The City of Pleasures

 

Episode One: Jungle Jesus

I hear confessions though I’m not a priest.  Sometimes I mend hearts although I’m no surgeon. I fit the puzzles of the mad with their jigsaw cosmic thinking back to solid reality.  I send them back, normal, fully functioning to their families, their jobs, their communities with their sins and secrets, intact and their functions restored for I am called the Doctor of Souls. My name is Dr. John Grey and I work at The Mission in The City of Pleasures.

Well that’s all shit really, it’s what I was told to say in the promo for the company that runs The City. However, in my time I’ve learned a great deal about psych techniques but there is nothing as good for the soul as the true sorrow that comes with genuine Revival Tent repentance. Take Jungle Man for example.

He went as all Vacationers do, having spent a fortune on setting up his Xanadu, his Stately Pleasure Dome, working with the A.I. modeller, having all his tests and finally plugging into the vast sifting program that we call Alph, which scanned his subconscious and unconscious mind to set up his perfect dream. There are many happy customers but when they get too happy and want to stay longer, the down side of it is financial and in the end they have to be extracted using force if need be. There are fines for over-stayers and after a week they grow exponentially, so no-one absconds, no-one hides, no-one successfully goes AWOL in the City of Pleasures but Jungle Man did.

Jungle Man wanted to drop out for a while, he’d paid for three months but the team had to find then extract him after five months and three drone drops of trackers. Overhead there were booming speakers warning him to get out and giving announcements of his current bank balance dropping fast with a huge sum of money automatically coming out of his bank account for every day he overstayed.

On the video file we saw him pop out of a bush stark naked and stare up at the hovering drone. Then he pissed clearly and obviously, waggled and shook his dick, then dived back into the bush.

The City of Pleasures was built some ten years ago, originally as a tourist resort for the very rich with hot and cold running pleasures courtesy of the A.I.s. and I swear on the back teeth of my dead grandmother when I first saw them I couldn’t believe my eyes, so totally real were they. Whatever dreams a person had, they could be recreated in the City of pleasures in remarkable detail depending on how much money and social credit a person had. There were consequences for everything though and as they say, be careful what you wish for.

You know, I’m a simple man at heart. I like natural things; my wife and kids for example. I enjoy the way my dog barks when he hears me at the front door. I love hearing my daughter practise the piano badly and my son scream an off key riff on his electric guitar then shout an enraged FUCK THIS THING when it goes wrong, but he starts again slower till he gets it right.

My wife Beth is a great cook and does everything from scratch and we have a garden with real flowers, vegetables, fruit and chickens in a coop. I don’t spray the bugs, I speak to them gently and put out my powers of persuasion to deter them from eating our stuff. It usually works but I don’t mind if they chow down a little, I mean every dog has his day.

Of course I know our neighbours think we are like weirdo hippies from like Manitou Springs or Moab who live on star dust and tie dyed vegan brunches but no, I am a serviceable unit, dependable ole hacky sacky Dr Grey who keeps bees for the honey and the pollination of his flowers fruit and nut trees, is known to eat granola and observe the phases of the moon while planting seeds. I am not rich in money; I give a lot away as we don’t need it but I feel like the wealthiest man on the planet. I never dropped out, never danced naked as a jay under a lunar eclipse but I do quietly consider myself an enlightened man, maybe an uber hippie.  I suppose, years ago, I would have been a silver haired stoner but not now. Now I am just Dr John Grey, doctor of souls servicing the mad the bad and the weird who enter and leave The City of Pleasures.

As I said Jungle Jesus been dropped into a place designed to perfection. I saw it on the video- amazing! Gorgeous! There were orchids, ferns palms, banana, papaya, mango and coconut trees, a white sandy beach with perfect boulders perched on the fringe of the sea. There were fish, chickens for eggs, a veggie patch ready to eat from, the hybrid Cannabis sativa x Molotovii grew here and there and there were also shrooms, Psilocybe semilanceata. He’d wanted a trippy time and after signing a water tight indemnity form for the company, as all Vacationers do, he was ready to go and I watched his entry, the amazement and joy discovering everything with the purest of pleasure. It made me smile to see him cavorting. Many times I laughed with the other Observer watching him play like some kind of Peter Pan, thrilled with everything he touched, saw, tasted and smelled. Then he got a little weird. It happens. We put it down to the shrooms which he’d pre-ordered and we genetically tailored to his neurochemical pathways. Then things got really weird, like I mean totally barking mad weird.

After everything was over, I was tidying up, at the end of his file I saw a little note he’d written on actual paper with a pencil.

