CHAPTER 2 1990s
Part 1 MANDY and FLO
FLORENCE, ITALY : FEBRUARY 29, 1992
Mandy went to Italy on a Julliard sponsored tour. Eight graduate students were chosen to perform in five Italian cities. She especially wanted to go to Florence because that was where her grandfather lived most of his life, and where he was buried. Mandy stayed with her aunt Rosa while in Florence.
Aunt Rosa loved to cook and eat and be with people. Mandy first met her when she went to Florence for Baroni's funeral four years earlier. Aunt Rosa knew all about Mandy because, "...my brother never stopped talking about you." She invited Mandy to come and stay with her anytime.
Mandy was in Florence for three days and was performing in a concert exactly four years after her grandfather's death. She stayed in aunt Rosa's home, where her grandfather and grandmother gave birth to her father and aunt, and where her father lived until he was 18 years old. At 18, Baroni sent him to America to attend Julliard. Aunt Rosa inherited the house from Baroni when he died.
The morning of the concert, Mandy and Aunt Rosa went to visit Baroni's grave-site. They were silent for a few moments, and then Mandy said, "Is this really the fourth anniversary of your death, or the first? It's only the first time it's been February 29th. The four years have gone by quickly. Four years of Lullabies and meditations have improved my playing. Thank you grandpa for the good advice. I love you and I miss you so much."
After a few more minutes of silence, Mandy said, "Aunt Rosa, tonight's performance is really special...it's for Grandpa," They hugged and cried.
: The EVENING
The performance went well. There was special mention, in the program, of Mandy being the granddaughter of the world-famous mandolin player of the early 1900's¾ the famous Baroni Pizano.
After the performance, Mandy returned to Aunt Rosa's house with the other members of the group. Aunt Rosa made a wonderful party for them all. The performance, the party, and the whole evening was a first-class success; however, Mandy did not feel very successful. Mandy felt that she did not play well enough. ...certainly not well enough to commemorate your death, granddad, she sadly thought after the last guest left.
Mandy said good night to Aunt Rosa and retired to the guest room which was Mandy's father's room. She fetched her violin and began her nightly ritual of Lullaby and meditation.
She cried as she played. She cried because she knew that she could play so much better. She cried because she felt like it.
About half way through the piece, Mandy forgot her crying and she forgot her playing and she forgot her grandfather and she forgot her self. That was when Flo was born.
Flo was not her name yet, but a separate and individual consciousness emerged during Mandy's playing of the Lullaby. This consciousness had first been conceived 4 years earlier when Mandy experienced her grandfather's last wishes. Flo's conception occurred in Mandy's subconscious, just on the margin with the unconscious. Flo had four years to gestate there¾ four years to absorb some of the consciousness which flowed down to Mandy's subconscious and then diffused into the unconscious.
Flo was basking in the familiarity of the Lullaby with a vague awareness of the guest room, when suddenly, she was watching Mandy play her violin from about 3 feet above Mandy's head and 7 feet across the room! Flo detached from Mandy¾ she was born.
Flo was flabbergasted. She was not afraid, but this new perspective was totally unexpected. She was outside Mandy's body. What's going on here, Flo thought. I'm floating.
Flo¾ just like Mandy¾ liked the idea of floating in water, and Flo automatically imagined herself being a dolphin. Flo had embraced Mandy's characteristics: her likes and dislikes, her knowledge base, her memories, her belief system. Flo had learned and completely accepted Mandy's world view while gestating for 4 years.
Once the dolphin image entered her consciousness, Flo began "swimming" in circles and looking at the room she was in. She noticed that the top of the cabinet needed dusting. She noticed the picture of Mandy's grandfather, grandmother, father and aunt on the wall. She also noticed a small piano in the guest room. Flo was becoming very comfortable with this floating and swimming.
As she finished circling for the third time, she looked at Mandy and wanted a closer look. She swam to the other side of the room toward Mandy. This time, it was not exactly swimming, since she almost instantly changed perspectives when she had the clear desire to move. The sudden change in viewpoint was a surprise, but she quickly adjusted. As she continued to watch Mandy, she wondered what else she could do.
Flo noticed the piano and thought, How fine it would be if I could accompany Mandy...that would be fun. She was immediately floating over the piano, within inches of the keys.
Flo's strongest desires to play were unsuccessful. She had no physical body, not a human's or dolphin's. She could use neither fingers nor fins. She felt frustrated and thought, You can't do everything you desire, but just doing floating is exhilarating enough...Flo the floater, that's me! That was when Flo became her name.
Flo continued to talk to herself¾ it gave her a sense of self identity. Flo, let's see if we can read music. She moved up to the music stand on the piano, again almost instantly, and looked at the sheet music. I read just fine.
The piece on the piano was Amazing Grace. Mandy loves to play her violin along with Ivan Sagorski's Compact Disk version of this, thought Flo. Mandy still has a soft spot in her heart for that guy. I wonder where Ivan is? With that thought Flo suddenly felt like she was swimming very fast through a tunnel, and when she stopped, she found Ivan.
He was in a shower with a buxom blonde. Flo's view point was from a top corner of a large shower stall. Ivan and the blonde were clearly having a good time, and Flo felt like a voyeur. She was extremely uncomfortable and wanted out of there, which is exactly what happened. She returned to Aunt Rosa's guest room.
Flo was quite shaken by the experience, but much to her surprise, Mandy was still playing her violin. Flo calmed down and noticed that Mandy was playing with a depth and feeling that Flo had never heard before. Your total absorption probably set me free, but to do what...to spy on friends? Flo was confused and depressed. She floated above Mandy for another minute or so, and then she returned to Mandy's subconscious.
Mandy finished the Lullaby and was ecstatic. She had made the breakthrough which she had heard and read about. She had become so free that she forgot that she was doing anything. She hoped that she would be able to become free again and again while she played her music.
Mandy put her violin down and settled back into the old hand-made wooden chair to begin her meditation. That was when she noticed that the chair looked familiar. This is the chair in my dream...with Grandpa...how strange, she thought.
She began focusing on the word she used for quieting her mind, namely, Om. She had been told that Om was the agglomeration of all the sounds in the universe¾ she liked that. She had learned of this word and the technique of focusing when she investigated how to meditate, after her grandfather's death. She found various books on the subject, and eventually settled on simply focusing on the word Om each time she exhaled.
When Mandy began meditating, Flo began to relax. Flo began to think Om in unison with Mandy. They had been doing this ritual together for about 3 and a half years. (It took 6 months for Mandy to settle on this form of meditation.) This time, however, the meditation evoked many strange images and sounds which neither understood, but which both recognized as part of their extraordinary experience with that night's Lullaby.
Flo was self-conscious and an entity with volition. Flo would be released again that night. During deep sleep, Mandy's self identity disappeared, and Flo was free to roam and float about in the outer world.
Mandy's inner world¾ unconscious reality¾ became Flo's home. The physical outer world¾ objective reality¾ became Flo's realm for exploration and growth.
IN CONCERT SOMEPLACE IN THE UNITED STATES : Morning of August 24, 1994
The phone rang at 6:30. Mandy finally answered on the 6th ring, "This better be important!" Everyone knew that during concerts, she liked to sleep late.
"Mandy, I'm sorry to wake you so early." Mandy recognized Bill Kenter, her long time agent for special engagements. "I'm in Charles Liden's office, and he's ready to go home. Charley wants to know if you can play for the Queen."
Mandy sat up, and suddenly her total attention was on the phone call. "Queen, theee Queen. Bill, if you're kidding me..."
Bill knew how much Mandy wanted to play at Buckingham Palace. "Her Majesty is hosting a meeting for some members of the House of Lords and their guests who have just completed a large business deal between the US and Britain. She asked Charley to put together a Brahms chamber music program. When he told me about the choice of music, I knew you would be perfect. Charley agrees."
Mandy finally accepted that Bill was serious. She was elated at the prospect, but all she could say was, "Bill, thank you." She had so much emotion in her at that moment.
Bill could hear the emotion in her voice. "I thought I would make your day. This is, of course, a one night stand. But, a memorable stand it will be, you will be playing with Sagorski and Wilson. Can you be here by September 11, and stay for two weeks?"
"That's quite soon, isn't it, but yes, of course." Mandy had made vacation plans with her parents, but she knew they would understand.
"Mandy, I'll arrange everything. The tickets, room reservations, schedule and everything else will be mailed in the next few days. See you in London."
"Bill, this is so exciting. See you in London."
: That Evening
Mandy entered her performance feeling confident that she would be able to become totally absorbed in the music. The two and a half years since her breakthrough had been a period of phenomenal growth in Mandy's musical depth and breadth. She was becoming world renowned as a virtuoso with extraordinary potential "...though somewhat erratic," according to a recent critical review.
Brahms' Violin Concerto in D major, Op. 77, was the second half of the program. This work requires exceptional technique on the part of the soloist. Mandy was more than up to the task. She played beautifully. She experienced how her violin sounds exquisitely joined with the other sounds to create one harmony of music. This feeling of harmony was a reason Mandy loved music. This feeling of harmony also released Flo.
Flo floated above the concert hall. She could see Mandy, the conductor, orchestra, and audience. She felt comfortable watching the performance, and enjoyed seeing and hearing Mandy perform. I have the best seat in the house. This is great fun. Flo liked to chat to herself. The inner dialogue confirmed that she was a separate entity; an entity which was very closely coupled to Mandy, of course, but nevertheless, a separate consciousness with a unique measure of individuality.
The audience is loving the performance, thought Flo. They're enthralled with the music, just as Brahms and Mandy intended. I hope the Queen will be equally enchanted. I wonder what the hall at Buckingham Palace will be like when Mandy plays there.
Suddenly, Flo felt like she was flying through a tunnel with translucent walls. There was a retreating bright yellow light in front of her which seemed to guide her through the tunnel. When she came to rest, Flo was in an ornately decorated room filled with about 30 very formally dressed men and women. Also, Mandy was there.
Mandy was playing the violin in a three person chamber music arrangement. Flo was now very confused. How can Mandy be playing at two places at the same time? Then Flo looked at the audience and saw the Queen of England. O Lord, what's going on!
Flo was 2 and 1/2 years old, growing stronger, and learning about her capabilities. Flo learned through experience, and through trial and error, just like any other child. While Mandy had no conscious knowledge of Flo, Flo was learning how to be aware of more and more of Mandy's conscious experiences.
