THE KING AND I
We awaken in the morning, stretch and swing to drop our feet to the floor. That part is always pretty standard, no matter whom you are. From there, the new day begins and, it’s usual that your routine is such that you needn’t be wide awake for at least the first few minutes.
A morning like any other found me awakening, stretching and dropping my feet to the floor. From there on, my usual routine was suddenly a total loss. Although it was me standing there looking out what was, admittedly a familiar window and, while it was me knowing my way from the bed to the bathroom, beyond that, I was swamped in confusion. Somehow, deep within, I also knew I wasn’t the person who lived in that house. Slightly unfocused, yet clear on another level, I knew I was King Muku.
I, Jonathan Marks, live here, have a job here, have friends here and know my way around without any special confusion. The trouble was that I, King Muku, knew full well I did not live here nor belong here.
As I stood there, squinting into the rays of the morning sun and tried to deal with these conflicts, I was also searching my mind for one especially illusive fact. Where did I live as King Muku? Of what people was I king?
Okay, about now, you’re trying not to laugh at such an idea and thinking to yourself that it was obvious I was still engulfed in part of some dream. Right? Very wrong. As awake as I’d ever been and as clear as ever about the life of Jon, I also knew the real ‘me’ had somehow become transferred into this body at this place and had been, in the process, taken from all I held familiar.
As Jon, I’d have no trouble getting dressed, fixing breakfast and driving to work. In fact, the details of the job itself were perfectly clear to me as well the ability to readily picture my co-workers. My problem was that I knew I wasn’t this person, Jon, at all. In my own life, I would never allow myself to be dressed in the clothing I was finding myself putting on to go live a day in the life of Jon. In my own life, my man would now be dressing me and, instead of a shirt and pants with buttons and zippers, he would be honored by the privilege of adorning my body in the finest furs and necklace of rare bones which symbolized my kills before proving myself worthy as King of my people.
Shaking my head, I realized it was going to take some time and effort on my part before Jon would come to terms with the fact that the body he had always inhabited was going to be taken from him and used to do my own bidding. I may have been fully aware of Jon and our dilemma, but Jon was still to accept my existence. Are you now beginning to get the idea? This was far from any ordinary concept of split personality because I didn’t feel split from Jon in any way. He, however, was soon due for a shock when I began taking control away from him, since it was obvious Jon was quite comfortable to continue the life he lived without acknowledging me in any way.
Did I want to return with this body? Would I ever be able to even determine where I must return to? All this would require that I assert myself and override Jon, while using his abilities at research. A switch that turned a light on was fully foreign to me, but not difficult to learn the use of. A computer on which I knew Jon would be able to do research and determine where I belonged would be another matter entirely. Knowing what he knew could work out to my advantage. But, it seemed it must be Jon who accomplished what Jon knew how to do, not me. I may be in his body, but I sensed I was unable to instinctively do things Jon readily accomplished, just as he, even though he knew of me, would have been unable to live the life I was familiar with. Might we talk this out and hope to determine a path that could benefit us both or, at the very least, prove not to completely sacrifice one of us while trying to fulfill the needs of the other?
More or less in agreement, I let Jon make his breakfast and drive himself to work that first morning. A mutually beneficial plan could be formed as we worked our way through what must be done here in the life of Jon. I felt certain my time would come. For now, Jon was showing more confusion than hostility, so I felt this offered hope for an alliance.
I know this person is here. Although I feel distant in many ways and really have no idea what he looks like or how he would look dressed in those fur robes he mentions, I do know he isn’t me and doesn’t belong here. At my wonder of anyone these days dressing in such a manner, I feel an assurance from Muku that he is by far the best dressed man he knows. It’s gratifying to find no friction and to feel myself free to continue with my usual routine. But, my usual routine has never had need to accommodate another inside me and I have a sense that parts of what I consider commonplace are about to be considered extraordinary. I see no way we can continue without using one another or learning more of one another. After all, he can’t stay here and I sense he would rather not be here at all. An awkwardness about him tells me the life I’m familiar with is one with which he finds himself completely out of place. We must work this out and send him packing. King, indeed! Well, whatever he thinks he is will have to be fine with me until we work this out and he’s gone from me.
