Ginger Gone Bitter

by Christopher Joyce

Taken from Chapter 6, Ginger Gone Bitter, out of Canal Days… (a Celebration of Counterfeit Dreams…), 

I celebrated my eighteenth at home with Ginger, Haddie, Jack, and Jordan. It was supposed to be a quiet party, just Haddie, Jack, Ginger, myself, and good old fashioned weed, beer, and cigarettes, but then Jordan showed up. The four of us were better than halfway sloshed when he arrived. He was uncharacteristically sober, but brought cocaine with him so we were all riding the same wave soon enough.

It quickly degenerated from celebration to fiend fest, Jonesville. He brought more than enough for five people, said it was nearly half an ounce, but my mom quickly found us out. Jordan came upstairs and it got quiet, aroused her suspicion, so she came up to investigate.

No, it was more like a police raid than an investigation. She just barged into my room without knocking, a strategy effective enough that she caught sight of the entire bag. It was a pile, dumped onto a tray, sitting on my bed. She didn’t get angry and shut us down, but her discovery did make six on the bag, and Mom in on the party so it was still slightly a buzz-kill.

I said six on the bag, not six on the party. She consumed more of the party favor than we did without being there to take part in the festivities. She said she wasn’t willing to “sit here and do dope with my own kid.” So instead of hanging out and waiting her turn to hit it like the rest of us, (Jordan was cooking it to crack,) she periodically strong-armed Deuce-Trey, coming back to get more at least four or five times and he wasn’t even being stingy with her ration. Jordan was usually a tough guy, was used to getting his way, but he accepted my mother’s will with a smile. It reminded me of Shane. Jordan thought it was funny the same way he did. When my mom came back a third, fourth, and then even a fifth time, it didn’t annoy him. If you want to play, you gotta’ pay I guess.

We went straight back to the beer after finishing the cocaine. It was a desperate chugging. In the past I’d done a line of coke here and there, but this was the first time I’d ever smoked it, and it was a substantial amount at that. The jonesing was intense for all four of us, and we were trying to drink it away. Jordan wasn’t drinking. He was an old pro. When I offered him a beer, he politely declined.

“Nah man thanks. I´m already ridin´ dirty and they dyin´ fer dat plausible…”

“Aren’t you fuckin’ crackin’ out though bro? I hate this feeling. I hate cocaine. FUCKIN’ YUCK, MAN! Bro, do not offer me this shit again!”

“Really? You were jist beggin’ me fo’ another hit, not even twenny minutes ago…”

“I know it man, that’s what I hate most about the shit. It makes you feel as much bad as it does good.”

“Not me, man. Not me. I got a Seroquel waitin’ in my car for me. I’m a’ down him bout’ halfway ta’ da’ Bat-Cave, n’ fall out soon as my head hits that pillow.”

We chopped up business for a couple moments while he was preparing to leave. He mentioned he had some new acid, told me to come to town as soon as I woke up so he could front me a couple vials. I asked him how good it was.

“The best you ever had!”

“Yeah, alright. I bet you tell the ladies that too.”

“Naw man, for real. I was at a house party last night, slipped it in a few people’s drinks. The ones I gave a drop to just tripped good, laughed crazy n’ shit. If I gave em’ two or three, they went to the hospital.”

I hardly believed he was bogus enough to dose un-expecting people. Nor did I believe two or three drops could send a fella to the hospital. I replied: “You should’ve brought it along! I’d much rather be trippy right now. Anything’d be better than this crack shit.”

“I brought a vial.”

“You did?”

“Yep.”

“Well, quit bullshittin’! Drop some on my tongue!”

He pulled it out, dropped a couple on my tongue, and did the same for Jack. I thought for a moment. Then:

“Fuck it! Give me one more, man.”

Jordan dropped another one on my tongue, and tried to for Jack too, but Jack wasn’t sure he got his. Jordan wasn’t sure either. I solved the dilemma.

“That’s alright. Give him another one, and I’ll take one too.”

Now, Jack had three or four. I had four. Jordan went home, and Ginger and Haddie prepared for bed while Jack and I prepared to trip. We didn’t expect to get all that high. We did acid all the time. Lately when we ate it, we started off with chunks of five or ten, kept munching. I sold it, so my friends and I had it and did it so often we’d built up a pretty good tolerance to it. Jordan’s story didn’t serve to make us wary of taking too much. He was a lip jacker and we thought we’d already seen what acid could do.

