The Flight Of The Tico

Frederick J. Mayer

"Wake-up! Had this dream stopped?..." click.

With a morphean thanatoid mind shroud temporarily removed and a simple yawn, Dr. Koh Rei-am turned the machine off while reflecting upon how much he had always enjoyed listening to the old Lizard King's recordings, especially, that epic piece "The Celebration of the Lizard." Once a source of childhood pleasure, now, a source of sanity and just a plain means of staying awake and alive.

The now long dead Lizard King all dressed in ebony black leather was, in a strange way, considered an "ancestrial poet" to Dr. Koh's people (once known originally as the "Tcho Tcho") because that royal entity's mordent blending of morphemics so captured the Tcho conceptional tongue of yore...before the long forgotten trek and the fleshy, among other ways, intergration with the present "Korean" stock of Jeju-do (or Cheju Island).

The slithering subtle pain of Kundalini serpent stylized strides up and down Koh's's diminutive body structure suddenly re-struck its focused fangs stingingly back into his already selvage stripped brain, singingly mordant into his synaptic nervous system with such splitting, spitting pain awareness once more was on now not then.

"Now. Now? Now! Where am I and where is now?," Koh's own Self re-adjusted physically itself. "oh, yes, sitting inside the Starship Tico. Sitting...the lower part of my anatomy has been knifed, diced, mashed and meshed with the lightly metallic front font console board. How long I have been in such an intimate relationship I really am not sure nor care...seems only fair considering some members of my progenitors' extended modern group was responsible for its successful construction and design by Daewoo, Korea's leading manufacturer of such component parts and moving vehicles...aaah, genius on their part to intergrate the toilet system into the overall seating situation."

Dr. Koh continued his slow, weary spoken aloud thoughts to the confines of the ship, "We have, it seems, always been good with our highly creative minds and hands. Our slightly longer, slenderer than normal fingers and hard nails, naturally artistic some have said of people generally constructed that way, seemed customized for such endeavors. Metallurgy has been said to have originated somewhere in South-East Asia. I would hardly be so bold to claim my true ancestors had a part in it then, though, our roots are "Asian" and we have for eons occupied parts of that terrain. Yet, family legends have us being forever excelling in "carving" and metal work.

Daewoo even named my country's (currently referred to as Korea) first truly compact cars, around the early 1990's, after my "tribe," though they didn't realize it (and, us in the giant firm making sure the Romanized lettering was a bit altered). The Korean business conglomerate gave the honor of naming that highly test sucessful little mode of transportation to its inventive engineers - highly unusual, but they were "seniors" within the company. Thus, the "Tico" was born. So what if the original Tico eventually became the national butt of all automobile jokes, the car worked and achieved its goals ...and this mini-ship's name comes from that first breakthrough super-compact vehicle on four wheels."

"Some of those attempts at humor still abound," Koh continued under the decaying light, shimmering burnt golden hue of the craft. "How does one stop a runaway Tico? Put a wad of some freshly chewed gum on the road just in front of it...ok, ha ha...there were some valid reasons for the jabs, or so I'm told...the petite Tico was an extremely light car and a good, solid wind, as it is known to exist in Korea, actually could blow it across parts of an expressway. In fact, I think upon it again, now, that that is what probably caused the current predicament of this vessel. We were meant to land on the dry, lovely blood-colored Mars...this is not that planet, I was brought onto this threesome team because of my extensive knowledge of such things (my kin were always highly tuned to the celestial bodies and such)...not sure what wind-like occurence happened, solar flare or something, I understand how we got here...don't recall anything...anything like a worm-holes and their transporting ilk...bouncing, shaking, dancingly were we all...suddenly, slipping, ejaculating into this pale pearly soiled soil upon some more solidified...wham bam slammed damned point first into this place."

