Chapter 7 High School

This entry is part of 16 in the series article 92

Chapter 7 High School


HIGH SCHOOL “It’s your turn to make breakfast for everyone Phil.” “Come on MaryAnn,” I yawned, pulling at my covers, “no body eats breakfast this early in the morning do they?” “Yes they do,” she said laughing, “and you have the honors of making it for everyone that wants it, too.” After she left the room, I stepped to the other bed and nudged Leroy. “Wait up McGee. We gotta eat breakfast.” Leroy was an unusual kid. He was, I discovered later, an

accomplished guitarist and song writer, but his dream in life was to be a police officer. I was awakened often AT NIGHT during the three weeks we lived together because he had failed to turn off his police scanner. He even owned a 38 and had a target set up in his basement. A few years later, when I was employed as a social worker, my partner announced his intentions of going over to Leroy McGee’s home for a visit in order to update his file. “Better take your bullet proof vest then,” I said casually. “What you mean by that,” Fred wanted to know. “Well,” I said, yawning, “Leroy packs a 38.” “Oh, sure,” Fred said laughing but he wasn’t laughing when he returned. Leroy and I debated his desire to be a cop once. “Leroy,” how you gonna be a cop when you can’t see to drive?” “”Oh,” he said as though someone had just pricked him with a

pin, “I’ll always be ridin’ with a partner…he can do the driven.”

Well, shoot, he had me on that one. “But,” I protested, “what if you have to shoot your gun?”

“I can shoot a gun,” Leroy said with finality, as though the conversation was over.

Though all who knew Leroy made fun of his desire to be a cop, the joke was on us. He eventually got a job with the Omaha Police Department as a dispatcher.

“Come on, McGee,” I said a little too loudly and poking him a little too sharply in the side, “MaryAnn says we got to get up.” Sounds came from his side of the room that sounded something like a bear awakening from hibernation so I vacated the room.

When I walked into the library Four months earlier, Mrs. Adams said, “Phil, I hear you are going to public school next fall.”

Finding my seat at the long table and dumping my Braille writer and books on the hard surface, I said, “Yeah, that’s the plan right now anyway.” “How did you decide upon this?” she said curiously. “Well, I knew I would be taking classes at the Nebraska City

high school in a year or so and after mentioning that to my Mom, she suggested we consider trying to work something out whereby I could attend the public high school in my neighborhood. I agreed to that idea, since I’d get to live at home, and we made a contact with some people in the Omaha Public School system and they’re working on it right now.”

“Well,” she said, “that sounds great. I don’t think anyone else has done that in Nebraska yet.”

“Yeah,” I replied, “there are a couple of kids in elementary grades in Omaha that are blind but the schools are not regular public schools and I think there’s one girl going to West High next year, too.”

“We wish you well and we’ll miss you around here,” she said sitting down at the head of the table to begin the English class.

“Why we got to do this thing MaryAnn? I don’t know how to cook.”

Clearing her throat, she proudly announced, “You, and everyone else for that matter in this three week program, are going to learn how to cook.” “But…” “No buts about it, Phil. We’re going to help you so don’t worry about that part.” Setting down at the kitchen table, MaryAnn had me write in

Braille a schedule of who would be serving breakfast each day for the next three weeks. As I recall, there were three girls and two boys, Leroy and me, in this summer rehab program. The idea was to give us some specialized training before the coming school year. Rita, Patty, and Leroy, were already in some kind of a public school program but Rita and I would be the first blind students in Omaha public high schools. The other girl was a possible candidate for public school in a year.

We had been given a house to live in by ourselves for three weeks across the street from Omaha tech High. An adult was with us at all times but we were encourage to do as much for ourselves alone as possible. Each morning was spent in mobility training by at least one member of the group while the others did house chores. The mobility consisted of making our way around the technical school building facilities across the street and then later cane travel, in doors and out, was taught.

The afternoons were spent working with crafts and sitting with the adult rehabilitation counselors, two of which were blind, and discussing how to handle situations faced by the blind when traveling in public, eating in restaurants, and other social situations as well as techniques used by the blind in handling daily tasks. Each evening we teamed up with sighted teenagers of the counselors involved with the program and went out to eat. We visited parks, went to the Omaha symphony, and even took Missouri River paddle boat trips.

