 

 

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  • Before You Speak

    Before you speak, let your words pass through three gates. At the first gate, ask yourself, ‘Is it true?’ At the second ask, ‘Is it necessary?’ At the third gate ask ‘Is it kind? Rumi  Translated by Coleman Barks

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“The Dinner Party,” a novella in 11 chapters plus endnotes, copyright, Doug Stuber, 1992.  Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given, and with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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