CD Art by Paul Becker
A man , whom we will refer to as the Traveller, suffers a massive brain aneurysm on his way to work the very day he decides to quit his job. Surrounded by the masses of humanity on a busy New York sidewalk he quietly collapses and loses consciousness. When he awakens, he finds himself in the midst of a vast desert. He doesn’t know it yet , but this is his SOUL. Years of neglect have turned his once lush, beautiful spirit into a wasteland.
One moment the Traveller is in New York – the next he is standing in the middle of a desert with an excruciating headache, questioning his own sanity. With nothing to guide him he picks a direction at random and begins walking.
Deep in the desert, the Traveller nearly perishes. Ill-equipped to withstand the terrible sun, he finally collapses. Confused and thirsty, the evening drags by in a delirium.
Dejected and near death, the Traveller is rescued and given water by a native with the name of Ivory Jones. Seemingly mad himself, the black man sings of a secret elephant graveyard where he procures the ivory tusks of his trade. He tells the Traveller of his annual journey to the citadel, where he trades his precious ivory tusks. Having no better ideas, the Traveller asks if he may join him.
The next morning they see a strange sight: a large ceramic textured camel-like creature floating across the desert, with a man in glowing white robes mounted on its back. Ivory explains that this is the Porcelain Prince and his retinue, being escorted to the citadel by the Evil General himself, there to discuss the lifting of a trade embargo imposed upon his city by the Prince many years ago.
At the gates of the citadel, Ivory Jones is recognized and allowed entrance, but the Traveller is suspected of being a spy, and is brought before the Evil General for judgment. Not believing his story and preoccupied with the embargo talks, the General issues a decree: the following day the Traveller would fight to the death with the Sand Monster. The Evil General is well pleased with his decision for two reasons: not only would the Traveller’s defeat be a warning to any other spies contemplating illicit activities, it would also provide his visitor the Porcelain Prince with an inexpensive entertainment. The Traveller is dragged to the dungeons to await the battle, the General’s laughter ringing in his ears.
Alone in the colosseum, the Traveller runs from the huge monster as the crowd roars its name: Moray. Terrified beyond reason, the Traveller ignores the rack of weapons for his use, instead choosing to flee the monster’s advances like a scared rabbit. Disgusted, the Evil General throws the Traveller’s own briefcase at him when he won’t stand and fight. It bursts open on impact, his new laser pointer rolling out on the sand. In sheer desperation he snatches it up and shines the beam into the monster’s eyes, causing it to roar in pain. More furious than ever it chases after him when he ducks behind the weapons rack, playing the beam across the beast’s eyes. In a blind rage the sand monster lunges for the Traveller, and impales himself on a long spear held within the rack. As the monster crashes to the ground, one of it’s poisoned talons scratches the Traveller, causing him to fall into a comatose slumber so profound as to make him appear to be lifeless. Impressed by the Traveller’s near victory, the Porcelain Prince offers to take him to his oasis, there to be interred in a sarcophagus in the hallowed Tomb of Warriors.
The Traveller is placed under a canopy in the center of the Prince’s golden barge for the return voyage to the Oasis. Soon the desert is left behind, and they sail upriver through fields of red poppies, their pungent aroma giving the Traveller fantastic dreams all through the long night.
The following day, the Prince is delighted when the Traveller awakens from his catatonia, weak but lucid. They talk for hours until the barges reach the next stage of the journey: sheer granite cliffs hundreds of feet high. By the side of the great waterfall, massive fires are lit and giant hot air balloons are filled to lift them to the tops of the cliffs, where elephants the size of mastodons wait to carry them on the final leg of the journey.
Slowly the elephants lumber towards the Oasis. The Porcelain Prince gives the Traveller a good luck amulet: a monkey carved of pure jade. That night the prince has a feast in the honor of the Traveller, and tells the tale of the Sand Monster’s defeat many times. The Traveller, happy and at peace with himself, suffers a stabbing pain in his head. Screaming in agony, he collapses in the palace of the noble Prince.
The Traveller wakes up in an ambulance after the paramedics restart his heart with an electric jolt. Thinking of his incredible journey, he weeps at his return to the “real” world. He finds he is holding the jade monkey amulet the Porcelain Prince had given him tightly in his hand.