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I've been all over the place lately. At the beginning of the summer I was plowing through the Needles, Names, and Numbers drafts, ultima...

Sunday, April 30, 2017

Pet the Kitty

I can feel myself grow more and more socially retarded with each rotation. This has been a terrible mistake. Jack is the only one I know at this party, at least until Evan gets here. I don’t know if I’ve said anything besides “Hey, I’m Harry, nice to meet you.” And “Who’s lighter is this?” since we got here over an hour ago. I feel like I should be saying more things, being normal, not being weird. But all I can do is laugh when everyone else laughs and sip this empty beer uncomfortably.

Where the fuck is Evan?!!?!

This beer was complimentary, and I don’t dare ask for another. Most of us won’t turn 21 until next year, so alcohol is precious, at least until everyone goes back to school. I thought about getting some beforehand, but I didn’t want to spoil my appetite for tonight’s entrĂ©e: the Kizzle. I don’t know what to expect.

“It’s a game changer.” Was the only way Evan could describe it.

\I follow Keith back into his parents’ house and mumble something about him being fucking loaded as I shut the back door. Jack used to work with Keith and some of the other kids here, who all seem to go to the same party school out west. We go back to the basement where a few other strangers have shown up, but no sign of Evan.

Keith has new recording software to show Jack, leaving me adrift in a sea of unnecessary social anxiety. I’m not blaming him, I did sort of bring this on myself with all that god damn grass. I assume the position and scroll through my Facebook feed over and over, keeping both ears open for the sound of Evan and his Ketamine life-raft.

Sirs?!!?!” A familiar voice calls downstairs.

YES! YES! DOWN HERE! S-O-S! S-O-S!

Evan comes downstairs like the complete opposite of me. He grabs hold of the room right away and starts shaking hands and kissing babies. Behind him are his girlfriend Catherine and his buddy Greg, who I’ve actually met and talked to before! Now that my brain’s bizarre demands have been met, the hostages have been released, and all is right with the cosmos.

Evan serves a couple of people before finally greeting Jack and I. He’s insanely charismatic, so much so that you can’t even be irritated by it. Not in the drug dealer disingenuous kind of way, either. You could walk in on him fucking your mother and an hour later you’ll be drinking craft beer together, yucking it up like best friends. As he takes off his backpack, Keith’s girlfriend approaches him with a beer.

“Oh, no thanks, I’m good.” Evan says.

“Oh, what’re you guys tripping or something?” Keith’s girlfriend replies.

“Ehhhh, we’ll see where the night takes us, you know, hehehe.”

“You sure you don’t want one?”

“Yeah, I can be kind of a beer snob unless I’m trying to get shitfaced, you know? I only drink like, the headies of beers.”

“Sorry our Rolling Rock isn’t to your standards, sir.”

“I’ll let it slide this time, hahahaha…”

Evan’s the only guy that can say something like “the headies of beers” and not sound like a douchebag. He looks around the basement and thinks before putting his backpack back on.

“Where are we doing this?” Catherine asks him anxiously.

“I don’t wanna get mobbed for this shit, you know what I mean? Hmmm… What do you say we go outside for a board meeting, sirs?” Evan suggests. He motions towards the basement stairs and we head up.

“So have you ever done this shit before?” I ask Greg.

“Yeah, I’ve done it a couple of times. It’s really hard to describe, dude… It’s just… Different form anything I’ve done before. Even like Acid and shit.” Greg replies.

“That’s what I’ve been hearing, sounds like a mind fuck.” I say.

“You guys are the only ones I know that go on three day acid benders, I think you can handle it.” Catherine reassures us.

FREE AT LAST, FREE AT LAST, THANK GOD ALMIGHTY, WE’RE FREE AT LAST!!

The five of us cram into Greg’s car and Evan gets to work. Greg pulls a heavily scratched copy of Creed’s Human Clay from the dashboard and hands it to Evan, who dumps a small pile of powder onto it. Using his student ID, he chops the pile into five portions that look more like bumps than lines.

“I think it’s only right that our new cadets go first. Which one of you sirs would like to do the honors?” Evan asks.

I look over at Jack, who gives me a nod. I’m in the middle seat and closer to Evan by default. I take a deep breath as I carefully grab the CD and the straw. I’ve snorted a little bit of Molly and Adderall in my time, but this ritual still feels kind of taboo to me. I take my bump in one quick sniff, arching my head back as I pass the CD over to Jack. My eyes well up with tears as my nostril burns. I fight through it, blocking my left nostril and pulling the skin by my right one to the side. I take a few hard, painful, snorts before it breaks through the mucus membrane and shit starts to feel weird…

“Yo, Harry…” Jack says between gags. I take the CD from him and pass it to Catherine before zoning out again.

“Are you feeling it Mr. Krabs? Hahaha…” She says as she straightens out the bumps and pulls her hair back. I feel like I’m blackout drunk but somehow still in control. I watch Catherine do her bump like a god damn champion. She shivers slightly, blinks away the tears, and gulps down the drip like a shot of whiskey.

