Trial: a novel

 

by Mask Linnhoefer

Chapter 1

As I awoke I instantly realized that I had not been in this bad of shape for a while. I slowly managed to open my eyes, frantically beginning to examine my surroundings, discovering a beer, some coke, and a bong on my night table. I sat up reaching for the coke. Coke first, weed later, beer at last. That’s the way things need to go during those first hours of a strung-out, hung-over morning. After stuffing my nose and briefly fearing a heart attack, I began gathering together the pieces of memory I was left with. I recalled going to my dealer that night in order to try a “new mescaline analogue” he was bragging about, which turned out to be 2C-I or some similar shit, so I settled for some ketamine. Only that it probably hadn’t been that either, but some mephedrone or methoxetamine, which explained the blackout. But enough of that, I thought, what happened was what needed figuring out and not how it happened.

“Another line first, that will get the memory flowing,” was the only thought that my burned-out brain was able to produce. I started to meticulously align the fine white powder using a credit card which I was sure was not mine when suddenly it hit me. I hadn’t gone out the night before anymore, I went straight home to k-hole while heavily drunk and stoned. But where did the damned cocaine and this weird-ass credit card come from then? I wondered, now pacing back and forth, slowly falling into the typical paranoia that comes with heavy drug use and the lifestyle. I couldn’t figure it out, so I came to the conclusion that it was best to get high and tipsy first before starting to call some people who might be able to explain to me the origin of the coke that was taking over my mind. “Damn that’s some good shit!” I mumbled to myself while stuffing a bowl full of buds seeing as I couldn’t for the life of me find my tobacco or a grinder. I lit the bong using a lighter I had just picked up out of a suspicious-looking liquid on my rug. But I was too fucked up from the amazingly potent blow to my mind, and the lighter worked, that’s all I needed concerning myself with at that point.

Bubble, bubble, bubble, and the weed rushed to my head, sending a powerful chill down my spine, instantly easing the coke-induced paranoia and allowing me to structure my thoughts a little. A lot of friends had told me in the past that getting high while on blow does the exact opposite for them, but I guess I’m just weird. Anyway, I put down the bong and slowly moved towards the other end of my room to search for my mobile phone in the pile of clothes that were lying there. After skimming through multiple layers of clothing I finally found the phone, plugged in the charger and turned it on. As soon as it had an internet connection it started vibrating so violently it fell out of my hand and smashed to the floor, shattering part of the screen in the process. I cursed for around thirty minutes before picking it up again to check what had caused its violent gyration. But where did the damned cocaine and this weird-ass credit card come from then? I wondered,  pacing back and forth again, slowly falling into the typical paranoia that comes with heavy drug use and the  lifestyle. I was in no mood to check all of these, so I decided to just go through the regular SMS, simply because nowadays, spending money to send an instant message is a definite sign of urgency. The first message that caught my attention started with the words “WHAT THE FUCK?” all in capitals. The content that followed was not nearly as rude but all the more shocking. I had apparently caused quite a ruckus on my way home by loudly signing Motörhead’s “Ace of Spades” in a residential neighborhood, only  these residents were much more hood than neighbor and had chased me through town until I had persuaded my coke-guy to let me hide out at his place in order to wait for the heat to die down a little. When I arrived at his place I had apparently decided it was time to k-hole to unwind, which – due to the fact that what I had bought was in fact not ketamine – turned rather ugly  quickly and I was thrown out of the apartment taking the coke and credit card in question with me in the process. After that the SMS was illegible for some reason, but I now had a rough idea of what had happened prior to my waking up without memories of the night before. Cocaine and card had an explanation now, which significantly reduced my anxious maniacal suspicions of someone trying to break my door down any minute to get his hands on the aforementioned items. Because my guy was not that kind of guy. So I could relax, which meant that I stuffed another bowl while scratching my balls and making a nice cup of tea. The coke I had imbibed this morning was still running strong though, and I managed to dowse my entire forearm in boiling water while trying to make my beverage.

