The Ultimate Sleep

© 1998 Paul Cooijmans

I The Lecture - Inspector Longone - Dr Hölin's house

And with a well-meant "Sweet dreams!" famous occult author Sheila Lomanesco ended her lecture. The audience was stunned by this completely new form of mysticism, propagating the practice of occult one-legged dances so as to achieve what Miss Lomanesco called "The Ultimate Sleep". "We are all too much awake and need to get rid of this torturing state of awareness", the brilliant guru stated. "Sleep is our destiny; twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week. We must lose our awake-ness permanently as soon as we can."

Naturally, resistance was heard, mainly from a Sheng Fui master and reincarnation therapist seated in the front row named Dr Fabius. But Sheila waived his criticism away. "Dr Fabius needs a course in lateral thinking", she lectured. "I suggest he study the work of Wilhelm Reich and the Qabalists; of Mathers and Crowley; Steiner perhaps, and, most of all, Gurdjieff! If you learn Gurdjieff backwards, Dr Fabius, you will understand more of me." The crowd laughed; imagine the intelligent Dr Fabius, former hardware designer, AI researcher and IQ test pioneer, turn student of the occult!

Among the thousands who had attended Sheila Lomanesco's lecture was Inspector Longone of the New Amsterdam Police. Hardly had he left the Lomanesco Stadium or his mobile rang. Trouble! Hurrying to the scene of the crime the good policeman passed the house of Mr Ximpson, a respected citizen. There was screaming inside, which amazed the Inspector as this was otherwise a quiet neighbourhood where silence was broken by nothing but the peaceful whisper of complaint letters to the authorities. "Bust me, Inspector! I just brutally murdered my wife and children. Look, I've still got blood on my hands!" Mr Ximpson panicked out of his house. But Longone had to turn him down; "Sorry sir, can't help you now. Bad case of psychometrics in 50th Street. Illegal IQ testing, see."

Ximpson understood. "That's indeed more urgent Inspector. Disgusting. Shall I come along and help you? I'm the kind of guy you can call in to 'clean up dodge', so to speak. I can hit him for you if you want!"

"Excellent, Mr Ximpson. Please be so kind as to follow me. And don't worry 'bout the wife and kids, I'll give you legal advice later to get you off the hook. Law is my greatest field of expertise; I know an act of felony when I see one!", the conscientious policeman assured while he kindly shook Mr Ximpson's bloodstained hand. The proud citizen stood firm. "M.A. Ximpson, at your service! Let's give the scum hell!"

And off they went to the Hölin Institute For Decoding Philosophy. "I warned him sure enough, but he's gone too far. Sad to see such a learned man perish in the House of Many Doors, but law is law. And the law forbids unlicensed IQ testing, as sure as my name is Eric Hart!"

"Well spoken, Longone", Mr Ximpson applauded. "Call me Kevin", the Inspector nodded. "How traumatic it must be for you by the way to just have brutally slaughtered your family, and how well are you coping! I understand these things all too well, being a legal expert and all that." "Thanks Kev'. How was the Lomanesco lecture? I saw you sitting in the stadium on Solarweb." "Stunning it was! And how fascinating these events can now be experienced real-time anywhere from Muskogee right up to the Moon Hilton!" "Not to mention the iron mines of Mars, where our friend Dr L. Ron Hölin will no doubt be spending his remaining years!" Their merry laughter filled the deserted streets of New Amsterdam.

"And have you noted", the intelligent Mr Ximpson continued, "that if you take the full text of Sheila Lomanesco's latest book 'The Ultimate Sleep' and very carefully write it backwards in a 666 x 666 matrix, leaving out all interword spaces, you end up with all the letters needed to form the names of all Earth-crossing asteroids, including impact dates, up to April 4, 3556 ?" "You don't say?!", the baffled policeman gazed. "We must discuss that over a stiff drink after work. Chez Maxim allright, Max?"

"My favourite restaurant! One of the Northern Hemisphere's finest, so they say. Don't know why, but I feel at home there. 'Like their house wine. Still from Steinbeck Vineyard?" "The very same - knew you'd like that. But here's Hölin's house; let's put the boot in." With a tap of his shoulder the Inspector unlocked the door and shouted, "Dr Hölin! The game is up!". When no response followed, the two brave men entered.

"Look! Test sheets on his desk!" Longone picked up two forms by their corners and held them up with straight arms, one in each hand, as in a dumbbell exercise. "Hark!", he boomed, and shook his hands. "Hark the evil thunder of score sheet!!" Max Ximpson shuddered with horror, used as he was only to the peaceful rustle of complaint letter.

Dr Hölin walked home from the Sculpture of Freedom, where, up in the Torch of Good Taste, New Amsterdam's summit of civilized manners, he had attended a lecture by his favourite poet, Joe Dwight, "Poet of the 15-hour day", as his nickname was. The good philosopher was entertaining himself walking by mentally performing a cybernetic analysis of the great poet's magnum opus, the brilliant cycle "The Well-Tempered Grandfather". "Good anticipatory counterpoint; not too sure 'bout the quiescence though. And where does Gödel fit in? I wonder..." Thus pondering the learned man arrived at the remains of his front door.