Jungle Man. Yeah they call me that, Jungle Man Jesus and it’s a way to diss me, to whizz and whack me. I know their fuckin games man. I know their games. The whole thing is a worm that they put in your brain when you meet Alph. I was normal. I was ok, like had a job and stuff then I went to The City and what they did to me there was fucked, really fucked now I ain’t got nuthin’ like really nuthin’ they cleaned me out so I got like a ramazoo up my ass and bum fuck nuthin else but for a while there I was the incarnation then the thing went…

That’s all he wrote. How did he know we called him that? I opened the interview file and watched. This was recorded three weeks after he got back.

Dr Grey: On your file it says you were a senior programmer for…um…Klatu Systems, is that right? You created A.I. programs?

Jungle Man:Yeah, like I did that shit easy. So easy. I made programs like Alph for breakfast. It was like sorting apples and oranges. I knew the joy man, knew it when it was all cruizin and hummin like a fart in God’s pyjamas but they’re gone now. Now only a ramazoo up my ass, y’know what I’m sayin’?

Dr Grey: Yeah, I know what you’re saying. You feel ripped off.

Jungle Man: Damn right! You damn right! Jungle Man! Y’all call me Jungle Man? I’m the King of Kings, that’s who I am. Born in Bethlehem on the 25th December exactly thirty- three years ago. My mother Mary my earthly daddy Joseph my heavenly Father the great boss of the whole damn universe.

Dr Grey: It says here on your birth certificate with your photo record that you are actually sixty- two years old and were born in Croydon London on January the twelfth and your birth name is Richard Robin Myles. What do you say to that?

Jungle Man:That’s shit man! That is total shit. Who told you that? Let me see that! Give it to me!

Dr Grey: Sit, sit down. Sit down… now! I’ll give it to you but sit down. By the way, I don’t think Jesus ever swore, not even in Aramaic.

Jungle Jesus:I’m also fully human.

Dr Grey:Any miracles to show for yourself yet?

Jungle Jesus: Certainly. I raise the dead. I raised four people from the dead. Out there in…in…Bethesda.

Dr Grey: Uhh. No you didn’t. They weren’t alive to begin with, they were bots, sophisticated yes but bots. They reanimated because they are programmed to unless you blow them to smithereens.

Jungle Man:You’re lying. You filthy fuckin lyin snake. This is a trick. A shitty trick. They told me it would happen, people would deny me and betray my mission but you can’t stop the inevitable can you devil? Dr Devil. Yes yes Devil I c’n see you, I see your red eyes and your green smoke whistling out of your pores from hell itssel, put out your tongue. I command you! Put out your tongue! Cleft in twain it is…and inside your shoes…hooves hooves!

Dr Grey:Will you stop that! Stop it! You’re being a dick, man! Stop it and sit down… get away from that… STOP! No, you can’t get into the aquarium, it’s too small!

Jungle Jesus: Where’s Mary? Mary… (screaming) Mary! Where are you? Where are you? Maryyyyyy! (sobbing)

It was at this point I had to terminate the day’s session as the client was on now on the floor, writhing like a damned cobra hissing and screaming for Mary Magdalene, the bot, who as far as I know was now hung up in the closet waiting for the next assignment where she could be anything from Annie Get Your Gun to Electra or someone’s sex goddess.

I played back some more from the video and fast forwarded it to the tipping point which was when our client Richard Robin Myles of London England aka Jesus Christ late of Bethlehem, called his disciples together and preached The Sermon on the Mount, well the outcrop.

He’d gathered a lot of coconuts and glued little white shell eyes to give them faces, rubbed red ochre on their ‘cheeks’, all frankly quite spooky, and put them in a circle around him then stood and gestured opening both arms out wide. He spoke loudly in his Londoner accent and with great swoops of inflection and swirled around pointing to them as he emphasized a point. 

“Blessed are the weak for they shall be made stronger

Blessed are the boring for they shall be made funny

Blessed are the poor for they shall be taxed out of existence

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for casual sex for they shall be satisfied

Blessed are those who mourn, for crying shall be outlawed in all the land

Yet still shall the tears run

Blessed are you when all women revile you for you won’t give a fuck

and you will perform great deeds that all the earth will see, hear and feel, then shall the end come with three days darkness and no light no candle shall burn save those blessed by a priest of mine. The righteous shall be taken to a bloody good bar, set down and not charged for a single drink! Shrooms and bliss forever be unto ye unto the end of time!

