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No Match for Acid

D-Day -- 9 May, 2001 H-Hour -- 20:30 Train, Grassman, and I each dose on half an eighth of dried Psilocybe cubensis at 8:30.

D-Day -- 9 May, 2001
H-Hour -- 20:30

Train, Grassman, and I each dose on half an eighth of
dried Psilocybe cubensis at 8:30. Freud and Garfield split the
last dose evenly between themselves. Angry Johnny and C-Dog
eat 2 or 3 hits of acid each. I write down the time in my
After only 15 minutes, I begin to feel a little
lightheaded. By T+20 minutes, I'm fairly certain that I'm
tripping. Everything sounds neat. Someone is playing Duck
Hunt. Grassman packs a couple of bongloads for us all
(being the only one with pot), and then rolls a joint that I
promptly forget about. A big joint.
I hear plans to embark on a journey, since Train's
apartment is a little too small for our crowd. I run out to
my car and put on a long sleeved shirt, since the night air
gets cool fast this time of year.
"Remember that the map is *NOT* the territory."
We actually get to hear from Gandalf before we leave.
He stops by to find out what's going on; we got our
mushrooms from him. My friends outline the plans for the
evening, which consist mainly of walking around campus, and
he decides to take off and take care of a couple other
social calls.
"I'll just find you guys later," he says on his way out
the door. It sounds absurd to me at the time.
Freud and either Garfield or C-Dog return from somewhere
around 9:00. This is our cue to vacate. Our first stop is
the arboretum on campus. We stand around admiring the trees
and grass and stars and lights and darkness and spirals of
intricate colors. Train observes that everything is just so
good at being what it is.
"See that tree? Isn't so cool? It's just there, being
a tree," he says.
One of us has found a stick hanging in a tree. He uses
it as a walking aid for a little while as we leave the
artificial forest, but eventually we hear a loud SMACK! as
he breaks it on something.
"What the hell was that?"
"He just hit something really hard with the stick," I
said. "That's what you do with a stick you pick up; you hit
stuff with it. That's what you pick up a stick for. That's
why you get nervous if some guy is walking around with a
bunch of his friends and a stick and he starts looking at
you -- he's trying to find something to hit with that
stick." We didn't do anything dangerous with the stick, of
Over the course of the next half hour, we make our way
to the stadium on campus. The gates are unlocked, so we
just wander in. That sort of thing is not uncommon on this
We split off into various groups. Some people split
into pairs to discuss their experiences from the first hour
of the trip. Some of us, including myself, wander onto the
bleachers to recline and watch the stars. C-Dog wanders up
towards the press box. After I figure out that it is
impossible to be comfortable lying on a hard bleacher, I
head up to follow him.
"I'm gonna miss this place," he says as I reach the top
of the stands. I don't really know what to say to him; I
understand the emotion, but I just don't know how to react
to that statement. I choose silence as the most appropriate
response; I don't even know if he's tripping or not.
I decide to climb onto the press box. I remember this
ladder confounded me the last time I tried to climb it on
mushrooms. I refuse to be conquered this time. About
halfway up, I realize that this ladder is not meant to be
particularly challenging or dangerous, and that helps me to
reach the top with no great difficulty. I squat down to
write more in my notebook:

There is insufficent light. I can't write correctly. I'm
over-observing again. The angle of light to read best is
different from the angle of the notebook to write best. I
did it again... and ever...
This notebook is fun, a
nd the lines and light and legibility are a prison.