It didn’t take long for it to hit us, about twenty minutes. Jack was playing Nintendo. I was sittin’, smokin’ a joint. I don’t know if it was combining the acid with the beer, coke, and marijuana preceding it, or if it was just the acid itself, but suddenly, I had to puke. I grabbed my mini trash can, went at it. Instantly, I was in another world. I looked at Jack.

“Whoa!”

He smiled.

“Yeah man, that was quick.”

I didn’t get a chance to speak further. I had to puke again, and again. I puked and puked. I don’t know where it all came from. Ginger tried to talk to me, but I couldn’t acknowledge her. I was intensely sick. All my senses were attuned to the sickness. I heard the echoes of my retching. I saw the echoes of my puke splashing in the bucket and all I could feel is the slippery slimy sweat of sickness on my skin. I was overwhelmed by the smell of it all. I sat in my chair with my hands covering my ears, rocking back and forth like an autistic person tortured by loud sound. I sat. I rocked. I puked. This continued for at least a half an hour.

When I was finally able to convince myself I wasn’t going to be sick again, I slid the trash can aside, looked at Ginger. She was staring at me, and looked worried or scared, but I was too exhausted from puking my guts out to make any explanations. I looked at Jack. His mind was somewhere else. I don’t think he even noticed my puking, (lucky him.) He was playing Nintendo, hitting buttons on the controller. I doubt he was a very effective gamer though. He looked like he was in a trance; his eyes held no focus. I tried looking at the screen myself, but couldn’t really see it. I knew where it was. It was a colorful brightness in the early morning darkness of my room, but I was unable to distinguish one thing from another on it.

All I saw is bright colors. Everything was like that. I could see Jack’s and Ginger’s faces, but not very well. I had to concentrate on them to confirm even minor details of their appearance. If I didn’t focus, they’d get lost in the room. It was like I was standing inside a giant mosaic, my entire world subject to the overall display. I had to devote complete concentration to whatever I chose to look at, object or person, or it wouldn’t retain its dimensions. Everything was lost in the flat painting of a static world, Jack and Ginger included.

I tried to focus on my friend. His hat was on backwards, as usual, but tilted and crooked like he’d lost control of it. Jack’s world may have been even smaller and more confining than my own. He sat and tapped Nintendo controller buttons like a robot, the room of his world no bigger than the TV screen. He stared straight ahead, tunnel vision, and the rest of the mosaic was lost for him.

“What are you doing, man?”

I said it with force enough to jump the gap between parallel universes and earn his attention, but his re-action was delayed, as if he’d only heard the echoes of my calling: “What are you doing, man?… doing, man?… man?… man?…”

He shifted his gaze in my direction. His eyes looked like they’d been wiped by the pixels.

“Bro, I’m just hitting these buttons. It makes the acid move like liquid on the TV.”

Jack was usually the most lucid and in control fella’ out of our bunch. His meaningless answer frightened me. I looked to Ginger.

“Will you stay by a while? I am super fuckin’ high, baby.”

She responded, but I’m not sure if it was a “yes” or a “no.” She said whatever she said and when she received no response, started talking again. I couldn’t concentrate enough focus to single out any of her words, and I kept getting higher and higher. It got so I couldn’t understand anything I heard or seen. I was only able to notice it was getting brighter in the room, and Ginger was still talking.

Morning began asserting itself, and I was rising with the sun. Ginger’s voice formed indistinguishable words while the early March morning light dawned on me like a revelation. She continued to ramble, incessantly.

I was beginning to be able to see a little better, but it was not helpful. My hallucinations began as static, like a TV lost its channels, but more colorful. Everything in the room seemed small enough to melt into a single object, like one of those pattern pictures requiring all your focus in order to realize its subject, and Ginger’s words seemed to spread out and get lost with everything else, meaningless in all their abundance as I got higher and higher.

I continued to climb but after some time, my initial disorientation left me. I became accustomed to seeing things from the heightened perspective and my vision started to clear up, but this clarity was not an advantage because it did not stop. I began as befuddled, but then the opposite became true. Now, single objects started to assert themselves, and they did so violently. Any one thing could grow large enough, or attention consuming enough that it was all I could see. All I had to do is focus on an object for the slightest moment and it became animate. What began to dominate me most is the wallpaper.

