Monday, March 30, 2009

Sleep Suicide

I had been to the doctor 6 times, in 5 months for strep throat. Finally I had met the requirements of my insurance company for getting my tonsils and adenoids removed. My doctor referred me to an ear, nose, and throat specialist and gave me a prescription for a potent antibiotic. The ear, nose, and throat doctor had my entire medical history in front of him documenting my troubles with anxiety and depression, but insisted that I should stop smoking in the weeks up to my surgery. This was the same surgeon who had removed a blood clot from my face when I was nine. There was no reason for me not to trust him.

I began taking Chantix and I can only compare it to having taken Ritalin. I woke up, took the pill, stopped at TigerMart on my way into work, got a biscuit and a large cup of coffee. I noticed about an hour later I wasn't struggling to wake up as was usual for a Wednesday morning. I felt more energized, driven. I was sweating a little bit, but I wasn't hot or uncomfortable. This trend continued for a few days.

The fifth day I took Chantix, I noticed I had trouble sleeping. The two kids from next door had come over and smoked pot with me until about midnight. Elizabeth and Josh were both delightful kids. They were both only 18 and I continually picked on them for not having been born in the 80s. They were the first people I ever really associated with who weren't alive during the 80s; no memories of Thunder Cats, G.I. Joe, or the original Transformers. As midnight was nearing, I really wanted to stay awake and hang out with them, but I knew I had to be at work early, at the east location, at 7am. They left and I went to my room and collapsed on the bed, still fully dressed.

A few hours later I woke up, my mouth was very dry. This had become a regular occurrence as well. My thirst was insatiable and I had to piss every hour or so. I woke up, opened one of the plastic bottles I had recycled and filled with water, these lined one quarter of my refrigerator, drained it, and headed back in the direction of what I thought was my bed room. Apparently I was still mostly asleep, because I was very disoriented and had gotten turned around. Being so tired, I didn't care, I collapsed on the couch. What seemed like minutes later, I woke up on the couch, remembered I didn't have my alarm in the same room with me, and headed back to bed.

I wake up again, an hour later. Only now I am standing in my living room. This is very odd. I distinctly remember my bed, and now I'm standing in my living room. I'm no longer fully dressed and my clothes are on the opposite side of the room. I am in socks and boxers. I returned to bed. I woke up an hour before my alarm should have gone off, still dark outside, only now I am asleep on top of the clothes I had taken off earlier. I was sleep walking. Also, as was very out of the ordinary for me, I had ceased to dream. I thought about it and I hadn't dreamt a single night since I had started taking Chantix. Feeling completely drained, I made some hot tea, turned on the Chili Peppers album "One Hot Minute", and jumped in the shower. I was completely drained. As was my usual morning regimen I took my Effexor, my Chantix, and my antibiotics.

The entire day I felt like I hadn't slept at all. At my desk at work I had made a pyramid of "caffeine shots" that were offered free with TigerMart coffee. Everyday I had grabbed a hand full of them and jammed them into my pocket. I was making a pyramid out of them at work and some of my co-workers found it amusing that it was growing. I also gave them the caffeine shots, they were appreciative. The lack of sleep continued. I began consuming more and more of the caffeine shots to be able to get through the day. I was falling asleep at my desk, nodding off for a minute at the time and then snapping back to attention. It was like I was back on heroin, on the nod, only my body ached, my head was throbbing, and I was emotionally empty. I felt depressed, I had no interest in anything, even food had lost its taste. I didn't feel alive any more. The strange sleep walking had continued. I was waking up in various rooms in the house. There were nights where I wouldn't sleep at all or would only sleep for an hour or two. My patience and attention span were gone. Then the nightmares began.

I was having that nightmare where I would run and run from something. It was as if I was in a scene from 28 weeks later, but everything was black and white. There were no sounds or interactions with people that I remember, I was just running. I would wake up in a panic, gasp for breath, and would be unable to return to sleep. This trend continued for a week until one night I lost it. After missing so much sleep, my body finally gave in one afternoon. I had returned home from work, let my dog out, played with him for 15 minutes, and shut him in my bedroom with me because I knew I had to sleep. Zeus was thrilled to be able to sleep with me, as I usually made him sleep in his kennel. We curled up together, I closed my eyes, and don't even remember going to sleep.

I didn't feel Zeus get up and move, I just didn't feel him. I opened my eyes, something was wrong. I had that ominous sense of dread, anxiety. Zeus was gone. Something was wrong, something was going to go wrong. I began to search for him in the house. All the doors inside were open; pantry, bathroom, both bedrooms, cabinet doors, and the door to the laundry room. Zeus was nowhere to be found. I tried to open the front door but it was stuck. It didn't even budge. I looked out the windows and the world outside was monochrome. It was raining, but the rain was this black oil that fell slower than the rain. It was almost as if it wasn't falling, but rather creeping down from the sky. Long tentacles of black oil stretched down from the sky so thin until they would snap and turn into droplets.

This rain began to gather and collect on the windows and cover them up. I don't know why but I felt paniced. I had to get out of the house. I tried to open the windows. First the large one in the living room near my fig tree. It didn't matter which way the latch was flipped, it wouldn't open. I got a spreading knife from the kitchen and tried to pry around the edges of the window thinking maybe they had been painted shut. They had not and my efforts were fruitless. I tried one window after another. None of them would open. I went to the bathroom because when I showered, I usually opened the translucent window above the tub. I knew it would work. I couldn't open it and now the oil was coming in from around the window and under the doors.

The dark water began to fill up my apartment. I tried to break windows. I picked up a vase, an incense holder, my statue of some Catholic saint, the tiny statue of Ganesh I threw them one after the other into the same window and nothing. They hit and bounced back, not even making a mark. I was now chest deep in this dark water and climbed up on the kitchen sink. I jumped up off of the counter and caught the edge of the loft above my washer and dryer. I pulled myself up. I looked down and watched as the dark water continued to rise. I decided there was nothing else I could do, so I let myself rest on top of the loft. I could feel this cold water cover me. I fought and hit the ceiling, finally giving in and breathing.

