been three hours since we dropped the acid. First we walked down Adam's street
and looked at the streetlight. It was flashing on and off. It made everything
taste funny, seeing the light go on and off. The street was so dark anyway, and
the flashing made it unsettling. We walked to the Bigfoot to get the taste out
of our mouths -- to get rid of the scratchy tracks in our throats. Liters of lemonade
really cheap, it sounded good to both of us. Adam walked ahead of me with his
hands in his pockets. I kept asking him if he was cold and he would just turn
around really fast like he was startled or something and say
He makes me laugh when the scary part starts every time we do this drug together. The Bigfoot lights were extra bright, especially after the somewhat dim flashing streetlight. There were bugs in the rays and I saw their shadows moving across the ground. The shadows made the ground crawl. Adam pushed on the door instead of pulling on it and I laughed and he turned around, startled again, but this time laughing
The guy behind the counter was suspicious. I just know he was.
"He knew man," I whisper.
"Who?" asks Adam. He's separating the weed we just bought. "Who buys $13.00 bags?"
"People on acid," I say. But I know the guy knew. I could tell. He was probably on acid too. "The guy, man, behind the counter."
Adam starts to laugh. His hair is getting shorter every minute. He's going to knock that shit -- "you're going to knock that shit off of the table," I say.
"Oh fuck," he says, and grabs one of the larger stems and puts it in his mouth and makes a Popeye face and says "grrrrrr."
When the guy looked at me, when he made me nervous, Adam came up behind me and started talking to him. He probably knew him, Adam knows everyone. Adam would know if the guy was on acid.
"Was he tripping?" I ask.
After the guy gave me the change someone tapped me on the shoulder. I turned around, and so did Adam, and this girl I knew was smiling at me. I couldn't remember what her name was. She was bundled up -- too bundled up for the fairly mild cold of the outside. Her brown eyes flashed something at me that made a little paranoid, a little suspicious of what she saw in my eyes.
"Paul," she said, "I'm glad I saw you! We're having a birthday party for my roommate tonight; do you want to come?" she asked, and Adam came to my side. I still couldn't remember her name, so I introduced him.
"This is Adam," I said, and she said, "Hi, I'm Jessica --" and he interrupted, while sticking out his hand, "yeah, I know." I was glad she said her name, it makes me nervous when I can't remember people's names, especially when they know me. Her smile went away, and she said "you can come, too," and he said, "I was already invited." I was a little confused -- I felt like Adam was keeping something from me, but she just smiled again, and said, "well, see you there," and stood at the counter, ordering some kind of light cigarette.
We walked out of the store and Adam had stuffed two packages of beef jerky into his pocket. He stole it and he even knew the guy he was stealing from. Fucking great. I asked him how he knew about the party, and he told me that Jessica's roommate, the birthday girl, had invited him earlier in the week, or something. I said, "I felt like Jessica was coming on to me," and he smiled and said, "every boy she talks too feels that way," hung his head for a second, and then looked up at me and smiled. I noticed the redness in his cheeks then, how big his pupils were getting. It was so bright. I looked down and saw the ground swarming under the weight of the gnats' shadows. Adam started laughing. We walked through the alley and he stopped me because I was breathing hard.
"I just need a cigarette," I said.
"Yeah, sounds like it," he said and laughed. Then he hugged me like he was startled by something. Adam knows when to do things. He knew I was starting to freak out. It's good to have someone with you when you're not sure what's going on. I'm glad it's always Adam -- he always does these things with me. He's looking for his lighter. I have one -- "here" I say.
"Thanks, God bless you," and he crosses the joint he just rolled and burns the wet crease on the side. He does it so fast. He does it well, too. I've never had a joint of his fall apart on me. "Do you have any honey?" he asks.