Most of the time, Flo lived in Mandy's subconscious mind. The strongest inputs were from Mandy's everyday living experiences. The people and places she saw and heard, the foods she tasted and smelled, and everything she touched. Also, Flo experienced the emotions, thoughts, images and memories which Mandy experienced.
Flo had recently learned how to become aware of previous events in Mandy's life by exploring Mandy's subconscious memory. She did this primarily when Mandy was sleeping lightly, because then the subtle memories were not overwhelmed by real time inputs.
Flo loved to explore Mandy's outer world. There was so much to see and hear...so much to learn. She was sorry that she could not smell, taste or touch the outer world, but seeing and hearing and learning were exciting enough.
Flo would often plan what she would do the next time she was free to explore the outer world. Often she would visit places that Mandy heard about. Or, she would go to the library and read biographies about the famous musicians whom Mandy admired. Flo liked to read. She could rapidly absorb text by simply flowing over the pages. She had a photographic memory.
Flo, this is very strange. How can this be? This was Flo's first leap across both space and time. Traveling ahead in time was much harder for Flo to accept than the leaping through space which she had learned to enjoy. Flo stared at the Queen and tried to decide if everything she was seeing was real or just an hallucination. The Queen was quite beautiful, dressed in a bright red and blue gown. Her jewelry was dazzling, but not overly showy. Her necklace, with a large silver and red emerald pendant, caught Flo's attention because it was so exquisite, and obviously crafted with admirable skill and care. Flo thought that if she were imagining all this, she was doing a very good job since everything seemed as real as her other observations of the outer world.
Flo wondered about time and how it appears to smoothly flow based on the continuous motion of people, things, thoughts, and feelings. She now recognized, for the first time, that she regularly traveled back in time when she explored Mandy's subconscious memories of past events.
Thus jumping backward¾ and maybe even jumping forward in time is really no trick at all, Flo speculated.
But Flo, can you jump forward in time and bring information back again? That's impossible, the future hasn't happened yet! she thought. How do you know it's impossible...because Mandy considers it impossible. Is it possible for Mandy to be wrong? That thought upset Flo.
Flo was suddenly returned to Mandy's subconscious. Mandy continued to play excellently, but not quite as exquisitely. Mandy was aware of the loss.
After the concert, Mandy felt unusually disappointed with herself. "Why is it so unstable, why can't I keep it going?"
In her hotel room, she was still berating herself when she began the Lullaby. Mandy went through the motions and completed the piece in a very mechanical fashion. Mandy then began her meditation. Om...Om...all the sounds of the universe¾ ha, Mandy thought, who cares, I don't want the noisy sounds, I want the divine sounds. I want to make music which touches people's souls. Mandy felt sorry for herself and stopped meditating after only 10 minutes. She had a fitful night of sleep.
Flo was not released that night. She deeply pondered her possible time-travel experience. Flo lost herself in her thoughts about what she believed concerning "time".
In a dream, Mandy saw a large silver and red pendant. The pendant looked very expensive, and Mandy wondered if it was worn by someone at the performance.
: August 25, 1994
The following day, Flo continued to contemplate her time travel experience. She had learned two important things: 1) she could remember what she experienced, and 2) she would return safely to Mandy's subconscious, even from the future. ...or was it really the future, Flo mused.
Flo became obsessed with learning about what had happened to her. Did I really travel through time, or was it an hallucination? What's an hallucination and what's real, and how do I know the difference?
Flo was experiencing a case of severe uncertainty. She normally accepted whatever she experienced in either the inner or outer worlds as being reality. But, the view of reality which Flo had adopted was Mandy's world view. Until this first experience with time travel, Flo had never faced a direct contradiction with this world view.
Flo had also experienced her own fear for the first time. She now recognized that her own fear did not feel the same as Mandy's. Her own fear felt much worse.
Flo was determined to cautiously explore time travel in Mandy's outer world. She had a plan. Her plan was to return to the evening when Mandy played for the Queen. ...returning to the future for another look, was the way Flo thought about it. Flo planned on observing, and listening, as many times as possible to that evening. And then when Mandy really went to England, and really played for the Queen, Flo would know if ...I can truly see the future.
Mandy's remaining performances were exquisite. Mandy was finding that wondrous state of merging with her music more regularly. Mandy released Flo during most of the remaining performances, as well as many of her periods of deep sleep.
: SEPTEMBER 7, 1994
Flo's seventeenth visit to Buckingham Palace began where and when the previous trip left off. Flo had established a general pattern. First, she would be released to the outer world, and then she would consciously desire to be ...where Mandy plays for the Queen, and tonight, let's pick up where we left off last time. Flo would then rapidly travel through a tunnel; or more precisely, Flo felt like she thought Mandy would feel when whisked through a tunnel.
Flo had previously returned several times to the beginning of the performance to convince herself that what she was visiting was a single future happening. She quickly discovered that indeed there was only one objective concert. Each time she visited, the concert began with the same introduction by Lord Pomeroy. Even his gestures¾ including the pesky fly which he brushed off his nose¾ were repeated in exactly the same way.
But Flo's experience varied widely depending on her focus. If she focused on what the Queen was wearing, she would have a very different experience than when she focused on the music...the beautiful music.
Flo was developing an objective philosophy about reality which she summed up to herself as follows:
What exists, is real.
What I experience from reality is not the same as reality.
My experiences from reality are an integral part of reality.
Time permits me to consciously gain knowledge of reality.
Flo found that this philosophy fit her own experiences and were basically in agreement with what Mandy thought. Except, Mandy would not think that reality could include future events which could be objectively witnessed. Flo was putting the existence of objective knowledge about future events to the test.
During this visit, Flo returned to the performance near the beginning of the second piece, and she simply enjoyed the music. Mandy played beautifully. After a few moments, Flo noticed a man in the audience who was so enthralled with the music that she literally sensed his deep feelings.
Flo had not noticed this man before. He had been lost in the crowd of 29 other men. Flo had focused on the Queen during some of her visits, but she had not paid much attention to the rest of the audience. Now she focused on this man, who was clearly in awe of the music. As she looked at him, she noticed a subtle glow around his entire body.
Flo wanted a closer look, and so she found herself floating directly in front of him. His eyes were brown and they stared toward the music. Flo looked into his eyes through a diffused light which was strongest around his head and hands, but some light was visible through his tuxedo.
Flo, what's this glow? she asked herself with a rhythmic and humorous tone. I've never seen such a glow of light around anyone before. Is this glow real, or is this another part of my hallucination? Well, at least I know my own experience of the glow is real.
As Flo stared at the diffused light, colors appeared and the glow increased in intensity. Flo became fascinated with the colors and changing patterns. And then, Flo became aware of an unfamiliar feeling...a strange resonating feeling. Flo felt that she too was glowing.
Flo had never seen herself. Even now she did not see herself, but for the first time, she felt like an entity of light...as a being aglow. Flo wanted to know more about the man with the glow of light, but she could do no more than watch John Wensler enjoy the concert. Flo was very frustrated by this apparent dead-end.
LONDON, ENGLAND: September 11, 1994
Mandy's flight arrived on time at Heathrow airport. Mandy was quite excited by the prospect of playing in Buckingham Palace for the Queen of England. She was also excited about seeing Ivan.
"Oh, how grand to see you Mandy," said Ivan as he hugged her warmly. "You look terrific, the last 6 years have been very good to you, and not only in your musical career."
"Ivan, you big bear, you look exactly the same, and I still love ya," said Mandy.
He was relieved by her warm welcome, "I'll always have a special love for you too, Mandy. I found you...irresistible. But why you still have a warm spot in your heart for me, I'll never understand."
"You find lots of girls irresistible," she said as she gave him a big hug and kiss on the cheek." Their affair had left her with a strength about her femininity that would last her a lifetime.
He loaded her bags onto a cart, and after a pleasant walk through the airport halls and parking lot, all the while chatting about their good times back at Julliard, they found his car and he drove toward her Hotel.
Ivan remarked that he had already performed three times for the Queen. "But each time it's a special thrill, especially now that I'm a citizen of Great Britain. The British have been good to me and my family."
Mandy knew all about Ivan's defection, and was more interested in the Queen. "Will she personally meet with us either before or after the performance?"
"Yes," answered Ivan, "I don't know exactly when, or where, but she always meets with the performers. She's a very gracious lady. You'll like her, I'm sure."
"I already like her, and I've never met her. For me, this is a dream come true...to play at Buckingham Palace with the Queen in the audience."
"A dream come true," echoed Ivan. "That's wonderful."
"Speaking of dreams," said Mandy, "I've been having vivid dreams for the first time in my life. Well actually, small pieces of dreams, little snatches of clear images which make no sense to me. I even had one of you with a blond in a shower...in fact, that was one of my first vivid images. That was about two years ago, or so."
"A blonde, in a shower, with me...that would be a dream come true," said Ivan as he laughed and remembered two occasions when he had shared a shower with a blonde. "You take my reputation too seriously."
"More recently," Mandy continued, "I dreamt of our playing at Buckingham Palace. We were fabulous, by the way."
"I'm glad you're dreaming of good performances," said Ivan, tiring of this dream talk.
"Also, I often glimpse a beautiful red ruby pendant. And I think it's being worn by the Queen...in my dream."
"Well, here we are," said Ivan as he pulled up to the hotel. Get a good nights sleep, rest tomorrow, and I'll pick you up for practice Tuesday morning. We have less than two weeks to practice before the 24th. I'll see you at 9am, Tuesday...pleasant dreams."
BUCKINGHAM PALACE: Saturday, September 24, 1994
Buckingham Palace has about 600 rooms including a magnificent ballroom added in 1856. One of the middle sized rooms, with exceptionally good acoustics, was arranged in an intimate fashion for the 30 guests who would be attending the evening of chamber music.
The gathering was designed to be very formal. Formal in attire and in setting. The tone was intended to be very British. The occasion was the Joint British-American Projects (JBAP) annual meeting. During last year's meeting, an evening of entertainment was held in the White House with an All-American theme. It was a bit too rowdy for many of the British in attendance¾ tonight's entertainment would be in much better taste.
The performance was scheduled to take place at 10:00 PM, after a formal dinner. The limousines carrying the JBAP guests arrived at Buckingham Palace at 9:10, right on time. Her Majesty, the Queen of England, made her grand entrance at 9:30. A receiving line was set-up and each guest was formally introduced to the Queen and had a moment to exchange pleasantries. After the guests were through the receiving line, the musicians were summoned and introduced to the Queen.
Ivan, who would be playing three different wind instruments, and Martin Vassey, the renowned British pianist, were introduced first and second, respectively, as appropriate because of their celebrated reputations.
