Raegan and I were standing atop the rocks at Whipple Hill, a hundred acres of woodsy conservation land back in Lexington, MA, my hometown. Raegan was giddy, skipping along, insistent something wonderful would happen. I decided to take her word for it. Just a week before, her mom had forbidden her from seeing me, after an incident involving a party and a drug deal gone bad. But it wasn’t my idea. I was having an asthma attack, thanks to their dog, and the guy that saw me pop one assumed they were something else, apparently, and offered me five bucks, and things kind of progressed from there. Next thing I know, everybody wants one. First off, the guy was a dick and totally deserved it, and second off, I needed the money. But even though her mom had forbade her from seeing me, Raegan said, She never said anything about not seeing me with her third eye. At the time, this didn’t make much sense to me. I thought maybe she was talking about her vagina. In any case, I wasn’t about to turn back.
I still don’t get why we need the orange juice? I asked.
The vitamin C, she said, It increases the absorption.
It makes them better. Stronger. Something like that.
It makes what better?
You know, psilocybin. Magic mushrooms. It’ll be great. We’re going to shroom in the woods.
I don’t do drugs.
These aren’t drugs, they’re mushrooms. They’re totally natural.
Everything’s natural. Hemlock’s natural. Technically speaking, nuclear waste is natural.
And then, like that great Claymation dog Goliath, I said, Are you sure this is a good idea?
Then, suddenly, she was on me, plunging her tongue deep into my mouth. Which wasn’t something I was used to necessarily but was on the whole pretty hot regardless. Until I realized her tongue tasted like a bag of shit.
I pulled away and she left me chewing on a mouthful of what I could only assume were actual pellets of dung, just like Houdini and the key. I know you don’t know what that means, so I’ll explain. See, before Houdini would get locked in that tiny milk can, he would open his hands and run them all along his body, demonstrating he didn’t have anything on him. But before finally squeezing himself in there, he would give his assistant (who also happened to be his wife) a passionate farewell kiss. And then she would lock him in the can, close the curtain, then — ABACADABRA! — the curtain spreads and there he stands, dripping, unchained, and alive.
The secret was this: when they kissed, she passed him the key. From her mouth to his. Simple as that. Only Houdini didn’t have any problem holding onto the key. As for me, I was gagging.
Don’t spit them out! Raegan said. They’re supposed to be disgusting. They grow in cow shit.
Maybe you could have told me that before you regurgitated them into my mouth!
She handed me a VeryFine OJ, the bottle with the Styrofoam-wrap. Then she took out a small Ziploc filled with something that looked to be mulch, pinched half of it into her hand, and tossed it into her own mouth like they were Oreos.
Nature’s candy, she said.
I chewed as quickly as I could. And yet it wasn’t quick enough. It was like eating wood chips dipped in a shit salsa. It sent out a pretty strong signal this was not meant to be eaten—much like the orange caterpillar or the colostomy bag. Again, I started to gag. It was not at all reminiscent of food.
Come on, pussy! Raegan said. Swallow! Use the juice!
I summoned up all the power within me to open my throat and push the substance down. It was Herculean.
Delicious, I said, wiping my mouth on my sleeve, leaving a stain. What’s for desert?
We sat awhile and talked about Pittsburgh and then she recommenced with the kissing.
How much mushroom did we just do? I asked.
Raegan shrugged, How mush muchroom?
Seriously, how much?
I don’t know, she said. I never did them before. Enough.
You never did them before? So why are we doing them now?
I thought it would be fun. I heard good things. The ancient Aztecs called them “the flesh of the Gods.” You need to relax. You’re headed down a bad path. This stuff will alter your view of reality.
Yeah, seems great. If you’re into that sort of thing.
Shit, don’t tell me. You’re into reality the way it is?
I guess I just always worried maybe I’d turn into my brother or something.
Do you want to come under my coat? So you can feel me?
She unbuttoned, then took my hands and wrapped them around her body, dramatically improving the quality of my path. So much so, I wondered if any of this was even possible, or if I were only just imagining things. Because how could it be, given the enormity of time and space, that I, little Stevie Brykman, already lucky enough just to be a conscious being, was now in the process of making out with a totally cool chick, mushrooms or no. My cosmic gratitude was expanding by the second. I was opening new shakras. Why had I even been given the privilege of existence to begin with? That alone was enough to be thankful for. But now, on top of all that, this totally hot girl?
Did you know I can taste red? She said.
Woah, I said, That’s, like, trippy dippy, man.
No, for real. I can taste the food coloring. It’s gross. It makes me puke.
And then, as if on cue, I threw-up. Power of suggestion, I guess.
Oh God, Raegan said, I’m sorry.
Jesus, no, I said, It’s not you.
