Dead River pt.1

He sat on the couch, legs crossed, arms stretched out, with his head hanging almost behind him. A cigarette delicately held between his teeth. His eyes were open and vacant. The thousand yard stare that made me think that he was seeing something through the ceiling. Looking into space or perhaps inside himself. Or maybe he was gazing at the fine spackling. Every dot or smudge, a star or galaxy. I didn’t know.

“I’ll feel this eventually” – He muttered to me. The cigarette still between his teeth.

He took a drag, pulling the nicotine stained smoke into him, and exhaled with a heavy breath. The smoke filled the room for a short while only to be rushed out of a nearby open window.

You could tell he was already feeling it. His form, relaxed. A cynical smile ran across his mouth from almost ear to ear.

“Hey, man. Put a record on.”

I walked over to the player, grabbed an album at random and threw it on. The black circle spinning,- gliding effortlessly around like a carousel. I sat and watched it for a minute. Staring at it as blankly as he had the ceiling. I could feel it hit me too. I gently moved the needle over and placed it on the album like a physicist splitting an atom. Careful and delicate, not to leave one scratch or fuck it up. I couldn’t let that happen. Nobody else in the room had the ability to.

The music started to play. His head lifted slowly from the trance he had just been pulled out of. His eyes focussed back to reality as his motions livened up.

“Yeah, man this album is fuckin’ solid.”

I was getting tired of his antics. Pretending to be a hip child of the 70’s that nobody understood, but everyone just assumed it was a phase for him. A style. A statement. Something to separate himself from “the norm”. He was him.  Who had the guts to tell him he wasn’t, you know? You snap your fingers poetically to a guy like this.

The character that he was. The old soul entrapped in a technological age. Where organic ends and chemicals start. Here he was, in my living room, tripping his face off.

“You should chill out, man,” I said as I rolled a joint. I could definitely tell it was hitting us. The air got lighter. There was a hint of vibrancy that came from what I was feeling, but I couldn’t point it out at the time. Nothing was comprehensible.

I finished rolling the joint and by that time the drugs took hold. My perception of distance had withered away and as I stared down, my arms appeared to be miles away. As I looked past the gaps in my fingers, my eyes focussed to the floor. With the background now coming into focus, it felt like I was looking down from an airplane. I knew I wasn’t. I still maintained the basic cognitive intuitions to understand that it was all in my head. The inner fool. The laughing idiot inside me creating a sense of mental dissonance.

“Dude, what are you saying?” he asked.

I must’ve been talking out loud.

“The inner fool? Th’fuck are you talking about?”

Maybe I was losing the basics too.

“Nothing…” I said. I needed to be careful. By this point, I wasn’t really under any sort of control. I could still walk, talk, and perceive what was around me, but the universe was melting out of every orifice of my face. A rush of colors running slowly out of my ear.  The kind of feeling that you would get if you went swimming, to find out, upon going to sleep, you still had water trapped in your skull only for it to release as soon as that side of your head hit the pillow. The warm drip.

“Christ, man! Look at you!”, the man on the couch exclaimed.

He gripped his cigarette between his teeth and walked over to me.  He kneeled down in front of my face. My mind racing to grasp whatever branch of reality was closest. I focussed on the record player. The sounds pushing their way out of the black speaker. I could see the waves reverberate the surrounding air. Almost as if there was a gas leak in the house.

“You’re in for a long trip”, he said.

I leaned back in the chair, put my hands over my face and slowly moved them back through my hair. I began to laugh uncontrollably.

The record stopped.

“I think it’s you who needs to chill out. Let’s go outside.”

Outside was beautiful. Upon leaving the house, the air was still and warm. The sun’s rays were blocked by the house. We stumbled down the stairs and onto the grass.

I could feel each blade of grass growing underneath my feet. Stretching upward towards the light. I took a few bumbling steps then dropped to my knees. The rest of my body followed that motion to the ground. Flat on my stomach I closed my eyes and used my entire being to roll over.

My eyes remained closed.

The funny thing about acid is that you’re always following yourself. You can’t force your brain one way or another. I tried reflecting on a few things, but that wasn’t the direction my mind was going. Like walking a dog. You’re always trying to catch up.

I opened my eyes. The wooded area to my right was bustling with activity. Birds chirping, small animals rustling around in the leaves. A miniature city. Its residents screaming at each other.

“Yo, check out the barn.” he called over to me.

My eyes slowly panned upwards. At the top of the old red barn were three large birds.

“Turkey vultures,” I said.

“Turkey vultures? You have them here?”

Three large birds huddled together waiting for their next meal. They probably thought I was it. Laying in the grass like a dead animal completely removed from any mental control.

“They’re going to eat us”, I called out to him.

There was a long pause.

“That’s a fucked up thing to say, dude” he called back.

I could hear his footsteps through the grass. He was walking over to me. I closed my eyes.

His shadow blocked out the light. He was standing over me. I felt a small tap on my forehead. He dropped a cigarette for me.

As I could hear him flick his lighter, I opened my eyes, grabbed the cigarette and sat up crosslegged.

“Where are we going?” I asked, lighting up. The hit was harsh.

It wasn’t a cigarette. It was another joint. I coughed.

“We’re heading to Dead River.”