Two days before school began, we were finally given permission to inter Benson High School; the school in which I was enrolled. The school officials were doubtful they could cope with a blind student and refused access to their building till the last minute. Mr. Leguard, the mobility instructor, and I spent several hours those two days learning the complete building and although I did not know the entire building, I was able to get to any place I needed without assistance.

The first day of school MaryAnn, an employee of the Omaha Public Schools, accompanied me to all my classes. She introduced herself as a resource teacher who traveled to different public schools in the city to assist handicapped students as they attended public institutions. I was introduced to the class and it was explained how I would function as any other student in the school. It was likewise mentioned that I would require volunteer readers and if anyone wished to do some reading, to let me know. I made some immediate friends this way and obtained several readers.

I used a white cane to travel about the building and because the facilities were built to house only fifteen hundred students, though over twenty-six hundred were enrolled, it was decided that I would be allowed to leave each class a minute or two early in order to beat the rush of kids in the crowded hallways. Fortunately the building was easy to traverse and I had little trouble making it from one class to another.

Students came and joined me during my assigned study halls. A separate room was provided so I could keep the needed Braille writing equipment and tape recorders, not to mention the Braille books, all together in one place. It also afforded privacy so my volunteers could read aloud.

Those first few days at Benson High were as difficult, if not more so, than going to the school for the blind. Since there were over two thousand students, and I the only blind pupil, I felt conspicuous wherever I went. I had never been more afraid in my life. Though I made friends with my readers right away, the rest of the school kept their distance. I joined the radio club and made a couple of additional friends but they became interested in other things and we drifted apart. I likewise had two friends from church who also attended the high school and one of them became my closest. Ryan and I spent many hours together and even shared many classes. He was one of my most faithful readers and we likewise walked the mile home together nearly every afternoon. We spent most afternoons playing with ham radio equipment, reading Mad Magazines, and generally horsing around. Once he obtained his driver’s license, he picked me up for school each morning and during the warmer months, we rode his Honda 350 to school. I often wondered what people thought when they saw us whiz by as I held my books and white cane under one arm.

My spiritual interests began to fade as the weeks of high school rolled by. I had felt the call to the ministry many years earlier at the age of thirteen but now that I was sixteen, I was concerned about what I would do in life. Following a four day weekend in the mountains of Colorado at a teen’s church camp, my interest was renewed in the ministry and I was dedicated more than ever to full time ministry work. After a couple of weeks, however, I felt empty and purposeless. Although I was now living at home with my family, no more to return to just checking in over the weekends, and though I had several friends, I somehow felt alone. It was then I met Sharon.

“Hello Mrs. Scovell, Sharon said cheerfully, “we’re here to pick up Phil. Is he ready?”

“Come on in,” Mom said. “I’ll call him upstairs. I’m pretty sure he’s ready.”

Mom had given me permission to go with Sharon to a rock concert. She, too, was concerned that I had few friends and she reluctantly allowed me to go; not knowing exactly what it was all about. “Hi Phil,” Sharon said. “Are you ready to go?” “Yeah,” I replied and took hold of her arm. “We’ll be back about midnight Mrs. Scovell,” Sharon

announced, “and we have to go home to my place first to change clothes,” she continued conciliatorially.

“Have a good time,” Mom said but I heard the concern in her voice.

In the car I said, “Are we really goin’ to your house Sharon?”

“Naw,” she laughed, “I just said that because I didn’t want your mom wondering why we were dressed so funny.” “Good idea,” I agreed. The car pulled away and Sharon and her friend lit cigarettes.

“Phil, this is Doug. We’ve known each other for a long time and he offered to give us a ride to the concert.”

We exchanged greetings and Sharon offered me a cigarette. I had smoked a cigarette once when I was about nine years old with some other kids of the neighborhood out in the orchard. Though I had no desire to do so again, I had decided that no matter what Sharon and her friends asked me to do this night, I would be willing; even if it meant taking drugs.

Killing time, we drove around the city and rapped about anything that came to mind. Finally Sharon said, “I brought some grass Phil. You wanna try some?” “Sure,” I said, my voice shaking slightly. After rolling a joint, she explained that I needed to inhale

and hold the smoke in my lungs as long as possible before releasing. Though I took several drags, I never experienced any effects from the marijuana because I had never inhaled smoke before. By the time we had reached the Music Box, Sharon and her friend were high.