Then my mouth dried up and I longed for more orange juice. But then, as I shook my empty bottle, hoping to somehow gather a few loose drops, I was suddenly uprooted. I ceased to be a physical being. I melded with all of space and time. I stared at the bottle for what may have been an hour. How it was possible glass could come from sand? That the Earth could bear nuclear waste as its fruit? Maybe we were supposed to be making all this plastic. Then I looked up and the clouds were fractalated frigate ships afloat upon a roiling sea.1
Oh, come on, I said. This is so cliché.
Shrooming in the woods? She said.
This whole fractal thing. The sky’s a giant Hendrix poster.
The guy with the puppets?
Muppets. And no.
Did I just say that? Raegan said, Hendrix poster?
No, I did. And that’s Henson.
Because, I’m watching you say things, but at the same time, I’m saying them. I’m looking at you, but I am you!
Okay, now that’s freaky. What you just said, that was nuts.
See? I just said that!
Wait. What did I say?
And then she laughed for no reason. And then I laughed for no reason. Because between the two of us we had no reason left.
Then I forgot what clothing was. I forgot there was clothing. I forgot I had a body. I forgot everything I knew: who I was, how I was. Freud2 would say my ego was being suppressed. Or that I was dissociating. One of the two. I floated upwards, into the ether, and it scared me. “Sociate,” I told myself, “Sociate!” I talked myself down enough to realize we were making-out again. We were heavily making-out. How bad could things be?
At his autopsy, they found that Einstein’s brain weighed ten times that of an average brain. Also, it had gone completely black.
What does that have to do with anything? Raegan asked.
I don’t know. It just popped into my head. Something my dad once told me.
Is it true?
I have no idea. I’m just thankful I remembered something. Hold on, something’s wrong with my eyes. I can’t see anything. Is it getting dark?
Maybe you’re suffering from hysterical blindness, Raegan said.
Should we get going? We should get going.
I’m really thirsty. Do you have more juice?
She laughed: Oh, honey, I got juice.
Let’s go, let’s walk.
We started walking. We walked and we talked until it started to seem like we were making no progress. Going nowhere. We were walking without moving. Each footfall the same as the one that came before it. We were walking in a ball, a sphere, an infinite path. A fractal. No, a circle. That’s it. We were walking in circles. The sky was getting darker. Where the hell were we?
We’re not getting anywhere, I said.
Of course we are, Raegan said.
I feel like we’ve been walking together like this forever.
What’s that supposed to mean?
My mother needs to try this, Raegan said, It would really help her.
Do you know where we’re going?
Aren’t we all going to the same place?
That’s it, I thought, We were destined to become a statistic: one of those people who go out in the woods and are never heard from again. Our pictures in the paper. Months from now they’ll find our corpses. A dog, maybe. Nobody can say what happened. Maybe we’d gotten lost. Maybe we’d been attacked by thugs.
What are you talking about? She said, You know all the thugs.
Wait. Did I say that out loud?
There’s only one way out of this, she said. We’re going to have to bed down.
Until the mushrooms wear off.
How long does that take?
I looked at Raegan. Her face was a mass of fractals, writhing and alive. Overwhelmed, I lay down fetally in the leaves and closed my eyes. When I opened them she was naked.
Am I seeing things? I asked.
I should hope so.
Are you really naked?
What is naked anyway?
She spread her legs. Where her muff should be? A passageway to the infinite.
That shit is deep, I said.
You better believe it, she said.
The only problem was I knew that once I was inside her I’d be committed. I couldn’t just pussyfoot around, so to speak. I couldn’t loiter. I’d have to do stuff. Move around. Problem was I didn’t know how or what to move. I decided to first try and provide her some oral satisfaction. It was a stall tactic. It would give me time to think about things. I needed a lot of time to think about things. Then I realized I had no idea how to maneuver in that department either, and then I suddenly and very deeply mourned my brother’s autism. If only he had been born normal, he would have long since bragged to me of his various sexual exploits, and in so doing provided me the education I so sorely needed. I would have asked a lot of questions, I would have become a master. Just like on the drums. Then an idea struck. I would think about things in drumming terms. Left right left left right left right right left right left left right left right right. Matters quickly improved.
You’re incredible, she said.
Tell me you did not just write that into your book! My now-wife Raegan says.
What are you looking over my shoulder for? I asked you never to do that!
Whatever. You can’t write I said you were incredible. You’re just showing off, practically masturbating into your laptop! Is that? Oh my God. Look at you, you have an erection! You’re getting an erection over your own writing! That is sick. That’s, like, worse than looking at porn.
It’s not the writing. It’s the remembering.
That’s what you say. Just take it out.
Take it out?
Okay, fine. Whatever. Everybody ignore the part about me being incredible.
Don’t just type they should ignore it! Take it out! And why do you have headphones on, anyway? That can’t help you write. What are you listening to?
My old band. The Lucky tunes, the four-track stuff.
You are kidding.
No, it helps. It puts me in a mood.
So, you’re listening to yourself while you’re writing about yourself?
It appears that way, yes.
