3:15 in the morning – why the hell is he awake? Went to bed at midnight; that’s all the sleep he gets? Mind is already racing – big day in, uh… counting… how many is that, fourteen hours. At 4pm that day, the gang will gather to do AMT for the first time in, like, eleven years it seems, but first, he’s got to go to work at 7am and somehow make it through the day.
The insomnia has been chronic lately, probably due to alcoholism or else he’s getting that old people disease where they watch The Late Late Show until all hours and then wake up before the sunrise to pull weeds and yell at kids going to school. 3:15 in the morning – alarm goes off in, uh… almost four hours. On any normal night with bone-crushing, soul-destroying insomnia, he’d reach over to the nightstand, pull out the Ambien bottle, split one of those beautiful little 10mg pills, swallow half, and BAM, hit the pillow. But shit – going into work an hour early so he can leave an hour early means he doesn’t really have enough time to take even half an Ambien because then he’ll still be fuzzy around the edges trying to drive to work, and that is not particularly happy-making.
Plus – this is the part where his mind is racing – he’s thinking, “Well, if I’m completely exhausted when I get there at 4pm, I’ll just be more, you know, vulnerable to the effects of the AMT,” which is cool because the last thing you want to resist is the onset of the most pleasurable drug in the entire universe, excepting of course IV-administered Fentanyl, which is not something you get to do all that often. 4:15 in the morning, wonder what the day’s going to be like. Already thinking about how much it’s going to suck to snort that AMT later. Yesterday was a big fat holiday; today will be like a snow day at work; nobody’s even going to be there, everyone still on vacation, and he’ll just sit around and ruminate. 5:15 in the morning, still ruminating, and it’s not all that. 6:15 in the morning, turning slowly in bed like a turkey spinning on a spit, and then FINALLY the alarm goes off at 7am.
The timing works out perfectly to get a shower, get dressed, get coffee, and get to work in the span of exactly one hour. One blessed hour; by 8am, the countdown will really have started. In a daze in front of the mirror trying to shave – it’s amazing how little of the conscious mind actually needs to be present to manipulate very sharp objects near your own throat. Today’s the day his typical double short is going to be a motherfucking quad shot. That’s right, four, count them, four precious shots of life-giving caffeinated goodness. 8:40, in the car, the music as loud as tolerable so that the brain doesn’t choose right this second to reverse the decision about all that insomnia. 8:50, pull right up in front of the coffee shop near work.
What the fuck?
Yesterday was a big fat holiday; the coffee shop is apparently still on vacation. Sharp, screaming panic rises up, adrenaline that is used up even as it’s offered; quick, dash across the street to the coffee shop’s evil competitor. ACK! Don’t these people need MONEY to LIVE? How can every coffee shop in the neighborhood be closed? The nearest coffee shop at this point is too far away; the whole point of getting to work at 8am is to leave by 4pm so that he can be getting high as early in the day as possible, because AMT lasts forever and he has shit to do this weekend. There are sacrifices to be made.
That’s it, then. Plastered to a computer, attempting to answer email, without a single drop of caffeine. Also, no breakfast, because a) he never eats breakfast, and b) he’ll be more, you know, vulnerable if he’s got an empty stomach. 9am rolls around, followed by the relentless march of 10am. Still thinking of how much it’s going to suck to snort that AMT later. At lunch, he finally grabs a Coca-Cola and some Doritos for nourishment. Look, AMT makes a certain percentage of everyone who takes it vomit out their ears. There is no sense loading up with a pastrami sandwich to prep for that delightful outcome. Hmm, exactly how many chips can he eat and still be vulnerable? These are small bags. Stop at just one bag, focus on the prize – mmm, blessed caffeinated sugar water, flowing through the veins.
At the exact moment that the atomic clock in Colorado strikes 4pm, his ass is out of there.
The gang assembles slowly. Someone’s passing papaya enzyme around to help with any potential nausea. They used to use non-drowsy Dramamine when they did AMT, but that was when they were doing AMT orally. Now everyone does it rectally, because you get less nauseated, plus they’re getting better at dosing, which is tricky anyway. Someone points out that they were taking AMT on an episode of Six Feet Under she just watched; apparently, she says, “they all just took one. You know, one.” Right, and they didn’t get sick, and it was more fun than Ecstasy, and that, friends, is why no one considers Six Feet Under for classroom drug education. Someone else points out, “My stomach has known all day long that I was going to be high tonight.” That is something he has often noticed; when he was a kid, he often knew “today I will wind up doing LSD” just by how his stomach started acting up before he’d even really made plans.
