By Troy Powers

But on, I admit, on I continued. Indeed, I'd never read Fister's Man on Idiot, much less Godel, Escher, Bach. I had no chance. "Do not aim in high places!" Mother always said. But I never heard. I went wherever I pleased with nary a dim notion. Was I brave? No, timid on a grand scale I think. So it turned on me, now, a pathetic moan'n' idiot flailing on a subtle notion amid an eternally looping river.

By the way, do any of you know the number represented in the title+first paragraph? 6! 7! 8! ?? Ha! (clue = anagram) You see, you can't understand me, but I know I will leave this place soon. But... first, save yourselves, oh save yourselves!!

Have any of you thought much about the word "psychometrician"? And, what is the first part of that word?

As I indicated in Admonition, I very much wished to talk to someone about Eva. Paul looked like a safe bet. Getting into the club was another thing, as I was patently too stupid - but it had to be done.

Then I found it. Uncommonly Difficult IQ Tests. Here was Paul in all his glory, with some other bizarre people who seemed for all the world to have absolutely nothing better to do than make up tests and argue about who was smarter'n'who(m). Fine. Live and let live, I say.

So, I looked for the easiest test for admittance to the club. The Cooijmans Intelligence Test (CIT) looked the ticket. In fact, except for maybe about five or six items, it was pathetically EASY!!! So, since it was only $5 and a stamp and an afternoon and evening work - I knocked it out, typed it up, and sent it in!!! What did I have to lose? Little did I know...

As Paul promised, a score sheet showed up in my mail within two weeks. Punctuality made me like this man Paul better already, you see, it is good to keep your promises. Eagerly I opened the nice envelope and low and behold there were two astonishing things! First, I was to be allowed in the club. Second, I had missed a few more... er... a bunch more questions than I counted on missing. What was up? WC Fields: "An Ubangi in the fuel supply?" (Sorry I had to throw that in, though now completely beside myself I'm actually not a bigot)

Gratified yet befuddled, I decided to try another exam. Here, friends, was where I went astray. Had I not achieved my mission? Had I not gained admittance to the club, potential access to Paul, and thereby indirectly to some Eva-chat? Well, guess what? I had forgotten all about Eva. I had a new thing, more strange, more baffling, more intriguing, more accessible! Uh-huh, Paul Cooijmans' tests already had me.

Unhappy addicts of all walks and persuasions will understand. Don't take or pick up the first one. That's the secret. Hear me friends. Don't, under any circumstances take the first Cooijmans test.

From the CIT I went to the Test for Genius Long Form. From the Test for Genius Long Form I went to the Test to End All Tests. From the Test to End All Tests I went to the Final Test. I did the Analogies #1 for a lark. From there I plummeted into absolute hell. Its name is Nemesis.

If you know about this test, or happen to look it up - which of course I don't advise - you will see..... EVA!!! I'd come full circle. Isn't that poetic? I didn't even see it coming. I was right smack dab in the middle of my hell, my Nemesis, and I didn't even suspect it!!

I would tell you all about it. But, I can't. You see, that's not ethical. I can't talk about it at all, with any degree of specificity. I can't talk about it to my wife, I can't talk about it to my friends or co-workers, I even can't talk about it to my long list of regularly visited psychotherapists. Why? Well, the test says you can't - right there in the instructions. It wouldn't be ethical. The good doctors here at the Institute have tried to get me to open up about it. I tell them I can't. They tell me that if I don't talk about it, specifically, I'll never get cured. I tell them I can't. "Read the fucking instructions," I tell them.

An amusing digression now, I got really tired of being badgered by these two smarty interns, guys on some kind of work-study program for the University. I regret it now, but I dared them to take the CIT. Jim's two cells down from me now, and Tom...well, Tom took the EASY way out - if you know what I mean, and I think you do.

How did it really start affecting me at first? My boss brought it to my attention. He asked me why it was that the books of account were out of balance. I told him that I thought it was due to some kind of strange loop. The conversation went downhill from there.

Next thing though, was the S&M and Bondage. I had never had any (well, much) interest in that kind of stuff. But, the Eva question... well, this started another addiction. Looking for Eva's answer I had to search in some odd places. It just got weirder and weirder. Paradoxically, at times this was almost, but not quite, relief from Nemesis. Savage looking women with whips in black leather outfits. I started frequenting the porn shops, pouring over the magazines in back, dressing.....

Just put it down? I don't think so. I know you probably can't understand, but if I can save just one of you, then this letter is worth the pain of remembering.

That's the other reason they won't let me have pen and paper. Since I have the Nemesis memorized, I can recreate the puzzles and work on them. They know that. They watch you. All the time.

There is a dark side, and I have gone over, passed into oblivion, and the unearthly reality to which I'm sure so many desperate souls having thus passed may attest. It is a strange, looping reality.

SSHHH!! They're coming back for my keyboard.