My room had formerly been my mother’s room. The wallpaper was a pattern of hundreds of rosebuds and flowers connected eternally by vines spreading out over every inch of every wall in the room. I was surrounded by them. I regretted it the very moment I chose to give them my focus. They began to grow towards me, bringing Ginger’s words along with them. They twisted and climbed and grew, trying to reach me. Her restless jabbering seemed to tangle with the thorns, and the buds flowered towards me as if attempting to bite or kiss me. I could actually hear them growing, a rustling of leaves and vines. Ginger’s talking was organic and laced with the secrets of plant life. They tangled towards me within the thorny vines of the wall roses.

These hallucinations were loud. It hurt my ears to look at them. I couldn’t take it anymore. I shut my eyes tight, covered my ears with my hands, and resumed my autistic rocking.

It’s difficult for me to guess at how much time passed while I did this, but something changed at some point, and it suddenly felt as if a heavy weight had been lifted from my chest. I was having trouble trusting it though, so I kept my ears and eyes closed, remained shut within myself for another indecipherable amount of time, but I gradually felt better.

Eventually I opened up to let the room back inside. Everything was still going crazy, the same as before, but it was somehow tolerable now. The only difference in scenery was Ginger. She was lying down, quiet, and looked to be sleeping. The absence of her words made space for comfort. The silence was relief. Her very presence may have been a contributing factor in my discomfort.

Anyone who has spent a little time tripping will tell you: sober people are to be avoided. It wasn’t her fault though; I asked her to stay and chaperone. If she added to my discomfort it was my own fault. She was quiet now though, and I began to enjoy myself. I quit trying to control the high. I stopped trying to hide from it, allowed the hallucinations to do what they must, and was amazed by how high I was. It was like I’d achieved the impossible. I looked to Jack; he was exactly as he was before everything overwhelmed me. I made a try at speaking:

“Bro, I think this is how our parents used to trip!”

My bio-logical father, and every other adult I knew who had eaten acid in the past and still ate it in the present time, claimed that, formerly, it was much stronger. The acid Jack and I ate on this night was ten times better than anything I’d done up until this point, and so thus, I reflected. I wasn’t sure if Jack was going to respond. It took him some moments, but he finally did, pronouncing his words slowly and carefully as if he was trying to remember how to speak.

“I used to think all those crazy stories about tripping were lies and fake… I didn’t know I could be this high…”

He trailed off. I looked at Ginger sleeping, and remembered she’d looked pretty scared. I turned back to Jack.

“I could barely talk earlier. I wish Ginger was still awake so I could try and tell her what all this has been like…”

I know now a fella should be careful about what he wishes for. I already mentioned to you how Ginger got a little depressed sometimes, and that she quit tripping with us. What I didn’t mention is she quit tripping with us because she kept getting all weirded out. She didn’t have a good time on it, and her disposition usually ruined it for whoever else she was with. That is hardly relevant now though, because Jack and I were tripping. Ginger was not. I need to drive home that last point:

Ginger was NOT tripping.

If you observed the following without my narration for guidance, it’d be difficult to distinguish between who was high and who was not. I take that back; I was blatantly high, but Jack and Ginger seemed to trade positions in sobriety.

Anyway, I’m not sure exactly how sincere I was in wishing for Ginger’s arousal, but I’d hardly finished making the wish before it was granted. My sleeping beauty arose, as if from the dead, and began raving like a lunatic.

“You motherfuckers, I can’t believe you did this to me! What the fuck? Do you really think it’s funny? Are you fucking SERIOUS?”

At first, I was having difficulty understanding what the hell her problem was. My brain was befuddled by the acid, and her sudden screaming was not helping me towards understanding. I was severely startled by it. Her violent vibe messed with my head in a serious way, she was frightening. When her reason for complaint became clear to me, I could hardly believe she was serious. I tried my best to diffuse the thing.

“Hey, please quit yelling. What’s wrong? Please stop; you’re fuckin’ with me real bad right now. I wish I could tell you what I just went through…”

“What you just went through? Puh-lease, James… You can quit it now. I’m not that stupid! I can’t believe I fell for it for this long.”

“What are you talkin’ about?”

“YOU KNOW WHAT THE FUCK I’M TALKING ABOUT! DID YOU THINK IT WAS FUNNY SCARING ME LIKE THAT?”

