Banausic Abbey (which is what I’ve decided to call it for the purposes of my story) is on a nice big piece of property that backs up to a national forest, and is, by all accounts, a beautiful place to live. Behind the monastery there is an enormous garden where we grow enough vegetables to feed everyone and then some, some fruit trees, and a big grassy field where we occasionally play team sports during recreation time. Quidditch is the current favorite. Of course. These monks are a bunch of fucking nerds. There are some houses further up the dirt road that terminates in front of the abbey, so for the most part there is no one around. And this is why it wasn’t much of a problem that Brother Linus ran through the woods naked and speaking tongues. He doesn’t normally do that though; only when he eats shrooms. Maybe I should back up. Linus is my apprentice. The kid has a perpetual “deer in headlights” look about him. He’s nice enough, quick to smile and eager to please, just… flighty. Like maybe if I move too quickly he’ll bolt. Sometimes when we’re talking I have to suppress the urge to throw my hands up in the air and yell “BOO!” just to see what happens. That would be an asshole move though, and in general I try not to be a prick.
He’s an aspiring artist, so Father Mo asked me to let him be my assistant. Apparently they brought him in on the manuscript operation pretty soon after he came, about six months before I got here. When I asked why, Mo clammed up and went all mysterious zen master on me. He said, “Linus needs it more than anyone else.” I’m still trying to figure that out.
The kid is really quiet. For the most part he just sits on a stool nearby looking through books until someone says something to him. It’s strange. He seems excited to talk to us but doesn’t start conversations. I can’t tell what his deal is; he’s like an alien wearing a human suit that is trying hard to be a person but doesn’t really know how. Q and I have talked about it a few times at night, which is how we decided that something needed to be done to bring Linus out of his shell. Naturally, we concluded that he needed to eat mushrooms.
I won’t go into details yet about how we acquired said fungi because that isn’t important right now. What is important to know is that Q, Linus, Brother Junius the monastery cook, and another guy named Carol Silver and I ended up in the woods behind the monastery late last night to eat a quart bag of them. Carol lives in a cottage nearby and owns the property we lease for the monastery. He’s a goddamn hoot, but that’s a story for another day. Anyway, the five of us walked across the field behind the abbey to the woods, found a clearing with some logs to sit on, and passed around the bag.
About an hour later, something strange happened. We were all good and high, philosophizing and telling stupid jokes when Linus started laughing uncontrollably. At first it was just a giggle, then a full laugh, and then it was like a flood crested from his chest until he was wracked with sobs. In between his fucking paroxysms of joy he would stop and scream at the top of his lungs, “IT DOESN’T MATTER! OH MY GOD, NONE OF IT MATTERS!”
At some point he jumped up, stripped off his robe, stood on a log with his arms outstretched, Christlike. Then he looked heavenward and started speaking in tongues. Seriously. What. The. Fuck. I’ve never seen anybody speaking in tongues. Things were weird enough already, given I was seeing sparkling fairy trails streaking through the woods, but that frosted the fucking cake. And I can’t say what the other guys did because there was what seemed like an eternal moment when all that existed in the entire universe was Linus, surrounded by glowing fairy dust, uttering incomprehensible words with an expression of ecstasy on his face.
And then, for a split second, it all made sense to me. Sort of. It was like the entire universe funneled itself down through the top of his head and came out of his mouth, and was trying to communicate with me. If he hadn’t seemed alien before that, he definitely did then. I didn’t know what the words were, but I felt that I was part of something cosmic. Then Linus the gibberish-speaking alien deer bounded off, fairy dust trailing out behind him like a flowing robe of fucking stars.
I honestly don’t remember much of what happened after that, but I woke up in my bed this morning, my muddy feet on my pillow. Q doesn’t look like he’s in very good shape either. He is sitting cross-legged on his bed staring across the room and out the window, heavy bags under his eyes, an expression of puzzlement on his face. It’s time to go shower and go water some tomatoes that I’ve been growing in the community garden. We missed prayers in the chapel at 6:00, so I’m curious whether there will be trouble with Father Mo. Whatever the case, last night was SO worth it.
I wonder if Linus survived.