Oh fuck, that’s right…

The drip.

GULP!!

A slug made of mucus and street-grade cat tranquilizer slides down the back of my throat without warning. It’s worse than I expected, and Catherine seems to pick up on it. I cover my mouth as she opens her door and gets out of the car.

“Probably shoulda warned you, K drips are horrible.” She says.

I gulp down another slug and suppress the revolt in my stomach. I take a deep breath and my body begins to settle. “False alarm, I’m good!” I say as I lean back in my seat.

“Ugh, fuck! Euck! Aw that is fucking awful, dude! Worse than Molly!” Jack says in disgust.

“It grows on you.” Catherine mumbles sarcastically as she lights a cigarette.

“I think you sirs will find that the end justifies the means, hehehe…” Evan says.

“Yeah… Yeah I think you’re right… Hahahaha…” I mumble back.

“It feels like I’m really drunk… But better…” Jack says.

“You guys up for a little late-night stroll around the neighborhood?” Evan suggests.

Jack and I nod like zombies. Evan, Greg, and Catherine do another bump each before we get moving. Greg stumbles a bit before getting his bearings, laughing as he leans up against a tree.

“Get your sea legs, sailor! All aboard the SS Kizzle!” Evan laughs.

“I fuckin… You know how like, in Halo, when you jump, it feels like you’re fuckin’ floating?” I ask in the most retarded tone possible.

“Haha, dude! I said that exact same thing the first time I tried it!” Greg says, validating an observation that barely deserved an awkward silence. Greg’s not a dick like me and Jack. Come to think of it, most people aren’t…

The ground feels much softer now, and my limbs feel lighter. I’m functional, but spacey. They were right, it’s a bitch to try to explain. I might even say it’s a game changer.

“I’ve never really fucked with downers before. Is this what opiates feel like?” Jack asks the group.

“What, you mean like Oxy?” Catherine replies.

“Perc’s, oxy, whatever, I guess. I’ve never done any of those ‘cause of all the stories, y’know?” Jack says.

“Oh, yeah, totally. I was never big into them for the same reasons, but I dabbled a bit in high school. I don’t think you can really compare them, honestly. They’re both downers, but K is way weirder, haha.” She explains.

“Plus, it’s like who gets addicted to Ketamine? I never see it around here, even at school it’s rare.” Evan says.

“Can we chill on the corner for a minute? I gotta get the hang of walking and smoking at the same time.” Catherine asks.

“Yeah, sure.” Evan replies.

We all sit down on the curb and zone out as Evan roots through his backpack. Catherine starts playing music from her phone, Tiesto, Maximal Crazy. It’s been heavy in my rotation lately because I have awful taste in music. It’s like six minutes of my favorite part of another song looped over and over again.

“Yo, this is the DJ playing at school in a few weeks, right?” Evan asks.

“You’ve asked me that like three times this week. You know we have tickets, right?” Catherine replies.

“You sirs going to that show?” Evan asks Jack and I.

“I didn’t even know he was playing.” I reply.

“Yeah.” Jack says.

“Well you’re welcome to crash at my place if you want. I don’t know if you’re into that EDM shit but it’ll be a good time either way. I’m gonna make so much fucking money, dude, I can’t wait.” Evan replies.

“Word, if I can get work off I’m down.” I say.

“Yeah just keep me posted, no worries. How you guys feeling? Anyone want more?” Evan asks.

“Yup.”

“Mhm.”

“OK.”

Word.”

“Words!! Haha. Coming right up…” Evan replies.

“You brought Molly, right?” Catherine asks him.

“Would you like to buy some?” Evan asks sarcastically.

“I only want like a point…” She says.

“I’ve got it all bagged up into halves, though. If you really want it I’ll weigh it out but then I’m gonna have a .4 bag and we’ll end up doing it ourselves or ripping somebody off.” Evan says.

“I don’t suppose any of you guys want to buy any Molly?” Catherine asks us.

My wallet has been out since I heard the word Molly.

“Yup! What do you want for .4?” I ask.

“30 sound good?” Evan asks.

“Sold! Does it go well with this shit?” I ask as I hand Evan the money.

“Oh, dude… It’s unreal.” Catherine says.

“Word. I definitely wanna try that then.” I reply.

“You want me to throw a point in each of your lines then?” Evan asks.

“You down?” I ask Jack.

“Ehhhh… We’ve been rolling a lot lately… You’re gonna do it either way, aren’t you?” Jack asks me.

“Absolutely.” I reply.

“Alright, fuck it, yeah.” Jack says.

“Every time I chill with you guys we end up going wicked hard.” I say.

“Wait, were you guys trying to lay off the M for a while or something? I know how that goes, I don’t wanna give it to you if you’re trying to take a break, y’know?” Evan asks.

“Oh, no, it’s cool man. I was just saying how every time we chill it’s an adventure.” I reply.

“Yeah, I was thinking about that too. Every time I get a call from Evan I have to brace myself almost. Like I look over at the clock and then back at my phone, knowing if I pick it up I’m not gonna be able to say no. ‘Cause if I say no I’m gonna miss out on some crazy shit that only happens when you chill with Evan.” Greg says.