Koh's mouth kept moving, "Where is now? Where am...perhaps, 'where' is outside, where this minaturized space carrier of three now resides. I remember James, James Wade Amberville, our pilot and fearless leader, Jame's words coming back over the Tico's sound system, through my aural systems...'strange place, all silent and desolate...can't describe, sedgy, ship in boggy, no gummy ground, substance all around, outgrowths fling themselves backwards, forwards, other ways, so...but, no wind, fauna...or flora really...some small stagnant pools born of bulbous drippings from filaments, like bulbochaete, not green, chaet, chaite, chaeta, chaetae, chaetae chaetae... styxian nourished growth...everywhere, enfold overhead, canopy of miasmic...I swear guardian spirit...unholy.'"

Unholy. Dr. Koh had heard that disgusting term so often applied to those he was descended. Dark wisps of nostagia carried him further into the caverns of memory, back where there's never any pain. At the knees of his great grandmama Rei and ever so boney, no, there were strong, tawny muscles on that ancient tiny skeletal structure of hers. They all said he really was "her" child.

She told him that thousands of years ago the Tcho Tcho moved out of central Asia, some ended up in what is now called Myanmar. Koh's clan, the "Rei," slowly moved down through the mountainous regions onto the Korean peninsular. The holy Lama of legend, Yian-ho, went with the Indo-Chinese (or they with him) grouping, though, the Rei kept their ever-consumating Queen. They have always had a female centric society (some told Rei-am that great grand would have been a queen in another age, in fact, the great Yian-ho himself gave the Queen one of the exceptionally few written copies of their holy text, "Gumi- gan-ok Chaek" or "The Book of Cracked Jade").

Down and up through the steep mountainous landscape of the peninsula they travelled with Dr. Koh's precessors becoming quite adapted to mountain living, as opposed to the more jungle mode of the Tcho Tcho people who wound their way into the deeper vert and humid regions of Asia. Great grand Rei told how much of Korea's shrouded mystical past and superstitious beliefs have their origins set in encounters with his people. "Those so called 'Spirit Poles' of Koreans...the ones used to protect their local villages and, usually, set just outside their gathering of homes," she grins, revealing a severely gapped teeth arrangement that were highly efficient, and continues the tale, "Ha, they were originally what we erected, out of wood, trees actually, as temporary holy statues to our gods...the glorious male and female twins Lloigor and Zhar! Ever notice those totem poles are always in pairs? And, 'smiling.'"

These Tch Tcho people, however, kept moving southward for reasons not even old Rei knew the "why." Eventaully, they settled on the volcano created island now called Jeju and lived within the vast numbers of deep subterrian tunnels and caverns mainly centered around Mt Halla, though,the tunnels network the entire isle. The lake that formed in the crater of Halla became key to the Tcho Tcho of Jeju (as it became sacred to the forth coming "Koreans") and, as Koh's most elderly of guardians were forever quick to point out, "though beautiful it is without doubt, the place could never match the wonders of the 'Lake of Dread' and its wonderous beyond compare 'Isle of Stars'!" She made Dr. Koh promise to take her to the lake before she died. When questioned why make such an arduous trip, the great Rei's unique eyes flashed open and she clamly stated, "...that is where the plateau of Sung lies and the terrestial home of our gods," perceiving young Rei-am's equally shaped eyes' request, she added, "they were buried alive under there!"

Alive! The power, filarioid flaring pain surged, exploded inside Dr. Koh's cranium seemingly more powerful than the flare of the rainbow of reds and glowing yellows produced at the lift-off of the Tico's mothership, the "Phoenix II." Then, his double eyelids snapped wide revealing the doctor's eyes of blazing black coals just heated in a furnance stoked by Hephaestus himself. Through the orfice called a mouth, he mumbled, "Where's soju, that abominable Korean drink, but great at numbing ones mind and soul, when one needs a bottle or two...hmmm Anne?"

Anne didn't respond as Dr Koh watched what was left of commander Amberville continue to disintergrate on top of the vessel's forward litten, "James, forever with that unlit cigarette dangling from your lips, now...," Koh grinned continuing to verbalize words into the Tico's enclosed air, "your whole lip dangles as its flesh peals from your all- American jaw bone." Amerville had been plasterd on the window ever since he tried to escape as this "planet's" sticky, mephitic acid rain-like downpour surprisingly struck a while back catching him unawares during one of his exploratory treks. He may have been the group's leader and pilot, but, if anything had to do with animal, plant or mineral, James was their go to guy, just as Rei-am was the astro-whatever expert. What was growing out there seemed familiar to the American, but he never would commit to actually declaring "what." "What would you call that ever forward moving thing out there now, James," the Korean-Tcho doctor thought, "it's getting closer ever closer and seems determined on intersecting, on placing the Tico et. al. in its glittering something like huge, extremely lean row of singular of movement teeth. Professor Anne never opted an opinion on the matter.