"I don't know. Your girlfriend probably keeps it in the fridge," I say. I get up to look in the fridge. There's that picture of me and Corey dressed up and drunk, the night we moved in together. There's Corey's boyfriend Adam on the fridge on a boat in Key West when his hair was short and he was really skinny and he looked like a wet rat. There's Adam at the table waiting for the honey. It's hard to believe they're the same person, especially now. It's hard to believe I live with his girlfriend. I find the honey in the fridge where I knew Corey would put it. Being from Kentucky makes people put all sorts of weird things in cold places, I guess.
Adam puts a little honey on the tip of the joint and runs it down the newly burned crease with his little finger. His fingernails are dirty, and two of them on each hand are painted purple. He dressed up like a cheerleader for an early Halloween party last week. Real early, a month and a half early -- it's only the end of September. It seems like we always have to fill our time with the strangest things. I guess acid is no exception. He burns the joint again and the smell is like hot Florida garbage. I noticed his hair starting to curl on the porch when we got to my house.
"Your hair is getting shorter, curling, isn't it?" I asked.
"That always happens when I trip," he says. The dead bugs on my porch light are so thick that they only let enough light out to illuminate the spaces above our heads. Adam's hair is thick and brown. He looks like a rock star. He's got stuffed animal brown eyes and Jim Morrison cheekbones. He plays basketball and looks healthy but sometimes he reminds me of a polio case -- it's the way he hobbles. But just sometimes. Ever since I was a kid I got horrible sympathy pains when I saw people limping or in wheelchairs or whatever. Old people make me cry. Adam hobbling reminds me of the time I cried at the Little House on the Prairie TV show in front of my sister. I think that was the first time anything fake made me feel awful.
"Are you going to smoke this or not?" asks Adam. He passes me the joint and I sit down. The acid-anxiousness is grabbing me by my ankles and moving into the pit of my stomach. I take a drag and it starts to go away -- but now but I'm thirsty. I pass the joint and get up again.
"Would you relax, man? You're making me nervous," exhales Adam. I open the fridge and pull out the Brita water thing. I grab my glass, dirty from whiskey and Coke earlier, and now I'm spilling the water. Adam is laughing at me. Paper towels. It's getting hot in here, maybe just inside of me. I can feel my eyes straining when I look up -- the light is too much. But it's not flashing and it's not too bright -- it's just covering everything up, like a sheer plastic coat on the whole kitchen. I can see the dust of the windowsills even better right now. My eyes are still straining, the pupils are trying to contract from too much light. It scares me sometime, knowing that I can't back out of these trips. Adam helps. I put the wet paper towels in the trash. The water is cleared and I'm smoking the joint again. It went out while I was cleaning up.
We got the shit from Drew who was nice enough to sell it for $13.00. He really came through. Even though he's a fucking yuppie hippie -- the worst kind of hippie. When we were walking back from his house with our coats on and my hand hiding the baggie in my pocket a streetlight turned on above us and we stopped. I tried to say something and I didn't say anything and just smiled. Sometimes this shit makes me feel like I can understand everything. I won't let that feeling last, though -- that's the kind of shit they told you would happen in high school health classes. Adam was looking at the streetlight for a long time. "You're going to burn them out man" I said and he looked at me. He smiled and I watched his pupils start to spasm. He looked back and saw the same thing in my eyes, I think. We stared for awhile and he said "you're a big black purple electricity monster." I laughed and thought that's what you get for staring at the light but really thought I'm a big black purple electricity monster was a fine thing to say. Adam makes a lot of sense right now. He still couldn't see when we walked through the alley and he started freaking out.
"Can you see yet?" I ask. The joint is almost out.
"Are the purple dots gone?"