The rock group we went to hear was called The Pacific Gas and Electric. Sharon described each of the performers with their bright psychedelic clothes and flaming guitars and we sat on the floor smoking and talking. There were probably fewer than two hundred teenagers at the concert. All, or most, were high on marijuana, hashish, speed, or LSD.

“How’d you like the concert Friday night,” Sharon asked entering my study room the next Monday morning. “I liked it,” I said without hesitation. “Would you like to go again some time?” “You bet. Why not.” After setting beside me, Sharon lowered her voice

conspiratorially and said, “Would you be interested in dropping acid some time Phil?”

“Sure,” I said mechanically. “I’ve always wondered what it’d would be like.”

“Well, if you’d like to, why don’t we arrange for you to come home with me some Friday night after school and I’ll turn you on to it at my house. Then my boyfriend will pick us up after he gets off work and we can go over to Mike’s house.” She had told me about Mike a few days earlier and how his mother left each weekend; leaving him home alone for nearly three days. Mike was sixteen and had grown his hair long and dropped out of high school. He was an acid head and tripped on LSD every week; and stayed stoned nearly all weekend.

“I’d like to try it Sharon. I’ll talk to my Mom and see when I can get permission to go home with you.” Two weeks later I negotiated my first LSD trip.

I listened to the preacher each night. I really didn’t want to go; preferring to remain home and either play around with my ham radio equipment or listen to rock albums I had been collecting. Mom had insisted though and to keep peace in the family, I had agreed.

The final night of the revival meeting, I felt strangely moved by the sermon. In my heart I really desired to serve God with my life but the magnetism of the new friends, the enraptured experiences of the LSD and marijuana, and the thrill of the secrecy had polarized my emotions. This man, though, said some pretty thought provoking things and I listened closely that night.

During the time he had requested all heads to be bowed, he asked if anyone had a special need in there life. I knew I was held fast by what I had gotten into and I felt my hand lift slowly. During the altar call, and as the organ and piano played, I stood my ground and refused to walk forward for prayer. “After all,” I thought, “I’m not ready to give this all up.” Suddenly he was standing by my seat, his arm around me, and speaking into my ear.

“Son, I saw you raise your hand. Won’t you come and let someone pray with you?”

I moved silently from my seat, allowing him to guide me to the front, and my pastor said Al Scott, the church’s assistant pastor, would take me to a side room to talk.

“Phil,” Al began as we found chairs to sit on in one of the Sunday school rooms, “I’m glad you came tonight. Is something bothering you?”

I tried for nearly an hour to explain to this man, whom I had known for many years as I was growing up, what I was facing. Actually, though, I felt as though I were playing a game; trying to get him to guess what I was doing in my life. I used hippy jargon, spoke of my hippy friends, the love I had for rock music, my dislike for church, but never mentioned directly that I was using drugs.

“Well, Phil,” Al said after an hour, “I don’t know what else to say. I hear everything you are trying to tell me but I don’t know how to answer you. Why don’t we pray and I’ll keep in touch with you.”

For some reason, I suddenly heard myself telling this long time friend of the family that I was using LSD and other drugs. I wasn’t guilty, I didn’t feel like a sinner, and I did not have any desire to quit…I was bragging.

A few days later Al called me at home and asked me if I would consider coming to the church a couple of times during the week for a little Bible study with him. I agreed and the next day Ryan and I stopped in on our way home from school to see Al in his office.

After discovering the purpose of our meeting, Ryan decided to remain and study the Scriptures with us. We continued our Bible studies for several sessions; Ryan eventually dropping out.

“Phil,” Al said one afternoon upon closing his Bible, “I don’t feel adequate counseling with you concerning your feelings. I would like your permission to discuss this with Pastor Anderson and if you’ll permit it, I’d like you to spend some time with him.” “You haven’t told my Mom, have you Al?” “No, Phil, I haven’t,” he said matter of factly. “I promised

you I wouldn’t tell your mom and I won’t unless you say otherwise. I feel, however, it would be better for you and the pastor to spend some time together for awhile.”

Over the next few weeks I spent many hours with my Pastor. I detailed in depth my feelings but I never felt any conviction about what I was doing. I admitted such to him and confirmed I wasn’t planning on changing a thing. He tried to gain a deeper understanding of me personally and of the hippy culture by asking a lot of questions. I told him of the music I listened to, the drugs I had taken and their effects, and discussed with him the philosophy of unity and love I felt with my new friends.

