Saturday, October 31, 2009

Book IV - from the Brasillian fragments

Book IV

To simplify, I made a pact with the Devil. Anway, that’s what they say about me. I was born in a small village, Roda, in what is now Germany, at the end of the 15th Century. In other words, if you had any imagination, you were bored out of your mind. I learned to read early, but books were scarce then; mostly you had the Bible, which was written in Latin. The European printing press had only recently been invented - by the
Devil, many believed - and a real revolution started when Gutenberg developed movable type (400 years after the Chinese). For you readers of today and tomorrow, movable type was along the lines of the steam engine and the personal computer in regards to important shifts in civilisation.
So, I had this Uncle, a wealthy merchant from Wittenberg, with no children of his own, who gave me a copy of the Bible, which I read voraciously (I grasped Latin quickly). After all, it had high adventure, drama, lots of sex and violence; what more could a young boy want from stories?
As my drive to read interfered with my learning to farm, and having gotten the eldest daughter of a itinerant ragpicker pregnant, I was sent to live with my Uncle, who
liked having a "son”, and he sent me to the University at Wittenberg, where I studied Theology and Philosophy.

But soon I was bored. I had a huge appetite for knowledge, and my stuffy professors were a
bunch of bean counters. I tried expanding my studies to Medicine and Law. Even more boring!
So, what does an imaginative young man do with himself when he’s bored. That’s right, drink.
Unfortunately, Uncle was not keen on supporting my growing drinking habit. So I had to get others to buy me drinks. Since these others wanted something in return for buying me drinks, I started telling them stories. I found that I had an amazing facility for making shit up.
Early on I discovered that people were more drawn into the story if I told it as if it had happened to me, rather than relating someone else’s adventure. So I told wild tales I had “experienced” out in my wanderings - they all rightly knew that I liked to go for long walks in the woods, sometimes spending the night under the stars. On these walks I started magining the stories I would later tell my drinking patrons.
My most popular tales, this being a superstitious time (as moderns put it - since they, of course, have no such foolishness - ha!), involved run-ins with the supernatural.
One night as I headed to my favorite inn outside the town walls, one of my professors, Georg Helmstetter, who was only about 10 years older (but seemed an old man already), approached me, and pulled me into the shadows.
After looking about to make sure no one was there to listen, he said “I have heard about some of your adventures with spirits.”
Feigning some modesty, I replied, “Oh, it’s nothing really, it’s just...”
He cut me off. "The spirit world is nothing to trifle with, my boy. It can be dangerous. How do you protect yourseif?”
“Protect myself?” I asked. I knew, as anyone did, that there were all sorts of protective talismans, some legal and christian, some not. But it had not even occured to me to procur one; at that moment I realized my oversight. It would add so much spice to my stories.
“Yes, my boy, protect yourself. With the proper protection one can gain a lot of knowledge from the spirit world.”
I was intrigued. “Tell me more.”
He checked the street again, and once satisfied, whispered, “Come with me. I have things to show you."
He lead me through various backstreets of the town, in a zig-zagging way, always careful to keep unobserved. We finally came to an old wooden door in an expansive wall, on a sidestreet I did not recognize.
After again making sure no one was watching, he rapped on the door three times, took a beat, then knocked two more times.
A moment passed, then the heavy door opened a crack. It was dark inside, so I could not make out who was looking out but I could feel them. Then the door opened wide enough for Helmstetter to lead me inside, and the door was shut behind us. A lantern was uncovered, illuminating the alcove we stood in.
The man who let us in was a big burly fellow that I did not recognize.
“Good evening, professor,” the big fella intoned.
“Good evening, Hans,” said the professor, as he lead me through a doorway, and up some slippery stairs.
At the top of the stairs, we came into a small turret room. There was a fire in the grate, and a couple of candles burning on a large desk, which was the center of the room. Also on the desk were many scrolls, manuscripts, papers, and books. Helmstetter bid me to sit, and he produced a cup for me, which he filled with wine from a flask, which had also been on the desk. He filled another cup for himself.
I looked around the room. Besides the desk and several chairs, there were bookshelves with more books and manuscripts, several parchments with symbols on them tacked to the walls, and a cot in the corner.
We spent many evenings going over various magical studies. Helmstetter was quite
...[a precusor of the secret socletles?]...where he was known under the magical name of “Doctor Faustus”...

[something about Trithemius, who sought out D.F. in Gelnhausen, in 1506, after having demo’d some magic, but D.F. avoided him...]