Adam sits back and looks out the window and just says, "I don't know." I start to laugh and it feels like it hurts because I'm laughing so hard. I'm remembering to breathe because I feel like if I don't I'll stop breathing. My face hurts from smiling so much -- it's partly Adam's fault. It's hard not to laugh at him. If anything scares me about Adam it's his honesty. His eyes are turning as red as his cheeks. It's been almost three and a half hours since we ate this shit. Of course as soon as I think that the plastic feeling starts to happen. I hate this feeling. I need something else, something else needs to happen. I need to smoke a cigarette. That plastic feeling, that one in the back of your neck, that dull-hot feeling of poison making it's way through your body. It makes me want to smoke. The guy at the Bigfoot knew what kind of cigarettes I wanted. It's a good thing. He probably looked at me that way because he's seen me in there so many Goddamn times.
I think Adam was the first to look away under the streetlight. He just couldn't see me behind the purple dots, the dots that were made more opaque by the drugs. He tells me that I need to stop apologizing so much -- he probably would have told me that if I would have apologized for staring at him for so long -- but he isn't strong enough to make eye contact for long periods of time. Maybe that's the idea. Maybe he's being elusive. Oh God, there's the feeling again. Something needs to happen, something's going to happen.
"Let's listen to some music before we go," I say. We have to get to Sara's, our Lesbian friend's house -- it's her birthday. The party will be easier this way, with all those goddamn theater majors. At least we'll laugh. If we get the bad feeling we'll just leave. I wonder if Adam's bad feelings are the same as mine when we're on this stuff. I know, I'll put on "Don't Talk (Put Your Head on My Shoulder)." Adam gets up before I can get into my bedroom. Adam inside my bedroom and slams the door.
"Hey, the stereo's in there, I need to put on music," I say.
"I got it," he says. The door is locked. He puts on "Caroline, No." How did he know I was going to play a song from Pet Sounds?
"Hey, I was gonna play a song from that album," I say through the door. This house is so nice, I can't believe I live with a girl -- Adam's girlfriend Corey is so clean and we have a spiral staircase. We have a fireplace. The fruit trees in the backyard attract so many bees and there's nothing scary about the house except for the bathroom.
Adam opens the door and is singing to me.
"Who took your look away?" he's singing, "I remember how you used to say," and I join, "You'd never change, but that's not true." Adam has found the strobe light and turned off the other lights and now he's shutting the door and we're in my strobe light bedroom and we're singing a Beach Boys song together, one of my favorite Beach Boys songs. I wonder what Corey would think if she saw us in this state.
"It's so sad to watch a sweet thing die," we sing in unison. We're floating around the room and we open up all the blinds so the neighbors can see. There's a crazy lady who lives next door -- she's a paralegal and she takes twenty minutes to walk up her steps because she's so old and fat. She's crazy but sometimes when I watch her she makes me sad. She's made me cry.
"The crazy lady next door is going to have a seizure," I say. Adam starts to laugh, and the strobe light makes me nauseous. My dry throat is alarming me and the plastic feeling is turning into hot-sweat-dull feeling -- more like a summer day nauseous than a late September fall nauseous. But I don't always get sad when I see the old lady. She's mean. "You know she has a slave?" I ask.
"What the fuck are you talking about," says Adam, moving like a click-stop film projector -- not moving -- posing at every brief flash of light -- posing close to me.
"The woman next door -- I think the slave's deaf and he does all of her gardening. And he's black and his name is Jimmy and she gets up at eight o'clock every morning even though I see her out gardening until at least three in the morning. And he's there and she yells about bulbs and weeds and she sweats and he smokes and she tells him all the time that he's going to die because of it. And Latino girls live there and they look at me through the windows sometimes."
Adam stops -- rather he retains his pose, which doesn't retain because every slight movement is noticeable and bright -- and he looks suddenly scared.
"Are you okay, man?" I ask and go to touch him, to make him feel better. He jumps at me and screams "I'm the crazy lady! I'm the crazy lady!"
I laugh but I'm startled by the movement and my nausea and the plastic feeling and I open up the door that leads to the front porch and it feels like the house is moving, but I don't see any gnats or their shadows so I know it's just me. He follows me and apologizes and hugs me quickly again. "I think we should go, this is getting weird," he says, and pulls a joint out of his pocket. Like a party is going to be any less weird. I put on my coat and he turns off the strobe light. It is absolutely black but I can see him in the darkness because my eyes won't relax. I let him walk out in front of me. He lights the joint as we walk down the stairs. It's eight blocks away -- "eight blocks, I think," I say to a question Adam didn't ask.
