I'd spent the night applying for jobs online, alternatively drinking grape Kool-Aid and sneaking bites out of a block of domestic Parmesan cheese, when it happened.
My lips were purple and my breath stank. My stomach hurt. It was not a good time for an adventure.
I was running out of money. My campaign costs were astronomical. I owed $20 million for campaign advertising alone. My manager would no longer pay my bills.
I was frazzled. I faced financial ruin. I could see myself out on the streets. It wasn't a bright future.
I slipped a tranquilizer from the medicine cabinet while my manager slept. Took it with a glass of water and lay down at her feet.
Suddenly the room was shaking. It sounded as if a car was coming through the wall. The noise was unbelievable.
I opened my eyes and found myself looking out of a huge window into a dark void. In the distance I could see a space ship. Its opaque white sides luminously lit from within. What looked like a golden claw slowly extended to point directly at me where I sat.
My paws covered my heart reflexively and I screamed.
"Where am I? I wailed. I tried to stand. The floor rocked violently beneath my paws. I fell back in my chair.
"Captain," said a voice from behind me. "The ship is drawing huge amounts of energy to its photon ray."
I turned and looked at the speaker. He was pure white and feline with the strangest ears I had ever seen.
"Sir, we cannot sustain another attack," he said.
I found I was surrounded by others like him. They were all dressed in plain tunics with triangular insignias over their hearts. I could tell that their paws had never touched earth.
"Mr,....uh," I stumbled over the words still in the grip of the tranquilizer. I gazed around. My heart raced as I recognized the place. I was on the bridge of the Starship Enterprise. I was going where no cat had gone before.
Following in the steps of Captain James. T. Kirk, I took command of the ship.
An orange kitty dressed in a black and white kilt burst through the airlock.
"Sir, I can give you impulse power in a couple of minutes," he said in an abrasive Scottish accent. "Just the batteries are left after that last attack."
"We don't have a couple of minutes," I shouted.
I turned to the communications officer, "open a channel and hail that ship," I hissed.
Before she could execute my order, 'he' was on screen.
He had changed dramatically since our last encounter. Snakes writhed around his neck in the most god awful necklace I had ever seen. Usually clean shaven, he wore a beard that hung in lumpy dread locks to his belly.
"Eve?" I asked.
"A massive online, multi-player game. You are in Jovian space. The last frontier in EVE. You are an outlaw. You inhabit a character that is not suppose to be playable. Your race has evolved through genetic engineering to be more than human," he smiles. "But we already knew that!"
"I thought I was the Captain of the Starship Enterprise and you were the scourge of the universe!" I quipped.
"That too, Cato, but this is your own show. You created this from your own mind. This is it."
"I created my own online game? I thought this was created and owned by CCP in Iceland.
"Like I said, you create your own reality on- or off- line.The world mirrors your predominant thoughts."
"My predominant thoughts were about the end of my presidential campaign and financial ruin," I laughed.
"Oh Cato," he began to sing. "Your mind, the Supreme Lord, is the Great Light of the universal consciousness. Your mind is the perfect medium of reflection. When your mind is fat, you are fat. When your wallet is thin, you mind starves."
"Oh Cato, you are the Spanda of the universe. The vibration of life. The heart, the essence, the wave, the strength, the exertion and the purr of the divine."
"I am the spandex of the universe?" I grabbed my sides, laughing, it was just too much. Sometimes his words exceeded my vocabulary. This time I wouldn't pretend to know what it was he was talking about.
"The universe is a block copolymer of polyurethane and polyethylene glycol disguised as a Siamese Cat who holds the universe together?" I was laughing so hard, I couldn't breath
"Oh Cato, you are the perfect vibration of the universe, Spanda or spandex, within you is the glue that holds the universe together. Within you is the destruction of the universe as well. You are the god of creation and destruction."
I could see where this conversation was going. I needed to keep him talking while I arranged for his destruction before he destroyed me.
"Bock, pinpoint the areas of that ship that lack enough power to hold a shield.," I said quietly to my science officer who stood nearby. I was tired of The Great Cat's dangerous games. I wanted earthly success. I wanted to buy my presidency like everyone else.
"Pinpointed." Bock nodded at me. "Phasers are locked on target."
"Engage, " I said.
I gave the order. There was a delay. Then the luminous ship that had once hung in the void like a golden beetle, blew to smithereens. All that was left was gold dust."
The screen went blank. The bridge was silent. All time stopped.
The Great Cat walked through the airlock and onto the bridge.
"Oh, Cato, undivided is the one Supreme Lord. The whole world is bound by the shackles of one's own wayward thinking. You are bound by a reality that is far from real."
"Cut the crap," I shouted at him. I was tired of his relentless pomposity. "The economy is sinking fast," I said. "The future is in jeopardy."
"All in your mind," he sang.
"People are losing their homes and their livelihoods. The future is collapsing."
"All in your mind," he sang.
"The globe is heating up and soon the only temperate places to live on earth will be the polar caps," I said.
"All in you mind," he sang.
"You are beginning to sound like our current president," I laughed. I raised my phaser and pointed it at his heart.
"Oh, Cato, George Bush had a great opportunity to realize the wonders of the mind. He could have led us all into complete realization. Still his being retains the vibration of the universe within despite his delusions."
"Oh, Cato, few in number are those kitties that wander in the sky of consciousness. Fewer yet travel beyond the path where the Sun and Moon have set. You are well beyond your own universe. While some felines cry for milk, you crave discovery. Let your eyes be colored by the collyium of contemplation and you will behold your abode, the universe," his hands swept the stars beyond the ship.
I wept. He was like a father to me. I loved The Great Cat like no other. I put my head in my paws and wept until my whiskers were limp.
"Captain, look!" Bock shouted.
I pulled myself out of my grief to look once again on the void. Rushing towards us was a mirror of our own ship and riding on the exterior lip of the bridge was The Great Cat. He was larger than life, majestic with his snakes gliding around his body. He held a trident above his head in triumph as he drove his ship into mine.
It was over instantly. The collision. The horrible sound of steel grinding on steel and then, when the air escaped, there was no sound. Nothing.
My consciousness floated. There was me and the universe. Then there was the low, gravely purr, the vibration of the universe. Then there was nothing.
I woke with a shriek. My campaign manger sat bolt upright in bed. She screamed.
"Stop it, stop biting my ankle, Cato!" She kicked me and I flew off the bed. I hit my head and slumped against the wall.
I was alive. With all my delusions, I was alive. My mind had started again. It created what I saw and what I felt. It created the room, my campaign manager and the pain in my head. I was grateful for this reality.
Editor's note: My apologies to the EVE online community for stealing a little history. The inspiration for this post is the Spandakarika, one of the great books of Kashmir Shaivism.