One day my pastor called and asked me if I would go and listen to a youth speaker in another church with him. I agreed and a few nights later we went.

The speaker’s name was Tex Yearout and he had been traveling the country speaking in many public schools on the subject of rock music, drugs, and other such topics of interest to America’s teens. I could identify with everything he said and yet felt absolutely no guilt or any desire to stop what I was doing. In fact, my pastor thought the preacher had gotten through to me with the scary stories of drug addictions, bad LSD trips, and accidental deaths from drug use. A few months later he would discover how wrong he had been. “Where we going?” I questioned as I climbed into Rick’s car. “Well,” sharon said, “you said you wanted to try shooting some speed so lets go over to Mike’s and shoot up.” For some reason Mike’s mom wasn’t home, though it was mid

week, but since it was summer, she was probably out for the evening. I had made friends with a next door neighbor whom we called Glee. We had gotten to know him one afternoon and discovered he, too, was a head. He mostly smoked dope but occasionally did speed in pill form.

“Hey, Phil,” Sharon said from the living room, “Glee is coming across the yard.” “Well,” I called from the kitchen, “let him in.” “Hey, you guys,” Glee said entering the living room, “what’s happenin'” “Not much,” Sharon replied, “just hangin’ out.” “Crazy! Hey,” he said triumphantly, “I just got back from being out of state for a few days and guess what I brun ya’s” “What,” I said, coming in from the kitchen. “I have some quality hash here. Wanna try it?” Without

waiting for a reply, he pulled his hash pipe from his pocket, place the tiny cylinder shaped object in the end of the pipe and struck a match. After a few puffs, he held it too my lips. “Take a hit Phil.” I breathed deeply, inhaling the smoke, and held the smoke in my lungs as long as I could before exhaling.

Colors floated up from the bottom of the sea like tiny space ships; green, blue, gold, yellow, and orange. I watched them slowly rise to the surface and as they touched the edge of the water, they burst into tiny electric points of light; showering the carpet in shimmering curtains of phosphorescence. I released the smoke through my nose and laughed. “Wow!”

A cloud floated by. A face popped from its amorphus shape and smiled. “Pretty good stuff, hey?” Sharon said softly. “Pretty good stuff,” I agreed. “Hello Mike,” we all said in harmony. “This here is Glee,” Sharon announced. “Hello Glee. Come on downstairs where it’s cooler,” Mike said gesturing to the back of the house. We descended the stairs to the basement and Mike turned on the stereo. “Anything you guys wanna here?” he asked. “You got Iron Butterfly?” I requested. “Sure,” he replied, “coming right up.” As the music flowed over the room, Mike said, “What’s you guys doin’ out tonight?” Holding up a syringe, Rick said, “We came to shoot some dope.” “Be my guest,” Mike said adjusting the sound. “How is this done?” I asked. “Well,” Rick explained, “I bought this over-the-counter stuff

at the drug store on the way over to pick you up. I’m taking the thing apart and I’ll soak the inside of it with water to get as much of the chemical out as possible. Then I’ll suck the liquid up the needle, find a nice fat vain on your harm, and give you a little poke.” “What’s this stuff called,” Glee wanted to know. Rick told him. “Okay,” he announced, “who wants to go first?” “I will,” Glee said, rolling up his sleeve. As Rick found a vein and inserted the needle, Glee said, “How

long does it…” but his words were cut off as he coughed. Catching him, Rick lowered him to the floor as the rush struck his head like a sludge hammer.

“You’re next, Philip,” he said, “but I think you better sit down on the floor Glee almost cracked his head.”

I felt Ricks fingers probing my arm. “I’m really good at this Phil,” he said; his fingers touching my veins lightly. “I shot speed like this for six months and got really good at hitting veins.”

“That’s good,” I said without any concern, “I’m not worried.” “I’m going to stick you now so get ready.” The needle pricked my skin. I heard the rushing of water far

off in the distance. It sounded like wind blowing through Rocky Mouton pines; fresh, cool, and aromatic. Then I felt the spray of the title wave just before it broke on the cliffs. Something hit my throat and I coughed. The top of my head burst into the sunlight and I felt back on the floor. It was like Old Faithful had just irrupted in my head. I teetered on the edge of consciousness for several minutes but never tipped over the fine line of reality.