Her blue eyes glittered violently. They were out of place in all her pretty freckles and golden hair, and I was unable to acknowledge her directly; her eyes were too bright, too piercing, their preternatural blue was beautiful, but terrible as they burnt a glow into the morning gloom with an intimidating intensity. I was able to engage her verbally, because I knew it was the LSD making her supernatural, but eye contact was still too disconcerting. I observed her in glances while trying to sort out the problem.

“What are you talkin’ about? I didn’t mean for this to… ”

She cut me off.

“STOP FUCKING PRETENDING ALREADY! DO YOU REALLY THINK I’M THAT STUPID?”

My jaw dropped. There it was. She thought we were pretending to trip. She thought Jack and I had put on an elaborate, hours long imitation of madness, just to mess with her head.

Ginger’s mode of thinking was insane. I’d tripped enough times by then that I was familiar with the way loose associations can turn into conspiracy theories when you’ve eaten enough of the drug. Anyone who has dabbled in psychedelics, for any substantial amount of time, will confirm paranoia is an effect of the drug. In fact, they’ll probably share one of their own paranoid acid conspiracy theory/story/memories as a reference point to their confirmation. A mere coincidence can blow a tripper’s mind like a revelation, and suddenly scores of loosely associated circumstance can come together like hard evidence to support the obsessive idea which set the dominoes to falling in the first place.

When I take LSD, my senses tend to get scrambled. I can smell a see, and see a hear. It can be pretty disorienting if you are high enough. These sensations are not as substantial as my real senses though. What seems to happen is my brain begins processing more information at once, much more. It’s as if a million new synapses get installed, connecting everything to everything. My guess is the raw material used to manufacture the millions of these rogue synapses is procured from the vast caches of useless and random memories that fill most of the space between my ears, the junkyards of grey matter making up the ninety percent of my brain I do not normally have access to, because as I said, these excess sensations are not so substantial as the real deal. They are vague and fleeting remnants of things I’ve always known, but have never used.

For the sake of example, let’s say I’m tripping with a pal and he’s wearing a shirt with colors and lettering on it that are, coincidentally, very similar to the signage of a restaurant my parents took me to a couple times when I was a child, but that I cannot recall the name of now. I may be distracted by this shirt, like every time I look at it I can smell the aroma of the medium-rare steak my Dad ordered there, even if I do not have any conscious recollection of this restaurant. The mystery of association can nag at you, like: “What is with that shirt? Have I seen it before?” It’s as disorienting as a barrage of déjà-vu.

My brain has better than millions of sensory recalls, like this one with the shirt, stored away with clusters of others vaguely similar. Disuse caused them to be scrapped into the landfill of my subconscious, thus allowing my conscious mind more efficient use of the gathered information that is relevant. If my brain didn’t do this I would suffer an information overload.

When I do LSD, the flood gates are opened and I get buried in useless sensation, emotion, random information, the World Wide Web, but without the luxury of a search engine, and I’m rendered inefficient, useless. Often, I can pick up a thread of memory or information, focus on it, and follow it through the labyrinth of loosely associated everything that becomes my brain on LSD. This is usually fun; a group of trippers can collectively pick up a thread, something random that is funny, and beat the particular subject to death, laugh all night by focusing on the one thing while chasing the everything it is associated with in circles. Ideas and fears can become themes for the night, pseudo-obsessions. When everything’s so easily connected, anything can seem conspiratorial. What I’ve just explained can also be cause or support for discomfort, a bad trip.

A bad trip can begin in a number of ways. Something bad might happen while you’re under the influence, or you could get confronted by one of your biggest fears or insecurities. It could be a coincidence sets it off, or even something more insignificant like someone merely mentions an object or topic and you’re unable to get your brain unwrapped from it for the rest of the trip. Anyway, from there you follow the threads of loose association, randomly, and use anything relative to strengthen or confirm the negative subject you’re obsessing over. Anxiety continues building with each new turn, until you’re desperately chasing yourself around in circles in your own head. Reality gets lost in conspiracy, and you’re miserable until something happens, something substantial enough to distract you from your obsession, (or until the acid wears off.)
There are two problems with all this in regards to what was happening on this night.

Number one: A tripper can almost always partly see these things for what they are: ridiculous, (unless of course, he’s thoroughly overdosed,) and severely bad trips are rare. At worst, certain thoughts or fears can superficially plague the night with their re-occurrence, but they remain fears because most people aren’t crazy enough to act on them, even while they’re tripping, and they probably don’t act for that very reason, because they themselves know they’re tripping and that crazy things will be flying past the windows of their consciousness and through the caves of their soul for the rest of the night, so they preserve sense enough not to act on every bad vibe or ill thought or even the behavior of another person. Normal people will brush these things off and label them ridiculous, or petty. If they are given any further airtime, it will only be for laughs. Ginger was dead serious though. Her position was fortified, and without a bright side, and that’s only the first part of the dilemma. The second half is more substantial, and a bit disturbing if you think about it.