My Uncle, growing impatient with my, as he saw it, debauched lifestyle, procurred for me the position of schoolmaster in Bad Kreuznach, through his friend the humanist knight, Franz von Sickingen, a rather energetic fellow, who later joined with Ulrich von Hutten to use military might to bring on the Reformation.
Life in this village was rather boring. I didn’t even spend much time drinking, as the locals were far too dull to spend that much time with. On occasion I was invited to dine
at von Sickingen’s castle, which was usually an enjoyable affair, with good food, good wine, and good conversation. Von Sickengen had studied under the great philosopher-teacher Johannes Reuchlin, so while being typical of knighthood in many ways, he wasn’t a complete dolt, and though many of his guests were of the “righteous” variety, there was plenty of learned topics.
Mostly I studied. One of my students, Kristoff Wagner, a clever lad, at my behest pilfered some manuscripts from the local monastary [?], where he...
I became Wagner’s mentor, in the old Greek tradition. This lead to trouble.
The local priest, jealous of my popularity with the boys, accused
me of sodomizing them. The irony of this was that he constanly lusted after them himself, as many of them had told me of their close encounters with him when serving as altar boys. The only boy I had touched was Wagner.
It was a Greek thing. In ancient Greece a promising youth was mentored by an older, more experienced man. And this included sex.
Anyway, when a priest makes an accusation in a small town, the local authorities doggedly jump to, and so I had to flee, Wagner in tow (I couldn’t very well leave him behind to languish, and his family never bothered to come looking for him).

We ended up in Heidelberg, where I managed to worm my way into the University, though there were problems, as one professor of mathematics and astrology, Johannes Virdung of Hasfurt, had written to Johannes Trithemlus, who spewed vituperations about me. I had quite a time talking my way around the learned man’s denouncement.
Once ensconced, I befriended one Johannes Faust, as we were very like-minded. Though he was top of our class in Theology, he had a truly wicked streak. At night we would study various magical texts which he somehow managed to acquire in great numbers. He considered most people rather cloddish, and felt no need to be honest with them, saying they really didn’t want the truth, anyway. He encouraged my use of the magic lantern (it was called something different at the time, but can’t remember what), which I’d learned from some notes made by Leonardo da Vinci, even setting up demonstrations for wealthy patrons.
He also had a sister, Greta, to whom I taught various subjects, as she was not satisfied with the usual fair delegated to women. I, being more patient than Johannes, took
up the tutoring for a while. She had been married, but the husband had gotten a divorce on grounds of infidelity. We ended up having a passionate affair, which resulted in my falling in love with her, and her deciding to marry one of the University professors.
I was broken-hearted.
in 1509 Johannes and I gained our Doctor Theoiogiae. One of the new students was one Philipp Schwarzerd, then only 13, a dwarfish, misshapen, temperate character, later known under the Greek version of his surname, Melanchthon, who went on to become partnered with the hereticai ex-Dominican monk Martin Luther, counterbalancing the latter’s fiercely passionate energies. The Pope excommunicated Luther after his famous “95 Theses” against the Church hierarchy’s abuses (e.g., the selling of indulgences) - though only after four years of trying to get him to recant at least part of it - which he nailed to the door of the church in Wittenberg. This was the beginning of the Reformation. I was later to get to know
Melanchthon better, when we both taught at the University of Wittenberg (Luther was also there, but I avoided the blowhard like the plague). He was always trying to convert me
I decided to go to Krakow. I had heard that alchemy was taught openly there. Virdung, for instance, had taught astrology there earlier In his career. I wanted to find out for myself. Wagner tagged along.
I learned many new things.

Krakow. Krakow was a new experience. It was exciting, It was one of the most important cities In Europe at that time. It was the capital of the Kingdom of Poland, which had formed
a commonwealth with Lithuania, headed by the Jagilion dynasty, a very capitalist society where most of the power was in the hands of the “landed aristocracy”, who supplied most of Europe with grain, and a flourishing center of the sciences and the arts. The University, founded in 1364, was the second largest (after Prague) at that time.
As an already old city it was well established. And well placed, being on the Vistula River, at the foot of Wawel Hill.
And I met up with Helmstetter, who was teaching Greek at the Sodalitas Litterarum Vistulana, a learned society based on the Roman Academies, founded by Poet Laureate and humanist Conrad Celtes in 1488. He invited me to stay with him in a little house he kept on the edge of the city, away from prying eyes.

Then I met a dragon. He said his name was Beelzebub. I had no reason to doubt him. And I wasn’t about to question anything he said. (I was like a small country in the late 20th,
early 21st Century facing the Pax Americana. You just don’t want to make it flex).
He offered me a ride. How could I refuse? (No, really, how could I)?
I hopped on his back, and off we went.

