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July 08, 2024

Geistmann 3: To the Ends of the Earth, Chapter Twenty-six

By Ron Singer

Chapter Twenty-Six.

Asheville, North Carolina,
Saturday, March 9th, 2019.

On Saturday morning, while John Robinson was breakfasting with the FBI team in Charlotte, and Scott Peters and Harito Yurei were sniffing around Asheville (separately), Geistmann was preparing to leave his airbnb for the day. He had set his alarms and trip wires, and was wondering why he not received the last four daily invoices from his Brazilian oranges. Then, his phone buzzed. Checking, he saw that he had received a text from the secure personal account of Samir Gupta, his man in Vancouver.

He hoped the text would not disrupt his plans, which were to visit the Thomas Wolfe Historical site, and then to have dinner with Elica and Iosub at the new home Samir had found for them, which he, Geistmann, had not yet visited. Perhaps, the text contained directions. But it turned out to be nothing of the sort.


"Harito Yurei!" he thought. The yakuza was already on his trail. Not to mention a hundred other enemies! Grabbing the duffel, but leaving the rest of his scattered possessions behind, he scrambled down the back steps of the building. Luckily, today's itinerary would take him to exactly the kinds of places Samir had recommended.

One of Geistmann's abilities was to split his mental screen into parts, the effect being kaleidoscopic. As he hurried through the deserted back alleys that led directly to the crowded shopping streets of Asheville's Downtown District, he was able to conjure five separate screens.

Screen #1 was a street map leading from his rented flat to the one place in this city he would not skip, even if the delay put him in further jeopardy. The map included the area through which he was already hurrying. Adding a mental cursor to represent his position, he slowly moved it north, charting his progress toward the first stop. Since this map included a scale bar, and he knew how fast he was moving, he was able to estimate his TOA.

As he ran, he split his mind's eye, and gazed simultaneously at both the map (Screen #1) and Screen #2, a 2008 "Me-Tube" music video he had recorded for the delectation of his pursuers, and sent to Arnold (R.I.P.) Weatherbee, at JOLETAF headquarters in New York City, in 2008. In the eleven years since he had made this video, he had watched it many times, but it never grew old. Today would mark the second, and quite possibly, the valedictory, performance.

After .4 miles, as the crow flies, which took him ten minutes to traverse by zigzagging through alleys (which made his progress more like that of a wounded or drunken crow), he reached the first stop. This was at a crotch in the road where South Market Street, running north from his airbnb, met a street coming in from the west. That this street, too, was called South Market Street, did not surprise Geistmann, who had visited many cities that presented similar anomalies. His mind flashed on one now: the intersection, in New York's Greenwich Village, of West 4th, with West 12th, streets. Geography was strange. History was strange. Life was strange.

At the intersection of the two North Market streets was a shop that sold musical instruments and supplies. Without stopping to don so much as a hat, or a false beard or mustache, he went inside, where he purchased a deluxe guitar pick, to replace the one he had left on the dresser at his hotel in Sarajevo. For ecological reasons, he ignored the pasty-faced salesman's advice that a three-pack "sampler" would cost the same as the singleton.

He anticipated giving only one performance, and either of the two superfluous picks might end up piercing the beautiful skin of a fish, when they wound up as garbage that leached from a landfill into a waterway. If he had been in less of a hurry, he might have forcefully explained his choice to the young salesman, who looked as if he ate too many doughnuts.

From the music shop, Geistmann continued north, now doing a broken-field run past the crowds of shoppers and gapers. As he ran, he accessed two screens. The first was, again, Screen #1, the street map, specifically the section from the crotch to his next destination, the public restrooms adjacent to a public art display in the bowels of the Downtown District. He was exactly on schedule to reach this destination at 1021 hours, three minutes from now. Before being rousted by Samir's message, he had intended to check what the current exhibition might be. Now, he warned himself to keep his expectations low. As it turned out, they were not too low.

The present installation was a huge animatronic sculpture that combined a shipwreck with a marine animal and a towering female figure. Geistmann was unmoved by the sight, which he guessed was meant to evoke some aspect of southern history. If he had time later, he would do a Google search to find out the artist's rationale for erecting a piece with such an obviously nautical theme, in Asheville, a six-hour drive from the ocean. The jerky movements of the animatronic figures made him slightly seasick.

Dismissing this ambitious "creation" as an example of conceptual folderol, he peeked inside the Men's Room. Seeing that it was empty, he ducked into the Disabled stall, where he would assume the persona for his visit to the Wolfe House. That was the next, and last, stop on his afternoon itinerary, and the northernmost point on Screen #1.

If readers are interested in Reading Geistmann, it is available as a free PDF from the author. Please visit www.ronsinger.net for contact information.

And Geistmann in Africa (Geistman II):

Article © Ron Singer. All rights reserved.
Published on 2022-10-10
Image(s) are public domain.
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