I giggle a lot as I write, imagining what I will think
when I am sober and trying to read the squiggly erratic
messages I'm sending into the future (the messages are in
fact quite legible and easy to read). Train comes up to
talk with C-Dog after a few minutes. Eventually, someone
yells from down below.
"You guys ready to go somewhere else?" Freud calls up.
"Perfect timing!" I call back, just finishing up my
thought as I write. "Unless I break my neck coming down
this ladder," I mention to Train and C-Dog. I don't break
my neck.
After another hike, we end up by the baseball field and
a nearby woods. We try to walk in on a trail, but think
better of our decision. I don't know if it's because those
old people are giving us dirty looks from their house, or if
it had something to do with the pitch darkness involved:
"Now for an exciting and magical night of pixies and broken
The good news is that right next to this entrance is a
fraternity house in disrepair with a Pepsi machine inside.
The Pepsi machine is good because it lets some of us get
drinks. The disrepaired frat house is good because it means
that those of use who feel like throwing rocks at windows
may do so with impunity.
"Thugs!" I yell at them. I have no interest in
destruction, only the jewels in the sky. And the
disproportionate number of them that seem to be airplanes.
I swear that some of them really are moving -- the ones that
do move have double lights (like on the edges of the wings
of a jet) and seem to be blinking, but... well, I am on
Train and Grassman return with their drinks. Grassman
offers me a sip, but for some reason I feel like it would be
very inappropriate for me to take it. Besides, I'm really
not that thirsty.
Grassman suggests we find another trail, something about
a "Rails-to-Trails" deal that has gone on nearby. It sounds
like a good plan, so we head off in that direction.
I'm tripping hard. Shapes emerge from patches of
darkness. I think long, intense strings of thoughts that I
cannot recall. We find the railroad track we wish to follow
and begin to walk along it. There are a lot of street lamps
around, the kind that have that orange-red glare to them. I
hate them. The light is callous and intrusive and sickly.
It accents my thirst that has since developed. I begin to
feel like my trip is nothing more than a pale shadow and
reprise of one I have already had. Something is lacking. I
wonder if this is my thirst becoming manifest in my
consciousness through the unorthodox thought process of
We encounter Gandalf and Lady. We are at a
street-railroad crossing when Gandalf, whom we haven't seen
since he promised to find us, pulls up in his car with a
strange woman in the passenger seat.
"I took my two hits, guys!" he gleefully says.
"Sounds like you better park that car, Gandalf!" I say back.
He does so and introduces us to Lady. Lady is on acid
too, but I don't think I like her very much. She's strange
and unexpected and I'm afraid I'm going to say something
wrong and piss off Gandalf. I'm not seriously worried about
pissing her off, but I am afraid that if she gets pissed
off, Gandalf will get pissed off. We rendezvous, say our
greetings, and resume our march along the tracks.
It occurs to me that this is _my_ trip, and I try to
relax a bit. I try to let go of the notions of what I
should or should not be doing. It lets me walk along the
train tracks somewhat more peacefully. Soon dense foliage
obscures the hateful lights, and I begin to enjoy myself
again. I take a sip of Garfield's drink. I don't know
what's in it (I still don't), but there was something sweet
and something flat and something alcoholic in it. It feels
great to my throat. I focus on the path ahead of me. It is
a dark tunnel with nothing at the end except a spiraling
maze of red and green and blue colors. The visual
fascinates me and incites my mind to more pleasant thoughts.
"Damn, Scribe, you're walking like a machine!" Garfield
tells me. The railroad ties and rough gravel are a
challenge greater for some than for others.
It takes me a little time to process this. "Yeah,
Scribe, how are you doing that?" Train chimes in.
"Just don't think about it. Look ahead," I say. I
continue to think about Garfield's comment a little while
"'Walking like a machine?' Is that an insult? Am I a
robot?" I demand, laughing.
He seems embarrassed for a moment and apologizes, but I
assure him that I'm only kidding. As long as I've given him
pause for thought, too, we're even.
We reach a point on the railroad tracks that has an
automobile underpass running beneath it. I can tell this by
the cars that are driving underneath us. This is fun to
watch because it's so dark out. The rails never turned to
trails, but it was a good place to stop anyway. Some of our
party are unimpressed at our location and turn around,
walking back.
"Hey!" Train calls to them. "You guys are going the
wrong way! We got what you need right here!"
Train was right. Grassman had taken out the fat joint
I'd seen him rolling earlier in the evening. The
however-the-hell-many of us that are there smoke it down to
nothing. We think we lose it when it's still a roach, but
Gandalf manages to recover it from a railroad tie and we get
our last hits off of it.
We gradually make our way back to the stadium. Gandalf
decides that he isn't tripping hard enough, so he wants to
go home to get the rest of his acid.
"I hope you're planning on walking home for that shit,
Gandalf," I tell him.
"What? Fuck that, I'm driving. I'll find you guys
later." I believe him this time.
By 11:00, we're back in the stadium, but in the
bleachers opposite the press box this time. The gate we
came in by earlier is locked, so we just jump the fence.
Campus security sees us, but we assure them that we're just
students. That's all they really wanted to hear, so they
leave us alone after that.
From this angle, the sickly street lights can shine on
us and it really starts to fuck with my trip. They just
make me extremely uncomfortable. I write a bit in my notebook:

