November 18, 2004

My Last Trip

Dedicated to my blogmomma.

I was a young 'un, just about to graduate from high school. The scene was sometime in the early eighties - I'm not about to carbon-date myself by admitting the anno Domini - and I was in my 'hippie' phase. Yes, I secretly pulled the lever for Ronnie Raygun at night, but by day I was a patchouli-reeking, hairy-armpitted, circle-dancing sprite of a Deadhead. Living on falafel and mescaline, bedecked with crystals and tie-dye baby-doll dresses, I'd barely managed to make it through my senior year of high-school without a) getting arrested or b) forcing my father into an honor killing, or c) getting thrown out of Beta Club and the UDC, any of which would have been tragic. I'd been a Good Girl for six whole months, now it was Spring Break, and I needed to let loose a little.

I hopped in the beamer and drove all the way across the southland to Athens, Georgia, home of those Bulldogs my high-school boyfriend was always rooting against. Bulldogs were not my scene, though; I was going to visit one DeeDee, my best friend who had graduated the year before and was already attending college there. DeeDee lived in Oglethorpe House, a dormitory on the campus of the university. She met me in the parking lot, and after the obligatory squealing and jumping around, she helped me get my things upstairs to her room.

Thinking back on it, DeeDee was a stunning girl. She was the only person that I knew at that time who had had plastic surgery; DeeDee was born with a nose like something out of Marlon Perkins, and her loving parents had allowed her to have it fixed when she was sixteen. Overnight, DeeDee went from a walking snout to ambulatory pornography - she was five-seven, a hundred and ten pounds, perfect, creamy skin, bomb-ass black and white streaked hair with little braids in it (very Debbie Harry, very cool in the mid-eighties). DeeDee had the most perfect little breasts I had ever seen - just absolutely conical and perky and tipped with an interesting shade of pinkish-purple. Needless to say, she was a popular Frosh, our DeeDee.

Now, DeeDee was nothing if not a compleat hostess. When we arrived at her own personal den of iniquity, candles were lit, the incense was already burning, a bottle of Cabernet stood to air, and a fine-looking hogleg stood rolled and ready in the tray. You know your Queenie; I was right at home. DeeDee turned on some Led Zeppelin as we sat down to burn one and have a celebratory glass of wine. As the conversation unfolded, it became clear that she had Big Plans for us that evening. She had already arranged the purchase of four hits of primo clownface blotter from her friend Scott, and had us an evening of keggers lined up that would make Girls Gone Wild! blush.

We got high, we gossiped, we did our toenails. I think I even shaved my armpits for the occasion, I can't remember. I donned a tie-dye Dead shirt, a pair of cutoff shorts, and my cowboy boots. DeeDee lined her eyes heavily with "black shit", and I even succumbed to the lure of a little lipgloss. Finally, we dropped our tabs, and headed off to the boys' dormitory across the parking lot. I was excited, but no big whoop; I'd done acid plenty of times before and felt that I knew exactly what I was getting myself into. Yeah, yeah. Some patterns in the carpet, lots of spastic giggling. Yawn.

Well! Thirty minutes later and I found myself tripping my brains out. We had started the evening in the dorm room of a twenty-five year old graduate-student cum drag-queen, who was holding court with a group of freshmen and flaming her balls off. His followers were passing around the biggest bag of coke I'd ever seen, and they were all watching and discussing the television show Thirtysomething with the seriousness of Aramaic scholars. The situation was bizarre enough without the fact that the wallpaper in the room had a message for me, was trying its hardest to form letters and flash out a message. It was creeping me out, so I started looking for a reasonable excuse to get some air. DeeDee was across the room, sitting on the lap of the frat- boy du jour; they were making google-eyes at each other and ignoring the rest of the world. I was absolutely ravenous for a cigarette, and so went down to the end of the hall - the Smoking Lounge - to get my nicotine on.

The Smoking Lounge was deserted. I took off my cowboy boots and curled up in a circa-1960 chair with nubby green upholstery, and began to study my fingernails. They were glass, pure glass, and underneath them was a sea of cool blue water, gently undulating in the breeze. That water looked good; like I could take a swim in it. It looked so good, I wanted to drink it. I put my fingers in my mouth, to drink deeply of the luscious wetness, to let it drip down my let it caress my skin...

"Dude!" Thwack on the back of my head. "Are you tripping?" I looked up to see the RA of DeeDee's friend's hall, the hall I was currently on. "Get out of here. I can't have you hanging around here all fucked up. This is a Men's dorm. You'll get, like, raped or something. Go home. Go. Get our of here."

The RA began to prod me gently to get up, pushing me towards the door to the elevators. "Go on. Go back to your dorm and go to sleep."

I rode the elevator down to the first floor, mouth-breathing in silence, and exited into the warm spring evening. Now, I've spent a lot more time in Athens since that night, and I've come to know the territory a little better. Back then, I had no idea where I was, no idea how to get back to DeeDee's dorm, and no idea that I had exited the side of the building that faced the Projects and downtown. Nothing looked familiar to my acid-washed mind, so I just started walking.