Number two: GINGER WAS NOT UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF LSD, (Unless Jordan slipped it in her beer.)

I was higher than I’d ever been in my life and even I could see how insane this situation was. I suppose it could be said I had an unfair advantage being that I had more information, since I knew I was high, but this is ridiculous. Her was anger was disconcerting to say the least, and far too serious for my present state of mind. But once I realized what she was alluding to, it lost all its seriousness, (for me at least.) I couldn’t believe it. I started laughing. Jack saw me laugh and couldn’t help but go at it himself. We temporarily lost ourselves to the madness. This didn’t help in convincing Ginger, or if it did, she did not admit it. (Sometimes people will stand on something longer than is necessary because they are too ashamed to admit they are wrong.)

Our laughing either served to deepen her conviction that we were playing a cruel joke on her or it intensified her shame so much she could no longer turn back. She got on the phone and called her mother. I didn’t believe she was actually doing this. I continued laughing and blurted out: “Yeah right.”

Ginger responded by switching to speaker phone. She’d called her mom alright, and her mother agreed to bring a truck, directly, to help Ginger move out. (Her mother was none too fond of me.) My mindless mirth was quelled abruptly, and the situation had escalated too quickly for me to be able to respond intelligently. I was in shock. It was the emotional equivalent of getting hit in the face with that crow-bar when I was eleven. I had no idea it was coming. Then, “WHAM!” Intense anxiety gripped me instantly. I was suddenly frozen. It didn’t matter if I was still unable to take Ginger’s reasoning seriously because I had no choice but to respect her willingness to act. I said the first thing came to mind.

“Are you serious, Ginger?”

“No James, I just asked my mom to come move me out because I also enjoy messing with people’s heads…”

She still didn’t believe it. Crazy. I became frantic.

“Ginger, I’m tripping. I swear! Please don’t go!”

She didn’t respond, so I looked to Jack for support.

“Jack, tell her we’re trippin’ man, tell her!”

My plea for help was desperately sincere, but Jack was awestricken, his mouth hanging wide while he stared at Ginger like she was the stupidest thing he’d ever seen.

“Jack man, please! Tell her we’re trippin’!”

He glanced at me, then back to her, to me again and, “Uh… Ginger… we’re trippin’…”

He spoke as if he was climbing out of a dream, like he’d awakened from unconsciousness only moments prior and the EMTs were asking him his name and who is the President of the United States. Ginger didn’t listen or reply anyway. She was done talking.

I’d been with Ginger for two years before this happened. I was somewhat emotionally dependent upon her, so all this would have affected me dramatically even had I been sober when it happened. As it was, I was in an emotionally and psychologically fragile state as a result of the acid. I lost it, freaked out. I started crying, and began making desperate attempts at convincing her I was tripping. I screamed:

“GINGER, I AM FUCKING TRIPPING! ARE YOU REALLY SERIOUS? HOW CAN YOU BE SERIOUS?”

But Ginger just continued to pack herself up, getting her things ready for the move in her mother’s truck.

“CALL YOUR MOM BACK GINGER! CUT THIS SHIT OUT!”

She paused for this, looked at me, “James, I’m leaving,” and went back to packing. With this, I started crying hysterically. I didn’t know what to do. I needed her to believe me. I started punching and smacking myself in the face, pulling my own hair, moaning like a wounded animal, hysterically sobbing/screaming.

“GINGER, I’M TRIPPIN’! I’M TRIPPIN’! I SWEAR TO GOD I AM! I’M FUCKIN’ FLIPPIN’ OUT!”

Ginger ignored my theatrics with an impressive indifference. Jack sat there disbelieving the whole thing. The frown on his face was a clear indication of how he felt being stuck sitting in the middle of this sudden break-up, but he was my trip buddy for the night, and a good friend besides; he wasn’t about to leave my side, and he followed me when I went downstairs to wake up Mom. She was sleeping on the couch.

Waking her was a challenge that took some effort, but I managed to get it done. I gave her a nudge, whispered: “Mom.”

