Multi-Khan's Feast

“Yes, yes, yes, I forgot it too,” sighed Franz over-dramatically. “But we are in luck!” With his index finger pointed at the noxious yellow sky and speaking in a charismatic German accent, “Since it’s tattooed across his shoulders, we need only to ‘conveniently drop something’ to the ground for him to pick up. When he bends over we’ll know his name without having to rudely ask a second time!” Franz acted out his plan with the flower he’d been twirling.

Anthony paid little attention. He was eyeing the house’s diverse collection of tropical flora native to a thousand Pacific Islands except this one; they were just props in some land developer’s dream. The thick yellow smoke wafting in from the sugar plantations made the flowers appear doubly artificial. From the caustic smell of gasoline-charred cane he could tell they were harvesting up island today.

Palm trees swayed nervously in the morning breeze. As he wiped sweat from his brow, Anthony thought he felt an early drop of rain from the rising storm. It had showered everyday he’d been on this side of the island and today was unlikely to be an exception. He picked at the laminate peeling from the faux-bamboo mailbox while Franz intently stroked his beard. Finally Franz remembered: they were waiting for Multi Khan.

Inside the house Mrs. Woof (as Anthony liked to call her) was up and about. She ran her organic farm like one of his former drill sergeants. Her nagging was oppressive and incessant: “Don’t burn the banana bread! Smile for the tour buses! And on days off, don’t let me catch you up in the cow pastures!” He was finished working like a dog for one woman’s selfish vision of tropical sustainability.

“Whatever his name is, as soon as he comes back let’s get the hell out of here.” Anthony came to the island for escape: from dishonorable discharge, from his mundane life, but mostly from reality. Franz, with his insufferable enthusiasm for life, made a worthy companion in their quest for Party. “Good times, jah!” So when a wild haired, barefooted, half-naked man appeared alongside the remote jungle road that morning promising the Moon, they knew just what to do.

Multi Khan reemerged from the forest. With his curly dark hair, brown skin, and youthful step he looked like an African faun; perhaps the Nubian cousin of the God Pan. Contrary to his appearance, he claimed direct lineage from his Mongol namesake. Pink plastic twine served as makeshift belt for his soggy cut-off jeans which fit loosely around his slender hips (standard issue for a modern day Mongol Warrior). He was flanked by his dog Nemo and a very stoned Angel.

In his right hand he was holding a brown paper bag filled to the brim with freshly picked psychedelic mushrooms. His left hand carried a bamboo staff.

Anthony had had a taste of altered states of consciousness and fancied himself spiritually inclined ever since that first joint. The chance meeting with a self-described “Psychadelic-Warrior-Shaman-Priest” was a clear sign from the universe to resume his ascent of the Holy Mountain.

“Like the children of Orien, listen carefully when the mushrooms speak to you and you shall receive a devine cleansing,” Multi Khan instructed as he handed Anthony the bag. He spoke in a hushed, solemn voice and a California surfer twang that made everything he uttered sound like a parable. The four seated themselves cross legged while Nemo curled up at the feet of his master. Franz produced the small bag of ganja they’d promised to exchange for Angel and Multi Khan’s labors up in the cow pastures. Angel accepted it greedily.

“It’s truly a beautiful thing when people understand the virtues of sharing a bountiful harvest,” said Multi Kahn. “We humbly accept your sharing of the Earth with us.” Anthony rolled his eyes.

“So about how many of these things should we eat?” he asked. Already Franz had shoved a fist-full into his mouth.

“Tastes like grass,” he said. “Very Earthy.” He was chewing like a horse and casually inspecting one of these moist specimen.

“Listen to the mushrooms brother, they will tell you how much to take,” said Multi Khan as he closed his eyes and placed one hand over his heart.

Anthony popped four stems and three caps into his mouth, chewed once and took a hard swallow.

“You’ve chosen to fly on an auspicious day, brothers. Today marks the end of the Mercury retrograde and the entrance of Jupiter into it’s seventh house. To celebrate, I’ll be hosting the Feast to End All Feasts at my beach.” Multi Kahn’s voice swelled with pride. Raising his staff, he gave careful instructions: “Travel by way of the Red Sand Beach and the Sacred Pools. Gather some food offerings from the dumpsters there and you may be granted permission to join the celebration and receive my sermon.” Franz and Anthony understood this to mean only one thing: Party. Multi Khan, Angel and Nemo disappeared into the forest from whence they came.