I woke up, covered in sweat, with Zeus giving me his, "stupid human..." face. It was now midnight, I had slept for seven hours. Zeus and I stayed up all night and he sat in my lap while I played Zelda. I vowed never to take Chantix ever again. I began smoking again, but was smoking a pack a day, up from a pack every three. I didn't care because once again I could dream.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Mario Should Have Stuck to Mushrooms

I've never been one to push drugs on other people, but at one point I had acquired a copious amount of 2C-I. Through semi-regular use it was something I had grown accustomed to using. I knew the body load, the effects of the visuals, how well I could function, etc. Hell, I would take it and go to work. Unlike other psychedelics it gave me the focus of a high dose of amphetamines and as long as I ignored the geometric patterns overlapping the faces of my co-workers and superiors, my job performance was well above par. I remember one night while working on the second floor, the windows were really throwing me off. They were that tinted, tempered kind of mirror glass, but not only were they like that on the outside of the building, they were also like that on the interior. So here I was, performing my job, while being able to see images myself and my co-workers in every direction. It was like a bad scene from "Enter the Dragon". Needless to say I survived the night and was able to fly under the radar. I made it home safely on my motorcycle in the morning; always a joy to ride while on psychedelics.

After taking up to 90mg orally in a single day, 30mg doses repeated every 6 hours, I decided to take it to the next level. A few years prior Josh Robbins had overdosed on a similar compound 2C-T-7. He had insufflated a rather large dose. You see, unlike 2C-I, Josh snorted a drug which, in and of itself, has MAOI properties. Autopsy reports indicated levels of ephedrine and MDMA in combination with the 2C-T-7 as a result of his death. Well, after doing research and learning that 2C-I had no MAOI like properties, I decided I would insufflate my usual 30mg dose. For me this was not a problem. It burned. I have snorted methamphetamine, MDMA, MDA, and probably my own weight in cocaine, but nothing has ever burned like this. Instantly I wanted to vomit, but I fought the urge, drank some Tang (the best drink on the planet), and I felt much better. The onset was extremely sharp, and as with other phenethylamines, the dose response curve is much steeper when you insufflate the drug as opposed to ingesting it. The feeling was so unnerving that I wanted to peel out of my skin. This is a common occurrence for me when I take large doses of psychedelics and I usually have to shower to feel better. I took a long shower, pulled myself together, and felt like a new man. I enjoyed the rest of day laughing at various things, walking around midtown, and working on my motorcycle.

The next weekend I told a co-worker, Mario, of my experience with 2C-I and being quite the psychonaut himself, wanted to try it. He asked me how he should do it.

"J, you said 30mg is a heavy dose, should I snort it or just swallow it?"

I hadn't really thought out my response very well, and after having just snorted 30mg myself, I guess the sadistic part of my personality wanted to share with him the pain I felt coursing through my sinus cavities.

"No man, don't swallow it. The bio-availability is much higher if you snort it. It burns for a few minutes and tastes like cat piss smells, but that's the worst of it."

This was not the best advice I could have given him. This was probably the closest thing to bad advice. Looking back on it, I couldn't believe I told someone to insufflate 30mg of 2C-I for their first experience. My room mate, Floyd, didn't believe in putting anything up his nose; he swallowed his cap. We were enjoying some old Merry Melody cartoons when I noticed Mario was completely silent. He was glaring at me. I had never seen this look on his face before. He was sweating profusely, fidgeting, and obviously very agitated.

"I think I'm going to throw up now." That was all he said.

"Don't fight it man, you'll feel better after you purge. Think of it like mescaline. You can go outside or feel free to use the bathroom. Try throwing some cold water on your face. You're body temperature is probably just elevating rapidly from all the excess serotonin."

Throwing up is something that has never really bothered me. I go with what my body tells me. If I feel nauseated, I throw up, it's mildly unpleasant while it happens, and then I feel better. This is not the case for everyone. I'm not saying I enjoy vomiting. It certainly isn't one of my favorite pastimes, but I generally feel better after a good purge. Mario is one such person who certainly did not like to vomit. He went to the bathroom and my roomie and I forgot how long he had been in there. We could hear water running, the toilet flush a few times, and then nothing. Floyd says, "Maybe you should check on Mario, he's been in there forever."

I went and knocked on the bathroom door. "Yo, Mario, you okay man?"

"FUCK YOU! Why did you tell me to do that? Why did you tell me to snort it? God damn you!"

I felt a little bad, but I couldn't help but giggle. I was tripping balls. You'd giggle too...
"Yea man, but I mean, are you okay? Can I get you something? A cold towel? Maybe you should take a shower, it usually helps me feel better when I trip really hard."
I was trying my best to be there for my friend. Mario was one of my favorite co-workers and to this day one of the most intelligent and kind people I know.

"Dude, I'm really embarrassed. I shit myself. I was throwing up into the toilet and then at the same time, I shit myself."

Okay, I'll be honest. I'm a good friend, but I giggled again. I made sure he couldn't hear me this time. I had to ask.
"Seriously man? Like, you shit yourself? How bad is it?"

"It's bad," he replied. "Real bad."

Mario just kept repeating himself, "Why did you tell me it was okay to snort that much? God, why did I listen to you? I've never felt so bad in my life. I can't get that taste out of my nose and now I'm covered in shit! Why did you tell me to do that? WHY DID YOU TELL ME TO DO THAT?"

"It's okay man, I'll go get you a change of clothes. I've got some clean boxers, shorts, and a t-shirt you can wear. They'll be a little big on you, but they should be really comfortable clothes for tripping."

I was doing my best here to make him feel more at ease and make myself feel less guilty. Just to put things into perspective, I'm 6'4", weigh 240lb, and at this time had a 38" waist. Mario is about 6', weighs all of 160lb dripping wet, and probably has a 32" waist. There is no way my clothes would fit, but I knew between the three of us, we could safety pin him or something. I gathered up a pair of shorts with an elastic waist, an anti-Bush T-shirt, I figured he needed something positive, and a pair of boxers and passed them through the door to him. He suggested I get some plastic grocery sacks and I took his advice. He passed me back the bath mat and his excrement covered clothing inside the Kroger bags.

There's nothing quite like having to help your friend change out of his clothes, do a load of laundry, and clean a bath mat covered in shit and vomit while on a head full of hallucinogens. It was a very humbling experience and not an easy one to explain to the neighbors. At this point however, they had learned to stop questioning my odd behavior and the sounds that came from my apartment. They probably thought there was some kind of S&M scat play that had gotten out of control and I was washing off the evidence with the hose outside.