She didn’t budge. I shook her gently,

“Mom.”

No dice. I yelled.

“MOM!”

Her eyes fluttered open, but when I tried explaining what was going on, she was asleep again before I could finish, so I began to repeat my earlier performance, smacking and punching myself like an insane idiot. This got her attention.

“What in the hell are you doing?”

She sat up, alarmed. I sobbed: “Momma’, she doesn’t believe I’m trippin’, Momma’! SHE DOESN’T BELIEVE ME!”

“She doesn’t what? Who?”

Mom was clearly disoriented, and stumbling through the fog of sleep. My hysterical jabbering was difficult for her to decipher. I finally got through to her, but I was blatantly high, and I think she thought it was just all in my head, a bad trip. She caressed me softly with her Mommy Voice.

“Calm down, Sweetie, calm down.”

But I was lucid enough to see she wasn’t taking me seriously and I became angry in addition to hysterical. My mother didn’t make this mistake for long though. Ginger carried down a box, preparing it for her departure. My mom asked her, “Ginger, what the hell is going on?”

Ginger snapped:

“I’m leaving Lana. I’m done with this shit.”

It sounded mean, and wasn’t a complete answer to my mom’s question. It wasn’t aggressive to the point of disrespect, Ginger liked my mom, but it was snippy enough to make it clear she wasn’t willing to answer further questions, my mother inquired no further. I realized that was the end of it, and began to snivel again.

“Wha’do I do, Momma’?”

“What can ya’ do, baby? You gotta’ let her go.”

My mom was there when we took the acid. She knew I was losing my brains to this thing, so she was trying hard to treat me with tenderness, but I could tell she wasn’t impressed with all my crying and carrying on. I moved on to an ally I expected to be more sympathetic to my cause, Haddie. She, herself, had recently taken too much; she’d made her own trip to Never-Never Land on the way back from Chicago. I barged into her room, woke her up, and performed a third act of hysterical self beating, hair pulling, crying screams.

“Haddie, will you please tell her I’m trippin’?”

“Tell her what?”

“Tell Ginger I’m trippin’!”

“She saw you take the stuff.”

“I know, but she doesn’t BELIEVE ME!”

“Did she take some?”

“No, and she’s leaving. Please tell her!”

“She’s leaving?”

“She’s moving out! Will you please tell her I’m trippin’?”

I began losing patience and hitting myself again. Haddie stood up, but warily. I could see from her hesitation she wasn’t excited about getting in the middle of our crap, but seemed to feel obligated by my state of distress. She went in the living room where Jack and my mother were sitting, asked what was going on. The only response she received was from Jack.

“I can’t believe someone could actually do this to someone.”

He just kept repeating that statement over and over.

“I can’t believe someone could actually do this to someone.”

He looked like he was in a state of shock comparable to my own. Ginger came back down and through the living room with another box. Haddie tried: “Ginger, what’s up?” but only to receive the same response my mother did. It was clear that Ginger was too ashamed to even talk about it now, but her stubbornness kept her marching towards what she set out to reach. Haddie continued: “Ginger, I think he’s trippin’. We saw him take the acid.”

Ginger gave Haddie no response. Haddie turned back to us, looking confused.

“What is going on you guys?”

She received no answer from me, (besides my sobbing) but Jack gave her his: “I can’t believe someone could do this to someone.” while my mother only raised her hand and arched her eyebrows, crinkling her forehead, waved her hand as if to say: Don’t ask me, it’s beyond me.

Ginger’s mother showed up with the truck, and I sat whimpering in the living room while Ginger loaded up. Finally, my pride had become enough to overshadow the acid. I stayed in the house, unwilling to follow Ginger around demonstrating a broken heart in front of her mother who didn’t like me very much. My mother’s sympathy for my state of fragile madness ended.

“Get up, and help her load that truck!”

“Why? I don’t want her to leave. She can load it herself!”

This taxed her patience to the maximum and she got a little mean.

“I don’t give a damn if you want her to leave or not, and I don’t care if you ate too much acid and now you have a broken heart. I wouldn’t care if you were abducted by aliens! You’re living under MY ROOF! And you’re gonna’ act like a man while you’re here. I don’t care if you have to cry like a baby while you do it! Get out there and do the right thing! I’m sure she already knows how stupid she’s acting. If it makes you feel better, you can consider helping her rubbing it in her face!”

