Sunday, September 30, 2012
Salvia X Files: "Little Juno"
The following story starts out rather innocently. It then descends precariously into the depths of salvia space.
Buckle up and enjoy the ride.
The sun had already gone down, and mosquitoes were out and about as I stood impatiently on my front porch. My screen door had been closing erratically, and I was trying to figure out a way to get it to shut properly. That’s when I saw her standing there, her golden hair falling gently over her ears. She was my nine year old next door neighbor. Her name was Juno.
“Why don’t you just oil it?” she asked, a warm smile adorning her inquisitive face.
I glanced down at her four and a half foot frame and answered, “That’s just what I was about to do, Juno.”
“OW!!” she immediately yelled, swiping her right hand across her left shoulder. “A mosquito bit me.”
I stopped fidgeting with the screen door and watched Juno scratching her arm. Then I said, “You better go inside your house before you get bit again.”
“OK, Ken,” answered Juno, already running towards her front door.
She didn’t really live in a traditional house. Neither of us did. We both shared a red brick duplex. I lived in the apartment on the right, and she and her parents lived in the apartment on the left. I had already been there two years before Juno and her parents moved in. I considered them normal neighbors, that is, until a few months ago when Ben, Juno's father, lost his job. That’s about the time I first started hearing arguments from across the wall separating our two living rooms. And lately, while engaging in neighborly talk with Ben, I began to notice the strong smell of alcohol on his breath.
Now it was getting dark. After taking Juno’s advice and applying several drops of oil onto the screen door’s dampening arm, I settled into my living room for an evening of quiet salvia excursions.
I pulled out a small baggie containing some salvia extract. Several months ago, I had decided to combine my 25x salvia with some 10x in order to lessen the potency. And then yesterday, while digging around in a kitchen cupboard, I discovered this small baggie, still containing enough 25x for a good sized bong load.
I figured, “What the hell. I’m gonna smoke this.”
And so I sat in the darkness, in my living room, attempting a pre-trip meditation. My composure was becoming increasingly unsettled because I kept hearing noises emanating from the other apartment. The noises would flare up before quieting down again. Then, while in a pocket of relative silence, I decided to go ahead and fire the shit up. “Lock and load, baby,” I softly whispered to myself.
I flicked the proverbial Bic and watched the dry herb get quickly consumed in an orange flash. Raising my index finger from the small hole atop the wooden bong, I felt like a musician playing a sweet note as I drew the cool smoke into my awaiting lungs.
A mere few seconds later, I grew aware that the 25x was coming on strong -- WAY too strong.
Out of nowhere, I heard a loud noise from the other side of my living room wall.
“Shit, what was that?” I silently blurted to myself, trying to stay composed. But I was already in full trip mode, and the unsettling sound was quickly forgotten.
The blackened room around me was now transforming into a weird, holographic bubble. My mind's eye could see grainy, green, gelatinous globules of electromagnetic energy transforming into a pulsating chair. The chair then pulled away like molasses from my tripping mind. Next, I heard a muffled scream, and my mental eye could see this same green chair being violently thrown across a room, narrowly missing a woman’s face.
“Oh, Fuck!” I thought aloud. “That’s Juno’s mom!”
I was hallucinating heavily now. Sweat was oozing from the pores in my skin. Except for my visual cortex, all the processing in my brain was shutting down. Now my mind's eye could see Ben, Juno’s father. Suddenly, a strange voice in my head asked, “What the fuck is that guy holding in his hand?” My retinas scanned the trail leading down his right arm. Then my heart dropped like a rock when I realized he was clutching a hatchet. Swinging it wildly, he glared down towards a figure across from the kitchen dining table. The terrified figure was Juno.
Choking back the urge to panic, I stuttered to myself, “Oh, man...Oh, man... Is this really happening?"
With the hallucination now peaking in intensity, my mind had seemingly dislodged from my body. I didn’t know who or where I was. The virtual muscles in my mind’s eye were following Ben holding the hatchet as he slowly rounded the kitchen table. Juno’s mother screamed again, her mouth twisting into a sickly combination of fear and defeat. I could actually see vocal waves exiting her mouth. Her scream was like a slowing audible recording, the eerie pitch descending lower and lower.
Temporarily distracted by her mom, Juno quickly turned her eyes back toward her advancing father. His arm, now already in full swing, was cutting an invisible swath toward his daughter’s head.
My still tripping mind watched as the blade made horizontal impact an inch above Juno's eyebrows. As the hatchet entered her skin, a bright red, wet color instantly appeared along the surface of the shiny, sharp blade.
The rapidly unfolding series of events was sucking the air out of my chest. My mind was being whipsawed by salvia molecules as the violence flashed into my visual cortex.
