JE: The Hermetic Garbage of Jenny Everywhere Act I, part I

Jeanne Morningstar mrfantastic7 at
Fri Nov 19 08:08:23 PST 2021

Act I, part I
by Jeanne Morningstar

This is an ongoing story I've been posting on, writing an average of one segment 
per day. (Which in practice varies a lot, but.) I’d been stalled on my 
writing for a while and I wanted to write a chaotic, improvisatory piece 
where I’d be able to add a little bit to it every day. I decided a Jenny 
Everywhere story would be perfect for that.

I’ve made a lot of attempts to write Jenny Everywhere stories that 
didn’t work out, including the attempted LNH crossover from ages ago, 
but the new and extensive Jenny Everywhere wiki 
( and the recent small burst of activity this 
Jenny Everywhere Day 
( inspired me to 
have another go at it. It’s worked out surprisingly well so far, easily 
the longest piece I’ve ever written with the character.

A major catalyst for this piece was finally reading all of Michael 
Moorcock’s Cornelius Quartet. This story involves much more in the way 
of sexual content and incendiary politics than previous Jenny Everywhere 
stories of mine, in keeping with its inspirations, the 
counterculture-inspired Barbelithic roots of the character, and the 
general tenor of the historical period in which we are living.

This story involves a number of open source characters and ones from 
public domain literature and Golden Age comics; all the attributions 
will be gathered in the final post.


Josephus telleth us that the semblances of the islands changed 
themselves by reason of the divers adventures that by the pleasure of 
God befell therein... For, when they had entered into a forest or an 
island where they had found any adventure, and they came there another 
time, they found holds and castles and adventures of another kind, so 
that their toils and travails might not weary them, and also for that 
God would that the land should be conformed to the New Law.
--The High History of the Holy Graal, translated by Sebastian Evans



--and everything was falling apart around her. Shards of time-crystal, 
pieces of the fundamental structure of the cosmos glittering like 
shattered glass.

She had to pull herself together. Weave the cosmic tapestry back 
aright--but every time she tried to pull a thread, it slipped through 
her fingers.

Flashes of her lives and memories like fragments of dream vividly 
remembered but never fully understood--rendezvouses under the moonlight 
and summoning rituals; battles in the sky and card game duels. Through 
all that glittering kaleidoscope of possible life, she must focus on 
something. If she's everything, she can't be anything. Think, focus--

2021. Jenny rubs her eyes and looks at the google docs screen in front 
of her. She knows that there's something important she has to do but 
can't remember what...


She remembered--a long time ago, longer ago than it felt like it should 
be--sitting in front of a test and desperately grabbing for an answer, 
then finding herself drifting off into some fantasy about the Three 
Musketeers and Dracula. Back then, she really had believed she was some 
kind of multiversal adventurer who existed and fought evil in every 
universe, sharing the minds and memories of all her counterparts and 
sometimes even shifting between worlds. She'd had elaborate fantasies 
based on some weird mishmash of 60-80s British counterculture media 
(Moorcock, Moore, Morrison and the rest) and half-digested occultism and 
quantum physics. Now she was a well adjusted adult, or at least could 
pretend to be one; she'd left the whole elaborate fantasy life behind.

She slowly woke up as she drank the coffee and munched on her toast with 
jam. She heard Laura stirring on the bed. This universe sucks, but at 
least we're friends here, she thought, then violently shook her head, 
clearing out the delusions.

"Heya," said Jenny, walking into their bedroom. "I'm going out to the 
library in a bit."

"Don't forget to wear a mask," Laura muttered from the bed.

"Don't worry, I won't," said Jenny. She took the huge, bulky gas mask 
off the wall and snapped it onto her head. She checked the weather on 
her phone; the reality stability was 81%. Time to head out.


The sky was a dull staticy grey. Everything was vague and unfocused, too 
hot and too loud. A screeching wind howled around that sounded weirdly 
like the dialup noise; a world haunted by the wreckage of old 
technology. Jenny tried not to take in the world around her as she 
walked through it. She ignored all the other gas-masked figures trudging 
down the sidewalk, the Chaos-touched homeless denizens huddled in the 
streets and parking garages. To get through the daily order of her life, 
she had to act like it all didn't exist.

Wasn't she supposed to save this world? Whatever happened to the 
Shifter? She'd spent her life waiting for the moment when she'd become a 
hero and it had never arrived. But of course, that had been just a dream.


Jenny entered the library, which of course was bigger on the inside. 
Keeping a lot of books in one place was dangerous in unstable reality 
conditions, so each room was bounded by a carefully maintained magic 
circles painted in scarlet. The central area was empty, opening up to a 
series of circular terraces rising above, and at the top was a dome 
painted with the night sky with the zodiac constellations painted on it 
in gold. The librarians shuffled by in their robes and blank white masks.

Activating a glyph on the floor by touching it with her foot and 
speaking the right word, Jenny floated up to the second level, which 
held the poetry section. She searched through the disparate crowd of 
books to find the one she was looking for, the complete poems of Emily 
Dickinson. She'd owned a copy of this once but it had gotten lost when 
she moved, or the last time reality fell apart.

Jenny sat down on a large armchair, closed her eyes and flipped through 
the pages, feeling them flutter under her fingers. She liked to divine 
the future by reading Dickinson's poems at random, eschewing more 
traditional choices like the I Ching, the Bible or the poems of Vergil.