Things are only okay when we're moving. I feel like I can't catch my breath. We're walking fast.
"We're walking fast," I say. Adam starts to run. I catch up to him. We turn the corner and another streetlight turns on above us.
"Weird," he says. We stop.
"When I was in high school I used to say that when a streetlight turns on above your car the driver has a secret," I say.
"Well neither of us are the drivers so neither of us have secrets," he says.
"I have a car," I say, "I guess I'm the driver."
Adam starts walking and singing a James Brown song. We are walking fast. I need a cigarette. I'm fumbling with my pack and I trip over a raised lip in the sidewalk. It doesn't hurt, probably because I'm cold and I can't feel anything anyway. It's dark.
"Your secret is you're a fucking klutz," says Adam. He was thinking about it the streetlight -- I knew he was. I start laughing -- "nothing funnier than people falling down," I say.
"Good thing you didn't have the joint," he says.
"Where is it, by the way?" I ask. I know it's in his hand and it's not burning and he just hasn't given it to me or he's forgotten. He looks and his face says "oh yeah," but not his voice -- Adam's face says a lot. I've stared at it on many occasions, acid or not, in the few years I've known him -- a long time. He lights the joint, I get up, and we keep walking. We're walking, the blocks are passing, cars go by and their taillights leave a red ripple in their wake. They're showing us the way, I guess.
"How are you and Corey?" I ask.
"Cool," he says. He means it too -- he loves better than I do because he is honest. He goes through with what he says. That kind of honesty intimidates me -- it scares me. We're walking and we're getting closer to the house -- I can hear the music and the people polluting the air. It must be less than eight blocks away. We walk under another streetlight and it goes out. Adam stops.
"Whoa. It's just our night, I guess," he says. I want to reach out and hug him again. He puts his hand on my arm. "You're a really good friend, I hope you know that" he says. He sounds so natural. I start to laugh because it feels like a strobe light photograph. I won't say that out loud, I'm thinking too much. I won't forget this picture -- Adam's hair is definitely curlier and shorter and his eyes have stopped fighting the enlarged pupils. I'm still laughing. Something else should happen. I stop laughing so I can look without my picture moving. He just says "I mean it." Something else should happen. Someone is yelling my name from down the street. Something else should happen. Instead I turn my head away and give Adam a half-hug -- I'm moving on to the new noise of my name -- it's a girl yelling.
"Paul! Is that you?" it asks. I haven't let go of Adam's shoulder. I say "thanks," and I don't look at him. I start walking toward the voice. "Who are you?" I yell. I know it's the girl -- what was her name? -- who invited me. She didn't think I was going to come. I let go of Adam and walk away. I can make her out -- she looks nice -- her hair's up, she's in a skirt, she's drunk. She looks beautiful. She's not overly bundled, like she was in the store -- she looks different. I turn around when I almost get to her and see Adam staring at the sidewalk that leads to me. He's walking slowly behind me and he's sort of limping. He looks helpless -- something else should have happened. Now she's tugging at me.
We're moving quickly, she's pulling me up the steps of the porch and I keep looking back to see Adam. It's a big college student porch with a little college student couch and cheap white lawn chairs. Lots of smoke and a lot of drunk screams and drunk smiles. Adam moves in reluctantly. No wonder, this is a ridiculously bright party. There are other intoxicated people talking too loud and not enjoying themselves. They're talking to hear themselves talk. I've never been in this house before. There's the fat girl and the tall guy whose name I can never remember and a bunch of other people. Mascara is running, or maybe it's not, maybe it's just me. There's too much to look at. "Do you like it?" she asks. There are masks on the wall -- Greek god masks staring at everyone. She pulls me even though I won't answer her. There's a living room, dining room with a glass table -- I wonder if they have any cocaine -- and the bright kitchen with the movable light -- it's attached to some sort of metal stick that lets you move the light closer or farther away from the table, but it's hung on the ceiling. I've never seen one before. The light is too close but it is partially covered in dead moths and it is making me feel sort of at home. I'm not moving as fast now and the sweat is catching up with me, the dull hot sweat is turning cold in the September open windows. She's talking to me and she apologizes for not having an extra beer.