As Mandy waited her turn, she noticed the Queen's red and silver pendant. Oh my God, thought Mandy, That looks like the pendant from my dream. I must have seen it somewhere...that's quite a coincidence.
"Your Majesty, I have the honor of presenting Miss Mandy Pizano," said Lord Pomeroy. "She is our talented violinist for tonight's performance."
"Yes, Miss Pizano," said the Queen, "I've heard about your marvelous ability. In fact, I was told that your recent performance at the New York Philharmonic received smash reviews from the most critical of critics."
"Thank you, your Majesty, you're so kind," responded Mandy. "It's my honor to be here, I've always wanted to play at Buckingham Palace...for the Queen."
The first piece was Brahms Trio in E flat major, Op. 40. This is an unusual work for French horn, piano and violin. Ivan's unique abilities with the French horn were highlighted. The horn permeates the work with a delicate melancholy and an intense feeling for nature. The Finale is full of the joy of life.
The second piece was Brahms Violin Sonata in D minor, Op. 108, which contains many deeply touching and mysterious movements. Mandy played this so beautifully that the Queen was moved to tears. Mandy had merged with her music and her separate consciousness disappeared.
Flo was propelled to the outer world. At first, she just listened with wonder at the newness and beauty of the music. Even though she had heard Mandy play this portion many times during her visits, none sounded as graceful and beautiful as this. Flo...how exciting it is to be alive. How magnificent to experience a moment in time and space after visiting that very same moment.
Flo's thoughts replaced the wonderment as she summarized the successful outcome of her experiment. Look Flo, you witnessed this evening over 20 times. You focused on the objective events, occurring right now, probably 7 or 8 times. These events are all the same, so you did visit the same objective events. Each visit though, had it's own unique subjective reality. Look at yourself, right now you're not enjoying the concert, your contemplating time and reality. Your subjective experiences are always in the moment and cannot ever be repeated. But Flo, the objective event only occurs in one way! So what's the big deal about visiting an objective event anytime!
Flo paused, feeling quite satisfied with herself. She stopped thinking and analyzing. She listened anew to the beautiful and deeply powerful music.
Flo became quietly enraptured with the music. She was drawn, without any conscious awareness of the attraction, to a man in the audience who was similarly enraptured. Flo became conscious of a subtle glow around this man's body¾ a glow she now remembered seeing on one of her explorations to this concert. This time, however, she experienced the power of combining the subjective and objective reality of the present moment. This time, Flo and John Wensler disappeared together into the music, sharing the wondrous state of awe.
Mandy finished the Violin Sonata and became aware of the applause. The Queen and most of the audience gave the trio a standing ovation¾ quite unusual at the refreshment break.
Mandy noticed one man, who remained seated, with a strange look on his face. An expression, which at first, she could not interpret. But then, as he continued to gaze at her, she recognized the look. It was the look of having experienced soul-touching music for the first time.
His gaze was not really at her, but at the music from her violin. Then their eyes met for a moment, and when he became aware that he was staring, he smiled, looked away, and joined in the standing ovation.
Mandy wanted to tell him that his expression was worth much more to her than his applause.
John Wensler had never before been moved by music to such depths. He would not have believed that such feelings of beauty and harmony could be elicited by music. He was awed and stunned by the power of the music. He was also embarrassed by his childish stare at the violinist. She was relatively young and quite attractive, and he hoped she did not feel uncomfortable at his stare.
During the break, John remained in his chair for a while thinking about improving his HT-1 unit to include music. He was using sounds and tones which were often quite relaxing...but he was not using music like he had just heard. How could he integrate music, with such depth, into his biofeedback units? If he could, he knew the music would help with the healing process. But the music would have to be created by the person doing the biofeedback. Just playing an arbitrary choice would not do.
After the break, there was one more piece, which was the Brahms Scherzo from the F.A.E. Sonata for Violin and Piano. The other movements for this sonata were composed by Schumann and Dietrich.
After the encore, which featured selections from Brahms Violin Concerto, the Queen personally congratulated each of the musicians. To Mandy she said, "Marvelous, my dear, simply marvelous. Please come and play your favorite solo pieces for us...some time soon."
"I'd love to, Your Highness," said Mandy.
The Queen took Mandy's hands and gave them a gentle squeeze of affection. Then she turned to the audience and said, "I'm sure all of you were as delighted with the magnificent performance as I was. May I suggest we all retire for some refreshments.
There was some mingling between the musicians and the guests, but there was no opportunity for more than perfunctory conversation.
John worked his way over to where Mandy and Ivan were talking to Lord Pomeroy, hoping for an introduction to Mandy.
"John, come over here," said Lord Pomeroy. "Mandy Pizano and Ivan Sagorski, meet John Wensler. John is an American who is just beginning to market a device in Great Britain which really seems to help, and sometimes cure, patients with severe illnesses. What's so amazing, is that the device is an elaborate biofeedback unit which the patient enters, and the patient is then primarily responsible for healing him, or her, self."
"Pleasure to meet you," said Ivan as he shook John's hand. "Biofeedback, I thought that was for slowing down your brain waves."
"That's pretty much how it started. But once the potential of the mind to influence the body was demonstrated, then amplifying the healing potential of the mind followed naturally," said John.
"It's my pleasure to meet both of you," John continued. "The depth of your music was...well, profound. I enjoyed it so much, more than I thought I could."
Mandy smiled at John's unabashed enthusiasm for the music, and said, "I'm glad to meet you, and I'm delighted you like our music." They shook hands, and made direct eye contact for the second time. John saw that Mandy recognized him.
"Does this biofeedback device really cure people of cancer?" she asked, with a subtle tone of disbelief in her voice."
"Sometimes it does," John answered, "and sometimes it doesn't...and I wish I knew what makes the difference. I'm convinced, and our firm has been able to convince others, through documented case histories, that our enhanced biofeedback methodology generally improves the health of the patient. It will sometimes generate cures when cures were considered impossible, it will often ease the pain, and sometimes it seems to do nothing at all. We have much work to do before we perfect our biofeedback unit and really understand the full capability of self-healing."
This is an intense person, thought Mandy. "How interesting," she said.
Just then, John saw another guest walking toward them, and it was clear that another round of introductions would end his brief conversation. "It was a pleasure to meet you Miss Pizano," he said, "and thank you."
Part 2 HTI
MALIBU, CALIFORNIA: Saturday Evening, May 11, 1991
HTI 5 Year Anniversary Party at the Monroes' Home
"The food and party are marvelous. Your home and view are stupendous," said Robin Cantor to Emily. They were standing on the patio looking at the glistening ocean on a bright moonlit night.
"Thank you. I'm glad you're having a good time. Howard bought this place right after he moved to California...the ocean view sold him."
"I can't believe it's been 5 years since you guys started HTI. And, I can't believe that my mother has become such a bigwig," said Robin. "I'm gonna find Bob, and drag him for a walk on the beach. It's such a beautiful night."
Robin married Bob Levy last year, and she was pregnant with their first child. Bob managed his father's jewelry business on the west coast. Robin no longer worked, and was looking forward to raising a family.
Tracey had recently joined HTI's Human-Computer Systems Group. It was Tracey's first job after receiving her Ph.D., with honors, in Computer Sciences from UC Berkeley. Susan encouraged Tracey to take the job. Working for her mother was not a problem for Tracey, nor was it a problem for Susan. Tracey was one of the brightest young staff members at HTI.
Susan was in charge of the Technology Development Division which included the Human-Computer Systems, Electronic Sensors, and Biofeedback groups. Susan's Division had 50 employees. There were over 200 employees in all at HTI.
When Robin walked away from Emily, John walked over and said, "Congratulations on our first 5 years!"
"Congratulations to you too¾ it's been wild," Emily said. "I never worked so hard in my life. I'm rich, well at least I married rich, and I'm not suppose to have to work this hard," she added with a smile.
"I know you're not upset by hard work, but the ridiculous paperwork and endless bureaucratic delays are frustrating all right. The government regulations have been a nightmarish quagmire, it's ludicrous. I don't know how anything new ever enters the market place. The regulators are out of control, and I don't know how we'll ever be able to reverse the trend. I know, let's start a new group to regulate the regulators."
Emily didn't laugh, "I'm concerned about the delays in obtaining approval for the HT-1. The FDA now wants another series of tests done on patients in a hospital setting. The last series were potentially biased, they say, because we performed the tests in our facilities as opposed to a normal hospital setting. This puts us another year or two behind schedule."
Emily sighed, and then continued, "I'm sure glad we won those Air Force and NASA contracts."
"Yes, Susan has done a marvelous job at applying the biofeedback technology in more conventional areas. The contract on the advanced space suit for assembling the Space Station was a major coup. The biofeedback controlled man-robot technology was a winner. Imagine, the strength of a powerful machine and the intelligence and delicacy of the human operator for performing complex assembly tasks in space. And remember, everything we learn on that contract helps us with HT-1," said John.
"John," said Emily, "we're spending an awful lot of money on HT-1¾ every cent of profit from the other contracts plus almost all of the initial investment from George. We're receiving a lot of resistance from the medical community, the FDA is putting obstacles in our way...I'm worried that HTI will fold if we can't recover some of the dollars we've invested in the HT-1. It had better start paying for itself soon."
"Don't fret," said John as he gave Emily a hug. "Every time we test HT-1, it passes with flying colors. Almost half the tests on patients using the HT-1 unit for a week or more show measurable improvement. Not every patient likes HT-1, and not every patient is helped, but enough are satisfied that I think we still have a winner here. In fact, so many patients are being helped that the FDA approval cycle is probably being delayed because those guys don't believe us."
Cory and Howard walked up to them and heard the end of their conversation. Cory said, "The HT-1 looks like a winner to me too. But it's a long term winner, not short term. If we don't get approval soon, I may have to slow you down John...for a while..."
"That's what I was trying to tell him," said Emily.
"But, there are other possibilities," said Cory. "We can borrow more money from the bank, we can float some stock, or... we can sell off some of our other tobacco assets."
Howard now piped in, "Enough shop talk, there's someone very special who wants a goodnight kiss from his mama and from his Uncle John."
Matthew Patrick Monroe was 6 years old. After his birth, Howard changed profoundly and became the full time parent. Howard wanted to spend as much time as possible with Matt. He enjoyed playing with Matt. Going to the movies and sailing on their boat at Marina del Rey were two of their favorite activities. They became buddies, though Howard was smart enough to provide discipline when absolutely necessary. Emily was able to work full time, which suited her. But she often felt a terrible ache at not being able to spend more time with Matt.