Mario got out of the shower, into clean clothes, and enjoyed the rest of the evening. I don't think he'll ever trust my dose suggestions concerning any drug ever again. We are friends to this day.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Lawyers, Guns, and Cocaine

Warren Zevon was right. Lawyers, guns, and money can get you out of nearly any predicament. If you find that they can't, you're fucked. I have always said that there are three groups of people to whom you never lie under any circumstances: your parents, your doctors, and your lawyers. If you find yourself lying to a member of a person in any of those groups, you're fucked, but you can only blow coke with a member of one of those groups, unless Tony Curtis is your father. This is the night I met my lawyer.

I had just completed a stressful day of doing my supervisor's job of pulling and analyzing mind-numbing statistics for a call center. The only fun part of this was that I, through the use of a little charm and politics, swayed her as to who was "unpromotable". I still find it funny that an rapid-cycling-circus-act of an amphetamine junkie like myself was able to continually have the highest statistics and win the highest award the company gave out. Oh hospitality industry, I fucked you like a Bangkok whore. Anyway, I called up Jack and told him I was in dire need of some pain killers, a few xanax bars, a fifth of gin, 2 liters of tonic water, a few limes, 10 hits of ecstasy and Martina, who I would fuck senselessly. All of these things would help alleviate the negative effects of amphetamine and remove the lack of REM hallucinations which were beginning to set in. Being the sot that I was at the time, I had about half a fifth of gin and a little Sprite on hand so they would do until his untimely arrival. Martina staggered her way through the door with some vodka and Poma, something I detest to this day. "Close enough," I thought. These will have to do until Jack arrives. I proceeded to try to erase all memory of the day I had at work at the toll the amphetamines had had on my patience after being awake for 96 continuous hours.

Jack shows up at my house with Black. For those of you who aren't in the know and are too scared to venture outside of suburbia, "Black" is like "John" of the hood. I never knew Black's real name, I didn't want to know. Jack knew him and that was close enough for me. The two walk into my apartment with a duffel bag. Jack had not followed instructions and inside were not the contents for which I had asked. Jack needed to store a few things in my house. Being the good friends that we were I told him that this wouldn't be a problem, but of course I would get to sample whatever this stash might be. They proceeded to remove the contents one at a time. First they removed an ounce of cocaine which looked like a bar of soap, then two shoe boxes full of marijuana, each one weighing a pound, and finally two pints of hydrocodone syrup. Black always refused to call them pints, no matter how many times he heard me say the word. He always insisted on calling them "paints" and no matter the color of the syrup, it was always referred to as "that purple". Given that "that purple" cost $30 a fucking ounce, and the bottles were sealed, I wasn't about to pay that kind of money. Instead Black thanked me for the use of my house to do his deal, handed me a baggy with 6 hits of ecstasy, and left. Jack informed me that in no way could I use the syrup because he had gotten that on credit and he would have to charge me for it, I understood. Off of his ounce of cocaine he shaved off about 2 grams and told me I was welcome to have it. I hate cocaine. It is merely the molecular structure for a pattern of psychological addiction which does not lead to intelligent or creative thought. It is a foul substance, but given that I didn't have anything else to do with my time, I figured, why not?

After doing a few rails I remembered how much I detested this foul powder and called up my room mate's friend and a good lawyer, Big Rod. Big Rod is one hell of a guy and had half a script of Percodan left over from having his wisdom teeth removed. I told him that if he brought me the Percodan he could shove his face in all the blow he wanted. What Jack thought to be about two grams, when broken down, was enough to cover a dinner plate. I knew this would be a long night. Big Rod shows up and gives me about 50mg of oxycodone. I knew that the ten tablets were 5mg each, they had the 512 imprint code on them, I knew that well. I chewed them up, rinsed some gin around in my mouth, and swallowed the foul concoction. Being that there were now three of us, Martina, Big Rod, and I each snorted two hits of "ecstasy". I knew that these would not be MDMA, but rather some combination of MDMA, MDA, and meth, because Black had assured me he knew they were good because he couldn't sleep after taking them. (On a side note, a high enough dose of pure MDMA can induce sleep, and will not keep you awake; MDA, amphetamine, and meth all will.)

Big Rod began to tell us the stories of law school and he would not shut up. Martina and I were fucked up and enjoyed his stories and spent most of our time making our own coloring books. They were as fucked up as what you might see on but maybe a little more innocent and definitely more creative. The combination of the "ecstasy" and pain killers was nice, but all the alcohol had made me a little sloppy. I decided to do more cocaine. For those of you who aren't aware, alcohol increases the levels of cocaine metabolite in your blood stream by 30% and taking opiates with cocaine has killed many a rock star and is usually referred to as "speed-balling". Apparently the amount of cocaine I had done was a bit much and I was becoming a little paranoid. I knew the cops were going to kick in the door at any moment arrest me for having Jack's stash and I would be there totally defenceless. I couldn't have that, no sir. I went into my room, dropped my high capacity clip into my .45 auto, tucked it into my waist band, loaded my twelve gauge and stuck it behind the door to my bed room. I did this without Martina noticing, Big Rod was a little more, how we say "aware".

Big Rod insisted he and I go out on the porch for a smoke.
"Bro, why all the heavy weaponry? What's going on? Are you okay man? I think the shit's starting to get to you."
"No, no. They're out there. They're on the other aide of that fence and they're waiting for just the right moment to kick the door in and arrest us all, but I'm not going down without a fight. I've got 13 rounds in this clip and I'm a dead good shot."
Big Rod pulled out 4mg of Xanax.
"I was saving these for later, but I'll trade them to you for the rest of your cocaine, there's only about a quarter of a gram left. Also, if the cops do break the door in, I'm a lawyer, you'll be fine."

