A cat set on simmer just before the eruption of an earthquake

0

Jeremy attempts to instruct me on how to compose myself if I ever take acid.

“You might hear or see something grotesque,” he tells me. “Something that will make you want to run and hide. Wrong move. Make sure to bring something along with you, something to focus on like an object. Something you can hold and maybe even hug. And make sure it’s something you could conceivably carry around with you all night.

“Because sometimes that happens.”

All I can do is nod in awkward agreement.

I’ve made the mistake of admitting to Jeremy that I’ve made it to my mid-thirties without dabbling in LSD. He has become both livid and excited that there is a debaucherous pastime that I am brazenly unaware of. This seems ridiculous, considering that we are in a bar, and I am drunk.

I try to explain to Jeremy that the reason I’m friends with him is because he is only mildly self-destructive, and that he allows me to hitch a ride on his coked-out coattails so that I may experience things I would want very little to do with otherwise.

Like acid.

“Dude,” says Jeremy. “How the fuck have you not taken acid?”

My previous psychedelic experience happened during a high school house party where everyone with an iota of derring-do dropped their first tab. Everyone except for me. Hours later, everyone is watching Michael J. Fox hit mega-puberty as Teen Wolf, and are having their collective minds blown.

“They’re all wolves,” drawled one particularly strung out pal. “But they’re people!”

The rest of the night revolves around discussions of werewolves, girls and more drugs. Having been raised to be squeamish of such indulgences, I instead opt for vodka and cream soda, and subsequently miss out on having my own revolving doors of perception kicked open by a tiny tab of paper and a lycanthropic basketball star stud.

Jeremy, pissed that I’ve never indulged in this hazy rite of passage, seems determined to get me on drugs. Or at least his version of them.

“Make sure you have someone around you are comfortable talking to,” he says, feeding me more advice that I will never use. “Someone you can babble on with for days.

“Because sometimes that happens.”

The thought of being forced into social purgatory is enough to make me raise an eyebrow. Not that I am actually considering dropping acid, but taking drugs is one of Jeremy’s favourite things. And having been blessed with both an ironclad mind and zest for partying, it’s also something he is exceptionally good at. Luckily, I can convince him into accepting the occasional boozy drink, which he imbibes with a weird, and hilarious sense of reluctance.

I order another round and when it arrives Jeremy sniffs at his beer dubiously, eyes it up like it’s about to catapult out from the pint glass and bore into his skull. A whiff of terror begins to bead on his forehead and he starts to fidget, like a cat set on simmer just before the eruption of an earthquake. I watch this theatrical display with begrudging amusement. Somehow, despite our differences, Jeremy and I still get along.

For the next hour I attempt to school him in the finer points of alternating between pints of stout and whisky – an arena where I can actually compete with him and win. Making it past last call, we are ushered outside by the bartender.

“You’re driving,” I burp.

“Me?” replies Jeremy. “No way.”

“Dude, you’ve had like one and a half beers,” I sputter. “I had to finish your last pint for you!”

“Yeah, but I accidentally took your half of this tab,” he says slowly and deliberately, sticking out his tongue.

“So where to next?” he sniffs.