They said the Talking Mountain
This is what they said
To the Cannibal Women
Even to the Stick Men
They’ll all tell you
How mad it is to be me
ìChief Smoattleî as quoted in:
“I am Dreaming You; The Amazing Story
Of Shirley Anne Honeyacre and Chief Smoattle;
Dead for TwoThousand Years!”
Shirley Anne Honeyacre
Vegemental Press, Midden, WA. 1988
That night was both the night in which Old Man Petersunn died and the night of the day of Chester Honeyacre’s great vision and in that night, in fact tucked right into that night, the giant beavers came to Chester in a troubling and fitful dream.
There were two giant beavers and they were surely beavers, he dreamed, because of the two huge squarish front teeth each seemed having trouble holding in its respective mouth. One or the other of them would have to occasionally catch and hold the teeth to keep them from slipping out and away. Although their speech was slurred it was able enough to understand:
“The difference between a vision and a dream, Chester, is simple. This is a dream, it’s vague and generally confusing. It’s got giant beavers in it, for instance, and we might represent something other than what we say we do. You even know that you’re dreaming right now, if you really think about it.”
“Even though you’re just dreaming that you’re really thinking about it,” interrupted the second giant beaver.
“Great, fine, thanks for your input, pal,” said the first giant beaver, somewhat sarcastically. “Listen to me, Chester. The vision was a real thing, it happened in that place that is like ??? a seed, you know? Of course you don’t. Now look, here’s the deal. You have to grow the seed of a vision. That’s your job, as envisioner, to be the growing agent. Otherwise, it’s just a seed. Think about it. What is a thing? Is it – the thing – the seed? Or is it the flower? What do you call such a thing? A seedflower? Or is it two things at once and, if that is true, what then is the true nature of time? Can you tell what the flower will be like by staring at the seed? Does the flower know that it came from the seed? Does the seed know how bizarre its future is? See? The whole deal needs a middleman.”
“A growing agent,” Chester had replied in the dream.
“Right fucking on,” said both beavers in uncanny unison.
“And a vision is never predictive because it is real – that is, it is something which really happens and while it may be the starting point for something in the future, you’d have a hell of a time predicting exactly what,” said the other of the giant beavers. By now Chester had begun to distinguish between them. The one speaking was the one wearing what looked to be a Medieval jester’s hat with little bone or ivory human skulls dangling from its rakish corners. The first giant beaver looked at Chester carefully across a table crowded with stacks of paper and twigs and pens and what must have been, he thought later, an expensive laptop.
“The future is not balled up inside the present, either. Or the past, see?” said the first giant beaver. “The future takes place in real time, in your time. The future is yours to make up, kid. In a sense, the time you are living in now is the future, see? Don’t expect the future to look like its seed, which is all you’ve got when you fall into the vision. The seed. Make the seed grow. Listen to the old woman.”
“Anyway, she cracks me up!” shouted the other giant beaver. In unison, each of them applied their big flat tails to the polished wooden floor with a tremendous, synchronous slap. Then each rolled backwards, laughing with glee. After a second’s delay, to Chester’s mixed feelings, the windows in the room all blew out.
“Whoopee,” shouted the first giant beaver. “Whoowee, that was a big one!”
“Here’s what I’d do, Chet,” said the other one. “And you don’t get this kind of straight advice often from the past, so take note. I’d, if I were you – which I’m not, because you and I are not only different species entirely, although we’re both mammals – what was I saying? Oh, yeah. If you look it up in the cold light of day, you’ll find that giant beavers are entirely extinct due to the ravages of you primates, whereas certain fortunate species who inveigle their way into the good graces of your people have literally wound up being given the moon in a sack. Little wimpy Castor beavers, for instance.”
“Dogs. Cats, for instance,” said the other.
“Yeah. For instance, that fucking cat of Helda Honeyacre’s.”
“The Inheritor,” said the other giant beaver glumly.
“Listen, I feel as bad about that fucking cat as you do. But what should I do about all this other stuff?” asked Chester. He felt sad and alone and troubled and nervous and unsure of any real distinction between shadow and light, between past and future.
“A vision needs interpretation, see? Otherwise, there is no meaning to it. Unlike dreams, there is no meaning in things that actually happen. Meaning has to be applied in the future, which all too quickly becomes the past. That’s the deal, Chester,” said the one with the jester’s hat.
“And it’s not a bad deal, Chester,” said the other. “Although you’ll have a hard time remembering much of this when you wake up because we’re probably appearing to you in some confused dreamlike state. God knows what you think is happening.”
Chester was indeed unsure of what was happening.
