Cosmic Charlie
by Bryan Zepp Jamieson

The Charlie Effect
by Keith Campbell

Cosmic Charlie
by Island Girl

Cosmic Charlie
by Misha

KamiCosmic Charlie
by Colin Campbell

Sea Foam
by Swagman

Cosmic Charlie
by Jeffrey P. McManus

Holy Lunch
by Aidan Butler


to Swagazine


by Island Girl

A small town near the coast. The golden sun setting into the ocean. A foggy sort of town where sprinkles of sunlight have been known to exist for just such an event. Forecasts earlier in the day called over the radio such weathering oddities as this. But this was to be not any normal town setting. A few people out of the ordinary have conjured up a special meeting for just such a special event to take part in. Just above this town, where hills roll gently into the ocean, these same hills rim the clouds in the morning and radiate warmth in the afternoon. Roads winding sharply upwards towards the top of the hills, venturing along this rim for a few miles and then takes deep cuts back down into the southern entrance of the town and the only harbor for half a days journey in either northern or southern directions. East lay these mountains while west breaks the ocean. It was on these hills that the people with telescopes in hand eagerly await the moon in shadow colors rising. They hoped to view this event high above the town, high above the coastal fog that hung all day, and for the past week. But the fog, dissipated for this rising. "Once in seven years..", in black print spread on papers wrapped with a rubber band, damp from the fog of the morning. These were special people, brought together by magic machines, electronic bugs, keystroke happy fingers, quick, flicking minds and the wand of modems. Linked together friendships, from minds through these machines to wonder and ponder amazement for the happenings forthcoming above the dissipated fog.

Down in the town excitement grew as occasional eyes gazed upwards toward the moon. People sometimes walking while necks stretched for the better view. But it was still early in the evening and the moon has not made its performance as of yet. In one of the courtyards near the towns center, were two women. In quick gentle steps they rushed towards a simple cafe, Hudson's. Recapturing the days which passed, these women were best of friends, seeking each others comfort on such an exciting evening yet to come. They both were not of this town, nor of the language spoken here. They shared the same memories of the country from whence they came and spoke in the same old countries tongue, roughly, but without pause.

Sharing so much of each other in the years past, dominating mothers, tenderhearted fathers and pesky brothers. Tough and enduring lives for these two women. Young at heart, but tough with the wisdom of age, almost sisters. Each had a loving family and children and took time every week to share together the days in each others lives and support each other when time were tough. One major difference greatly divided the two friends which made it emotionally difficult for one. Lani, was a very lonely woman, even with a husband and two children. She worked at the nearby school, where her own children attended. Her husband worked at the University uninterested in advancement and unexcited about anything. This gave Lani a boring but stirring desire to venture into a dangerous struggle. Lani shared her closest feelings and adventures with only her friend. Her husband and family was another world which she tended to and cared for as if they were sheep. But with this person she shared all her adventures, stories and life with. Opening her life with the confidence that this person would absorb everything without twisting it into a game to be played with or social harm which occurs in such small towns. She was in her 30's with the wit and spunk of a much younger adult woman, dressed in comfortable natural fibers and colors of dark mother earth. An occasional hat and a smile which showed the wrinkles of age and wisdom on her face, but lacking all the confidence and insecure with her own self worth for a woman of this time.

Sitting in a smoking section of the cafe, a booth, the two women took turns talking and sipping their sodas. Lani comfortable talking, but the other with intensive listening, but thoughts on the mountains on the rim of town. She gave way the soft speech, excitedly talking to her, to the thoughts in her own mind and focused on the picture painted in her mind at the moment...a ruin of rocks and rubble, the toppling fireplace and walls, telescopes set steady on the rocks and other telescopes stabled on the earth. She was torn quickly when a burst of laughter grabbed her back to the cafe.

"Well, don't you think that was funny..."

They had there own nicknames for each other, pet names so to speak.

"Well, Cosmic, you out in space again? You're not yourself tonight?"