There's something about this place that feels forced. I feel like I drag Adam to these things to get away from being alone with him -- like I'm not actually having fun unless we're around a lot of people. Like it doesn't matter unless we're with people. I wonder what would happen I didn't run away so much -- he is a good friend. There's something forced here -- people talking and talking and the buzz of perspired conversations and bitter breath and sexual advantage-taking opportunities. I'm too scattered, I just want to walk. I came to see this girl -- Jessica, that's her name -- I came to see her. I didn't know I was going to need Adam so much with this stuff in my brain. We should have stayed at home.
"What's the matter?" she asks. We're still in the kitchen, she's talking to a girl whose hair shines in the movable light. It's a fake color.
"Nothing, just a little fucked up, I guess," I say. Adam has found someone to talk to and moves to the porch. Adam's new friend is tall and dark -- I ask Jessica if we can go to the porch and smoke. She smiles and squeezes my arm -- it feels forced but it's warm and she's pretty, and I know it's not forced. Maybe nervous -- I'd like to think this whole party is nervous and not forced. I think again. I have had her in my thoughts before -- I've wanted to meet her like this again. But it's not what I think it should be, I think. We're going to the porch and there's only one chair so she sits on my lap. She talks to me about something and I'm busy looking at Adam talking to the dark tall guy and he has a beer and Adam has one -- he must have got it from the tall dark guy.
"Hey!" she says, "Pay attention to me! Let's go look at Mike's porch!" She laughs, and I laugh, "it's been a long night, I guess," I say and she pulls me out of the chair. I swear I just burned her with the cigarette. Across the street is her ex-boyfriend's house. It's also my ex-drug dealer's house. I guess it's our ex's ex-house. I talked to Jessica for the first time there, and that's where my trend of forgetting her name started. I hate that fucking house. Never buy drugs from someone you know is crazy. I wonder why she went out with him -- drugs, I hope.
"Never buy drugs from crazy people," I say to Adam as we pass him on the porch.
"Where are you going?" he asks, and starts to get up. I point at Jessica and I keep walking and he remains partially erect and says, "oooh, okay," and sort of smiles. Is that a cynical smile? A knowing smile? Was that a sneer? Jessica is pulling me. The streetlights all go out. What the fuck is happening? The stars suddenly are brighter. "There's Orion," I say. We keep walking. The house is for sale -- Mike has moved away. We're sitting on the partial concrete wall of the porch.
"It looks so different," she says. I agree, I start talking, but I'm just talking to fill space and I'm watching Adam talk to the tall dark guy on the porch. "Who is that?" I ask. I must have said it in the middle of saying something else because she's caught off guard. Body is on autopilot. Maybe a party is not such a good idea right now. I'd rather be with Adam, I think.
"Oh, that's Eric. Who did you bring with you?" she asks.
"That's Adam -- he's a really good friend of mine. He's the first guy I ever smoked pot with," I say, and she laughs and agrees, "yeah, that's a good friend."
"I'm tripping," I say. I say it because we have started staring at each other, and I figure she's going to figure it out -- she's that kind of girl, I think. She is gorgeous. Her brown hair is escaping from its rubber band prison and making curls in the shape of a "C" in front of her forehead. We've been looking for a long time and I feel like something else is going to happen. I'm scared of this shit when I'm on acid -- I've never even kissed on acid before. She is startled.
