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: 284

Comment by Anna Herrington on April 14, 2018 at 11:37pm

Now, this was a really long time ago.....

'Night, folks  : )

Comment by Ron Powell on April 15, 2018 at 5:49am

You're lucky. There are people whose minds became forever warped and scarred from such experimentation. Be thankful that you came through that episode with your head intact and serviceable.

Comment by Steel Breeze on April 15, 2018 at 6:44am


Comment by koshersalaami on April 15, 2018 at 6:51am

I never dropped acid because I was afraid of it. I knew weed could distort time sense from experience but that the distortion was pretty mild and didn’t last all that long. I figured that an unpleasant experience that lasted for twelve hours or so with severe time distortion could feel like an unending nightmare and it wasn’t worth going there. Not that that happened while I was around friends who were tripping. 

I eventually learned what else it could distort. When I was a few years out of college, a friend of mine came to Georgetown (in DC) where I lived to visit me and brought a friend of hers. They dropped acid, my friend being inexperienced and her friend not so. They wanted to go out on the street and I thought I should go along to keep them out of trouble. We get to a market to do some shopping - I’m pretty sure they were hungry - and as I’m paying for things or just after the guy behind the counter accuses one of the girls of shoplifting a candy bar. I’m saying “Why? I’m paying for a bunch of stuff, all she’d have to do is put it on the counter and I’d buy it.” He hesitated, said “......O...K....” and left it at that. We got back to my apartment and the girls told me they had shoplifted it. I was surprised because my friend was very straight-laced that way, this was way out of character. She told me “We were into being imps.” (Her friend was not straight-laced at all.) Glad I was there, as a minor chemically-induced shift in perspective could have gotten my friend arrested. 

I walked back to the store and paid for the candy bar. No point in having the girls worry at that point or having the local shopkeeper suspicious of me. 

What a weird confluence of events - experiencing all this completely unusual stuff that was actually happening around you while you were tripping. Makes it difficult to figure out what to trust. 

Comment by Anna Herrington on April 15, 2018 at 8:17am

Mornin' ~

Thanks for the read and comments  : )  

Ron, I never had a stern 'dad' talking to as my father died too young for it. Thank you for giving me what felt like my first one. (said lightheartedly!)

To assure you, while I definitely had a wild period in my teens and early twenties while unconsciously running from childhood events, I was never reckless, no matter what impression this story gives. My then boyfriend, however, he was pretty reckless, he's the one who paid the heavy price for experimentation. I'm just sensitive to all things including novocaine, so the tiny amount of LSD I ingested that night threw me for a loop.

And that was it for LSD for me, no need for any portals to different universes, I discovered that night..... other than the family story of my parent's therapist who tried to convince them to do acid therapy for their own benefit. Dad was into it, my mom refused. The therapist was Timothy Leary. 

Having lived on the fringe (of society, for lack of better words for it - not with drugs) for a long while in later years though, I do know a few who weren't so light and sparing with drugs, and many did not do so well at all.

You're right, I was lucky that was not my path.

SB, thanks : )

Kosh, I tried almost everything once or twice, but nothing ever appealed more than that. I don't like to drink, loathe it, as a matter of fact, but did love low grade pot. It was the best ADHD medicine I ever found. I never got what other people call 'high.' I think I'm normally spaced out and jump from thought to thought, have a hard time focusing. Pot made me focused, organized and busy. That has been backed up by medical evidence over the years, that low grade pot's good for some ADHD types. But then even that eventually changed, for me.

For years this LSD story was told while laughing, it's always been a lighthearted, funny story of crazy circumstance. Only in writing this last night did the details that actually made it as scary as it was at the time came back out in my mind - writing can do that...

...and now I just remember how glad I was to be alive the next day. That has continued to this day : )

Comment by Anna Herrington on April 15, 2018 at 8:22am

...and The Butthole Surfers is still the absolute worst 'music'/band I've ever seen or heard. That is my true regret right there, that I ever was talked into going to see those guys.... but I'd been talked into many a band before and had wonderful times, so.... hindsight is 20/20. ... And there's a crazy story that's lasted for well over three decades now.

Comment by koshersalaami on April 15, 2018 at 8:40am

It’s worth it for the story. I mean the Butthole Surfers. 

I’ve seen some pretty bad bands. (Black Oak Arkansas comes to mind.) But what I saw was mainly bad as I had no desire to check out actively offensive. 

I didn’t know that about low grade pot and ADHD. That might be interesting. I definitely got high; I guess what friends gave me wasn’t low grade. I never liked it enough to seek it but when you live with people who smoke and they offer, I’d do it. Then I restricted it to Fridays and Saturdays because I noticed I felt fuzzy the next day and I didn’t like working while feeling like that. But I haven’t since probably the late seventies. I wasn’t around it for a few years. Since then it’s been available a lot because I played with musicians and they smoked. At first I wasn’t around it because I played with the wrong musicians - Renaissance and Baroque music, and only one of them got high that I remember. Then I played with a five piece jazz standards group with female vocal. They got high at rehearsals but I wouldn’t touch it, in part because my wife and I were trying to adopt domestically and I didn’t want to risk anything screwing it up and in part because I always had to drive home and I drive too much for a living to risk anything behind the wheel - shifting the odds isn’t worth it. I need my attention and timing to be reliable. 

Comment by Anna Herrington on April 15, 2018 at 11:07am

I love your comment, Monkey, just reading the paragraph is plenty enough for me. Acid turned out not to be something I liked, either. I felt portals to other universes were *not* what I wanted or needed. Life as is thrills me enough  : )

But I really do like this story. What is the likelihood a Chuck Norris movie would be filming the bombing of Atlanta just at that time I happened to be running outside to escape the end of the world? HA!

Comment by Anna Herrington on April 15, 2018 at 11:09am

Am going to add a couple more entries today if I have the chance, weekend is family time over here, too, but today it's rather 'cold' around here. Writing seems like a great idea.

Will come around and read everyone's entries, too, asap ~

Comment by koshersalaami on April 15, 2018 at 12:25pm

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. 


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