Now, at this point I think I need to remind you how incredibly fucked up I was. I would have been hard-pressed to even speak, much less navigate, protect myself, or otherwise negotiate the world around me. I walked most of the way through the Housing Projects when I realized that I had left my boots at the dormitory and was now completely barefoot. I sat down on a curb to smoke a cigarette and watch the midgets in the asphalt carry the dead giant off into the trees, then stood up and decided to take a right. This brought me past a row of stoops, front porches for the Project denizens. It was a Saturday night and ever'body was out on they stoop and drankin'; the hoots and hollers at the mindfucked white girl ricocheted off the brick walls and hit my ears like glass breaking.

"You bettah go awn, girl! You bettah go back to school! You lookin' for one of our men, white woman? He ain't yo wite-trash babydaddy, no he ain't..." I felt something hit me in the back of my calf, and another something glance off my shoulder. I didn't look back to see what it was.

Stoned as I was, my fight-or-flight instincts were still at least partially operational, so I hastened my stride and headed towards the lights in the distance. Those lights turned out to be the lights of downtown Athens, where I wandered through the last-call crowds in gape-mouthed amazement. I was tripping hard, people, wigging out. Hallucinations - people walking past me had horns and tails and hooves and humped backs and horrible deformities of their limbs. I was suffocating. I had to get out of downtown. I hated downtown. Everyone knew I was tripping! That's it!

At this point, LSD logic just completely took over, had its way with me. I was a shambles.

I grew some wings, flapped those mucous-covered alae in the direction of the Arches, and began to wander the campus. I walked and walked and walked; it seemed as if the University itself went on forever. The place was deserted, silent; I was a bird soaring over the smooth pavement, the institutional look of everything making me feel warm and safe. Suddenly, like a hemorrhoid, up popped the familiar outline of Oglethorpe House. I was home! I was saved!

I entered the hemorrhoid through the fleshy flap kindly provided by the management, stepping high to drag my bare feet out of the thwock!-sucking wound I was walking through. There was no answer at DeeDee's (hemorrhoid flap) door, so I went to the downstairs Smoking Lounge - one in every dorm! - to hang out. I was starting to get pretty antsy; I wanted to talk to someone. I'd been alone all night. What if something had happened to DeeDee? What if she, like, never came back, and all my stuff was locked in her dorm room forever? Oh, god, what a nightmare...DeeDee was never coming back. I should try to find my car and go home. That's it, Queenie. Leave your stuff and drive, actually attempt to operate a motor vehicle, three states home, to your bed. There I'd be safe, there I could get these damn wings off.

Oh, my god! Wait! I can't go home! I have wings! My parents are going to know that I've been tripping! Aaaaaaah!

I started crying hysterically, laying on the couch of the Smoking Lounge, watching my skin drip off onto the tile floor and surge into rotating floral patterns. I could never go home like this! Skin all dripped off of and dad were going to know I was a druggie for sure this time! I was going to have to go to rehab forever!

I sat there all night, hallucinating and freaking out, elated and miserable by turns, all alone. I think, even over twenty years later, that this was the worst night of my life. Finally, when the sun began to rise, I went back up to DeeDee's room and camped out in the hall in front of her door, so as not to miss her if, by chance, she came home. I think I fell asleep for a short while, waking when a still-tripping DeeDee accidentally stepped on my hand as she came lurching down the hall towards her door. I looked up at my friend as she opened the door to her room...and horror overcame me...DeeDee was completely covered in blood.

I started screaming and pointing at the lashings of blood on DeeDee's face and neck, at the clotted masses in her hair. She had blood smeared all over her thighs and arms - she was terrifying. Heads began to pop out of other rooms, and angry curses were heard. DeeDee stepped into the room and looked in the mirror, and started screaming like a banshee herself.

"Holy shiiiiiit! I'm dying!"

Now, mind you, neither one of us had quite come down yet, so it took us some little time to realize that DeeDee had started the Period of the Ages in the night, having spent the entire evening in a dark room fucking frat-boy du jour's brains out. That's how she had gotten so covered with blood. She stank, too.

As she showered off, I lay down in my bunk, praying solemnly to God and promising never to do acid again. If He would just make it all go away, I would be good forever. I'd never smoke another cigarette, and I'd stop getting stoned, and I'd start going to church, and taking care of little underprivileged babies...I'd build houses for the poor, if only He would give me my mind back. I wept softly into my pillow, little agonized whimpers, and fell asleep.

I woke up twelve hours later. I could barely move my legs, and my feet were encrusted with embedded glass and pebbles from all the walking, but I got my ass out of that bed and out to the beamer. I was going home, dammit. I had had all the spring break I could handle.

I never got my boots back. I never fully regained my faculties - this is a fact - and I never, ever, ever dropped acid again.

Posted by Queenie at November 18, 2004 06:46 PM
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