“God damn shit cock-sucking motherfucker son of a bitch kettle fuck!!” I cursed loudly; So loudly that I startled myself. Somehow I was on edge. I mean, years of drug abuse and a whole lot of coca-leaf extracted white powder that morning would be an obvious explanation, but this was different. Something was not right and I could feel it. But the remaining water in the kettle was still boiling and there was still enough left to prepare my tea so I tended to that first without wasting another thought on the almost spiritual queerness of that particular morning.  I suddenly felt a hit of monstrous force performed with a blunt object to the back of my head and fell to the ground. Darkness began to surround me and I just heard distant mumbles uttered by equally distant shadows of outlines of what could be people. Then even these distant sensory inputs began to fade, and I realized that I was losing consciousness…

“Fuck!” I screamed spitting blood. I was awake, once again today, and I had been robbed. TV – gone; Coke – gone; Table – shattered; Door – broken down, and my entire sink had literally been ripped out. ‘At least they didn’t take the weed’ I thought and started rolling a joint. But after having done so I realized that I should get the fuck out of here, seeing as there was blood everywhere in a completely destroyed apartment that clearly shows that its former inhabitant – me – was one of the worst kind of drug abusers imaginable and possibly also involved in other criminal activities. There was no doubt in my mind about that, the kitchen alone showed signs of great neglect and a lifestyle that would induce shudders to the self-proclaimed bourgeois “middle-class.” The boring goodie two-shoes that have been preaching and perpetuating silly things like the prohibition of psychoactive substances since forever. After having finished this line of thought it was painfully clear that I had to leave because exactly these kind of people were my neighbors, and upon hearing the loud upheaval coming from my flat they would call the police within a heartbeat. So I gathered the few things that the thugs had left me with, namely my cellphone, my weed and my bong, a few clothes, and the remaining “ketamine” I had been sold last night. No money whatsoever, but I was hoping to get a few bucks out of my dealer’s credit card before it would be blocked and labeled as stolen. After having put all of these in a tiny and rather smelly backpack I quickly ran down the stairs, out the front door and into the dimly lit streets of this dump of a city without looking back. I walked down the avenue that crossed the street of my now ex-apartment and erratically shouted names of people I knew frequented this part of town at this time of day but got no replies except for a few angry voices telling me to “shut the fuck up”. I didn’t mind, I felt like the king of the world anyway. But the reasonable side of me told me that it was probably not the best idea to be walking around with my head still bleeding profusely and people still on the look-out for me. So I started to try thinking about a place to go, but the blood-loss made me so dizzy that I violently crashed on the floor and decided to stay there for a minute until I regained enough strength to call a good friend of mine who was a practicing physician. I do not remember much of the phone call that ensued, but apparently I had managed to tell him where I was, lying, and that I was in desperate need of help. This occurred to me when I heard a car’s brakes screeching in front of me and saw two black faces above me laughing hysterically at my miserable condition. “What the fuck happened to you?” The Doctor said now slightly concerned seeing as I had lost a lot of blood. His aide picked me up and threw me in the car’s trunk saying that he “can’t be seen with a half-dead cracker in the car in this neighborhood at this time of day” and cursed The Doctor for knowing “some fucked up people.” But seeing as I was coming quite close to my demise he had reluctantly agreed to smuggle me to The Doctor’s hide out. After having come to that conclusion, I saw the trunk’s flap closing over me and as my surroundings descended into darkness my mind faded into a comatose trance once again.

As I lay there unconscious in the trunk of the beat-up convertible that The Doctor insisted on driving since I had first met him My dreams began to reproduce the scene of the exact time I came into contact with this 250-pound heavy and 6 foot tall beast of a man. It had been a night of complete escalation in some underground venue that one could only access if one was either a serious drug dealer or addict, roles that I had both taken on at some point in my life the latter til this very day. Anyway. I had been eating LSD-dowsed mushrooms all night while popping E’s and was getting somewhat bored with the ever-repeating minimalistic rhythms characteristic for these happenings, so I decided to go outside and smoke some weed while reflecting on the evening. When I got there I had long forgotten where I was because the fourth or fifth dose of shrooms had started to have its effects on me, enticing me to go to the nearby park for a walk. Upon having entered the green area I had heard an atrocious scream to my right and had seen an acquaintance of mine with a knife in one hand and his thumb in the other hand, frantically trying to piece them back together. I calmed him down as well as my acid-glazing look allowed me to and helped him up, carrying him out of the park and into an alley, placing him upright against a wall. I  then realized that a few hundred meters to our right a heavy black man was beating some Mexican to a pulp, and in my drug-fueled stupor, I had actually gone straight up to him and asked if he could help me “fix my friend” as I remember putting it. He immediately stopped the savage beating, turned to me and said: “Of course, I’m a doctor, just get me some strong liquor to clean the wound.” I was baffled but did not question the order, got the liquor, and went on to watch a completely drunk and violent man sew my friends thumb back to his hand. After tending to my friend and bringing him to the nearest E.R., me and the black man, who had introduced himself simply as “The Doctor” (and that’s the only name I have ever heard people call him).The night that ensued is still not entirely present in either of our minds, but I vaguely remember running butt-naked on a highway while firing semi-automatic handguns into the night skies and similar idiotic but funny things. We exchanged numbers and kept in touch afterwards, morphing into what you’d call a “friendship” – but it really is more of a brotherhood with terms than anything else. That night is in retrospect the only reason I am alive today to tell this story.

