"Sapu, why am I so troubled?"
I asked the question of the disembodied spirit-teacher with whom I'd just begun conversing through a trance-channeler named Ira Smeckner, who is also a psychic, a healer, and founder of the Spiritual Institute For The Wholistic Extraction Of Client Financial Resources.
This was my first meeting and I was nervous, having no idea what to expect, wondering whether I should have prepared better questions, done more reading on the subject, eaten that huge double-bean and broccoli burrito just beforehand.
Ira immediately put me at ease, sharing with me a bottle and a half of Tequila, his velvet painting of Jesus and Elvis...
...and a whimsical joke about the Apocalypse. He then asked me if I preferred a psychic reading based on clairvoyance, or a trance-channeling session during which the spirit Sapu communicates directly through him. Though I was tempted by the psychic reading, my Taco Bell discount coupon was for the trance-channeling session, which included a large iced tea and souvenir Sapu socks, so I went with that.
Ira was a handsome man in his late forties, with bright blue eyes and a charming smile. The only physical clue to his profession was the tiny satellite dish mounted atop his head.
He carried it well, though, so on him it seemed quite natural. He also made me aware of the fact that I could have one, too, for $2,500--including installation and a one-year in-home service contract.
It was time to begin. Ira and I sat facing one another on what he called Spiritual Alchemy Transporters, though to me they looked exactly like beanbag chairs.
He then started the process by saying a brief prayer in which he gave thanks to the universe, requested that only the most healing information come forth, and acknowledged the value of his previous seventeen years of colonic irrigation hydrotherapy.
Ira then closed his eyes, and within a minute or two, I saw him give a small twitch, then a sigh. His mouth changed entirely and as his face muscles began working, Ira took on a different appearance, not unlike Steve Buscemi in "Reservoir Dogs."
"This is Sapu, and I am most pleased to be here today," began the softly-modulated voice which issued from Ira's mouth. It continued, "I wish first to give you some information and tell you a bit about myself, after which there will be a brief question and answer period, followed by coffee and low-cholesterol desserts."
Over the next two years of sessions, I came to know and trust Sapu, believing absolutely that he dispensed inspired words of eternal wisdom, not just for my benefit, but for that of mankind, as well. He only gave me one occasion to doubt him, and that was the time I asked him who he really was and he answered, "I am the Egg Man, we are the Egg Men, I am the Walrus, Coo-coo-ca-choo."
But then he added, "Just kidding--disembodied spirits need to have some fun, too."
The following are a few of my favorite excerpts, transcribed from a number of my most fascinating trance sessions with Sapu, through his earthly channel, Ira Smeckner:
Me: Sapu, why am I so troubled?
Sapu: It is a combination of things: the world is in a state of disharmony, you are without direction, and perhaps most of all, you are sitting on my TV remote control device. Ooh, that must hurt big-time.
Me: Why is there evil in the world?
Sapu: Without evil, there would be no good. Without pain, there would be no pleasure. Without Joan Rivers, there would be no plastic surgeons.
Me: What would be my most prudent use of time?
Sapu: To learn, to grow, to change. Finally, to taste the chicken at El Pollo Loco, which is both fresh and marinated in a mixture of lime and several delicious spices. I tell you, those people work wonders with that bird.
Me: What is it that a woman wants?
Sapu: Beats the hell out of me. But seriously, what women want is not all that different from what we men want: Love, fulfillment, and someone to walk on our backs in spiked heals while screaming insults at us in German. Or is that just me?
Me: How do I find my correct spiritual path?
Sapu: Every individual has a direct connection with the Spirit. There is first belief in the Spirit. There is a trembling of the Spirit. But there is not much knowing of the Spirit. Though there is a tremendousness of energy that surrounds everything.
Me: (PAUSE) Huh?
Sapu: I'm sorry, I didn't get a lot of sleep last night. Better ask me that one again tomorrow.
Me: How should I live my life?
Sapu: Be kind to all creatures. Follow your heart. Know that most health food store cookies taste like cardboard.
Me: What happens to us when we die?
Sapu: We immediately join the most wonderfully exciting cocktail party in history.
Sapu: No, don't be stupid. I'm just yanking your chain. When you're dead, that's it. End of story. Finito. You just lay there, decaying in your coffin.
Me: Well, that's depressing.
Sapu: You want a cheerleader? Visit a high school.
Me: Sounds like somebody got up on the wrong side of the cosmic bed today.
Sapu: I'm sorry. It's just that, well, spirits can't have sex. It's been three hundred years and I'm feeling a bit of tension.
Me: Is there anything I can do?
Sapu: Do you know the acclaimed actress Teri Hatcher, who exquisitely embodies the role of Susan Mayer on the brilliant television program, "Desperate Housewives"?
Sapu: Then never mind.
Me: Are there other worlds beyond ours?
Sapu: Yes. In fact, I have visited one of them. It was even more beautiful than Earth, but the people were really stand-offish, and just try finding a decent burger there.
Me: If you could relive your life, knowing what you've learned since becoming a spirit, what would you do differently?
Sapu: I would not worry as much. I would try to have more fun. And I would have bought bought Microsoft when it was three dollars a share.
Me: Is everyone put on Earth for a purpose, and if so, what is mine?
Sapu: Everyone is put on Earth for a purpose, except perhaps for Frank Sinatra, Jr. Your purpose is to question, to explore, and to wonder why nobody can recognize Clark Kent just because he removes his glasses and puts on a silly cape.