Lani puffed concerned but a bit annoyed at the lack of attention given by her friend. She wanted to know what was more important than her funny story, what ever that was about. Cosmic, a bit embarrassed at being caught with her mind elsewhere. "I didn't hear a word you just said, and for that I am sorry. Lani, you have some deep insecurities about yourself which I have felt going on for some time, but, something about tonight is pulling me away from our evening and I just can't seem to sit still. Let's go out of here and out into the night. I have to see the moon. Right now!"

"Why, sure, no problem."

Lani, crushing her cigarette carefully in the ashtray. Grabbing her bag they divide the cost of the drinks and leave a minimum tip for the waitress and walk out the door. Cosmic leads them to the center of the mall and looks up into the sky. Lani looks up at the moon also, then starts to stare at Cosmic.

"You have this far away look in your face. Cosmic, is something troubling you?"

Cosmic shoves her hands deep inside her pant pockets, the back ones, she feels the cold of her hands on her buttocks, then realizes her buttocks are colder than her hands after sitting on hard seating from Hudson's Cafe. The look Lani saw on Cosmic's face was more curiosity for the possible better view which could be had from the surrounding mountain range. Next thing Cosmic knows, Lani is speaking and she doesn't hear any words, she doesn't hear any sound at all. She knows she is not deaf, but inside herself, she can hear herself speaking. I've got to get up to those mountains. Something is going to happen and I want to, I have to, get the feeling again. Before Lani has time to get angry with her, Cosmic makes friendly excuses and Lani, with nothing else better to do demands to come along for the ride. Cosmic invites Lani to ride along with her to the mountain rim, to the special place, a castle, once, and hopes to share this feeling with her friend. Lani could use an experience such as this. Lani could use any experience with what she was going through, a lover, a husband and kids was a lot to think about. Cosmic Charlie was going to share a higher growth in experience with her close friend. Cosmic needed to do this for her friend. Wasn't that what friends where? Lani needed this kind of happiness in her life. Cosmic thought for sure, Lani needed this help from her and tonight was the time to help her most dear friend. Lani was enjoying the ride up the mountain side, she rambled and conversed, no need for tunes, Lani made up for the quiet.

The town was far below them now. Lani commented on the beauty of the lights. The event was nearing, Cosmic was anticipating with so much internal excitement that sitting was difficult. She wanted to arrive and not still have a mile or so to go. Lani noticed more cars parked along the edge of the road along the mountain side. Everyone was outside in the cool night air pointing upwards and reflections up the road of telescopes, equipment and cars everywhere.

"Cosmic, if I wanted traffic, we could have remained in the city down there!"

Cosmic agreed, but, they were here now. Cramming the car to a narrow spot between two other crammed cars they parked. Cosmic leading the way in the moon in shadow color evening and Lani huffing and puffing to keep up with Cosmic almost running.

"Slow up, are we late or something?"

"I just want to get time... for the complete event to happen at the castle. It's only a few more minutes along, so let's hurry."

Lani didn't want to race anywhere more or less in this eerie light, or rather lack of light. Flickering of lights, followed by burning embers hidden puffs and gleaming smiles summed up the smells flowing from the small groups ahead of them at the castle. Lani was walking quickly now to keep up with Cosmic's pace, but also because she was a bit uncertain what she was about to deal with. She pressed Cosmic to fill her in with information about what held up for them ahead.

"Don't talk with anyone, just follow me, go ahead and light up if you feel the need. I know a few of these folks, just don't wander away, I don't want to have to look for you in the dark."

"I don't plan to, Cosmic."

Lani knew she was going to enjoy herself. She always did when she was with her friend. Cosmic was a quiet sort of gal, but had many strange and different and interesting friends. No harm, but some strange acquaintances.

They were just milling about the strange castle, a mess of broken rubble and query. Most of the atmosphere you would expect was present, the people brought with them the strangeness and curiosity that was felt there. Perhaps it was the containment of everyone's excitement over the moon. The event was tense in anticipation. Then, with all eyes on the moon in shadow colors, the cloak began its unveiling, as if a curtain fighting, to open itself. Quiet then suddenly small clattering of chilled bodies, clenched teeth in the air of prickly arms exposed, gently stomping for warmth poof, then speech almost swallowed back, and given way in amazement. Beams descending upon the stones of the decay of the rubble and eyes dancing back and forth from stone to stone, as if hopping boulders in a riverbed while keeping your feet dry. Cosmic sat on a rock wall, or what once was a portion of a wall at some point in the building of this castle. People were milling about much heavier now and she didn't really want all that much more company. Lani had propped herself amongst a group which began discussing more in depth the darkness of the universe and black holes, sun flares and comets and on and on. Cosmic got up, walked over to the dark side of the wall, facing the northern elements of the outer wall.

