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Shroommates

Summer of 2000.



Summer of 2000.

It was a good time to get a shroom night together. It’d been a couple years since my last trip. Definitely time to live some new experiences with that familiar psilocybin background. I asked my girlfriend to call her cousin (let’s call her Janet). She said he was a good source for all kinds of shit. And he had no problem delivering this time.

My roommate, Len, and I were planning to have a couple friends over to hang out at our place for this little excursion. Janet came over to our place with her two roommates, Mindy and Alicia. Janet, Alicia and myself had tripped on shrooms on numerous separate occasions. Len and Mindy were newcomers. I believe Mindy had once chomped down a bunch of her live-in ex-boyfriend’s stash one night when she was pissed off at him. Len had never done them before, but had been on acid a number of times. I hoped that the group dynamics would flow smoothly with this party of five that we assembled.

Janet and I chopped up the dry mushrooms (there were about five or six large chunks – some long stems, others withered caps.) The girls were going to have some tea. Len and I just munched them down raw. Not too heavy on the flavour and actually quite chewable. Most of the previous times, I’ve either had shrooms in gel-caps or chopped up and melted in chocolate. So my experience with flavour and chewing them whole was fairly new to me. Alicia nursed her tea rather slowly and Alicia was whingeing about the “grounds” left at the bottom of her cup. It didn’t take much longer, though, until all the mushrooms had been digested. Let the games begin.

We were sitting around in our living room which had a good 20-foot stretch of ceiling to floor windows along a couple of the sides. The 11th floor overlooked the harbour and a good part of surrounding downtown skyscrapers. Perfect, clear sky out, warm Friday night. The door to the balcony was open to let fresh air in; one could hear the traffic and assortments of voices in the streets below.

I was pacing around about waiting for this stuff to kick in. I made myself busy with getting people drinks and snacks, adjusting the lighting, and hunting down some candles in my rooms. About half an hour after eating the dry shrooms, I felt a little bit nauseous, but not to the point of discomfort. I knew it would pass after the mushrooms had made their way further into my digestive system. I was talking to a couple people who were sitting on the couch and found myself wringing my hands. They felt wet. Had I just washed my hands? Did I not dry them off sufficiently on the towel? Kind of strange – they didn’t feel like they were damp enough to make something I touched wet…but wet nonetheless. I don’t usually have sweaty palms. In retrospect, I have quite a few water-related effects on previous trips…it must be a linking pattern for me or something.

I kept asking everyone, “My hands are wet. Do they feel wet?”

They appeased my launching rants by grabbing my hands. “No, they’re not wet.”

And then it was on. I was laughing at pretty much anything anyone said. Laughter of surprises, laughter of disbelief; broken, wa/ondering laughter. A couple times over the evening, Alicia said it was almost a “hillbilly” laugh. I guess that was part of my pseudo-persona for the night, my alter-ego the Wet Laughing Hillbilly. My hands were bone-dry. Words off my tongue were wet with wit. Language flowed like a waterfall. Arms searching out for dry creek beds. I had my hands out and front of my to check for a visible tremor. No, I was rock-steady mister.

Janet was on the balcony looking cozy on what was actually a pretty uncomfortable deck chair. Alicia was there out too getting into a cigarette. I don’t really smoke that much – but I really felt like it was what I wanted to do right now.

I bummed one off her, asking her, “What brand?”

“DuMaurier.”

“Do I bore you, eh?” I said. That was the running joke for the evening.

I felt like nothing that I was saying, or I could say, would ever sound ridiculous to my friends. But I guess that’s what friends are really all about. With this total trust, I opened up like a tap and started making the living room my stage. Sometimes it felt like all eyes were on me, others it was like I wasn’t even talking. Maybe I wasn’t even talking at those moments, rather thinking very real conversations in my head.

Back inside, Janet and Mindy brought out a couple bottles of booze out of the kitchen. Len went in for some shot glasses. A bottle of tequila that Janet and I picked up while we were in Mexico and a bottle of melon liqueur. Weird combo – I think that’s all we had in the cupboard at the time. The girls were pouring straight shots and tossing them back. Moments later they had the shot glasses lined up and were staring at them, howling with laughter. They were part of Len’s shooter collection, souvenirs from different cities. They were visiting London, Winnipeg, Alcatraz Island. All very funny places. Alicia could hardly put a sentence together. Still, a vast improvement over the look of fright she had on her face fifteen minutes into her trip.

Some of the words coming out my mouth just sounded like pure gibberish in my head. Len was nodding and answering when I talked to him though, so he must’ve understood what I was saying. I was straddling the threshold of the sliding glass door between the living room and the balcony. I became quite talented at listening to two conversations one from outside, one from inside. My head was situated in an imaginary plane between two totally different spaces. The airy vastness of what was beyond the deck railing, and the inviting closeness of the plush carpet in the living room.