After the Xanax removed the effects of the cocaine I certainly felt fine. Big Rod finished the cocaine, talked for a few more hours, and passed out on the couch. I proceeded to fuck Martina several times, I still don't know how her boyfriend didn't hear us.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

it was real

I woke up and the pain was exquisite. I tried to roll over and go back to sleep, but I couldn't move. My eyes were dry, my tongue felt like it would crack and bleed if I moved it around in my mouth, I was swollen all over, and my legs weren't responding. I had tubes coming out of both arms, and I had a catheter running out of my penis. It was rather uncomfortable. What I thought had been a dream was very much real. I hoped I would wake up back in the warm comfort of my apartment, away from all this. I wanted none of it to be real.

I was thirsty. It was the only thing I could think about. Apparently I was being monitored very closely because my stirring had alerted a nurse to the increase in my cardio activity. In walked a black nurse, very petite, in her late 30s or early 40s. She had a very kind face, and concerned eyes. She had not seen me prior to being in the hospital, but judging by her reaction, I didn't look good.

"Mr. Payne, do you know where you are?"
"I'm at Methodist Hospital, on the 4th floor in the intensive care unit. I almost died from hypothermia and I have kidney failure. Ma'am I'm very thirsty. I'm sorry, you know my name, but I didn't catch yours?"
"Marla, my name is Marla and I'll be your nurse for the weekend."
"Marla, I'm so thirsty. Is there anyway you could get me some water, please? My eyes and mouth feel so dry." Here I did my best to sound pathetic, like a whimpering puppy. I was hoping to appeal to any part of her that was human.
"I'm sorry Mr. Payne, the doctor has you on fluid restriction because of your kidney failure. You're awfully swollen and your body is retaining a lot of fluid."

She reached down and lightly felt of my ankle. From where she had grabbed, I could see the imprints of her fingers. My leg was swollen to about twice its size. I jerked, rather, from my solar plex up seemed to convulse. It felt as if someone had stabbed me in my foot and in my hip with electrically charged daggers. I groaned.

"I'm sorry did I hurt you? Are you ok? On a scale of 10, rate your pain level."
"No, no, it wasn't you. I've been getting these electrical shock feelings in my leg. They run from my toe up to my hip. It's one of the most painful things I've ever experienced, but on a scale of 1 to 10, I'd say my pain is about an 8."

When I was first admitted, I had refused all pain medications due to an ongoing battle with opiate addiction. I had talked to the doctor that morning and had convinced her that even though I was recovering, it was cruel and unusual punishment to let me just lie there in such pain. Something about watching a 6'4", 260lb man have tears going down his face while failing to maintain a sense of pride as tubes ran all out of him must have struck a chord with the doctor. She had ordered 1mg of Dilaudid every 4 hours.

"I'll be right back," and she left the room and returned quickly. She removed a plastic syringe from her white scrub top, and screwed it into my IV.
"The doctor ordered an injection of hydromorphone 1mg. This will help with the pain. It may make you itchy, or feel like your hair is growing. They are common side effects and nothing to worry about. Also, this might burn a little, so I'm going to push it in slow."

She was one of the most kind people I had ever met. Instantly I felt relaxed, I could breathe easy. My eyes no longer burned, my body felt lighter, and my legs had stopped throbbing. This warm sensation started in my chest, crept its way up my spine, and did a little tap dance at the base of my skull. The pain was gone, along with the hopelessness of my situation. It woke something up inside of me. It was a feeling I hadn't felt for some months now. It was an unhealthy desire, very ominous. The act took all of 15 seconds and I had given up fighting a war that I had been winning for months. I knew I was back to square one.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Jack's Pharmie Connection

Jack Handey: I was fresh out of high school when I started running drugs for Frank. My job was simple, I found contacts, dealers who pushed pharmaceuticals, I delivered the drugs, Frank and I split the cash, they never knew his name. They only knew I had a supplier who I had to check-in with for the prices because I wasn't allowed to make those decisions alone and he and I never talked on the phone. All decisions were made between the two of us, face to face, without anyone else in the room. I only communicated to the distributors via pay phones and they contacted me through my pager. Cell phones weren't in yet and I wouldn't have one for another few years. I was free from most any obligation. This is just how I liked it. I could discuss the street prices with Frank, tell him we should cut the price by a third, then I could turn around and only cut them a quarter to the distributors. Frank didn't know; fuck, I made him so much money he didn't care. Before I started raising my own profits like that we were each brining in $900 a week, tax free. How could we not? We had no overhead, the product was good, and the clients knew it.

Frank the Wop was a manager at a veterinary supply warehouse. You wouldn't believe the shit they give your pets. We had a variety of pharmaceuticals at our disposal. We had 500mg vials of injectable Dilaudid. We had Dilaudid in pill form (2, 4, and 8mg). We had all three strengths of Valium. Xanax we could only get in the lower two strengths. We had Halothane, which is used to anaesthetize animals along with Ketamine. The Halothane was Frank's favorite. I've seen that fat bastard huff up three bottles in a day. He was always giving me "samples", bottles he had opened and dipped out of; 60 Xanax here, 20 Dilaudids there. They didn't sell as fast as the Valiums. He'd give me 200 of the peach Valiums at a time; they didn't sell like the blues. It was the perfect time to be 18. The rave scene was dying off, but the drug culture was becoming mainstream. Everyone was taking something. What's a few Adderall to study? Some Valium to celebrate after the exams. Party too hard all night at Headliners, no problem, here's some Dorcium, some Rohyphynol, Nitrazepam, Phenobarbital, Xanax... we had pills for days. I don't really remember much of my early college days, but I knew I wouldn't make this kind of money doing IT work. The saddest part was I knew it wouldn't last for long.

My girlfriends, no matter their religious convictions, never seemed to mind. It was amazing how surprise flowers at work with a note saying, "We're going out tonight, wear something nice" with a gift card attached to Macy's, it was really amazing how quickly you can make people forget you were doing anything wrong. It was easy to make them forget that you were one dark tail light away from being a convicted felon. They came and went. Most of them hardly making a ripple in the pond. Friends, girlfriends, acquaintances, dealers, junkies, buyers, customers, whatever you want to call them, people just became controllable objects, movable pieces in a game I no longer found any pleasure in playing. Nobody was real. After a point of binging on Dilaudid and Xanax to forget your troubles, nothing seems real.