VENICE, CALIFORNIA: August, 1992
The HTI Small Conference Room
Cory, Susan, John and Emily were discussing various business matters. Cory had asked for the meeting, and he jumped right in with a status summary of the HT-1 approval process required by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA). "The HT unit has finally been set-up and checked out at the UCLA medical center. The FDA has approved 6 patients for comprehensive evaluation using the HT-1. We'll be able to brief the patients before they enter the unit, but only the UCLA doctors will be permitted to do the medical evaluation. The daily HT sessions will continue for three months, and then the doctors will have three months for filing their evaluation reports. Then, the FDA will again consider approval."
"Those bastards," said Susan. "We already did all that, and with doctors approved by them. Just because the HT sessions and the examinations were done at our facility, they're requiring another round of tests. That doesn't make any sense...who's pulling their strings?"
"We don't know exactly, but probably someone or some group in the medical establishment who sees us as a threat or as a bunch of quacks," answered Cory. "We're vulnerable to attack, since we're not an established medical firm."
"We've been very cautious to not promise anything but relaxation, improved visualization, and enhanced self healing within the body's capacity¾ no promises of miracle cures. Anyway, I thought all we had to prove was that the HT unit would not be harmful and that there was evidence that it could meet our limited claims," said John.
"Enhanced self healing, even with the caveat words "within the body's capacity" has aroused significant attention at the FDA," said Cory. "They see an implication that people will attempt to heal themselves without ever knowing about the standard treatments of medical science."
"That one, I can understand for patients who are seriously ill with ailments which can be remedied by doctors," said John, "but what about preventive medicine and all the minor ailments that don't need a doctor's attention, and what about the patients that doctors have diagnosed as terminal. If a user wants to have HT sessions under a doctor's supervision, fine, but can they require us to have a doctor examine and approve every person who wants to use the HT-1?"
"Hey," said Cory, "the FDA does have considerable power, but..."
Before Cory could continue, John said, with a little panic in his voice, "You know that if they decide to be really ridiculous and require that a doctor be in the HT unit with the user, then we're dead, the whole concept fails."
"Please John," said Cory, "let me finish. The FDA is powerful, but we have our resources too. For one thing, we can export our technology. If the US wont permit us to market the unit here, we can market it in other countries. And even more importantly, we can build the units in another country. Right now, the Congress and the Administration are very concerned about keeping jobs and manufacturing capabilities in the United States. Also, they're encouraging the sales of products to other countries to improve the balance of trade.
"Dad and I are working with some very influential members of the Senate, and an Assistant to the Secretary of State, on a deal where we will guarantee to manufacture the HT units in the US for at least 10 years. And, they will assist us in marketing the units to other countries."
Cory now had every one's full attention, and he continued, "Dad has not lost any of his zeal for the HT project, and he's not going to let any 'snotty nosed bureaucrats' stop our dream. So, we're working Washington via Europe and the Far East. In fact, there's a good chance that the British government will buy one of our units for a hospital in London, with or without FDA approval. And, Hundai Corp. of Korea is currently preparing a cost proposal for building two HT units per month. Once we have the Korean proposal in hand, the FDA will receive considerable pressure from the Senate and State Department to be more reasonable. So, as long as the UCLA test series is satisfactory, we should be in business."
"Cory, you and George are dynamite!" said John.
Emily, who had been quiet thus far, said, "That's terrific, except we don't have any money left in the HT project account. And what if the UCLA patients don't improve at all...I'm worried about the financial stability of HTI."
"I'm glad you brought this subject up, Em," said Cory. Cory then took some papers out of his briefcase and handed each of them a copy.
"The original budget and projections for John's HT-1 project and the Advanced Military Systems projects are summarized on Page 1. John, you started with 15 million, and that's all gone. Advanced Systems started with 10 million, and are beginning to show a profit.
In fairness to John, however, we all knew, going in, that the HT-1 project was long term. Originally, we projected 5 years until full scale production. John has produced two working HTs, one here, and the one we moved to UCLA, but, we're about 2 years behind schedule. On the other hand, it also looks like the product can be a major commercial success. 75% of the people using the HT-1 unit say they'd like to use it again."
"So, on page two I've summarized a plan for infusing new capital into HTI. As you know, the original capital for starting HTI came from the sale of virtually all of the Monroe's tobacco land and processing equipment. However, we didn't sell our stock in the various tobacco companies, R J Reynolds, etc. These holdings are currently worth over 25 million dollars. What I propose to do is to sell all of this stock in the next 6 months or so, and lend the proceeds to HTI at 2% over the T-Bond rate. I have already arranged a loan for 15 million dollars with one of our banks using the stock as collateral.
"John, you continue developing a very unconventional biofeedback device...the HT-1. I think the idea of designing a device which enhances, and even encourages, the mind-body to feed signals back to the mind-body is quite fantastic. You keep improving it, and I'll market it. The next key step is to optimize our production facility. The bulk of your money must be reserved for buying the equipment and paying salaries so that we can move into production. I want us ready to produce the HT-1 units at a rate of two per month starting in 1 year. By then, the FDA approval will be in hand."
"One last matter," Cory said. "On page three, I've outlined the plans for going public with HTI stock. I think this is a good idea. Not only for the additional capital it will bring in, but because the public interest in HTI will be useful in selling the HT-1 units.
After some brief discussion, they readily reached a consensus of approval for Cory's plan. Then John said, "I'd like to run something by you guys. I've written something which I'd like to put on the door to every HT-1 Unit." He handed each of them a copy of the following:
Every human being has a natural self-healing capability. Enhancing your current capability is the purpose of this HT Unit.
The suit you are wearing contains sensors which pick up electromagnetic signals from your nervous system. Portions of these signals are selectively enhanced and synthesized by you before being returned to your body.
These returned biofeedback signals are chosen by your mind's healing intentions. The enhanced self-healing state does exist, and the HT unit will help you find it.
Trust your self.
They all agreed to the message and it was indeed placed on all HT units.
VENICE, CALIFORNIA: Morning of January 11, 1993
Howard Uses the HT-1 Unit
At their yearly New Year's Eve party, Emily had finally convinced Howard to resolve to quit smoking. Howard had asked John if the HT-1 unit could help. "I don't know," John had said, "we've been so focused on healing, that we've never carefully tested the unit for other applications."
Howard had been quite surprised, "If HTing can help heal people, it seems reasonable that it can help them do other things too...doesn't it?" he had said.
"Some of the staff members, including myself," John had responded, "have HTed for many purposes other than healing. I do know of one technician, Sam Cordova, who claims to have lost 40 pounds HTing. But, most of the off-hours HTing activity has been centered on relaxing, remembering past events, or working out new ideas. I often do that when I HT...I let my mind work on complex ideas¾ usually about improving the HT design¾ and I find that HTing helps clarify the ideas and often provides new concepts. It's quite useful for me."
"Well, then how about letting me use it," Howard had asked. "I've tried quitting before¾ you know the old line, I've quit hundreds of times."
John had said, "Sure. I'll set it up."
Howard went to the HTI building. It was a modest building in a commercial area of Venice, California. Half the building was offices, and the other half was workshops and laboratories. He first stopped by to say hello to Emily. She took him to John's office, they all chatted for a while, and then she kissed Howard and wished him "...good luck with your HTing, I'll see you after the session."
John took Howard to the back of the building where the HT unit (Serial Number 1) was located, and introduced him to Sam Cordova who was the HT technician who would help him prepare for the HT session. "Howard, I'll see you after the session. You're in good hands, Sam has initiated more people to HTing than anyone else. Have fun and quit the habit," said John as he left.
"Mr. Monroe," said Sam, "So you want to quit smoking...well, HTing can help. I've lost 55 pounds. For the first time in my life, I can say no to food."
"Sam, please call me Howard, or I'll have to call you Mr. Cordova."
"Okay...Howard. I'm used to being formal with the patients that we've processed through the two units."
"How many patients have used the HT-1 units?" asked Howard.
"Lots, I don't know exactly...maybe a hundred," answered Sam.
"How many times, typically, does each patient use the unit?"
"It varies widely, but usually less than 5 or 6 times. But there were 10 patients who each completed 14 sessions¾ once a day for two weeks¾ about 8 months ago.," answered Sam.
"How did those tests go?"
"Pretty well. The results, by all accounts, were quite positive. We had 5 patients using each unit. The units were slightly different in the details of the visual feedback provided. Both units seemed effective at providing some help to the patients, though Unit 2 seems somewhat better based on the patients comments¾ that's the unit we sent to UCLA. The doctor's reports were very clinical, but they did conclude that there was more rapid improvement than expected, and in one case of rheumatoid arthritis, the onset of a remission. The doctor would not state that the remission was initiated by the HTing. The patient didn't care what the doctor said, she was ecstatic. Actually, the patients show much more enthusiasm for the sessions than do the doctors. Every one of the patients felt the sessions helped them."
"You're clearly sold on HTing," said Howard.
"Yep, and, so are the other HT technicians. Howard, let's go to the changing room and dress you in an HT suit," said Sam.
As they walked to the nearby room, Howard asked, "How many other people, besides the patients and you, have had HT sessions?"
"Well, let's see, two of the attending physicians wanted to examine the unit with a full-up demo before they would permit their patients to participate in the sessions. We had no difficulty in convincing them that it was safe. One of the doctors actually enjoyed the test session, the other thought it was a Disneyland-type gimmick.
"Now take off your clothes and put them in this locker. I'll get the HT suit for you...a medium should fit just right." Sam pulled out a suit from a nearby closet. The suit looked like a NASA astronaut suit, except not as bulky. Sam unzipped the suit and removed something from the crotch.
"This is your electronic jock strap," Sam said as he handed Howard the glistening article of clothing which contained about 20 sensors for the penis and scrotum. The sensors that you see on this jock strap are similar to the sensors imbedded inside the suit. None of them will hurt you or be uncomfortable in any way. Notice this cable on the right side, it connects directly into the suit. And the suit then has one master cable that connects to the HT computer."
Howard suddenly became very uncomfortable. "You want me to put electrical stuff on my cock and balls," he said, with emphasis added due to his obvious nervousness. How do I know that I won't become impotent, or sterile or..."
"Calm down," said Sam. "It's amazing that almost everyone has problems with this. If this bother's you so much, that you think it'll ruin the session, then you don't have to wear it. But, everything we know about the HT unit says that you want as much of the body covered as possible, and the genital area has unique electrical signals to provide to your whole frequency spectrum. I strongly recommend that you use it."