“What you want to do first is make sure that you go down to Hollywood and use your brother Mitchell. Forget your pride. If you’re going to give meaning to your vision, then why not use the built-in advantage the film business gives you, since it has a lot of the stuff of interpretation already in place?”
“Already in the pipeline, so to speak.”
“You’re in deep, babe,” said the giant beaver with the skull hat. ìYou’re heading straight for the loony bin. In fact, they’re naming the looney bin after you, I heard. You’ll be in the cell next to Bunky.”
Both giant beavers found this inexpressibly funny, so funny that they had to grab for their teeth to keep them from skidding across the table.
A thin little cell phone rang and the giant beaver without the hat picked it up delicately in its big webbed rat-feet and listened for a moment.
“I think we should use a glue-lam truss beam from that outfit in Tacoma,” it said. “Get someone in Engineering to run some stress tests on the wind loading and tell them to go conservative on shear.” It hung up the phone and stared at Chester across the desk.
“So. Chester,” it said brusquely. “Have we got that? Can we move this along?”
“Oh, yeah,” said Chester. “I got it, I think. What will happen to me today?”
Both giant beavers struck the floor again with their tails and the tremendous explosion woke Chester up like a shot.
The day after his vision thus began in the depressing little divorce-apartment above the Finnish Bakery on Honeyacre street. He lay on his back and thought for a moment about the distinct possibility that he would be arrested for attempted murder on this day and that his hand was swollen and really hurt like hell and that he was going insane, but then he roused himself to think heroically and rolled over and, clumsily using his good left hand, called and booked a flight for himself and Jim Rook to Los Angeles for later in the day. He charged the tickets to the Platinum American Express card of his ex-wife’s current husband, glad for once to not have to sign anything, although he really didn’t even bother to forge the real name anymore. Somehow, he knew, this credit card dodge would catch up with him, especially when last night’s bill from the Ebb Tide came in. He was courting disaster, he knew. As if wanting to be stopped, to be caught, he had begun signing “Daffy Duck” or “Rudolph of Prague” even at the Dam Room Bar of the Beaver Hotel. So far, however, no one had noticed.
He had embarked upon this probably criminal and certainly foolish behavior based on his ex-wife’s current husband’s assertion one night in December last, amid a virtual sea of female breasts, that he – Robert “Towhead” Beech – never questioned any of his American Express bills, but always instructed his goddamn accountant to just pay everything without question because he could goddamn well afford it and because he wasn’t going to give his goddamn kids the satisfaction of ever knowing for a moment that they could hurt him where they knew he could be hurt, right in his almighty goddamn wallet. His goddamn kids were in their thirties, if Chester remembered correctly. When Towhead Beech, idiot, had flung the golden card across the table at Chester, heíd instantly realized that he was being extended the possiblility of some kind of Unlimited Credit. The first thing that had popped into his mind was to wonder if he could somehow charge his monthly payments on the Drifta (he paid them to Towhead Beech Honda) to this credit card. It was a thought, a wonderful thought, or so it turned out.
“Here, good buddy,” Towhead Beech had said. “It could be anyone,” he said. “You, even. You could have this and use it and I still wouldn’t care because Chief Smoattle says that I was once the fucking King of Armenia and all these lives I’ve been just givin’ it away and not to let it bother me because that’s my path in life, to just give it away like the King of Goddamn Fucking Armenia.” His hand was shaking. He was a little blonde guy. The blonde part was a copper-greenish rug on his head. Towhead Beech had a whole lot of money as well as legal possession of Chester’s former wife. He was quite drunk on this December night. Chester clearly remembered that Towhead Beech used to give The Chief
Smoattle Foundation a lot of money, even buying a ranch in the Silver Triangle and engaging Shirley Anne for expensive private sessions with The Chief himself. Now Chester knew – it was one of the few things his lawyer had actually accomplished in the divorce proceedings – that the private sessions involved sexual activities that he sincerely doubted The Chief was directly involved in. For all that Shirley Anne and he had pretty much invented Chief Smoattle, they had never given him a sexual self, as if there really were some hidden delicacy or even prudishness in Shirley Anne’s otherwise all-embracing sexual nature. Prudishness, she liked to point out, was pretty much Chester’s department.
That night, the night of Unlimited Credit, Shirley Anne’s soft, evil eyes had embraced him across the gulf of inches between them like a mistress gathering in her wandering slaves for a grateful eventide whipping. Washed in her glance, he remembered how much money he and she had got out of Towhead Beech in the old days and he was ashamed to notice that she instantly, just by looking at him, ensnared him in some unspoken conspiracy that by now was certainly against all of his interests.
