Back at their mad pad, the Sneiracs sprawled out. The sun was coming up, but the cats could not sleep. The vibes were just too heavy. No one knew where they had been or where they were going.

"Hey, PJ. Where the hell is the center of the universe?"

"Maybe Tibet?"

"Are we going?"

"I don't know."

"I don't know about this Scarien stuff."

"What if Mr. Scary and Mirror are on the up and up?"

"Mirror said to have faith."

"These tunes are too in front for most cats to dig."

"What's in the big red wooden box?"

"How are we gonna get to Tibet, man? Like we've got about one sawbuck left, Jim."

"We could hitchhike and just fade out of this burg."

"Man, Tibet is across the ocean blue."

"Look daddy-o, we don't even know where the center of the universe is. I thought this was the center of the universe. We need to get hip to the cosmos, man."

"Maybe we should forget this Scarien thing. We could get into something way beyond. The whole thing is kind of scary. The music is weird. Mr. Scary and Mirror are weird. It's all too weird."

"We've got to keep playing those songs."

"Man, nobody wants to hear that stuff. They all run away."

"We've really got something here."

"Yeah, but what is it?"

"I don't know, but this might be it."


"It, you know."

"What is it?"

"Whatever it is we've been looking for."

"A cosmic road trip to nirvana, baby."

"The meaning of life?"

"The end of the world."

Rusty sat on the edge of his mattress and lit the reefer hanging from his lip. He stared at the radiator covered with melted crayons as smoke drifted from his nostrils. He was hip to the fact that there must be some purpose to his existence, he just wasn't hip to what it was. This Scarien thing could be that big gig in the sky. The black pot of dreams at the end of his rainbow.

PJ paced back and forth across the room reading from a worn book on Zen. The Enlightened One spoke to PJ. The marga revealed itself at times and then would become obscured. Dukkha and dharma. The roulette wheel of karma kept spinning. A forgotten mantra rested on the tip of PJ's tongue but would not come. He was all shook up.

Bud was laid out on the pungent sofa he had found in the alley. His hands were behind his head to keep his hair from touching the armrest that emitted the aroma of cat piss. He was grinning like the cheshire cat he was, visualizing Mirror with his eyes shut behind dark glasses. It gave him the same feeling he got the time he smoked hop up in Chinatown. He was hooked on the mirages of his mind.

Chick squat on the top of the stove where he kept his clothes. His bongos were in his lap, but his fingers did not pop the skins. He held a bottle of Chianti, but did not drink from it. He was far far away.

Back to a cold and rainy night in Manhattan. Two or three lifetimes ago. He had been fired by a lush who managed a jazz trio. Chick was glad. The gig was a drag. He played a full set of tubs, and that was cool, but the material was pure corn. Bop was not in the realm.

He had lit out of the neon gin den as a cab stopped at the end of the club's torn canopy. A lone sax player played some very blue Bird from a phone booth next to where the cab had stopped. The cabby opened the front door of his taxi. The hack looked like he had just gotten off the slow boat from China. Real nutty. He wore a wildly colorful cap and some crazy Egyptian threads.

"Take me away from here, pops."

"Where you want me to go, boss?"

"Go down to Broadway."

"You are a drum man."

"You've seen my act?"

"Oh, no."

"How come you know I beat the skins?"

"I see it in your face."

"Man, you ain't no square."

"I see many things in your face."

"Can you see that I need to cop some good strong leaf, baby?"

"Yes, mister. I have something you would like."

"Lay it on me, man."

"Here," the hack said as he handed Chick a small green lump.

"What is it?"



"Keep this, boss."

"Where did you get this stuff?"


"Where is that?"

"The center of the universe, boss."

Chick jumped down off the stove. He had the answer.

"Come to life, fly cats! I've got the secret."

"What's that?"

"The center of the universe."



"No, man. Morocco."

Chick related the story of the magic hack and the cats recollected that little chunk of hashish that Chick had shared with them. There was no doubt in their minds now where the center of the universe was. That cabby was hip. They started to make plans. They had no loot, but somehow it seemed to them that they were already half way there.