A harsh bump that jolted my transfixed body upwards making me hit the trunk’s flap woke me up. The car had stopped and I was finally freed from its back by the same muscular aide that had thrown me inside earlier. I was carried through what looked like the worst kind of slum into a small and shabby shanty where The Doctor immediately began drilling into my skull, placing objects into it and making all kinds of painful operations on the large bleeding hole in my head. An eternity passed, and I kept drifting in and out of consciousness while my cranium was being tended to. At some point during the next morning I had regained the capacity to articulate coherent sentences so, when The Doctor came in to check on me, I asked him if he had any idea as to what had happened the night before I got robbed that might have caused the thugs to swing by my place. He looked at me in utter disbelief for a few minutes before starting to tell me that even he, the person who had robbed a convenience store with a machete in broad daylight completely fucked on ether, had not ever heard of such drug-induced weirdness and stupidity as I had apparently shown that evening. This peaked my curiosity for obvious reasons, and I enquired about his exact knowledge of how things went down. “Well”, he told me, “I can only tell you what I have heard from the few calls I got from you that night. Apparently you got some sort of weird research chemical from your usual guy, so after you made a ruckus in some neighborhood and hid out at your coke dealer’s place for a while, you decided to call another dealer in order to get some real ketamine or MDMA. The new vendor told you that he was out with a few business partners of his and that if you were in possession of a suit and enough cash you could meet a him at a fancy eatery downtown in order to buy the drugs in style. You being you did not go there in a suit or with cash, but heavily fucked on the RC wearing an ADIDAS jumpsuit and babbling dangerously psychotic bullshit. After having made an ass of yourself and embarrassing every person at the table you must have gotten some sort of a drug-induced panic attack coupled with short-term schizophrenic paranoia that made you so sure that your dealer was out to kill you that you took the steak knife from the table and proceeded to stab the guy, steal his stash, and run off into the night. All of that would already have been enough to get you killed, but it seems as if you really wanted to make sure you were dead, so you sold the entire fucking stash for two grams of weed, made a picture of yourself with the dope showing a middle-finger and sent it to the dealer. And well, because you forgot to remove the metadata of said image he knew where you were and sent his thugs to kill you the next day. Which they almost did, but apparently they couldn’t be bothered with checking. Heads will roll for this, but yours will also end up on a stake, you really fucked up this time! And I mean like Amy Winehouse in her crack-days fucked up.” I sighed loudly upon hearing these words and cursed the guy who had sold me the RC instead of normal ketamine that night multiple times. “Fuck! And now what?” I inquired, hoping that The Doctor with all his degrees and diplomas would have some sort of smart-ass plan. “I’m not sure, didn’t you have that kind of trouble already at some point in your life?” he replied sarcastically. But he wasn’t wrong, I did actually encounter a similar problem once before, but that time it really hadn’t been my fault altogether.

It had been back in the summer of 2004. I had been hustling tons of Afghan hash from its origins in the depths of the Afghani outback up to the coast of Great Britain where I would sell it for quadruple the buying price at. Well, I had of course still not been pleased with the margin I was making so I wanted to increase it by using a cheaper courier for the hashish. That courier was a no-good asshole though as it turned out, and had disappeared with about $10,000,000 worth of drugs that had not been paid for yet, leaving me with a lot of explaining to do to people who were not fond of me and my constant rambling to begin with and even less so when 10 million dollars was at stake. Needless to say, all diplomatic approaches failed, and I was a fugitive being chased by one of the biggest criminals of the time. After having fled from Afghanistan to China and from there on over Russia to Central Europe I finally wound up in Mexico City where I still had some contacts. So, I told the story of how the 10 million dollar mishap came into being to a Mexican drug-lord who then engaged into a bloody battle with the guy chasing me. This violent altercation that I had caused cost a few hundred lives and ended up in both organizations essentially wiping each other out, leaving me with clean hands and debt-free. To this day I am unsure as to how I actually pulled this stunt off, but back in the day it was far more easy to find a trigger-happy moron at the top of a criminal institution, nowadays they’re all very composed gentleman with an ivy league educations.