“Are you all right?” Sharon was kneeling over me; her face close to mine.

“I’m just great,” I whispered. “It’s like my body is filled with power,” and I sat up. I was totally alive; high voltage energy surged through my veins. Every thought was perfectly clear; sharp; well defined. I could understand things so much better now. I stood and began moving because it was so wonderful to be alive. “Well, how is it?” Rick said. “Man,” I sighed, “this is powerful. I love this stuff…it’s even better than acid.” They all laughed. “Are you sure you feel all right Philip?” Mom asked. “You sure look pail.” “Oh,” I smiled, “I feel great; fine; nothin’ wrong Mom. I’m

gonna go downstairs and fool around,” and I left before she could become even more suspicious.

Glee and I spent the entire night unable to sleep. I tried many times to count myself to sleep, something which always worked, but I never drifted off for even a moment. Thoughts traveled my opened mind at light speed villosities; crisscrossing the universe; touching every star; absorbing vast amounts of wisdom. The power was so electric. Every word I spoke seemed as though spoken with the wisdom of the ancients. I knew myself better than ever before and I couldn’t wait to try this speed again.

“How’d you like the speed last night,” Sharon said on the telephone.

“I really liked it Sharon. Can you take that stuff by mouth or do you always have to shoot it?”

“Well, I guess you could soak it like Rick did and swallow it but it probably tastes horrible because it smells pretty bad.” I filed that information away for future use. “Hey,” she said, “I’m going with my older sister shopping day after tomorrow, Saturday. Would you like to come along?” “I don’t know,” I said hesitantly, “I was planning on

dropping that orange acid we scored on the other day with John. I’ve been wantin’ to trip by myself some Saturday morning just for the fun of it.”

“Well,” she said, “you think about it and if you wanna go, let me know.”

Waking early, I rolled off my bed and shoved my hands deep under the mattress and felt for the tinfoil package. There it was! Extracting it from its hiding place, I carefully unwrapped it; feeling for the tablet of LSD. Pulling my knife from my pocket, I opened the blade and laid the tablet on my desk. I carefully sliced it in half. Picking one of the halves up, I placed it on my tongue and let it dissolve slowly as I rewrapped the remaining piece and returned it to its hiding place. It was 7:00 A.M.

After going upstairs and fixing some breakfast, I went to the basement and lay on my bed waiting for the orange acid to begin taking effect on my mind. “I wonder why they call it orange acid,” I pondered. Sharon had once told me that many times LSD dealers purchased a few ounces of the chemical for several hundred dollars. A bathtub full of LSd could keep the whole country stoned for a year. The pusher then used an eye dropper to squeeze a single drop of the drug on to vitamin C tablets purchased from any drugstore. “That could be true,” I thought, “since the substance I had just swallowed tasted a lot like something orange. My first trip had taken well over two hours before I felt the effects. Since then, however, usually fortyfive minutes to an hour was all that was needed. I sprang the lid on my Braille watch and felt the time. It was 8:00 o’clock. “how much longer this time,” I said to myself impatiently; snapping the crystal shut. The tiny snap sounded like a canon boom. “Well, it’s starting,” I said with a grin.

I noticed the birds outside my basement window. Their songs sounded as though they were coming from a deep canyon; their echoing whistles painting the sky with green, blue, and red silky ribbons. As I listened, their songs with their colorful notes covered the globe circuitously until the earth was wrapped with a decorous web. I smiled as their songs comforted me. A blue bird flapped into the powdery blue dome of the sky and continued his song. Everything suddenly became three-dimensional; his song spray painting everything blue, green, and violet.

Setting up, I noticed my bed for the first time. “Who had made it,” I wondered. “Apparently I had,” I said to myself, my voice sounding as though I were speaking through a long hallow tube. I let my fingers glide over the spread. I could feel every fiber; large and course. “Why hadn’t I ever noticed them before?” Dropping my legs over the side of the bed, like two huge heavy logs, my bear feet crashed to the floor. The carpet design felt flowery beneath my bear feet, like flower petals, and I could likewise distinguish the design with my toes. “Strange,” I thought, “I’d never noticed that before.

