The Scarlet Letter
I stand before you, clad only with my desire to ascend the windswept slopes of my isolated hermitage. Howdy,
I'm leaving as soon as I can get my shit together—I wanted to load my major appliances today, but it's been raining as though all the angels in heaven chose to piss simultaneously.
In celebration of my return to my celestial abode in Northern California, here's a story for you to publish that I wrote the first time I was in Mt. Shasta. It is long, so you may want to serialize it. It is also a little rough and ignorant, but don't worry about that. I was not as sophisticated then as I am now.
If you like it, publish it. If not, you will join the company of several distinguished publications I submitted the piece to in 1983. They hated it. [...]
May you all continue to grow in favour with God/Goddess and Man. [...] Thanks for your support.
* * * * *
Adolf Hitler, who had caused a good deal of astonishment among the Terrans during the first half of the twentieth century, gazed down at the lovely blue planet he had onced hoped to rule. As one of the top agents of the Shiva Corps, an organization of advanced beings dedicated to spreading destruction and chaos throughout the universe, he had once again been called upon to attempt to dominate and destroy the hated world which had rejected him years ago.
He sighed wearily. That last job had taken a lot out of him. He should have been allowed at least a full century of regeneration before being resurrected for another mission. This just isn't my millenium, he thought.
Only twenty-four hours ago he had been yanked gasping and shivering out of the deep freeze, placed aboard a space ship disguised as a communications satellite and been assigned his mission, which was, briefly, to become another Anti-Christ and lead Earth into a nuclear war which would destroy it.
No doubt about it, Hitler hated the Earth. He wanted to see it a ruined hulk of a planet, unfit for life. But this mission was just too much, too soon. He was tired. He was pissed.
A voice rang inside his head. "Bitch, bitch, bitch," it said. "All you ever do is bitch. First you complain to the High Council about not getting enough recognition for your destruction of the life-supporting worlds which formerly surrounded Alpha Centauri, then you gripe about not getting enough psychic support during your first attempt to destroy Earth. Now we've offered you the chance to rectify the mistakes you made last time, and what do you do? Bitch."
Hitler stiffened, came to attention. The voice belonged to the High Lord Shiva, himself. This must truly be an important mission, for the High Lord did not often deign to speak directly to his field agents. Damn it all! I suppose there's no way I can hide my thoughts from the Boss.
"Quite correct," said the Boss jovially. "You termite, you can't hide anything from me, not even your sub-caliber penis."
"Oh High Lord Shiva," Hitler said, "please do not mistake my pure intent. I appreciate the chance to wreck the blue world, it's just that I have, uh, been sort of taken by surprise. I have not yet fully recuperated from my last trip to that asshole of a planet."
"Screw that noise, Hitler. You have no idea how lucky you are to be offered a second shot at the Earth. Nobody told you, but your sector commander recommended you for retraining at the Academy, with a decrease in rank and responsibility, after your last muffed attempt. You only escaped that odious future because you have more familiarity with the Earth than any of our other agents, and consequently have a better chance of destroying it, unless you're a total goofball."
"Gee thanks, Dad," Hitler mumbled.
"Of course, your mission will be a little more dangerous this time," continued the High Lord. "The Lemurian High Council, headquartered on Mt. Shasta in the American state of California, will go to any lengths to stop you, and their strength is on the increase, as they have been successful in enlisting the aid of Gautama Buddha, Jesus Christ and a host of both greater and lesser beings in their attempt to stop the destruction of their world.
"The Lemurians are not to be scoffed at. While it is true we succeeded in destroying their home continent long ago, the more advanced members of the tribe escaped and became infinitely more powerful. They have become so powerful, in fact, that one sometimes wonders if the Universe has conspired against us."
The High Lord assumed a contemplative silence. Hitler began to wonder if he had gone away. But no, the infernal drone began again. Hitler swallowed a couple of aspirin.
"So your enemies are extremely powerful and will be prone to make various attempts at causing you discomfort. You will have to use all the destructive power at your disposal. You have been given free reign and as much psychic power as we can afford to spare. So you'd better make good. Make us proud of you.