“This kid is the same way, dude. I swear it’s like a fuckin’ sitcom every time I get into his truck.” I say, pointing to Jack.

“Yeah, last time I got into Jack’s truck he was driving with a bowl in one hand, texting with the other, he had a beer between his legs, and was driving with his elbows. I was laughing too hard to be scared, it was weird.” Greg replies.

“Yeah he’s like one of those guys that rides a unicycle while juggling chainsaws and balancing a ladder on his nose. But when he sends a text he has to drop everything and have complete silence like he’s taking the fucking SAT’s.” I joke.

“I don’t need silence, that’s just me telling you to shut the fuck up. But you’re retarded and can’t take a hint so you just keep going. And you left half the SAT blank you fuckin’ idiot. Tell ‘em about how you bought Concerta from one of our friends because you thought it’d make you smart.” Jack says.

“First of all, that was the ACT’s, which don’t even count. I left the science section blank because I’m badass and cool, same reason I was on drugs when I did it.” I reply.

“You paid for Concerta? That sucks, dude! They can’t even give that shit away at my school.” Greg says.

“I don’t know why I thought it would help, half our lunch table was prescribed it and they were all retarded like Jack.” I reply.

“You know he took two years to pass algebra one?” Jack says.

“It was three, actually. I have a learning disability too, y’know. You should be more compassionate.” I reply.

“Wait do you really have like…” Greg begins, not wanting to offend me.

“Oh yeah dude, I’m dumb as shit. That’s the clinical term for learning disability, but I’m not a teacher or Jack’s mother so I just call it what it is.” I reply.

“Well, you’re half right…” Jack says.

“If Jack was better at school he’d be one of those potheads that think depression and ADD don’t exist. Can’t you picture him on Joe Rogan like ‘Hey maaaannnn, it’s natural for kids not to give a shit about school, it’s all big pharma maaaan, they put fluoride in your water to make you retarded but if you smoke weed you won’t even notice.’” I say in my half-assed Jack impression.

“Keep going Harry, come on, run it into the ground until everyone’s uncomfortable. You’re on a roll, fuck it up, you can do it! You make me wanna k-hole just to get away from your stupid bullshit.” Jack replies.

“Whatever, faggot!” I say, putting the final nail in the coffin and proving once and for all that my razor-sharp wit is unmatched in verbal fisticuffs. Evan is caught off guard by my stunning ignorance and nearly wipes out his assortment of powdered narcotics with his laughter.

“Woah, woah, woah, woah, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it like faggot I meant like, y’know, the Louis CK bit where he doesn’t throw away my drugs please?” I say jokingly but not really. Evan has to put the CD down and collect himself. Where the fuck was this me when I was sperging out in the basement earlier?

Oooohhhh fuck… Oh, fuck. Ok!” I say as the K and Molly synergize beautifully in my head. They play so perfectly together, yin and yang. It’s like I’m rolling in space and I don’t really give a shit because I’m just so fucking happy. That’s all I got. Holy fuck stretching feels really good.

We go back to Keith’s house and pile into Greg’s car to smoke weed until one of us coughs up blood and/or loses consciousness. More lines are passed around, millions of brain cells are killed, and no good points are made by anyone. But it’s OK man, ‘cause like, we’re rolling!

“You guys wanna do some coke raps?! Let’s get some coke freestyles going, c’mon…” Evan says as he chops lines on an old leather book he took from Keith’s living room. It’s 2 AM and we’re sitting around a table on Keith’s back deck smoking weed and deviating our septums. I forget how Cocaine entered the discussion, since none of us have any and most of us haven’t even tried it yet. But that doesn’t stop Evan from laying down a beat with his hands and becoming a rapper before our very eyes.

“Cruisin’ down the street, lookin’ for that yay… Yo, it makes me cray!!” He spits with the confidence of a master composer that’s just finished his masterpiece. Everyone is too much of a pussy to step to him after he relinquishes the mic, but I strongly consider it, and I don’t even rap.

“Yo, you would be a good politician, dude.” I say to Evan.

“See!? I fucking told you, dude, everyone says that about him!” Greg says.

“He’s right, I do get that a lot, but I honestly don’t see it, haha…” Evan replies.

“The only thing holding you back is that you have a soul. You get rid of that and get used to lying you could be the fucking president, dude.” I argue.

“That’s exactly I’d never do it, though!” Evan laughs.

“Can you just humor me and say some politician shit? Then we can see how believable you are.” I ask.

“YEAH EVAN CAN YOU JUST LIKE, DO SOME PRESIDENT STUFF FOR ME FOR MY ENTERTAINMENT?! I DUNNO WHAT THE FUCK IT’S CALLED, YOU FIGURE IT OUT.” Jack says in a sickeningly accurate impression of me.

“You know what I fuckin’ mean, just say something like… I have never, ever, said the n-word. Nor do I ever plan to. My fellow Americans.” It’s the most solid sentence my verbal diarrhea can come up with right now, but it confuses the rest of the table.

