"Don't worry, Nancy, it's just Lsd 25."
I'm not worried, but Saul is. He's hunched up on Richard's old couch in the fetal position, his dark eyes peeking out from his long dark hair, his mustache hidden behind his knees. He's a small circle in the middle of the couch, hanging on to himself, frightened, not daring to look at the walls of writhing snakes.
I'm floating around in circles in the middle of the room, my arms flung out in an exultant reaching, an extension of longing, of being, of an ecstasy that doesn't demand comprehension. I feel the vibrations of energy pouring through each molecule, the crazy dance of colors that ricochet off the walls of the small living room in Richard's apartment.
When I look in a mirror, my thick auburn hair is alive and writhing around the pale face/blue eyes. My face keeps changing, a child's face, eternally naive; a witch's face, magical and wise; my face now -- raw, every pore wide open. I keep trying to get a closer look, to grasp it somehow, to see what it is trying to show me, and fall forward into my mind, into and through the mirror, into a wonderland where everything is alive and vibrant, pulsating.
Saul had suggested we go down the hall to Richard's apartment. He said our black and white kitten was turning into a lion. It just looked like a funny purring soft kitten to me, but this was our first trip, and I knew we might need help.
Richard's apartment is lined with cages of live snakes. They don't bother me much, only the fact that they are trapped in cages, but Saul seems unable to unfold himself.
"It's all right, Nancy, it's only Lsd 25." He keeps repeating it; it's a litany, a chant, something to keep the evil away.
I am so far off, all I can say is WOW, over and over, as I circle around the room. When I touch something, my hand slips right into it, becomes one with it, our molecules meshing into a kaleidoscope that deepens and rearranges itself, flowing into new patterns of color and scent, the sharp cold scent of the snakes, the warm scent of Richard's gentle concerned curiosity, the staccato scent of Saul's terror, I can hear his heart beating, the fresh familiar scent of myself, and the swooshing sounds; echoing, the swish of my body and the snakes who dance with me in their cages, my hands and arms and legs all swimming in the air with the little bright guppies of molecules, I have x-ray vision, I can see through everything, I can hear Saul swallow, the snakes sigh, Richard breathing, I am a wisp of wind, a slight breeze, into everything.
"It's all right, Nancy, don't worry, it's only Lsd 25."
I have to get out of there. I don't want to be trapped like those snakes. I don't want to be drawn into Saul's nightmare.
I want to see Henry, my best friend before I met Saul, he's had it before, he'd understand, he'd even enjoy this, he was the first to show me the sugar cubes.
"I've got to get out of here." The words come out slowly and seem to double back on themselves. It is getting stronger and stronger. I have to get to Henry's loft. I'll feet safer there, with Henry's long strong body, his perpetually amused eyes, his calm sophistication.
"Where do you want to go?", Richard asks.
"To Bleecker Street. To my friend on Bleecker Street."
"Don't go!," Saul pleads. "Nancy, don't go!" But I know I have to. I can't be any help to him now. Richard can.
"Don't let her go!"
"I've got to get out of here."
"Are you sure?" Richard is torn, light brown hair tumbling around perplexed eyes.
I am really flying.
"I'll be fine. I'm going to my friend's."
"Don't let her go. Nancy, you can't go. You're on Lsd 25."
Finally, Richard opens the door and I fly away.
I run merrily to Bleecker Street, soaring past the drunken men in doorways and alleys, everything on the ordinarily dingy streets is beautiful and full of grace, perfect, a miracle, the few people left on the streets move, unaware of each other, in perfect synchronicity.
I knock on the door of Henry's building. I knock until someone comes to the door, but it isn't Henry, it's his downstairs neighbor, his friend who lives in the loft below, on the ground floor.
Henry isn't home, but come on in anyway. He is slightly taller than Saul, his black hair a little longer, held by an elastic in back. He's alone in his loft, except for his two mongrel dogs. I can stay there to wait for Henry.
His name is Jack. He's open, relaxed, friendly, a little puzzled. He's had acid before, he knows what it's like. I am so relieved, I flit into his loft, and swirl around and around, exclaiming at everything. "What is this? What's that?" like a kid just learning the words for things. Everything wiggles away before I can define it, and I can't separate one thing from another. The walls keep inhaling/exhaling, and there's this skull on a wooden table, that is staring at me, amazed, it's transforming itself, its mouth melting into an O.
"Oh, that's just a skull. It's not alive."
"Yes, it is! Everything is!"
"But it won't hurt you."
"Of-course not! It's just surprised!"
And we laugh and the table trembles and the floor flows into the wall and the wall waves and the dogs jump up and bark.
He gives me an orange to eat and I have to stop, awe-struck, at each slice, it is orange sun and rain wrapped in a transparent membrane, I can taste the sun, can taste the rain.
Then I am dancing around the room to the jazz music, and he is watching me. Do I want to take off my clothes? I think about it, think about the air kissing my skin. "You too!", I say. My clothes drift into pools of cotton, soft, and I step into the air embracing my skin. I stretch, with my hands over my head. "WOW! It feels good!" I spin around and hug myself. I simply can't stop dancing.
The dogs start humping each other, with an automatic exuberance.
"Are you tired?"
"No. I'm not tired." The words stretch out into the distance, in slow motion, like a record being played at the wrong speed.
"Don't you want to lay down?"
"Lay down? Why?"
"It's getting late."
Is the music inside of me, or outside of me? It is both, I am the music.
"Here, just lay down."
I spread myself on the bed and look up at the ceiling, which gathers me up into the live kaleidoscope of itself, shifting, moving, flowing, with me in the middle of it. I am so high and so far away, I've left Jack far behind.
I'm totally engrossed in the ceiling, but Jack is somewhere at the edge of consciousness, he's having sex with someone and I think, momentarily, that he does it like his dogs, quick and instinctual.
"Don't you want to get dressed?"
Am I undressed? I coalesce into sitting at the side of the bed and find what seem to be my underpants. They squirm in my hand like a live animal. I drop them.
I can see he is losing patience with me, and needs sleep, so in the early morning, I set off to find Saul. He'd left Richard's during the night to find me. I find my way to the apartment of friends on the lower east side and yell up at their window. They throw down a key, Saul had been there, looking for me, and he'd left. When I finally find him, sitting lonely on a park bench, he tells me how, last night, he saw the whole world reduced to an old man's tear.
About the author:
Nancy Gauqier has been published in Zen Baby, Free Verse, "remark", and online at Flashquake, Flash Fiction Cafe, and Winamop. She has one chapbook of spoken word and poetry, Words (Weird City Books), and a web site at weirdcity.nancy.googlepages.com/home.