In the spirit of our new science fiction serial, I’d like to tell you a story that falls into the truth-is-stranger-than category.

It all began with the Hale-Bopp comet back in 1997. I was in the fullest manifestation of my hippie phase; feet calloused until they were practically shoes, clothes a literal patchwork of other clothes, scraggly Fraggle-dreds that I tied up with a piece of hemp twine, legs and armpits as hairy as guy you call Harry even though his name is George…and high above, screaming through the silent vacuum of space, Comet Hale- Bopp was burning like a giant doobie.

I had been hanging out with a friend I knew from high school, let’s call her Statica because her name started with an S and she was easily rubbed the wrong way, and a girl I had met while travelling who was also named Amy (she doesn’t live here, so I feel OK using her real name). To avoid confusion I’ll refer to her as Amy, and myself as “I” or “me.”

Amy had come into town with these three guys: Fozzie, Jesus, and her boyfriend whose name I can’t even remember so I’ll call him Nutsack. Fozzie and Jesus were deep into some LSD, among other things. They had this awesome idea that we all take a roadtrip up to the high desert to sit in a hot spring and stare at the comet. The only hold up was that they didn’t have a car, any idea where the hot spring was, and they were low on acid (after handing it all out before the roadtrip).

Statica knew this guy who was one of those intellectual-type college-hippies, and she talked him into driving us. At this point that’s four guys, three girls, two dogs, and one hatchback. We somehow Tetris-ed ourselves in there and headed into the Sierras. The first destination was a two-bird stop where the guys were going to buy drugs from some hill person they knew, who could also give us directions to a spring.

About two miles from that stop (an hour or so into the drive), Nutsack announced that we were all fools. As it turned out, he was not, in fact, Nutsack; he was actually H.I.M. Haile Selassie, aka Jah Ras Tafari. He had met his drum on a mountain top in Africa and they had spoken each other’s secret names before travelling the world. And now he was sickened by us heathens, and was ready to take his drum and step back into the wilderness if we would just PULL THE GODDAM CAR OVER RIGHT NOW I COMMAND YOU.

Which we did, and he wandered off into the night. That was perfectly normal, so we rolled on and met up with their hillbilly friend. Since there was an “open spot” in the car now, he decided to join us and bring his dog too. Four hours later we managed to find the scalding hot mud hole in the middle of the frost covered sage brush, and commenced to staring.

Suddenly, Amy’s eyes popped wide open. “Holy shit! That wasn’t Haile Selassie at all, that was my boyfriend! And that was MY drum! And we just left him in the middle of nowhere!” (Shyamalanian twist!)

Stay in school, kids.

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Managing Editor for Synthesis Weekly. Amy likes to make clothes, plant flowers, and chase butterflies.