Harry is late for tea, as usual, but this time he has a valid excuse.
On the trolley, he decided to practice astral projection from outside the safety of his own home for the first time. He relaxed, entering a theta-wave meditative state, directed his consciousness into his astral body, and flowed above his corporeal form, attached to it only by his astral umbilical cord. Harry reasoned that this would be safe, because no one was likely to bother him on the trolley; anyone who paid any attention to him at all would likely surmise that he had “spaced out” or fallen asleep. When the trolley stopped close to his destination, he would simply re-enter his physical body, disembark, and make his way to the tearoom.
The problem arose when the trolley passed under a power line, which bisected Harry’s astral umbilical cord. The energy flowing through the line had interfered with the cord, effectively severing the damn thing. Harry never expected this to happen as it was not mentioned in any of the arcane Tibetan manuscripts he had so painstakingly collected over the years. The New Age paperbacks he bough at Eason’s also failed to warn of this phenomenon. His reaction was one of blind panic as he watched his earthly body slump forward in its seat below. An old woman on the trolley screamed; a male passenger rushed to give aid and began rolling Harry’s head this way and that, even giving him a wholly unecessary slap across the face. To make matters worse, Harry had never “free-flown” in his astral form before, and could not keep up with the trolley.
He flew through the sky like a kite cut from it’s string. One minute he saw the clouds, the next, the street traffic below. The trolley was fast getting away. I’ll take a shortcut, he thought. He passed through the walls of a bank, where in the vault he witnessed a young clerk looking craftily over her shoulder as she hid a roll of coins in her vagina.
“That is the most outlandish behaviour I have ever observed in my life!” astral Harry shouted as he phased like a ghost out the opposite side of the building. The girl took no notice.
Back outside, he caught sight of the trolley, but just then something distracted him. He was shocked to see a group of people sitting and talking on the roof of a nearby cathedral. Only they weren’t exactly just people, but rather the astral bodies of people. The seemed genuinely surprised to see him as well and began pointing at him and talking excitedly to one another. One of them, a woman, stood and began waving him over. Harry hesitated. He didn’t want to lose sight of the trolley and his body, but on the other hand…
It will only take me a moment, he thought. And I have a view of the whole city from up here. He concentrated and flew up to the rooftop, and landed rather daintily. Not bad for a beginner.
The other astral people, twelve in all, stood to welcome him.
“Er, hello,” said Harry.
“Hello!” said the woman who had waved to him. “Welcome! My name is Sheila.”
“Oh! Sorry, I’m Harry,” he replied, offering his hand.
Damn fool, he thought.
“Oh, it’s alright,” Sheila said, smiling. “New at this, are you?”
“Er, yes. First time outside the house, I’m afraid. I’ve actually learned from books, so I don’t quite know what I’m doing.”
“Oh, don’t worry. You actually can solidify you spirit body enough to make contact with that of another, but only by mutual consent. Otherwise, you’d have all sorts of immoral behaviour going on, I suspect. Harry…where is your physical body, by the way?”
Harry became flustered. “Well, I was on the trolley, you see, on the way to meet a friend, when I got separated from myself by an overhead power line, and—look, my friend is really a bit of a bore, but he’s the only friend I have and he’s horribly impatient. I really must be going!”
“Wait!” Sheila cried. “This is our once in a decade gathering, where we relate all that we’ve learned to one another in the hopes of forming a society within a society, in order to better the lives of all mankind. We’ve all been students of one master or another and have gathered here from all over the world, as the site this cathedral was built upon is an ancient seat of sacred power. The fact that you’ve apparently taught yourself astral projection is auspicious. The fact that we’ve found one another, even more so! Stay awhile, that we may learn from one another. Afterwards we will safely reunite you with your body and we can go forth to teach others as well!”
Bloody hedge monkeys, he thought as he floated away without a word, because Harry is late for tea, as usual.