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Chapter 6: Endless Summers
The Dolphin People's story brought memories of Alfie flooding Dr. Mornay's mind. He was a small boy again carrying Alfie's stiff body back home. Instead of feeling bad, he went further back in time, as Alfie had taught him in his dream. He remembered Alfie running to him when he came home from school, and the joy he felt as Alfie jumped into his arms, the endless summers they spent playing together.
His summer with Ingrid in Las Vegas was like those endless summers of childhood all over. It began with a question as they drove into town on a hot June afternoon.
"Where do you go to get a divorce in Las Vegas?" Ingrid's question caught him by surprise for two reasons. One, he didn't have any idea where to go. And two, he had thought that she knew already. But here they were driving into Las Vegas on a Thursday and neither of them knew what to do. "Let's try the county courthouse," he suggested. Ingrid went in and talked to the Clerk of Court while he stayed outside with Wendy and Denny.
"I've got all the details," she said as she came out. "I need proof of residency for six weeks to get my divorce. I need to find a place to stay and a person to testify that I lived in that place for six weeks." They drove around Las Vegas and finally settled on Ferguson's Motel, just a couple of blocks down Fremont Street from the downtown canyon of neon lights. "Friendly Fergie's" he and Ingrid called it. Their new residence came with two bedrooms, a kitchenette, a swimming pool, a weekly rate, and a full-fledged witness in Marie, the maid, who promised to testify to Ingrid's residency there. They unpacked the car and when they got to the mini-bike, Denny asked, "Can I go for a ride?"
"Sure," he said, "how about right away?" He hauled the last of the bundles into the room and they all four drove out to a open field with small sand dunes that was already criss-crossed by trail bike tracks. Denny rode and rode, up and down, back and forth, emptying two tankfuls of gas in the process. Having been car-bound for so long, he wanted to let him have his fill of the great outdoors of his new home. Ingrid and Wendy stayed in the shade of the car, sometimes reading books they brought along, sometimes singing together as Ingrid played her guitar. He watched Denny and took rides on the mini-bike himself. Denny soon became for him the son he never had.
The next day was Friday, the last day of his vacation and their first full day in Las Vegas. They woke up about eleven o'clock, fed the kids, and sent them out in their bathing suits to the pool. Since the kids had to pass through the master bedroom to leave the apartment, they sometimes knocked on the door while he and Ingrid were having sex. Her way of dealing with this was to say "We're smooching." Smooching in her terminology included kissing every crevice and protuberance of both bodies, but it was an honest answer, compared to the white lies most parents used when interrupted during sex.
But for this afternoon, she didn't even want a single interruption. This was not going to be a light snack as they were forced to so often on the road in cramped motel rooms with lumpy double beds. Instead she had planned a nine course banquet extraordinaire in a large king-size bed with no curtain-climbers on the other side of the door.
Wine and fresh cherries provided the palette cleansers between each course as he and Ingrid consummated their love in their first new home together. Six hours later the children returned right on time, just as the two exhausted lovers were getting dressed to go out. "Come in and go get dressed. We're going grocery shopping. Robert and I just ate the rest of the cherries and that was the last of the food left from the trip. Let's go find where Las Vegans buy food."
They found an A&P Supermarket a couple of miles away. What struck him as unusual was not the slot machines that filled the entrance alcove, but the full-time, 24 hour-a-day change lady who serviced the customers of the slots. With nickel and quarter slot machines in the entrance to every business place, Mornay found his pockets always empty of change while he was in Vegas.
He returned home to his empty house in Laguna Beach and managed to survive through the week until he could fly back to Ingrid's arms on the weekend. During this week, Edith found a rental house down the street and moved into it. Mornay left for Las Vegas on the weekend, but since they hadn't completed dividing up the furniture and personal items, he put a padlock on the doors, so they could do that the following week. When he arrived back at his home, he was shocked to find the padlocks had been cut through with a bolt cutter. He thought he'd been burglarized, but when he called Edith she told him that she and Roy, her new boy friend, had cut the bolts and removed all of "her stuff" from the house. With the blessings of the local sheriff's office, she assured him. Mornay could hear her smiling over the phone.
He was chagrined. He had only put the locks on to keep her from removing his stuff while he was away, so that he might have some say in who got what. Now she had taken that choice away from him and he felt violated and victimized. He looked at what he had left and decided that he could live for six weeks with a small single bed, his books, the rattan furniture in the den, and some meager kitchen utensils. Besides, Ingrid had a huge houseful of furniture which she was going to ship here as soon as her Las Vegas divorce became final. He could hang from the side of the cliff by his fingernails a little longer.