"I'm sorry," she says, and then she moves in and kisses me. It's dull cold feeling but it's soft and it makes me feel like I'm falling asleep, but I'm still awake, but I feel like I'm going to fall off the bed and that's how I remember I haven't fallen asleep. Her hands are moving through my hair, like a swarm of hot gnats -- my whole head is molding under her fingers. I move away and look at her. She has on a cheap bracelet with a flashing red light -- I saw them at the Bigfoot earlier, maybe she bought it there -- and when we were kissing, I must have set it off. It leaves red residue in the open space as she raises her arm to play with her hair, making her wrist look torn open, the blood clotting all over the air in between us. Her brown eyes are large and dotted red, her hair is a mass of red -- the red is caught in my eye -- it's the red-black electricity monster crawling over everything I see. That's what I get for staring at cheap electronic bracelets.
"That was bad, wasn't it," she asks. Her lower lip pouts out of her mouth -- I'm overcome with something that is exactly opposite of the plastic feeling. It's warm and anxious, but not plastic.
"No," I say, "it was like the first time I ever kissed anyone," I say. I'm amazed at how stupid that sounded, and she obviously is taking it the wrong way. This is going fast -- I've never made out with anyone this fast before, on acid, drunk, whatever.
"It was that bad?" she asks.
"No," I say, "I've never been on acid and been that intimate with anyone before, I mean, if that's intimate, and it was," I ramble. I can't see Adam on the porch anymore. I move try and see if he's inside.
"Yes, it was -- I liked it," she says. Then she moves in and kisses me again, harder, and runs her hand halfway up my thigh. I move away. I want it, but I'm afraid of it -- it's too foreign. Something else should happen. I stop kissing her. I realize I don't know her last name.
"I don't know your last name," I say. She laughs and grabs my hand. "You're cute," she says. I have to think of something that will get me back to Adam. We can play music, we can watch a movie, we can do something together before this wears off.
"Do you want to hang out sometime? I need to get back to my friend," I say. I mean it. I do need to see Adam. I would like to know her last name.
"I bet you won't," she says.
"I won't what, see my friend?"
"No, you won't hang out with me," she replies. It's a challenge. A dare.
I accept the dare and say "yes I will, on Monday." She smiles and gets up and says "good -- let me write down my number" and I follow her back to the house. She grabs my hand. I'm embarrassed, I don't want Adam to see it, this hand-holding. He is lurking inside the front door somewhere, I know it. Her hand feels like vinyl, probably because it's soft and my hands are sweating the anxious acid sweat. I let go. She rushes inside and I tell Adam to wait for a second, and he says "I'm ready to go man -- this joint is burning a hole in my pocket and we need to get away from these people." I nod. I go in and Jessica has a notepad and she's writing down her number. It says "Don't forget" next to the number, but I can't read her last name because the pen marks are moving and they hurt my eyes. I look around and see Adam facing the other way and I kiss her. I try to mean it. She smiles and I say goodbye and walk out. "Let's go, man," I say.
It's getting colder and I think we're peaking. There's another Bigfoot around the corner, a different one. Adam lost his lighter at the party. "Where'd you go?" he asks.
"Who were you talking to?" I ask.
"Some role-playing guy. I think he took my lighter. I'm flipping out," he says.
I pat him on the back and he shudders like a frightened puppy. "It's okay man."
"Did you get a blowjob?" he asks. He sounds sarcastic.
"No, we just kissed," I say. If I'm blushing the acid is making it impossible for Adam to tell, and I can't feel it anyway.
We turn the corner and the blazing lights of the Bigfoot creep around the outline of the houses and trees. Adam walks faster. He starts talking like a cartoon -- "you left me at a nerd party and all you did was make out!" -- and then stops, turns around, makes wrinkles his face and sniffs the air like a hungry dog.
"You smell like a girl," he says. He grabs my coat sleeve and smells it. "It smells good," he says. We walk into the fiery Bigfoot illumination and I swear I can see his hair curling.
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