Here’s our second Chico ballad – part of the plan to create the musical, “Chico!” Tell us what you think – and how you like it!
Chico Sings About Love, Wisdom and Eternity I’m Chico from across the Galaxy My brown and blue eyes tell you that it’s me. I came to Earth to save you from the Warrgs, And lead you to the wisdom of the Gods. And shape a life that’s only filled with happiness. Chico’s my name, love I proclaim, And I’ll instruct you in the paths of never never-ending love. The Universe is wide and deep and long, You can’t just travel through it on a song. A hundred billion suns and asteroids, We’ve learned to fold the space that fills the void To bring us to your door to be enjoyed. Chico’s my name, wisdom not fame, And hand-in-paw we’ll walk the path of never never-ending love. We catalog the boundless galaxy, And send it in an endless rhapsody Of data files and pictures so complete, A world could be constructed from its suite, And worlds rebuilt upon the holy Master’s plan Chico’s my name, love and not pain, We’ll vault the sands of time and save the Earth with never, never-ending love. There is no death when love and wisdom grow, The ancient Woggs will always tell you so, We’ve been alive since all the worlds were formed, We’ve watched the stars galactic aftershocks, Precessions of eternal endless equinox. Chico’s my name, love is my game,
We seek eternal wisdom, endless joy and never, never-ending love.
One early morning a few months ago – just as the sun was about to start its transit, and the crickets hadn’t yet figured out it was day’s nubile stirrings – Chico woke me up, licking my face. I turned my head and looked at the clock….5:00 AM, good Heavens…and as he couldn’t readily reach my face, he licked my ear. Left ear. “Chico, what’s up with this?” I murmured. “Come on,” he said telepathically. “It’s time for your second teleportation lesson. We have to get a start on what’ll be a rather hot and humid day.” “OK,” I warbled. “Lemme throw on some clothes and brush my teeth.” “I’ll wake up Licker,” he chortled.
Chico loves waking up Licker, although Licker doesn’t always share his enthusiasm for it. Often, Licky will look up, mournfully, and intone, in Lickerish, “Hey, Big Dogs need more sleep.” This time, it didn’t work, but oddly, wasn’t even necessary. I heard the bed creak as Licker moved to the end, jumped down, and strode to the black front door with Chico by his side. They waited patiently while I came out of the bathroom, pulled their leashes and collars (always attached) from the waiting hook, and slipped the Martingales over their heads. Licky’s was purple, with a military-colored leash; Chico’s black, with a purple leash (I’d borrowed Chico’s leash from Licky’s two-part fixture at some point, and it works well for both of them).
“What did you say to him, Chico?” I asked, voicing surprise with a stress on “did.” Chico smiled – grinned, really. “I told him we were going to learn to travel without moving. That got him quite interested….maybe I played a bit on his characteristic laziness. I’ve been promising that to him for quite some time now – since the adventure with the Warrg.” It is true that Licker is often somewhat sedentary, but I’ve always blamed it on the hot Miami summers, and the all-too-infrequent chilly nights that inspire sprints and short races against each other in pursuit of balls and coconuts (Chico has a predilection for coconuts….so useful for a serious chewing session).
We ambled out the door and stopped at the car. “Where are we going to go to, Chico? Do we need the car, or can we walk there?” Chico looked up at me, and smiled what I had learned was his most mischievous grin. “I’m going to take you to a training place,” he said, very quietly. “It’s not far from here.” “Oh – like the park or something?” “Well,” said Chico thoughtfully, “You won’t find it on Google Maps. It’s right near Barnard’s star. There’s a nearly invisible small planet in that system, and it’s an ideal place for training. There’s almost no one around, and the cloud cover makes it hard for our evil counterparts to observe us. Furthermore, there’s a most remarkable teacher there…she taught me so much, and I am eternally indebted to her. She has agreed to teach you, given the danger in which we find your planet Earth.” When Chico speaks the word “eternally” he really means it, and also exemplifies it simultaneously.
I gulped. I wasn’t sure I was ready for an interstellar trip. And I knew I wasn’t ready to save the earth from….Lord knows what. “But I thought Barnard’s star was devoid of planets,” I whined. “I read that a while ago.” “Yes, it’s true that its immediate system doesn’t support planets of any type. But (and here he got that wonderful faraway look in his glorious eyes) there are lots of exo-planets that truly wander around the galaxy. They hang around for millions, sometimes more than a billion years. The one we’re going to isn’t actually in the gravitational sway of Barnard’s star. It just…more or less chooses to be around there.” He smiled again, and I thought, and he thought, “The idea of a star making a choice to hang around somewhere is just….galatically amusing!
“Don’t worry,” he said, sensing my apprehension. “You can do all of this. As for the duplex locus, it won’t take but a few seconds, and the atmosphere is very much like earth’s. Virtually identical, except for some additional iodophors. It’s a younger planet than earth by a few hundred million years. And…you’ll get to meet a friend of mine, who’s going to help us with the training. In fact,” said Chico, with a slightly far-away look in his bichromatic eyes, “she trained me. Many, many millenia ago, when I was a youngster. She is – a true teaching genius. I don’t think there are any others like her in this galaxy, or perhaps…anywhere in any other. Let’s get into the car.”
“Uhh…” I said. “What’s duplex locus mean?” “You’ve forgotten your high school Latin, young man. It means, “fold space.” “What’s this about the car? Are we going to drive there? or drive somewhere to get there?”
Chico looked at me with a glance of immeasurable patience. “No, not really,” he said. We’d be a while driving to the Barnard’s star exo-planetary system. “I’m going to teleport us all there, inside the car. It’ll make the jump less ……weird.”
