“I get so nervous when I meet all you big shots from Washington. Is it Congresswoman, Congressperson, what do you prefer?”
“I want you to call me Debbie. And what shall I call you, Mr. Hart?”
“Well, I’ve accumulated so many names in my travels with the Grateful Dead and, more importantly, through my spiritual and ethnic adventures in the service of rhythm and the sacred heart of the drum.”
“”Yeah, they briefed me that you’d do this.”
“In Mongolia, I lived for two months in a yurt. And not a fancy yurt, either: this was the double-wide trailer of yurts. The nomads and I recorded an album based on the hoofbeats of their horses. It was never released, but I acquired the Mongol name At’acg’ack, which they did not translate for me. I had to leave the clan when the falcons they used to hunt turned on them and began snatching up babies. I was declared an evil demon and chased away, even though I told them that I do not control eagles.
“Debbie, I do not control eagles.”
“No one said that you did, Mick.”
“In Lappland, the Sammi people took me in–”
“Oh, you’re going to keep talking.”
“–and taught me their ancient ways and arcane rhythms. They have polyrhythms that boggle the mind! During ceremonies, the men and the women clap and play and chant in different times: the men in six and the women in seven. The Sammi say this represents the conflicted but conjoined nature of man and woman.
“But-and here’s the cool thing–the elders clap and play and chant in four! So you’ve got drumming, you’ve got the social structure, you’ve got sacred mathematics going: it’s something beautiful.
“Of course, none of it makes any sense without a big mug of hallucinogenic reindeer piss.”
“Psilocybin mushrooms grew like…well, mushrooms up there and the reindeer eat them Doesn’t do anything to them, and the special sauce in the shrooms doesn’t get absorbed; it gets shot out with the piss.
“And you can see this stuff glowing, man. The Sammi like to quaff it as fresh as possible. Still steaming. Hour later, it’s drum circle time.”
“Why don’t they just eat the mushrooms. Why get the reindeer involved?”
“Hey: why don’t they move to Florida? They’re free to leave. They’re like–and, you know: not to be racist or anything–half-elf. Honestly. They’re little and barrel-chested and don’t have noses and they’ll build the fuck out of a toy. They’re weird.
“Anyway, halfway through my naming ceremony, Mongolian eagles flew out of the sky and snatched up some babies. And I was–”
“Declared an evil demon.”
“–even though I do not control eagles, Debbie.”
“What were the Sammi going to name you?”
“They said that it was a coincidence, and that it meant something else in their language.”
“What does it mean in their language?”
“They would not tell me.”