One day I'm in class and my pager starts blowing up. It's Frank, he's putting "911" at end of his messages. He never does that. He also never pages me during class. He knew I could get kicked out of a class if it was audible. Hell, the man had my class schedule posted beside his phone. Class let out and I used a payphone in the UC to call him. He was frantic. He told me he had to talk to me immediately. He said I had to take all the bottles, contact everybody, and make sure there were no lot numbers left on any of them. He told me he had gotten caught at work and had destroyed all the evidence. To recap exactly what that means, Frank had crushed and destroyed a case of 10mg Valium, a case of peach Xanax, and 35 vials of beautiful, beautiful IV Dilaudid. The junkie in me was sobbing, the businessman was throwing up, and the "good person" knew how close he was to prison. Apparently, Frank didn't do his job. He had been checking in Diazepam as Diazenol. Diazenol was something veterinary specific, only used in animals, and it wasn't controlled. It was much more expensive than Valium, so even though the numbers wouldn't add up exactly, 24 damaged cases of Diazenol was acceptable, 112 cases of "lost" Diazenol was not. He had forgotten to remove them from the system and his boss questioned him about the missing cases. Frank simply left work, keys on the desk, and faxed his letter of resignation from Kinkos. It was never reported to the DEA because the company would have lost their license to carry scheduled substances.

Had we really sold that many? Let's do the math on that... 112 cases x 24 bottles per case x $120 / bottle... $322,560 !?!??! Sweet mother of God! Had each of us really split that and blown it in the last 18 months. That was just the Valium. I think at this point my opulent lifestyle had grown out of control. All those nights of binging on cocaine and ecstasy with the nameless, faceless strangers. Meeting washed up professional athletes: wrestlers, tennis players, football and basketball players, it had never been enough, but was so much at the same time. I had watched a former professional wrestler shave down three 80mg Oxycontin with his pocket knife, mix them in with a gram of blow, and snort it all in a matter of seconds. How had I come to this? Why was it just now bothering me? All good things must come to an end. I wouldn't talk to Frank for over a year until we knew we were clear.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Caught Halfway

I had met A-Boy and Dallas for the first time at a co-worker's house. Dennis was my co-worker and is one of the most intelligent people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting. A-Boy and Dallas, however, came across as the most intelligent meth heads I had ever met. I felt sorry for them. At the time I met them I had been out of the speed scene for almost two years. Meth being one of the only truly neurotoxic substances on the planet was nothing I wanted anywhere near me. Our mutual friend, Dennis, had told me he wanted me to try 5-MeO-DMT because he wanted to hear about my reaction to the drug. A-Boy thought it was hilarious that I was going to try it. He said I would wake up and be overwhelmed with joy as soon as I realized I hadn't shat myself. He went on to say it was the most terrifying drug experience of his life and there was no way one could prepare for it.

"Dude, you're going to smoke it and be like, 'oh it tastes like plastic' and then you're going to be all like, 'oh God, oh God, oh God, please don't let me shit myself, not in front of anybody' and then you're going to be all like, 'AAAHHHHHH' and when you wake up and you realize you didn't shit yourself, you're going to be totally stoked."

He further dramatized his story by flopping back on the ground and flailing his arms around while screeching. Obviously he was twacked out of his mind, and talking just to hear himself, so I thought. I didn't know him well at this time, so I kind of blew him off.

It was the following Wednesday and I had just returned home from class. I had recently traded some pot to a friend for some 5-MeO-DMT. 5-MeO is a little different from its brother, DMT. The addition of the methoxy group to the molecule allows it to more easily pass through the blood brain barrier and be used by the brain. This explains its considerably lower threshold and dose-response curve. Dennis had measured out 20mg (+/- 2mg ) and wrapped it up in foil for me. My fiancée was at work and would be there until much later that evening. I figured it was the best time to try this. I was alone, in a safe environment, and had nothing to do. I didn't have anything to smoke it out of though. As previously mentioned my meth days were long over with and I was never a fan of smoking stuff off of aluminium foil. I needed a pipe.

I went down the street to the local head shop where there were signs prominently displayed against any mention of illegal drug use. I walked in and was greeted. The guy asked if I needed anything, I said glass. "Right back here," he said. He started showing me glass for smoking pot. I was not interested. I'm wondering how I ask for the kind of pipe I need without mentioning drugs. I said, in probably my unintentionally dorkiest voice, "Yes, I um.. I need a glass pipe more for vaporizing a hydrochloride salt so that one could inhale the fumes." The guy just blinked, shrugged, and replied with, "I have no idea what you're talking about." Shit, let's just be more direct about it, I thought. Let's put it into terms he can understand. "Ok, I need a buddy bowl for smoking ice." He understood this, walked over to a glass case, pulled two out and tried to go into his salesman talk about how one was thicker than the other, blah, blah, blah. I took the cheaper of the two for $7 and left.

Upon returning home, like a kid waking up to Christmas presents, I went into the bed room, dumped the little orange crystals into the bowl, got a butane lighter, and started to melt them down. I pulled out the stop clock started the timer and set it on the night stand. As soon as vapours started to form I turned the lighter up a little higher and started to suck the fumes down. It tasted like plastic smells when it melts. My lungs didn't feel like they were burning, not so much like DMT. Instead, they felt like someone was filling them up with concrete. I inhaled all of the vapours and held them in for as long as I could stand before I exhaled. Almost instantly the hair on my arms stood up and I heard beeping and a series of electrical chirps. I was overwhelmed with terror. I felt more disassociated from my physical self than I had ever felt in my life.
"OH GOD, OH GOD, I'm going to die. Nancy Reagan was right. I should have just said no. Drugs are bad. I'm going to be like this for the rest of my fucking life. Shit, this is horrible. Why did I ever do this? Oh shit, fuck, please dear God, don't let me die. Not like this..." All of these thoughts and more went through my mind more quickly than I thought possible. Was time expanding and getting longer?
As quickly as it had started the panic stopped. I was staring through the nearly transparent curtains over the bedroom window and the sunlight was shining through white. My visual canvas became washed over with white light, my head was light, but my body felt made of rod-iron. I fell back onto the bed and everything faded to white. Gravity then lost it's hold on my body, but still had an effect on my clothes. I could feel them tugging on me as I floated inches above the bed and gazed out the window. My mind was flooded with thought. I saw all the positive experiences of my entire life flash before my eyes: first baseball game I ever won, my 4th birthday party, getting straight A's, my first kiss, winning my first Taekwondo tournament, my friends, my family, feeling loved. My brain soared. I had never been able to think this quickly or freely. I felt completely disconnected from my physical body, the physical plane all together. I was tranquil and had never felt so content. My mind stopped with the positive imagery. I was just hovering there above the bed, encompassed in perfect lucidity. For a moment I even felt omniscient.

