Huk was laying in bed watching a video tape of aging strippers bumping and grinding to The Girl Can't Help It by Little Richard. His telephone screamed from across the room.

"God dammit!"

Huk reached over to the TV and cut down the volume.


"PJ, its me."

"You've got the wrong number."

"Its me, Dusty. You know, Rusty."

"Hey, man! Where are you?"

"I'm right here."

"In New York?"

"No, man. The center of the universe."


"Richmond. Richmond, Virginia. I've got the red box, man."

"No jive?'

"No jive, man. Its for real."

"I'll call the cats."

"You've got to come down here, man. This is it."

"Where are you staying?"

"Take 95 south, get off at 301 south and keep going until you get to Westbrook Trailer Park. I'm in the third trailer on the right after you pull in. The Dubble D Rancher."

Huk called Jabbah and then Kareem. These dudes were freaking out. Reluctantly ready to leave that night. The hell with the day jobs. This was it. Spiritual orgasm. The big fix. It was time to pack up and leave everything else behind. It was time to go for it.

Huk grabbed his credit cards, a suit, a shirt, and the keys to his big blue Cadillac. Kareem was ready 20 minutes later when Huk arrived at his pad. Drums packed. Suitcase packed. Huk and Kareem split for Jersey to get Jabbah. They were making this road trip in style.

Jabbah was pacing the hallway in his apartment building while his half hip girlfriend, Hariett, yelled, cussed, bitched and moaned from the doorway of their crib.

"If you leave me here you ain't never comin' back because I'll be gone you bastard!"

"I'll call you when I get to Richmond."

"No you won't! I'm ripping the damn phone out, you worthless bum!"

"I've got to do this thing, Hariett."

"That's right, Mr. Spaceman, go ahead and leave me for those weirdos."

Jabbah walked slowly to Huk's Cadillac carrying his new electric bass and a paper bag filled with clothes. Hariett was screaming and crying. A bad and ugly domestic scene. He was a little bummed out, but was glad to be getting away from her for a while.

"What a hosebag," he said under his breath.

The sun was coming up over Dusty's squalid trailer park when the Cadillac pulled up. The crispy trio piled out of Huk's ride and made their way up to Dusty's immobile home. Dusty ripped open his door. He had been up all night too, waiting for the cats to show.

"Man, its good to see you guys. Kareem, you back from Bosnia already?"

"Where's the red box?"

Come on in and take a look at all this stuff. Its incredible. Take a look at these real old papers here."

Huk checked out an ancient scroll. He read it out loud. Some strange stuff about dark sorcery, that old black magic. That same jive that Mr. Scary was laying down so long ago. Jabbah looked into the whirling MK-Ultra wheel and Dusty showed Kareem some ancient plans showing how to build a giant version of the wheel. Jabbah walked around Dusty's tiny living room with his headphones on listening to something through his headphones.

"Bootsy's a bitch," he said aloud several times.

Kareem was digging the Elvis poster with "E" looking like some kind of sheik when Dusty picked up the box of weird herb and handed it over to Kareem. Then he took the cassette tape out of his pocket and put it in Jabbah's walkman. Jabbah listened to the tape for a minute and then his eyes popped wide open, his mouth too.

"Damn, you guys gotta hear this shit."

"Gimme those phones, man!"

"New Scarien melodies!"

They passed the phones around. There were new arrangements of the old Scarien melodies and brand new tunes that they had never heard before. Whoever this band was on the tape was a killer. The cats were amazed.

"Hey, Kareem, I thought this shit was grass, you know, some reefer, man. But it ain't."

"This shit smells like bug poison. Lets smoke some," Kareem said holding the small wooden box in both hands.

They loaded up the little pipe that was in the box and passed it around. They each took a few hits and then they stared at each other for a while. A long while. Nobody could speak. Several hours passed and the weary cats scraped themselves off Dusty's floor. They all loaded up in Huk's ride to go get some food.

They drove down Jefferson Davis Highway passing the pipe, checking out the crackhead transvestites, the boarded up factories, the Satellite club, and other by-products of a decaying southern culture.

"Man, my damn psychic told me that this little old gal I been messin' with is a god damn vampire, she sucks, man."

"Well, the psychic I've been using told me there's a damn homosexual poltergeist living in my closet."

"Bootsy's a bitch."

"That car behind us is following us, I think," Kareem announced.

"Well, I'll pull over and see what Peter Gunn wants," Huk replied.

The Cadillac pulled over and the big white American car following them pulled up to Huk's rear bumper. It was some kind of cop with a weird insignia on the side of his door. The guy looked like a nazi. His suit and tie were brittle. He walked up to the Cadillac with his pistol drawn and flashing his shiny badge.

