My Ancient High on Acid Adventure ~ SBA/RR Challenge: Music

The bar had gotten crowded and close, was getting downright pungent, when the lights dimmed, the headliner band announced. The LSD our group had taken on the walk over to the club was just kicking in - for me, a highly unusual state of events. When acid was offered earlier that evening I’d thought back to the only other time I’d tried it, a little bit shared a with a co-worker years before; the only effects seemed to be lightweight, some laughter, with a few flowers that danced off the curtains now and then. I worked three jobs, it had been a long week. So, I said Sure, some flowers dancing might be fun. Famous last words. 

Back at the bar, the band, The Butthole Surfers, were just getting going and they were as awful as I’d feared. (It had taken a lot more convincing to get me to come see this band than it did to take the acid, I must admit.) I hated them. 

Within a couple notes of a song (and a few more minutes of LSD kicking in) I felt as if I’d traveled to an alien world; on stage there were pale, sweaty, thin people bouncing and thrashing, one singer (could he really be called a singer?) yelling at times and making moaning, eery noises other times through a bullhorn while wearing grey-ish tighty-whitey underwear and I think a short sleeved plaid shirt, unbuttoned, mostly covering a set of too-prominent ribs. 

As I turned my head to look elsewhere, anywhere, previously inanimate objects decided to trail along with my vision as it swirled around the room. The smoky layer hovering at the ceiling grew thicker; a fog machine kicked on, the mist rose, twirling and blending with the smoke. Various neon signs hung around the bar were pulsing and bulging, throbbing. I couldn’t see EXIT anywhere. I swallowed hard, anxiety rising. 

I stood up and banged my legs against the table edge, spilling the entire round of drinks just brought over. I meant to apologize but grew fascinated by the liquid rivers that foamed, trails fanning out like an estuary. I focused closely to see if the table really was rippling as the spilled drinks spread, seemingly carving mini canyons right through the table top. Behind me, the bullhorn echoed and surged.

I had to get out of there. I walked away from the mess at the table and started toward what I thought might be the door, but the band’s new song transformed into twisted notes that stretched lazily out to lick me; bars of sixteenth notes turned black double-snakes wafted through the air toward me. Was that a black double-tongue flicking? Did something grab my arm? I smelled something burn. 

Walking faster to get away from the cacophony of notes-turned-eery-entity, I grew more and more sure the world was ending. NO, it had ended, this was what was left. 

I stumbled into a couple walking by, I apologized, then flat-out panicked to find they’d barred my way. They had a snake! No, a leash. A dog leash hooked into the spiked neck of one of the couple, that’s what barred my way. Spikes were growing out of his neck. He was a mutant restrained by a leash! Then he stood up; he’d been crawling along on knee pads; the only other thing he wore, a black leather thong. It matched the other guy’s full leather face mask. Today I might just smile at their theatrics but this was 1985 and I’d never seen anything like them. There were spikes growing out of the guy’s neck. And, the acid.

I closed my eyes; to stop the spinning, to change the film, to take it all back. But closing my eyes just made the world dizzy. And now everything smelled like smoke, like something burning: cigarettes, pot, stale bodies, fog machine, musical notes. 

Suddenly, my senses were super-powers. I could smell smells from miles away. Super-power senses in a waking nightmare; I could hear the walls whisper and mock. I could hear them, even as the bullhorn howled. I felt eyes on me. Like, the eyes, they were *on* me. I found the door and ran outside.

Gratefully breathing fresh air, I leaned against the outside wall of the bar. The bricks pulsed with Butthole Surfer bullhorn. I stepped away. 

My eyes focused; I could see the brightly lit panorama of downtown Atlanta off in the distance. I began to relax and enjoy the fireworks that seemed to explode from the skyscrapers’ lights. Until I saw the clouds of smoke billowing from all the fireworks and the lights. Until the helicopters that swooped in, converging, circling around and around my hometown. Then explosions, more billows of clouds. 

Oh my god, the world *was* ending. Our city was being bombed! The world was ending! I should run back inside. No way am I running back inside!

Things get murky from there. 

I know I need to warn the others; my scrambled mind tries to make an escape plan — I’ll rescue people! — but I can’t seem to walk back inside. I can’t stay out here. I can’t go back in there. There are mutants. The torturous noise. The bombs! It’s all over, anyway.

The world is ending, the world is ending. 

I kept staring at the destruction downtown.

Eventually, someone came looking for me, but when I pointed out the disaster happening to our city, it was as if the lights had suddenly gone out. Only clouds of smoke were rising that didn’t look menacing at all anymore. They looked like clouds.

We eventually made our way toward home, my mind whirring about the end of the world happening inside that bar that night, the end of the world happening outside the bar that night. Did I imagine it all? Or was I the Chosen One who received the visions? This was our destiny and only I knew? This was the future? Strange wisps of bullhorn echo followed my thoughts. The road undulated under my feet, sometimes catching me before I fell, sometimes tripping me up on purpose. I heard the asphalt laugh.

When I finally fell asleep, safe at home, I was certain it might be for the last time.

The next day I woke up to someone banging on the door. Seconds of terror, then I heard our friend rush in, laughing and shouting.

“You won’t believe it!”

He leaped on the bed, jumping, waving the newspaper about. 

“Last night Chuck Norris was filming a movie! Downtown wasn't being bombed! It was a movie! You’re *not* f — ing insane!! Oh, thank god, thank god, I thought you’d f — ing lost it for sure. Brain-fried. Soup.” He makes slurping sounds. I feel nauseous.

