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The Buddha Will Smile and Death Shall Flee

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India nicknamed it's first nuclear bomb The Smiling Buddha.

by John Kendall Hawkins

"Can they imagine the darkness / That will fall from on high / When men will beg God to kill them / And they won't be able to die."

- Bob Dylan, "Precious Angel," Slow Train Coming

They called their cave ToraToraTora, after the battle cry of "kamikazes" back in some long forgotten war, before even the Terror Wars began, making it either a precursor or pointless, depending upon your point of view. But there were no more wars now. Indeed, one was tempted to say, 'war is history', except that there was no longer a need for history either. No cataloguing of ferocious events, no heroes or villains, no more "need" for historical progress, no more squabbles over dialectical materialism, liberty, or campaign contribution reforms. Everybody had what they most desired. And then some.

Well, maybe not everybody; not yet. Not the five denizens of ToraToraTora, who were wise, in a way, and wizened, but not yet accomplished in their mission; they weren't even sure what "mission accomplished" would look like, such was the ruthless inscrutability of pure chance. However, Bud and Buddhi, and the three Mitochondriacs, formed a little cell of catalytic conversion, and as they sat in the dimmed space, and studied the 3D wall of holographic images moving before them, images of people and places, they saw not the equilibrium and homeostasis they had expected, although there was stability and order, but a kind of malady or madness, which made Buddhi and the Mitochondriacs gloomy, their souls filled with shadow dances. The Mitochondriacs knew what must be done. But Buddhi was not as sure. While he trusted the three holy oracles implicitly, the 3Ms, as he called them, he still believed, as another old wise man once said, that what you observed was to some extent changed by the observation itself.

'Your caution is noble,' said the Mitochondriac named Messala from a secluded place beneath his hooded robe. 'However, you need to consider that you may be giving into sentimentality in this instance.'

'Are you saying the observed is not changed by the observation? Is that wise observation wrong?' asked Buddhi, conscious that he was slipping on his own banana peel of irony.

'No, of course not, Buddhi,' said Mehmet, his nose in the light creating a sundial-like shadow on the table before him. 'But Buddhi you were born there -- a long time ago -'

'A long time ago,' chimed in Moises, the most volatile of the three and the most prone to wisecracking.

'So, maybe your emotional separation is incomplete,' Mehmet continued. 'Maybe it would do you some good to come into the physical presence of some your syngenes.'

'Maybe,' said Buddhi. 'But, look, don't get me wrong. I mean, I know how stoma work and I believe in the processes of photosynthesis, but it would be good to hold in my hand the leaf one more time before I draw final conclusions about the tree.'

Bud had sat there listening, allowing the others to sort out an understanding in their own way; he knew what would have to happen, and just to speed things along, he said to Buddhi, 'Just go. Your closest syngene match is in Sydney. Go there, Buddhi, and decide. We must be unanimous on this. So Mehmet, Moises and Messala, you head to the Dome of the Clock and be ready. And just remember, Buddhi, sometimes you can't always see the forest for the tree.'

A silence of reasonable assent fell over the cell. Buddhi looked across the table at Bud, with a deep love born of unmitigated trust. When Buddhi had been a small child the 3Ms had, in a moment of profound compassion, rescued him from the conclusion of the Terror Wars and brought him back to ToraToraTora. Bud (not his real name) had taken Buddhi (not his real name) under his wing, raised and nurtured him, and at a certain stage of Buddhi's development had manipulated his genes, implanted him with triangulators that altered his perceptions and sensations, and Bud had grafted onto him a plasma pod that had nurtured him and filled him with the green slime of near-immortality. Buddhi was aging, but very slowly. Nevertheless, even years later, he felt a small, but significant gravitational pull toward the world of his origins, humanity. On the other hand, the 3Ms felt no such stirrings, having started life in a petri dish and then brought to their current fruition by the masterful hands of Bud. And given the mission they were assigned to accomplish, they were either angels or terrorists, or something beyond all that, depending on your point of view.

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John Kendall Hawkins is an American ex-pat freelance journalist and poet currently residing in Oceania.

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