After having told this story to The Doctor, I proposed that maybe doing something similar this time might end my troubles, but he started laughing brutally and told me that no criminal in their right mind would trust me in this city, and those who did were in no position to start any kind of trouble with the guy that was after me anyway. I started to realize that this time my only way out might be the only way out, and already began contemplating various ways of ending my life as painlessly but as stylishly as possible when I noticed that The Doc had left the room and was shouting into his mobile phone next door. I overheard a few keywords such as “lying cocksucker”, and “wrong drugs”, and “honest mistake”. It was clear to me that my good friend was actually doing something worthy of being called that; he was trying to save my ass. I knew The Doctor had contacts, but I never realized how far-reaching his network actually was until this very day. After two hours of continuous screaming he came back into the room with a grin on his face. “You’re not dead after all you lucky son-of-a-bitch!” he exclaimed. “Are you fucking with me?” I wondered, unable to believe that this actually happened. “Nope, but there is one catch”, he went on to say, “you’ll have to peddle this guy’s ketamine in his turf two blocs north from here until you’ve repaid what you took. He apparently understands the mind-fuck of RCs and is quite a forgiving person. Plus he owes me, I saved his brothers life countless times. “Here’s his number”. He handed me a small piece of paper. I was baffled to say the least. I had never wanted to go back to dealing, but in the face of death that was a perfectly acceptable option. So I thanked him and hoped that he would recognize the sincerity in it through the haze of morphine and various opiates he had injected me with after the emergency operation. He shook his head and told me that in the long-run the dealing would kill me anyway so he was actually just prolonging my life a little longer. So,he recognized the sincerity and was glad about it. He had a queer way of acknowledging feelings expressed towards him and usually did so with a sarcastic remark that bordered on the insulting. But I had known him for such a long time that I could tell the subtle differences in his answers, and therefore knew he was actually touched by my thanks and glad to have saved my life.

