Arlene Schneier and I had heard that Mr. Quost who lived on Albemarle Road was a Manipulator of the Mind.
“What does that mean, Arlene?” I liked her. I wanted to impress her.
“It means, Eric, that he went to NYU medical school and he studied Brain Science.”
I had heard that Mr. Quost helped kids whose brains were messed up so they couldn’t talk properly or walked weird so this made sense. I rang on his doorbell and asked to come in.
“Do you want to visit another planet?” he asked me after we had a little tea and saltine crackers. “I have a special machine in my office where you can do just that.”
“Well people go all sorts of different places in my office but where I’d really like to take you is a special place that only you can go.”
He strapped me down onto the table and gave me ether and started stimulating my brain with wires. I went to a planet called OLIVETTI. On Olivetti music is just like flavor is for us — everybody hears music and responds in exactly the same way and people need music. But flavor is also just like music for us — there is such a subtle range of responsiveness that the human consciousness can respond to a grape or a cheese sandwich. Cooks are like composers. Their philosophers talk about the FLAVOR of the spheres.
There were so many magical animals: gryphons, dragons, wyrms, and cockatrices — I had so many flavor tournaments riding the dragons, casting the lance into the mouth of the great worm, I won tournaments. I was a knight. I was the lord of knights. I was the king. Only five minutes had passed.
I was done and felt sweaty and weird. In school at PS 139 I was confused, had difficulty paying attention. I went to MR. Nadel the guidance counselor. He looked in my pupils. “Have you visited a Manipulator of the Mind?”
I told him about Mr. Quost. He was very concerned. He said there should be a law. “You’re very very lucky. This kind of man is like a spider — he was trying to find the precise point in your brain where you would like it so much that you would never want to come back. And then you would be his slave forever.”
“Arlene! Arlene!” I realized she was in danger. I went running to Mr. Quost’s house. I saw on the screen where she was — holding a harp, fluttering her white wings. I beat the old man and strapped myself into his apparatus.
I mounted Snazak my Black Dragon and to ride to her heaven heaven where she sat by the right hand of God the Father playing her harp and grabbed a lance to rupture her bliss and save her from her dreams.