While Ben’s hatchet cut through Juno’s milky white skull, something extraordinary happened. My mind, my brain convulsed revoltingly in a kind of epileptic seizure. Miraculously, Ben’s hatchet had somehow cut a zipper-like demarcation between two separate realities: one reality containing the horror of a murder, and now a brand new alternate reality containing Juno with angels in her head.
The room enclosing Juno seemed to rotate now, and life-like miniature Junos were spilling out of her freshly opened skull. Reaching the floor, the tiny Junos immediately scampered away, disappearing into familiar objects like appliances and doors. They all emptied out of Juno’s head, all except one. My spinning mind’s eye watched as a terrified Juno stumbled out of the kitchen and into her living room. Then I saw her lose consciousness and fall, spilling out the last remaining miniature Juno.
Gratefully, my trip was now past its peak. I slowly opened my eyes and began the process of re-establishing a sense of self. The specter of an unconscious and immobile Juno was still in my hallucinating mind; when, to my startled amazement, I watched as the last tiny Juno suddenly appeared inside my living room. Only five inches tall, she darted across my carpet, and before my body could flinch, the little Juno leapt up and disappeared into the bony flesh just below my right knee.
A wave of conviction suddenly surged through my body. I needed to communicate with someone immediately. Usually, after a salvia trip, I’m compelled to post my experience on the internet. But this was something totally different. I was now feeling a serious urge to speak intimately to a real person on the phone.
I rose up from my chair and immediately tripped over my barbells. Landing on the floor, I crawled on my hands and knees towards where I thought my cell phone would be. It was still dark, and my right hand swept the carpet for the phone. Finally grabbing it, I held it in my hand. The numerical keys radiated a warm glow as I instinctively pressed the numbers 9..1..1.
I only heard soft static at first which was suddenly followed by a woman's voice:
“######## 911. What’s your emergency?”
I squeezed the cell phone tightly.
“Yeah, my name is Ken #####. I live at ## Willow Drive. A few minutes ago, I was tripping and, uh, wait, there’s this man, and he was in a hallucination, but it wasn’t a hallucination…”
The lady interrupted me and asked, “Sir, are you requesting medical assistance?”
“No ma’am, no ma’am. Listen to me. I heard this scream, and it looked like a murder in my head.”
There was a momentary silence at the other end of the line. Then the lady said, “Mr. #####, I’m going to send a city police unit to your location, OK?”
I answered, “OK, OK.” I then pressed ’end’ on my cell phone.
I was already rapidly coming down from the trip as I sat dazed on the floor in the darkness. Staring at the phone, I immediately realized what I had just done.
“Oh, shit." I muttered. "I just called 911. I just called the fucking cops!”
Trying to get a grip, I reminded myself that I hadn’t broken any laws. Salvia divinorum was still legal to possess in Washington state.
“Just cool it, man.” I told myself.
Minutes later, a knock-knocking sound jarred me back to reality. I slowly stood up and made my way to the front door. Sure enough, standing there was a police officer. Further back in my front yard was his partner holding a flashlight. The officer glanced down at his note pad and then brought his eyes back up to mine.
“Hi, are you Ken #####?”
“Yes sir,” I answered.
The officer looked at me intently. He then asked, “Ken, have you been drinking or doing anything else tonight that I should know about?”
I stood there for a second, and with a sigh I replied, “Sir, I was tripping on this stuff called salvia di...”
Before I could finish my sentence, the officers and I heard a muffled noise from my neighbor’s apartment. Suddenly, Juno’s mom burst out of the front door in hysterics, followed closely by her husband Ben chasing her. At that point I think I pissed a little in my pants. The two police officers immediately ran toward Ben and tackled him to the ground. The officer who had been talking to me was using his knee to pin Ben’s arm down. Clutched tightly in Ben’s fist was a shiny, new hatchet.
I walked off my front porch and watched as the officers put handcuffs on Ben. Then a slight movement caught the corner of my eye. It was Juno, apparently unharmed, standing in the darkness on her porch. Hearing her mom screaming out her name, Juno suddenly darted across the front lawn and leapt up into her mother’s arms. Alone, I stood there and watched the two of them embrace.
Shortly afterward, another police officer accompanied by a state social worker drove up to take Juno and her mother away. I raised my hand and waved goodbye to Juno. She did likewise. Watching the car back out of the driveway, I figured I would probably never see them again. I was right. A week later, a moving van would come and empty out their apartment.
And so I turned around, stepped up onto my front porch, and entered my apartment. Walking into my living room, I could hear the screen door closing slowly and smoothly behind me.