Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Secret of the Lost Tribe, Chapter One, Part Three

Begin with the beginning.

Some miles down the highway, Traynor was looking at the road map. "There are supposedly some kind of Indian ruins at the end of that dirt road over there."

"Yeah. Read about them in my guidebook last night. Wanna have a look?"

"Sure, why not?"

Jennifer turned onto the dirt road. "They were called the Anasazi. The Indians, I mean."

"How do you spell that?"


"Very funny. The other guys."


"You sure that's not supposed to rhyme with nazi?"

"Quite sure. After all, I'm the language expert here. Anasazi means 'enemies of our fathers' in Navajo, I think."

"Yeah, I read about them. Some mysterious Indian tribe that vanished during the Dark Ages. They left ghost pueblos all over the place, but no one really knows anything about them: who they were, what they did, what they believed, how they lived, why they vanished, where they went, or what became of them."

Traynor unzipped the black leather jacket that protected him from the airstream. It was late fall, but unseasonably warm. When Traynor and his friends had busted a terrorists plot some months before, one of the instigators had confessed that he had invented the global warming hoax as a ruse to guilt Americans into submission to the world community. Now, Traynor was wondering whether that son of a bitch had merely been bragging. In any event, if this was global warming, he loved it.

They left the Auburn at the end of the dirt road and walked along the winding footpath that had to run to the ruins. The path meandered up to the saddle between two hills, overlooking the ruins on the barren moonscape. It was a fairly large complex of interconnected hovels or rooms, different shades of orange, brown, and sand in the sunlight. Their roofs gone, all the hovels were open to the sky. The walls, some of them half-collapsed, had been heaped up from thin stone slabs of irregular size. A perimeter of roughly rectangular rooms protected round ones in the center like shrines. They walked on, down to the ruins.

In her Indian outfit, Jennifer looked like one of the hippies who infested Indian ruins to seek some kind of ersatz spirituality. Like a vulture, one of the requisite gurus taking advantage of them swooped down on her. This specimen was a rather seedy old man with a white beard; he was wielding a pendulum.

"May I introduce myself? I'm Grunzgurk — Dr. Gregory Grunzgurk, energy scientist. I'm in charge of the archeological dig here. May I give a lovely lady like you a tour of the place?"

"You may," Jennifer replied icily, taking Traynor's arm.

Grunzgurk appeared a bit disconcerted at this turn of events. He looked from Traynor's cowboy boots up his blue jeans to his open leather jacket revealing a white cotton shirt — and a glimpse of the holster holding his .45 Colt M1911 pistol. Traynor sure was no hippie.

The witch doctor pointed out the round rooms. "We believe kivas were temples — our physicists found they were important shrines radiating concentrated fields of electromagnetic energies."

Grunzgurk waved to a busty brunette in rumpled shorts and a brown deerskin jacket similar to Jennifer's. "May I present, Laura Popoff, the renowned investigating physicist — and fortunately, also my assistant."

The "investigating physicist" nodded a welcome to the visitors, then produced a dowsing rod, pretending to investigate something.

Grunzgurk continued his narrative. "All natural stones are polarized by the magnetic field of the earth. If they are assembled haphazardly into a building, this results in an unhealthy environment. Look at the size of these stones. Kivas are huge generators of negative energy. Sensitive people can feel that. In their hands, a pendulum will swing clockwise or counterclockwise, depending on the prevailing polarity of energy — positive or negative.

"I believe kivas were used for healing. Hundreds of people would assemble in them to radiate energy to the sick. The negative radiation of disease would go out, and the sick person's battery would get recharged."

Traynor snorted. "If the Anasazi were such great, um, engineers and such great, um, doctors, why didn't they even manage to build new towns when they had to move from here due to drought?"

"It was their own technology that did them in. Hundreds of kivas created a great energy updraft over the valley, which dispersed clouds, leading to the widespread drought."

"Surely, a supply of tinfoil hats would have saved them, poor things."

Grunzgurk gave him a quizzical look. "I don't believe that that would have helped in this particular case. Be that as it may, when the drought came, the Anasazi lost faith in their priests who had failed to predict the times for planting and harvest — and to preserve harmony with the gods. They lost faith in their religion."

"They lost faith in their religion? At least one step in the right direction."

"Do you think so? After all, it was their knowledge that failed them. They learned that nature is unpredictable. They found that their culture had grown too complex. They were afraid they had created a monster they could not control, and therefore they returned to a simpler way of life. There seem to have been numerous cultural collapses of this kind in America."

"Why don't you talk turkey? Whatever theories you come up with all amount to nothing more than to: Give up, give up, give up, give up. You're gleefully wallowing in the failure of the Anasazi 'civilization' and praising them for returning to a simpler life — to the primeval muck. You're insinuating it's happening again. You believe all that nonsense because our culture — which by my standards is not yet very complex — is too complex for a nitwit like you. The moral you're insinuating is that we all need to return to a simpler way of life — because you don't wish to confess to yourself that you're the only one who is so primitive that he has to return to a cave. In other words, your motivation for making up all this hocus-pocus is that you're an idiot too stupid to live."

Offended, Grunzgurk turned to Jennifer. "We can test that scientifically. Stretch out your arm horizontally — yes, like this — and make it very strong. You see how strong the field is here? Very strong!"

The "scientist" led Jennifer into a ruin. "Now make your arm strong again. You'll see here it collapses completely, upon the slightest touch, because of the negative field… I said it collapses completely!" The "scientist" tried to push Jennifer's arm down with all his strength, but could not make it budge.

"Doesn't work if I don't play along, huh? Maybe you can do that with your suggestible assistants, but not with me. Listen, you big wuss: You're not a doctor. You're not a scientist. You don't feel anything of any consequence. And people don't have batteries."

The big wuss still kept pulling Jennifer's arm, his pendulum oscillating frantically. "I'll show you, lady."

"Let go of my arm."

"Just another second," he smiled.

"Don't touch me."

"Don't worry. It won't hurt."

"It will hurt."

The big wuss gulped.

Traynor was steering the Auburn down the highway at speed. He looked into the rearview mirror. No highway patrol. He glanced for a second at Jennifer, who sat sullenly beside him. "I guess you had to make him swallow his stupid pendulum?"

"Shut up and drive."

Read on…

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