He threw his arms up to heaven and I recalled a very old movie in my training on megalomania involving an actor called Moses someone or other holding a staff up and dividing the Red Sea which has frozen over nowadays so they could have skated over it if they’d waited.

Our Jungle Jesus though stood there holding his arms up when suddenly through the shrubs and palms came his bots all dressed as he’d instructed in the garb of acolytes or sanyasins and knelt in front of him, pushing the coconuts back with their feet. Some of them fell prostrate before him. He cried out, tears of joy pouring down his face.

Jungle Jesus: Oh! Brothers sisters! Welcome welcome! I will make of thee a people set apart!

He took each of them by the shoulders and kissed them lightly on the mouth as was the custom in those days. Now bots are pretty good at mimicking human behaviour and they are programmed to respond as a real human would, some being programmed to react unpredictably so when one of the bots he kissed responded by sticking his tongue in Jungle Man’s mouth, then thrust his groin forward, there was an explosion as Jungle Man pushed and fell back shocked.

Jungle Jesus: Judas! What are you doing?

Judas:I thought it was the right response. You kissed my mouth I responded as programmed, I’m sorry.

Jungle Man: Who the fuck programmed you ….f’kn amateurs!

Judas: You can examine my details by going under the skin exactly five centimetres from the base of my coccyx. It will give you everything you want to know, however to maintain the integrity of my persona I would prefer you waited until we were in a private area.

Jungle Man: God dammit! Oh get away…

Judas stepped back. Jungle Jesus squared his shoulders and continued greeting his disciples which included a very lovely Mary Magdalene, formerly a G.I. Jane, a temple prostitute, Eva Braun and notable others including Miss World 2026 and a Muay Thai expert. He held Mary’s face in his hands and kissed her on the mouth, lingering on it while his hand wandered down her back. She smiled and said she was honoured and all that yahdahyahdah. It was like watching a really bad Grade Six pantomime confused with Blade Runner and a set up for a porn film. Awful, really painfully cheesy and Jungle Jesus knew it too. He sat down next to a bunch of coconuts and put his head in his hands.

Fuck. Fuck, fuck, fuck. It wasn’t meant to be like this.”

He got up leaving the coconuts and the disciples behind in the clearing, went to his cabin alone and that’s when he broke his contract.

On the October 1st video I saw something alarming; Jungle Man tinkering with what appeared to be a small key port which was strictly forbidden because it was a device to alter or reprogram the bots. He must have somehow sneaked it in and I’ve no idea how. It was hard to see and a casual observer would have missed it as we did, thinking all was well, up until the subsequent extraction and my interventions. He was quick, he must have known his stuff very well and with that I understood the rest as it all played out.

In our next session I recorded this.

Dr Grey: Richard, good morning. Did you sleep well?

Jungle Man: Considering. Yes, ok. Why am I still here?

Dr Grey:We just want to make sure you’re the cat’s whiskers before you go home, so we just need to ask…well, there are a few questions I have for you today.

Jungle Man : Tell me. Speak to me.  Háblame. Parle moi. Fale comigo. Hmmmmmm? What do you want to know?

Dr Grey: Ah, you are multi lingual. I didn’t know that about you.

Jungle Man:So much examined so much unknown. Do you have children Dr Grey?

Dr Grey:Yes I do…a boy and…

Jungle Man: …and a girl, a wife who cooks everything from scratch, loves long walks in forests and making love with some of her clothes still on.

Dr Grey: Ah you’ve been doing a little hackery quackery Richard but this is all about you Richard not me, not my family, not my opinions.  Since we are here now though, how about you tell me what happened when you reprogrammed the bots.

Jungle Man Laird of the Loch: Och laddie what in God’s pyjamas do ye mean? I dinna ken what yer talkin aboot.

He put his head back and looked at the ceiling for a while then spoke calmly but forcefully still looking at the ceiling.

Jungle Jesus:There weren’t any bots, they were my disciples, my apostles, the salt and light of the Second Coming. They came to me like pure souls, like little children pure of heart and they could see who I was immediately. They loved me and I loved them.

Dr Grey:Then why did they try to kill you?

Jungle Jesus:I ordered them to, it was in fulfillment of the scriptures because unless I died, I couldn’t rise again.

Dr Grey: Apparently that happened already to the real guy well over two thousand years ago. Not you though, it seems things weren’t going too well for you there but how did it feel when you knew they’d broken the law and were really seriously after you? You altered the program didn’t you?

Jungle Jesus: Yeah well I did, it’s true but y’know, crucifixion…I didn’t mind, after all I was their father brother teacher master…

Dr Grey:…lover?