Returning to work on Monday he soon settled down into a new routine. He still worked long hours, still wrote letters to Ingrid, still called her every night, except on Friday night. That night he'd drive to Orange County Airport and hop on the shuttle back to Las Vegas. About eight PM when he landed, Ingrid would pick him up. Leaving the kids in the motel room with a sitter, they'd drive down to the Vegas Strip to see a show or two.
Their favorite was the Inkspots at the Hacienda, and they went there many times. About two AM, they'd usually walk down Fremont, stopping by the Golden Nugget or one of the smaller casinos, gamble a bit and catch one of the early shows. About 4 AM they'd head back to the hotel and stop for breakfast along the way. As dawn was breaking they'd go to sleep waking up in the early afternoon to start the day over again. This routine was repeated each weekend with little variation. It kept them sleeping during the hottest part of the day and up during the fun part of the night.
By afternoon the summer's heat had begun tapering off and the four of them would joke about the bank sign whenever the temperature would drop a degree from 105 to 104 degrees. "Look," Wendy would exclaim, "another degree has fallen off the sign."
"Yeah," Denny would say, "there it goes rolling across the street." The heat was really too oppressive to be dealt with in any way but humor.
Mornay's eyes once more focused on the television screen where the coast of ancient Greece had materialized -- everyone in the broadcast studio froze in awe as the dolphin interpreter began to speak.
Many thousands of years passed after we Dolphin People returned to the sea before we attempted to communicate with our land brethren.
Our first endeavors began before the advent of writing and history for the Human People. Here is a view of a tiny island called Delos off the coast of Greece. We have only learned these human names during our recent study of human geography with Dr. Mornay.
There on the shores are twin boys, Apollo and Artemis, as they play with our dolphin ancestors. It is through stories that have been re-told from generation to generation of Dolphin People that we have these newsreel images of the life of Apollo in prehistoric Greece.
Apollo loved to come the sea every day and play with the dolphins near the shore. At night our great ancestor Alexikakos began to visit Apollo in his dreams. Alexikakos taught Apollo the ways of the Dolphin People: how to nourish his family members, crops, and livestock by an outpouring of love.
This love energy protected him and those in his care from predators and disease. His teachings were simple: that love is an energy that pours forth in the presence of beauty -- particularly the beauty that flows from music, poetry, and dance. The energy of love fills all in its presence and wards off evil in any form. Apollo taught these dolphin ways to his friends, the farmers and shepherds of the region, who soon found their lives much improved, and they came to hold Apollo in great esteem. Apollo's friends soon learned to fashion Apollonian lyres for their own use and, in song and dance, called forth Apollo's spirit to nourish and protect their family, crops, and livestock.
Alexikakos found the young man Apollo to be a fast learner and gave him the name Phoebus. He told Phoebus in his dreams that the Human People had reached a plateau in their development. For them to grow they must withdraw some of the energy they had invested in the earth and to invest this recovered energy in each other. The Human People had no words for that evolutionary leap of consciousness then, but in today's terms we call it feelings. Alexikakos helped the Human People develop their feelings and emotions out of the otherwise blooming, buzzing confusion of the senses.
The Human People were immersed in their senses, the stimuli they received from the world outside their skin. They worshiped as a god, Python, a large snake, who represented their ultimate connection with the earth goddess Gaia, because the snake moved in intimate contact with the earth.
Alexikakos told Phoebus to kill the large snake in the temple as a symbol of the end of the worship of sensations. He instructed Phoebus to move the altar to a spot near the sea where some noxious gases escaped from the earth. "These gases overcome anyone who approaches them," he said to Phoebus, "cover them so that a vent hole allow only a small amount of the fumes to escape. Next, go into the city and locate some young females to sit near the vent hole. They will soon go into a deep trance from breathing the fumes, and will be able to receive my communications in their dreams."
Thus it came to be that young girls would ask questions of the "gods" of the oracle and relay the answers to the petitioner. Phoebus named the oracle "Delphi" after his nocturnal dolphin visitor, Alexikakos.
Here are some views of Pythia taking questions from a petitioner, receiving answers from Alexikakos, and relaying the answers from the oracle. She was the most famous of the Delphic mediums and held her position well into her later years. Through her accurate predictions, the fame of the Delphi Oracle spread throughout the Hellenic region and smaller oracles were established on some of the smaller islands.
The name Phoebus meant "bright" and "pure" in ancient Greek. The legend of Apollo grew and he soon became deified as a sun god. The many myths centering on Apollo can be understood today as an attempt by early man to explain in metaphor the quantum leap of consciousness that carried the Human People into discovering the existence and usefulness of feelings.
[End of Chapter 6 Endless Summer. To Read Next Chapter Click Book Jacket at Right:]
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