On one of my solo wanderings through the woods one evening I stumbled upon a woman gathering herbs. I was curious, so I stopped and asked her what she was doing. She fixed me with a penetrating stare, and sniffed at me.
“You have the sight,” she said matter-of-factly.
I ventured, “Do you make protective talismans?”
She smiled, and cocked her head. “Perhaps,” was all she replied. She turned and headed off into the forest, looking back at one point to see if I was following. So follow I did.
She lead me to a small hut stuck in the trunk of a huge tree, the front covered over with foliage. Had you not known it was there, you probably wouldn’t even notice it.
Inside was larger than one would suspect, and littered with a plethora of items. And there were innumerable cats. One, who seemed to be king of the roost, fixed me with a steely gaze.
She went to a work bench against one wall and rummaged about the mishmash of odds and ends - cloth, bones, plants, crystals, rocks, tools - until she turned around holding up a large, round, very clear crystal, which she handed me.
“Use this,” she said. Before I could say anything, she had turned me around and marched me out the door, closing It firmly behind me.
I stood for a minute weighing the crystal in my hand. It had been cool to the touch when she handed it to me, but now it seemed to be gradually getting warmer.
I decided to head back to the house, and see what Helmstetter made of it.

[will start scrying, a la Dee & Kelley]
[later visit the witch again w/Helmstetter; during a conjuration
the witch becomes possessed by Astraroth or Leviathan,
who then kills Helmstetter - later I use necromancy to bring H. back
{via crystal or magic mirror or reanimating the corpse, which cont’s
to rot) - this is when he renames himself “Me Fausto philes’, which
becomes Mephostophiles, and I drop the “junior”]
(also use Leviathan or Satan as personal devil, & the doppelganger
in Part II, the subconclous “evil twin” in Part III]
(more in-depth historical notes on important figures, like Luther &

Book III - from the Brasillian fragments

Book III

I awoke suddenly, although I had not been sleeping. I was looking in a mirror by candle
light, when I recognized my face. Not the one I was wearing now, but the one I’d had back in the 16th Century. I, or he, smiled at me, the me that I apparentiy was now.
Things had not gone according to plan. Again.
And now here I was, twenty-something, in the hyperreality of a psychotropic drug (turned out to be LSD), the Other having relenquished control enough for me to come to our senses.
Where the hell was I?!
A flood of memories overwelmed me, mostly his (the Other’s, that is), some of mine.
I pulled us away from the mirror, and looked around. By the dim light I saw I was in a bathroom, the style of which was new to me. I could just make out what I thought was the light switch, so I fiddled with it, and the bright incandescent overhead came on, causing me to close my eyes for a moment.
I opened my eyes again, and examined the bathroom. It was small and sparse. There was a small, oblong cabinet of very shiny metal just under the mirror, with sliding doors in front. So I slid one to the side. Inside were various toiletries, some with writing on it. I read toothpaste, aspirin, razors, etc.
I could read these things, but that didn’t tell me in what language. It was the
language of this body I was in, so I naturally could read it. But I’d learned from last time that it might take some time till I could differentiate between this language I could read, and my mother tongue - if different - which I might not even be able to understand any longer.
This body snatching stuff is a bitch, sometimes.
I decided to venture out of the bathroom.
I found that I was in a rather bland apartment, with ratty furniture, a mishmash of stuff on the walls, numerous books and papers strewn about. Fortunately, no one else was there. I entered the main room, where a light was already on, and saw two ____ doors opposite me. I crossed the room to the one closest, hesitated a moment as I listened at it for any sound within, and knocked gently.
No answer.
I slowly and carefully swung the door open. I reached in, searched for the light switch, and flipped it on. The room was not too small, not too big; there was a mattress on the floor with rumpled bedclothes, a ____ folding chair, and a pile of clothes. There were also many pictures on the walls. Pictures from movies (some I recognized), theatre posters, some black and white paper pictures that looked sort of, but not quite, like from newspapers.
It seemed familiar.
I decided to look in the other room, just in case I was wrong. I did so, but the second room seemed “off” in a way I can’t describe.
So I went back to what I believed to be my room, closed the door, and sat down
on the mattress, with my back against the wall. It took a minute to realize I had disrupted some picture a behind me. I turned to look at them. They were simple paper prints, a mix of photography and drawing, black and white, obviously cheaply done. And they all seemed, in this spot above the head of the bed, to be following a theme.
I realized it was my story. The original story, that is, of my life as Faustus.
More memories overwhelmed me, of that time. As I let my gaze wander away from the wall, I saw a small beaten-up black book beside the bed. I picked it up and opened it. It was a journal. “My” journal. I opened it. On the inside of the front cover was written ” —, 198_ -“.
Weii, I now knew when I was. I read on.
[a few entries from a journal from ‘85 or ‘86]
This helped me to recall a few memories of my host body, though they were a bit
sporadic. And I now knew what year I was in.
Damn, my plan had really gone awry.
The plan: since the last time I had managed to enter the body of an already living being, who was already 14, and my hopes had all ended in failure, I had decided to start from scratch. So, I had managed to find another descendent, pregnant with unborn twins, one of whom had no spirit, and aimed to enter that one. Apparently, I’d missed slightly. I had entered the twin with a spirit, somehow causing me to forget myself, and so now here I was - in New York City if gleaned correctly - writing poetry, making an Underground film (whatever that was), drinking excessively (often in Downtown Beirut - which really through
me at first, till I realised it had to be the name of a pub), taking drugs (pot, which
was something you smoked, H, which I suspected was heroin, “acid”, which was something you “dropped”, and opium), and going to movies, plays, and some new kind of music, called Punk, shows.
I had a lot of catching up to do with myself.