Gravity began to set in and I started falling away from the light. The bed wasn't under me any more. I fell down what I could only describe as a dark tunnel. The light became a pin point at the other end. Then I realized I wasn't falling any more, rather, I was being pulled. I felt these ominous black coils or tentacles wrap around me and I was being pulled down through this dark, oily fluid. I couldn't move, I couldn't breathe, and my entire body felt like every nerve ending was being stimulated at once. I felt like I was on fire. I tried to struggle, to fight, to get away, to swim through this muck, but nothing. I was completely powerless. If the light was a peaceful heaven, this was truly hell. Everything negative that had happened to me in my life was flashing through my head. Every wrong I had done or which had been done to me, they were all flipping through my head like pictures. It was like sitting in front of a psychologist showing me Rorschach blots. "Now, what did you do wrong here? What did you think you did that made this happen to you?" It wasn't my voice asking me these questions. I was hearing another narrator. I didn't like her. I came to own and accept the negativity that had happened in my life. I took all these instances was able to analyze them and accept their validity. Whether it was my fault or someone else's all together, it was there and there was nothing I could do about it now. I was ok with them for the first time. After what seemed like hours in this muck and seeing the pictures and hearing the questions apparently the narrator felt she had tortured me enough or perhaps my owning of all the negativity in my life is what she wanted. I felt the coils restricting my movement release me. I could move, I could swim through this fluid now.

I still felt like I was drowning but the light came into focus. The closer I got to the light the more at ease I felt. My body emerged from the dark oil and I could see the light and feel its warmth. I was back in Nirvana. Now the curtains came back into focus. I felt my body settle into the bed. I emerged in a state of artificial mania. Everything had trails and the light was brighter than ever. This altered visual state was fast fading and gone after 30 seconds. I reached over to the night stand, grabbed the stop watch, and stopped the timer. What felt like a 5 hour journey was only 7 minutes. How could it have seemed so long? My only explanation for this was that much in the way a computer's clock keeps the time by the speed of the processor. The computer knows how many cycles it can push in a second, based on its settings, it knows how long a second is. Apparently someone had over-clocked my processor without changing the settings. So many more cycles or thoughts happened in a second than I was accusomed that I perceived time as being longer. That is my only explanation for such a strange occurrence. I was sweating a little and had never in my life felt hungrier, otherwise I was completely baseline. I ran to the kitchen, and made 3 turkey sandwiches. I ate them all as fast as I could and washed them down with a glass of milk. If 5-MeO-DMT threw me into heaven then pulled me into hell, then real life was stuck somewhere in the middle, just caught halfway.

Monday, March 2, 2009

7-7-7 part 1: the preemptive strike

This is a sheet of Gelatine LSD:

This is my motorcycle: This is how I looked the morning I woke up:
(blurrier in reality)

Well, now we can get started...

July 7th, 2007, a day with great numerical significance for anyone who likes to gamble. Especially those of us who like the roulette wheel. Martina was A-Boy's fiancee and the two of us had been having an affair for several months, unbeknownst to A-Boy. Actually, he was the only person who didn't know about it. She was leaving him and we had made plans for a future in Austin, TX. The night before A-boy had gotten twisted on uppers, pulled out a 12 gauge, and threatened to kill Martina and himself. I was working at the time and was luckily absent from this event. She never explained what brought on this situation. I didn't ask; par for the course. I got us a room at the Doubletree and some drugs to ease the trauma. I woke up in the Doubletree on Sanderlin with a pounding headache after having insufflated three hits of MDMA and sleeping with Martina the night prior. I found her absent from the bed and in her place a note saying, "I'm sorry I have to go. I'll see you at the house." I go downstairs, check out, and get the cash deposit back, hoping the girl at the front desk doesn't notice how my appearance has greatly changed and I don't look like I've seen sleep in a week. We both worked for the same company and chances are she would remember my name if she called in for help with her PC.

I get home around 10:30am and start a load of laundry only to find Martina downstairs in our shared laundry room. She has her back to me and I go to hug her from behind only to be shrugged off. "I'm sorry Payne, I can't do this any more. I'm staying with A and I'm moving to Austin alone. He's going to live here for the next three months until he finishes his degree. I can't see you or talk to you any more. He won't let me." Reality. I have just deservedly been karmatically bitch-slapped. In shock I walk away. I say nothing. What could I do? At this point, I do what any warm-blooded American would do, I walked inside, put my .45 in my waist band, ingested 10 hits of high powered gelatine-tab LSD, and hopped on my motorcycle.

I had been saving the acid for the twelfth of August, the peak of the Perseids meteor shower. Martina and I were going to half it and watch the meteors. I head west on Poplar out of the driveway. I feel sick. This is not the drug; timetable is all wrong. Onset is not this fast. I'm crying but no one can see the tears behind my huge highway patrollmen style aviators. I make my way downtown and almost laid my bike down on the trolley tracks. I think perhaps this is the wrong place to be riding. I head back to midtown. I'm cruising down Central Ave when I get the feeling. It is as if electricity is surging from my fingernails and down to the ends of my hair. I'm gritting my teeth, jaw-locked. The sun has lit up the road so much it's like my lenses have no tint. The road takes on its own personality, it's taunting me, daring me to go faster. I oblige. I feel very mechanical, another part of the bike. I roll the throttle back and feel emotions and any semblance of humanity pour out of the exhaust pipe. I am no longer human. I am more in tune with my bike than I have ever been. I can feel every bump on the road, every movement of the engine. It's running a little rich now that it's gotten hot. I stop at a red light and turn the idle down. There's a douche bag on a cell phone in a small red foreign car in front of me in the right lane and a minivan in the left. The visuals at this point are so intense I can't recognize what kind of car the guy is driving. I can only tell that it is red, small, probably foreign, and seems to be filled with a spiteful life because the man driving just isn't treating it right. I think it's a Miata, maybe? The little red car and the minivan have matched speeds at 35mph. This will not work. I shift lanes behind the minivan, draft off of her, jerk the throttle back, and like an ejaculation shoot the bike and myself between the soccer mom and the douche bag. The soccer mom had a look of terror and astonishment on her face. She had never even seen me behind her. She put the all-daring arm in front of her child as if to brace her for impact, because we all know a mother's arm can ease any high speed collision in a moving vehicle. It is guaranteed to prevent impact with the dash board. This made me giggle a little. I then caught another red light and the guy in what appeared to be a Miata felt the need to yell some choice phrases at me. I look back and grin, and slightly lifted my shirt in an effort to scratch my back. I didn't do this to passively-aggressively show him I was packing. I did this because the large dose of LSD made me feel as if meel worms were crawling out of every pour of my skin and I was itching all over. He immediately stopped talking and then I remembered, "Oh shit, I hope that bastard wasn't a cop. Did I just brandish a firearm? Shit. Fuck. Shit-fuck. I can't let the paranoia can't get to me now. Fuck paranoia is called for, you're right, getting arrested is far worse than losing my cool."