After enjoying that mutually emotional moment for a second, we both realized that it was getting time for me to get away from The Doctor’s lair and start dealing once again. So I slowly got up from the improvised couch made of cardboard boxes, old shopping carts, and several layers of compressed yellowish innards taken from a probably ancient mattresses. The first thing I realized after I was done was that my head hurt like hell, worse than most migraines. I asked The Doc if he had any opiates on hand, but all he could offer me was some Kratom, which I gladly took. Anything to ease the pain was fine by me, I would probably have injected myself with Heroin at that point. But the Kratom’s effects were becoming noticeable and all of these depraved thoughts just disappeared, leaving me pain and complaintless. Of course that blissful moment of peace only lasted for a fraction of a second before The Doctor started shouting that he did not have all day and things to do and that I should start getting my stuff ready so that I could have my first sober business meeting with the dealer I  tried to stab during the fateful night that led to me being at The Doc’s hide-out in the first place. It’s not like Doc actually had anything to do though, but he had snorted a whole hell of a lot of speed by now and was getting somewhat disturbingly agitated, meaning that my disappearing was definitely timed properly, because as much as I love doing drugs with the guy it’s always a health hazard to be around him when he’s fucked up on uppers, especially when it’s an upper as psychosis inducing as speed. Plus, The Doctor had just decided that playing with his machete might be a fun thing to do, making my leaving an absolute necessity rather than just a precautionary move. For someone with a medical degree the guy had an incredibly dangerous and unstable personality, which is probably also the source of his genius. Anyway, after having left his hide-out in somewhat of a hurry, I was now in the middle of a neighborhood that did not take kindly to ‘outsiders’ with my only way out being right through it, on foot. So I began my journey through this hostile territory, hoping that my fucked-up looks and the blood-drenched bandages wrapped around my beat-up skull would strike the hoodlums as too weird to start shit. But unfortunately, I was completely out of luck and my phone got jacked by three very tall and muscular gentlemen with very large guns. At least they were nice enough to leave me without further injury and the rest of my stuff. Notwithstanding the loss of my mobile was a hard blow given my situation seeing as I needed to call the dealer whom I was forced to work for until I repayed him. ‘Fuck’, I thought, and lit a cigarette. I hated tobacco, but the situation was dire enough to justify pumping my lungs full of poison. I was fucked once again. Well, maybe not as much as I thought. I had a hunch about the whereabouts of the dealer so I went on to leave the ghetto of Paradise City and walk along the highway until I reached the port where the sailors and druggies were in constant altercations about women and booze. The whole pier reeked of the depraved desperation of horny drunken bastards, puke, and the dark oily smoke of the near-by factories. But I was in no mood to join this slap-happy scene, so I went straight to my favorite watering hole “The Fisting Mermaid”. Despite its crude name that borders on the offensive, the venue itself is not frequented by your average drunk idiots and thuggish sluggers; it is rather a home to those criminals that have never quite embraced the “gangster-world” but do not feel comfortable among “normal people” either; mostly those that were not criminal by circumstance but by choice, mostly drug people, come to think of it.which is probably why I liked this bar so much. And also while I was pretty sure that my guy was there, seeing as the whole fancy eatery and suit thing was not his usual style and neither were the barely functional and almost completely destroyed venues that the low-life thugs frequented. So, I entered the building that seemed a lot smaller from the outside and looked around. In front of me, after my eyes had passed the barstools and booths that were evenly distributed along the sides of the building. I paused to examine the bar wench. She was a woman of extraordinary beauty, but that was not the reason for my staring. I knew that person. There was no chance in Hell that that was actually her though. ‘I must be seeing things’ was the first thought that raced through my mind. But I abruptly stopped these erratic bursts of electricity between my neuronal axes, this was not the time to find out about the girl’s background or if she was who I thought she was. No, this was much rather the time to finally acknowledge the guy I had come in looking for and who had already seen me and started waving  the moment I came through the door. So,after dismissing my thoughts of the bartender a last time I went diagonally left and entered the small booth which the dealer had reserved especially for this occasion. Before I was allowed to sit down I was searched thoroughly and all cutlery was removed from the place I was assigned. “Don’t want that kind of shit happening again” said the dealer pointing at the bandages covering his entire chest like a breastplate. For whatever twisted reason this remark lightened up the mood and I let out a little air from my nose. “Hah. I shouldn’t have fallen for some RC and then gone out to get more drugs, it think that that was my fatal error” I went on to reply with a slight smirk on my lips. The ice was broken.

