The buildings rose and fell with little consequence to the suburban minds in the car, and thusly a panorama of distinguished architecture and brilliant symphonies of man power were reduced to a forest of metallic disregard. In a hundred years when those towers crumbled to the ground in a great war or were made reeds in a sea of reflective pinnacles, they’d be as they were then, meaningless, a difference in mere thousands of feet from the ground to which all humans are bound, and still the vast eternity would lie forever beyond.
But they occupying this little car, children of the American drool, had a more direct form of avoiding the reality of life and death. They need not construct monuments to poke at the eyes of existence. Chris unveiled his new Sherlock pipe that twisted in unnatural joints and bubbled with glass meteor showers. Its un-symmetry begged them to make use and they tangled there way southward, passing through grey fields of industrial wasteland. In the distance mutations of pipe and cylinder collided against a starless sky.
Looking out the back window Ross saw the black tongue of the devil sliding serpentine out of the crevice of a mountain. They had shot in-between two cliffs of crumbling iron and emerged onto a rolling sea. Crushes of forest chaos fanned the leaking flames of the sun into the smoke of pre-dawn. It was harmony that made Ross suddenly aware of the depth of life; momentarily the earth became not a vessel of his vision, but a vast influencer, to be respected as a transformer of consciousness.
The sun peered at them from a perch in-between two precipices as their vehicle sped like a clipper caught in storm. The hills of West Virginia bubbled like earthen lava against the horizon. Ross imagined great columns of men in grey, like flies buzzing across them. This was confederate land after all. He would soon learn that the people here were persecuted. They were made conscious puppets by the scrutiny of their customs. In the presence of an outsider they squirmed like an ant under a magnifying glass and they would present themselves as the difference between a perceived image of a hillbilly and the reality of their humanness and while keen to their self inflicted dehumanization, they’d still continue their transformations into sullen fractions.
The music was so earthen, echoing off of its womb the sun, and shaking the crystals from its golden beaches. The shivers of light dancing amongst the drench were stoking the people into an acute mania. They were gyrating madly in a mutant ho-down. The bodies all intertwined and dripping, insects of the riling top soil; a thousand bodies like atoms of nothingness, a hive of chaos with a voice guiding them all. “Lets just rock and roll! Roll baby roll!” the sun loomed like a proud mother through the rain, hanging in a gelatinous sky.
Otherworldly familiar, they stood on the hillside inhaling smoke into respiratory systems that weren’t present, they were visceral sponges, consciousness unattached to the toils of the body. The sensory was more than ecstatic. When Ross and Mike both looked at each other in complete satisfaction, they agreed they could only want more of the perfect chemistry. Mikes hand traveling in a climactic arch placed another tab on his outstretched tongue. Ross followed shortly after.
Hours, minutes, millenniums of child dream consciousness later, the bands switched, and the new one bubbled with phosphoric energy, electric, and neon. Girls in metallic spandex did flips on stage with streams of fire exploding upward. It was an intergalactic industrial revolution, an outcry of satanic Germanic lust. Guitar ripped through the carbonated air, bursting like a million camera flashes, and the drums beat on his rib cage.
A monstrous mumbling creature of a million interchanging parts shifted ninety degrees to face the new display. Ross was digging it, as he had never viewed a mutant carnival, never indulged in the true want for destruction, the melting sex drive of metal. But he was pulled away. “Yo were going to the camp for a while.” Josh yelled through the sound and the light. “Alright” Ross yelled complacently, and he followed their train through the collage of faces. Past a thousand emotions running together in a perfect rain smeared tapestry.
They walked with long purposeful strides up a tent covered hill, hundreds of nylon bubbles pitched at odd angles, neon mushrooms pounded by the rain. By this time the ground was a gentle battering sea melting slightly all across the weeping hillside. They turned and viewed the spectacle. Smoke puffed in mechanical spurts into a nebula lurking a foot over the crowd’s heads. A river of people constantly excreted and dispersed. They stood dripping, staring out over the hive of leaking nuclear zombie energy, and Ross proclaimed solemnly “I can see everything that’s going to happen to me on this trip” Josh looked at him, and he saw Ross truly felt that foresight and he couldn’t help but believe it was within Ross’s power, “That’s intense.” He said with a look of worried awe.