I cut down Alexander to Southern and take that back to Cooper. Being that my body is a little more sensitive I feel my phone vibrating in my pocket and almost spill into the gutter. I pull over beside Yosemite Sam's to check the phone, hoping it's Martina. It's my brother. I answer the phone and he tells me that he and his girlfriend of several years, whom he was recently considering leaving, have just gotten married on "7 7 7" and "Isn't that awesome, bro?" I didn't know what to say other than wish him well and tell him that I had to get going as I was on a head full of acid and engaged negotiating with traffic. Luckily he informed me that traffic was nothing for a motorcyclist to negotiate with and asked if I was serious. Before I could say anything he could hear the confusion in my own voice. He called those of us who rode together "Gorillas" and he told me he couldn't go to a Gorilla funeral two days after his wedding. After all, it would ruin his honeymoon. Brother told me to get my monkey ass home immediately and call him because I couldn't ruin his wedding day. I complied.

2C-I and an unexpected guest

So one day A-Boy stops by with a friend from Dallas and an offer of 30 capsules of a research chemical, 2C-I, each capsule being 30mg of the chemical for $7 a piece. It is a research chemical, is unscheduled and you can buy it online:
Not only is this about 25% the market value, but it's verifiable with an MSDS (material safety data sheet).

2C-I belongs to the phenethylamine class of drugs. It is similar to both amphetamine and MDMA. MDMA is ecstasy for those not in the know, but I HATE that term.
I buy them, look up 2C-I online and wait for my weekend. At the time I was working a help-desk job 3rd shift. My weekend started Wednesday morning. I had made a friend online, about 4 years prior, who went by the handle of ManicFruitSalad. Judging by her name alone, if you know me, you know we have similar interests. Her name is Laura, and she is a dear friend of mine to this day. Well, I relay the information to her and as always I joke that she needs to come up from Oxford and we can hang out, party, etc. Well, this time she says she needs the address, that she doesn't have a cell phone, and she'll be there at 3:30PM. Sure... I wait around for her and nothing. Did I mention it's January? I put my flannels back on and hop back in bed. Around 5:30 there's a pounding at my front door. We never used the front door, we parked and used the back. Apparently Laura had gotten a flat, fixed it, and was able to find the apartment. However in front of me was not the girl I had started chatting with four years ago. She was now 20 and a stunning 5'8", knock out figure, and long red hair. I had never even speoken to her on the phone before. From this beautiful woman comes the tiniest voice, "um... are you J?" I know I had that big dumb grin on my face, "You must be, Laura, come on in!" She comes in, I'm looking a mess, and I roll her up a joint to puff on while I go get cleaned up.

Obviously Laura has never met a stranger, she follows me into my bathroom while I'm shaving to make sure I can hit the joint; a little invasive, but thoughtful. She and I talk that neither of us have eaten and the drug has a very long time period before it starts to take effect if taken with food. We each decided to take one cap and go for a walk and we would eat after it wore off. We walked the few blocks down Poplar Ave from my apartment to the park, walk around the Brooks museum, and MCA. After about 45 minutes we both realize we can't stop talking and our mouths are having trouble keeping up with our brains. The street lights all have halos and light in general is brighter. There is a slight sense of empathy and a connected feeling similar to MDMA, but not as profound. We both definitely noticed the mental effects as the relations we made in conversation began to stretch further and further. To any passersby we probably sounded like two schizos off their meds who had escaped from Bolivar.

With 2C-I there is a heavy body load, it was a little discomforting on the stomach, our pupils had widely dilated, but we were walking much faster now unintentionally. 2C-I seems to have very profound stimulant properties. With this new found energy we decided to walk over to the zoo. A slight "fear" had set in; that ominous feeling of dread. Something bad was going to happen, we were having entirely too much fun, laughing loudly and "riding" the statues in front of the zoo. The security guard at the zoo asked us why we were climbing on the huge animal statues well after the zoo had closed. Laura could do nothing but giggle. I mentioned that I was doing an Archaeological study of art in Memphis for MCA and that we would be on our way and I wished him a good evening. I know that what I said didn't sound quite right, but I offered to produce my student ID (that I didn't have) before he asked to see it. He was nice enough and just asked us to move along. For some reason the fear of hallucinating in a jail cell has always straightened me out enough to speak to the authorities with grace enough to get by. I also had forgotten that 2C-I is a research chemical in the US and as such is completely unscheduled or unregulated. I could have sold it to kids out of an ice cream truck and there are no laws against it. We both however decided it was probably best to return to the safety of the apartment at this point as neither of us had taken this drug before and we were very unsure of the results.

Instead of taking Poplar we walked through the neighborhood behind my apartments, a nice section of town, and probably safer for both of us. It was at this point our motor skills began to break down. We were both slightly dizzy and walking on uneven ground was a little more than tedious. The street lights were considerably brighter and as we walked past houses close to the street the motion sensitive security lights were blinding. All the lights were brighter and there was a tight web of geometric patterning that had covered everything. Laura described a similar visual experience. I wasn't seeing very much in terms of closed-eye-visuals but she was describing colorful ribbons and shapes.

