:: Article

The Circum-Migration of the Animalis Manes

By Joe Cameron.

To experience the rare circum-migration of the animalis manes, you must travel to the great city of lights of Las Vegas. There you must enroll in graduate school at a university, and spend a year teaching yawning, half-conscious students freshman composition. At night you should sit in the sweltering desert heat, and over a laptop attempt to squeeze and beat the creative pulp in your mind.  If you squeeze the creative pulp hard enough, juices of nouns, verbs, adjectives, particles, and many other things, flow out of the brain, down the arms, and through the fingertips onto the keys of the laptop. 

After the second semester at the university ends, you must go to a poolside party, where a kid from Oklahoma named Jason has experimented with THC butter and has baked butterscotch cookies.  The butterscotch cookies will all stick together form a sort of butterscotch dough cake.  At this party, stare at your friend John’s girlfriend, because she is wearing a bikini and looks painfully sexy.  While doing so consume a quarter of the special butterscotch cookie dough cake.

After an hour of staring at John’s girlfriend, you will now have an extremely hard erection, and will be more stoned than you’ve ever experienced in your life.  Anything that comes out of your friend Adam’s mouth will be the funniest thing you’ve ever heard.  And if lying by the pool at sunset, finding you cannot move your legs or your arms, and your head feels like a helium balloon on a long string, and that you no longer understand what the people around you are speaking about, look up into the sky.  The great pink and orange pastel canvass above will be traversed by a plethora of cumulus formed creatures. 

This is the happening known as the circum-migration of the animalis manes.  The ghosts of all the animals that have died at the hands of mankind will be seen materialized into cloud forms of their former bodies that float leisurely overhead.  You will see many dogs, cats, and birds taking on wispy grey or puffy white forms, some giant and lumbering across half of the sky, others small and parading quietly on their own in the great sea of azure.  And you may also see other creatures, such as cows, horses, hippopotamus, giraffes, elephants, monkeys, fish, or aardvark.  Eventually the sun will set, and the clouds will dissipate with the darkness, and someone will help you inside to a couch, where you will pass out. 

You might try and explain your experience to others, but they will never really know, and probably will never really believe what you tell them.  Mostly they will laugh at you.  For months afterwards the great circum-migration will be in the back of your mind.  You will ruminate over the event when you are attempting in the sweltering evening heat over a laptop to squeeze and beat the creative pulp of your mind.  But nothing will come of it.  No matter how hard you try, no nouns, verbs, or adjectives, particles or other things that flow from your fingertips to the keys will be able to describe the awe of having seen such a stunning and beautiful sight.
A whole year later, if you find you have traveled across the world and are teaching conversational English near the ancient fortress and temple constructed by King, Raja Raja Chola I, you should take a nap under a mango tree.  In that nap you will dream a dream that relives your viewing of the rare circum-migration of the animalis manes.  As soon as you awake, you will stop a local Tamil boy, and inquire of him in a hushed, secretive tone, as to where a foreigner like yourself, an amerikaar achereyar, can purchase the ganja weed.  The boy will tell you that a local Ali sells the ganja weed.  If you give the boy a two rupee piece he will give you directions to the Ali’s house.  You ask your friend, Jagan Kumar, what an Ali is and he tells you.  It is a man-woman… a transvestite.  
The next day you will go to the Ali’s house and knock.  A youthful, dark skinned fellow wearing lipstick and a woman’s sari will answer the door.  He will invite you inside.  Unga peyar enna? You should ask him.  My name is Shiva, he will respond.  If you ask for two American dollars worth of ganja (100 rupees) he will give you a twenty bag.  He will also offer to suck your cock for another 100 rupees before you leave.   Pay him and drop your pants.  It will be exquisite.
Exactly one week later, shut your apartment windows from prying neighbors and lock your doors.  Then smoke the ganja.  It will be strong and hurt your throat.  Next wrap your purple and blue lungi around your waist, throw on a black t-shirt and drive your scooter down the dusty roads to the temple of King Raja Raja Chola I.  There is the American boy who dresses like a Tamilian, a beggar woman will say as you walk through the temple archway.
You must select a spot on the grassy inner courtyard and lay on your back, and you must wait for the ganja high to kick in.  If find that you cannot move your legs or your arms, and that your head feels like a helium balloon on a long string, and that you no longer understand what the people around you are speaking about, look up into the sky.  The pink and orange pastel canvass above will be traversed by a plethora of cumulus formed creatures.  You will smile at the experience of this, the greatest metaphysical revelation of them all.  You will cry at the beauty of it, and at the joy of having viewed it for a second time in your life.  And only an old Hindu priest, who once smoked ganja with the Siddhas in the north, will see you and know of your bliss.



Joe Cameron
is a fiction writer from Las Vegas who currently lives in Thanjavur, India.  In his spare time he swims nude in the Bay of Bengal and helps the farmers of Tamil Nadu and the lower caste people organize for Communist Party India (Marxist).

First published in 3:AM Magazine: Tuesday, May 1st, 2007.