“Here,” slurred the little guy. ” You might as well have a card, Chet. I don’t really know you and I don’t wanna know you and what I do know I damn well don’t like and I’m sure you have every reason to dislike me as well and I’m saying you might as well have it. See what I’m saying? That’s how little I care about my goddamn kids now that I’m on the Road to Health and the Choosing. Chief Smoattle has steered me in a direction of Peace and Calm. I’m wise to their fuckin’ game, see? My kids just run the goddamn card up to annoy me and if I buy into the game ??? you know, Chet, I realized just recently that I’m fifty-fucking-nine years fucking old and I just don’t frankly give a fucking shit.” He smiled triumphantly. Chester held onto the card. Beech’s eyes glanced quickly around at the Sea of Breasts.
“If they’re going to challenge me, then they’ll fucking lose. Because I can fucking well pay for whatever they can spend, and that’s where they lose because they’ll none of them ever have a fucking dime left to their own fucking devices, and believe me, Chet, I’m going to leave them to their own fucking devices.”
The four of them at the table laughed at that to beat the band. The four breasts that made up the Sea of Breasts bounced along in time to the laughter.
They had been laughing too hard at just about everything in the RiverSedge Tavern that night, four humans and four breasts trying to avoid the obvious. The obvious was that Chester and Shirley Anne had not seen each other since the divorce – even during the divorce, Chester refused to show up for arbitrations or hearings or any proceedings at all – and it was well known around town that Chester had been stomped like shit into wet ground by Shirley Anne’s hotshot Midden lawyer, to the point that he had put up little defense beyond asserting to the newspapers and his own lawyer that Chief Smoattle’s manifestation through Shirley Anne’s comely body was a fake, an elaborate acting job, and he had thereby lost completely his half-interest in the money-making parts of the Chief Smoattle business that he had created and had made into such a success, including Shirley Anne’s use of the name Honeyacre. It was inevitable that the two of them were going to meet after the divorce and Chester had been thankful that if he was going to have to go through this and actually face her around town that he was at least with a girl, even if it was just Lorene Supplemeir whom Shirley Anne had always characterized as “that blonde at the bank with the big tits who looks like a rabbit.”
He liked Lorene Supplemeir, actually. She was a good-hearted, eternal adolescent of thirty-five who loved sports above all things. Her own tremendous taste for everything sporting was often frustrated because her unbelievably large chest made participation in everything she tried a kind of contest between gravity and centrifugal force. This was neither funny to her, nor could she fully comprehend the lust she engendered in many – indeed most – men around town. She suffered, Lorene did, and she had considered more than once being operated on to reduce the size of her chest. She could not help her figure, she thought, and she was not one of those large-breasted women who like to parade them around. She was a naturally modest person and she did not really like being ogled, although she was gracious to people who did it. This graciousness, this natural dignity, had made of her a kind of loved, traditional icon in the town of Beaverteeth. She smiled and welcomed behind the cashier’s glass at the First Squilimuk Savings Bank. She filled the sort of role usually reserved for friendly Alpine barmaids. Chester thought of her renowned breasts as serving a kind of civic function, as friendly twin symbols of hospitality. She did look a bit like a rabbit, but that was fine with Chester because it reminded him of the prominent overbite of Rosie Everlasting.
On this evening, her stunning breasts had been the center of Towhead Beech’s attention, and the little guy could hardly keep – Chester thought – from just plain diving in between them. Sweat poured off him and his eyes darted to and from the breasts and he drank copiously and lasciviously. Why he was this unnerved was a question for Chester, since his new wife, Shirley Anne (formerly Honeyacre) Beech, liked to display her own considerable breasts, and on this evening – to Chester’s dismay – she was wearing a tight-fitting, off-the-shoulder, black Christmas sweater that hung the breasts out there for pretty much the world to see. It was a Sea of Breasts, he thought. Chester Honeyacre had mixed feelings, adrift as he was, to be sure.