“I have never, ever, said the n-word. Nor do I ever plan to. My fellow Americans.” Evan says. I giggle childishly in approval. “I’d vote for that.”

As I suck cat tranquilizer off an expensive piece of literature through a dirty fast food straw into my nasal cavity where it isn’t supposed to go, a wonkiness overwhelms me, pushing me back into my chair and disrupting the connection from my brain to my limbs. If this isn’t the K-Hole it’s gotta be pretty damn close. Shit’s starting to look weird, everybody’s starting to sound distant. I stare up at the sky as I slump down in my chair. I don’t even notice Evan tapping Jack on the shoulder and pointing at me. I slide myself back up into a seated position, which requires more motor function than I apparently have. I hope I don’t have to stand up any time soon.

“Yo! Harry! Fuckface! You down there?” Jack yells from what sounds like thousands of miles away.

Jesus Christ I am fuuuuucked uuuuppp…. I know I have to answer him, but I think I forgot how to make words with my face hole. I feel like a stroke victim learning to speak again as my jaw refuses to cooperate. I take a deep breath and concentrate.

“What up…” I mumble weakly.

“Eat this.” Jack says, putting something in my hand. A tab of acid. I slam it into my mouth awkwardly, immediately feeling as if I’ve jumped the gun. Jack sticks his tongue out and shows me his tab. I weigh my options silently to myself.

I don’t think I can get this out of my mouth right now. I could spit it out like a fuckin’ retard but that’d be disrespectful to Keith’s parents’ home and Evan’s business. If I could get my hand in my mouth right now I’d still have to fish around for a tiny piece of paper with fingers that may or may not comply with my orders

Catherine checks her phone and I see the time: 3:15 AM. I swallow the tab. No sense in turning back now. All I can do is hope I regain control of my body before it kicks in. Worst case Ontario, I’ll have Jack hit me with an emergency bump of Molly to clear my head.

“Maybe I shouldn’t have just given that to him. I don’t think he realized what kinda commitment he was making when he did that.” Jack says as if I can’t hear him.

“You guys do this shit all the time though, right?” Greg asks.

“Haha, yeah… Yo Harry, you good?” Jack asks me.

I nod slowly like my neck is rusted. I can feel myself floating back into the real world slowly but surely. I clear my throat and smack my dry tongue around my dry mouth.

“I got this…” I say as I regain lucidity.

“You working today?” Jack asks nervously.

Oh fuck me, am I? Absolutely not, obviously. But was I supposed to? Shit…OK ,that’s right, I am off today. Thank fuck.

“Nah, I’m off.” I reply.

“Word, that’s good. Can I ask you one more question?” Jack asks.

I nod.

“What the fuck are we gonna do!?”

I sigh and laugh to myself as Jack and the rest of the table start to crack up. I haven’t eaten since hopefully yesterday, yeah, definitely yesterday. I can already feel the butterflies, I’ll be coming up soon. The K is beginning to fade more and more quickly, releasing its grip on my brain in what has to be the smoothest comedown of any drug I’ve ever done. As the K wears off and the L kicks in, I realize I’m fucking exhausted, dehydrated, and should be hungry. I rub my eyes in frustration and sigh before sitting back in my chair. Jack stares at me with a goofy smile that implies even he might regret this one.

“We’re really doing this, huh?” I ask, chuckling.

“Mhm…” Jack replies.

“Jesus Christ, hahahahaha… Aw, boy. This is gonna be a weird one. I can fuckin’ feel it.” I say.

“We should get back to your place before I start peaking.”

“Good call.”

As we rush to McDonald’s and the sky becomes a hypnotic, shifting, sea of color, Jack hands me the adapter to hook my iPod up to his stereo. I scowl at it and sigh.

“I might break this fucking thing if it doesn’t cooperate. Fair warning.” I say to Jack.

“Just try it, if it doesn’t work I got CD’s. I just need music right now, dude.” Jack replies.

“WHAT THE FUCK IS THIS!?!?”  

“What? Cop?”

“No, no, no cops, sorry dude. But look at my fucking iPod!! When the fuck did that happen!?”

The screen on my iPod Touch is smashed, though still useable to a degree.

“Whoah, what the fuck? When’d you drop it?”

“I don’t remember ever dropping it!”

“Does it still work!?”

“Yeah… Fuck, dude!”

I leave it face down on the dash board and try to relax. I’ll deal with it once I’m finally off all these drugs. Shit is very much weird as I open the door to my living room and grab a couple of beers from the fridge. I sit down on the couch and put on Wanderlust while I can still read the TV. I sigh and crack my beer open.


“Awww here it goes!” 

Sunday, March 12, 2017

Curse of the Stolen Mushrooms

 “Oh, dude!!! Duuuude….” Matt begins, his black eyes wide, straining to get the brilliant observation in his head down to his mouth to share with the world. I smile and stare down at the breathing grass in front of me. I wanna laugh, but this is Matt’s first trip, and I don’t want to send him in the wrong direction.