Jungle Jesus: You guys, you always want to go for the groin don’t you. Well, yes. Of course! All things to all men and women so that some may be saved!

He lowered his gaze looking almost surreptitiously at me.

Jungle Man: It’s surprisingly real you know, sex with a bot.

Dr Grey: I wouldn’t know, I have a wife, as you are aware. She doesn’t need to be programmed to want to make love with me. Right. So, you altered the program. Why? You broke contract. It cost you everything.

Jungle Man:Well, they did such a bleedin’ bad job didn’t they, your lot? Bloody useless! I mean, take Judas and the others for example until I reprogrammed them Judas thought he was a gay bleedin’ accountant! Andrew kept trying to screw Martha. James and John seemed like a double act out of Guerilla Punk Comedy and Peter? I wept. He was like the Minister for Home Affairs, bossy prick. I had to actually reprimand him on a number of occasions for bullying Judas. He spoke to me like I was the Under Secretary’s deputy assistant to the Assistant Secretary. He was like, “You can’t spend any more money on renting donkeys Jesus, what do you think? I shit shekels?” ‘orrible it was. ‘orrible! I’ad to reprogram them, I mean look at all the money I spent and everything going wrong. Fuck me drunk!

Couldn’t argue with that. It wasn’t the only time things had gone awry but in the company’s defense it was a difficult ask, we did our best and honestly orchestrating the Second Coming was one of the most difficult jobs we’d ever done. He, however, had made it impossible and he very nearly lost his life in the process.

I decided to ignore Jungle Jesus altogether and deal with Richard, well Jungle Man Richard as he was for now but Jungle Jesus had a disconcerting habit of coming back, I found myself wishing he’d picked the reincarnation of Buddha, nothing like this would have happened if Buddha had been the buzz.

Actually Jungle Man was quite amusing in his own way. I enjoyed listening to the mental tennis he played with himself. He followed a textbook case of Acute Affective Schizophrenia co-morbid with cluster symptoms of a drug induced psychotic mind.

I loved the fact that Jesus was so popular amongst mad people. Odd that in all my years of psychiatry I have never once had a patient claim to be Buddha. Very strange. With Jungle Man though I did have a recording of him having a conversation with Buddha when he was Jesus or Jungle Man or whoever popped up in that final panoply of personalities that erupted in a full blown multi personality disorder of the most florid type. It went like this like a tennis game between them all.

“I’m so depressed, he’s breaking my heart. He never texts me anymore.”

 “Who?”

 “Jesus. I think he’s found a better disciple. I think he’s pissed off with me about flirting with Mary.

 “Mary Mag or Mary Mary?”

“Mary Mary. His mum.”

“His mum? What are you mad? She’s like…she’s like… a cougar! Man you can’t take the mother of a divine being out for a booze up and a slap and tickle!”

“Yeah well, I look at her in that blue veil and I feel all wiggly inside.”

“No wonder he stopped talking to you! You bloody dickhead! Anyway, why don’t you talk to him. Call him.”

“I did but he won’t pick up.”

“Go round to his place man. You know, turn right at Gethsemane? Go up the hill to the olive grove…”

Then in a high voice Jungle Man Kanye cackled and spoke in a basso profundo.

“No no no…it’s because you’re such a shit, man. Not only you tried to crack on to his mum but you cheated on him with Buddha. He was pissed off, broken hearted.”

An Asian  accent came from Jungle Man Om. “ ’s ok, don’ worree, be chill out, be cole like gel… it’s okaaaay, be calm. No problem you go with Jesus. He good guy, you good guy, you love him, he love you…no ploblem!”

Jungle Jesus: “Thanks everyone. You can relax now. All we can do is hope. Faith. Hope. Charity. Do good, love others all of these things added unto to us, to do this much, more or less, maybe greater and sent to us as locusts and honey post restante. You know when I was in the desert I had a vision of all of this?”

An unfamiliar voice responded.

“Richard? Richard? Are you there? Hello? Hello? Talk to me! Pick up. Richard Richard?”

Jungle Man jerked weirdly like some collapsing marionette then slid off the chair weeping, his hands slapping the floor.

“Oh God! Oh God leave me alone…for fuck’s sake leave me alone!”

It was sad. There were many occasions like this, the to and fro of word salad or ranting or, as I showed, this conga line of personalities on and on, well, until I had him canned. To be honest I wanted relief because Jungle Man was way intense but there we have it, life just ain’t fair and along came Mr Grimwade. Bob Grimwade; aka Homo Ferox.

 

 

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