Professor/Dr. Anne Du Voor was one of those individuals who had an endless list of degrees and Dr. Koh had first met this stout, juicy Western robusty apple shaped woman for the first time when they were both graduate students at Miskatonic University and platonically shared an apartment together. Koh's lacreated brain seeped back into the darkening recesses of his grey matter.

After Rei-am graduated with honors from Korea's top university, Seoul National, his guardians sent him off to the hidden center of all Tcho Tcho secret and valued knowledge, the city of Alaozar, a place he had been once before when he escorted his great grandmother to the island where the city was located. There he was seeped in all it had to offer - besides having his own copy of their holy book (which he was already throughly trained in, language used and all)- Rei-am dived into his natural area of interest that of other works involved with the vastness and voids of varying extra-terrestial spaces. Plus, there were such works as the "Ponape Scripture" and "Zanthu Tablets." However, it was made very clear his original people of race did not come from Mu or Lemuria.

Over time, Koh returned to Jeju to be then sent off to gain the outer world's recognition of degrees. Knowledge and foremost the Sciences were important to the Rei branch, who had become, over a lenghty time span, for all practical purposes Koreans in look and acceptence (his line hadn't messed up with the cross breeding as did those idiots the Deep Ones, or so his family informed.) Once in awhile, there were Tcho Tcho-Koreans who needed some dental work and they were always wary of their eyes giving them away...but, Westerners never could visually seperate Asians and Koh's folks were just written off as these odd ball Asians from some place called Jeju a place even Koreans were of a mind that was a bit off the Korean culture wall with their language, female centered society (the island province was the only one, the rest of the country was a typical Confucian male hierarcy), art/statues like the famed island trademark, the phallic, hat wearing "Dol-harubang" or "Stone Grandfather" and the distictively different from the Korean mainland's folk beliefs and legends. Many have speculated this unusual cultural behavior and developement was due to Jeju belonging more to Oceanian roots or realms. Great grandmother Rei said, "Don't you believe it!"

Koh met up with Du Voor again by meeting her at a Seoul "Open Mic" held in that city's district called Itaewon within a reveared old rock club called "Woodstock." The venerable owner Mr. Woo had always supported the expatriate community, especially, the more talented ones, as well as, providing a nifty place to spend time, socialize and have a few brews. Up until then, neither had realized they were both living in Korea and in the country's megatropolis capital. The two quickly renewed their shared tastes in the various and esoteric arts, spending many an hour discussing the finer points of literature, so, in the more "mystical" legends and facts areas, Rei-am had to stop short his sometimes wish to correct Du Voor's vast knowledge on something, least he had to reveal his own source of such information.

February 29th was an important date, other than marking a "Leap Year," because on that day both had been notified they were to be part of the starship Tico's crew (he representing Asia, she Europe and Amberville North America) and it was the day of the booksigning party for Anne's latest book of poetry, "Loves I Bear To You," which was published in the languages of French and English. Anne was a scholarly, but satyr type whose lust for life fit well to her living in the Itaewon-do area, an area that honestly earned its seedy, notorious nightlife reputation. Yet, it did have its more truly arty abodes such as "Abby's Book Nook," where the current tome of Du Voor's work was being officially released in Korea that evening.

Dr. Koh so missed seeing his beloved stars, hidden by day by Seoul's ever present smog and by night, in Itaewon, by the ever present neon lights tha turned the darknest night into the brightest day. It wasn't Jeju, but he lived on nearby "Namsan" ("South Mountain") and there he had a peek or two of the jewels of the black ink sky. All he wanted now, "I want to go home."

