"Holy shit dude..." exhales Jason pounding the table. "This! This is what I need! Mother...fucker."
We have been on acid for three nights. We both have vials of liquid and keep dosing each other for fun. But we need to come down. Life is getting strange. I finally found the answer. Tar. With a McDonald's straw and some foil we are testing it out. And damn...
"Fuckin' like gnomes and unicorns running through the city" laughs Jason.
He bought some heroin last week but it was not like this. It not did lift the buildings up higher and higher into the sky before everything tumbled down in slow motion. Crushed in an underwater grip, we sit at the kitchen as the breeze from the poppy fields flows through us.
"Where?" asks Jason serenely.
"Rondo. He said call him later and he'll hook us up with the dude. Maybe you should go so I can hang out with Mary."
"Who?" mocks Jason and then he laughs. "Dude your girlfriend has been here for three days and you spent it high with me. Looking for gnomes!"
I shrug. It is weird. I can't believe Mary is going to Europe for the rest of the summer. We planned to go up to Eagle Lake and relax but this sorority thing came up. I suppose I am a little upset. She comes out here and I think we are going to the lake...but she tells me she is off to Italy. So I hang with Jason. Looking for gnomes.
"And unicorns" says Jason reading my mind. "I'm gonna go see Rondo. His band is playing the Strawberry Theater. Yeah...THIS is what it's supposed to feel like. Wow. Dude, we NEED this connect."
I can barely move but nod dreamily. Then I hear the door rattling. Mary.
"Light a smoke" I warn Jason.
I watch him try and light it. He is fucked up. Shiny, red eyes. A stupid, happy look smeared across a poorly shaved head. He looks like an ugly octopus. He giggles trying to work the lighter. He accomplishes this just as my girlfriend walks in.
"Oh...Hello Mary. How are you doing this fine afternoon?" asks Jason in a normal voice with a normal expression.
I start cracking up as Jason giggles.
"Jesus you guys are stoners!" admonishes Mary. "Man it stinks in here. Like someone's burning bandaids!"
Mary is in a great mood. She even puts up with Jason. Though mentally, I am barely here, she takes me out, feeds me and talks at me. We have sex. Life could be worse.
"Hey where's the mail key? I need to check if my passport is here. My dad mailed it two days ago."
"Hanging by that hallway mirror" I say.
Mary checks herself out the mirror as she retrieves the key. Then she walks out. San Francisco. The Mission. Not a bad spot, she thinks walking down the stairs to the mail box. Her mom told her the Mission was too ethnic but who cares? Her current big decision is whether or not to leave two days early to catch up with her friends in London...or she could spend the two days with her boyfriend and fly straight to Italy. Too bad Jason is around. London is definitely winning, she muses.
Mary walks down the stairs past a tiny homeless girl sitting on the edge of the steps.
"Hello" says the girl to Mary.
She is dressed like a gypsy deadhead. Raggedy skirt, headband and orange sweater three sizes too big. Mary fake smiles and keeps walking. She opens the mailbox and Voila! Passport.
The girl is still staring. Crazy? Drugs? Oh yeah. Mary looks at her. Definitely a vagrant. The girl stares at Mary with a wicked, impish smile. Time to go back inside thinks Mary.
"Too bad he's not gonna write much about you" says the girl.
Mary ignores this and returns upstairs. Her boyfriend and his friend have barely moved. That Jason is such a bad influence, thinks Mary. I wish he would go away.
"Well I'm outta here" says Jason standing up and crushing out his cigarette.
I raise my eyebrow. What about the smack? I shared...would be nice to get some more. Jason catches my look.
"I'll let you know later. Have fun with your uh, girlfriend dude."
"Bye Jason" drones Mary insincerely, "Oh and I might be leaving sooner than planned so if I miss you...uh yeah."
"Je m’en fous" shrugs Jason as he walks off.
"Ok then!" says Mary looking at me. "What does that mean? Something rude right?"
With Jason gone, Mary sits in his chair. I still see trails off of every movement and stare as waterfall Mary pours into the chair. Her new GAP clothes are so alien in the city. She looks like tourist wandering around Pier 39. Poor Mary. She lacks style. She looks so much better naked than she does with clothes on.
"What do you mean if you leave earlier?" I ask.
"Oh I might have to fly to London. My mom's making me fly a crazy route to save money. Hey! Let's go see a movie tonight?"
Jason jogs down the stairs and looks at his watch. He has at least 5 minutes til Muni. All the LSD they have been doing has started messing with his brain. Things like time or stairs are not only profoundly weird, they baffle him. Halfway down the stairs, Jason almost screams. The witch girl is here. God fucking damnit, thinks Jason wishing his roommate was here to witness this LSD madness. Only another fucker on LSD for three days could begin to understand. The creepy witch girl that haunts the park is now sitting on their fucking stairs.
"Hi!" says the girl in her weird mechanical doll voice.
"Why?" asks Jason. "WHY are you here?"
"Someday I won't be here" says the girl hugging herself. Then she points at Jason's door. "I'll be there. Like a lot!"
After the chill passes, Jason chases away the ghosts by braying like a donkey. He laughs and laughs. Then the girl starts laughing too. Jason walks down the road and still laughing, he steps onto the Muni and is spirited away.
"Yeah. Tomorrow. Sorry ok?" she says sincerely.