It’s nearly lunch time. In all the mental confusion this morning, I skipped my usual and settled for a bowl of corn flakes and that means the old innards are now fiercely growling at me in demand of sustenance. I haven’t been hearing from the king since I got to my office. In fact, unless I make a point of it, I’d almost think he was gone. Now, as I head for the restaurant down the street, I hear the king making a request. Shaking my head in confusion, I try to tell him that, even though I know how to use a computer, I haven’t a hint of how I might go about finding a country that has recently lost their king. After all, I explain, if he’s used to wearing furs, it sounds to me as though he’s king of a pretty small country or group of people. Not being familiar with electricity as he is, I suggest they have no computers. If that’s the case, how would they broadcast to the world that their king was gone? Really, I try to explain to Muku, what we do is get on the Internet and do a search routine. What that means is that, if there is someone we’re looking for and they have left a message or address on the Internet or someone using the Internet knows of them, we could follow up and find them that way. I really fail to imagine any other way of searching for something as rare as a country with a king, a missing king at that. I ask him, would his people post a notice somewhere asking for information as to the whereabouts of their king? Since he’s now in my body, his own body must still be somewhere else. If, I continue to reason, his own body is still with his people, would they be aware that he was here or somewhere else and not with them?
I really, seriously, want to be of help. The trouble is that I haven’t the least idea how. Muku seriously expects me to help him find where he came from. I, in turn, seriously want my mind free of him and his problems or influence. But, a country with a missing king?
Over a sandwich and salad, a thought occurred to me. I asked Muku if he noticed what he saw in the mirror when I shaved this morning. Did my face look anything like the one he was used to seeing on himself? Muku gave this concept some thought, then told me that he could draw a picture of himself if he had a marker and something to draw on.
Once back at the office, I pulled a tablet out of a drawer and took out a sharpened pencil. My hand, guided by Muku, then began sketching. Hey, this guy was pretty good. ‘You see’, he pointed out, ‘my skin is darker than yours. I am also taller and fuller. As big as both you and a young boy. My robes are held from falling away with a woven strip of soft barks from trees. We have nothing like you fasten your clothes with and we don’t burden ourselves with layers like you do. My robe is my covering. A place away from others is where I relieve myself, not in a cold, white stone thing right inside my home that water runs into.’
So, I thought, after Muku finished, he is obviously of some tribe of people native to, perhaps, Africa or someplace where the skin of most is darker. Maybe he ended up being a king over them mostly due to his size, if he’s as big as he says he is. ‘I am.’ Muku assured me, ‘and, I am the strongest and wisest, and therefore, their king.’
‘My eyes are wider than yours and point together at the sides’, I told Jon. ‘Does that help?’
‘Then, is your skin dark brown or is it maybe of a more reddish cast? You could belong in Asia or Africa or even somewhere in the mountains of Puerto Rico or some such country. Muku, have you ever been to a large city where people of many colors walk and mix together?’
You need to be reminded that all this conversation was taking place inside my head with no words being uttered aloud. Those passing the window that looks into my office would have thought I was talking to myself if we had both spoken aloud. Besides, there was no reason for spoken word, since we were both inside my head. It’s hard, even now, to say that and feel others could possibly understand what it was like. But, back to my story.
Work finished for the day, I (we) went back to my apartment to continue working on this problem that was afflicting us both. I pulled up ‘Pictures of nationalities’ on the web search and found many good examples that showed the general appearances of people from many nations. As I scrolled past one after another, Muku suddenly stopped me with a remark. ‘My people!’ This fellow on screen was identified with a caption stating he was of the Mayans. In fact, the picture showed a man dressed similar to what Muku had described as his customary robe. I then saw what he had meant, too, by the slant of the eyes. The eyes were neither Oriental, nor round as were my own. And the skin was more of a burnished, red-brown Indian look, rather than Negroid, as I had at first thought he was describing. The note also mentioned that this race was scattered now and nearly extinct.
‘I must go there.’ Muku now informed me.
‘Whoa! I’m supposed to just skip work, buy a plane ticket and go gallivanting off to take you home? How do you plan to get back into your own body once we get there,’ I asked.