Alicia was telling some pretty incredible stories. Everyone was listening in while still engaging in their own tasks. Len was kneeling down behind the coffee table, his body rocking back and forth with his hand folded between his thighs. He looked like a meditating monk. He did a lot of nodding when people talked to him. Sometimes when I glanced back at him, he’d be looking over the girls’ shot glass journey, pouring slugs of tequila over melon liqueur. The House Shooter. On the house. He assumed a protective stance over the kingdom of ounce glasses. We were shroommates, that’s what he called it. We were the High Five that night with time on our hands for walking around the boozy streets.

Someone kept mentioning that we should go out. They weren’t bored with their surroundings, rather curious at letting this trip spread out a bit. I was taking some photos of Mindy and Len on the couch totally bent over in absolute laughter. Len was telling some stories and Mindy’s face was a bright crimson. I wanted to get in on it, but I felt myself falling into some pretty intense circular thoughts. I was rapidly hypothesizing about the universe as concentric layers over everything. Some new layers were currently being peeled away right in front of my very eyes. Life was traversing these layers, too many to ever cut through. The Layers. I related it all to a sober friend on the phone at some point around 11PM. Things were just falling apart. I abandoned the layer theories for a scrambly landscape of broken bricks that I was tripping over. The reality of the room was falling apart along with the sense of rhythm that I had at the start of my trip. Some Ween played through off the stereo. I was sitting on a step with my camera. Janet wanted to take a picture of me. I stood at the end of the coffee table. Someone said the shadow from the candlelight made me look like I had devil horns. Devil with blue jeans on. Denim Devil. “I am the Denim Devil,” as I hung up with my friend on the phone. “Am I fake?” I asked my friends. They assured me I wasn’t. Layers of bricks. Patterns to explain everything.

Mindy was saying that Len’s hands felt so dry (here we go again). I suggested to “get some hand cream so we can grease those bitches up.” Alicia laughed, “I hope you’re talking about his hands, and not me and Mindy!” A true comedienne. I don’t think she was getting as much off the shrooms as us but I’m pretty sure that she was riding a heady marijuana buzz. She told me she had brought some grass to help ease in (and out) of the trip that night. Mindy and Alicia held Len’s hands in theirs. It looked like they were all washing each others hands. I got in on the hand-orgy. Pretty wild…felt tingles going all the way up my back.

We smoked a joint and left the apartment.

It was a tightly packed parade along the sidewalk and marching over crosswalks. We walked to a 7-11 two blocks from the apartment. Nobody really paid us any attention, but that didn’t convince me that we didn’t look like a pack of paranoid kids. Janet and I got Slurpees. I’m not sure what Len and Alicia were buying but there seemed to be some kind of commotion up at the cashier. I had spilled Slurpee all over the floor and was trying to deal with it. Janet had made her way up to the cashier. When I got there, Janet was having some serious problems trying to discern between nickels and dimes. She understood the 5 and 10 cent concepts, but the words “nickel” and “dime” seemed to make absolutely no sense to her. It seemed to take forever for us to pay for our stuff. I wonder if the attendant had any idea what we were up to. Our little caper.

We were outside on the sidewalk, walking past some construction that blocked off part of the sidewalk. Underneath a wooden awning put up to protect sidewalkers, this guy approached us. He was talking something about needing some money. We didn’t really pay attention to him. But then Alicia seemed to start chatting with him – it sort of seemed like a bit of an argument. After we got away from the guy, Alicia said he had tried to grab her purse. She told us a story about how some guy had once tried to steal her purse by cutting the strap. Janet didn’t believe this guy was actually trying to steal her purse. I think Janet was trying to talk us down, since most of us were getting a bit excited. She was sort of the leader of our traveling group.

Eventually we made it into a local nightclub. We all moved into different directions once we got inside the club. I bought a beer to help calm down my trip as it seemed to be getting quite intense. I went into the washroom. The white tiles were so bright, almost fluorescent. It seemed like such a clean place (for a washroom). Still, I didn’t want to put my beer down anywhere. When I met up with Janet at a table, the shrooms started hitting me really hard. A rough and tough combo of psilocybin, pot, and alcohol. I kept getting the fear of vomiting in a public place. I think that Len had went to throw up in the washroom. The spotless washroom. I kept trying to fix on certain objects but my peripheral vision seemed to be so enhanced that there was no use trying to focus at all. I felt really dizzy sitting at the table. I was getting kind of worried I might start swaying or bobbing my head and didn’t want to get kicked out for looking hammered drunk. I tried to smoke a cigarette, but the smoke was harsh on all the surfaces of my mouth. I had to get out of the club, the music and lights were just too much. I asked Janet if we could go back home. She said she wanted to leave anyways. We split up the group at around 1:30AM.

Back home in my bed, I slid down the rest of the slope.

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