Then… I am enveloped by BLISS. The world is Not ending! This beautiful, beautiful world! 

“I love You!” I shout. “I love you!” jumping on the bed. Laughing. Alive from my core to the ends of my being. Superpower level alive. We decide to celebrate.

“I’m going to plant flowers and paint paintings and make beautiful things!”

We decide to immediately go get supplies. We hit the garden store first. I’m amazed I feel so great, not one bit of leftovers from taking LSD the night before…

 I walk in the door of the garden store — and freeze. I can’t move, the world is spinning so fast.

The colors are so intense! 

There are flowers, dancing everywhere!

(…and no more LSD for Anna.)

Views: 211

Comment by koshersalaami on Sunday

Acid may do one interesting thing. Apparently there’s a function inside our brains that makes us feel at one with everything around us (or maybe to see that we are at one with everything around us) and it’s normally too buried for us to access it. I once read an article (I don’t think it was a whole book) by a brain surgeon or perhaps psychiatrist who had a stroke and was able to report in detail from the inside of it. One thing the stroke did, at least for a while, was to block whatever normally prevents easy access to that feeling. She loved that feeling.

I agree about the likelihood of the Chuck Norris movie while you were tripping. Sometimes coincidences are really wild. 

Comment by Rodney Roe on Sunday

I never partook, but my daughter described an awful experience, and feeling like she was made out of wood and couldn't move. 

My connection with reality always seemed too tenuous to try it. :-)

Comment by Boanerges on Sunday

Never dropped acid, so I can't relate directly. Did do other stuff equally ... um ... liberating. Or so I imagine. Or imagine I imagine. What was the question again?

Comment by Anna Herrington on Monday

Good morning ~

Didn't mean to disappear, the internet was down for most of yesterday....

Back soon.

Comment by Julie Johnson on Tuesday

You promise?  

Comment by Maui Surfer on Tuesday

https://youtu.be/P6KEgf7-1vY

The Buttholes have a distinct audience, there is a certain punk/f the world thing they've got say ... it is not for you, surely.

Comment by Rodney Roe on Tuesday

You’re brief description of how awful you thought their (the Butthole Surfers) music was reminded me of an open mike venue in Gastonia, NC. Every kind of band came including some garage band. They got on stage, hooked up their instruments, then hit a discordant strum and all began whaling away at their guitars and screaming something unintelligible into the mikes. Suddenly the lead screamer signaled stop and began retuning his guitar. My friend muttered, “Why would he bother?”

i’m more Into funk than punk.

Comment by Maui Surfer yesterday

Now, watching Parliment/Funkadelic on Acid, that would be a trip! Never Buttholes again :)

Comment by Anna Herrington 17 hours ago

I haven't been able to get online for a couple days now - and typing by phone pad is just not happening. Sorry.

Maui, yes, no more B-Hole Surfers  : )  My absolute favorite Atlanta band was pretty funkadelic: Mother's Finest. Dang, they were and still are I hear, just fantastic.

Rodney, I was willing eventually even though the band name was enough to think I'd not like them.... but this same person got me into Wall of Voodoo, The Doors, and even Johnny Cash although not quite directly, so, I gave them a whirl.  "Ugghh" is my official review.

I even found somebody else's High on Acid at the ButtHole Surfers post over on Medium, found under a punk rock tag accidentally, although they liked the band. I just hadn't then or still now been that edgy in musical taste. I mean, I like Norah Jones. The Wood Brothers. And still, Mother's Finest, found a bunch of their stuff on YouTube. Hilarious early 80s costumery in some - and just excellent musicians, imho, no matter the year.

Julie, I want to re-read and write a paragraph in reply to you  : )  Have a meeting this morning and then yes, I promise I'll come back. It was internet issues this time... although I can and do disappear when I hit peak internet. Just not this time  : )

Bo, kosh, thanks for coming by  : ) kosh, I remember something about that....

and Rodney, yeah, two times was enough for me with most things. I got the wooden feeling with mushrooms, freaked out about the woodstove arriving at my yurt while living on one of the communes up in Olympia. 'The woodstove is good' I had to keep chanting to myself. Just a ridiculous state of affairs. Never again, there, either.

But I must admit, alcohol I think is worse than anything, pretty much, as far as my own body's reaction to it and how many are taken down by it. HORRIBLE. And meth I ought to add, which I've never been around but my first husband almost went down for good, thanks to it. Meth was so bad I was relieved to hear he'd moved on to heroin, that's how nuts heavy drug use can be: when you're glad the user is not doing meth but heroin, instead. AGGHH.

My life and my people around me are all clean living types these days.

The rest all happened decades ago.

Comment by Rodney Roe 16 hours ago

Anna, clean living has come to me through responsibility, maturity, and just plain old age.  The last place I was out and about into the wee hours was Memphis, and I was in my late thirties then.  Except for Jerry Lee, who took anything and everything then I hear, the music scene was not affected much with hallucinogenic drugs.  They went straight from weed to cocaine and heroine.  I went to a place one night, Grasshoppers, I believe, and the guitar player signaled to someone in the audience who came up to the sate with a mirror and the guitarist did a line of coke in front of everybody.  I headed for the door and the place was closed down within a week.  I was lucky in that I always seemed to have the sense to bail just before things got bad.  Not always, but mostly.

We live a couple of hours from Atlanta, and have for 9 years.  I've never been there except to go to the airport.

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