In the closet I found more journals, dating back to 1978. I stacked them in order, and
began pouring through them.
[few entries from European journey, then the story]
He, or I, as I now started to feel more “at home” with this self, returned to the small town of ________,where I grew up; but not for long, as the trip had stirred up the need to move on.

I wandered cross country.
I stopped for a bit in San Francisco, which I very much liked, but it was very
expensive, and I couldn’t find a job.
I travelled down to Santa Cruz, which was kind of cool, too, staying with a favorite Aunt. For a about a month I stayed in a family house, which she cared for (but liked people too much to live In) isolated in a canyon up in the mountains. I took this time to consider my options.
I wanted to be an actor. That was my dream.
So I headed to LA. (some may question the wisdom of going to LA. to become an
actual actor, but, hey, I was 20, what the fuck did I know). I met up with a [former high school teacher, Mr. Hammersmith (only if going to do something with this),] who lent me a room. I got a job at Burger King. I enrolled at a small college with a Theatre Major, and Psychology Minor.
Things changed rapidly.
[a few entries from journals ‘79-81?]
I quickly became disillusioned with Psych. Although I diagnosed myself successfully - later finding out from my Mom that a pychiatrist had given the same diagnosis - it seemed too much about labelling, and not enough about the deeper why's.
There were exceptions, of course. I started reading the work of Dr. Timothy Leary, who was something of a modern day heretic (the mainstream denounced him outright, often with witless mockery), and found myself very drawn to his thinking.
[a bit here from/about Leary]
So theatre, which was the more important subject anyway, became my main focus.

I also obsessively went to films. Mostly “Art Films”. Alone. And stoned.
This must've been my influence. The obsession with films, that is.
I wrote rave reviews of quite a few. i especially followed certain directors: my old friend Jean Cocteau, F.W. Murnau, Werner Herzog, Rainer Werner Fassbinder, Aklra Kurosawa, Roman Polanski, Jean-Luc Godard, Orson Welles, Kon Ichikawa, John Cassavetes, John Waters. And certain films, most of them wIth “cult” status, made a lasting impression: ERASERHEAD by David Lynch, THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW (I’d also seen the stage play in London In ‘78), BLADE RUNNER, ROAD WARRIOR, REPO MAN, THE SHOUT, LIQUID SKY, . And there was one actor I wanted to be as good as: Klaus Kinski.
[may Include some reviews here]
Apparently my Other was embarrassed by the fact that we’d spent our childhood &
teen years watching lots of crap, such as big Hollywood mindnumbing entertainment, but mostly horror movies. The previous actor I emulated was Vincent Price (whom I still admired, thinking he was underappreciated for his excellent comic acting - I’d even met him in an airport on the way to the same place - he to act, me to see, in DIVERSIONS AND DELIGHTS, where he was marvelous as Oscar Wilde).
We had become a “Serious Artiste”. And so if the horror movie was made by a Serious Artiste, it was acceptible (e.g., Murnau’s NOSFERATU... and Herzog’s remake). I seemed to feel guilty over going to, and really enjoying, the big budget remake of DRACULA, starring Frank Langelia and Laurence Olivier! I’d even written a treatment for a sequel, called DRACULA II: The Countess, based on the old classic DRACULA’S DAUGHTER (which I’d seen In my last body when it was released, and enjoyed very much) and Joseph Sheridan LeFanu’s novella ‘CARMILLA’, and one for a remake of the classic FRANKENSTEIN (another favorite from the “old days”) - both of which I never showed anyone (I even put non-de-plumes on them).
Mind you, I had no “connections”, anyway, so no one to show them to would even care.
(Much later I was to realize that I had “lost” the little movies I made as a teenager, because I was embarrassed by their amateurishness and light-weight subject matter).
This was taking things too far. I was to discover that this was common, however, in the late 20th Century. As art was very underappreciated in the United States, the peasantry having risen to prominence, but keeping their superstitious mistrust of learning, so the majority of the population considered artists to be a bunch of layabouts, artists became defensive, especially young struggling ones, and so they denegrated pop culture (except those, such as Andy Warhol, who manipulated it to effect), as it was mostly aimed at keeping the “groundlings” amused. But some of it was fun.