“The jump? You mean the jump across space to another star and another planetary system?”
“Yes.” He chuckled. (Ever hear a dog chuckle? Well, they can, and they do! At the foolishness of us humans…) Don’t be afraid. Just relax. It will only take a few seconds. Really. It will feel odd, but not unpleasant, and …. You won’t be able to see anything for a few minutes during and after the jump. Something about pressure on your ocular nerve. Actually, I think it’s like the temporary blindness of St. Paul – when he was still Saul the Prosecutor – but your vision will return immediately.”
I wasn’t completely convinced, frankly. But I semi-reluctantly got into the car, and Licker bounded into the back seat with an uncommon alacrity. I was almost embarrassed that Licky was so excited, and I was…rather apprehensive. I realized that Licky’s bravery was of a very different sort from any I might have, and far more universal…in the sense of “the universe.” He couldn’t wait!
Chico was in the front passenger’s seat, next to me. I put the key in the ignition. “Don’t turn on the car,” said Chico. It was the last thing I heard before there was a tremendous, ear-splitting “WHOOSH” and ….. the lights went out. I heard a thump, and the car shuddered. I tried to open my eyes, but it was as if they were glued shut. Then, suddenly, there was a blaze of light, my eyes adjusted, and I could see out the front windshield. We were in a forest – well, it was a kind of forest. Trees everywhere. Tall, stately, beautiful, with glimpses of clear, blue/yellow sky at the top, and an endless canopy of brilliant green leaves far, far away towards the heavens. I realized that there was something odd….there was not one single solitary leaf on the ground, and the floor of the forest was a kind of burnt sienna brown: warm, beautiful, inviting to lie in. We were parked, or stopped, in the middle of a vast number of trees…trees as far as the eye could see. The air was crystal-clear, as if the very images had been polished.
I turned to look at Chico. He was sitting there, still in total military position, but there was something very different about him. I looked closely at him, and he, in turn, stared at me. He was bigger…a lot bigger. In fact, he was not only bigger than Licky, he was a lot bigger than Licky. His huge eyes looked at me with laughter and amusement, and I realized he was laughing at me…again!
“Yes,” he said, “I know I’m different. It’s the atmosphere. It allows our cellular networks to expand significantly….I have the same number of cells, but they’re larger, by about 30%. “How come it didn’t happen to me or Licker?” I asked. “Well, actually,” intoned Chico, “it did, but you don’t realize it yet. You’re the same size except -except – most of your neurons are larger.”
“Really? What does that mean…I mean…” I stuttered…”What does that mean for my thought and thinking and behavior?” Chico smiled at me, gently, lovingly. I reached out and patted his huge head. He was nearly twice as big as Licker…probably about 300 pounds, I figured. “Are you familiar with Bernoulli’s theorem?,” he queried me. (“Wow, I thought, “that’s out of left field. Here I’ve just ported some 5 million light years from earth, in my VW Passat, and Chico is asking me about Bernoulli’s law! Holy Moley!” I laughed aloud….and Chico read my mind, of course. You can’t hide from him!)
I gulped and looked up at the off-white fabric headliner of the car – as we were still sitting in the car, of course. Bernoulli, I mused. High school physics with Mr. Shaftel. I couldn’t believe that I remembered it…so so long ago, when we were very young. “Yes, I remember it generally. It’s about how pressure on the walls of a tube decreases inversely to the circumference of the tube…and vice-versa.” “Well, you’re right,” said Chico, “and you’re going to have a better memory while you’re here, because the actual size of the neuron tubes has, well, increased. In short, you’ll have better throughput, as the engineers call it.” “You mean, I’ll be smarter? That would surely be welcome, since I haven’t been feeling terribly smart these days.”
Chico laughed, a music, sweet laugh, the rustle of multi-colored maple leaves in the wind on the edge of autumn in New Hampshire. (“That’s a pretty image,” intoned Chico, telepathically. “You lived in New Hampshire, and I guess you miss it.”) Of course, I heard his laugh in my head, as did Licker. Licker, by the way, was in the back seat, listening intently, his head charmingly cocked to one side – his characteristic way of listening very, very carefully. It worked well….the large ear-flap on the lower ear points directly at the ground, leaving the ear canal open for incoming sounds. “Clever,” I thought. Licker quietly yelped, as if to say, “Yes, of course it’s clever. It is I, after all!”
“You will need to be smarter – in fact, a lot smarter, because your training is going to make demands of you that you cannot dream of at this moment. And, at the end of your training, if all goes well, you’ll remain smarter, and you’ll be able to teleport objects, yourself and all sorts of things. It is, in fact, a power to use wisely, and carefully. You can’t afford to make many mistakes, since mistakes can be.. well….unpleasant. And sometimes more than unpleasant.”
I understood. Chico was the master of understatement. “Unpleasant” meant horrific; “more than unpleasant” meant nigh unto death. I wasn’t going to make any mistakes, I decided then and there. None. If I could help it with effort and thought.
“So come now,” chirped Chico. “Come and meet your new master and teacher.”
We got out of the car, and I put the keys in my pocket. “You can leave the keys in the car,” said Chico. “You’d feel silly if you lost them, although they wouldn’t be hard to find.” I opened the door and dumped the keys in the cup-holder. Off we went – to meet the Master of masters, who was going to teach us to move without moving, and lift without lifting. Despite my ignorant apprehension, I was quite excited. The unfolding of a new and utterly unexpected chapter of my life had begun.