“Hahahaha, fuck, dude! Fuck! I completely forgot what I was gonna say!” Matt says.

“Hahaha, don’t worry about it man, it happens to everybody. I’ve started like a million sentences tripping and only finished like 10 of ‘em.” I tell him.

“Hahahahaha! Wow, dude… This is… This is really fuckin’ crazy, dude.”

“In a good way, right?”

“Oh yeah…”

The sky looks like an old screensaver, clouds slowly rolling through a backdrop that shifts slowly from pink, to blue, and back again.

Wow, man. Today has been fuckin’ weird….

“Yooo! Harry! I got shrooms, you tryna trip today?!?” Chris said as soon as I picked up the phone.

“Uhhh… Yeah! Fuck it, I’m down. $35 an eighth?” I asked.

“Word! So can we come scoop you in like ten minutes?”

“Yeah. But yo, how much for an 8th? I might have to go to an ATM and get the cash.”

“Oh, dude, fuck that, you’re good. It’s kind of a long story but I stole two zips from this kid’s dorm room when I was visiting my boy at UNH last night. So now I’m tripping everybody up and you just snagged the last spot in the whip.”

“Huh. Well thanks, man. Just text me when you’re at my house.”

That was two hours ago?! Shit, man…

Now I’m sitting on top of a big hill laughing at grass and talking about something I can’t quite remember but I’m sure was deep and very insightful…

“Yo…” Matt says, extending a packed bowl to me.

“Thanks man...” I reply.

After three nice rips from Matt’s bowl I’m feeling pretty god damn great. I zone out and look at the sky again until I realize there’s three other people here who have never tripped before. I turn around and see Nate and… Fuck. I think her name is Christine? Or was it Leandra? Who would even mix up those names? Well whatever the fuck her name is, she’s laughing, Nate’s laughing, all is right with the cosmos...

“You guys want some of this?” Matt calls to them.

Nate and whatsherface join us in the rotation. I wasn’t sure how it would be to trip with three people I’ve never met before, but so far so good.  It’s mid-September, there’s clear skies, the weather’s perfect, makes me wonder if Chris checked the weather before he stole these…

“What do you guys think? Pretty fuckin’ cool, right?” I ask them.

Everyone nods, laughs, and says “Yeah.”

“The sky looks so fuckin’ crazy right now…” Nate says.

“Dude I know… It’s so weird because like, other people told me you can’t even like… Put this shit 
into words. And like… That’s so true…” Matt says.

“Yeah…” Whatsherface says.

“Thank you, Chris…” I mumble to myself, which reminds me…

“Yo, where’d Chris go?” I ask.

“He probably went to take a piss down the trail or something.” Nate suggests.

“Yo, Chris!!” Nate shouts towards the trail at the bottom of the hill.
Silence. Of course the one kid here that I actually know wandered off. On shrooms. In a state park with plenty of rocks to slip on and heights to jump from. Oh fuck me, this is just an urban myth waiting to happen…

Slow footsteps from down the trail snap me out of yet another retarded day dream as Chris emerges from the wilderness and joins us on the hill. Immediately I can tell he’s not having a good time. I don’t wanna ask him if he’s alright and make him think he’s not alright and accidentally send him further into whatever it is he’s caught up in right now.

“What, were you taking a piss?” Nate asks him.

“Nah, I uhh… I dunno… I had to throw up….” Chris replies, aiming his empty stare at the grass in front of him.

“You hot? You want some water, man?” I offer.

I give Chris one of my obnoxiously large 711 water bottles and he drains half of it before he tries to hand it back to me.

“I got another one, dude. You can keep it. Anyone else need water?”

“No.”

“Nope.”

“No thanks dude. I like that you’re like… Prepared, though. You seem like you know what you’re doing with this shit.” Matt says.

“All I know is that these things make me sweat balls.” I reply.

“No shit, huh?” Nate says, wiping his forehead.

“Everything OK, Chris?” Matt asks.

“The ground is like… Snakes…” He mumbles back. He’s got his knees to his chest He’s got his arms crossed on his knees and rests his head on top of them. I don’t think he’s blinked once since he got up to the hill.

“There’s no snakes here, dude. You’re just tripping, everything’s fine. Here, smoke some weed.” Matt says.

“Yo, why’d you take off your shirt? You get puke on it?” Nate asks Chris.

“No, I was just… Wicked fuckin’ hot, dude.” Chris replies. He takes a couple of rips off Matt’s bowl and puts his t-shirt back on over his beater. He’s still got that vacant, confused look on his face as he resumes his catatonic state. Watching Matt study his behavior while tripping too hard to address it in a constructive manner is pretty funny. I try to stifle my laughter which is hard enough for me in real life, let alone on a drug that makes literally everything hilarious.

“Kid’s cracking up over here.” Nate says.

“I don’t even know what the fuck I’m laughing at, ahhahaa..” I lie.

“I don’t know how you’re able to text right now, Kim.” Nate says to Whatsherface.

