Chapter 2: Taking a Trip

The days of the festival played on in a similar fashion, but I learned my lesson not to incapacitate myself with weed brownies, nor with Molly, which showed her face one evening.

Eventually we were on the final day. It was a particularly balmy day for May in upstate New York. My buddy mysteriously retreated into the tent.

It couldn’t be in an attempt to retreat from the heat, I thought to myself. The tents burn up like colorful pizza ovens in this weather.

I watched with curiosity as my friend fished around in his pack, the same curiosity that lured me all the way out here in the first place. A curiosity for finding bliss in this life.

He quietly summoned me into the toasty tent. He held a tiny strip of paper, no thicker than construction paper. With careful hands, he cut off a piece and placed it carefully into my open palm.

Man, it was small. Like really small. It was the size of a quarter… of my fingernail…of my pinky finger.

“This is it?!” I asked in disbelief. I expected it to be bigger, and alarmingly green, like some goopy slime that I saw on Nickelodeon as a kid.

LSD. There was no green to be had here, but I looked a little closer and noticed a modest, yellow drop that had dried in the middle, like an ant making a sad attempt at a watercolor painting.

“That’s it. You might want to take half now, and half later, it’s up to you. I’m taking it all now,” he replied.

I asked my friend the cautious but curious rundown. What would I see? Is acid addictive? How does it feel?

“You might see the trees in the distance move like a wave. Things will look pretty weird,” he lightly cautioned me.

Another friend chimed in behind us, “Just stay in the moment. Keep your head up. Don’t think too much, or you’ll have a bad trip.”

Bad trip? What? What if I didn’t have control, like my pot legs that became unruly on the first night?

My curiosity burned as hot as this tent. I held in my palm the potent adventure that alcohol and weed had never taken me to. It was the rumored fuel of lavish stories like Alice in Wonderland and the artistic expression of psychedelic artists. It promised a hallucinogenic, sensory journey that affected everyone a bit differently. The curiosity of an acid trip washed over me like the Nickelodeon slime of yesteryear.

Besides, how much could a tiny little piece of paper really do?  Feeling the assurance of being with friends, that we were all doing it together, and that one of them who has done it before was taking a fractional dosage— a”quarter tab”—so he could keep tabs on us, I felt I was ready.

After some subtle, non-verbal, “Did you take yours?” looks at one another and discreet nodding, I watched as one-by-one our group of six accepted the adventure of crossing boundaries into a new realm. One you don’t simply walk out of.

Hoping for more than a sequel as a molasses-covered Gumby, I carefully placed the whole tab under my tongue.

Nothing could have prepared me for what was to come.