Indie Author Answers #45: Stupid Blogging

Is blogging worth it? I talk about the state of blogging and apologize for being a dick on last week’s show. Mea culpa.

 

 

21: Alex

 

I clutch the sides of the sink in the bathroom until I can no longer feel my hands because I fear if I let go I might fly up and hit the ceiling. My heart screams in my chest so much that I hardly can hear anything else. Tha-bump. Tha-bump. Tha-bump. My sinus passages feel clogged, and my throat numb. I stare at the inside of the sink, as little droplets of blood fall from the end of my nose to the basin. Splot. Splot. Splot. The droplets of blood flow into pools and mix with the running water to form strings of pink and red as they circle the drain. Fractals and other patterns emerge in the streams. That one looks like a windmill. That one looks like argyle. As the designs swirl, the colors spread and change, the droplets of my vitality turning grey, and orange, then red, then black, palpitating between each different hue.

I look at myself in the mirror, and I don’t recognize the face looking back; it appears to be that of a stranger. My pupils have dilated like two black marbles inside thin white rings. The eyebrows look wrong; too thin. Acne covers my forehead. Dirty stubble has replaced my spiky blond hair.

Is that me? How can it be? That’s not what I look like. If it’s not me, then has someone else come in the bathroom and found a way to enter the mirror and match my every movement?

You’re going to die. You’re going to die in this bathroom prison, and you don’t even recognize your own reflection.

“I don’t know who you are,” I say to the reflection in the mirror, except when I watch my lips move, they don’t seem to match up to the words. The lip-syncing is off, like a poorly dubbed movie. It’s not real.

Do the hearing and speaking parts of the brain connect, or are they two separate areas? Can I hear and say something different at the same time? If the hearing and speaking parts have severed, did I cause that and is there a way for me to fix it or am I always going to be unable to connect those functions? I worry that thinking on these things will spread the synapses further apart.

I release my grip on the sink and stumble backwards towards to the toilet, sitting down with a thud. My limbs and torso have become exceptionally dense, and I don’t know if I can rise to my feet ever again. I’m an elephant. Not literally, that would be crazy. I just feel as heavy as one.

I know the LSD worming its way through my brain is causing all of this, but I don’t understand why I can’t make it stop. Just stop. I want this to be over. Stop tripping. Be normal. Stop being high.

I am no longer in control of my body. I am trapped inside it. Without warning, my chest lurches and the alien trying to escape my stomach roars as I vomit on the floor. Some of it only makes it as far as my throat, and I gulp that back down. Like swallowing fire, I moan from the burning, acidic sensation. A tingle signals the activation of my salivary glands, and rivers of spit fill my mouth. I lean over and let the spit dribble out. Drip drip drip. I look down on the vomit on the floor and see mutating fractals again. Hello there.

Some form of ordered chaos exists in the patterns. Did I create the fractals here, or do they live there already, and I just discovered them?

The fractals in the vomit radiate colors, shifting from brown and green to blue and orange and back again. In the fractals, I see the answer to every question I’ve ever had. Now if I just had the key. I can’t translate.

Tonight was the scariest thing I have ever experienced. I want it all to be over. I want to sleep. I now fully accept that I have overdone it tonight. I have never taken acid and Ecstasy together before, and it was a terrible idea. Did I mean to take all of that at once? To slip the tongue is to understand the secret contained within the contraption. How could I have willingly done this? I don’t remember putting those substances in my body, but I must have done so.

What did I do before this? I feel like I have always been tripping and nothing before this feeling ever existed. How did I get to Dave’s house tonight? Did I drive? The journey must have been entirely on autopilot.

I lower myself from the toilet to the floor, trying to avoid the pulsing, ever-changing mess I’ve made. I curl up on my side and enjoy the sensation of cold tile against my arms and head. The tile pushes against me as I push against it. Action and reaction. I wonder if the tile stopped pushing, could I hold up both sides of the equation, or would I sink into the floor? How far down would I go? Equal and opposite. I posit. I posit a theory about the floor and will seek out the fractals to debate the merits.

A knock at the door. “Britton, you in there?” a voice says. Possibly Wiles. “Let me in, son, I gotta piss.”

 

***

 

Alex slept for a while on the cold tile of the bathroom floor. How long, he could not say. When he awoke, he still felt high, but not as scared or as bewildered as before. Now, more than anything, he wanted to go home and sleep in his own bed. The challenge being that he actually had to get up, and take action.

Wash your face, get your car keys, and leave.

He washed his face with cool water from the sink. He glanced at his reflection in the bathroom mirror, and the face still looked wrong, but did not seem as alien as before. He exited the bathroom and returned to the living room, where Wiles, Dave, and a few others watched TV. Wiles said something to Alex that came across as a muddle of unrelated syllables, and Alex grabbed his keys and walked out the front door.

Driving home, he did his best to concentrate on keeping the yellow centerline steady and staying within the speed limit. He began on the highway, but had a near-panic attack when he thought a cop was following him, but it turned out to be just a taxi. He exited the highway, deciding that back roads would be safer. Back roads may be light on traffic, but they were also light on streetlights, and Alex kept his eyes peeled for each green street sign to guide him on his way.

He got lost somewhere in Broomfield, and had to pull into a gas station for directions. The gas station attendant gawked at him and kept asking Alex if he felt okay to drive, although he eventually told him how to find Boulder. He only wanted this night to be over so he could sleep. He went off the road twice, but fortunately did not hit any trees or fences. Just ditches, no big deal. Although nerve-wracking, Alex kept telling himself that he had done this many times before, and that all he needed was trust in himself.

Back in Boulder, when he arrived at the apartment complex, he eased the car into the first available parking spot, a couple of buildings down from his apartment. He stumbled out of the car, so exhausted that he barely could stay upright. The LSD still lurked around his brain, his bones were made of glass, and one wrong step might shatter his foot or knee. Careful. He weaved through cars in the lot, trying not to bump into any of them, which might set off a car alarm. He cringed at the thought of loud noises.

Only a few more steps to the stairs leading to his apartment, but something caught his eye. A girl, blurry but familiar. He squinted until the halos around her converged, and then he recognized her. Megan. Megan Wiles, in the parking lot. That would be curious enough, but even more puzzling that she stood there with Brian. They both were leaning against her car, beaming at each other.

Alex’s acid hallucinations were never vivid, real-life imagery like the proverbial dancing pink elephants; they were more like tricks of light and color such as shadows dancing on a wall from a candle in an otherwise darkened room. The scene before him appeared real enough, but Alex supposed it possible he could still be tripping hard enough to be imagining all of it. Not likely, but possible.

Then something happened that confirmed what he saw could not conceivably be happening in real life. Brian took Megan in his arms and kissed her. Not just a small kiss, either. They locked faces and made out for a half-minute or more. His roommate’s slimy mouth all over the forbidden fruit. Alex barely comprehended any of this scene.

That’s Wiles’ brother’s wife. What in the fuck is my roommate doing making out with her? Am I really seeing this?

 

 

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