‘Hmm. A problem. You are right. I did not come here in my body and enter you. That might mean I can go back to my body without being there, now that I know where to go.’ Muku considered.
‘Yeah, but, we still don’t know exactly where you belong. That’s a big country and you could belong any number of places.’ I began to search through the sections of the country where there could be a chance the people were ruled by a king. Generally, in this day, even there, they would have laughed at someone declaring to be their king. There had to be, somewhere in the less accessible places, some tribes that never mixed with others; some in which the rule of a king would be accepted as normal.
Later that first evening, Muku sketched a picture of his home for me with rooms laid out as well as a view from the front. Additionally, he sketched what he described as the place from which he ruled and handed down decisions. In that picture, I was immediately taken with the similarity between his sketch and some of the ancient Mayan pyramids that had been found with jungle overgrowing them. None existed intact these days, nor had they for generations as far as anyone knew. Muku went on to explain this building was very large; maybe the size of fifty of my apartments by the way he indicated size and very high, reaching for the stars. Nothing was stated in feet and inches, yet I somehow understood what he meant.
Oh, sure, I thought! A genuine Mayan King, right here in my very own brain. That’s all I needed.
Muku pretty much stayed in the background all the next day and let me get on with my work at the office. Once I had finished with dinner that night, I, as I had promised him I would, went back on line and pulled up a few satellite pictures of the areas where Mayan ruins had been found and we both searched across the screen, looking for anything he would feel was familiar.
Suddenly, Muku pointed at the screen and exclaimed, ‘My home!’ I saw jungle. An old pyramid showed several miles away, top poking up out of the jungle as well as a couple of others where discoverers had found them and archeologists had, since, painstakingly cleared jungle away. All this was clear to the eye when looking at the satellite photo.
My problem was that, right at the spot where Muku pointed, my own eye could see nothing whatsoever except dense foliage of trees and vines. I zoomed in to clarify the spot where he pointed, yet saw nothing that might have been made by man. Unless my eyes were deceiving me, nothing at all was now at the spot he had pointed to. Had something been built there at one time and, since rotted and decayed back into the encroaching jungle? Was it somehow possible he was seeing and longing to return to a place and time of the distant past?
Muku still stared and pointed and declared this was his home, the location of his people and their farms and homes; his pyramid. I could feel his gaze longingly roam across the tops of trees as though able to see through them to what he knew to be there.
I can’t say today when thinking back on the event whether I felt it first or if it was Muku who felt the drawing feeling, the pull. Suddenly, it was like the feeling of a large suction cup pulling at me, then popping as though pulling free.
Well, it seemed certain Muku had been right about one thing. Having come from there to here without physical travel seemed to also mean it was every bit as handy to go back there from here without the travel difficulties. Whatever the transportation means used in this little trick, I sat there with no doubt whatsoever that King Muku was now gone from me.
I shook my head in wonder at the idea that he could see his home, seemingly clearly, where I could make out nothing but trees. Was he perhaps seeing something that was below tree level? Was it only distance through which Muku had traveled or, perhaps, he had traveled to me also through time.
I no longer had a sense of anyone but myself; no other thoughts or conflicts in reactions or yearning for home. I was alone in my apartment again.
Had Muku truly found his people? Had they been there, below the trees the satellite photo had shown? Had he somehow taken his mind on a trip of such magnitude to come here and now return? I have no explanation for any of what I’ve told you. Yet, I suffer no doubt whatsoever that I shared my mind for two days with another person. At the same time, accepting the fact that all he wanted was to return and no harm had come to me during his visit, I am relieved beyond words to find myself alone once more. I may not lead an exciting life, but it’s mine and I’d far rather offer invitations when the time comes that I’m ready to share it intimately with another.
Scoff at my story if you please. Tell me I was hallucinating. Say I was temporarily insane. It doesn’t matter to me. I’m now here. Muku is gone. I merely tell my story because the mind sharing was so unlike any experience I know of anyone else ever having experienced. Without a picture of King Muku, I am now left with nothing to prove his existence, yet I know he was here. But, I do still have his sketches and my friends would know me to be completely inept at controlling such an artistic hand.
May the good King Muku reign long and wisely.
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