CHAPTER 24 (1954-1956) – I
Self-loathing…self-investigation…interrogation. Aricame paced around, searching deep within…into what some people call “the soul.” It seemed that, throughout his life, every time he thought he had honed in on his purpose, his mission, something inside of him took over and sabotaged everything. He wondered how he had allowed himself to get so caught up in the conflict between Rae and Ko, to the point where he was actually abetting – indeed, leading – convicted criminals. All for the purpose of waging some unseen war against his Other. At that moment he felt just as rudderless as he had when he was 14 years old, rebelling against his parents and venturing out on his own to Los Angeles.
Aricame traveled back home, to Seattle, to be with his dad. Glendan had become accustomed to getting around in his wheelchair and lived a life of quiet simplicity and ritual. He was no longer a public figure, though old friends would routinely drop by. When Aricame arrived, one such friend was just leaving. With a dress and appearance that seemed from a bygone era, the man introduced himself as Aleris. Glendan explained how Aleris had been part of a fanatic religious order back in the nineteen-teens, led by Moon Tat, that he had infiltrated as part of his war against his brother, Geryman, and that he had been uncovered and nearly killed, but Aricame’s mom, Carenf, had intervened just in time to save him and destroy the religious leader. All members of the group’s leadership fled the city except for Aleris, who stayed in Seattle and reached out to Glendan a few years ago. Their friendship had grown since. Aleris was still a bit of a zealot, but he didn’t blow up as often as his old crew was known for.
With his nightly large glass of whiskey in hand, the father finally stopped regaling his son with stories of the past and began to listen as Aricame poured forth his recent existential contemplations. Whiskey glasses were refilled (and refilled) as the two discussed all through the night, volleying ideas and observations back and forth. As the hours ticked by, their blurred visions came into focus. Aricame’s every-man hero persona had inspired. His use of the press had informed. Both drew large audiences to his cause. To reaffirm his purpose, to reach the most people, he would utilize (weaponize) the mediums of art.
Repurposing the alias of Ohrmazd, Aricame returned to Los Angeles where he began work on his new, ambitious project. He would write books (fiction and nonfiction both), compose works of music and art, and experiment wildly with film. In each instance, he explored universal themes which spoke to people of all persuasions, while also subversively transmitting his message of radical individualism for collective benefit. This is what he believed was needed to counteract the rising authoritarian grip of Stievo that was tightening around the country.
All your efforts and conviction, all very well-meaning
Far be it from me to cause friction or be demeaning
But in light of recent evidence, you may start weaning
From the thought that any of it has an ounce of meaning