Kim? Fuck, I was way off. That doesn’t even sound like… Whatever I said her names were earlier…

“Neither do I… There! Finally.” Kim puts her phone back into her pocket and lights a cigarette.

“So would you guys wanna go walk around a little more…” Matt says when suddenly Chris jumps to his feet and walks over to a corner to puke again.

Matt mouths the words “Yikes! Guess that’s a no…” as he puts his weed back into his bag. It catches me off guard and I snap back into “Don’t laugh” mode. I look up to the sky to enjoy the view. As long as no dick shaped clouds float by I should retain my composure.

But of course, my fucking brain has other plans.

Inside my skull a projection reel is pulled down and a movie begins to play. Wait, not a movie, a memory. I’m suddenly in 7th grade again, Catholic school uniform and all. I’m in a packed auditorium, seated in alphabetical order next to Tim Matthews, one of the funniest kids in the class. As I look around at all the creepy decorations I realize I’m at a Lent assembly. Lent is a Catholic tradition in which you pick something you love and deprive yourself of it for 40 days and 40 nights because if Jesus is gonna get crucified nobody’s allowed to be in a good mood. You’re not allowed to eat meat that isn’t fish on Friday either, or it’s seven years bad luck. Our frigid bitch of a teacher Mrs. Carlisle sits behind Tim and I, mostly because of Tim.

We stand up for some reason. A short, fat, goofy looking Chinese 3rd grader with coke bottle glasses comes bobbling out onto the stage. I try and stare straight ahead, but in my peripheral I can see Tim’s face turn towards me, smiling and beet red from suppressing the millions of cruel jokes flowing through his head.

Don’t look, don’t look, don’t look... You suck at not laughing when you start laughing…

As the kid takes the podium and begins reading into the microphone it is revealed that he has a severe speech impediment and stutter. There’s no way the teacher didn’t pick him on purpose, no fucking way. I hear a noise to my right that sounds like someone blowing their nose as Tim finally breaks down into hysterical laughter.

“Don’t even think about it, Harry.” I hear Mrs. Carlisle growl behind me. But Tim has set off a chain reaction, and everyone joins in…

“You got a lighter, dude?” Matt asks, bringing me back to reality.

“Huhuh, oh, yeah, sorry…” I reply.

“Yo, Matt, would you be alright with bringing me home?” Chris asks.

“Are you ready to go home right now, dude?” Nate asks.

“Yeah dude I feel like shit. I’m fuckin’ tripping balls and my stomachs killing me… I didn’t wanna fuck it up for you guys but…”

“It’s OK, I was gonna ask Matt to drop me off at Alyssa’s house soon anyway.” Kim says.

Oh fuck…

“You guys are all tryna dip, huh?” Matt asks.

“Well if they wanna go you can drop me off at Danny Dank’s. I am not tryna talk to my parents right now, hahaha.” Nate says.

“What about you, Harry?” Matt asks.

“If you’re sure you’re good to drive…” I say as a last resort.

Matt thinks for a moment. “Yeah, I think I can pull it off.”

“Buckle up boys and girls…” Nate says as we walk down the hill.

I am in no condition to talk to my parents right now, so I frantically text Jack from the cramped back seat of Matt’s car, begging him to chill with me until I come down. Then I remember he’s at work right now, and his boss is a real cocksucker about texting on the job. All my other friends are away at college. I could take the subway into the city to see my friend Vince, but holy shit would that be awkward. His dorm room is so cramped, especially when you factor in all the awkward tension that I’ll be bringing with me. And I guarantee his cunty roommate is gonna be there making passive aggressive remarks about my situation. I can just hear him now. With that awful nasally voice of his…

“Your friend stole mushrooms? Why are you even friends with someone like that?”

“You know you’re giving yourself food poisoning when you eat those, right?”

“How many fingers am I holding up?”

“Watch out! There’s a dragon behind you! No, really!”

“Oh, you’re majoring in English? I was gonna do that but I can already read and write sooo…”   

I blink the caricature of Vince’s roommate out of my head angrily. I’d rather my parents actually yell at me for being dumb and doing mushrooms than have Vince’s roommate do it with shitty jokes and what he thinks are thinly-veiled insults. I imagine him clumsily trying to get out of his top bunk bed to take a piss at night and cracking the back of his head open on the corner of a bureau while Vince snores so obnoxiously that it drowns out his cries for help. I guess I’ll just get on the subway and wander around the city until I’m sober enough to face my Mom.

Is that fucked up? Who cares.

For a brief moment I forget about the horrific bus and train ride ahead of me and the eternity of aimless, paranoid, wandering to follow that. Laughing, I look out at the window while the sky is still impressive to me.

“Yo Harry, are we just dropping you off at your house?” Chris asks me.

“Yeah.” I reply.

“Alright, so we’ll drop you off last. Alyssa’s house is the closest, so we can drop Kim off first, then Nate…” Chris trails off as the mushrooms take hold again.

“It’d be quicker to do it Alyssa, Danny, Chris, and this kid, I’m sorry dude I forgot your name.” Nate says.

