Friday was emphatically bizarre, not unlike the one before when The Sandman gathered every vestige of self-control and got things back to normal before the crap hit the cyclone. The evening started off ordinarily enough with just the two of us checking out some of the newly acquired music from the recently completed sojourn in Europe – mostly jazz standards and some classic sixties rock. Java was concentrating on getting the evening off to a good ‘head’ start and was busy with the required chores, whilst Johnny the Toad skulked around the garden in search of goodies. The sun had just set over the swamp and its final shafts of light made for golden linings around the dark clouds that bunched them-selves on the horizon. Things seemed pretty much par for the course, but the faint hint of incongruity floating around couldn’t quite be figured out – at the time, that is.

My mobile called for my attention with its usual beep to a text message that had a distinct whiff of mystery about it. It wasn’t that the sender was unknown – on the contrary it was a dear mate – but the contents had both The Sandman and me wondering just what it was that Shakin Simon had in store for us. Java, however, with his inimitable habit of just ‘lettin it happen’ wasn’t fazed in the least. The message emanated out of one of those less fashionable theatres around town that is now getting a hipper rep with the art nouveau wannabes, and its cryptic content hinted at getting together with the couple of attractive and interesting ladies he was with after the boring and pretentious attempt at an adaptation of Shakespeare was over and done with. The threesome, he said, would be stopping for a bite and would slake their thirst before making their move our way, just as soon as the rebellion on stage was over and they were mercifully spared further misery.

The Sandman quickly popped one of his variety of colourful medications prescribed for all sorts of reasons and, with a quizzical look pregnant with expression, cast his eyes in our direction. Java, as ever, ready for another night full of good vibes, good music and good intentions, followed suit as Nat ‘King’ Cole smoothed it all over with his special rendition of Stardust.

And so we tripped out, and chatted, and listened to music until the others arrived – full of pep and scathing remarks about various aspects of the performance they had just been ‘tortured’ by, to quote one of the ladies. Other remarks about the degrees of attractiveness of a few of the cast that apparently didn’t help overcome the boredom, once the initial impact of whatever it was that was meant to be different, was over and done with. Glasses filled, the smoke hung heavy whilst everyone set about getting thoroughly smashed.

The music got louder, so the conversation had to rise over the beat that was, somehow, now being provided by Jimi Hendrix. The volume of Purple Haze was nearly deafening, so, attentively as ever, I turned down the sound – just so that we could hear ourselves shouting at each other in what seemed to be futile attempts at communication. But then, not too long after that, someone turned it up again. It must have been close to, or maybe just past 2 am when the spaceship was sighted – at least that’s what we took it for. Everyone was so into the moment that we didn’t really become aware of the faint glow over the swamp getting brighter all the time, until its undulating brilliance could no longer go un-noticed – even by the most unobservant and whacked-out individual around. I guess it was Java that figured out something was amiss when Jace started his non-stop barking and then baying at what he may have thought was the moon on a trip.

The Sandman was so stoned he had difficulty focusing and thought that it was one of the garden lights blinking because of some electrical problem. Shakin swore that Armageddon was due and this was the Angel of Death, the ladies laughed it off as they thought it was some elaborate practical joke that The Sandman had put on for their benefit and I really didn’t know what to think – leaving allowances for the inexplicable. Java rummaged around until he found The Sandman’s ‘almost a toy’ binoculars to take a closer look, when all of a sudden, the object of our attention and dismay decided to shut off – and that was that. Java swore it must have been because he was observed as being about to identify the object and the aliens within shut off the lights or simply veered off at warp speed, leaving no trace of their existence. And Jace stopped baying at what he thought must have been the moon on a trip.

Hendrix
had done with Purple Haze and the more plaintive The Wind Cries Mary was on – the sound was turned down, so that we could actually hear each other speak in relatively normal tones. The Sandman was laid out on the couch, and as we started to make our moves it was Java who mentioned how strange it was that the geodesic dome at the bottom of the garden was missing.

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