"Okay, I must admit, the initial idea was a shocker," Howard said as he took the jock strap and put it on. "Feels a little cold, at first."
"Now let's put you into the suit. First put your feet into the shoes, they're adjustable so that we maintain good contacts everywhere on the foot and ankles. Now I'll snap in your electronic jock strap," Sam said with a smile.
It took a total of 15 minutes to suit-up Howard. Then as they walked back toward the HT unit, Howard again asked Sam about anyone else who had used the HT units.
Sam answered, "Myself and the other three HT technicians¾ we're really testers and tinkerers¾ are constantly using the units to improve the comfort and effectiveness of HTing. Finding the two women technicians was not easy, we finally found two nurses who wanted to learn about electronics. Then, John and Susan are often fooling around to see if any new features should be added before we go into full production. John actually uses the unit quite a bit."
Sam paused a moment thinking about any other users. "Cory was fitted up once. He didn't like the hour or so it took to complete a session. He thought that was too long."
"Thanks for all that information," said Howard. He was impressed with Sam and wondered if he could think of any other useful questions to ask. But before he could, Sam finished putting on the suit and was ready to begin the session.
Sam said, "Howard, remember that you chose the simple words 'quit smoking' to signify and focus your strong desire. Begin by repeating your words in your mind and ignoring other thoughts as much as possible, stay focused on 'quit smoking' and all that means to you. The words are a reminder, a quiet and gentle reminder of a focus for change."
Howard felt ready to change. He said, "Sam, thanks for your help."
Sam and Howard walked into the HT unit. Howard sat in the chair. Sam hooked Howard's cable to the seat¾ there was a clear metallic snap. Sam said, "You have the power to focus and the power to change." Then he closed the door to the HT unit.
Howard heard the cable snap into place, and nodded to Sam as he left. Howard wanted to cure himself of the habit of smoking. He could not clearly remember a time when he did not smoke. All the Monroes smoked. They made their money in tobacco, and they were raised to believe that tobacco was a superb product of mother nature.
Howard looked at the screen and there was a kaleidoscope of pretty colors with a rapidly changing pattern. The sound he heard was a relatively high pitched noise which he found rather unpleasant. The words 'quit smoking' began flashing on the bottom of the screen"
Howard thought, "I almost forgot why I was here." The initial reminder provided by the HT unit was not repeated. Howard began his first HT session.
Quit smoking, quit smoking, quit smoking, Howard quietly repeated in his mind. The noise began to change to a lower pitched sound, there really wasn't any particular tune, but the sound was no longer unpleasant. The colorful patterns on the screen also began to slowly change. Howard was aware that the patterns changed in time with the beat of the sound. The timing was not uniform, but the changes were in sync.
Quit smoking, quit smoking, Howard continued to himself at a slower pace. The slower pace seemed more comfortable to him.
Quit smoking, he thought as he relaxed.
Quit smoking. Memories began filling Howard's mind.
Howard remembered when his brother, Cory, gave him his first cigarette. He hated it, but later, when he learned to inhale, he felt like one of the guys. Howard also remembered many other experiences from his youth, some he had not thought about in 30 years.
Remembering does not accurately describe what Howard was doing. The HT unit provided sufficient feedback of normal memories that a re-experience of the earlier experiences was closer to the truth. The electromagnetic pulses associated with Howard's nervous system from previous experiences were faithfully reproduced, but the bodily response was now somewhat different. For example, Howard did cough when he "remembered" his first puff on a cigarette, but the irritation of hot particles in the lungs was not present.
Quit smoking. Howard became sexually aroused when he re-experienced how much he used to enjoy a cigarette after having sex with his teenage girlfriend. They both smoked, they both loved the romantic movies of the 1950s which showed the glamorous movie stars with cigarettes. They especially liked the old Bogie and Hepburn movies. Howard realized that for him, cigarette smoking was closely associated with the joy of his early sexual experiences.
Quit smoking...quit smoking. The sound and the colors continued to change, now in a more continuous fashion. The beat of the music, and the discontinuous changes in colorful frames had been transformed to a slowly changing pattern of sound and color. The colors began changing more like excess paint flowing on a canvas, but in all directions at once.
Quit smoking. Howard re-experienced a particularly bitter argument with Emily. He heard Emily say, "Kissing you is like kissing a dirty ashtray! I have no interest in making love when you reek of smoke. Why do you want to kill yourself! Sometimes I hate you...you make me so mad." He also heard himself say, "I can't quit, you know I've tried lots of times." He felt very weak and helpless when he re-heard that.
Quit smoking. The sound was now a barely audible low-pitched hum. The colors on the screen had somehow become limited to shades of red, orange and a little yellow. The pattern consisted of long thin red filaments waving rapidly. Most of the filaments came from a rotating and deforming yellow compact shape near the center of the screen. The dominant background color was orange.
Howard smelled coffee, and he tasted coffee. His ritual of morning cigarette, cup of coffee and the reading of the LA Times was experienced as a montage of thousands of similar pictures overlaid randomly on each other, and yet transparent so each layer could be seen. Howard did not see himself at the kitchen table. No, Howard saw the newspaper and the various cups which he regularly used in the morning, and he saw Emily moving around in the kitchen. And he saw her sitting across the table while they talked. He saw all this in his mind's eye while looking at the screen. The screen became a hypnotic focal point.
Quit smoking. He felt very relaxed, and was enjoying the unique experience of a montage of images and smells and tastes which he recognized...and which he loved. And then suddenly he experienced an insight which would end the session.
Howard fully realized, at that instant, that he was not ready to quit smoking. He loved smoking too much, there was too much in his life that had revolved around smoking and he was not ready to quit! He savored a few more moments of his morning experiences with a smoke, coffee, newspaper and Emily. Then he took his hands out of the control gloves attached to the computer terminal, and pressed the "session over" button.
The screen turned black for an instant, and then a colorful pattern formed which was a montage uniquely related to the particular biofeedback session.
Howard stared as the pattern developed. That's how I feel, he thought. This HTing is powerful stuff for facing the truth about oneself. One truth I know is that I love Emily. Another truth is that I'm not ready to quit smoking. He paused for a moment accepting responsibility for the decision. And then he was ready to leave the unit. He rather loudly shouted, "Sam, help me out of this contraption." "No need to shout," said Sam. "I'm right here in the control room. I'm-a-comin'."
The control room was adjacent to the HT unit. It housed the audio video equipment, and the vital heart and brain monitoring equipment. Sam opened the door within 10 seconds
Sam reached down and unsnapped the cable. He always let the HTer express himself first.
"Wow, HTing is something else. When you said this would enhance my ability to focus, I didn't appreciate what you meant. I was able to focus very deeply...on my smoking...but I...experienced connections...strong connections to many other things.
"The connections are very difficult to explain, Howard continued. In fact, I am not sure I can explain them. But at the time, the connections were all very meaningful and logical, and as they should be."
Sam said, "Well, you clearly had a powerful experience."
Howard added, "I wish you could have recorded my feelings and thoughts¾ my entire experience¾ so I could re-experience it again some time."
As Sam opened the door and guided Howard out of the unit to the changing room, he responded, "You can't ever have that same experience again. You change, and your HTing changes with you."
Sam helped him off with the helmet and space suit as it was affectionately called. He was stripped down to his electronically wired jock strap.
Howard looked at himself in a mirror and laughed. Sam said, "Yes, you do look ridiculous. Go take a shower, and after you're dressed please find me at the main office." Sam left the changing room.
After his shower, Howard went to the main office. "I feel really refreshed. Sam, thanks for all your help."
"You're certainly welcome. I enjoyed it," said Sam. "Everyone seems to be impressed with their sessions, at first. It's quite amazing. After a while, the HTing becomes almost routine."
"No, I'm not," said Sam. "I've been one of the HT Testers for over a year now. I have at least one session every work day. The sessions are primarily related to improving the biofeedback electronics and the comfort of the suits...stuff like that. Most of the time I choose what I focus on. The engineers don't care. They're just testing their equipment."
Howard just shook his head in amazement. He thought, HTing every day, I can't imagine doing that. It's too intense.
"I have your mandala, said Sam.
"What's that?" asked Howard.
"Oh, that's what I call the synthesizing pattern which you saw at the end of your session. I set-up your session so that you'd generate a mandala...I hope you didn't mind."
"No, not at all. In fact, I loved it...it seemed to capture the mood of my session very well."
Sam was obviously pleased. "That's one of the programs I wrote. It relates your biofeedback frequencies and intensities during your session to a colorful symmetric pattern. Every mandala is unique. The word comes from an American Indian tradition of meditating in front of colorful patterns"
Sam handed him his mandala, Howard said, "How marvelous, can I keep this?"
"Sure. And if you like, I can run you off 10 more copies in a couple of minutes," said Sam.
MALIBU, CALIFORNIA : August 1993
After Dinner at the Monroes'
"Cory, say hi to the Pres for me," said John.
"Right," said Cory. "I'll also tell him that you didn't come to the White House because you think JBAP meetings are a waste of time."
Cory gave John the nastiest look he could muster, and then continued. "I don't understand how you can turn down a chance to enjoy a grand night of entertainment, great food, and a speech by the President of the United States on international commerce.
Emily piped in, "He's right John. It's not too late to change your mind."
"I don't have the time right now" said John. "I'm working on changes so that the production line can provide 4 HT units a month. And even more importantly, I have some ideas on an advanced unit which should be better and cheaper!"
Howard then supported John, "What's the big deal. At most, it's John's loss. Our political moves can finally slow down...thank God. The deal with the Brits is now signed and sealed."
The FDA finally gave approval for sale of the HT-1. It was primarily the threat of producing the HTs in Korea, which George voiced so persuasively at politically high levels, that forced the FDA's hand. Cory's marketing plan went into effect immediately after approval, and in less than 6 months, there was a backlog of 22 orders primarily from American Universities and hospitals.
The international sales were developing more slowly. The British government was the first international sale. They ordered 4 HTs after Congress and the President approved the Joint British-American Project (JBAP) which provided governmental subsidies for selected products. Both countries chose products which they felt would become "best sellers" once introduced into the other country's market place. The HT unit was selected as one of the US products.
VENICE, CALIFORNIA : One Year Later, HTI Headquarters
Cory cautiously began his conversation with John, "Remember last year...when I went to the White House for a meeting of the JBAP?"