Leaning against the wall, comfortable. This is where you are high enough in elevation that the level view gave you the folds of a quilt and a headboard of mountains, dusty grey and purple, the folds met up with the shade of stars with the depth, endless deep black and blue, halos of light, pinholes in a backdrop.

Predictions pouring from mouths thirsty for attention, bodies swaying in silent dance, cries of damnation, cursing, chants, all in splendor for the cravings of attention for feeble payment for their attention for so long. This gave Cosmic a hypnotic movement of being here, at this time, once before. The movement kept her walking around, she didn't know for any reasoning behind this movement of her body, but it was clear to her, as if a out of body experience, looking down at herself. She had only experienced this type of view from a dream like state while slowly waking up in the early dawn of morning, when the morning shadow makes outlines and appearance fuzzy and only appear as if they moved, like only the lips moving on a china doll sitting on her bedroom dresser. This was uncanny, she knew she had only the soda from Hudson's and she didn't smoke, nor did she have any drugs to increase on control this fantasy. For this is what she believed she may have been creating in some long drawn out dream. She wanted to wake up and shout. Wandering along the edge of the mountain, she gazed on something. Caution froze her feet. She turned, scanning for Lani, she bolted toward a small group, not more than 20 feet away, grabbed on to Lani's elbow.

"Hey, where are we going?"

Lani hadn't even time to bid a proper social excuse for leaving the gathering. Cosmic had swung her around to follow her.  Lani knew she must follow Cosmic. Curiosity pulled Lani like a umbilical cord never cut. Cosmic and Lani passed through all the rough passageways in the castle, made their way clear to the pathway heading them out back to the road and the parked cars. Everyone was looking towards the direction of the moon and sky, even Lani glanced upwards occasionally for another glimpse.

"Don't look at the moon anymore, keep your eyes on the path so as you don't trip."

Cosmic's caution was heeded only by Lani's questioning. "Now, this is it? All the way up this stupid mountain only to head back down again? What gives? Cosmic Charlie, What the hell are we doing leaving. You afraid of something."

Cosmic, slowing up a bit realizes she can't explain this intuition, or rather this repeating performance she felt was about to happen, and happen all to soon. No longer had they gone about half way to the car when the sky became full with a cloak of quiet. No crickets or chatter from the castle behind them now. Almost fearful the two women, while walking still, turn to glance at the castle behind. It was very dark and they both stopped at once. The shrubbery framed the path from whence they had come. It formed a perfect platform view of the castle. But they had no view from the castle. Cosmic walked further thinking she might have a view further ahead because of the angle and possible blocking of their view from the brush and trees. But further still, and still nothing.

The hairs began to rise on her arms then travel from the middle of her back to her neck. She didn't want to alarm Lani, but looking at her face she knew, she couldn't cover up or disguise the uncomfortable glance that flooded her face. Lani knew her friend all too well.

"Say, Cosmic? Let's just run back where we came from?"  

Lani was already turning to head back on the path. Cosmic stood, clenched fists as if ready to defend herself and friend. The lessons of her feeble karate learned far too long ago and never practiced was straining to the surface of her memory, she was only a yellow belt when she quit. Lani read her stance. She too stood ready, her memory straining would also take it's place, and ultimately never surface, it was lessons learned much farther back than Cosmic.

Lani ended up using her concentration and strength to maintain her emotions which were flooding her body with shaken thoughts, hoping its a dream, and pinch me to wake up, this must be awful good weed these people were smoking to effect them both in this night air. They both were looking toward where the castle had once been and at each other. Scanning for clues in each others face, waiting for the other to speak first. Cosmic just turned and walked ahead, she knew Lani would follow just at quickly. She could hear Lani, without turning around again they walked side by side now, almost if battling one step ahead of the other on the path. Thoughts dancing in them of the castle, images or just fragments of some bad bits of dinner or maybe this was a dream.

