“How do we know we can trust them? And what if they abduct us?” My mom whispered neuroses into my ear.
We were parked outside a dumpy little shack awaiting an encounter which we were not at all prepared to face: a visit with Dana Scully and Fox Mulder. I took my mom’s hand and whispered back, “No matter what, this is gonna be a story that will go down in the X-Files history books.”
I should start from the very beginning. A few weeks back I lost my job, and although this 34 year old mind of mine was utterly disheartened, I found the situation to be an only temporary let down. Over the last few years, mom and I had been talking about getting out of the house for a coupla days, to connect on a level that our schedules didn’t normally allow for. So, here was our chance. We packed our bags, ran over to the market to grab some kombucha & peanut butter granola bars, and hit the road.
Our conversations ranged from arguments on the authenticity of a few family recipes, our shoulder pain, and most importantly, some crime investigation TV shows we’d recently been obsessed with. At a shitty little roadside diner, and while scarfing down coleslaw on rye, we realized something. We were about 43 miles from Area 51. Suddenly, our conversation veered off into a new void. What if we had, in our youths, been abducted by aliens? How do we know for sure that the memory wasn’t suppressed, lost somewhere in the dim caverns of our minds? While finishing up our decaf coffees and some daunting real life discussions of UFOs two of our favorite people walked into the diner. You know who: Fox Mulder and Dana Scully. We couldn’t believe our eyes. We clumsily struck up a conversation, even though Mom and I were spooked. After we mentioned to Dana our adoration for her thesis “Einstein’s Twin Paradox: A New Interpretation”, we were invited to peruse the bookshelves that they kept in their little cabin up the road. Mom and I got into our car and followed Mulder & Scully down a dirt road, through some fruit orchards.
So, that’s how we ended up sitting in our car outside Agents Scully and Mulder’s secret hideaway/safehouse/field office; we just wanted a peek at their library. Sure we trusted Fox and Dana – but these could be clones or..?
As we entered the well-lit (yet barely furnished cabin), we took in the aroma of what could only be freshly brewed paranoia, with a dash of Queequeg II (the dog). As we went down a hall towards their small library, back past the two bedrooms, mom and I wondered what we would find. What books might our heroine Scully keep, tucked neatly in order and accompanied by boxes of sterile medical gloves? What outlandish documents had Mulder collected, and which of these did he keep by his bedside? We were enchanted by their floor to ceiling library – half perfectly organized, half…not – and began sorting through the books on the shelves immediately…
From Fox Mulder’s stacks of books
The Lives of a Cell: Notes of a Biology Watcher – Lewis Thomas – An intimate and poetic beginners guide to exploring the world of medicine, bio-mythology, germs, and so much more. I was a bit surprised to find this one in Mulder’s stack. Scully’s dream come true? We can only hope.
Against Method – Paul Feyerbend – Philosophy! With a plethora of references to Galileo and Descartes, this analytical handbook goes pretty deep. From explanations on classic electrodynamics, to the failures in science, ya gotta be in the right mood for this one. Over the last few years, I’ve only made it halfway through chapter nine, which addresses the problems behind telescopic vision & celestial objects. It only gets more complicated from there, so don’t forget your highlighter.
The Dark Way; The Way of the Priests; The White Path (trilogy) – Robert J. Conley – Three separate haunting tales, representing the authentic voice of the Cherokee. Each story is different, yet all are psychologically linked to one another. A young girl named Agehyuja (or ‘Corn Flower’ for short) leads a group of boys amidst their last encounters with the irresponsibility of childhood -shooting honey locusts from a cane pole blowgun. Hunters and tribal priests doing what they did before the white man came.
Disposable People: New Slavery in the Global Economy – Kevin Bales – I remember picking this one up in college. “They didn’t think those people were Human Beings” reads an excerpt on Thailand (chapter two). Life on the edge in Pakistan, India, Brazil, and in depth studies on Afro-Mauritanian oppositions. A rough read, but essential for all you sociologists out there. From the politics of brothels, to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs -this book gives insight to the mighty concern Mulder has for the damage in the U.S. system that is still denied.
The Riddle of the Sphinx – Geza Roheim – What I love about this book, is that it’s more of a guide through the ancient rituals of Central Australian tribes, rather than a series of essays or folklore. In chapter three you are introduced to the “Ontogenetic Interpretation of Culture”, where our curiosities are met as we venture step-by-step through specific Melanesian mythologies of the mebu ritual (blood revenge). Good find, Mulder.
From Scully’s book collection
Project World Evacuation – Tuella – Was Scully finally getting into the whole UFO phenomenon? Mulder’s wet dream! The book starts with a dedication to the members of the “Intergalactic Legion of Special Volunteers”. Yes! I imagined Scully and Mulder sitting out on the roof of the cabin at 3am on a Monday morning. Watching the sky, taking notes, and eating tofutti bars til they could just barely roll themselves back into bed.
Shakti Woman: Feeling Our Fire, Healing Our World – Vicki Noble – It’s here that we are guided by Noble in an effort to reveal a history behind obscurities such as our solar bodies, lunar rhythms, psychotropic plants, menstrual cycles, and esoteric insights of the Goddess culture. Not only do we get to dive into the realms of the occult, we are also introduced to texts on the kabala and Western magic. A wonderful chunky read, and just under 300 pages. Probably another gift from Mulder, but I hope she reads it.
The Female Man – Joanna Russ – Ooo Scully’s getting to be such a feminist. Not that she wasn’t one already, right? Russ’s collection of tales follow different characters: a guilty cunt-warrior with steel teeth who’s ready for battle, a girl named Janet -who’s from a utopia called Whileaway (where only women dare exist), etc.. Russ’ characters connect through the story of a feminist from the 70s -who’s trying desperately to succeed in a “man’s world”. I heard of this book when I was in my teens, but for some reason I never picked it up until recently. I’ll see if Scully will let me borrow this one first.
Playing and Reality – W. Winnicott – A revealing and fundamental read for psychoanalysts and poets alike. We venture through the rites and unexpected clarities hidden in the depths of our dream-world, while approaching the values of illusion & frustration; exploring instinct, and other clinical observations on the attachment that we as humans have to objects -which takes place when we’re just infants. Scully gets big points for having this one on her shelf.
Bury Me Standing: The Gypsies and Their Journey – Isabel Fonseca – The history of Bulgarian Gypsies never felt quite so intimate. Prostitutes, basket weavers, the mob, and nine year old girls addicted to glue. Fonseca released her eloquent collection of case studies on the matter back in 1995; the same year Scully had that encounter with assistant director Skinner’s soon-to-be ex-wife (“Avatar” 3X21). “The book was sent to me by an anonymous person at that time. I still never figured out who it was, or how it was connected to the murder case…”
Well, as you can see, mom and I had our hands, hearts and minds pregnant with the opportunities for new research. But we still had some unanswered questions for Mulder and Scully – and they were nowhere to be found. I leaned over to my mom, who was just as confused as I was, “So, what the hell do we do next?”
Then, there was this sound, almost like before an earthquake. I looked down the hall toward the front door, witnessing something very peculiar, something that I couldn’t bear to turn away from.
“Mom… hey, mom…”
The light was so bright, we almost missed the diminutive silhouettes toddling towards us…
* * *
And we woke up sitting on my couch 3 days later, me clutching a peanut butter granola bar. No idea what happened, either to us or our 3 missing days – but we got a helluva reading list.