"Yeah," answered John waiting for the punch line.
"Well, this year there's a 3 day meeting in London, at Buckingham Palace. And, one of us must go."
"Last year, the White House, this year Buckingham Palace, and next year...who knows where you'll go next," said John with exaggerated emphasis.
"John, I'd really like to go...I really would. I know you hate these affairs, but meeting the Queen of England would be a real thrill for me. Unfortunately, I have to go to Japan to close that deal for those super microchips that you say are essential for your HT-2. John, you're the right one to represent us. You'll have to make a half hour or so summary of our progress with British sales, and our plans for the future in their market. Emily will help you with the figures. They're not interested in any of the technical details...only the financials."
"Why can't Emily go...or George..."
LONDON, ENGLAND: SEPTEMBER 24, 1994
John's presentation went well, although he didn't enjoy presenting the financial facts about the HT sales and projections. He wanted to talk about the scientific aspects of the marvelous potential of combining the most advanced sensor and computer technology with the most advanced biological creation known¾ the human being. But it was clear that everyone else at the meeting was primarily concerned with financial matters. There wasn't a scientist in sight. John was rather bored.
Tonight was the final night and there was a chamber music concert planned. Dinner was excellent, which was a pleasant surprise, since everyone told John that English food was terrible. John met the Queen of England, if you can call a handshake and a short exchange of words a meeting. And now the chamber music was about to begin. John was looking forward to going home tomorrow.
He missed the United States, his coworkers, the scientific challenges of his job, and the HT sessions which had become a daily and enjoyable part of his work week.
Lord Pomeroy began the introductions, "It's my special pleasure ..." He spoke in a monotone voice which did not change pitch even as he waved away a fly which landed on his nose.
John's mind wandered to his plans for the HT-2. With the new microchips being finalized by Cory, right now, I'll be able to increase the number of contacts to at least 5000, and the visual feedback will be improved by almost a factor of 10. The advances in video screens and the number of pixels on the screen are fantastic. And there doesn't seem to be any end in sight to the advances.
He paid only scant attention to the introductions, he applauded when everyone else applauded and he noticed the hush before the first piece began. The silence focused his attention on the three musicians at the center of the stage. They were dressed very formally in black and white. There were two men and a young woman.
The Horn Trio, Op. 40, began and John's head was filled with the harmony of the music. John heard and appreciated the exquisite rapport between the piano, violin and French horn. He felt at the center of a marvelous triad of musical forces. His mind wandered to issues of balance between thoughts, feelings and physical senses. He enjoyed watching and hearing the musical sounds being created. The ear to mind connection might be as complicated as the eye to mind connection, he thought.
John enjoyed this work more than he thought he would. After a short pause, the Violin Sonata, Op. 108, started.
His thoughts began to quiet. The music began to penetrate the right side of his brain¾ the non-verbal side. The music stirred innate neurological connections hitherto unexplored in John Wensler. Synapses¾ millions of them¾ fired in patterns never before experienced by his nervous system. John was a child appreciating deeply touching music for the first time. And then, he became lost¾ lost in the sounds of the violin.
The violin music catalyzed John's mind so it forgot John. His mind only experienced the vibrant tones...the eternal sounds...the continuous vibrations of the violin. It was as if John disappeared.
The direct experience of the music¾ especially the violin music¾ was so profound that to say that John experienced his own soul would be as accurate as words can suggest in such areas.
When the piece ended, John's consciousness did not return to the room for a moment or two. He was simply awed by his experience. He did not know that he could feel like he had just felt. He let the experience slowly fade.
When he did return, he found himself staring at the violinist and at the place where the music originated. She looked at him, and he became very self conscious and noticed that everyone else was standing and applauding. He awkwardly rose to his feet and enthusiastically joined in the applause. When the musicians left and most everyone else went for refreshments, John sat down.
He needed some time to absorb the new feelings¾ feelings of touching depths he didn't realize existed. These were intensely conscious feelings, but entirely non-mental. Only now were his thoughts trying to catch-up with his experience. I didn't know I could feel like that...how extraordinary. Wow, what music...what power. I was transformed to a new state¾ new for me at least. I've heard about 'the music that touches peoples souls'...now I understand...well, no I don't...
For a few moments, John wrestled mentally with his response to the music, and then he automatically connected his experience to the primary priority currently in his life, namely, his work. What I felt has enormous power and potential...but I don't exactly know for what. But I do know that I want HTing to take people to that state...at least sometimes! And, I know that the feelings in that state are healthy ones! He thought with the exclamation marks.
There's something important lacking in the current system, his thoughts continued, and that is the entire audio system. My HT audio system stinks. I was so sure that the visual was the most important...I was wrong. Compared to this music, the HT biofeedback sounds are worse than silence... The violin sounds were so magnificent, so deep, so vibrant, so... I must tell her how much I appreciated her music...what was her name?
ENCINO, CALIFORNIA : JULY 4, 1999
Susan and Hal invited John to their home for the Fourth. John had no family left; his mother and father died in a car accident when he was 5 years old. John had been raised by an uncle who taught theoretical physics at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California. John's uncle was a bachelor who's life centered on his work. The uncle died shortly after John earned his Ph.D. from Cal Tech and went to work for ASTI.
Susan, along with Emily, basically adopted John. They were constantly introducing him to eligible women and trying to induce him to marry¾ with no success thus far. He lived in the small home left to him by his uncle. Susan and Emily made sure he was not too lonely on holidays. Susan took care of July Fourth and Thanksgiving, while Emily invited John over for Christmas, New Years and Easter Sunday.
John always enjoyed spending the Fourth with the Cantor family. This was the fifteenth year in a row John was invited¾ ever since Jerry's tragic death in Lebanon. The weather was almost always hot, and they spent the day around the pool relaxing and talking and tracking the lives of Tracey and Robin.
John had watched the twins grow-up from Junior High School to the delightful young women they were today. Robin met Bob Levy at UC San Diego. John attended their marriage, and a year later, he shared the Cantor's family joy at the briss of their son Alan. Tracey received her Master Degree in Computer Sciences and was doing very well at HTI. John didn't work directly with Tracey, but he followed the progress of her career.
The only regret, of course, was that Jerry could not join them. Jerry's death was always in the background on July 4. The picture he snapped of the family was framed and unobtrusively displayed in the family room of their home. Susan, Hal, Robin and Tracey all carried copies of this picture in their wallets.
"How can you risk your family like that," Susan cried rather loudly.
"It's the perfect time to go to Israel," Bob said also raising his voice. "Alan will be out of school during the Christmas and New Year's break. None of us have been there. And there hasn't been any violence for quite a while." Bob knew that this was the issue, of course.
"That part of the world will always be dangerous...it could explode any time. The Jews and Muslims cannot settle their differences... What about Alan, he's only six... how can you risk my grandson that way..." Susan was frightened. "Now calm down," said Robin. "We can't live in fear, Mom."
"I'm afraid too, hon," said Hal. "But I think we have to let them live their lives and make their own choices."
Susan huffed off into the house. This was a losing argument, and she knew it. They already had the tickets and were looking forward to the trip. Even Alan was talking about "...seeing the places I've read about in the Bible."
There was some discussion about Susan's understandable fear, and then John changed the subject, "Hal, you wrote a dynamite article about that psychic. Did he really help those detectives recover a fifty carat diamond worth over 25 million dollars?"
"Helped nothing!" said Hal. "The detectives didn't have a clue. The thieves escaped without leaving a trace. It was the insurance company that brought in the psychic. Rocky located the thieves before they could fence the diamond."
"You seem to know this psychic, Rocky, pretty well," said John.
"Yeah, I do. I first met him over three years ago. He was the reason I became interested in dowsing," said Hal.
"Dowsing...I thought that was only for water," said John.
"Dad, no...please don't start with all your psychic stuff," moaned Robin and Tracey practically in unison.
"My kids have no respect," said Hal with a smile. " Are you interested John?"
John nodded affirmatively, the twins quickly went into the house, and Hal told John how he met Rocky and a little about dowsing.
Rocky and Dowsing
Dowsing was part of Hal's continuing interest in psychic phenomenon. About three years ago, he read a newspaper story about a dowser who used a map to locate two lost hikers who were backpacking alone in the Tahoe area. The parents of one of the hikers hired the dowser when the search and rescue crews were unsuccessful for a week. The dowser located the hikers bodies. Apparently, they both drowned while swimming under a treacherous waterfall, and their bodies were carried downstream for over a mile.
Hal wanted to understand and then write a story about the relationship between psychic phenomena and dowsing. Hal knew the woman who wrote the newspaper article, and so he obtained the dowser's name, address and telephone number from her.
The dowser's name was Rockford Tall. Hal called him and readily obtained an interview. The introductions went easily with Rockford quickly establishing his nickname with, "Call me Rocky, everyone does."
Hal told Rocky about his general interest in psychic phenomenon, and his feeling that dowsing might be related to other psychic skills, especially telepathy. Then Hal asked Rocky how he became interested in dowsing.
"I've been dowsing now for over 10 years," said Rocky. "and I'm still learning about it...and about myself. My wife started me dowsing, and she's still a better dowser than I am. But she only dowses for oil, as part of her job with Shell Oil."
Rocky continued, "I married my wife 11 years ago. She was born into a dowsing family, and had dowsed since she was 4. She took a job at Shell, where I met her as part of Shell's exploration team. I'm a geologist by training, and we use very sophisticated electronic equipment to examine bedding planes and geologic formations looking for oil. Our exploration team is one of the best in the industry, but we go down many dead ends and dig many holes leading to wells which are worthless. Our batting average is fairly good at 25%, but Charlene, my wife, has a 40% success rate. That means that 40% of the holes she recommends digging lead to a financially successful oil and/or gas venture. See this expensive house...my wife earned it. My geologist salary is only one fourth of hers. She's working overseas again, right now.
"Anyway, I began dowsing about a year after we were married. I like to look for people. I enjoy finding lost people. I think dowsing for people is more difficult than dowsing for oil, since oil doesn't move around and it won't intentionally hide from you. My basic tool is a map, and my objective is to track the path of the missing person. I work best when I can begin at the last known location. I'm a kind of bloodhound, except, I search on a map with a dowsing sense rather than on the ground with a smelling sense." Hal smiled broadly at Rocky's analogy.
Rocky smiled also, and asked, "Would you like to see the map I used to find the hikers? That was a sad case, a very sad case. If it weren't for the many happy endings, I wouldn't be able to continue dowsing for missing people."
