One unfortunate side effect of Corey's medication was that he could see clearly now the meaning of life. Now that the dark clouds of his youth had disappeared.
The cancer had spread to Corey's central nervous system and was working its way into the pathways of his reptile mind. It was sending him all sorts of data of which he'd previously been unaware.
For most of his life Corey imagined himself in control of his actions. He imagined there were solid reasons for the things he did. Reasons he'd thought through, decided on, and put into place with his own will. His own free will. But now he realized that all of that was just wishful thinking. He had been listening to too much Rush. Too much "Tom Sawyer."
He now saw that his thoughts and feelings were created by the trillion snaking circuits and electrical impulses that lay hidden within the myelin sheaths. He now saw that there were physiological reasons beneath the psychological world of both his practical life and his fantasies.
Yet this new meaning of life was even more than this. He now felt that he was rising above the fantasy of control and the fact of the neurons and the mental circuits. He now felt that these new facts were the basis of a Higher Reality, one that his imagination was previously incapable of imagining.
The facts were but the empirical upon which was erected the etherial, a realm of quintessences he was just starting to understand. He now saw clearly, crystal meth clearly, that his old version of reality was only a stepping stone to something Higher.
Unbeknownst to him, he'd been climbing the Platonic Ladder.
In the course of Corey's medication he was forced to smoke a lot of marijuana. Even more than he used to smoke when he was young. Back then, he and his friends had to cough their way through tubular bell joints and jumping jack flash bowls before contemplating the deeper meaning of a symbol on a Led Zeppelin album.
Now with the new strains of pot, he took a single toke and was in The Clouds of Knowing.
Back then Corey didn't appreciate the full range of sense sensations or what they meant. Strawberry Fields then meant NEON RED STRAWBERRIES. Now he saw the green leaves, the sturdy stalks, as well as the stems and seeds that (contrary to what Cheech and Chong told him) he did need. He also saw the roots and the fields they came from.
He saw the gardener: a stout lady in Keswick with arthritic hands who picked the strawberries while dreaming of making love to a Spanish sailor she met at the end of her epic James Joyce fantasy. This was Molly in full bloom. This was Nature, Yes, God, Yes, Flowers, Yes, this was a series of affirmations more potent than any catechism she learned at Saint Mary of the Sea.
The sailor had her pinned up against the wall and was grinding the words into her ear — coño lo quieres — as fishermen shouted their sales-pitches on the far end of the beach. This wasn’t just Close to the Edge or Tales from Topographic Oceans. This was Magnification, Going for the One, Keys to Ascension. This was Yessongs.
Corey saw everything — the naked women, the green bowers, the trembling old hands, the holy incense rising from the bowl, the rough sailor pinning her against the wall. Coño, ella lo quiere. He saw the bright red strawberries, and how it was all connected.
He saw the scope of life, and for this reason he saw its meaning. He could see the forest and the trees, and the sun rising above it all. He could see that it was going to be a bright, bright, bright sun-shiny day.
This was the final trick the cancer played before it worked into Corey's cerebral cortex and made him completely insane.
Next story: The Girl Who