After a few hours of half-drunken half-serious conversation I felt that the reputation I had built up for myself in this rotten city over the years combined with the great vibes that prevailed at our table that were enough leverage on my end to ask the guy a favor: “Hey man, what kind of employee bonus do I get? I mean, your guys completely destroyed my last flat and if I’m going to deal for you I’ll need a place to do it from.” The dealer’s aides who searched me earlier started glaring at me with a furious anger in the depths of their pupils and for a second I thought that I might have crossed a line. But the dealer grinned at me and I remembered that he knew me from back in the days so I was good. He made a small gesture with his hand to keep the mono-cellular gobs at bay, and said “You’re lucky you’re you. I’ll get you a flat. Two blocks north from The Doc’s place, on Salt-Lake street, there is a huge apartment building. And well, all of my… employees, as you put it, live and work from there. Just ring the doorbell that has a skull instead of a name on it and tell them that you’re repaying debts to me; they’ll set you up. If there are any issues, you know how to reach me”. I nodded reluctantly . I didn’t want to move back in with that kind of crowd but it seemed like there was no choice in the matter. I went on to make some more mundane small-talk with the guy and his thugs but the business was settled and he was a busy man, so I quickly ended up alone in the booth, ordering one Jack Daniel’s after another and smoking JWH-018 laced cigars my new “business-partner” had left there. I hated those synthetic cannabinoids but it was nice to unwind a little before going to my new residence. The doubt about the bartender’s identity was still lingering in my brain. This needed figuring out and seeing as I was in no mood to meet my new neighbors, I slowly took my glass, got up from the booth and approached the bar in somewhat of a staggering step seeing as the alcohol was beginning to take its cruel hold on me. But I was determined to find out if that tall creature mixing drinks in this desolated place was who my brain told me she would be although I knew she couldn’t be. Damn all that, it was time to make my limp lips move and utter a comprehensible sentence that would allow me to discreetly determine if she was who I thought so I said “Blerg youse nota zazap ise knowsuuu”. Fuck. I was too fucking drunk to talk. Oh, and the JWH-018. The woman now looked at me strangely, wondering what I was trying to tell her. Did she recognize me? I wondered. Or did I say it out loud? The synthetic bullshit in the cigars was violently throwing me off track together with the alcohol and my vision was reduced to a tunnel-like vortex. “I think you’ve had enough, Sir. You should probably go home.” The voice of an angel told me. It was the bartender. But she called me “sir”. Did she not recognize me? Was she not who I thought she was? She was right though, I needed to leave before causing anyone to call the cops on me for public disturbance or anything like that. So I got my belongings, stumbled out of the bar and back into the hellish streets of Paradise City where the grass is laced and the girls are stripping… I had actually moved to this hell-hole because of the Guns’n’Roses song and had regretted that decision ever since. Well, not regretted per se. I have somewhat grown to love the run-down decaying asphalt of this dump. It portrayed a simple easy way of things right and wrong that seems to have been lost in other parts of the world. The city itself was full of crime and thugs, but you didn’t see rapes here, you didn’t see savage 10-on-1 beatings and child-molesters were castrated and sent out to the desert to die; the outlaws here adhered to a strict moral code. And that was what enticed me to stay after seeing this dump’s true face. But I was thinking too much and paying too little attention to the road, so I ended up a few blocks too far, had to turn around and after maybe thirty more minutes of confused searching I finally arrived at Salt-Lake street. I instantly knew which apartment building the dealer had been talking about, it was a big grey square that rose 40-stories high into the sky. The windows of the first five floors were all smashed out, and the entire structure was covered in graffiti and blood stains. It was a gruesome sight accompanied by a group of about 15 coked-out goons standing in front of the main door and thus also the doorbells. I was drunk and fucked-up enough to not care though, but felt more clear headed than before, and would probably be able to talk coherently again should I have to. So I walked straight up to the thugs, trying to get through them without being noticed. Which was of course impossible. “Who the fuck are you, you god damned cunt?” were the words I was greeted with by the largest of them who wore a 35-inch gold chain and a black tank top that bore a neon-green inscription which read ‘The Bozzizzle’. “No need to disrespect me, you little punk. I was told to ring on the doorbell with the skull on it. You want to get in my way?”, I asked, hoping that these instructions were specific enough for these idiots to realize that I was not to be touched because I wouldn’t be able to take all of them out, and especially not in the condition I was in. But my knowledge of such details had exactly the effect on these fuckers as I thought it would have. They quickly looked down and made a passage for me to go through. “I thought so” I said pushing my luck. After the unbearably uncomfortable few seconds of walking through that crowd of angry-looking assholes I reached the board on which the doorbells were mounted. It took a couple of minutes to focus my eyes on the signs above the bells, and finally found the little white skull, proceeding to hardly push it several times simply because I wanted to get the fuck away from the guys standing behind me; already getting anxious to beat me to a pulp should nobody answer my ringing. Buzz! I had never been so happy to hear the sound of a door being unlocked by the intercom before and quickly entered the dimly lit hallway. I expected stench and dirt but it was spotlessly clean, almost sterile, and that cleanliness exuded a much more frightening aura than the emotion a messy, junkie-like place would elicit. I felt extremely uncomfortable and I started to realize that being drunk and ‘high’ (synthetic just ain’t the real deal) in this situation might not be the best thing, but there I was and I had to deal with it. A little confused walk ensued that ended when I abruptly found myself inside of an elevator going upstairs. I knew which floor to go to because it was conveniently marked with the same skull that had indicated the bell I needed to ring downstairs. The skull somewhat calmed me down, it was a sign of piracy, of operating outside the boundary of laws yet not succumbing to primal instinct and turning into savage beasts. A philosophy I myself had been preaching throughout my life. And someone who would choose that symbol as an indicator to his whereabouts couldn’t be some brute that would try some stupid shit instead of just keeping to business. My thoughts were interrupted by a loud beeping and a red light bulb that went on showing me that I had arrived at my destination. As I stepped out of the elevator I quickly realized that I was not going to get in trouble, seeing as it looked liked an acid-fuelled interior designer had been let loose in here; the entire place was covered in neon-colors and outer-worldly carpets were on the floors and walls and between them there were several graffiti-style writings depicting the chemical formula for LSD. At the other end of the large lobby there was a reinforced vault door on which I could see the familiar but this time psychedelically-painted skull. Upon approaching the door my attention was quickly caught by a small intercom device with an integrated camera about 5 feet in front of the door. My instincts told me not to go further than that and ring first. And so I rang the bell and a little light showed on the camera. Nothing happened for a while, then I suddenly heard a voice: “You Rico’s guy? The one that tried to stab him?”