"Yes, I'd really like to see how you work with the map," answered Hal.
Rocky motioned Hal to follow him into the study. "This is where I do most of my dowsing." The study was large with one full wall of books in a beautiful oak bookcase, one wall of wood file cabinets, and a large window overlooking the hills. A round oak table haphazardly covered with maps was in the center of the room. And against the far wall stood a marvelous oak desk-computer-cabinet.
"This is a fantastic work room," said Hal.
"I'm glad you like it." Rocky had designed this room, and he enjoyed Hal's obvious appreciation. "Let me get the file."
Rocky went to the file cabinet and quickly found the file. "Okay, here's the map." He placed the map on the round table after moving the other maps casually aside.
"I began at the base of the mountain," Rocky continued," where the Rangers found the backpacker's car. Here's where I marked the car location."
Hal saw the word car on the map. He also began to notice lines and other words written on the map. "All these words and lines are very interesting. You wrote these as part of your dowsing?" Hal asked.
"Yep," Rocky answered. "And here's where they found the boys' bodies," he said as he pointed to a big arrow and the word boys on the map.
"This is amazing." Hal was excited about the possibility that this guy and this map were for real. "How do you actually do the dowsing? I've read about dowsers, of course, there seem to be more and more stories about dowsers and psychics finding things, but I've never seen anybody actually dowse... I'm sorry, Rocky, am I asking too many questions?"
"No, not really, I'm glad when people show an interest in my dowsing. I consider dowsing to be one aspect of psychic skills which we all have. I feel comfortable using maps and calling what I do dowsing...others call their subtle sensory information psychic. Whatever the label, most people still consider us slightly weird and very lucky."
"Luck is a sloppy concept, which I think is often used as an easy excuse for ignoring many phenomena, including some very impressive psychic demonstrations," said Hal.
"You sound like a believer," Rocky joked. "Well, I'm a believer too. I can't understand why more people don't accept and use their inherent talents. I think it's the fear of being too different.
"Enough of this," said Rocky with an abrupt change in tone, "Do you want to talk philosophy, or do you want to know more about how I dowse?"
"Both, but for my story, I think more information would be best," answered Hal.
"Let me finish, then, with the backpackers," Rocky said. "The rangers called me knowing that I would volunteer to help if I were available. Why not, it's pretty safe for them. They don't even have to search my suggested area. I'm called when the friends and/or relatives become desperate and ask what else can be done. My dowsing keeps them occupied. The ranger's call caught me at a very good time, and I was able to drive up immediately to their headquarters where they had a detailed map of the area. They also had the parents of the hikers, which may have helped me.
"Anyway, I took my pencil and hovered above their map," Rocky said as he moved over to the round table and acted out his words. "I began by marking the spot where they found the car; this was the last known location of the hikers. Then I took the pencil by the eraser and slowly moved over the map intending to lock-in on the path leading to the current location of the hikers. Then I felt the pencil point attacked to a spot on the map, that's when I first touched the map...then somehow my hand was directed over the map. I didn't consciously direct the pencil. It's the letting go that's the art of it. Yes, the art of dowsing has to do with letting go of the conscious so that the unconscious can guide the hand."
Hal could see the occasional pencil marks on the map where Rocky had touched the map. "When the pencil moves over the path, what do you feel?" asked Hal.
"Not very much," answered Rocky, "I'm still conscious of doing dowsing, but barely. "The letting go includes both mental thoughts and emotional feelings. I think I'm tapping into some sort of deep ability which most humans have¾ an ability of the mind."
"Let me tell you my wild theory about how I find people." Rocky continued. "Everybody has a genetic code which is unique. Parents, of course, bear a special genetic similarity to their children, and I believe that when I first met the hikers' parents, I obtained a partial lock-in on the hikers' location. I don't understand exactly how, but the presence of the parents provided a valuable clue. I always seem to do better when genetically related relatives are around."
"Anyway," concluded Hal, "dowsing seems to be a natural talent...maybe related to other psychic phenomena including self-healing."
John smiled skeptically, "I've never related self-healing to any psychic phenomenon...and dowsing...I don't see any connection. And, Hal, after all these years of discussing psychic stuff with you, you can't prove that there's anything more than chance or dumb luck to any of it. I have tangible evidence of people improving physically and mentally after several HT sessions. What tangible evidence do you have?"
"Do all your patients get better?" Hal asked a little defensively.
"No, but more of them improve and they improve faster," said John.
"So, you're clearly using statistics to prove your thesis," said Hal.
"That's right," said John. "HTing does not work in all cases."
"That's the proof I'd like to use also," said Hal. "The Universe permits some psychic phenomena, but only in a statistical fashion not yet understood or generally acknowledged. Look John, statistics are permitted if the conclusions are reasonable, but the general scientific community won't accept the most precise statistics if that leads to contradictions with established views. The inertia in the system is tremendous...that's probably healthy most of the time, but change occurs only slowly and grudgingly."
"But there's a difference..." said John, though he couldn't readily identify it. "...some of that psychic stuff is impossible crap!"
"Yeah," said Hal, "that's true, but there's a lot of crap thrown around in the medical community also. Weren't leeches used for bloodsucking to cleanse the body? Wasn't that the accepted medical approach at one time?"
"Sure," said John. "But that's the path all science takes as it progresses and learns more about reality."
"Exactly!" exclaimed Hal. "Psychic phenomena should be treated as a science which will teach us¾ all of us¾ more about the reality of the Universe we live in."
John had discussed the general subject of psychic phenomena with Hal many times in the past. Their discussions always ended as unsatisfying as this one. How do we advance our knowledge about the Universe? he thought. Could Hal be right? Could there be some significant phenomena now considered impossible which are being ignored? But which ones? And how do you find them? How do they become part of the accepted reality?
John said, "This subject's very interesting, but I don't know what to do with it. I'm too busy pursuing biofeedback advances with the HT units."
Hal said, "In any case, how's work on the latest HT unit going. Tracey tells me it's called HT-2. I think I have your numbering system figured out."
John laughed at that, remembering all the time the advertising people spent looking for a sexy name, "The HT-2 model is going to be a real winner. The biofeedback sound system¾ actually music system¾ is almost as good as the visuals. I've been working the sound system. Tracey's work on the HT-2 visuals, by the way, is spectacular. She has a real talent for computer graphics and complex signal processing."
"That's my girl," said Hal. "When do you think HT-2 will hit the streets."
"I don't know...let's not rush things. It's only been three years since we started selling the HT-1, and we've finally turned a small profit. The most significant biofeedback advance will be the latest sensor technology. We're increasing the number of electrical and pressure sensitive sensors by about a factor of 10."
"Why pressure sensors?" asked Hal. "The electrical sensors seem so much more sophisticated."
"The electrical sensors have advanced considerably¾ they no longer have to make direct contact with the body. But we've found that the human system is still much more sophisticated than any of our electronics. And by using pressure sensors in the gloves and arms of the HT chair, the body synthesizes its intentions and communicates them very efficiently through simple changes in pressure. We found that the combination of biofeedback through both electrical signals and body kinesthetics is optimum."
"So what do ya think...will we be replaced with robots and computers?" Hal said with a smile on his face¾ one of those smiles which implies that maybe technology is going too far.
"Nah...there's nothing to worry about," said John. "We humans still have a special spark. And I think it's more than just the zillions of brain cells, synapses and other electro-chemical connections in our bodies."
"I didn't know you were a philosopher," said Hal. "Long live the human spark."
MALIBU, CALIFORNIA: 11:00 PM, December 31, 1999
New Year's Eve Party at the Monroes'
"It's been almost four years since we started selling the HTs," said Cory to John and Susan. "The fifty second unit came out of production three weeks ago, and it was delivered last week to a hospital in Tel Aviv. That's Israel's first unit. We now have 34 units in the US, 8 in Great Britain, 3 in Japan, 2 each in China and Germany, and 1 in Canada and Saudi Arabia. We have backorders for almost fifty more. We'll make and sell two hundred of the HT-1s. The HT-2s will be phased in starting in the year 2001."
"2001, that seemed so far away when Clark's book first appeared," said John raising his champagne glass in a mock toast, "The year 1999 is all but done/ while 2000 has almost begun/ but alas, for the HT-2s we must await 2001."
After Cory and Susan finished their groans, John continued, "And may the next two thousand years be ones of peace with the spice of excitement and growth."
They clicked glasses, and Susan said, "HTing works measurably on over 80% of the patients. The remarkable cures and super-fast recoveries which occasionally occur are still not understood by the medical research community, but they've been forced to acknowledge that the units often provide benefits for both serious and minor illnesses."
"I loved the June AMA report," added Cory, "which said that the results were somewhat analogous to acupuncture successes¾ it seems to work sometimes, but since there is no fundamental understanding of the medical processes involved in the healing, they do not recommend it's general use. This report has spurred sales with the large university hospitals for further research and..."
Before Cory could finish, he saw Hal hurrying toward them with a terrified look on his face. "Hal, what's the matter!" Cory said as he gently turned Susan's shoulder toward the onrushing Hal.
"Susan, there's been a shooting in Jerusalem, said Hal. "There's been a terrorist attack. I just heard a flash bulletin...they don't know much yet, but there was a busload of tourists hijacked and taken into Lebanon."
"Oh my God, no," said Susan. "Robin could be on that bus!" And then Susan flashed back to the horrible period surrounding Jerry's death in Lebanon. She began to shake.
Hal took Susan in his arms and gave her a hug, "It's okay...it's okay. The chances of them being on that bus are very small. Damn those terrorists..."
Hal continued, "Tracey is calling the King David Hotel right now, and hopefully she'll talk to Robin or Bob."
"Is there anything I can do to help?" asked Cory
"No, not yet," said Hal. "Just pray that Robin, Bob, and Alan are okay. I don't think we could handle another death at the hand of terrorists."
Hal did not want to dwell on Jerry's death 17 years earlier¾ it was too painful. He turned to Cory and said, "Maybe you could help, your father is pretty well connected in Washington...maybe he can get the names of the people on the bus from the State Department?"
"I'll give him a call and see if he can find those names," said Cory. And then he rushed off to call George Monroe.
John felt very helpless. He remembered, all too well, the pain and anguish which Susan and Hal endured after learning of the October 1983 bombing in Lebanon. The early period of complete uncertainty was almost as hard as learning the terrible truth. John said, "Let's use Howard's new IC. it's the most advanced Information Center made. He has a computer/video set-up which connects to all the wire services."