"A word of warning: if you screw up this attempt, we will probably not get another shot at the Earth for several millenia, if at all. So if you can't crack this egg, don't expect to come home. We won't put up with an eternal loser."
Hitler nervously cleared his throat. "Just out of curiosity, sir, not that I think I'll screw up or anything, just philosophically speaking, sir; if I were to screw up, where would I go?"
The High Lord yawned. "To Hell, I suppose. Or maybe you could join the Lemurians, if they would have you.
"I'm going away now, sweet Adolf, and leave you to your devious plan, whatever it is. I'm really not very concerned about your welfare, so don't expect to hear from me again. Have a pleasant vacation. Bye, bye."
Hitler waited a moment to be sure the High Lord had indeed departed, then vigourously kicked his ship's instrument console. After that, he felt obliged to take two more asprin.
* * * * *
High up on Mt. Shasta, two figures clothed in sandals and light robes trudged through the snow—no, they trudged over the snow, for their feet never sank into the white blanket, never left a print. One of these figures was Gautama Buddha, the other was Jesus Christ. They were on their way to a meeting of the Lemurian High Council.
They entered a bright circle of golden light and found themselves in the midst of the Lemurian gathering. Lemurians lounged against trees sipping wine, played hopscotch in the snow, dealt cards for a poker game. A little to one side, two small bands of these beings were enthusiastically engaged in a snowball fight. It is indeed good to be home, thought Jesus.
One of the Lemurians was trying wholeheartedly to climb a tree, while several others held on to his feet, atempting to pull him loose so they could drag him through the snow. This creature had a long white beard and a halo surrounded his head. He was the President of the Lemurian High Council. His name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens.
Clemens, who had usually been known as Mark Twain during his last trip to the world of mortal men, saw Jesus and Buddha approaching. He grabbed his halo and swung it mightily, cracking the jaw of one antagonist, then brought it crashing down upon the unprotected head of another. His other persecutors let go of his legs and scampered hastily out of the way of the deadly halo. Clemens descended the tree and advanced to meet the two newcomers.
"The Eternal Fatso!" Clemens exclaimed, pumping The Buddha's hand vigorously. "And Jesus H. Christ! Glad you two could make it!"
"Now Sam, don't be sacreligious," said The Buddha with a smile.
"You know Sam—always putting down his betters," grinned Jesus. "That was the only way he could survive the last time he pretended to be mortal."
"Yes," agreed Clemens reflectively, "writing satire for the human mind to digest was indeed an excellent method to insure that I had enough beans and bacon to digest. And while we're on the topic, those infernal servants of Shiva have recently given me a bad case of indigestion. That's why I asked you fellows to attend this Council meeting. I suppose you know what they've been up to."
"The same old thing, I imagine," yawned The Buddha. "Sowing destruction and chaos, destroying planers, harrassing little old ladies."
"And taking candy away from babies," agreed Clemens, lighting up a cigar. "Remember that little fellow with the funny mustache who wanted to rule the world in the thirties and forties, Adolf Hitler? Well, he's at it again, or soon will be. My spies have informed me that he is scheduled to arrive tomorrow and take over the body of a well known Bible Belt preacher; then stir the world's emotions up so badly an all-out war will be inevitable. But I have a plan for friend Adolf. Have a seat while I get the Council together."
Clemens reached inside his robe, produced a trumpet and began to play his favorite song, Dixie. The other Lemurians recognized their official rallying song, and reluctantly left their various recreations to sit in a semi-circle around Clemens.
Clemens finished his concert, put the trumpet away. "Not as good as Gabriel, I reckon, but better than some of those celestial tinhorns."
He cleared his throat. "You all know the situation and no doubt have been waiting for me, in my infinite wisdom, to come up with a solution. I have tried to do just that, and the sooner you give me permission to proceed with my plan, the sooner you can go back to your games.
"Briefly stated, my plan is this: tomorrow when Hitler tries to insert himself into the body of The Right Reverend Charlie H. Gray, we use a little of our psychic energy to deflect his transmigration beam, placing his essence in the body of a human not quite as well situated to cause death and destruction. Then we keep a careful watch on him, and if he somehow manages to work through this first obstacle, we bump him off or take another appropriate action. And I happen to have located the ideal human receptacle for Hitler's essence. His name is Scott Jerome. He is a transvestite."
