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  • By Jesse Austin

Achieving Salvation - Your Brave Song

You reside in St. Camille, Oregon.

These are the last, glorious years of your life. Sleepy St. Camille is near Chonee University, where you still have an office. Your wonderful lawyer wife, friend Raven, died three years ago. You were partners for 48 years.

Not that Raven has gone silent; now and then you still hear her clear, carefree voice. Your colleagues indulge you and quietly shake their heads.

You are still active at the university, and you continue to publish in various scientific journals. Let us mark you down as a proud old man, a scientist, and in your mind you have never really retired.

Recently you, a long-time noted quantum physicist, were awarded a plum prize. The President’s Distinguished Science Award. You heard about it on NPR news, driving into the university. You immediately felt a sick wave of anger.

You did not want your name mentioned in the same sentence with the U.S. president’s name. You swallowed in revulsion.

To you, the president was a shallow symbol of gross and irresponsible fear. Nightmarishly, he was a grotesque goblin slithering across the face of any reasonable sense of truth. You were absolutely convinced the president was not mentally balanced.

But also, you reasoned, the president was the yellow canary deep in the mine pit. That he even got elected convinced you that public fear was growing out of control across the land.

Hearing your name thus associated on the radio, your heart skipped in fright. What were you supposed to say? Coming to a stoplight, you gripped the wheel.

In science your speculative theories are discussed, challenged and celebrated worldwide. You originated the privileged Theory of Minute Black Holes.

A clarifying statement you made during a recent public lecture at Chonee University has been widely reported in the media; you said: “Time is simultaneous …”

You said: “All of our selves exist at once. It is possible to talk, self to self, and gain information on how others in our reality spectrum are either avoiding or transforming global warming.”

Lately many of your writings and lectures have been on the cutting edge of the ‘Crime of the Time—growing global insanity.’ The pressure of creeping global warming was driving populations crazy with fear. You said: “We have in general terms planned what is happening for eons. Now, the insistent pressure of global warming is divinely driving us to reconsider consciousness. Our salvation of civilization sanity is not in the stars, but in our way of perceiving reality. Infinite possibilities of the imagination exist. We either explore or we go insane.”

Those words were your quantum physics legacy—the pure fire of genius. Absolutely, you had a right to be proud.

Before you arrived at your usual parking spot behind Velky Hall you had decided to turn down the President’s Distinguished Science Award.

On the NPR broadcast, the pundits were already announcing the award as a sop. The president’s administration was dismantling many of the science oversight and regulatory boards. Your name via the award was being used to beguile the deplorable masses.

After parking you notice your splotched hands shaking on the wheel. How could you keep your distance from this whole thing?

You turn off the radio, now on world news. “Gone to darkness,” you mutter, attempting to routinely distance yourself from the dark, sad news from around the globe.

Walking, suddenly bile comes up in your mouth. What sort of man were you? You were sick of yourself. The world marched on, chewing itself to pieces and what did you ever do about it?

On tired legs you weave side to side, like a small craft at sea, agonizing across the Chonee University parking lot.

You suck in a breath before ducking into Velky Hall. You were not in your office three minutes before Donald rushed in and solidly hugged you. Donald shouted congratulations, laughed and yelled out into the hall the good news.

You took a dizzy step backwards. In the glass wall of your corner office, you saw the reflection of your sagging face looking grave with concern.

Large Dr. Donald Huff, the enthusiast, was the Dean of University Affairs. Dr. Huff was a force at the school and in state politics. So were you. But on the other side. For Dr. Huff, wonderfully, the announcement of the president’s science prize was a huge event for his cherished Oregon school.

Your office filled quickly with colleagues wildly smiling and congratulating you.

Even though you are a balding man of average height, your indignation at being hugged and bumped made you stand stiff, chin high. In a bitter, imperial voice you announced that you had no intention of accepting the award.

Dr. Huff narrowed his eyes, turned red and immediately began texting. Around you faces fell to the floor in hurt silence.

You waved everyone out of your office, sat down and checked back a sob of emotion.

In hot agitation, you fashioned a highly reckless press release - starkly stating your views - and you pushed the button to have it printed!

Marching down the hall on creaky knees, you are dying to reconsider. You have consulted with no one!

“Courage,” you hear your dead wife Raven say. “What?” you mumble.

Two colleagues pass you giving each other significant looks.

“Courage,” Raven repeats, laughing.

If you had to swear in court, you would swear you heard Raven’s carefree laugh there on the first floor of Velky Hall.

Hunching your shoulders, you turn into the department secretary’s office. With your right hand shaking, you drop the single page into the basket marked ‘Immediate Attention’.

Then you make straight for your car, walking in your usual weave.

For Immediate Release: “Dr _______, quantum physicist ‘Pro Omni Dictum’ at Chonee University declines to even consider an award from a racist, fascist, sexual pervert.”

Driving home, you had an urge to pull the car into the river. Instead, you slide into the dirt turnout just before the bridge. Without getting out of the car, you peer down at the brown water.

Sitting, befuddled, you fall into a brief snooze. Then you wake alarmed. You think of your dead wife, crazy, tender Raven.