I went to help her, Jack followed, and the team of us got her packed up pretty quickly. She couldn’t have gotten her bed and dresser out without us in fact. Her mother pulled away in the truck, Ginger followed her in our car. Haddie went back to sleep. My mother probably would have too, but I sat next to her on the couch she had made into a bed for the night, quietly crying again. It was pitiful. I was hurt so bad and immensely high, not quite as high as I had been earlier, but still higher than I’d ever been prior. Jack sat quietly, occasionally repeating: “I can’t believe someone could do this to someone.”

After that, I took a break in my hysterics to indulge in a little paranoia. I had a pound of swag weed and some diggs, some pipes and things. I grabbed them and hid them outside, (in case Ginger or her mother called the cops or something.) I was tripping, but my paranoia was not completely unreasonable considering everything she had just done, (she was liable to do anything.)

Insanity. Unbelievable.

After I satisfied my paranoia, it gave way to feelings of anger. I was pissed. It wasn’t fair. I needed someone to blame my troubles on, so I called Jordan’s phone. It went straight to voice mail. I kept calling until I’d left three messages of insane raving, blaming him for the whole deal. I threatened to kill him over it.

“She fucking left me! She left me man! I can’t believe you did this to me. You didn’t say how good it really was. You always act like your shit is the best. How could I know? You should’ve told me! You didn’t have to give me so much. I’m fucking you up when I see you! I can’t believe she left me…”

And on and on. I’m sure Jordan had received complaints about his drugs before, every drug dealer has, (the bag was short, the shit was bunk, had been cut, or the rolls were too speedy or smacky, or blah blah blah…) anyone who has dealt drugs has heard the complaints, has heard every kind of complaint. But I’m pretty confident this was an original. Not too many drug dealers can brag that their customers complained about the drugs being too good. I cussed him thoroughly, enough to spend my anger, but then despair set in, the sad beginning of acceptance, and I was no longer hysterical. I was only sad.

My mother used to do a lot a’ cuddling with my kid sister back in these days. It was their chill time. It wasn’t exactly cuddling though. Mom would lie on her side on the couch watching TV, and Sis would lay with her head resting on our mother’s butt; she called it her “big pillow.” Mom sort of embraced this title, a self deprecating fat joke. (She always talked like she was fat, but she wasn’t. She was just a regular mom.)
Anyway, I sat back down next to her, went to sobbing again, and her mothering instincts kicked in. Now that all the drama had passed, I was sitting in the middle of the wreckage of it all, crying, pitifully, while Jack mindlessly shook his head and repeated: “I can’t believe someone could do this to someone…”

Momma’ tried to succor me. She put her hand on my head, gave me a scratch.

“Oh, it will be Ok, baby… it will be Ok…”

She was talking to me in a soft and re-assuring manner. I was her baby again. She guided my head to lie down, talking to me in her re-assuring Mommy Voice.

“Here, it’s Ok… lie down and cry it off… that’s right… put your head on Momma’s Big Pillow.”
I obeyed. I was still quietly crying, but it was coming to an end. Mom hadn’t babied me in a long time.

“There, it’s Ok Baby”

My sobbing rattled to an end.

“Don’t you feel better now that ya’ have Momma’s Big Pillow?”

I responded with a pathetic: “Yeah,” and sniffled up what remained of my tears.

I hadn’t been over with that for more than a second when I noticed Jack staring at me. I saw more amusement on his face than I would have had he been at Six Flags. The ridiculous reality of the situation smacked me in the face, hard, like ten fingers, (it was a big hand.) Poor Jack had to watch me get coddled by my momma’, poor baby that I was, and had to keep silent the entire time because knew it was all pretty crazy and I was losing it. I’m sure he was dying to roast my ass with baby jokes. I seen all this in an instant, and Jack seen I seen. He couldn’t take it anymore. As soon as recognition registered on my face, he busted out laughing. It tore out of him as if he would have exploded had he held it any longer, like his seams may have busted.

Of course, this started me laughing and the madness hi-jacked my mind and soul once again. I laughed until it hurt, had tears in my eyes I laughed so hard. This ended the whole thing for my mom. She laid into me in that affectionate way moms reserve for their sons.

“See! You were just fine the whole time but worried me like that! Ya’ jerk! Now get the hell out of here so I can get some sleep!”

We stumbled out the room laughing, but I gained control of myself long enough for me to say: “Dude, you better not tell ANYONE you seen me this way!”

