A man has to do his thing. Nobody here to deny that."" Mr. Wurlitzer's thing is recognizably young, fashionably fissionable, written on a jagged high and descending to that common denominator of utter disintegration. He is one of the many who have gone On the Road ever since Kerouac, a floating population traveling nowhere through time and, in this case, the arroyo country of the west. The nameless (nothing?) narrator has also travelled other places--87 beaches in 15 years--beaches for relaxation. And for speculation, he's been following in the seven league boot footprints of one Nog, a mighty, mythic Finn with ""far reaching eyes."" In fact Nog had seen the light --streaming right out of his chest the size of a half dollar. (Are you there? where?) Nog had also given his octopus in a bathysphere to our boy who'd travelled with it for a year -- now is journeying on with Meridith (a girl) and Lockett (who runs interference) and there is very little light -- only ""memories... like small crippled birds"" and the paraphernalia of modern dislocation, knives, syringes, abrupt sex. At the close, he and Meridith and Lockett are aboard the ship he leaves, but then ""we're rolling on, and that is almost a recognition."" Other recognitions -- the alien brilliance of a psyche eroded and a talent diffused.