Crossing to my desk, I sat and placed my hands on the flat surface. The grain in the wood stood out and it seemed as though I could trace every line with my exploring fingers including the nickel-sized knot in the desk’s center.

I touched the cool metal of my radio equipment. It felt icy as if it had just been pulled from the freezer; frosty and chill. Switching the equipment on, I heard the familiar sounds as the radio came to life. I marveled at all the unique sounds signals had as I tuned the frequencies; some even looking like red and white peppermint sticks as they curled about my thoughts.

Suddenly I heard some familiar voices coming through my speaker. I saw tiny miniatures of my friends standing inside my speaker with tiny microphones talking back and forth. I laughed. Picking up my mic, I broke in; giving my call sign: “This is WA0ORO.”

“Hey, Phil,” Bill said from Miami, “his voice sounding robotic. “How you doin’?”

I listened and talked for an hour with my friends; laughing uncontrollably at times at remarks made in jest. Their words popped out of my speaker like small tickets from a machine which I tore off and read individually. Their sideband signals made them sound like they were calling from outer space. Foam pumped from my speaker at times, bubbles drifted to the ceiling, and ribbons crisscrossed before my eyes as I listened to their conversations.

“Time to listen to some music,” I announced over my radio as though I were a DJ on a local radio station. “You gonna leave us Phil?” Bob asked from the Canal Zone. “Yeah, I’m gonna go play some music. I haven’t done that for awhile,” I said as though confessing a secret sin. “Okay,” he replied, “see you later. “I wanna talk to you on the phone later, Phil,” Ron said his house just a mile from mine. “Ok?” “I can dig it,” I sang and reciting my call sign

perfunctorily, I switched off the equipment and laughed. “they didn’t even know I’m stoned.”

Feeling my way across the room, I found my open reel tape recorder. I had some Country Joe and the Fish on one of the tapes I’d recently recorded and feeling about the recorder, I found it. Threading the tape through the heads, something I thought would be nearly impossible to do stoned, I switched on the recorder and let it warm up. The air that rushed out from beneath the machine as the cooling fan began to spin was cool. A tiny tornado slipped from beneath the machine and drifted silently by my hand. I pinched it between my fingers and it vanished. I pressed the play button and turned up the volume. Nothing but a his came from the speakers built into the machine. It sounded like the ocean rolling into my room. I watched the wave as it approached the beach and heard sea galls squeaking over head. The rush of the wave grew louder as it approached. The damp sand felt warm beneath my feet. The wave was almost on me.

Suddenly the wave rolled over the beach, ran up the beach and swelled about my legs; bubbling, boiling, foaming into sheets of musical sound. Voices mingled with the music, the lyrics floating on the waters shiny surface, and I suddenly realized a song had begun on the tape. The rushing sound had only been the hiss on the tape before the song began to play; amplified a thousand times by the hallucinogenic effects of the drug.

I watch the music unfold from the sides of the tape recorder as though it was paint pealing from the wall. I noticed for the first time I could see through the tiny wholes drilled in the sides of the recorder which allowed sound to escape. I watched all the moving parts of the mechanism through the tiny holes as the belts pulled the gears and turned the capstan and miniature turn tables on which the reels sat. “How fascinating,” I thought. I even thought I saw tiny little men at work laboring to make each part work correctly. “Whadda you know about that,” I hummed. “I never knew they were in there,” and I laughed loudly. I placed my hands on either side of the speaker outlets and felt the music bounce off my palms. My pores dilated and drank in the musical notes spilling from the machine. “What a wonderful device,” I considered, “I can drink sound.”

Leaning forward, I placed my hands on top of the recorder and listened not only to the music drifting up to touch my ears but felt the vibration of the machine itself. I could feel the electricity pass from the machine to my body and I tingled from the sensation. “I’m getting my battery charged,” I giggled. Electrons popped from the pores of my skin and burst into tiny atomic explosions flashing the room into brilliance. When I laughed at the feeling, a cloud of blue translucent butterflies flew from my lips and drifted across the room.

Suddenly, the room began to melt. The music was dripping off the side of the recorder and dropping on to the floor. Everything that was plastic had been super heated and was melting before my very eyes. The heat flashed white from the recorder and I stepped back from the flames. Instantly, everything popped back into place, as though a large rubber band had snapped, and the music continued playing. I had inadvertently placed my hands on top of the revolving reels and slowed the tape. To my ears it had sounded as though everything was melting.