I had difficulty getting parts in the college plays. And I was drawn more and more to directing. I took a couple of directing classes with a burnt-out failed actor for a teacher, whose intelligence stagnated in alcoholic bitterness. We clashed. He labelled me a flake, which was ironic when held up to his own “achievements”.
My first experience directing was okay - a scene from Marlowe’s DOCTOR FAUSTUS
(which I found amusing - it’s funny how some things come through). For my Lab Theatre production I directed a Sherlock Holmes one-act (there were several well-written ones by Michael & Mollie Hardwicke). The teacher’s only positive comment was that I cast well (missing the fact that this is an important part of directing - he himself was a terrible director - I ended up ghost-directing several of his actors in one of his productIons, at
their behest).
There was also a “store front” theatre, called The Shoebox Theatre, not far from the college, which had aspiratIons of doing New York style theatre. I directed a sequel to Marlowe’s play, “TO HELL WE GO, DOCTOR FAUSTUS”, for which I borrowed dialogue from Marlowe, George Bernard Shaw and I.A.L. Diamond (the latter being illegal, as his play, TOMORROW MORNING, FAUSTUS, was very much still copyrighted).
In my 2nd year I changed my Minor to Film Production. I was living in LA., and
had a better chance of making a living in film than theatre. I also studied Television Production, despite not much caring for TV, and almost never watched it (the one exception was “DOCTOR WHO”, a rather clever British children’s sci-fi series, which had gained a cult following in the U.S.). But I ended up studying more and more in film, even
learning animation.
At The Shoebox Theatre I directed two one-acts, “THE MAN WITH ThE FLOWER IN HIS
MOUTh” and “THE VICE”, both by the brilliant Italian playwright Luigi Pirandello. Audiences were small (the theatre never really caught on, and soon closed). One of my actors, whom I’d been friends with for a while, was Lily Valdez.
We ended up having an affair.
When we got together, we had agreed to not fall in love - we had both been broken-hearted, and wanted to avoid falling in love again.
Oh, what foolishness.
I broke the promise.
Together with several others from the college we formed a theatre troupe, Renegade Players. Lily was also a writer, and for our first production we planned to do, with me directing, a romantic comedy, [SURPRISE!], at a coffeebar/theatre in Hollywood, the Deja-Vu Coffeehouse.
But things quickly fell apart. Besides the ending of the affair, which I tried
to handle well (I even helped her hook up with her next beau), there was too much apathy among other members of the troupe (they preferred the relative safety of the college milieu).

At this time I also gained a new roommate. I was living in a house, owned by a friend [
or Hammersmlth?], with he and a several others from the Theatre Dept. We needed a new roommate, and at my job, at 7-11, I met an interesting character, Harry Fist (when he’d introduce himself, he’d judge you by how long it took you to get the name), who was in need of a new place to live. So, he moved In.
We became immediate friends. Though he was in the Computer Dept., and studying Business, he had studied some theatre, and his taste in films was like my own.
He not only produced two one-acts for me (one of which I wrote, the other an adaptation of a short story, both of science fiction themes), but got some seed money together to produce an ultra low-budget feature film.

[the film is the ALIEN REPORT piece; problems casting the female lead, end
up very attracted to singer cast at last - then run out of money, can’t
get the film from the lab, I.R.S. takes the house, so flee to NYC with
new friend, Granger Hammersmlth - who turns out to be Meph. again]
[at LaMama meet ex-dancer, Maggie, who turns out to be a vampire,
and is the same reincarnation of the witch, a.k.a. “Mephistophela” - or she
becomes possessed by the spirit of the witch at Harmonic Convergence]

Book II - from the Brasillian fragments

Book II

I awoke. It took some time to realize what I was looking at. Or, rather, that what I was looking at was some kind of man-made illusion. And there was music. Sweet music, made by some instrument I had never heard before.
The view before me was of a man, dressed as a devil, dragging another man down
into Hell, passing through different levels, coming across various spirits on the way.
I was mesmerized. This all was seen through a square window. After a short time the images ended, and the “window” became just a blank, white piece of stretched fabric.
I thought of the magic lantern. Had time advanced that magic this much?
I then noticed the source of the music, an odd little man off to the side, who
was playing a stringed instrument which he held under his chin and strummed with a long stick.
The square lit up again, showing another drama. In this one... [DER STUDENT VON
After this one ended - and it was longer than the last - I turned to my neighbor and asked what this was. He said it was called [title of film]. I was confused for a moment, till I realized he was giving me the title of the piece, rather than what the medium was called. So I clarified my meaning. He looked at me funny for a moment, asked where I’d been since the turn of the Century, and told me it was a moving picture. I asked what the one before was called. He said he didn’t remember, he really preferred moving pictures
about cow boys (whatever they were!), and told me I should ask the musician, as he would probably know.
When the showing was over, and the lanterns - which were also quite different from what I was used to - were relit, I rose from my seat, which elicited quite a reaction from several people, men and women, dressed In white, who had been standing or sitting to the side of the main seating area.
It seems that since I’d been here, a hospital as they called it, I had been blind and deaf. They called for a doctor, two of whom came over to me. They had me sit back down, and started asking me questions. As I couldn’t remember a thIng before becomIng conscious of the moving picture - I certainly wasn’t going to tell them the truth - they declared that I had amnesia. I was told to rest, they would give me some medicine, and hopefully over time I would recover my memory. They also told me my name was Robert Beck.
When they were finished with me, I looked around to see if the musician was still there. He was. He sat near the wall, watching me with what I perceived to be some amusement. I went up to him.
“Good afternoon, Faustus,” he said casually.
I was taken aback.
He laughed, leaned in close, and said In a hushed voice, “It’s me, Mephostophiles.” Then he winked. “Though you can call me Igor.”
“Ah,” was all I said.
He told me that after I had left “Hell” he had decided to join me, but ended up
here earlier. So he took advantage of the time, not sure exactly when he would find me (time travel is not an exact science, as depictions of it would have you believe), though confident he would, and so he studied music, something he’d always wanted to do.
He went on to explain that the instrument he was playing was called a violin. Moving pictures had been invented, or rather, derived from other inventions, about 20 years ago. The one I had awakened to was “FAUST AUX ENFERS” - a fact he found very amusing - by a French magician named Georges Melies. This hospital where we were was in ____; there was a major war going on, involving many countries, centered in Europe, and as warfare had progressed a great deal of late, this being the 20th Century it was a very, very
ugly war.

