Angry Vibes and Crazy Neighbors...Sitting in the peace and quiet of the Empty bedroom was a great way to spend our acid experience. New Year’s Eve had gone and passed, the great ball of lights fell on Times square, and I got to see the hanging of Saddam Hussein thanks to the “endless possibilities of the internet”. Personally, I felt a guillotine would have been more appropriate, but he’s dead as a doornail nonetheless. I was surprised, but relieved, that the conversation didn’t drift towards the execution. We mainly talked about music and once in a while the conversation drifted back to things like drugs and marijuana. I wanted to get into politics, but it was impossible with Brad, him being from Texas and most of my negative political input is directed at Bush, a Texas local hero. We were sitting quietly for a while when the previously stated ugliness began, and it started with Justin’s father, George.
Escape from the Empty Bedroom...
Escape from the Empty Bedroom...
We heard him come up the stairs and head towards Justin‘s room, and I expected him to see the light underneath the door and walk in. We didn’t know who it was, until he marched back down the hall towards our hideout. I was thinking only after seeing Justin’s folks by the computer if they knew what kind of weirdness was going on up here. He swung the door open, spilling angry vibes and looks into our once peaceful room. He looked a bit surprised, at first, and I guarantee it’s because he didn’t expect us to be behaving so [relatively] normally in such a small group. He regained his anger, probably because of confused stillness. He yelled, “Everyone here is fucked in the head. NO ONE LEAVES!”, and shut the door, leaving us aghast, and whether or not Brad was affected by this, I saw the cold fact for what it was. This place wasn’t safe anymore.
I was fine being here when we had the freedom to leave. George expected us to sleep here, and I don’t know what most people know about acid, but I knew that I wasn’t going to be in any state near sleep for a long, long time. This place, even the Empty Bedroom, went from a sanctuary to a cell in one angry proclamation. My acid was still swimming around in my skull at the same consistent pace it’s been running all night, and the paranoia made me pace around the room and think as I hard could. How would we get out of this house without making a crazy scene made up of running out of the house, darting to the car, hoping it would start in this bitter January weather, and then we would have to think of a place to go when we got on the road. Brad seemed calm and he wasn’t as inclined to leave, I knew that, but I didn’t care. The vibes in this place weren’t right from the start, and now it was freakishly boiling over. The door swung open, and we were finally approached by a face that didn’t weird me out.
Mike, Justin’s younger brother, walked in and sat down on the bed, next to Brad and Jake. I was still standing up near the window, which didn’t help me feel any less isolated. Mike was drunk and he looked pretty irritated. We asked him if he has been at the party this whole time, and his annoyance spilled out.
“This party sucks, man”, he said, trying to keep his head up, “In Justin’s room the Muskego people are dancing around in the dark with glow sticks and in Mac’s room they’re sitting in a massage train, rubbing each other’s bare backs and making out with random people.”
I was familiar with what a massage train was, and it upped the ante on weird vibes. All forms of tweaked individuals sitting in a line like chimps grooming each other, sweating bullets and stinking to high heaven without a care on their dimension or any other for that matter. Thank the good Lord we left those rooms all those hours ago!
Mikey was nodding off, and he looked exhausted so Brad, Jake and I had no choice but to leave his bedroom and let him rest and forget about the strange scene he had to witness. We walked into the dark hallway and just stood their in a line against the wall. What the hell were we supposed to do, now? There we were, standing alone in the dark, to our right were the X-fiends and I could see George guarding the doors in my mind’s eye downstairs. Were we going to stand here staring at the wall for the next four to five hours? All the twisted idle conversation couldn’t keep me from cracking in that ridiculous situation. I yearned the outside world. Brad stepped to the side, and we heard a female voice calling up from the floor, “Look out!”, and Brad jumped buck, nearly knocking Jake and I over. That’s when Jake look to me in the dark and said,
“It’s now or never…”
We stepped downstairs quietly, not knowing what we were about to walk into. We walked into what we had walked out of: the darkness. The lights were off down here, too, but the respectable, normal elders on this floor were sleeping. We did find one of Justin’s suburban friends just standing in the kitchen. He began rambling about being sweaty, and we were about to walk right past him out the back door when footsteps coming down the stairs stopped us in our tracks. It was Justin, just as shirtless and sweaty as his mixed-up friend standing behind us. He saw us and his confusion was immediately apparent. “What’s goin’ on, guys”, he asked in tone that was both honest and accusing.
“Nothing,” I said, trying to keep casual, I’ve know the guy for fifteen years for Christ’s sakes, “We were probably going to head out. Tell Mac I said later if you see him up there.”
“You guys can’t leave!” he said, sounding nervous and yet trying to remain commanding, “Dad don’t want nobody leaving, cause we’re all messed up. You guys are frying right now, how are you going to get home?”
“C’mon, Justin,”, I replied, getting impatient, “Brad could drive through a hurricane right now. We’re not drunk, so why is George going all nuts on us, anyway?”
Justin explained the situation; apparently when no one would give George’s buddy a ride home, George’s buddy, Junior, grabbed the keg and dragged it across the street, and on George’s way back upon retrieving it from the crazy bastard, a cop drove by and asked him why he was hauling the keg…
“…so they know there’s a party going on, man.”
“It’s New Year’s Eve, man, there’s at least five parties on every block, and this has probably the quietest one on the south side. The vibes up there have been weird from the start, and not in a good way, you know what I mean? So I’m sorry, man. Happy New Year, happy birthday, merry Christmas, but we’ve gotta go…”
We were interrupted by a creaking noise that could only be George’s bedroom door. It could’ve been Justin’s ma, but just to be safe, Brad and I sat down at the open chairs in the kitchen, just in time for George to walk in the dark kitchen full of drugged up friends and family members. He walked to the fridge door, barely taking apparent notice of our presence, but then said, “What’s going on, guys?”