In Mary's round about way of softening the truth, she finally admits she is off to London. Tomorrow. She told me this after we saw the worst movie I have ever seen in my life. Forrest Gump. As far as I could tell, we were mocking a retard and fucking with history. Mary loved it. We went home and she started packing.
The phone was ringing. Mary answered it thinking it was her ride for tomorrow. One of the advantages of being in a sorority is you can boss around new girls to drive you to the airport. But it was Jason.
"How ya feeling?"
"I've been better" I mutter, "Mary is leaving tomorrow to London."
"Fuck Mary" says Jason indignantly, "I mean the LSD. It's hitting you again right? I put enough in your water to dose a cow."
"What? You dosed me again?"
"Yeah so what? I'm fucked up man. You got me right?"
I think about that. Oh yeah.
"Are you chewing gum?"
"I got you."
"Dude meet me at the park. By the fountains. We need to call a truce brother. Three days dosing was crazy. This sneaky fourth day is suicidal. No more gnomes. I give up. NO more ok? I'm meeting Rondo's connect here. Come out and let us peace the fuck out."
"Yeah but my girlfriend is leaving tomorrow."
"And? She's leaving dude. What does it matter? Actually dose her! Do it man!"
I do not dose Mary.
Mary insisted she had to pack and eat pizza in North Beach with her friends. I am invited. As she said this the room hummed and gurgled as all the clocks and windows turned to look at me and laugh in a voice like crinkling newspaper...No thanks. I wander outside. In my black leather jacket I have a Muni pass. I show it to the lady and she lets me on. That motherfucker did dose me. I sit behind the gnomes. They are returning from the marketplace to sell their weird wares to the bridge trolls.
Jason meets me at the Muni stop. I am grateful. I have a bad habit of getting lost in the park. Chainlink fences surround madness. Like log cabins or Japanese temples. And the squirrels...well, they show you what evil means. Way worse than the fucking unicorns.
"Alright dude glad you could make it. Now be honest I can't figure out last night" says Jason as we walk into the park. "My ramen?"
"No. It was the Animal Crackers during X-Files."
"Hah! That's when I dosed your taco!"
We wander through the shadows. The air is growing cooler and city lights sparkle to life far across the dark, grassy fields.
"Rondo said the guy's name is Mellow. Must be like a rasta-dude" says Jason. "Supposedly over by the fountains...Oh for fuck's sake!"
I look and see her. The tiny homeless chick we have been seeing everywhere. She sits on a bench and smiles at us as if expecting. I smile back.
"Hi guys! I was wondering when you would show up" she says in her weird monotone voice.
"Maybe she was waiting for you" I tease Jason as we walk up.
"I don't stick my dick in crazy" says Jason.
"Eww gross!" says the girl. "And rude! Bad Thief!"
"Well what the fuck? You're always around! I get it! You're creepy!" yells Jason exasperated.
"Hey!" I admonish him. No need to be mean. "Calm down dude."
"No! Fuck this! Fuck you witch girl!" says Jason pointing at her. "This creepy bitch was on our front steps! Like she followed us! Now she's here? Fuck this!"
"You got a problem?" says a tall man walking down the path and putting himself between the girl and Jason.
"Doesn't concern you!" growls Jason puffing himself up.
Too dramatic I think but inside I know things are going off in wrong directions. The girl senses this too. She stands up and opens her hands like Easy...
But Jason pushes it a little too far. He keeps walking until he is right in front of the guy. Then he pushes-
One, two maybe three quick punches and Jason is down. But before gravity can do its job, the man has Jason in a chokehold. I stare. Tattooed in bold black across his forearm is 'I am Death.'
Everything happened faster than Jason could say "Fuck you!"
"Hey let him go!" I yell running up to them.
The man watches me and pivots causing Jason to get lifted up by his neck. He hold Jason up like a shield. A shield that is choking. I stop.
"Melo let him go!" screams the girl.
The man lets go of his wrist. The triangle lock he created with his forearm and leverage opens up and Jason drops to the ground sputtering and wheezing.
"Those are the guys I was telling you about" says the girl.
"Oh" says the man looking at me, "Sorry about this. Hi I'm Melo. This is my girlfriend Dev."
We go to Melo and Dev's tent over by the softball fields. Jason eventually relaxes though he was surly for awhile. We each buy a gram of tar. We tribute them a little and watched Dev shoot up. It is silent and the only movement is the moths fluttering around the lantern flame. After all the crazy acid days with little sleep, Jason I both nodd out.
I wake up once. Jason and I are shoved together in a corner with a Hollie Hobbie quilt draped over us for warmth. I can smell whiskey. Dev is cradling Melo's head and whispering something to him. Though his eyes are closed, I could see tears streaming down his face. He reaches up to wipe his face and I see the other arm is also tattooed: I am the Darkness.
I close my eyes.
Jason wakes me up. Melo and Dev are holding each other across from us. Melo snores loudly. Dev opens her eye and winks at us while we climbed out of the tent.
I knew she was gone before we went inside. It was after 9 am and the city was already wide awake. The workers were working, the joggers were showering and the airport was already flying sorority girls to London. For some reason I didn't feel bad. I didn't feel sad. I felt nothing. Like nothing just happened. Mary made my futon before she left. On my pillow was a note:
You're an asshole. I'll send you a postcard.