“Harry.” I reply.

“Uhhh… OK, but Danny and Alyssa aren’t here, so…” Matt says awkwardly.

“DUDE YOU GOT A RED LIGHT...” Nate shouts. Matt screeches on the breaks and we stop halfway into a crosswalk.

“Kim is going to Alyssa’s house, and I’m going to Danny’s house. Remember?” Nate asks.

“Oh yeah, haha. Sorry…” Matt replies.

“Just try not to fuckin’ kill us and we’ll be cool.” Nate says.

We make it to Chris’ house and I hop up in the front seat. I struggle to read the bus schedule off of my phone as the text shifts and warps through my obnoxiously bright screen.

“Dude, I don’t know how he’s gonna go talk to his parents right now. Like I know he was sick or whatever, but I didn’t expect everyone to just dip after like two hours, y’know? I’m still tripping pretty hard. I mean it’s like more controllable now, but I wish we coulda stayed out there and really enjoyed it, y’know?” Matt says.

“Me too, dude. Any time I trip it’s like an all-day thing for me. Who the fuck does mushrooms for like two hours and then goes to hang out with normal people? That’d be so awkward…” I reply.

“So I’m just dropping you off to your parents right now? You’re more than welcome to chill with me, dude. We can go chill at my buddy Mark’s house. He was looking for a bag from me earlier anyway. He trips a lot too so it won’t be weird haha.”

“Yeah, sure, I’m down.”

“Cool. Let me just call Mark…”

Surprisingly, the addition of a phone call does little to improve Matt’s driving performance. Never one to quit, he calls his friend three times before giving up.

“Fuck it, dude. We can just go to his house, it’s Sunday, he’s not working.” Matt says with a surprising level of confidence.

“OK.” I reply.

“Yo, so why do you think Chris had such a bad trip? I could tell dude, it was way more than just his stomach. He smoked way too much of my weed to have a fuckin’ stomach ache.”

“Well it’s hard to say ‘cause I barely know Chris. I mean we’re cool and we talk at work but the only times I’ve ever hung out with him outside of work is to split a bag and smoke a blunt. He might not have been ready for it. If you’re going through shit in your life or you’re depressed the last thing you wanna do is trip off anything. Shrooms especially. My guess would be he underestimated them and tried to fight the trip. That’s like the worst thing you can do.”

“Yeah I was hoping to like, learn something from it. But so much for that… Alright this is his street…”

Mark’s driveway is deserted and he’s yet to return any of Matt’s calls. He calls him again and it doesn’t even ring. I couldn’t give a shit either way. I’m just trying to kill time.

“Fuck, dude. Sorry. I can’t just sit out in his driveway, you know?” Matt says.

“No big deal.” I reply.

“There is one other place we can chill…” Matt says ominously as we pull out of Mark’s driveway.

Matt brings me to a town I had heard many a racist joke about from my uncle. The shrooms make this gloomy neighborhood even drearier as we pass Rottweilers and overgrown lawn after overgrown lawn. We pull into the driveway of what appears to be a haunted house, complete with castle-esque design and a creepy rusted swing set in the backyard that I guarantee can move by itself. Matt waves and smiles up at a girl sitting in the second floor window smoking a cigarette. It’s difficult for me to see, but I’m pretty sure she doesn’t wave or smile back. The way she’s smoking that cigarette, glaring down at us with her head on her hand, ashing rather aggressively, gives no indication that she’s happy to see either of us.

“This is my girlfriend’s house, her name’s Heleen. Like Helen and Eileen together.” Matt says as he opens a broken screen door and an arguably broken regular door that uses shoulders instead of keys. The kitchen is dingy and the counter is completely covered in random shit. Nothing edible, though. The shrooms make me feel like I’m exploring an abandoned home in one of the Fallout games. Matt leads me to the living room, which isn’t as dirty or creepy as the kitchen, but equally depressing. There’s furniture but it’s dusty and old, leading me to wonder what tragedy befell the previous tenants that left it in control of two 18 year olds.

We go upstairs, which appears to be under construction. There’s two bedrooms with doors halfway open, both pitch black inside. I’m ready for Matt to say “Hey gang, let’s split up and search for clues.” When he opens the door to his girlfriend’s room.

Oh, fuck, light! I remember light!

I squint as I step into the bedroom. Immediately I’m overwhelmed. There is shit written and drawn all over the walls, which are painted green. Shit is chaotically strewn around a mattress on the floor. It’s like Matt’s girlfriend was possessed and they locked her in here while they called a priest. There’s gotta be at least one Exorcist reference among the hate speech, inside jokes, and lewd doodles that decorate the walls. It’s like she bought a roll of “dive bar men’s room stall” themed wall paper. I can’t help but get caught up in reading them all. I have so many questions. Like who really owns this place and where are they buried?

“Heleen, this is my friend Harry…” Matt says, his tone like that of a man trying to calm an angry pitbull.

“Hey, nice to meet you.” I say awkwardly.