[the doppelganger in the mirror, which is the dark side {Leviathan?}
- or the host’s psyche, which is full of primal rage -
takes over the body, a la Jekyll/Hyde & DER JANUSKOPF]
[involvement in cabaret in Berlin, b.o. Ghelderode’s play & BLAU ENGEL]
[meet dancer “Mephistophela”, reincarnation of the witch, and/or
a vampire, and she’s pissed]
[In Paris, get involved with Grand Guignol as an actor - villains, because
of German accent]

Book I - from the Brasillian fragments

Book I

They say I’m mad. Stark raving mad. But It is only because they fear the Truth. Well,
okay, so maybe it’s not THE Truth, but just little fingernail scratchings on the mirror of accepted Reality, to see what lies beyond.
You see, I sold my soul to the Devil, as my contemporaries - that is, the ones
from the first life I remember, which was hundreds of years ago, if you’re looking at a human linear timeline - would have it. I was born, or so I believed at that time, in the year 1488 A.D., in a village in Germany. It was a God-fearing time; but it was also a time of change, upheavei, intellectual and artistic revolution. I had a very strong imagination. But there was not yet much outlet for an imagination.
And so, after my studies in Theology and Philosophy had led nowhere, except in
circles, I turned to magic. I travelled to Krakow, where it was taught openly (at the time, at least), and I learned many things.
Then one clear night, after much contemplation on the subject, I went into the woods to conjure up a demon, to bond him to me as a servant.
I got a hell of a lot more than I bargained for.
But more on that later.
Currently, it is the 21st Century - I think, anyway. I’ve been holed up for some time now, trying to sort out the whole story. You see, this pact I made with the Devil, as I perceived it, was to last 24 years, at the end of which he was to come take possession of me, body and soul.
So, one stormy night in the year 1538 A.D. (I no longer remember what month - my sense of time has gone to the dogs), I gathered my friends and students for one last hurrah at my favorite inn outside of town, told them my sad story. I had been regaling them for years with wild tales, exaggerations of the truth, or even outright fabrications. Of course, I had to play it up for them. One last time. Though I knew the end was nigh, I had no intention of going out with a whimper.
They were spellbound, of course. I had become quit proficient In my storytelling,
You might say it was my profession. This is why so many official types said and wrote horrid things about me.
Anyway, after I bid them all a good night, and took to my room - I often, after
a long night of drinking, took a room at the inn, rather than stumble back to my house in town - where I awaited the Devil.
Now, mind you, in my experiences over the 24 years I had grown to disbelieve in all the christian hocus-pocus, including the Big Bad Bogeyman himself. But on what was to be my last night on Earth, according to the Pact, if indeed that was even what it meant, I found myself deathly afraid.
The wind outside blew brisquely, with occasional showers. Shortly before midnight,
it all became very, very quiet. All I could hear was the creaking of the building, and the occasional noises sleepers make.
Then all of a sudden there was the stroke of midnight from the church bell tower. I felt as if the ringing was sounding in my head. I broke out in a cold sweat. My stomach turned into a tight knot I wanted to flee. But whither would I flee? And my legs did not want to lift me, anyhows.
And so I waited. I kept glimpsing movement out of the corner of my eye. Was this
just my imagination? Shadows from my candles? But then I saw them directly. Saw may be the wrong word, for they seemed rather insubstantial. Like ghosts. Then one of the shadows seemed to loom large, and advance on me.
The world went black.