You have a serious problem. You need to see someone.
Would you just leave me alone already and let me get back to your pussy! There’s a lot of people out there looking forward to reading about it.
It’s not even true, what you’re writing! You were doing this weird flippity back and forth thing.
Paradiddles, I said.
Paradiddles, whatever. It was way too much. What’s wrong with people? Doesn’t anybody know how to lick snatch anymore? Besides which, it’s like you were working a Rolodex on my asshole.3
What did I know back then? I countered, Especially being all fucked-up like that? Consider yourself lucky I could even locate your vagina!
She had one of those perfect high school bodies. You know, from moshing and poms. But I had to close my eyes. I couldn’t look at her. It was too weird. So instead, I thought about her doing her Pom-Pom routine. In her little Pom-Pom outfit with the letter and the skirt. Her jumping up and down and shaking those things and with each pom-pomming revealing for the briefest of moments in the rear her panties. How motivated she would make me! How pride-swollen for our public institution would my feeble heart become!
It was working. I was regaining my stride. Things were heading back to normal. She was taking my pants off. A good thing, I reminded myself. I opened my eyes and she was on top of me, her breasts in my face, her gumdrop nipples an insolent challenge. For a second, a sort of a mother—baby thing evolved into being, but thankfully my conscience quickly cast it aside. She unzipped my fly and pulled my—I’ll call it a cock for the sake of this scene—hard virgin cock out of my pants, put it in her mouth and turned so as to give me a front row view of her back door. Then she lowered herself down onto my face, offering me a second chance. The moistness was overwhelming. The tautness of the flesh.
Then suddenly, off in the darkness, a rustling of leaves.
What the hell was that? I mumbled, my mouth full of her.
What? Raegan asked, lifting herself off me, defensively hugging her breasts.
Something, someone was approaching. Two someones.
Shit, I said, Get your clothes on. Could be the cops.
The cops? Why would the cops come here?
I don’t know, Woburn thugs?
It’s dark. They can’t see us.
What time is it? How long have we been here?
We’ve always been here.
Shhh. They’re getting closer.
I looked up. The moonlight reflected off a pair of eyes: rectangularly pupilled, just like ol’ you-know-who.
What the fuck?
And then I heard it. SSSSSSSSSSSSSSSt, followed by the sound of a tongue lapping.
Nevermind, I said, relaxing. It’s only Marino’s goat.
If you walk around Whipple Hill in any direction, fifteen minutes later, you somehow wind up in Paul Marino’s backyard. I’m not sure why they had goats, except that there were like 18 of them in the family. Kids, that is. Human kids. Which as far as I’m concerned ceases to be a family and should be considered a compound. A militia. A cult. Anyhow, what I’m saying here is there’s a strong possibility they made their own milk. Churned their own butter. Cultured their own cheese. Except this one goat had something wrong with it, anatomically, because every time it took a leak, its pee shot up in this reverse golden arc, between the goat’s legs, up over the goat’s back, directly showering the goat’s face, the tongue of which would flap like mad to catch a swig. Think of Ouroboros. The wheel of time. The snake that ate its own tail.
And then, speaking of which, Raegan got right back to business, riding my mouth like an epileptic. I tried my best to maintain, but my asthma acted up and my tongue wore out and the universe spiraled out of control again. And in that semi-asphyxiated state, I had a vision: a giant alpha helix, corkscrewing in space. Then, okay, this is going to sound weird, but it was as if my DNA and the universe were one and the same. I envisioned the world’s DNA—all of it—as this single entity, traveling in time, within us and without us. It had a will. I saw it mutate and evolve. It was passing through the generations like NASCAR racers zipping by. Zip!!! Zip!!!! Intertwining with other DNA, hopping from strand to strand like Christine Driscoll.4 It was primordial. I witnessed the entire scheme of evolution from the DNA POV: from photosynthetic blue-green algae to fish flapping up on land all the way up to the Australopithecus and then to me, where everything came to a screeching halt. Had I not been lying on the ground already with my nose in Raegan’s ass, it would have literally knocked me down. And then I saw it, my destiny. It popped on like a cartoon light bulb, the epiphany of it. Have children, the mushrooms said. That’s all this deal is about, the only thing that matters. Hey buddy, keep the DNA moving! Don’t interrupt the grand scheme, the bigger picture. You the man, the universe said, but don’t fuck with me. Make something from nothing. Go forth and multiply.
Oh my God, I said epiphanically.
Raegan turned around and slid me inside her, her hand still cradling my balls.
Oh my God, I said.
Oh my God, she said.
Oh..oh my God! I said.
1 I just wikipediad fractals, and apparently clouds actually are fractals (along with cauliflower and broccoli). I had not known that. So what does this tell us? The fractals were always there, but now I was seeing things more clearly? Looking more closely?
3 This is back when people still used Rolodexes.
4 You don’t know her, but you get the picture.