He takes a turn measuring the doses; the odor is enough to make people woozy and they have to take shifts. Of course, he measures his dose last, because he, unfortunately, can’t do it rectally; he’s got to insufflate, because the one time he tried it rectally, it just plain didn’t work, and that right there is an expensive experiment. “You apparently have a cast iron rectum” is the folk wisdom. Whereas the only way to tolerate it orally is to slam the non-drowsy Dramamine plus the papaya and be a couch jockey for two solid hours, where the best he’s going to get out of that experience is possibly not vomiting on the wall and definitely feeling like dog shit anyway because, hey news flash, non-drowsy Dramamine isn’t actually all that fun at the doses required to put AMT in its place.
Probably five people ask him, “Well, what’s the worst thing you’ve ever insufflated?” Everyone who hears that question always says 2C-B, because it’s true for most people. 2C-B is the Normandy Beach of insufflating experiences. Sure, you get really damn high, but you always wonder, “Did it cost too much in terms of young human lives?” A close second for him is 5-MeO-DMT, which is the equivalent of insufflating a red hot subway car going 900 miles an hour, although fortunately with that drug, the flash comes on so fast that the subway car is very rapidly the least of any significant concerns. AMT’s not that bad to snort, but it’s not like snorting a picnic basket full of cupcakes and Christmas presents, either. “What if you tried numbing your nose with cocaine?” someone asks, which is a legitimate question worthy of consideration; the right answer, though, is a) don’t stack stimulants in general, because he doesn’t want to be on the wrong side of figuring out he misgauged how much cocaine he needed as his heart turns into an animal balloon and then pops; and b), the pain in the face is really secondary to the fact that n percent of the material, no matter how hard he tries, is going right down the back of his throat into his stomach, and his stomach is going to have something to say about that regardless of how happy and high his nose is.
He prefers to be alone when he insufflates this stuff, so that if he winds up retching and clawing his face off, he doesn’t have to weird anybody out. Play nice; don’t trigger sickness in anyone else by being sick around them if it’s possible. He’s alone upstairs, everyone else happily ensconced somewhere else in the house. The trick he uses is to snort it as fast as humanly possible. Don’t stop to let the brain get involved, because if the brain had ever been consulted about this matter, he would have just taken an Ambien last night in the first place. Four even, small lines, two per nostril, then rock back onto the balls of his feet, stand up, check the bathroom mirror – my God, what an alarmed look on that man’s face! It’s like he’s been poisoned! Wait for it, wait for it – “hey, that’s ME!”
Retreat to a chair, sit down, try to relax. Heart rate is up almost instantly. It always surprises him to have to re-learn the fact that it isn’t just his face that has to process this sudden new information. His hands are tingling; his vision is just ever-so-slightly blurry with tears; his body temperature starts to drop rapidly but he can’t really get into a fetal position for warmth because his stomach is issuing very clear instructions to the rest of the body: “Sit the fuck still! Shut the fuck up! Stop it with the thinking, which hasn’t done any fucking good anyway!” Five minutes pass. Hey, I’m not dead, and now it only sort of hurts like I’ve been stabbed repeatedly in the nose! Ten minutes pass. The stomach seems to be losing some kind of argument, but the brain has been shut out of the discussion, so he just sits as motionless as possible.
Someone calls up, “How you doing up there?” He surprises himself by answering: “I’m fine.” His voice is quavering. He can barely get that out. He is “fine” by a certain very technical definition of “fine” which indicates he didn’t kill himself and do a header on the bathroom tile. But really, existentially, there are some serious, legitimate questions being presented by the stomach and the nervous system about just what the fuck is meant by all this, and what precisely is the rationale for the punishment – hey, we let you get away with all that alcohol, they seem to be saying, and this is our reward? Tried and convicted; sorry, everybody, for some reason the brain seems to remember this was a good idea for some reason, but the reason is starting to seem really flimsy.
Quick dash to the bathroom – a single, massive cramp drives him straight to his knees. Oh, wise guy, eh? Playing for keeps? ACK, can’t move, better grip the floor or get spun off into space, BAM one more massive cramp.
Ah, that was close. Creep slowly back to the chair. It’s no big deal. It’s nothing. He’s not sick after all. He’s not getting sick to his stomach. He made it. He probably just needs to relax until he stabilizes. He’s not getting sick. Why does he keep thinking about getting sick? He’s thinking right straight back to how close he came to getting sick, and for some inexplicable reason, it’s, uh, making him sick again. Huh? “I said, by continuing to think about not getting sick, you are in fact making yourself even more sick.” Huh? Try this – BAM, one HUGE cramp and this time if you were standing outside the door listening, you’d wonder what kind of poison that guy swallowed, and the only answer you’d get would be mostly a collection of tortured vowels book-ended by some very unhappy consonants. But victory is secretly his – the enemy has no ammunition. No breakfast! No lunch!
Quietly creep back to the chair. Sit calmly in the dark. People are laughing downstairs. He’s sweating profusely even though he’s freezing under a blanket. People are laughing, and someone shouts up, “How are you doing up there?”
“I think I’m starting to feel it,” he shouts back.