Opening my watch once again, I noticed, if my fingers could be trusted, it was nearly noon. Mom would be home from her job at the doctor’s office soon. I decided to eat some lunch and see what food tasted like stoned. Snapping my watch closed, I listened to the thunder it created roll over the earth and laughed surreptitiously.

Finding a bag of potato chips, I touched the crinkly paper. It sounded like ice breaking. Pulling the bag open, I heard the sky split. Retrieving a single chip which took both hands to lift because of its massive size and weight, I held it to my mouth. I bit into the monstrous chip and heard thousands of pain glass windows breaking. Colors popped like fireworks all around me and swallowing the sharp pieces felt like I had eaten a window pain. “Amazing,” I said to myself. “They never cut me.” I tried milk, water, pop, and orange juice one after another. The milk felt thick, the water tasted like mountain stream, the pop too sweet, and the orange juice made me laugh. Feeling for the breakfast food boxes on top of the refrigerator, I found one and pulling it down, I opened the lid. Slipping my hand into the box, I retrieved something that looked as large as a life preserver. I thrust it into my mouth; not expecting the whole thing to fit, and bit down. It sounded like a board snapping. “Cheereos.” I announced proudly.

There was an explosion at the front of the house. I closed the refrigerator door; its slam a whisper and held my breath. “An airplane must have crashed in our front yard,” I thought. A huge ball rolled around the living room and crashed into the kitchen.

“Oh, hello, Philip,” Mom said. I was going to fix you some lunch when I got home from work but it looks like you’ve already had something,” my Mom said seeing the open bag of chips and the bottle of pop on the counter. “Why is the water running though?” she asked shutting it off.

I had wondered where the sound of that waterfall had been coming from for the past few minutes but never once thought it might be water running in the sink. “Oh,” I said casually, “I was getting a drink. Guess I’ll go downstairs for awhile I said,” my voice sounding way too loud.

Stumbling into my bed and falling into it, I rolled over and laughed. “She had no idea in the world that I was stoned,” I giggled to myself. tiny bubbles escape my lips and floated to the ceiling.

I lay quiet for awhile listening to the sounds of the house as it creaked and groaned from Mom’s footsteps upstairs. “Hey,” I thought, a sun bursting in my head, “what’s it like outdoors?” and I got up to see.

We had a walk-out basement and I pulled at the back door. It creaked and I stepped out. The breeze kissed me sensuously and was perfumed with a sweet scent which I, at first, couldn’t identify. “No wonder they refer to the earth as a she,” I thought. Then I realized the lilacs were in bloom. I drank in the sweet smell and felt my head fill with the powerful scent. The top of my head opened to the sunshine and bloomed like a giant flower; its peddles waving in the warm breeze.

A jet began slowly trekking across the sky; its powerful engine sucking in huge amounts of cold air and thrashing it into ebullient red flames which leaped from the back of the tiny metal plane someone had painted on the sky. “Strange,” I mused, “the sky was only about twenty feet high.” I watched the twin red tails of the jet as they drew a line across the horizon and as the sounds of the engine evanesce, I wondered how it was possible that one could see sound. I heard the trees moving in the warm breeze; their branches creaking. Watching them turn into huge up-sidedown green brooms, I realized trees were for sweeping the sky clean. Fearing I might be drawn into the yard by the magnetism of the sweet scent of the blooming flowers and becoming hopelessly lost in my own backyard, I retreated to the safety of my room. “What a trip,” I said with awe. I wonder how long I was out there.” Though it had been less than five minutes, it seemed an hour.

The basement was cool and I embraced its freshness as I passed through to my bedroom once again. Finding my bed, I crawled over it’s bouncing surface and lay on my back; my hands behind my head. My thoughts drifted in electric waves of flashing rainbows and I watched in fascination as they moved and whirled like a vortex about the room. As I watched, they were sucked into the center of the room and disappeared and I found myself wondering where they had gone. “This is kind of like being in a fish bowl,” I said to myself, not knowing if I had spoken out loud or not.

