Upon returning from Christmas break, Murray unveiled the universe wrapped in tissue paper. I had been back a few days when he arrived. I found out later that he had no plans of returning, but his mother convinced him that he needed to finish school.

“Man, I wished that I had had some money when I was home. I would have brought back some weed,” I complained.

“Yo, man, I got something even better. My brother gave me something, and I brought some back.”

“Why didn’t you say something earlier? We could have been lighting up instead of just sitting around here doing nothing.” Murray gave off a sheepish chuckle.

“Nah, I’m not talking about smoke,” he said with an enigmatic grin.

I stood there for a minute looking at him in anticipation. Without saying a word, he went over to his still unpacked duffle bag and pulled out a small wad of tissue paper. Painstakingly he unraveled his secret, searching arduously for what looked like a piece of lent. I leaned in for a closer look. Murray then placed the tiny content in the palm of his hand for my inspection.

“What the hell is that,” I asked.

“Blotter,” he said, unceremoniously.

“What the fuck is blotter?”

“Acid,” he answered, surveying my face for a reaction. I had heard of dropping acid, but I never heard of black people dropping any. Anything that I may of heard about acid involved hippies. Tripping was for crazy ass white folks.

However, with no grass and with the liquor supply under lock and key, why not go for it. “What do you do with it, smoke it?”

“Nah, it’s nothing like that. Just put it underneath your tongue.”

“And then what?”

“Hold on while I go upstairs to get a razor blade.” What the hell does he need that for, I wondered? I ain’t doing no crazy shit. Before my imagination ran completely away with me, Murray returned with the razor.

“Since I only have one tab, I’m going to cut it in half. Plus, I don’t think you could handle more than half.”

I just knew that that tiny thing wasn’t going to get the both of us high. I was already disappointed. But, what did I have to lose. I watched as Murray sliced the minuscule square in two. Afterwards, he pressed down on his half with his pointer until it stuck to the tip of his finger. He then carefully placed the tiny paper square under his tongue. I soon followed his lead, gazing over at him almost expecting the drug to kick in immediately.

“Now what,” I asked.

“Just wait; you’ll see.” I tried to imagine what the sensation would be like. I didn’t have to wait long. At first, there was this acidic taste in my mouth triggering a flow of saliva. Then, I start having these flashes or euphoric sensations, where my whole body seemed to tingle.

As the blotter took hold, I felt the irresistible urge to laugh. As the rushes, as Murray called them, increased in intensity, objects took on an incredibly vibrant hue. The shadows in the room began to intermingle with the lamplight in a way the defied the laws of physics. But, upon closer inspection, the surreal returned to normal.

“Put on some music,” Murray suggested with a mischievous gleam in his eye. He knew.

I slipped a record on the turntable and waited. Within a long second, the most beautiful melody that I ever heard came pouring out of my sound system. I could hear cords and rhythms in the song that I had never heard before, even as I had played the album dozens of times. It was like a music hidden within the music, leaving me wondering why I hadn’t heard it before then.

Shadow and light blended into soft, surrealistic tones that highlighted the vividness of objects around the room. The lamplight painted the room in a comforting glow. The rushes were growing stronger now, and I became concerned that I wouldn’t be able to contain the mounting ecstasy.

I pointed out the grossly hilarious in the most mundane, leaving us laughing wildly until we were buckled over with tears running down our faces. This shit is out of this world, I thought. Twenty minutes later the high was in full affect, and I had discovered the meaning of mind-altering experience. The drug took its cue from the users own thoughts.

As I began to examine the patterns in the Styrofoam ceiling panels, they began to animate and move about like grasshoppers trapped under a glass surface. For no reason, we decided to venture upstairs. Eating something was next to impossible because of my acid latent stomach.

The house looked the same, but the silence was eerie, with each creak in the stairs sounding like an earthquake. I felt like we were trespassers creeping around in a strange house. I prayed that no one came downstairs. I wasn’t sure if I could handle talking to someone from the other world. By that I mean someone who wasn’t tripping out of their mind.

The floor patterns started to come alive which I was able to ignore by redirecting my thoughts to something else, somewhere else. Ecstasy gradually turned into anxiety, as I found it increasingly difficult to control my own thoughts. I couldn’t let the demons out. It was like walking a tightrope between heavenly grandeur and hellish torment.

I had to beat back the demons of my dark side, less they undermine my sanity. Seemed like the more I tried to stop thinking cataclysmic thoughts, the more they enveloped me. My worst fears materialized in the form of tiny creeping grasshopper-like creatures.

When I squeezed my arm, I could see them pressing their heads to the surface. I was on the verge of losing it.
I couldn’t imagine dropping acid alone. Without Murray, I would have dived off the deep end. My shadowy haunts, surfacing from the recesses of my dark imaginings would have gotten the best of me.