Cosmic swung her left arm to catch hold of Lani's right arm as they walked, checking this way so if it would catch on to Lani's, she knew she best be walking quicker. Her arm caught on to Lani's and Lani's right hand grabbed quick and tightly hung on to Cosmic's. They hurried and glanced toward each other as they broke into a jog back to the road where at least one car would be parked. This might prove to be even more evidence that the sodas had been drugged. Over a small ridge, they could see the road. The road was completely empty. Cosmic fought off the trembling throbbing hot fear. Her head was hot and she wanted to feel the cool ocean breeze on her face, she ran toward the edge of the mountain to gain her bearing. Things looked a bit different. The road wasn't the same winding road from the drive up.

Bushes were scarcely seen, and she vaguely remembered a smell of sage and wild lavender and now only a hot dry wind pulled her hair and smells of a hot baking valley was all that she could feel. She stood in the direction of the valley and tried to look for the lake. But the lake wasn't in the direction she thought it was. What was the lake at one time was now a deep ravine with rough scrub bushes and meager oaks.

She was fighting anger and mystery. Lani started to look really confused, or, so scared that she froze the last expression on her face.  

"Well, come on Cosmic" it was Lani, quiet now, the morning dampness everywhere.

Cosmic was very stiff. She had drifted off to sleep. Lani helped get her friend up from her nest she had created while stirring through the evening.

"You could of rolled right off of this mountain and I wouldn't have a ride home. Boy, I was worried, then when I say you were asleep, I decided to party with the rest of them. Came back to see that you were all right. So let's head back down."

Cosmic had to look very hard at Lani.

"You mean I was dreaming all this time! Is it morning already?"  

"If you don't drive us down from here, somebody is going to have a reason to suspect I'm really messing around buddy. Let's go now while I can still explain myself out of this."

Everywhere tossed around like some after scene rock show, were remains of trash and images of rocks, wrapped with blankets, rocks huddled from the morning damp. Some beginning to stir. Steam rising in little streams here and there from the bundled rocks. Cosmic and Lani made a path through to the main road. Cosmic still searching her mind for what happened this evening. They climbed into the car, started the engine and heading back the way they drove up the mountain. Lani and Cosmic were quiet. Then Cosmic asked Lani.

"What the heck Lani, did you find some intimate company?"

"Well, just so happens I ran into a buddy from where I worked. He and I have been sort of seeing each other. Remember I was telling you about this chap for the last month. I think now were beginning to have some sort of relationship."

"So you sacked him huh? Were you drunk again for love, Lani?"

"Cosmic, I can't believe it, I go and get sacked and you think it was out of love?"  

"No Lani, you told me before, you are drunk before every time you get laid. You are sobering up now, but I can tell that you were drunk at one point this evening. Can't say I knew what you were doing, but I had this dream and I had to pull you along with me. Now from this morning I can tell I was to stay awake and keep you from making a mess of things for yourself. But maybe you needed to figure out this on your own."

"Cosmic, you amaze me sometimes. The games people set up other people to play, all the while, you just lay sleeping and dream. Tell me, did you dream all this up or do you have some evidence of my evening that I don't know about?"

"All I want to tell you is this strange dream, and having to pull you around with me, sort of like I had to protect you from something or having to take you away from something. I don't know which, but I do know, were friends and strange as it may appear, we will never know the actions for which we take in this point in time."

"This conversation is to heavy for this early in the morning for me Cosmic, talked to me another time."

"Here is your car."

They drove into the parking lot at Hudson's. Lani steps out of the car and holds her keys to her car in her hand. She rests her arms along the door of her car.

"Cosmic, something happened to me tonight, but I will have to talk to you about it another time. It sure is strange that your dreams are the intensity you describe. Maybe you are helping me, but for now I'm going to go home and into bed. See you later today, or give me a call. Bye, till later my friend."  

Cosmic waves good-bye and drives out of the parking lot, heading north from where they traveled from the mountains, she is tired and drunk with the smoke of the evening. All that she can think of is the mountains and the moon in shadow colors. That evening was a very special experience. All too real to leave alone in thought.


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