"Sounds like a good idea," said Hal. "I have to know more about what's happening and..." Just then, Tracey found them. Howard and Emily were with her.
Tracey said, "No luck in reaching them. All the lines are jammed. Can you imagine, in this day and age, not enough phone lines into Jerusalem... I'm worried."
Emily gave her a hug and said that everything would be all right. Tracey didn't feel comforted.
John turned to Howard, "Can we use your IC to hear the latest info?"
They all followed Howard into his computerized IC room. Howard had bought the IC equipment to keep track of the latest news and magazine articles, to see the newest films, and to read the recently published literature. While he used the IC more than anyone else, Matthew used the system to access the educational encyclopedia and book resources. The programming available was phenomenal. For example, 70% of the books, movies, records, and photographs from the US Library of Congress were available through this system.
"The news services available through the satellite connections should be able to put us inside Israel," Howard said as he sat down at the IC terminal. The screen was the size of a typical TV...a meter across the diagonal.
He touched the on button, and a menu of choices immediately appeared on the screen:
Howard pressed SERVICES with his finger and the screen immediately changed to:
---------- services ---------------
FILMS, PLAYS, AND CONCERTS
Howard pressed NEWS:
---------- news -----------------
(more than a year ago)
(less than a year ago)
When Howard touched CURRENT, the speakers adjacent to the screen asked in a gentle feminine voice, "Please say the answers to the following questions."
Howard spoke his responses to the verbal questions. His answers were then typed and scrolled along with the questions, on the screen.
---------------current news ------------
What is the beginning date and time of CURRENT EVENTS to be found?
(Los Angeles time assumed unless stated otherwise.)
Answer: DECEMBER 31, 1999, 7:00 P.M.
What is ending date and time of search?
(say PRESENT if latest information is desired)
What are key words to identify news events of interest?
Answer: ISRAEL, JERUSALEM, TERRORISTS, BUS
Are your verbal responses recorded correctly?
Thank you, please wait a moment while we search our files.
Only 3 or 4 minutes had passed since Howard started the search. Now, however, there was an awkward silence which reminded everyone of how little they knew¾ and how much they feared¾ about the events being played out in Israel.
"We have found 5 text and 3 videotaped news reports satisfying your time, place, and key word requirements. Brief descriptions of the most recent text and video reports appear on the screen. If you would like to view any of them, say the report number. Also, if you would like to save the information, be sure to turn on the video recorder."
---------- current news summaries --------------
1. Jerusalem Post Wire Service: 1/1/2000, 8:42 A.M. (12/31/99, 10:42 P.M. Los Angeles time)
This first morning of the new year, terrorists abducted 39 passengers on a tourist bus which started in Jerusalem and was headed toward Tsvad. Details are still sketchy, but the driver and guide were killed. Their bodies were found by Israeli soldiers near the northern part of the West Bank.
428 WORD REPORT, 1 PICTURE.
COST: $25 WITHIN 1 HOUR, $15 WITHIN 3 HOURS, $5 WITHIN 1 DAY,
$1 AFTER 1 DAY
2. Worldwide Satellite Video Service: 1/1/2000, 7:24 A.M. (12/31/99, 9:24 P.M. Los Angeles time)
Two bodies were dumped from a hijacked bus. This SNNI report takes you to the scene where the bodies were found and interviews witnesses who saw the bus traveling at high speed toward Lebanon.
10 MINUTE COLOR VIDEO REPORT.
COSTS: $100 WITHIN 1 HOUR, $50 WITHIN 3 HOURS, $25 WITHIN 1 DAY $5 AFTER 1 DAY
Howard said, "Two."
"Is number two correct," said the sweet voice of the IC system as the 2 flashed on the screen.
"Yes," said Howard. And he turned on the video recorder.
The screen changed to the Satellite News Network, Incorporated's colorful logo for about 5 seconds while the video report was retrieved from their enormous files. SNNI was indeed known worldwide for its aggressive approach to news reporting. There seemed to be an insatiable appetite for video reports, and SNNI was the fastest growing segment of the news sector because of its ability to satisfy that desire.
The video report began with a view of police and Army vehicle lights flashing, and a body being placed into the back of an ambulance.
"This is a live report from Israel. The time is 7:15 in the morning on a sunny, but bloody, New Year's Day. Two bodies were found, about 20 minutes ago, one mile from the Jericho. The area has now been cordoned off, but our zoom cameras have clearly identified one of the bodies as a man wearing a bus driver's uniform...probably from a tour bus."
The camera now focused on a 35 year old Israeli reporter, who continued, "I am Mosche Bremson reporting on the Satellite Video Network. My crew and I arrived at the scene about 5 minutes after the authorities, and we'd like to show you unedited video material which we took at that time...start the tape."
The picture was of the same area, but with only one police vehicle in sight, and several cars. The video was clearly being taken from the moving crew car, and was very unsteady because of the large magnification zoom lens being used. "It's 7:02 in the morning, and we're approaching the scene of a reported killing near Jericho. A motorist telephoned police headquarters from his car phone about two dead bodies¾ a man and a woman¾ which he discovered along the roadside. There, I can see them now."
The two bloody bodies, with most of the blood localized near the neck and chest regions, could be seen amongst the people moving across the zoomed-in field of view. The man and woman were tied together, back to back, with their hands at their sides. The man's legs were unnaturally oriented, and he appeared to be wearing a uniform of some sort.
"How gruesome...this is about as bloody as I've seen in over 5 years," Mosche said. He was talking partly to himself and to his crew who were watching the monitor in their van. The van was a self-contained news-reporting room where the editing and transmission to the SNNI network was routinely done. Vans such as this one were all over the world providing on-site coverage.
One of the crew members asked, "Is that guy wearing a uniform of some sort?"
"Yes, I think you're right," said Mosche. "Can you zoom-in any more?"
"No, I'm at max now."
Everyone became silent and watched. The police officers were taking pictures of the bodies, and they were talking to the people at the scene. The man's body slowly became larger, but the details of his face and uniform were not clearly visible. One of his legs were bent grotesquely forward.
A police officer looked in their direction, turned to another officer and pointed toward the van. Then, they faced each other in conversation and the first officer went to his car. After 30 seconds or so, the officer left the car, retrieved a blanket from his trunk and covered the bodies.
"They've spotted us," said Mosche. "Now they'll give us as little info as possible...I really don't understand why. Who exactly are they keeping the information from! All the governments do it...the official agencies must evaluate the evidence before going public...what a self-serving position that is.
"Did anybody identify the uniform?"
"I think it's the uniform the tour bus guys wear," responded one of the crew members.
"Maybe so...take a close look at the tape and see if you can be sure."
The screen then went back to Mosche talking with the microphone in his hand, and he said, "The police would not give us any information, and they won't let us talk to anybody at the scene. The Army arrived about 5 minutes after we did, and ..."
The sweet IC voice interrupted with, "There is a live SNNI report about to begin in 15 seconds which matches all your search requirements. Would you like to tune-in to this report right now?"
"Yes," said Howard.
"Would you like me to save the remainder of the report you were watching on your back-up video tape?"
"There will be the usual $200 charge for the live report. Is that okay?"
"God damn it, yes," Howard yelled.
"I'm sorry, I don't understand that answer. There will be the usual $200 charge for the live report. Is that okay?"
"Yes," said Howard.
The screen changed to the SNNI logo for a few seconds, and then a man dressed in Islamic robes appeared on the screen, and said, "This is a message from the Islamic Liberation Movement directed to the people of the United States. We have taken a busload of tourists traveling from Jerusalem to Tsvad. Most of the tourists were Americans and these we will keep. The non-American tourists will be released shortly, except for the two Israeli citizens who we have already killed. We have no quarrel with any country except Israel and their benefactor, the United States of America.
"Israel has no right to exist. It was formed illegally and it has illegally suppressed it's rightful inhabitants¾ the Palestinians and other Muslims¾ for too long. We of the ILM will return this land to the people who worship and respect Allah. Our revered leader, the Ayatollah Mukamani has clearly stated that Israel is the place of the devil, and must be purified. The United States is the servant of the devil, and this fiendish country must be demolished and rebuilt as a servant of Allah.
"But, people of the US and Israel...please listen to me. You do not have to be destroyed. Only the leaders of your countries are evil...you, the people are good, and Allah loves you. What we ask is simply this¾ throw out your leaders, accept the guiding principles of the Koran and peace can prevail. Otherwise there can be no peace in the world.
"The Islamic way of life is sanctioned by Allah...by God. We are on a holy mission to bring peace on Earth in the name of Allah. We truly regret the need for violence, but many worthy causes have required violence. The American Revolution, which began the United States of America, was a violent war. Was the violence worth it? Of course it was... The acts of violence which we do are regrettable, but necessary because our cause is good.
"The hostages are safe in Lebanon. They will be cared for, they will not be hurt...as long as our reasonable demands are met.
Our demands to the United States are the following:
1. In the next US budget, provide zero foreign aid dollars in support of Israel¾ the devil. The budget process is beginning with the New Year, and by the end of the year, we can have peace. And you can have your citizens back.
2. Begin airlifts to the US of all Israeli citizens who desire to leave the land of Palestine. There will be many Israelis who will want to leave once we start our Holy Jihad. Those who leave will be spared Allah's wrath.
"And now to show our good faith, we are safely releasing the 8 citizens of Japan, England, and Germany who were on the bus. We keep only the US citizens."
The Ayatollah motioned for the camera to point in another direction¾ toward the bus. The bus was about 50 feet from where the Ayatollah had presented his demands. The bus was oriented sideways, with both doors closed. There were several people with guns outside the bus. After a few shouts in Arabic, the released hostages began exiting the bus from both doors. The camera zoomed-in on the bus.
"Oh no," screamed Susan, "there's Robin." And then she began to sob and moan in agony.
"Damn, shit...why...those bastards," said Tracey. And she began to cry.
Hal said nothing. He stared in disbelief at a bus window, where Robin was clearly visible. The women were all seated on one side of the bus. Presumably, Bob and Alan were on the other side. Hal felt completely helpless¾ just like the last time.
John, Howard and Emily were stunned, of course. They had tears in their eyes, and sorrow in their hearts.
They continued to watch for a minute or so, then Cory rushed into the room and said, "There's been a well coordinated hijacking involving over 100 Muslims using explosives and gunfire to clear the way for the bus to go to Lebanon. They don't know who's on the bus, but..." Cory stopped because he became aware of the sobbing and crying.
"They're on the bus," said John painfully. "We just saw Robin on a live SNNI broadcast."