Article 1 of 2
Hugs are better than drugs, but when hugs aren't around, the drugs will do. Her name was Jill Johnson. She was beautiful. Not only was she a ballet dancer in perfect shape, tall and slender with strong legs, but she was also punk rock. I didn't know her very well, but through her friend Carone. Carone and I would hang out almost every day driving around in her beat up hatchback, exploring the outskirts of the small town we all lived in. Eventually, we'd end up going to see Jill and my heart would break once again. I was in love with this girl, but considering that I was still a 16 year old virgin, there wasn't a chance in hell that I knew how to talk to her. I think I mostly just made a fool of myself, but there was one thing we had in common... Drugs.
At that time, it was still just a favorite hobby to me. I had been introduced to smoking pot a short year earlier, and was now just starting to get into hallucinogenics and a plethora of stimulants and inhalants. For me it was a chance to break away from the hell that was being punk in a small town filled with red necks, for my brain it was a runaway log ride in a chemical amusement park that would last for the next 5 years. Even though Jill barely knew I existed, when we were stoned we'd all get to talking and have a really great time. Marijuana served as the social lubricant that I needed, and when we were under it's awesome spell everything was wonderful.
My parents were in the dark about the whole thing. I still went to church with them on Sunday morning and sat through the boring bull shit, but it was worth it to keep them off my back. As soon as Sunday's religious jury duty was over, I'd take the stupid clothes off, and put my favorite Butthole Surfers shirt back on for another day of fucking shit up. Usually it'd start with meeting up with my friend and fellow Subgenius compadre, David for skateboarding. We had home made ramps and a million secret loading docks that we'd skate all day, then eventually we'd end up either at the mall payphones, or at the McDonalds where we worked, waiting for "the girls" to show up. It was an ever-changing routine we had, but it was fun and exciting.
On weekdays I'd be one of the first kids to show up at school. My mom drove me on her way to work, so not only did I not have to ride the bus, but I got to roam the halls scrawling my propaganda on every locker in the building which is exactly what I did. About mid-day we'd have gotten the word out to our little clique as to our plans for the afternoon and donate the necessary funds (about $5 each) for the required products. After school, we'd head to the nearby neighborhood where there was always at least one house that was vacant. I'd pick the locks on the door, or we'd just smash out a back window and all crawl inside with giant magic markers, spray paint, and 10 hits of acid. Eight ours later we'd leave the place with walls covered in artistic inspirations of demons, skeletons, and all sorts of shit that would make Pusshead proud and start the trek back to the middle of town (which consisted of the mall and the McDonalds) to hang out. This wasn't really a daily thing, but it happened enough times a week to probably make even Timothy Leary a bit concerned.
One day I was driving around with Carone in her car on our way to pick up my secret love. After we got Jill, we made a stop at a convenience store where a friend sold us some pot. We parked in a nearby cemetery and smoked up for a bit, then went to another neighborhood to smoke the rest in a house where a friend of Carone's used to live. It was empty now, but it was a familiar place for her and it was safe. Or so we thought... Little did we know that while we were having some laughs and passing the modified soda can around there was a fellow across the street calling the cops on us. I'm sure I was just feeling a little paranoid from being stoned, but I felt something was wrong and looked out the window. There, he was, crouched down in the grass outside writing something down in a note pad, wearing a uniform with a gun strapped to his waist. "Shit, the cops are outside!!" I whispered loudly to my two female friends. Carone stashed the weed in a heater vent and we all crawled out of a ground floor window and tried to act casual even though we knew we were busted. We were all bloodshot with pupils the size of flying saucers and I'm sure we smelled like the set of a Cheech & Chong movie, but there was no where to run and no where to hide so we faced the music,
I ended up sitting on the hood of the squad car with my shoes off (to prevent me from running away) while the officers questioned my friends and talked to the informant. He was a normal looking guy with buttoned up shirt, khaki pants, except for the 44 revolver hanging out of his pocket. Guess this guy was a serious neighborhood watcher or something! Damn. One count of breaking and entering, one count of criminal trespassing, and one count of possession were all added to my police record. Big deal, except that I was already on probation for a crime spree from a couple of months earlier. I made my mom proud. It was bad enough that I had already been busted before for multiple counts of theft on both commercial and private property, but at least before there were no drug convictions. Now I had it all, a criminal record and a drug history.
The cops took me to the station and held me in a cell for the day while they called my dad at his work an hour away and waited for him to come pick me up. Once he arrived, they released me to his custody and he calmly took me outside where he promptly slapped me around the parking lot and eventually into his pickup truck all the while yelling at me and telling me what losers my friends were. He asked me if I was with Carone that day, and if I was fucking her or had knocked her up (?!), then he called her a whore and said I could never see her again, her or any of her friends for that matter. Okay, whatever... Inside my bruised and swollen head I was already formulating my plan of escape. I was gonna get out of town, and hitch hike to Canada where I'd live for the next 7 years until the pigs gave up on finding me. My parents could go fuck themselves, my friends could find me eventually and we could all get back together as a troupe of traveling renegades roaming the earth stealing what we need and doing what we want. Yeah, that was a dream and a half.