Having met Anne at the base of the hill where Abby's rested on top, the two headed for the book shop...past the first winding street to their left which was nicknamed "Hooker Hill," for all the "Juicey Bars" that wound their way up that avenue with all the women standing in the doorways like lines of trap-door spiders (though, Koh did know some of those servers of men, especially, the manager of one establishment, "Blue Rain," who most knew by the name Mina Chae...he knew her as Chae Rei-min...there were several who truly wondered what his relationship/activities were with Chae and closed doors).

As the two friends continued up, they passed the second off-shooting road nicknamed "Homo Hill" which catered to men and women of a certain taste. Finally, the third street turning up that would lead them to the top. This way took them past the strangely only mosque in all of that mass seething city and, perhaps, of its location, was also, the site of an important book discovery of sorts by reknown Iranian erotic artist Koonude. While doing some restoration work on the mosque's subterrain basement, more like vault, he discovered a mouldy but in tact copy of the "Al Azif."

Just down from the mosque was Abby's. This place is run/ owned by Kim Eun-hee and she had turned it into Korea's largest and best used bookstore. It had a spacial feel of what a book selling venue should have with a depth in used books, places to plant oneself and enjoy some of Kim's special coffee and teas, plus, meet others who loved the touch, smell, even tastes of volumes of whatever. It was a cold late winter night, the night of the booksigning party, that outer atmosphere didn't stop the Du Voor faithful nor did it effect the store's inner sanctum that had scented burning candles everywhere enhanced with the displayed outre pen and watercolor work of Canadian Tahl Ghitter.

The book event was particularly important to Anne as that night she really wanted to one-up-manship Dr. Koh with her latest find. Koh's only known collectables were his copy of the rare, limited edition of the Lizard King's book of verse "An American Prayer," as well as, equally rare signed hardback release of the poet-King's famed work "The Lords and the New Creatures." Pleased also Koh was to have a copy of the thought insane poet/artist Joseph Gordon's work "A Familiar in a Strange Land." But, this was Du Voor's night, she slipped up nice and tight to her friend and whispered, "I just found for my own the French flagrante delicto 'Le Livre d'Eibon.'" Koh would remember that night.

What jolted Dr. Koh wasn't the pain for he "had learned-like an addict who learns to love the sting of the needle"-to simply absorbe what it was: a moment ingrained so primorial, too deeply imbedded to be understood. No, it was the, the just skinning, flaying of the Tico's skin that brought him back to the land of reality now. Awaiting...he had long been accustomed to Anne's, for her, fairly recently acquired accessorized perfume...that thing out there just needed one more passing and it would have intercourse with the Tico and hisself.

"Ah Anne, sweet Anne, you would enjoy the irony...canniblism, what is that, Korean's eat dogs, dog as you know is god spelled backwards and you so loved eating dogmeat in Korea, others, like our friend James, love the wafer and was survial, and I remembered, remembered a receipe from the section of the Book of Cracked Jade, called "Ritual of the Black Lotus," a book you so craved to read much less own, it suited you so well and filled a real need in James and I. Yes, Anne, you were delicto, delightfully delectable and oh so devoured.

Even James enjoyed the meals, somewhat, we used everything Anne and, one time, upon hearing exactly what it was he was eating, vomitted onto the Tico's floor. Yet, even then, he had to do two and your constant puns and word play...James paid homage to you Anne for as he cleaned up the mess, he smiled, "Guess that just goes to show its true." "Ok, James, you and your Americanisms, I'll bite, what does it prove?" "You just can't keep a good man or woman down."

Now, Dr. Koh lost in this vastness of space, "blinded" not even to see his beloved stars or home, or was it so? He watched, waited...waited...waited no more, as the thing came so easily into....

"I want a good seat at the concert, so move it will you? I hear 'Strange Daze' is one of the best DOORS copy bands around."

"Alright, just let me finish combing my...huh, what on earth?'s a bloody insect!"

"Hmmm, let's seems almost impaled. Looks like a very tiny, shiney metallic scarab."

"I don't care, off it goes into the toilet"...flush.

The mention of things Korean are true, some of the "speculated answers" for some are purely the fictional imagination of the author.

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