A few caustic drops of rain fell from the sky as Franz and Anthony began to walk down the remote jungle road. They had packed only the essentials for their trip: a sandy towel, three joints, matches and a flip phone already low on battery.

As they passed the Church’s weekly rummage sale, the volunteers were leaving their posts to to go inside and receive their tropical gospel. With the congregants were distracted, Anthony slipped around back and casually stole two over-sized Hawaiian shirts off the densely packed racks. They put on their new clothes and continued walking down the jungle road. With their psychedelic flack jackets, they were finally prepared for lift off.

Like the rain drops that were now falling steadily, the effects of the mushrooms landed softly and rhythmically on their bodies. Franz stopped for a moment and held out his hand, swaying while he observed the drops land in his palm. Anthony took a deep breath. The noxious smell of burning sugar cane rose and fell. At last they reached the beach path.

The Red Sand Beach was walled in by sheer cliffs made of charred volcanic rock. Lush green vegetation swung down from a dense, imposing jungle that loomed fifty feet above the blood red sands. Waves crashing onto the jagged outcropping of boulders sent spray soaring into the jungles above. The boulder outcropping created a natural swimming pool of violent whitewash that teemed with minerals and microbes. Anthony noted a young woman bathing nude in the primordial soup, her hair tied back in dread locks, as the two descended the steep, gnarled path.

Throngs of human lizards were enjoying a salty chemical bath of acid-rain and sea spray along the shore. Franz was quick to take his place among the reptiles but Anthony withdrew cautiously. Fearing the they might detect his altered stated of mind, Anthony held his breath and crept along the rock walls until he reached the safety of a low ceiling cave opposite the entrance path. He hugged his knees close and felt gratitude for temporary relief from social and sensory engagement. His cell phone, now conjoined to his body, beeped out the end of its life.

Franz, having removed his shirt and fastened it into a driftwood pole, paraded his flag around the beach with joyous shouts and howls. He planted his flag next to one group of beach goers and joined them in song. Waves continued to crash with tremendous force and made it appear that their voices, with each breath, unleashed a torrent of air into each others laughing, wind-swept faces.

The rain started to come down in sheets and everyone retreated to the shelter of the cave. Anthony nervously emerged from his shell and welcomed the soaked masses. Franz took his place to the right of his companion while Dread Locks sat to Anthony’s left. She magically revealed a purple ukulele and handed it to Franz who promptly began to serenade this pierced nipple goddess. Anthony, now mesmerized by the tattoo of Fred Flintstone beneath her right collarbone, figured he must be watching a movie and decided to relax for just a moment. He lit up a joint and shared it with the dozen or so cave dwellers.

Suddenly the clouds broke and sunlight poured through. Everyone slowly emerged from the caved to land softly on a sunny, rainbow protected beach. With this sign of providence, the two friends decided to continue along their journey. Despite momentarily recalling Multi Khan’s request, the two continued past the food laden dumpster without skipping a beat.

The calm did not last. The skies darkened and violent winds sprayed salty air as they attempted to crawl along the rocky shore towards the Sacred Pools.

They arrived at the site of ancient sacrificial rites to discover it over run with heathens. Anthony, fearing the unholy regulations of a National Recreation Area, hid behind a large rock to secretly observe the desecration rituals. Tribes of Pentaxians, Cannonites and Nikonos were positioning their lenses on the exact spot of a thousand virgin deaths. “Now, smile!” The mechanical mouths of their devices clicked with delight.

The word dweezils is often used to describe the action of going to war with one’s own mind, most often incited by potent psychedelic compounds. The dweezils had finally set in for Franz. Powerful drugs affecting his brain had talked him out of his remaining clothing and into a state of primal aggression. He lay completely naked, clutching a large rock and looking menacingly at the unknowing throngs of tourists. “Schadenfreude… ” he softly mumbled in German. “Schadenfreude… ” Anthony remembered that loosely translated to ‘taking pleasure in another’s pain.’

Now fearful, he collected himself and wrapped a towel around his confused friend. Anthony furtively made his way behind a distracted tribe of Cannonites and heroically stole a sarong to clothe his friend. Fearing for their lives, they left the pools.

Calamity had robbed Franz and Anthony of daylight and three of their four sandals. With night approaching and their trip just beginning, the two decided to make their way to a place where the world would make sense again. It began to lightly rain as they started for the Party.

The Plastic Beach was littered with the rubbish and refuse dumped from a nearby five star resort. Wood was scarce so they burned whatever they could find: styrofoam containers, plastic folding chairs, flip flops, batteries, ceiling fans, car upholstery, golf club bags, and any other object capable of a gasoline baptism. The result was an olfactory armageddon unsurpassed by any on the island.