You had always been fascinated by Raven. At Princeton you had your doctorate by age 25, and you presented your famous white paper on the direction of ‘simultaneous time’ that same year. A story appeared about you in Time Magazine. The power of your amazing theory was discussed, including the views of the dissenting old guard.

You were the young Princeton phenom professor, but you were miserable. You did not drink, make small talk, nor had you even held the hand of another young person. Evenings at dusk you roamed the campus, often standing alone on the little bridge over Princeton’s one notable stream.

You had long since concluded that in the social marketplace you were not a fancy package. You had pinched shoulders, tiny ears and a shiny forehead the size of a mountain.

However, there are miracles. How else could you explain it? At a Princeton colleague’s birthday party for their seven-year-old, you met the family’s beloved babysitter. Everybody raved about her loving good sense, her bold ambition and her young beauty.

Raven was twenty-two and putting herself through law school by babysitting, cleaning swimming pools and any other jump and go jobs she could find.

“Are you the genius?”

At the BD party you were sitting by yourself watching the gang of adults talking, while the kids ran around them in circles. You had a piece of cake on a white paper plate in one hand. Suddenly you discovered a bit of frosting on your pant leg just above the knee.

“Yes,” you answer abruptly, not really understanding the social play aspect of the question. Then, with an involuntary jerk, you quickly look away from the enquiring oval face.

The young woman gave a carefree laugh. Your neck flushed hot.

Then, amazingly, the young woman maneuvered the conversation around to kissing.

“I read you said time has only limited meaning,” she boldly proclaimed.

“Well…” you answer, not entirely following the operative thread of the conversation.

You were nervously aware the young woman was about your age. You noted, in a quick glance, her green eyes, dark hair, and her sly smile, as if she intended to pull you into a lake.

“OK, in this exact moment of time…” she dipped her face towards you. “What is your response to this…?”

Then you were kissed, as lightly as a butterfly on your upper lip.

Your eyes opened wide in surprise.

“Haven’t you ever been kissed before?”

Your face flushed, your shoulders lifted and brushed

against the lobes of your ears.

“Why did you do that?”

“Everybody is talking about you, the young genius,” she laughed. “But this afternoon, every time I looked over, you seemed lonely, like a dog without a master.”

Finally, after driving home, you were still mulling over your ill thought out press release. You don’t eat but limp out into the backyard garden. Your face felt hot. Your mind jumped to all the usual irrational places. Then you noted your chest felt tight, you could feel the storm coming.

You were sure the media would portray you as unprofessional, unpatriotic, and likely loony! Your work, your ideas, what you stood for, would be twisted by this sideshow shouting match. Because surely the president’s people and the public would answer back.

Finally, you ease down on the lopsided little bench your wife had been fond of sitting on before she died. You close your eyes and concentrate on your breathing. What was wrong with you? You had ordered your colleagues out of your office. And what embarrassment would your press release cause the university?

As the noon shadows fell across the patch of garden, you fretted on the bench. Your chest hurt, you take in a long breath. What was bothering you?

You had better eat, you think, but you don’t move. Your stomach is as tight as a catcher’s mitt. Your thoughts have gone cloudy.

“What, honey?” you say out loud. “What? What? What?”

But for the moment your imagination was silent. You would have to make your own decisions, and stumble through this president’s award stuff as a lone woof. “The genius of the ages.” That is what Raven always called you when she saw you suffering.

Sometimes she would kiss your cheek or forehead over and over until you had to laugh and were forced to push the tickler away. Her eyes, her green eyes; you would remember those soft, loving eyes for eternity.

You had a good cry, and scuffled your feet like an eleven-year-old as you crept around the garden, pulling the odd weed. Since Raven passed, you have tried to keep up the little patch.

Back in the house, you finally heat soup for lunch. A thought jumps into your imagination: “We are each a dream scientist, researching the nature of consciousness against the clock of global warming!”

You make a gesture with the wooden spoon as if noting an occasion. To you, ideas found in your imagination were proudly important.

You set the spoon down, cross into the hall and pick up your phone. Your stomach flips over. The face of your tidy cell was jammed with red numbers. Everybody and their dog had responded to your press release naming the president of the United States as a ‘pervert’.

As you scan, your shoulders pinch up to your neck. There are scores of messages from the university, all aspects of the media, and dozens of other organizations, individuals, and bored morons. The Chonee campus police had even left a message asking you to contact them.

All of this in a few hours. And the university had made it clear they expected you to hold a clarifying press conference tomorrow afternoon. Dr. Huff’s text was explicit, the press conference would be held in ample Robin Hall, at 2:30 PM.

Your lower back jumps making your kidneys hurt.

You return to your duties at the stove. The soup needs lemon juice you decide. You are hot, you feel dizzy, you reach and pull open the window. The smell of the garden rushes into the kitchen.

Suddenly you toss the wooden spoon into the sink.

Fuck the president. You would survive. Anyway, you were old. Why not, more or less, tell the truth?

You heard carefree Raven laughing. She always loved you when you were foolish.

Just three powerful years later, you would be dead …

Jesse Austin is available for individual or group psychic medium sessions. Call, Text or Email 503.929.8128 and

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