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The world was supposed to end on May 5th, 2000. It didn't, as far as anyone can tell.

I was at the Monroe Institute Lifelines course on May 5th. A bunch of us who had been dreaming together requested that day, figuring with the planets aligning and ending the world as we know it, being at psychic spying school might be a trip.

The course is held at the Robert's Mountain Retreat, which is Bob Monroe's house. Now that he's dead and his family has moved on, they use it for psychic spying classes. Most of his stuff is still there. You can still pick up a book autographed to him from the Dalai Lama or Patch Adams.

You do the Lifelines class to learn to do retrievals. "Retrievals" are the completely unverifiable, unimaginable, non-denominational helping of souls lost on their way from death to their own eternities.

After you help someone you write down the particulars and then look up the person's name in the obituraries.

It's a romantic image. Once I felt a woman's hand in mine while we ascended, or descended, or transversed layers of interdimensional thought to a reception station.

She wasn't interested in what those guys had to say when we got there. They wanted to know if she wanted to walk or ride in the wheelchair and she was showing them pictures of her grandchildren.

The boy is a lawyer in Florida. The girl, a mother of twins in Georgia.

Or maybe I made the whole thing up.

The whole thing.

I was thinking I'd paid another $1600 to go lie in a dark box, listen to humming, and make things up when I saw Mark physically in two places at once. Or he tricked us.

What do you want to believe?

We were on the deck watching the sun rise as it has forever in human history when I heard the door to our room open behind me. I turned to see Mark, fully clothed and fresh from his morning hygiene padding off to the main house, his bare feet slapping on the concrete.

So I figured the shower was free. Right?

Wrong. He was in there and soaking wet when I got there 90 seconds later. Twice.

Two days in a row.

I have witnesses--eyes other than mine. No explanation.

Robert Toombs was really angry to be dead. I invented him to be a tall, strong, black man from Chicago. I could see the veins in his eyeballs when he tore off his hardhat and screamed at me:

"Who's going to take care of my babies?! YOU?"

Putting on my best management--"We're really here to talk about you now, Robert."

"No, you don't get it, do you? I'm not going anywhere with you fuckers until I get some satisfaction. Now who's going to take care of my family? How about you? You're still alive. You go on to 2xx 98th street and you tell them you're going to take care of them from now on. Go on, motherfucker."

"Did you have any insurance..." and I felt the stupidity of my question before it left my non-verbal brain.

When I shrugged he pushed me aside, astrally, I guess.

"Fucking useless," he said loud enough to make the building shake. And he went off to find someone to take care of his poor family.

I looked for my guide, who is never there. Instead I got this Tinkerbell of a light that just bobbed a little when I asked what I was supposed to do.

"Is this some kind of management challenge? When do I get to help people?"

But Tinkerbell was as useless to me as I was to the recently dead Robert Toombs, dead in a construction accident in Chicago. His wife didn't even know yet.

What a thing to make up.

"I feel like I'm making all of this up," I said to John at lunch. "What's the difference between making this up and writing stories?"

He did the facilitator's thing--"How does it feel to you?"

"Feels exactly the same," I said. "Just like writing stories."

But then we were out on Bob Monroe's screen porch on a break. I picked up the candy jar, pulled out an aluminum foiled kiss, and started to put the jar down when it flew out of my hand and crashed onto the table.

Again--three other people saw this.

"You threw that," their brains said to my brain, which replied, "No I didn't...I tried to catch it. I missed..."

Then that damned Lifelines Vibe Flow tape blasted me to infinity. I was so far OBE'd that I'd completely forgotten my body was asleep in a CHEC unit. Maybe that's what it's like when you die. You're just out there and it feels like what it's supposed to feel like.

Not one thought of my body crossed my tiny brain.

Mark, Paul, and Laura were with me. We wandered around the grounds talking about things as if we were completely embodied. It was as if being in an OBE state was irrelevant. Our minds were going on with conversations we'd started during the break.

And when we got back to the screen porch we saw ourselves sitting there, frozen in time, as if someone had stopped the movie projector and was burning reality into a single frame. I was holding the candy jar, putting it down. Mark, Paul and Laura were laughing.

Then I realized something was amiss.

Mark said, "Oh, watch this. This is cool. See, you can't effect anyone but yourself." And he started flailing at my frozen body. His limbs went through.

"Oh," I said, incredulous. "And, like, if I do this..." I whacked at the candy jar and it crashed into the table. I watched my hand unfreeze and go after it as I had in physical life.

"Holy shit..." I said.

"This is so fucking cool," Laura shouted. "We're never going to remember any of this!"

With that I slammed back into my body in my CHEC, my reality now so twisted I had to think to remember how to breathe.

But not much else happened.

I played Bob Monroe's piano.

His treadmill is broken. Don't try to run on it.

The Mickey Mouse cups in the kitchen are a little worn.

They make good muffins for breakfast.

You eat them, shrink, and fall down rabbit holes.

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