She knew, though, that she was looking for a particular poem, though she 
wouldn't know which one it was until she saw it. Peering through the 
lens of the gas mask, she saw it:

I dwell in Possibility –
A fairer House than Prose –

Something about the words set off a deep resounding echo in her memory. 
As she meditated on the words, imagining the house of Possibility, until 
she almost felt that she was in another place...

But that feeling was gone as quickly as it had come. Jenny sighed and 
put the book down on the armrest. That was when she realized she was no 
longer alone.


A librarian stood in front of Jenny, deep in their velvet robes woven 
with tapestry-like plant patterns in green and gold, their body 
concealed beneath a white bodysuit of an unknown material, their face 
hidden by a featureless mask of porcelain, the color of a bleached skull.

"Beware!" said the librarian. Its crackling voice seemed to be a 
transmission from the distance.


"Beware the hares of March." Its voice clicked and crackled. "Beware the 
march of ideas. Beware of God. Follow the Red Lion. Solve et coagula."

"Okay?" said Jenny. The librarian tried to say something in return, but 
it was lost in a storm of static, its voice becoming a thousand voices 
speaking over each other. And then it was gone.


Before Jenny could get her book checked out, the chaos alarm blared on. 
Everyone got off their sheets and rushed for cover. The shelves shook; 
books were falling down from the sky like rain. Jenny found herself 
borne on a wave of books, carried into a whirlpool of rustling pages. 
The books swallowed her up.


Jenny was walking home to her apartment, the library books in her tote 
bag. She'd picked up the collected poems of Emily Dickinson for herself, 
and a book on time crystals for Laura. She'd also stopped by the bagel 
place nearby to grab some bagels and cream cheese.

She knew there was something else important she had to do, but she 
couldn't remember what.


Jenny walked in and saw Laura lying dismally on the couch. She patted 
her on the head, mussing her red hair. "How goes it?" she said.

"Life goes on, unfortunately," said Laura. "Did you get the book?"

"Sure did!" Jenny handed her the book on time crystals. "OK, so, what 
exactly is a time crystal?"

"Well, you can find out by reading the book."

"OK, but explain it to me like I'm five."

"A crystal is a repeating lattice structure in space, and so a time 
crystal is a repeated structure in time."


"It's very useful for quantum computing. Or will be, as soon as anyone 
actually makes one."

"Ah, OK." Jenny knew there was some part of her that already knew what a 
time crystal was, and could explain it properly, but she didn't quite 
know how to get to that part of her yet.


"Where were you all this time?" said Laura, as Jenny lay on top of her 
on the couch.


"You were away for three hours."

"Really? I guess... I had no idea. I guess time doesn't feel real anymore."

"I suppose that's true," said Laura. "It always feels like everything is 
happening at once, and yet nothing is happening. Nothing is changing, at 

"Time is dissolving," said Jenny. She began to trace her fingers along 
Laura's arms, slowly teasing her. "That's part of the alchemical 
process. Solve et coagula." She let her hand creep under Laura's shirt. 
"To dissolve in order to be reborn, to become something new. It's never 
easy living through the time of dissolution, but without it you can't 
create the Philosopher's Stone."

"Mm," said Laura. "I can't tell whether that's profound or complete 

"Why can't it be both?" said Jenny. She kissed Laura up and down her 
neck, then prepared to press her tongue into her mouth, when there was a 
knock on the door. "Ah, goddamn it," muttered Jenny. She extricated 
herself from Laura and opened the door.

It was a wizard.


It was none other than Jenny's old friend Glendalf, the Drag Wizard, 
dressed in a magnificent sparkly silver dress. Her veteran partner in 
adventuring had avoided the assimilationist path of his ex-boyfriend, 
the headmaster Mumblecore, by becoming a drugged-out recluse. Condemned 
and then rehabilitated by successive waves of queer discourse, he was 
blissfully oblivious to all of it, keeping to himself and smoking 
various substances in his pipe.

"Jenny!" he shouted joyfully. "How have you been?"

Not in the best mood after being interrupted mid-foreplay, Jenny 
grumbled, "OK, what do you want?"

"I'll explain in a moment," said Glendalf. He ushered in his travelling 
companions, twelve leather-clad orcs with nipple rings, who marched into 
her apartment one by one.


Once the twelve orcs had settled in and started making an enormous 
barbecue dinner, Jenny asked Glendalf, "OK, why didn't you call?"

"That's not the way of wizards, my dear, as I'm sure you know," said 
Glendalf. "A number of you have been one."

"I guess," said Jenny.

Glendalf, of course, had a long white beard and a tall conical hat which 
perfectly matched his dress.

"So what do you want?" said Jenny.

"I was hoping you could go with me on an adventure!"

"An adventure?" Jenny frowned. Of course, she loved adventures, or she 
was supposed to. That was one of the things that defined Jenny 
Everywhere, along with her love of toast. But the truth was, she was a 
little closer to being herself but still wasn't all the way there yet. 
She couldn't even eat toast with the same relish she used to.

Mainly, she was frustrated that Laura had disappeared completely from 
the narrative. There was no sign of her anywhere in the apartment, and 
it seemed to have forgotten she existed. Jenny didn't know what form 
she'd encounter her in next, whether as a friend or an enemy.

Still, the fact that Laura, her main anchor in what passed for her 
current reality, was gone meant that there was no reason for Jenny not 
to go.

"Sure," she said. "What kind of an adventure?"

"Well," said Glendalf, "I was hoping you had some ideas..."


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