Yogi of High Hopes
"A Journey to the Center of the Earth Story"
Rush gazed at the cyclopic stones that hemmed them in on their journey to salvation or damnation. Beside him sat Everett, looking as worn and beat-up as he probably did. Ahead and to the side stood Rowlf.
Our original mission to find the source of the The Big One, a gigantic earthquake that killed billions and uprooted our civilization forever. One that had devastated most of the upper earth, sending it to hell in a hand basket, handing us a lot of sour grapes to eat.
We had pried a hot rock from the lava river before us and slid it back into the curve away from all the dreaded heat, allowing ourselves a few minutes, maybe hours of warm comfort to while away time, which we seemed to have more than our share of as we sought a way back home, or at least to the source of the destruction. We were hoping at that time to at the very least get home, but as the miles wore on and the days and nights, our hope began to falter, so we took times like these to bolster our courage and give us enough stamina to face another day deep beneath the earth we once lived upon.
So I had begun a short story about my younger, more reckless days.
I was young then, maybe even younger than my years, or perhaps older. You tell me. I looked out at my friends through bloodshot eyes, and they looked back at me with the same. We were getting loaded. High on pot. It was the sixties. All my college friends were trying it, except for a few who didn't inhale.
I had Beatle length hair and a John Lennon beard that made me look like something out of the Yellow Submarine, a popular cult film that the Beatles lent songs to. "We all love a Yellow Submarine."
Love, not live.
I propped myself up on my elbow and looked at my friends there, all zoned out, listening to the Rolling Stones and "I can't get no satisfaction."
Neither could I, but I couldn't put my finger on it.
Then like a might god of the past a very tall friend of ours stepped into our living room, his face blazing with a smile that told us he was stoned. But as it turns out, he wasn't.
I've just met this crazy guru." He told us.
He sat down and enthralled us with a tale of a fat old man with long gray hair who closed his eyes and floated about three feet off the carpet he had been seated on in a lotus position.
"No freaking way!" My best friend, Henry, snapped.
He didn't disbelieve him; he just didn't think it was possible to be that cool.
We all got up and said to our friend, whose name was Dig. "Show us the way, brother."
He took us in his psychedelic van to a home on the fringes of Sacramento, hidden by tall Walnut trees and spreading acres of brush and flowers. We were all excited. Not one of us was stoned then. Dig had told us it wasn't cool to learn the mediation this man taught if we were stoned, so we figured it made him high, what did we have to lose, and it cost nothing. Or so we thought at the time.
"Here we are!" Dig announced as he damped his headlights, and got out.
We all piled out and followed him to a door with a huge OM symbol on it.
"Cool." Henry cooed.
I didn't know. Why did he have to advertise that way?
I followed Dig inside and we walked into a huge room with an older man, a long gray beard and dreadlocks, seated in a lotus position speaking to a rapt crowd of Hippies and Straights.
"Within each of us is something so powerful, so simple that if we but acknowledge it, but tap into it, we become like gods."
Then he began to float up off the floor.
Everyone gasped, including me, that is until I saw for a brief moment the pneumatic device that was pushing his body upwards, and then his long white dhoti fell back into place, hiding the metal thrusting him upwards. He smiled at everyone in a benign sort of way as they began putting dollar bills, fives, tens and twenties into a bowl that was in front of where he sat.
He nodded his head, as if doling out blessings to each of them as they did so. "God be with you." He said to each, as they raised, dumped money in, and then headed for the door.
When the last had left, Dig introduced us.
When my turn came he said. "This is Russ. He's an adventurer. I think this is the kind of adventure he needs more than climbing trees and mountains."
I disagreed with those words, but respected him enough to mum myself, even though I was burning like a ticking bomb inside myself about the fraud I had seen.
The old yogi descended to the floor, then nodded to us each to sit in front of him. I remained standing.
"I can see by your faces that all of you seek something greater than yourselves." He told us with a smile that would warm up an iceberg.
I wasn't buying it.
I edged closer to him as he spoke. He didn't notice, he was so caught up in his dialogue.
"We are all divine creatures, waiting but for the right touch to ignite our souls and send us to our flaming glory with God, the Invisible Father."
I didn't disbelieve a word he said, only his motives. I had been aware for some time that the drug scene was a dead end, I just didn't want to admit it to myself yet. I didn't want to lose my friends, which I knew I would. I knew that if I left and came back thirty years later, they would still be smoking grass and saying, "Cool Man."
So I did the only thing a rational young man could do, who was impulsive, sometime hot headed and adventurous.
Rush kicked at the small heated stone in front of him and Everett. Rowlf stood behind them, his insectile eyes hooded by the thick carapace eyelids that veiled them, but listening to the tale as well.
"So what happened next?" Everett asked expectantly. They used their down time to regale each other with tales of their past and both were becoming more and more close as they did so, realizing how much they had both gone through in their struggle to grow up as they saw it into human beings worthy of the status of being human.
"Wried!. Rowlf snapped.
Rush looked at his tall friend, thankful to have the powerful being as a friend. "No. Not died. Exposed."
"Rowlf nots undestand."
"I was a naughty boy. I peeked."
"I plucked the hem of the dhoti and threw it up, exposing the platform the yogi sat on. He was so flustered that I had done so that he accidentally activated it and shot up towards the ceiling even higher than before."
Everett burst into laughter, as did Rowlf."
Rush grinned. "I was exiled by Dig for doing that. None of my friends liked me after that."
"That's kind of harsh." Everett said.
"Yeah. But not because I exposed the yogi, but because I quite doing drugs."
Rush grinned. "I realized on that night that you don't need drugs or alcohol or anything else to be happy."
"Sounds like the end to a Disney fairy tale." Everett pointed out.
"Yeah, except in this case, there were drugs."
"Yeah. There's that."
"Twat shish dwugs?" Rowlf asked, his face turned askance in curiosity.
"You don't want to know." Rush answered.
"Dwo." Rowlf answered.
Rush sighed. "Very well. They are chemicals that people use to make themselves feel like someone else."
Rush gave him a surprised look.
"Why are you laughing?"
"Rowlf fweel wike shomeone else shonely twin say eat him." He said, then laughed again even more so.
Rush smiled. "Then let's hope no one ever does eat you."
Rowlf hiked himself to his full height and pounded his chest. "Eat dem fwirst!"
He laughed and laughed.
Everett and I looked at each other.