Suddenly I noticed luminous fish floating in my room. I looked over the edge of my bed and sure enough, golden sand blanketed the floor. Chrome plated sea shells dotted the bottom of the fish bowl and upon closer examination, I spied a shimmering castle looming up out of the shadows on the opposite side of the room. Swimming toward the castle, I floated through the large oak doors and landed on my feet. The cavernous rooms glowed with the luster of gold and red fish darted in and out. I found the home bereft of all life except for a large green turtle slowly crawling laboriously over the ivory floors.

Returning to the main window of the castle, I floated out; narrowly missing a friendly pink seahorse with a shiny black mane. “Hey,” I called, waving my arm. He swam over and climbing on his back, we returned to my bed. When I turned to thank him for the ride, he was gone.

fish floated in slow motion before me blinking bright colors of emerald, ruby, silver, orange, pink, green, blue, violet, and yellow; their mouths opening and closing as though in silent prayer. Seaweed drifted like green aluminum Christmas tinsel just below the surface of the water and the sun pierced one corner of the room; its brilliant yellow creating a shaft of solid light. One fish, swimming right through the golden shaft, turned and with his body bent, smiled at me. I smiled back. An electric purple octopus floated by; his large eyes flashing green; and yellow. He looked exactly like a blow-up toy I once saw in a store. He was so close I reached out and touched him. “Ouch,” he yelped and sucking in a gallon of blue water, he pumped it from his tubes and shot away.

As I watched, the colors began to fade and the water began to swirl toward the center of the room. I looked down and saw a huge bathroom plug being pulled away from the drain. “Hey,” I called, “but it was too late. The plug came free and the water was rushing toward the hole with tremendous force. Two fish were immediately sucked into the hole and seaweed began drifting from the ceiling toward the opening. The rush of the water grew louder and I grabbed the edges of my mattress to keep from being sucked into the boiling water at the room’s center. I watched helplessly as each fish disappeared in to the drain. The castle bent toward the hole from the powerful force of the rushing water against it’s thick walls. Suddenly it broke free of its foundation and hurled itself into the large hole. The sand slid toward the opening and disappeared; leaving the room clean and totally void. I closed my eyes, not wanting to see what had happened, and felt the remaining water rushing over my flesh. It tickled and I began to laugh. When I ceased my laughing moments later, the water was gone and my room was back in place. There was my desk, my radio equipment, my typewriter and telephone. I uncurled my aching fingers from the covers of my bed slowly to insure it was over. I felt no movement about me and sat up. Getting to my feet, I felt for my desk and feeling its hard surface, I breathed a sigh of relief. I laughed again. The dream was over and I still had one trip on my orange acid left.

“Philip,” Mom said from the couch, “have you given any thought to what you’re going to do after you graduate?”

I lay on the carpeted floor in the middle of our living room. The LSD was subsiding slowly like a small summer shower drifting toward the distant horizon. I saw my Mom’s words drift from the couch in faint pastels. The hallucinations had dissipated but I wasn’t in full thought control. “I think about it some Mom I guess but so far I don’t know what I’m gonna do.” Ruth, my youngest sister, now thirteen, was also in the living room.

“Well, I wish you’d think a little more about it and give me some idea of what you want to do. Next year at this time you should be ready to go to college somewhere. Have you thought about going to Bible college?”

“Yeah,” I muttered, noticing the pink sheen of our living room walls for the first time in my life. “I don’t know for sure yet Ma…” I almost said, “Besides, they won’t let me do dope there,” and laughed out loud. “What’s so funny,” Mom wanted to know. My sister and Mom began to argue about something. Their

words were fuzzy cotton balls popping from their mouths and floating about the room. I began to laugh about the funny sounds their words made…like mice arguing. My sister stopped talking and looked down at me as I lay on my back on the floor. “You’ve been acting weird all day and you’ve had that stupid smile on your face too. It wouldn’t surprise me if you were smoking dope or something.”

Laughing even louder, I got to my feet.”Well, I can tell I’m not wanted around here. I think I’ll just go back to where I belong,” and humming a few bars of a Doors song, I left the room, heading for the basement.

Mom had touched a tender spot when she had mentioned college. “What was I going to do,” I wondered later that evening after the effects of the hallucinogen had subsided. In my heart I really wanted to serve God; I wanted to preach the Gospel; I wanted to care for people. “How,” I pondered, “was I going to be able to do that if I was doing dope. Well, I’ll give it up some day. I’m not really hooked on it.” Snapping on my ham radio, I tuned the dial; trying to clear my thoughts of worry.


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