It was a painful year after that. The police wanted to put me in jail, my mom wanted to keep me at home, and my dad wanted me to do the time. Since my family moved every year anyway, we came up with an ultimatum that the cops seemed to like. My parents decided that they'd move me to California a couple of months early in exchange for two years of probation, 100 hours of community service, and no jail time. They took the bait and I was packing my bags a week later.
It took a couple of months in Napa California before I was back out on the streets, skating every day and getting fucked up on a regular basis. I made a friend named Jason who was also really into skateboarding and punk rock. We'd call each other every day about 15 minutes after we woke up and meet at the local high school (it was during summer vacation) for a day of skateboarding, smoking cigars, and drinking beer. Towards the evening we'd end up skating the launch ramp in front of his house with D.R.I. blaring from the ghetto blaster, then when it got too dark we'd head to his patio and smoke a few bowls then put on some Skinny Puppy or Legendary Pink Dots. On some occasions we'd creep downtown to the fountain with a couple hits of fry and spend the night wandering around in another dimension. Sometimes these excursions would last for as long as three days in a row with little or no sleep in between. Skate, drink, smoke, and fuck shit up. That was the regiment. We got jobs at McDonalds, I worked in a recording studio in exchange for credit on sound equipment, and sometimes we'd do construction work to help pay for our expensive habits. This was truly a great time. I had KPFA every evening to keep me in touch with the bizarre side of life, complete with their Over The Edge program (Negativland's radio show), a Subgenius show, and a number of other programs that really opened me up to the world that would be mine for the years to come. You'd think that I was still the same person that was committing crime and playing scientist with my own mind, except now I had direction. I was making music, using computers, and almost had my debts paid off ($2500 attorney fees, community service, and probation). I wasn't stealing from individuals anymore and was learning how to shoplift like the best of 'em. When summer vacation was over I skated down to the Adult Education Center where I was catching up my school credits so I could take my GED and be done with school for good.
Before I knew it (a year later), I was headed back to Alaska, but this time to Anchorage instead of the small town of Wasilla where I had lived before. I said goodbye to all my friends and shipped my keyboards up before me then was off. Once again, I was headed to a city where I didn't know anyone and where I'd have to use my sub-standard friend-making skills to their best just to get by. But I won't bore you with the details of all that. After I had been back for a few months, I located the old gang from Wasilla and had regular rendezvous with them where we could go and relive the not-so-old days with a varitable cornucopia of strange substances. Now that we were in the big city the drugs were good, cheap, and potent. Maybe too potent as it would turn out.
All good things must come to an end, so I guess it should have come as no surprise that one fateful day... We were at the house of Sally (Dave's ex-girlfriend) with Eric, Dave, and a few others. There was a nicely suran-wrapped sheet of fancy artwork on the coffee table just waiting for us to partake. I was anxious, so even though everyone else was cutting their portions in half, I popped the small square I had bought and sucked it dry. Sally looks at me and says, "where's the other half?" Which I replied "what other half?". She then informs me that I had just ingested a whole hit of "window-pane" acid. In case you don't know what that is, acid is incremented in doses, like single dip, double dip, four way (four drops of liquid acid), then window pane which is completely saturated with as much solution as the paper will hold. (like 5 or 6 hits). Hoo-boy, this is gonna be fun. Not really. Once my synapses started making the journey away from each other, I could tell it was gonna be a shitty ride. I already wasn't in the best state of mind for this, and now knowing that I had just done over twice my maximum limit, I was nervous as hell. I tried to play it off, but as I slipped in and out of reality I started to think about permanent damage and those crazy bums that walk around big cities in a daze their whole lives.
For the next 16 hours I was nearly comatose as my mind raced. I slipped beyond the envelope of space and time and existed as energy in a world where physics and matter were illusion. If there was a hell, I now knew what it was like. Not fire and brimstone with screaming and gnashing of teeth, but rather the feeling of ones soul being twisted like a wet rag as the substance of life drips lost into infinity. I tried to find my way back to where everything made sense, but there wasn't a shred if sanity or sense to what I saw. The sirens wouldn't leave my ears and I thought about the chance that we were all (in real life) crashed on the side of the highway in a burning, bloody wreck all too fucked up to realize that we were on fire and dying quickly. Eventually I came down, fed the cat, watched some TV and stared at the clouds enjoying the final stages, but I swore to myself that it was over for me. It was time to stop playing roulette with my biochemistry before I really did break myself. So I quit. Everything.
Back to CONTENTS