What happened next is hard to describe, as it was neither visual nor aural. I sensed movement, but can not tell you if I moved, in what direction, if there was wind, light, darkness, etc.
I then found myself, or such as I perceived to be myself, for I knew I no longer
had a physical body, standing (if you will) in a desolate area. Not just desolate, but somehow damaged. Very damaged. I could see and hear it seemed, just as if I was still in a body. Though the senses seemed heightened. I knew, somehow, that this was still the Earth, but that something monstrously terrible had happened here. I could even smell, and it was an extremely unpleasant smell. I had nothing in my world to compare it to.
Is this Hell? I asked myself. What else could this be? And how was this still the Earth? What happened here? Was the rest of the planet like this?
While my mind, which I also seemed to still possess, reeled around these questions, I became slowly aware that I was not alone. A shadow - The Shadow - loomed near me. Death. My Death, for we each, as I’ve learned, have our own, personal Death. I can’t, at present, explain it better than that. My body, as it were, seemed to be made of light, and my Death was this very black shadow. Something like that.
I’m getting a bit confused even trying to remember this, and trying to put it
into words.
As Death, for want of a better name, seemed to be the only other being around,
I decided to ask it if it knew where I was. It said (using the term rather loosely) that this was not so much where, as when.
Well, we were communicating, somewhat, at least.
I took the bait, and asked, so when is this?
A future, it answered me.
Oh, I thought. Or maybe I said it. Relatively speaking - or in this case NOT speaking...
Okay, just for the sake of telling this part of the story, lets just pretend that I was still me, Faustus (as I had grown accustomed to being called), a man, as I had been when last in the flesh and this, being my Death, was a he, and we “talked” like old friends, and he told me about what I was “seeing-hearing-smelling-tasting-touching” and so on. Okay?
So, I said oh, and asked the next question, which was “What does ‘A’ future mean?”
“This is merely one of many possible futures,” he answered.
“And what happened in this possible future?” I asked next.
"This is the world destroyed by humanity.”
I looked around. The land looked not just blighted, but as if it had died by a
vile pestulance.
“How,” I barely asked.
“By harnising more power than they were mature enough to handle.”
“Was this the Apocalypse?!”
If Death could have chuckled, he would have done so now. "Those who unleashed
this power were of a mind that they were just following scripture, and it was time for the End of the world.”
Then a very obvious question entered my mind. “And how do you know all this?”
“Because I am Death. Your Death, to be sure, but Death nonetheless. And so, I
know much of death in the world. Including this one.”
“Oh,” was all I could manage.
“Should we go somewhere?” I asked after an uncomfortable pause.
“If you like.”
I looked around again. “Are there others here?”
“Of course. Do you think this would all be just for you?”
If I could’ve blushed, I would have. “Of course not.” I tried to be nonchalant, “I just didn’t see anyone else around.”
"There are others.”

We moved on for some time. Or so it seemed. Like the other senses, the sense of time was
rather relative.
But we could go in circles with that for an eternity, or a moment, and at the same time.
So, just for the telling’s sake, let’s pretend time still exists here.
We wandered over the wasteland. At times we saw others, like us, but for some reason, which I can not explain, we did not engage with each other.
Until, that is, I ran into Faust. Johann Faust.
We reminisced about old times.
He and I had been friends at Heidelberg University, where we both matriculated
in theology and philosophy. He was top of our class. We both were also interested in magic. At that time I had already adopted the name of Faustus junior, in honour of my favorite teacher, known in magical circles as Dr. Faustus, with whom I’d studied magic in secret in Wittenberg, and later openly in Krakow.
Faust and I, who became popularly known as the Faust Brothers, delved very deeply into magic. I also had an affair, and fell in love, with his sister, Gretchen; and she studied with us. (She ended up deciding to marry a University professor, which broke my heart).
Faust introduced me to his companion, an English playwright named Christopher Mariowe, who, it turned out, was very interested in my story. It seems that in his life he had written a great tragedy based on a chapbook, which from his lengthy description (the boy loved to talk almost as much as I) sounded as though it was based on the testament of my life I had left with my famulus, Wagner. However, from this same description I gleaned the fact that some christian hand - had Wagner been converted at the end - and a follower of that good old blowhard Luther to boot, had done much adding and subtracting in order to
make me an example for all good christians (though I suspect that same good christians
were probably thrilled by all the deviltry, which was much more exciting than the usual bible fair).
Not that I’d been loath to create a fair amount of balderdash myself.
Anyway, Marlowe was a bit of a character himself. If we’d been corporeal, we would probably have fucked like rabbits.
Faust told me he was taking Marlowe to meet Faustus senior, and that I should come, too.
So I did.
(I can’t recall now when I finally noticed that my Death was no longer with me
- was it just before meeting Faust and Marlowe? Had they seen him? Ultimately, the answer is utterly unimportant).