By the time we made it back to the apartment, two hours had passed and we were at the plateau of the experience. At this point I would say that the chemical has similar empathogen properties to MDMA, but not nearly as strong. It has much greater clarity and is very similar to d-Amphetamine; blood pressure and heart rate were noticeably increased, not dangerously high though. The visuals were more similar to those of LSD, where there is a general brightening of lights and colors and inanimate objects seemed to "move", "grow", or "breathe" on their own. We also noticed that our sense of touch had become considerably more sensitive and we felt very cold. I can not really explain this as 2C-I increases serotonin overall, and serotonin raises body temperature. Much like similar drugs, our moods were very enhanced and we found laughter in almost everything. If one of us could stop laughing long enough to ask the other a question, and a response could be formed, we would just break out into laughter again. In any event we spent the rest of the night wrapped up in blankets, laughing like hyenas at "The Big Lebowski" and trying to stay warm. We were able to sleep about 12 hours after dosing. 2C-I makes getting to know someone very fun and enjoyable. Other than that there were no physical disturbances which were not enjoyable.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

First Contact with the Otherside

This is Di-Methyl-Tryptamine. DMT is produced by your pineal gland every night when you sleep. It is responsible for those dreams that make absolutely no sense whatsoever. DMT changed my life. It is considered one of nature's most potent psychedelics. It is used in the South American brews Ahyuasca and Hoasca. Although found in nature in the root bark of the Mimosa hostilis bush, among others, it is produced by our own bodies, yet our government deems it a Schedule I drug. It is just as illegal as crack or heroin. To be deemed Schedule I a chemical must have the following criteria:
1)The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.
2)The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
3)There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision..
Now that you know a little about DMT, I will share with you one of my most positive and life changing experiences.

A few years back a young chemist, and close friend of mine, A-Boy, and his "assistant", Jack Handey, were going to cook up some DMT of their own. Many are the adventures of Jack and A-Boy. They committed several felonious acts. I must make the distinction between their manufacturing and my use. I have never manufactured for the distribution to others a Schedule I substance. They had purchased some mimosa hostilis root bark, a non-polar solvent (xylene), and NaOH (lye). They crushed the root bark, covered it with xylene, and poured some amount of lye to the mix. Jack then took off the top "watery" layer and let the xylene evaporate and he was left with this picture which he uploaded to at a later date. **EDIT: This process is not as simple as it sounds. It is a lot more than just mixing up some ingredients inside a jar, shake, and bake. This process took a few weeks of hard work including ingredient gathering, equipment gathering, reviewing of safety procedures, etc. Oh, and please don't try this at home, unless of course it's legal where you live. If that is the case, let me know where you live.**

Having said that, A-Boy carefully measured out 60mg of this substance on scales in his lavatory made clandestine laboratory he had setup at the time. Handed me a pipe with the 60mg of yellowish material and told me, "Go lie on my bed, LIE on the bed, do not attempt this while standing, smoke as much as you possibly can, and don't fight it whatever you do. Also while we weighed out 60mg the scales are +-2mg. Just thought you should know." When A-Boy tells me this while peering over his glasses and giving me his "Payne, I'm not fucking around" look, I take him seriously. I began to melt the yellow shards down and breathed in the fumes. My lungs were filled with the sweetly-acidic yet plastic tasting vapors that burned. It was like the Hydra had blown into my lungs. I tried hard not to cough but I felt as if I had been poisoned. A-Boy caught the pipe as apparently I had stopped physically responding to any stimuli. He later told me I took on a zombie like stare for a few seconds and then fell back onto the bed. Suddenly my ears were filled with sounds no human should have to endure I can only attempt to describe these to you: high pitched screeching sounds, sirens that seem to come and go so quickly it was as if a thousand ambulances, fire trucks, and police cars were all passing eachother in different directions in the bed room. Bells started ringing, and then I heard it, a firecracker. Not one of those shitty bottle rockets that just pops. No sir, this was the grand finale. Again, I want to state that all hallucinations up to this point were auditory in nature, nothing had changed visually and my mental state was simply confused, until the sound of that "firework" going off. Then all sound in the room ceased faster than it had started. You could hear a pin drop. The room was encompassed by a grey light and I was the only being in the room. A-Boy and Jack were gone, but I never saw them leave the room. Jack was leaning in the door way and A-boy was sitting cross-legged at the end of the bed, watching me with anticipation. Where did they go? From the corners of the room a darkness began to grow. This darkness swallowed the room so that there was no longer anything, just dark and then "they" came out. These imp-like creatures began to grow from the corners. I could not see their faces. All I could see was their dark figures, humanoid, but smaller. Occasionally I would get a glimpse of what I thought to be teeth or a smile but their faces had no noticable details. They began speak to me in a language that I could not understand. They were using their hands write some kind of heiroglyphics in the air, like they were trying to teach me something or tell me something. I stared equally amazed and confused. What do they want me to know? This seemed to go on for hours, but I was entranced in watching their movements. Then they started laughing at me; they knew I was clueless. The room came back into perspective slightly as one of the "imps" or "DMT-elves" as we've come to call them came forward. He said in English, "You are too consumed by this physical world. What is important is that it is only one of the many phases in your existence. The molecules in your body are made of the same atoms as the wood in this floor. This physical existence is only very temporary and it is the shortest, most trivial portion of your existence. You worry about it and what others in it think too much. Be a kind person. That is all we can tell you now. You are not ready for the rest." As they had emerged from their corners they went back, as if I was watching everything in reverse, with them any darkness was gone, replaced with grey light, and then I opened my eyes.
A-boy was there in one of his oddly contorted positions. "So Payne, what did you think?" All I could say was, "How long, how long were they here? How long did I talk to them? It felt like hours as they tried to explain to me things I had no way of understanding. How long was it?" He replied, "You were out for 5 minutes and 32 seconds." I thanked him and excused myself from the room. At this point I was completely sober, and felt no after effects other than being ravenously hungry. I went back to my apartment where I ate, ravenously. I believe that the DMT turned on a part of my brain that we don't ordinarily use and allowed me to communicate with beings in another dimension. In any event, I felt better about myself and my situation after and have not felt that I've been in a position in life where I am ready to learn more from them. I'm sure I will one day, but not yet.