It had been over a year since my first trip. Nearly six months since Lothar and I took mushrooms by the lake. I’d been devouring every book I could find about the meaning of life, the secrets of the universe, and esoteric religious philosophy. Now, I was ready to start pursuing my enlightenment in the real world. I had just finished “God’s Plan”, the seminal book by SS. I got on Wikipedia to look up Swami Sami and found nothing. I called Lothar and he told me that SS doesn’t like to leave a trail. However, he knew the writer who had convinced SS to put God’s Plan on paper and publish it, Dale Finkleberg. Dale was the last known person to have interacted with Swami Sami. I had to talk to him.
The next day I phoned Dale.
“Yellow, this is Dale.”
“Hello Dale, this is Pondathon Lakeoff. My friend Dr. Lothar Joseph passed along your information. I’ve been going through something of a spiritual awakening of late. I just finished reading your book “God’s Plan”.
Quickly cutting me off,
“I only wrote that. I didn’t come up with any of it.”
“Right, right that’s actually why I called. From my research, you were the last person to speak to Swami Sami. I’m curious to hear what he was like.”
“What do you mean was?”
“He’s still alive?!”
“I assume so. I haven’t heard anything from that way in years. When we wrote the book he was only 28.”
“My God,” I thought, “I could really meet him! He will know where to look next.” I asked Dale how I could reach Swami.
“Why do you want to?”
“After a wonderful terrestrial life, I started looking for more. I wanted to find meaning in this crazy mixed-up world. I started experimenting with psychedelics. They sure opened up the door. But I want to go through the Doors of Perception and stay on the other side. Like Ken Kesey. God’s Plan by Swami Sami is the most enlightening thing I’ve ever read. I want to hear it from his mouth.”
“It’s not going to be easy. Sami lives pretty deep in the jungle on Maui.” Dale used Sami’s name without his title for the first time. I could hear the reverence in his voice. He must have really connected with SS to feel comfortable referring to him as just Sami.
“Go to Haiku and ask around for Heather. She’ll know what to do.”
As soon as I got off the phone, I booked a one-way flight to Maui. I’d never been so anxious to travel in my life. I studied the map of Haiku to find restaurants, bars, and coffee shops to ask around for Heather at. The week flew by in a flurry of study to prepare for meeting Swami Sami, reaching out to people I knew in Maui, and packing everything I could think that I would need to trek into the jungle. Maui isn’t that big. How hard could this be?
I landed at Kahului Airport imbued with a holy mission. Swami Sami is one of the most revered men of our age. I was on a path to meet him, to learn from his wellspring of knowledge. I rented a car and set out to find Heather. After asking at the grocery store and two coffee shops I was starting to get discouraged. Then a tall, beautiful blond woman in her late 30s tapped me on the shoulder.
“I heard you were looking for me?”
“Heather? Dale Finkleberg sent me. He said you might know where to find Swami Sami.”
“Oh, Dale. One of these days he will learn. Swami Sami doesn’t talk to anyone.”
“You know him?! Where does he live?”
“What’s your name?”
“Pondathan Lakeoff. Former #1 Pond and Lake salesman. Current Spiritual seeker.”
“Well Pondy, you’re not going to be able to meet The Swami just because you are a spiritual seeker.”
“What do I need to do to catch his attention?”
“Mr. Lakeoff was it?”
“You need to understand something. Swami Sami isn’t like us. He might not even be human.”
“Can you tell me about him?”
“I don’t have time right now. I need to head to the farmers market before all of the good fish is gone.”
“Can we go to dinner this week? I have a lot of questions.”
“Fine, Mr. Lakeoff. Come over to my house on Wednesday at 5. We can talk more then.”
I couldn’t believe my luck. The first day I was here, Heather walked up to me on the street. Maybe this wouldn’t be so hard after all.”
The days flew by. I surfed and explored the beaches. Maui is a magical place.
I prepared myself to head to Heather by…. I arrived at the address Heather gave me and was greeted by a tall hedge with a gate that was wide open. House doesn’t close to do justice to where Heather lived. It was a multi-acre compound. with an orchard of fruit trees and cannabis. As I drove through the orchard, massive stone statues of Budda peek out from the trees. The trees gave way to a green field with a low slung mansion planted in the middle. A pool around back with massive palm trees and bamboo peeked out from behind the house. I parked in the circular driveway with a massive boulder in the middle. The center of the boulder had been carved out into a dancing Shiva.
As I walked up to the door I realized it was open. I knocked as I walked in and was greeted by a beautifully decorated house. A mishmash of spirituality adorned every surface. Statues of gods, crystals, and Yantras were artfully arranged all over the house. Floor-to-ceiling windows showed off the pool and the view over the tree out to the ocean. This was the right place to look for enlightenment.
At just that minute Heather floated into the room clad in a white floral jumpsuit. She looked equally ready to raise a barn or spend the day admiring clouds on acid. I was so transfixed by the house that I almost didn’t notice her entry.
“What do you think?”
We ate out by the pool. A circular wooden table sat below palm trees. Heather whistled loudly. An orangutan walked out of the house wearing the top half of a tuxedo. He was carrying a tray with two glasses and a bottle of cava. He walked over and filled the glasses and offered them to us. Heather was so clearly used to her domesticated orangutan that she gave me a puzzled look while I stared in shock. She held her glass to cheers.
“To the journey towards enlightenment.”
The meal flew by in a buzz of conversation, delicious island-inspired cuisine, and libations all provided by Gorlock the orangutan. I learned that Heather won him in a bet but she wouldn’t say what. She was raised in Oregon. Moved to Hawaii 20 years ago because why not move to Hawaii. We didn’t talk much about Swami Sami. Every time I tried to broach the topic she would trail off and look out to the ocean. The longer we sat and ate the drunker I became. I hadn’t had a sip of alcohol since I arrived on the island and I was feeling the buzz.
“Why don’t you just stay here tonight?”
I was happy to oblige. After a whirlwind of an evening dining al fresco via orangutan I was eager to sleep. I figured I’d be able to get more information over breakfast.
I wobbled back into the house strangely exhausted by the meal. I felt myself guided into the east wing of the house. Into a well-appointed, if a bit strange room with an en-suite bathroom. The room had a similar esoteric design to the rest of the house though it was somehow less believable in its decoration. I brushed my teeth with the new toothbrush that was out for me. I felt no closer to finding my next step. I was sure I was in the right place though.
- Pondathan Lakeoff