He had been trying to laugh and play the fool as he and Lorene, already bored to tears with each other, ran into Shirley Anne and Blowhead Beech over grilled potato crisps and cleverly labeled local beer and pizza with goat cheese at the RiverSedge, a trendy place frequented by New Beaverteeth, a place he knew he shouldn’t have let Lorene talk him into going to. Of course, civilization demanded, in this day and age, that they be friendly and that the men shake hands with a smile and the women embrace with a hug a little longer than usual and everyone sit down together for what the whole town at the other tables was seeing as a major municipal event. The Chief Smoattle Divorce Case had riveted the interest of Beaverteeth and Midden and indeed, much of the Tabloid Nation, for the winter past. At the very moment that Beech had handed him the card and lurched his beady little eyes back to the Sea of Breasts, Shirley Anne had been momentarily distracted by yet another adoring admirer who had braved the dares of friends to step up to the table and ask the famous medium and channeler for an autograph. In this frozen moment, awash in the Sea of Breasts and his own churning emotions, Chester noted that no one at the table or indeed in the whole place had seen or cared whether Chester had given Beech the Platinum American Express card back. He had smiled, humoring the little bastard, and he’d tossed the card into his shirt pocket as if it were all a huge joke and he’d kept his gaze open and frank until the idiot’s eyes swayed away from his, as Beech shouted over the tavern’s noise in order to draw back to him the attention of the two lovely owners of the four great breasts. Shirley Anne’s eyes had been sending secret messages to Chester’s heart. If you knew her – and Chester certainly did – you knew that the little sexual messages that Shirley Anne sent out to men were all quite true. She was not a tease, not Shirley Anne. She delivered. At the same time, she accepted the adulation and awe in which she and Chief Smoattle (the Prophet of the Plant Brain) were held by a line of diners, emboldened by the first woman, seeking Shirley Anne’s autograph. Chief Smoattle – on the DVDís ($89.95 each) – seemed very different than Shirley Anne, to say the least, said one autograph seeker, a middle-aged woman with graying hair cut in a mushroom shape that featured a shaved back of the neck and a kind of different-colored cap of shortened hair up top.
“You’d hardly believe that you were ??? I mean that he was you. I mean, he seems so real, Shirley Anne,” gushed the mushroom-headed admirer. “We moved out here from Memphis three years ago and we’re sort of late catching up with all of you.”
“Well, you know, I’m the only one who’s never seen him,” said Shirley Anne, which brought a laugh from all. Chester had coined that response years ago and it still played well, he noted. What did he care, he thought angrily. He did not wish this bitch anything but ill, he reminded himself. He knew that if he took her outside that she would want to fuck right on the hood of his car, he knew it because her eyes said so. This was as bad as
he had thought it would get. She signed a napkin, then a menu.
“You certainly don’t look two thousand years old,” said a woman’s husband admiringly, his eyes falling to Shirley Anne’s plentiful breasts. Shirley Anne smiled that secret smile and dropped her eyes and quickly raised them in a flutter to briefly meet the man’s gaze. She was disappointed because the man had suddenly noticed Lorene Supplemeir’s truly gigantic breasts and he was a goner. In the Sea of Breasts, it would always be Lorene who would command the fleet, thought Chester cheerfully.
Chester was not unaware of Lorene’s breasts, nor was he all that knocked out by them. He liked to go out with Lorene because she was available and acceptable to the image he wanted to present to Beaverteeth and, as well, he liked her and had for years. After all, he was the town Publicist and she was the town Greeter, he thought, and they had a professional regard for each other that had never really deepened, although he was carefully sure to make love to her at the conclusion of every date. There had been twelve or thirteen dates to this point. On each she had lain beneath him in a rather formal manner, he thought, sportingly accepting a penis she never really looked at, as it was hidden
from her view by her breasts, breasts she never made much of anything special about, unleashing them merely to be fondled and kissed and sucked and adored, looking cheerfully down on him as – it was inevitable – he worshiped their exciting sheer mass.
You had to worship them, he thought, they were a commandment, a force of nature and it was not Lorene’s fault that they existed and that he didn’t really care about them or that he and their owner weren’t exactly in love with each other. She always had the good grace to release him with her usual pleasant good judgement.
“That was just real good, Chester,” she would say. “You know, you’re just the greatest guy.” She would kiss him nastily goodnight in her robe and send him home because she had grown kids around town and really didn’t ever want him to sleep over and besides she was in the Early Bird bowling league down at the Beaver Bowl.
Chester, who had been present at Chief Smoattle’s cynical creation and had, in fact, personally invented and marketed the Chief Smoattle Product Line that had swelled to such bulbous proportions, knew a whole lot about Shirley Annes’s breasts as well, and even more about what demons inhabited them and what sort of trouble they could get themselves into and although he ached to see that crazy look in her eyes, to have her again, to just see her do all that crazy sex stuff that she did when she got hot; still, there had been a little well of sanity inside him that night at the RiverSedge, a cool pool of thankfulness that he wouldn’t have to deal with her ever again nor with Smooey himself
nor the Crystal Pendants nor the Miniature Soul-Catcher Lockets nor the hand-embroidered Llama-wool earrings, nor the Squilimuk Peace Totems, nor the DVDs and videotapes nor the breasts, for that matter, ever, ever again.
The Platinum American Express Card embossed with the name of Towhead Beech had certainly come in handy in the months since, but Chester knew down deep that somehow he had probably been set up.