. This was the first time I had ever heard his name, and ‘Rico’ was not what I had expected it to be, but this was not the time to think about that. I nodded at the camera, unable to hide a slight grin. A burst of laughter ensued, then a loud clicking from within the door which was followed by it swinging open. The first thing I noticed after entering the room that lay behind that vault-like entrance was how much it reminded me of a bar in a hotel lobby. There was a large bar on the far right, four big armchairs meticulously arranged around a glass-table in the center, and an enormous bookshelf on the far left of the room all in a very conservative style. On a glass table I noticed a huge package that contained beautifully formed ketamine shards. Three gentlemen were looking at me from their chairs, all smirking at my obviously altered state of mind. All of them wore shimmies and brown corduroys and looked somewhat like those “thugs” from “Reefer Madness” but I was not too drunk to realize that these people were the most dangerous criminals of this city and possibly thie entire country and therefore simply followed their gesturie for me to sit down in the remaining empty chair. What transpired then was a minute of complete silence. They were assessing me, not certain if what they’d heard about me was actually true. I knew they’d heard about me because they lived in this town and sold drugs. Everybody who met these criteria had heard of me, I had made damn sure of that in my time. After this momentary lull, the guy sitting right in front of me pointed to the ketamine and said: “This is about $1,000.00 worth of stash. We want to have twice that amount from you. Everything you make on top of that is yours. You come back here about 8 times and we’re done. Sound good?”. No, it did not sound good. It was one fucking hell of a task. I would have to lace that shit until it was barely recognizable as ketamine anymore and then peddle it at some low-life venues where the people couldn’t even tell the difference between MDMA and MPDV. But I was in no position to bargain or god forbid even complain, so I said “Yeah, sure. Rico said you’d have an apartment I can use as a base?”. One of them threw me a pair of keys, telling me that I could see the number on the back and that it was now time to leave because they had business to attend to. I thanked them and quickly left the room, closing the vault-door behind me and re-entering the psychedelic surroundings near the elevator. I  examined the back of the key I had been given. Number ‘1308’. I went back into the elevator, pressed the button that said thirteen and got out when the red light and beeping told me to again. The thirteenth floor was as sterile as the ground floor, just simple white tiles. Thanks to the little metallic signs on the walls I was quickly able to navigate through the maze of hallways until I found 1308. After fumbling with the key for a while I was able to open the door behind which I found a fully furnished flat: A bed, a TV, a small windowed cupboard visibly containing a gun, a night-stand, a tiny stove, and an average sized fridge. To my right there was a small entrance that led to a bathroom that was barely big enough for me to move in it, but it was clean and modern with white towels laid out. I was pleasantly surprised and decided to take a shower then smoke a bowl and try out the stash I had been given to sell seeing as I was unable to sleep while on JWH-018 and needed to know how much I could lace this stuff later on and still have it feel like actual ketamine. And I was happy that that fucking day was finally over and therefore needed to relax in peace and safety. I was untouchable in these surroundings and that was the perfect setting for a psychoactive journey to the pulsating vortex that is the middle of a k-hole. So I ripped open the large package, put a few beautiful cubic crystals in a $10.00 bill and crushed them with a lighter. I proceeded to cautiously scratch the white powder from the bill onto the small nightstand arranging it into a large line that would cause me to enter the k-hole void instantly. I decided to light a jay first in order to ‘fall’ just when it was finished, creating a perfect psychedelic combination of THC and C13H16ClNO. I knew the formula not because I had any chemical knowledge or something like that but rather because I had wanted to paint it on the walls of an apartment I had a long time ago.I got out the remainder of my weed and started to roll a nice joint which took about 15 minutes because, albeit slowly sobering up, I was still heavily under the influence of the synthetic cannabinoids and alcohol. After I finished I had an awful looking banana shaped thing in my hand. But it was smoke-able so I didn’t care and lit it up. I smoked for a while, emptying my mind and forgetting the stress of these dreadful past few days for a second. At some point I felt it was time to start my journey, so I rolled the $10.00 bill into a tube after licking the remaining pieces of ketamine off it and quickly sniffed. My nose burned slightly and I could taste the slight-metallic and sour taste of the ketamine in the back of my throat. Now it was time to wait, so I continued smoking what was left of my joint ready for onset. It started a little faster than I expected it to, so I quickly disposed of the last quarter of the banana shaped monstrosity that was still glowing in my hand, and let myself fall back on the bed, now looking at the ceiling when suddenly a hole began opening and I felt that the bed below me was being dragged into it, slowly catapulting me into a stratosphere of lightning vortexes intertwining within each other and forming signs in languages I had never seen before. I was fully dissociated. I was now caught in a scene from my past. And on ketamine, being caught in a memory means actually reliving it with all of the involved feelings. It was a painful memory. I saw myself at 13-years old. I had been living a very normal, borderline bourgeois kind of life with my parents up to that point in time. The only oddity that would induce shudders to the usual middle-class people that had been going on at our place was my parents growing of marijuana for my mums leukemia which had introduced me to psychoactive substances in a very neutral, borderline positive way seeing as I had seen how much my mothers suffering was eased by the cannabis. The day  flashed before my eyes had been largely normal until the point I was being shown by my subconscious now: I had just finished watering my parent’s plants and had been wanting to go downstairs in order to get some dinner when I had just finished the first flight of stairs I  already felt that something bad was about to happen and the ketamine made me feel the exact same way again: The paralyzing knowledge that something bad was about to happen. As I descended the second flight of stairs rather quickly my journey was interrupted by an incredibly loud noise followed by a series of gunshots. After I recovered from the initial shock of the sudden loudness, I  quickly ran down the rest of the stairs when I saw the most gruesome scene. Our beautiful wooden door had been broken down and a SWAT team that had just shot my parents were shouting orders at each other. I had just witnessed my parents murder by the law and that  enticed me to fight for the legalization of drugs ever since. But the scene disappeared as quickly as it had come and I now saw four different worlds all at once showing the same story from different points of view. Afterwards I drifted through several galaxies and saw the Big-Bang, whose explosive power propelled me back onto my bed where I sprang up because of the heavy adrenaline-rush that comes at the end of a deep hole. I was still extremely dissociated from the ketamine and now longed for another joint, so I got my emergency stash out of my underwear and proceeded to roll one. Somehow the dissociation got my rolling abilities up to par again and I had a proper jay to enjoy this time which pleased me. So I lit up and enjoyed the remaining visual and bodily effects of the ket while smoking on the high-grade herb that I saved for emergencies.