Now the ground was a riling riptide, the grass twisted together and swirled in little happy vortexes. Ross sat and held his lawn chair as if he were on an amusement park ride. Everyone was a spurting faucet of emotion, and they looked at each others streams in mutant curiosity. Ross could barely accept the complete unchained flow of himself into the world, but he was coping. They sat riling within themselves, occasionally blurting out a, “Man I’m fucked, or a tripping sack!” and then mike got to his feet, with his colliding personas, pleated kakis and a tie-dye shirt, his strict orthodox Russian, little man egotist, happy vacationer, free spirit, coming together with the awkwardness of a baby giraffe first glimpsing the sun with membranous eyes. He slinked towards the white cooler and slid the lid off like the seal on an ancient tomb. All of the curious archeologists looked in alien observation. Out came a brilliant organ of crimson, the plastic rap pulled asunder. They sucked in their breath. Mikes eyes ran up and down the cylinder of meat melting into its vast pink universe. After many anxious moments he placed it down with the surety of pre-planned movement, and sliced into it delicately. The strip when deposited with trepidation into his mouth destroyed his face with joy; they could taste the salami through his expression. And then he looked around and noticed his salami tasting was a theater event, and everyone at once shook with laughter, they laughed together in complete chaotic abandon, their laughter becoming the comedy in itself, and so they remained in a state of cycling hilarity for thirty minutes straight.
This rush of joy was so unfettered and powerful that Ross instantly became a vastly sensitive creature. His skin was pealing off and his flesh expanding. The ground sucked upward and ran into him in his thirst, as every moment and every object was suddenly of absolute importance, he was becoming one with everything. He could taste the rain on the leaves a few feat away, sublime, color had ceased to make things different, his soggy shade was so close to the dark greens and browns around, indeed there was no difference, and he was ever closer to the ground. The sky felt further and further and it stretched away until he was a tiny being. From a perch it was as if he might have fell into the spaces between the grains of dirt.
Into this open palate of relation, a sinister animal crawled. “What are you guys laughing about?”
“What?” someone was able to respond, and Chris’s face turned ugly.
“What are you laughing about?” he said accusingly, “What did you guys give me?” “Did you rip me off?” and they could only laugh as he made no sense to them. They had not given him anything. He mistook their laughter as admittance, “What is this bullshit?” he yelled his red rain soaked locks framing his twisting face. The subtle balance in Ross was torn to pieces. An element of anger was brought like a smoking ember into his perfectly functioning chaos, and the ground came towards him, and carried him off his chair.
He was struggling through ten feet waves of grass, his mind furious and in life saving mode amplified the situation. He tried to seek shelter in his tent, but the tent was a tornado of hell, at once trapping him in confined oblivion. The universe of perceived tendril feelers, the antennae of emotion that pulled from the world around, were withdrawn forcedly inside the confines of his skull, and once they were pulled in, it felt like they were literally scrambling his brain matter, pulling ligaments of memory from the bone of order. The flesh of his mind blended into puréed.
He crawled out of his tent clawing at the ground. “Someone fucking help me!” and all of the kids stood swaying in inaction. There was nothing to do for him. “I’m losing my mind” He yelled. They tried to console him. He begged for an ambulance, and they all looked around at where they were. “An ambulance can’t get in here.” It was a plain fact, he was isolated. “Fuck fuck fuck fuck fuck” he repeated over and over again, as this new despair multiplied his agony. “I have got to go to the hospital, my mind is being torn to pieces!” he was pacing with animalistic adrenaline. He threw all of items in his pockets on the ground, and sprinted through the camp site as fast as he could. He ran and ran, through the camp in a blur, through where thousands had parked their cars, and onto the long dirt road that had taken them to this secluded sanatorium. Once there he ran out of breath and bent over in world twisting exhaustion. The forest loomed over, leaned in, the ground quaked, his mind ran in vicious half circles, he’d think of death and horrible things he’d done, of his own deficiencies, all in stuttering fragments of brain loop.
He had stumbled wretchedly through the canopy for some time, when a man in his late thirties walked down the path towards him. “My savior!” he thought and he went to his knees in front of the man. “Please sir I’m losing my mind, I need your help, please call me an ambulance!”
“You are not losing your mind.” The man proclaimed at once denying Ross’s plea, ignoring his utter terrible state.
“Sir please sir, please call an ambulance, I’m not ever going to be the same.” He broke into tears. The man took pity but knowing his situation all too well, tried to coach him to the smart decision.
“Listen my friend you don’t need to go to the hospital, what do you think they can do for you there? All you need to do is go back to the music. Go back to the music please.” But Ross only knew despair, his mind couldn’t maintain the solar wind, he was certain with each passing second so drifted a portion of his future sanity. “
Things became blurred and spat in and out of focus. His wet shirt clung to his stomach and shoulders. He was covered with mud from rolling animatedly by the roots of a tree. But every time he regained a bit of consciousness it was filled with hope for survival, and so he continued to crawl up the road blacking in and out.