The Lemurians were used to Clemens' somewhat weird sense of humor and so took the idea of this cosmic joke in stride. The Buddha and Jesus, however, were amazed at the old Lemurian, for they had not spent nearly as much time on Mt. Shasta as the others.
"Samuel, you are perverse," declared Jesus.
"Quite so," replied Clemens, "but you must admit my idea has its merits."
"This situation certainly has a lot of interesting potential," the Buddha remarked. "Jesus my friend, I suggest we go along with Sam's suggestion. Its implementation will be funny and I want to laugh."
"Okay," said Jesus, "anything for a friend."
Clemens called a vote. The Lemurians were unanimous; Clemens' plan was adopted. Jesus and Buddha were invited to assist Clemens in deflecting Hitler's transmigration beam. They accepted.
"Well, if there's nothing further, this meeting is adjourned," said Clemens. "Get out of here."
* * * * *
On this, the day of his transmigration, Adolf Hitler was in a fine fettle, considering the circumstances. He had had a good night's sleep, followed by a couple of shots of excellent bourbon to open his eyes. He winked at his navigational computer. "Tis a fine day lad, is it not?"
"You wouldn't think so if you had been living as a machine for a few hundred years," the computer replied.
Yes, it's amazing what a good dose of shut-eye can do for a man, Hitler mused. I believe I can almost forgive the High Council for sending me on this mission. They're not such a bad bunch of guys. Not really.
He gazed out a viewport and saw what appeared to be the copulation of two primitive spaceships. No, the Terran machines couldn't have developed that far yet. Then he realized that he was witnessing the docking of an American craft with a Russian ship. He scowled, gave them the finger. So this is what it's come to. There's too much cooperation down there. Well, I'll soon do something about that!
Hitler shook off his negative feelings and went to the transmigration room, which uncannily resembled the transporter room of the U.S.S. Enterprise. He had watched some old Star Trek re-runs last night before turning in. He set the controls for automatic, stepped up onto the platform. "Beam me down, Scotty." he chuckled.
He came to himself inside someone else's head. "How do you do," he said formally, "I am Adolf Hitler and I have come to take over your body. Just step aside and let me run the show and there won't he any problems. But I warn you: If you give me any trouble I will subdue you and continue with my mission. I have been trained in that sort of thing, you know"
"Hello, th-there ..., " the human stammered. "I haven't been doing any drugs today so you must be a dream. I really don't want any trouble, Mr. Dream. I guess I'd better go along with you. I'm used to giving myself up totally to people. But I'll sure be glad when I wake up!"
"There's a good boy," soothed Hitler. "Just go along with the dream. You'll wake up after a while and it'll be all better. But for now, just do as I say."
Hitler took stock of his surroundings. He was in a public restroom. Loud music assaulted his ears from the room adjacent. He searched his new body's brain to find out what style of barbaric music he was hearing. "Disco," he mused aloud. "How odd."
He decided to investigate the next room. He took a step and fell flat on his face. "What the hell?!"
He picked himself up and looked down at his feet. They were encased in women's high-heeled shoes. Stockings ran from his feet up underneath his... skirt! His blouse covered two semifootballs. He gingerly fingered one. Falsies! He was wearing a long, golden wig.
He furiously searched the memories of Scott Jerome, his new personality. He saw that he was twenty-three years old, had been educated at a state university, worked at a hamburger stand and was a transvestite. Transvestite! Ohmygod! I've gotta get out of here and do some serious contemplation.
He tried another step. This attempt was more successful than the last, though he did totter a little. He weaved out of the restroom and into the full blare of the disco music. He found himself in the full flower of the transvestite culture. Queens lounged around the bar, danced with each other. A petite brunette approached him, tried to pull him onto the dance floor. Hitler resisted, tried to run away. He broke a heel and fell into the arms of another "lady". He yanked his shoes off and threw them at the band. He ran through the crowd, out the door. He never stopped until he reached the safety of his new residence, the apartment of Scott Jerome.