All Jack had time to do is look at me with “Yeah Right!” on his face before we lost it laughing again. Finally we quit it, decided it was time to smoke some weed, but I’d forgotten where I hid it when Ginger left. It took forever to find it but I did, rolled a joint, and we relaxed. I didn’t need to meditate too long before I realized how stupid my messages to Jordan were. This realization made me pretty anxious. I was still way high, higher than I’d ever been, but was now comfortable and accepting of it, no longer emotionally disoriented from it, not completely anyway.

I tried Jordan’s phone, again, still voice mail. I woke Haddie, again, and begged her to take me to Portage. She was pretty ornery about it but I think she felt sorry for me. She cussed me pretty good while dragging her butt back outta’ bed, but it wasn’t much, only enough to justify being my taxi in the early hours. She drove Jack and I there, dropped us off, and I knocked on Jordan and Misty’s door. Misty, the adorably cultured but gangsta’ pixie, answered.

“Jeez, does everyone have a sixth sense? He just woke up, but our house is full.”
She rolled her eyes and motioned for us to follow her upstairs. Like she said, he had other friends there, party kids from some other small town Jordan sold drugs in. He looked surprised to see me.
“I thought you’d still be sleeping. You ain’t even gone to bed yet, huh?”

He had that knowing glitter in his eyes. Obviously, I’d been tripping my balls off, for hours, but really he had no idea. I got straight to it.

“Bro, have you checked your voice mail yet?”

“No. Why?”

“Will you let me erase the messages I left?”

“Let you erase them?”

This request clearly piqued his interest. He went straight to his room, grabbed his phone, and called his voice mail, a smile smeared across his face the whole way. I interjected strongly.

“IT’S SERIOUS, MAN!”

He responded by flipping on the speaker phone. (The second time I’d received this response that morning.) I started towards him, my intention being to wrestle the phone from him, but plead with him on the way.

“LET ME EXPLAIN BEFORE YOU PLAY IT!”

Jordan was not normally one to sympathize with trifling insecurities, but he could see I was still pretty outta’ my body with the trip. He flipped his phone shut.

“Alright, alright. What’s up?”

I attempted to describe the situation while we smoked a few bowls of his Red Rhino strain a’ diggs out his two hundred dollar oversized blown glass color changing “bubbler” pipe that had little knobs protruding from it. These knobs contained little fluorescent mushrooms, useless, but cool to look at, show off bastard. He followed my story the best he could, often interrupting with “Yeah right!” or “bullshit!” but then Jack would support me with: “No man, I swear, it happened.” Or: “She did it, it’s no bullshit.” Then: “I can’t believe someone could do that to someone.”

Jordan swallowed it the best he could, like Wow!, but still half disbelieving, crazy as it was. His friends watched on with interest. They looked as if they couldn’t believe he hung out with crazies like me. After he’d digested it a little, he looked at me and asked:

“What’s all this got to do with my voice mail?”

I half heartedly replied, “Death threats.”

“Death threats? Threatening me?”

“Yeah.”

“Why me?”

I shrugged my shoulders, embarrassed.

“I needed to blame someone I guess.”

He looked at me as if he was still having trouble believing it, then, flipped the phone back open, dialed his voice mail again.

“I’m sorry bro, but this is way too much! I’ve gotta’ hear this!”

I didn’t try to stop him this time. I’d had my say. I could see I had Jordan and Misty’s sympathy. As crazy as the whole thing was, they knew I wasn’t crazy. All they had to say after I’d finished explaining it is:

“Dude, you need to get away from her!”

Anyway, Jordan played the messages out loud in front of everyone. There was some laughing and exclamations of “wow,” while I gave Jordan a good cussing via voicemail. It was an insane cussing threatening his life more than once, a cussing that expressed my very unconventional dissatisfaction. (I was insanely pissed because his drugs were too good.)

When he finished listening to the messages he wasn’t angry with me or even surprised about it. He just looked over at his friends, the customers that had already been there when we arrived.

“See! I told you it was the best! You should’ve believed me and took the price when I said it on the phone! Now, the price just went up another fifty dollars! HA!”

The smug bastard turned to me, pointed to his phone, said, “Bro, this is fucking beautiful! I wish I could put these messages on the radio. I’d be a millionaire!”

Then left the room with the whole lot of us waiting on him. We sat there forty minutes while he shit, showered, and shaved. Finally, he returned, doled out the drugs he wanted us to sell for him, and sent us on our way.