(With apologies and thanks to the composer John Adams for the theft of the title.)
A short dream from Manhattan, and a far scream from Japan, Professor Robert O shelters languidly under the cottonwood trees; known in Spanish as “los alamos”. Beneath the trees shaded glade, Robert O. studies the small mushrooms he finds: Psiliocybe Cubensis. The magical fungus implores: “eat me, eat me”. Newton’s “a-is-for-apple” world begins to sour as Professor O’s imagination now encompasses the entire looking-glass universe. Robert is certain he has not fallen, Alice-like, down a rabbit hole. No cute white bunnies appear, just an intense, growing, glowing white light filled with ominous power and the promise to conjure fame, with just a puff of smoke. The nucleus of an idea explodes in his head. Robert’s inner light beams the way forward. His mind is compelled to multiply the speed of light by the speed of light and release its pent up power. The world will stoop, crawling lower than traitors, in fearful acknowledgement of his feat. The scientist is free to pluck the beating heart from the body of knowledge. Desert lizards see him and stick out their tongues.
Money rains upon the great man and renders Robert Oppenheimer wet with potential. He is persuasive, his calculations sound, his confidence unshakable. He has the guts. Nothing trips him up. Energy emanates from every word and gesture. He reigns supreme. Multiplying like mushrooms in the darkness, thousands of light-bulbs illuminate the sinister, secret project, forming in the factory. Half Oppenheimer’s life has decayed realizing his vision. Over 130,000 pairs of hands serve his uranium/plutonium will. 130,000 pairs of feet march in step to bring this nightmare into bright daylight. The happily barren desert is forced to bloom a deadly harvest.
Alpha-male Oppenheimer can taste sweet success in his gut. His minions celebrate the harvest and cheer the achievement. A True man commands and conscripted labor loads the egg of a bomb — ready to crack and bring a violent peace to the world. Wrapped, not in a pretty package, but the womb of a plane, the dumb and blind explosive luxuriates like a first class passenger. The cocksure pilot, cockpit-cocooned, and on the trip of a lifetime, prays for good weather and a steady guiding hand. Amen. A good carrier pigeon is he. The tiny uranium spores await their moment to shine. The well-informed, uniformed pilot trips the fateful switch.
Was she raped or did she succumb willingly? Plane Enola Gay’s short labor is at an end. Induced by history, she births her baby into the pale, baby-boy blue of a foreign sky. Will a mother be called to answer for the sins of her sons?
Forced by gravity, the Little Boy grows to Fat Manhood in a few seconds. “I am unique in the world, with but one talent,” he cries. “Although my life is short, forget me not.” Forgive him not? Choosing an effulgent sky death, he starts and swells. Over the unsuspecting city, HI-RO-SHI-MA, the malevolent colossus mushrooms, whiter than the white of a sun-bleached skull. Faster than a tear can fall, matter expands and time compresses. First radiant summer arrives, fast followed by the strange snow of nuclear winter, falling like confetti at a divorce.
130,000 die that day: one eye blinded for each eye that oversaw the fabrication of the first uranium atomic bomb. The desert inhabitants of Los Alamos create another desert in obscene, mocking symmetry. A daylight nightmare gallops abroad to terrify the living. Not yet dead and with sightless eyes and deaf ears, and no longer with body parts enabling speech, the “lizard people” (as one eye witness puts it, speaking the unspeakable) moan through the landscape, their skin like cracked, black glass; obscene obsidian deaths.
Turn back a page and the music repeats but with a plutonium variation. Hear it now: NA-GA-SA-KI. Two wrongs make a right. Right? Written in lives extinguished in an instant, their blood (A or O) boiled to steaming incense, their flesh melting like the wax of a votive candle. Japan surrenders.
Shaking radioactive dust from lily-white fingers, towering, glowering Uncle Samuel paints Communism a bloody Red; a tainted fungus that will infect us all. Once soaring hawk, now fluttering dove, Oppenheimer, conscience pricked, flaps his feathers and finds them singed. Bob, bob, coo, coo. What have you been saying, Robert? Bob, Bob, you are the enemy within. We control you, not you, us.
Robert Oppenheimer’s star descends from its zenith: high Alpha plunging to far Omega. Once the hero of the adventure, he is abandoned, cast into a mental wilderness, his beliefs no longer in sympathy with those of his paymasters, his “I say so masters”, his “I say no” masters. They are grateful to Mr. Persona Non-Grata no more: witness the intellectual evisceration. The same slithering, guilty, gutless, duplicitous lizard-dwarves sold us the biggest, whitest of snow-white lies. With the apple-world broken, conscience lies sleeping, unwoken with a forgiving kiss.
The magic mushroom is now grown to insane proportions: grown bigger than Alice, bigger than Robert, bigger than imaginations can contain. Some still savor its putrid, swollen flesh.
Copyright: Robert Lovejoy