Okay, we dosed at 8:00 [sic]. It's 11:02. We're at the
stadium again. I'm writing, 3 are talking, and 3 are
playing frisbee. Anyway, I just got this notebook out to
say that I can't write anything here.

I think the reason that there are only 7 people
mentioned in that entry is that C-Dog left at some point in
the evening. That left the 5 shroomers, Lady, and Angry Johnny.
After Gandalf gets back, he does a couple laps through
the sprinklers watering the field. It looks like fun to me,
so I go wash myself out there too.
I convince Train to walk with me to where the lights
aren't after about 20 minutes. We relax and chat for a bit.
After a little time, he decides that we should head back to
the rest of the group. I agree, since I'm feeling better now.
Train's timing is impeccable. We get there and everyone
is sitting in a circle on the football field and talking.
Of course, everyone is not sitting in a circle to talk.
Train used the Force to determine that Grassman was getting
ready to roll another big joint. We join the party.
Angry Johnny's night starts to suck. He spaces out on
his hit. Just as Train is getting ready to liberate the
joint from his lifeless hands and pass it to my eager ones,
he snaps out of it. I gladly pass him the joint for his
hit, and eventually manage to convince him to pass it to me.
Well, that's a rather liberal usage of the term "pass it
to me." More like I waited till he spaced out again and
dropped the joint on the ground for me to pick up.
I take my hit, pass it to the next person, and cough and
spit for a little bit. "There's grass on that grass," I
explain between gasps. It tastes good anyway and gets me
quite high. And makes the trip more fun.
At some point Angry Johnny decides to abandon the circle
and starts walking around the field farther away from us,
smoking a cigarette. He yells a little bit of gibberish.
We finish the joint.
Eventually Angry Johnny gets to the part of the stadium
we came in at. He is standing on the bleachers by the part
of the fence we hopped. He looks extremely agitated. "Can
I get another cigarette out here?" he screams at us.
"How about you come over here and get one yourself?"
Freud calls back, smiling at the rest of us. Angry Johnny
seems displeased by this answer.
I don't want Angry Johnny to have a bad trip. "I'll
take him a cigarette, dude. Gimme his hat, too." I collect
my offerings and trot off to give them to our errant companion.
I reach him after a hundred paces or so. I'm standing
on the field, and he's standing just behind the railing in
front of the bleachers, maybe 3 feet over me. I offer him
his hat and his cigarette. "Here you go, dude; you left
this on the ground, too," I say, meaning his hat.
"I've only got two options," his says to me. "What are
I wasn't expecting a pop quiz. "Uh, I guess you can
either smoke this cigarette, or you can not."
"That's not good enough," he says back. "What should I
do?" he yells.
"Uh..." I'm baffled. "Well, I think you should smoke
this cigarette, because it'll probably help you relax."
"That's not good enough!" he yells. "I want another
OPTION!" he screams at me. He has grabbed the railing and
is leaning towards me. I'm still tripping fairly well. I
don't think I'm taking him seriously until I see some motion
out of the corner of my eye. Train, Freud, Grassman, and
Gandalf are on their way over in one hell of a hurry.
That's the point where I start to wonder how safe this man is.
My reinforcements manage to calm Angry Johnny down. He
shares a cigarette with Freud; I fetch him the one I had
brought and dropped. He seems himself again, he's just a
little bit rattled.
He's it not just rattled, though. After a relatively
brief period of lucidity, he becomes very belligerent again.
He starts raving about whatever the hell it is he's having a
bad trip about.
Train takes a pretty passive role in this process.
Freud is helping quite a bit, trying to talk rationally to
Angry Johnny. Grassman is doing what he can: "I've got an
idea. How about a walk? I don't have any more weed on me,
but my place isn't far. We can take a little walk, sit
down, and I can roll us a joint and you can calm down."
"That's not good enough. I want another option!" He is
not reacting the same I way I would react if Grassman had
offered a joint to me.
Gandalf's role in this process is a rather antagonistic
one. He's seen Angry Johnny like this before and doesn't
really feel like putting up with this shit lying down.
Train and I do what we can to get ourselves away from this
mess, since he wants no part of it and I only met Angry
Johnny about three hours ago. We try to get Gandalf away,
but fail, so we just head back to Lady and Garfield on the
field. They've been quite relaxed through the whole ordeal.
We bring a report to them while Freud and Grassman try
to talk Angry Johnny down. I don't think Garfield has
stopped lying on his back for the duration of the row. No
one can leave while he's standing by our exit, so the four
of us relax and chat a bit. We hear occasional bits of
Freud's progress when Angry Johnny screams his responses
especially loud. Gandalf intermittently visits us.
My trip is killed. I'm still on mushrooms and buzzing
hard, but my trip is obviously over. When Freud and
Grassman and Gandalf have all finally given up and come back
to the circle, we talk about where we might go next. Most
votes are for a return to the arboretum.
"So you guys are just going to leave me here?" Angry
Johnny yells at us. He hasn't heard us; he's just referring
to his abandonment in the bleachers.
"You can come on over here any time you feel like it,"
Freud yells back.
Angry Johnny is unimpressed by Freud's offer. He starts
to wander around the football field, leaving our exit open
again. After everyone is convinced that Angry Johnny is no
danger to himself, we leave. It's boring and cold on the
field now.
After the rest of us have left, Grassman asks one last
time if we're sure he's no danger to himself. We assure him
and he hops over after one last glance. Gandalf hops the
fence and then turns to call, "I am the Voice of God!" to
Angry Johnny. We all chastise him for it, but I think we
were all laughing too hard to be taken seriously.
I try to get myself tripping again, but utterly fail.
I'm still having fun, just not tripping. We spend the
duration of the evening stopping into and out of various
party members' homes, but there is little of relevance that
happened with the mushrooms. We smoke a little more and
drink some amazingly good scotch that Grassman provides, and
that adds some waviness to reality, but it's all really just
a denouement to the evening. I finally crash at about 6:00
in the morning.