I got kind of bored with it though and decided that it was time to turn on the TV and lay down. After I did, I quickly came to the conclusion that the garbage that was being passed onto the poor TV viewing saps as entertainment nowadays was not even remotely worth watching. But I kept looking at the flashing bright colors and felt a certain sense of understanding towards these tiny pixels that made up the screen – they were all but small parts of a giant ensemble and none of them would ever realize what their existence actually meant (if they were living beings that is) or that they’re actually forming an image comprehensible to a form for them not possibly identifiable. The ketamine was definitely still running strong and my thoughts went into hyper-drive because of it. On the other end, the deep hole I found myself in earlier had exhausted me and my body was craving sleep. I was at an impasse and therefore decided to just continue watching TV until the drug would have worn off enough for me to be able to get some sleep. A few hours passed while I was staring intensely at the blue flicker of the screen, not really paying attention to what was happening but not really thinking either, just waiting for a feeling of tiredness to finally set in. When it finally happened, I took off my clothes, examined my scars in the window for a while  and closed the blinds. I laid down and closed my eyes. Instantly, the image of the bartender from earlier popped into my mind, haunted me with memories long buried before I finally drifted into the hallucinogenic coma that is sleep…

Mark Linnhoefer
About Mark Linnhoefer 82 Articles
Born in Germany, moved to France at age 10, and then - at age 12 and a half - went on to live in Shanghai until 2013. I then moved back to Germany, close to the Dutch border for about two years to study. Displeased with the "student life", I decided to drop out and go back to Shanghai, where I currently reside once again. I started writing in November 2013 and am slowly but surely improving myself. My focus as a journalist lies on political/social commentary and travel/event reporting. I have submitted my first articles for Gonzo Today in January 2015, and am very grateful and humbled to be a part of this amazing movement. Selah.