What Faust took us to he called a bunker. On the surface, was just a heavy door, made of some kind of metal and in a design I didn’t know - Faust explained it was made of titanium and a 21st Century design.
We passed through the door (being ethereal this was no problem, though it “felt“ odd), which lead into a stairwell which descendended steeply. Though there was no light here, we could see without difficulty (another benefit of being preternatural).
We descended the stairs deep into the Earth, until we came out into a large room, filled with many dusty items, which I could (at the time) not identify. We crossed the room, passed through a door on the opposite side, and came into a narrow corridor. At about this point I realised how flat and grey everything was. There was light here, and it highlighted that the walls, floor and ceiling were all smooth and of a light grey material that looked like mortar (i.e., cement - though the ancient Romans had invented cement, in my time few were familiar with it, except building artisans).
As we passed along the corridor, I noticed a strange sort of hum, not human or
animal, but not of the kind of mechanics I knew. It seemed to gradually get louder as we proceeded.
We stopped in front of another door, over which there was a sign which read “Computer Room”, which we then passed through into another, larger room, full of what I was to later find out were called computers. Many computers. Of different shapes and sizes. Some were humming, others sat silently. Most were quite dusty.
We crossed the room, until we came to a figure hunched over one of the computers, tapping at the lettered buttons on the tray in front of what I thought at first was a magic mirror, as various images flitted over it. When the figure turned around I was astounded by his (I was sure it was male) visage. He smiled at us, looked at me, and said “Well, hello, Faustus.”
I immediately recognized the voice of my old friend and teacher, Dr. Faustus, a.k.a.
Mephostophiles. And upon looking at him more fully, I thought I sort of recognized his
features in this odd creature.
While at University in Wittenberg, I had been introduced to occult magic by soldier, sometime spy, great scholar, and wanderer Helnrlch Cornelius Agrippa von Nettesheim. He also brought me to a small, secret circle of practicioners, one of whom was one of my professors, Georg Helmetetter known in the circle as Dr. Faustus. He had introduced me to a wealth of occult knowledge; and we had travelled to Krakow together, where he had been murdered by an evil vampire (I’ll get back to her later). After his death, I had used necromancy to bring him back, and he inhabited my magic mirror [or a crystal], and changed his name to Mephostophiles (and I then was just known as Dr. Faustus).
I had last seen Mephostophiles on the night of my death. He had said we’d meet
again, and, so, here he was. Sort of. I was confused.
“You see, dear boy,” he began, “this is where I am from. I’m a mutation. After
the great man-made (woman having much more sense) catastrophe, there were few survivors, mostly in bunkers like this one. The survivors proliferated, as humans will, even in the most ridiculous of circumstances, and since some of what is called radiation did make it down here, the descendents mutated. Most of my fellow citizens, I’m afraid, have little more intelligence than a lump of coal, so in my boredom I study,” here he indicated the
computers, “and in those studies I became very interested in time travel.”
‘"Time travel? What’s that?” I asked stupidly.
Mephostophiles rolled his eyes. “You always were a little slow on the uptake.” He cleared his throat. “Time travel is just what it sounds like. To travel through time.”
I was amazed. I had never even imagined such a thing. I had imagined living in
a different time, but the idea of actually travelling there never entered my mind.
“So,” Mephostophiles continued, “I really wanted to find out if I could do it,
and get out of this shithole. I researched, and experimented, and contemplated, and I finally came up with the idea of using a mix of metaphysics, through astral travel, and biology, through cellular memory. I won’t go into details, because you simply wouldn’t understand.”
[or he does go on at length, confusing the 3 listeners]
[may be that time travel is a regular thing for the mutants, giving rise to legends of gods and demons and aliens...]
That stung my pride a bit. “Oh, stop being silly, Faustus. This is science and
metascience from centuries after your time.”
“Anyway,” he continued, “I eventually worked it all out, and managed to travel
back through time, in an ethereal body, back to what became generally known as the Renaissance, which I was very interested in, where I entered the body of one of my ancestors, whom you initially knew as Georg Helmstetter.” He paused. “Of course, no matter how much you research a time and place, you will never be fully prepared for the actuality of it.”
“Well, that does explain a lot,” I muttered.
Mephostophiies raised an eyebrow at me. “Such as what?” he queried.
“Well,” I fumbled, “you were always an odd one. Especially after your death.”
He laughed.

[M. Intro’s F. to the other mutants, who look like demons, aliens
and clowns; most are dumb as dirt, but a few are intelligent, and
F. befriends them, even taking on a fatherly role with some. He tells
them his story - this may be where the original story goes...]
[F. wants to do something to change this future, M. is sure that
can’t be done, but F. insists on going back in time to try. M. warns
that time travel Is a little precarious, and that he must pay close
attention, to “listen” to the point where he should “re-enter” the
corporeal plane; M. eventuaily agrees that he too wlii go back, to
help bring F. through. M. then begins leading F. through a series of
mental exercises In preparation, which takes many months (years?)...]