As an epilogue, I'd like to mention what finally
happened to poor Angry Johnny. He spend the next 3 hours
wandering around that football field muttering to himself
until the cops eventually got wind of him. Gandalf, being
the whirlwind of activity that he was, actually made it back
to Angry Johnny at about that time.
"You see those guys over there, Angry Johnny? Those are
cops. They're coming for you. Come on, let's run. Right now."
"Fuck you! I want another option!" was the only
response Gandalf got.
"Okay, man. Good luck. I'm getting the fuck out of
here." He turned and did so.
"So you're just leaving me?"
"Yeah man, those are cops. So long."
The encounter between Angry Johnny and the cops is
something I would have paid a good amount of money to see.
After yelling some interesting things at the police (imagine
what he had to say to his friends, but colored by that
unique warmth that can only emerge when one speaks to an
officer of the law), they decided that their dog would be
more capable of handling the acidhead than themselves.
After managing to scream down the dog, Angry Johnny was
rewarded with a very clear view of the business end of the
police officers' long-range weaponry. He submitted; they
saw him to his fraternity house. The rest of his evening
was relatively uneventful.
Well, except that Angry Johnny got one last chance to
kill our buzz. When Gandalf brought us these tidings around
3:00 in the morning, we had to break up our post-coming down
party for everyone to go de-felonize their apartments. We
didn't think he'd tell the cops anything, but we also didn't
think he start yelling and cursing at perfect strangers and
his friends. Safety first.

So there it is. I think my trip taught me a great deal
about the nature of conflict and struggle. I also learned
that I'm no match for the power of LSD. I hope that both of
these lessons follow me to the grave. I don't ever want to
have to be Angry Johnny that night.
Happy shrooming, everyone.

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