Anyway, the high began to subside allowing me to wrestle control back from my own imagination. But, it had left me feeling as rung out as an old dish towel. My side and abdominal muscles pained from the nonstop laughing. Even my face muscles throbbed, having been stretched like a rubber band.

That night we slept the sleep of the dead. The morning was a harsh reminder of the strange mind-bending experience. I felt dehydrated and drank nearly a gallon of water. But, my real disappointment was that Murray didn’t have any more. I craved more, and encouraged him to contact his brother to see if he could send us some blotter through the U.S. mail.

It would be another couple of months before our next mind excursion. Twice we tested our bio-synthetic wings fashioned by Timothy Leary much the way the Wright Brothers achieved another kind of flight at Kitty Hawk.

Jamie, Murray, and I dropped some acid while attending a school dance. We floated above the mere mortals, finding rapture in every sight and sound. Our constant and patronizing laughter was drawing attention. But, no one was the wiser.

On one cloudless day in May, we dropped a tab each and headed over to the ice rink to shoot hoops. But when we arrived, we found the gym open and no one around. We played a full court game with me against the two of them. I ran like the wind, never tiring. I had only managed to dunk the ball once or twice and now I was dunking at will. I felt unstoppable, no immortal.

That was the magic of the drug. Your perception of the ordinary world is altered, perhaps, heightened would be a better word. Yes, I risked my life for a cheap thrill. I could have had a bad trip or done irreparable damage to my brain. I could have burn the house down or drove the car off a cliff, again.

But, the acid trips opened a doorway to a universe that I never knew existed. I had tumbled down the rabbit hole and stood at heaven’s gate staring into the realm of infinite possibility. Up until that moment, seeing meant believing, my nervous system conveying data to my brain, revealing an objective reality.

But under the influence of LSD, my mind tapped into the self-organizing properties of creation, suspending my disbelief and acting like a bridge to the divine. With ontological keys in hand, I stood transcendent before the doors to many mansions.

In this drug-induced world, a blade of grass could bend back blades of steel. You need only believe, thus taking from life what you breathed into it. It awoke in me the idea that all world views are whimsical and completely arbitrary; all paradigms selected subconsciously, all observations influenced by the observer. It set me on a journey to comprehend that which lies beyond comprehension, to know the unknowable.

Chapter One Hundred & Twenty-One: A Brave New Me

Significantly, I also discovered that I was more that a single and separate biological entity, but an intrical part of the unified field of existence. I looked beyond my small world to the infinite expanse and began to meditate on the Infinite Intelligence that created it all and the laws and principles of God’s governance. How ironic that a tiny piece of paper could contain a glance into that which is ever present, but seen by few.

Murray had always been a reader. Nan tried everything she could to get me to read, including bribery. I had an on-going invitation to purchase any book in the Burlington bookstores as long as I read them and could render a report. However, now, I had reasons for reading all my own. In the days following my cosmic voyages, I bombarded her with questions of God, man, and creation.

Nan was quite pleased with the new me. Being the new age woman that she was, she recognized my profound curiosity and plucked from her personal library jewels like: George Orwell’s “1984”, Alex Huxley’s “Brave New World”, Joseph Piece’s “Crack in the Cosmic Egg”, and Alvin Toffler’s “Future Shock”. Oh, they made difficult readings, but much can be accomplished when armed with a dictionary and a voracious appetite for the existential.

I devoured them like pieces of candy and returned for more. Nan had long been a student of Carl Gustav Jung and Joseph Campbell, pathfinders through the subconscious mind to the Collective Consciousness. As a result of our nightly conversations, I became fascinated by the power of symbols, dreams, and myths, all doorways to the subconscious.

And, the change taking place inside was beginning to impact my daily life. Instead of wasting time during study hall, I read. In fact, I dedicated all my free time to reading. I believed that it was just as much a shock to the people who knew me as it was to me.

“It must be a good book. What are you reading?” they would ask. I must admit I felt empowered. In addition, reading served as a wonderful way to escape; escape from Jennifer’s pregnancy, escape from the disappointing season, and escape from the whiteness slowly swallowing my soul.

The winter flew by, and the Canadian geese once again returned to the Green Mountains. Blades of grass were beginning to sprout up through the soaked earth and pollen floated on streams of mountain air warmed by the tilt of the earth’s axis.

Murray informed me that he was on line to graduate early. That is, he had enough credits. I knew that he had arranged through the guidance office to takes some extra classes, but I never saw this coming. That tore it with him and me. I saw him as a traitor, a ‘flat leaver’.

I felt he had rejected my friendship, and I never handled rejection well as you probably surmised by now. Like a spoiled child when their company was about to leave, I grew even more intolerable of him. After all, he had been a terrible disappointment. Good reddens!