Heleen ignores me and puts her cigarette out. The only chair in the room is the one she’s sitting in. She turns towards Matt, who doesn’t seem to share my nervousness, and kneels down by a bookcase to pack a dirty bong with weed. There’s a window to my left that I’m highly tempted to jump out of. If I die at least I’ll have other ghosts to chill with.

“You fucking tripped without me!?!?!” Heleen shouts abruptly.

Matt jumps and knocks over the bong he was packing. “Heleen!?! What the fuck!?!”

“WHAT THE FUCK!?? I SHOULD BE ASKIN’ YOU THE SAME QUESTION! YOU FUCKIN’ DID MUSHROOMS WITHOUT ME!?”

“Calm the fuck down, Jesus! You’re really gonna do this in front of my friend?”

“WHO’S FUCKIN HOUSE IS THIS, MATT, HUH!? I’LL DO WHATEVER THE FUCK I WANT.”

“Calm down, listen to me! I had no fucking idea I was even gonna be doing shrooms today until this morning, when you were at work. Chris Clinton ended up with a bunch of ‘em and he gave me a free 8th if I drove everybody. The car was full, you were at work, I wouldn’t even have money for shrooms anyway…”

“BULLSHIT! AND YOU TOOK ALL THE FUCKIN’ WEED WITH YOU, TOO. I WOULDVE PAID FOR SOME FOR US TO DO, YOU TOLD ME YOU’D DO THEM WITH ME. THEN I GOTTA COME HOME AND FIND OUT YOU’RE OUT THERE HIGH ON FUCKIN’ MUSHROOMS, WITHOUT ME, AND TO TOP IT ALL OFF, YOU WERE FUCKIN DRIVING?!!?”

“Baby, please stop yelling. I’m sorry. Chris has plenty more, I’ll buy some for us and we can do them together, just me and you. It actually kinda sucked, didn’t it Harry?”

“Yeah, it uh… They weren’t that good.” I say nervously.

“Oh, alright! Why didn’t ya just say so?! FUCK YOU, MATT! Ya use my house to sell weed, you come and go whenever the fuck you want, I’m so done with you and your fuckin’ bullshit…”

“Harry can you uh, wait outside for a second?” Matt says.

“Sure. Sorry…” I say, ready to run through the wall and leave my silhouette like a Loony Tunes character.

The door closes, but Heleen makes up for it by screaming even louder at Matt. I’m standing in this poorly lit leftover set piece from Trainspotting on mushrooms listening to a screaming match through a bedroom door. Boy oh boy, does this bring back memories. Me and my sister being shoo’d upstairs, nauseous and afraid, gathering ‘round the bannister to hear Mom and Dad do such classic duets as “YOU SAID YOU WERE OFF THAT SHIT”, “CUNT”, “I DON’T KNOW WHAT THE FUCK YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT”, “SHUT THE FUCK UP BEFORE YOU WAKE THE KIDS”, and “FOR THE LAST FUCKING TIME, I HAVE A PRESCRIPTION FOR ALL OF THOSE!” Their voicebox sound system was so powerful I heard each one crystal clear through my bedroom door with a pillow over each ear. Every now and then the police would do back-up on “YOU’RE GONNA GET OUR FUCKIN’ DOOR KICKED IN DOIN’ THAT. THINK ABOUT THE FUCKIN’ KIDS!”  

Thanks mushrooms, I had almost forgotten about all that stuff. Funny how things come full circle, huh?

I rub my eyes and collect myself. You’re making something out of nothing. You gonna cry about that shit forever? How about you move on already? You’re on fuckin’ mushrooms, relax, it’s not even comparable to what…

Then, a beacon of hope.

“WELL THEN IF I’M SO FUCKIN’ RUDE, HOW’S THIS?! GET THAT FUCKIN KID OUTTA MY HOUSE.”

“Holy shit, alright!” Matt says as he shuts the door.

“Dude… I don’t even know what to say… She… Sorry you had to hear that. Let’s go.”

“It’s alright, man…” I lie as I walk down the stairs.

As we get into the kitchen we hear a door swing open upstairs.

“ARE YOU SERIOUSLY GONNA FUCKING DRIVE RIGHT NOW?!?!” Heleen screams 
downstairs before slamming the door.

“Just go, dude, I’m sorry…” Matt says as he opens the door.

“I feel so bad that you had to sit through that shit, dude, for real. She’s usually not like that, don’t take it personally. Here…” Matt says as he hands me a dub of weed.

“You sure? I got a $20 I can give you.” I reply.

“Yeah dude, take it.”

“Thanks man, I appreciate it.”

“No problem. We should trip for real sometime. And if you like that bud I got plenty more, take down my number…”

“Alright, word. I’ll definitely be hitting you up then, man. Thanks for ride.”


“No problem man, peace.” 

I sit at my desk and listen to music. A letter from my father from prison sits at the far end of my desk, where it's been for weeks now. I don't know why I can't throw it away. I don't know why I can't read it. 

"Fuck it..." I whisper, and cover it with a magazine.