1970 Public Access TV Nightmare | By: Maurice James Blair | | Category: Short Story - Science Fiction Bookmark and Share

1970 Public Access TV Nightmare

The characters of this story are used fictitiously. Similarities to actual persons living or dead are coincidental.

"1970 Public Access TV Nightmare"

by M.J. Blair

Tom Singleton and Shirley Stapleton enjoyed Beatles and John Lennon music during the 1960s, and now faced a personal spiritual crisis in December 1970. They had celebrated mysticism, believed in the powers of The Occult and Eastern religions, and felt wonder in how songs like "Strawberry Fields Forever," "I am the Walrus," and "Instant Karma" related to these. However, they recently bought the new LP "Plastic Ono Band" and felt confused by John Lennon's disavowal of considering Magic, Jesus, Buddha, Krishna, and others as authorities in his life.

Tom and Shirley roomed together in Chicago, Illinois, and were in their early twenties. They both had late December off from work in 1970 and spent much time meditating on how the universe had recently produced the Nixon administration, the Vietnam War, and Plastic Ono Band. Late at night on December 23rd, they watched local public access television, still looking for an answer.

First, they saw a ten-minute episode of a home-made soap opera. In part of the story, a man named Bob came back from Vietnam and suffered from post-traumatic stress. He told his girlfriend Charlotte that he believed Richard Nixon was put into the presidency by divine intervention and was at heart a spiritually pure human being. His girlfriend told him he had too many drugs in Vietnam.

Second, they saw a bearded man in his thirties, a short-haired woman in her late twenties, and a tall, clean-shaven man in his early twenties speaking about space and time and consciousness. During this program, the bearded man said, "All of the universe, all time past, present, and future are one, and all are ever-present and ever-changing. The beginning of the war is present, changing, and affecting us, the middle of the war is present, changing, and affecting us, and the end of the war is also already present, changing, and affecting us. All space and time, or as some call it, 'space-time,' has presence in our minds and everywhere, and we can have access to everything through our consciousness."

The short-haired woman responded, "Then, Charlie, how do you respond to some viewers who may be thinking, 'But I know that I am not the same person as my cousin, or I know that there are many different people and sentient beings... how can you say that everything is one when there are many different things and different beings?' What would you say to those viewers?"

The bearded man answered, "The reality is beyond the limit of our concepts. The way of organizing the concepts to demonstrate a level of unity of all consciousness and space-time provides our minds with a set of tools that are valuable. The way of organizing concepts around the distinction between different people, different periods, and different, unique things also provides us with a valuable set of tools. Our minds have to leap beyond each perspective to see the truth in alternate perspectives."

The clean-shaven man commented, "For many people, what you have just said probably went over their heads and left them feeling disappointed that you were not able to communicate to them at their level."

The bearded man responded, "That is unfortunate, but there is no way I could avoid it. I hope some people out there will benefit from these discussions, although others may have changed the channel when the speech became unclear to them. I guess sometimes you can't please everyone."

Next, Tom Singleton and Shirley Stapleton saw the public access channel sign off for the night. Rather than changing the channel or turning off the television, they held eachother close and felt their concerns with the state of the world and spiritual confusion dissolving into the night. A little while later, however, Shirley was shocked to see something strange on the television.

"Look at the screen, Tom! What is that?" she said.

"What in the world?" he responded.

On the screen there appeared a creature that looked like a mixture of aardvark and human, speaking on the screen while sitting on a throne. It spoke in English.

"People of Earth, beware of the transmission you are about to receive, and beware of the cosmic midnight about to befall you."

Next, the screen turned black, and eerie synthesizer music started. A voice announced, "You believe many things, but much of what you believe is a lie. You are not human beings, and there are no things that you call minds. You are entirely physical phenomena, and, in fact, you have no minds."

After this, the television showed moving shadows and dark colors shifting shape on top of news footage of the time. Music emerged from the TV, music familiar to Shirley and Tom, but with a change: it was the music of "Revolution 9" sampled and altered with the repeated phrase "Number nine, Number nine, Number nine..." edited out and replaced with "You have no mind, You have no mind, You have no mind..."

They watched in horror as the images mixed with shadows changed from news events to footage of Soviet and Nazi torture sessions and horrible human experiments, as all the while the music with the recurrent phrase "You have no mind" continued.

Finally, as this video ended, the partially-aardvark-shaped humanoid again appeared on the screen. It said, "What you just witnessed was a propoganda video produced by The Interstellar Reductional Materialist Empire and designed to attack your world. They have attacked my world numerous times. Although they have a small presence in your world, beware of their future attacks."
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