Franz and Anthony descended upon the Party.

Magenta fog. Fire. Drumming. Beer. Fighting. Vomit. Sex. Trash. Nudity. Dancing. Drugs. Rage. It was raw, unfettered, volatile humanity distilled into glorious shit, piss and blood. They dove straight in, embracing the madness of it all.

Multi Khan’s hoard was a motley crew of a dozen or so drunks, dropouts, losers and transients who had scraped together enough cash to afford a one way ticket to the island. These invaders lived off the fat of the land, raiding dumpsters at the fancy hotels and setting up camp on the fringes of paradise. There was the Cougar: a haggard European who with her broken English was always trying to seduce a man about half her age. There was The Tweaker: a young, satanic druggie whose possessed yelling was celebrated with laughter. There was The Young Veteran: a grizzly, saronged thirty-something who appeared to be suffering from PTSD after too many Phish shows. He was examining a large knife and keeping a watchful eye on Multi Khan.

Flames rose higher towards the dark, ominous sky. The once peaceful Multi Khan was pacing around the fire and stewing with rage. He had become fixated on the failure of his vision of sharing and brotherhood. Hadn’t he given specific instructions? Everyone was supposed to bring an offering to share before receiving his sermon. Alas, no one brought anything.

Finally, he lashed out. “Didn’t any of you ever go to Elementary School?? Haven’t any of you ever heard of sharing!?!” His eyes glowed red through the darkness as he shouted with childish rage. His bamboo staff splintered as it came crashing down into the fire, sending embers flying to the heavens. He continued to spit fiery insults and curse his friends until at last The Young Veteran attempted to subdue him. Multi Khan attacked with all of his strength and had him pinned by the throat. Attempting to break up the fight, Dread Locks appeared from the shadows and sunk her teeth into The Veteran’s leg and it became a proper brawl. The drumming continued as more and more people piled in.

At last, Nemo let out a long howl. Silence. No one spoke, or even moved as they noticed the full Moon rising over the pale green ocean.

Multi Khan got up first and pet his loyal dog on the head. He paused, took a long stare at the fire, brushed sand from his beard and at last spoke, “Yo guys, I was trippin’. was trippin’… I’m sorry, I was trippin’.” He forced out a laugh and walked into the shadows.

Mutli Khan promptly returned with two large green, re-usable shopping bags filled to the brim with dumpster food. The shiny goods were distributed among the masses and a Bacchian feast ensued. There was a cornucopia of soggy french fries, half eaten bologna sandwiches, stale potato chips, bruised apples, frozen waffles (still in the package!) and the crumbs of chocolate chip cookies mixed with sand. There was sour tuna fish, moldy muffins, and plenty of donuts and pizza crusts to go around. Everyone sat cross legged around the fire and laughed as they shared in the bounty of Multi Khan’s raid.

Anthony hesitated as Angel handed him the container of sushi. Raw fish? With a scoff, Multi Khan seized the container. He popped the slick ahi into his mouth, chewed once and took a hard swallow.

With their bellies now filled, everyone was at last ready to hear Multi Khan’s much touted speech. Multi Khan raised himself in front of the fire.

Passionate, incoherent nonsense is the best way to described what followed. Everyone tried to keep up, but this desperate rant was making everyone a little sick. Mutli Khan’s eyes darted around searching madly for anyone who was engaged in his metaphysical and spiritual discourse. Even Nemo let out a yawn. This went on for what could have been hours until at last Multi Khan took off down the beach embarrassed, doubled over and looking a little sick. The fire was dying down and one by one the guests either departed or found a quiet spot to curl up and pass out. The party was over.

The sun rose into clear, pristine skies. Party goers brushed sleep from their eyes to discover themselves in peace and harmony with the earth. A newly wed couple, who had wandered too far past the boundary of the resorts, paused briefly to survey the scene but continued strolling.

Not far from the great fire, Anthony and Franz discovered Multi Khan’s body. He was lying face down and folded over; his soft cheeks pale blue and lifeless. He had choked on his own vomit.

In a somber daze, Anthony and Franz recalled the events of the night and preceding day. Now completely purged, they both felt eerily cleansed as they’d been promised. EMTs descended upon the scene. A young officer took down their details and questioned them about the details of the young man who had just passed away.

Their memories still foggy, Anthony and Franz had to read his name off Multi Khan’s back; his fleshy tombstone marking the beginning of the final trip.