My ascent from the underworld complete, I emerge from the shaft into daylight and rejoin the path to Mountain City. The trail is no more than a series of cairns marking a route among the boulders through which I pick my way. With the sun at its zenith, a fortress town comes into view, and I continue in the shadows of its ramparts before crossing the drawbridge at the eastern gate.
As the tunnel curves to the right, a flickering light casts onto its left wall. Soon enough, the channel opens into a small cave, a table at its center. On it burns a candle. A plump woman sits behind the table, her shoulders shaking. Is she distraught? But a few seconds’ closer listening reveals soft chuckles, synchronized with her shoulders’ rhythm. A gentle laugh, but one that fills her body.
As you read the book in your hands, you follow Harry Potter’s journey from indistinct and unloved orphan to powerful wizard. But while Harry exists as this beguiling character, he does not exist as that which the story makes him out to be — a real boy wizard in the real world, a boy who experiences what is happening like you do.
slumberfogey: Readers are going to think my old man humour is contagious. Now, remind me who you are. I need to see whether we need to backtrack at all after our break.
pilgrim: I don’t think we do! I am the experiencer of my experience.
slumberfogey: Who are you?
pilgrim: You recognise me, don’t you? I’m Gary, but you always call me pilgrim.
slumberfogey: So “Gary” is your name or “pilgrim” labels you, but is either who you are?
slumberfogey: You’re handling this moment with the precision of a World War II bombardier. Imagine yourself more like a laser eye surgeon. What Is Happening?
pilgrim: I’m imagining myself as a laser eye surgeon.
slumberfogey: Are you taking the piss? Okay. How are you certain you’re imagining yourself as a laser eye surgeon?
pilgrim: Well, the ad said I could get enlightenment, or something like that?
slumberfogey: Is that what I said? Bit naughty of me. Felt like I needed to talk up the product to get people’s attention. Do you want your money back?
pilgrim: I didn’t pay anything.
slumberfogey: Ah. Just as well.
Dear Martin nearly chokes on his milk and honey shake when he sees none other than St. Peter strolling across Paradise Square toward Angel Burger.
“St. Peter, aren’t you meant to be at the Pearly Gate?”
“Greetings, Dear Martin. No, no. I’ve made myself redundant. I must say, I’m enjoying the leisure time. Running immigration control for eternity isn’t as easy as it looks.”