"Bob Dobalina, CIA! Get out of the car!"

"Aw, shit," somebody muttered.

"Ahh, Mr. Ahweet, we meet again. Tell me, how's the mercenary business these days?"

"Hey, Dobalina. No greater joy than a fat butt boy, eh?"

Like a bolt of lightening, Mr. Scary appeared out of nowhere and stood behind Dobalina. The CIA nazi spun around to check out Mr. Scary, who was zapping Dobalina with a whirling MK-Ultra wheel like the ones in the red wooden box.

"I suggest that you leave immediately, Mr. Dobalina," Mr. Scary said softly but firmly.

Dobalina walked back to his car without saying a word. He didn't even look back. He drove off like nothing had happened.

"Mr. Scary! Hop in, man!"

"Hello, gentlemen. It has taken you quite a while to reach the center of the universe, and not a moment too soon."

"We didn't know where to go. We've been all around the world and grits ain't groceries. Where exactly is the center of the universe, anyway?"

"At the site of Westbrook Trailer Park," Mr. Scary answered.

"I'm glad you found us when you did."

"You have been given the red box. That is a great responsibility."

"You need to tell us what to do with all that stuff."

They cruised down Jefferson Davis Highway until they got to the greasy spoon where Dusty's vampire friend, Cora, worked. They went in and sat down in the last empty booth. Cora approached with a hot pot of java.

"Hi, boys. Hey, when you gonna be playin' down at the Satellite again, Dusty Deedbooks?"

"Is that you, Cora? You must have lost a hundred pounds since last Tuesday!"

"I sent off for them new miracle diet pills, as seen on TV, and now I can eat all I want and still lose up to 14 pounds a day."

"Well, just don't wind up in the psycho ward like you did the last time you was takin' them diet pills."

"Don't you worry none, Dusty Deedbooks. These new miracle diet pills are new. They won't cause no insanity."

"Cora, I'd like you to meet some old friends of mine. Huk Bury, Kareem Ahweet, Jabbah, and Mr. Scary. He's not from around here."

"Well. he don't look so scary and he don't look so old and I figured he weren't from around here," Cora said as she walked back to the kitchen.

"Clue us in from the jump, Mr. Scary."

"Pardon me?"

"Take it from the top, man."

"I have come again from the Scarien planet, beyond the outer limits, to instruct you for your assignment."

"What assignment?"

"Have you forgotten? You men were chosen to save the earth people from the Arien Nation."

"You mean those white power dudes down in Chester?"

"Oh, no. The Arien Nation is a race of evil mutant aliens from the Arien planet. They have already taken over your planet. You must not have been paying attention to the news. Right here in the latest edition of wEakLy wHiRL kNEwZ is a picture of a vile evil mutant alien shaking hands with your President."

"Jesus Christ! Look at that picture! I'm gonna pick up that tabloid the next time I go to 7-11."

"Your leaders are being controlled by the Ariens. We have tried to terminate Arien control for ages upon ages. The man you call Elvis managed to gain possession of the last red box I brought. You remember. He had only one or two of the Scarien disks and he changed the music. I suspect he was in league with the Ariens. And once he became popular, he stopped using the wheel. You must not underestimate the contents of the red wooden box. You must learn to play the songs correctly. You must reform your combo and call it the Scariens. We must be bold and let the Ariens know that we intend to banish them from the earth forever. You must follow the plans and build large wheels. Whenever you perform the Scarien melodies, you must rotate the wheels before your audience. And you must always smoke the mezzmezzro before you perform."

"Smoke the what?"

"The mezzmezzro. The dried leaves and flowers of the mezzmezzro tree. You were given a box full and a little pipe to smoke it in."

"Yeah, man. We know all about that stuff."

"If you follow my directions, the people of your planet will wake up from the stupor induced by the Ariens. The good people of earth will no longer act like idiots and they will be free from the control of the evil Arien Nation."

"What the hell are we supposed to do with them wheels?"

"The wheels are essential. They open the mind and calm those who will oppose you. You must use the wheels."

"What's the toy cowboy pistol for?"

"That is no toy. It is a vaporizer disguised as an ordinary object commonly found in this culture."

"I've always wondered, why did you pick us, Mr. Scary?"

"Hear and obey," Mr. Scary said smiling, just before he vanished into thin air.

"Jesus was a beatnik," an old man in the next booth told his cup of lukewarm coffee.

The old guy had caught Mr. Scary's act, but he seemed to be bored with it.

"What is truth?" the old man asked the cats as they were splitting.

"What is art?" Jabbah replied over his shoulder.