We all shook our heads and shrugged our shoulders, muttering replies along the lines of “nothing”. I didn’t know what to say. Justin looked just as speechless as us so I wasn’t counting on him to break the tension. George closed the fridge, turned to us and said, “You guys taking off?”
I knew, from the second the word “taking” was out, from the tone of voice, that he had either forgotten about imprisoning us all, or he just said to hell with it out of exhaustion. We clearly weren’t showing the symptoms of your average American drunk; stumbling, slurred speech, complete belligerence towards people who were your friends the day before and the day after. I felt an hour or so of planning go down the drain and I didn’t care. As soon as George was back in bed behind a closed door, We sat right up and continued where we left off. Justin was still sketchy about letting us leave, out of fear of the cops, and he even said that Junior was a crack addict and he could still be lurking around somewhere. I will admit, this was a statement that caused brief hesitation, but I was still on acid, whether I registered it at this point or not, and I was still determined and oh so close to freedom.
Justin finally compromised, under the condition that we walk out the back door, through the yard, into the alley and around the block. I was going to choose the back door anyway, seeing as how it was right there behind Justin, but walking around the block was a strange concept. It scared me to tell the truth. I didn’t want to argue, however, so we agreed and finally, after what has felt a year of waiting, we were finally leaving this bizarre revelry.
It was cold outside, something I hadn’t even thought of, even though I’ve acknowledged the fact that it’s been December 31st all day. Now we were entering the worst months of the year, for me at least; the gloomiest, coldest, seemingly never-ending span between now and March, and the city of Milwaukee was already reflecting it. It was cloudy, and the lack of cars on the road was unnerving. We had walked into a post apocalyptic South Side, and it was at this point where another, and probably my last great acid surge of the night, decided to sneak up on me. My visuals became too strong, and what was real gave off the atmospheric pattern of a European City on the Nazi warpath. Were there any still around? Small-time grunts and thieves, taking what they can after already doing so much damage. I wouldn’t count on it, but I knew we would have to deal with something strikingly similar: sixth district cops. The worst in town, and they had a monthly quota to meet, yet. Six months after all this, it would happen to be sixth district cops of the Milwaukee Police Department that raid my friend’s apartment, while I’m there, confiscate some of the best buds they’ve ever seen from me, issued no tickets, never came back, and probably smoked it all immediately afterwards. The rage that left with me still clings to my back like a mutated leech, and they’ll get theirs, one way or another, because Karma looks down on corrupt cops.
We reached the end of the alley and turned right. My heart jumped when I was blinded by flashing blue and red lights, emanating from up the block, across the street. Jake did an immediate about-face and tried to walk back into the alley, but Brad grabbed him by the shoulder and said, “Knock it off, dumbass, they don’t even see us.”
I didn’t know what he meant at first, until I was able to see past their terrifying lightshow. There were five cruisers and a van parked in front of a large duplex, and the pigs were bringing people out in cuffs and throwing them into the van. In this neighborhood, one I grew up in and understood perfectly, it wasn’t hard to figure out. The locals, no matter what race, gender or social trait of any kind, like to end the year drunk and violent, and let it go on until the first fresh hours of the new one. It was a spectacle that I’m sure these pigs prepared to face and probably prayed for.
On any other occasion we would have stuck around and watched in case it got ugly, but tonight was a major exception. We continued our trek, and made it to the Mazda, another step towards freedom. Our final destination was set, and now it was our only destination: my place. Complete freedom and not that crap they sell you these days with the same label. We sat in the car and turned it on, but Brad was still unsure about driving on this much acid. We waited for ten minutes while he fixed his mirrors and checked his grasp on his surroundings. A street light was flickering off and on and Brad stared at it for a second and asked me, “Is that light really blinking?” I confirmed that the light was indeed flickering, and he announced that he was ready. We pulled out and drove past Justin’s house which was further down the block. All the lights were off, and if it was a party, then it was obviously a boring one. “What is Justin worried about for fuck’s sake, it looks like everyone’s sleeping!”, I said in frustration. We knew, on the other hand, that the entire second floor was still up and out of their minds on dangerous substances. Still listening to their crappy music, and still crazed without a care or regretful thought. I was so glad to be leaving.
Driving on acid could not have been as fun as watching someone drive on acid. When the lights weren’t distracting me, I was watching Brad clutch to the wheel with his head on top of it at twelve’ o’clock. His eyes didn’t wander as much as I thought they would, thank God, but I know he wasn’t able to help focusing on everything on the road in either fear or fascination, I can’t say for sure. I never noticed how many lights build up a normal city street at night. I watched the streetlights, and could see their trail for miles, enhanced by greens, and blues and reds and greens, always changing, never decreasing in intensity. We made it home, not seeing a single cop, and spent the rest of the night listening to good music, with the lights on, in a small group consisting of nothing but good company. We talked some more, played some guitar, and around seven-thirty in the morning, Brad and Jake decided to hit the trail on back to their place, leaving me still mildly twisted with nothing to do, so I wrote up the first ten page draft of this story with all of it still fresh in my head. This was the perfect practice run, and after New Year’s Eve, 2006, I can grasp social coherence in nearly any situation. The chance to stretch my legs before the big race.
Zachary J. Hack Milwaukee, WI