He opened his eyes to a beautiful soft skinned girl in a green flowered bikini whispering in his ear, “Come dance with me.” She smiled the sunlight pressing against him through the rain. He was too far gone, “Get me a fucking ambulance, damn it!” he spat morbidly, believing everyone to be emotionless slave drivers that cared nothing for his medical situation. He blacked out with her whispers running through the eternity of his unconsciousness, “Its people like you who ruin festivals.”
A raspy voice echoed “we got another one down middle stage, another one down.” “Load up the cart we have an unconscious stage right” “fifty cc’s stat, inject nectomorphine.” “Hold him down, hold him down” “could someone please hand me a syringe?” “Stage left we have another kid down” Ross rose up sucking air like he was drowning. There was blood running down his arm and people in uniforms leaned over him. “Don’t try and hurt anyone.” Someone said, “Lie down” he saw the blood running down his arm and his world narrowed around the edges, slowly the lens receded, the box of reality, the bed, the paramedics a square image shrinking into blackness. “Am I going to die?” he sobbed.
“We don’t know yet.” And the image shrunk to nothing.
Ross could feel the utensils on his skin, the tug of a scalpel on his chest, the warm anesthetized pocket and the blood dripping and then there was no feeling, only the desperate animal of his mind. Occasionally there was a muttering in code, a beeping and compressing of machines, the echoes of doctors discussing his emergency surgery in complex terms. “I’m thinking five percent chance, what do you think Jim?”
“We’d need to get in their quick and scrape out the left frontal lobe five minutes ago”
“What do you suggest for procedure?”
“Coleman’s nerve center T lobotomy, going to need the precision saw, and nimble fingers or else were looking at vegetation.”
Brain dead was the consensus after surgery, trapped for life in unconscious terror. He heard screams, and wheels creaking, he thought of his parents sitting by his bedside while he was on life support, telling him stories. They would grow old and tired. Depression would creep on them, and still they would sit next to his bed, thinking on what could have been. He had time to think of every imaginable discourse, he lived the life of a man whose consciousness was confined to his own head.
Slowly, after days of surgeries, and near deaths with electro shocks and desperate heart massages. After life had been reduced to a grain of nothingness and he was finally accepting his own wretched state. The blackness dimmed slightly. The hospital walls like a ghost floated in front of him, shifting and fading in and out. They were translucent. He could sense the unconsciousness on the other side of them.
His thoughts gradually calmed to an easy breeze. He could now see blurredly the hospital room. He used his arms for the first time and felt the mass of suction cups attached to his chest. Everything was melting and pulling, but he was calm and content with his situation, it was as if he had woken from the nightmare of living as another collection of elements amongst a sea of blackness, into suddenly knowing he could be numbly immortal again. He was very hopeful.
A nurse came in to check on him, she had a soft beautiful voice, calm like grains of sand, “How are you feeling sweetie?” His face wasn’t a part of his sensory yet, and he spoke the alien trip language “Still tripping sack.” closer to wind than voice. She laughed and smiled at him. “Ok the doctor will check on you soon” and she left. He pulled the cover over himself and slept the black sleep.
“Hey buddy.” The young southern doctor said to him. “How are you feeling? Were going to need insurance information, you can use the phone to call a taxi.” Ross stared at him for a minute consternated. He stretched out his stiff limbs and said “I don’t have anything on me, no money, and no information.”
“Well you’ll have to use the pay phone to call collect to you’re parents and get money wired.” He sympathized with a kind drawl. Someone had started screaming “Maggie!” in an adjacent room, and continued shrilly like a funeral mourner throughout their conversation. Ross held his face in his hands, he felt utterly fucked. He was fifty miles from the festival with nothing but his muddy shorts, still tripping. The doctor left saying he’d bring him some crackers and ginger ale.
Shortly the nurse came back with food and told him how he’d been the best festival patient they had, so polite and kind (all the while that kid still screamed, “Maggie!”), and in short she had taken it upon herself to find another wandering festival lunatic to pay his cab fair. He thanked her tremendously. Ross would learn later, Mike had ended up in the same hospital, and while there, he had grabbed one of his attending nurses’ breasts and proclaimed with ageless sincerity, “The meaning of life is to cum in your face!” It was inevitable that he turn into a legend amongst nurse’s circles in West Virginia, and they probably will quote him for many years.
On the fifty mile drive back to the festival, Ross was sandwiched against a fellow in a horrible state. He’d sometimes open his eyes and stare through a murky sheen, sometimes he laid against Ross’s shoulder like a corpse. Blood and drool stained his shirt, and he spoke not a word. There were six kids crammed in. The overall stench of the taxi was fetid, but the mood was jovial. They joked and chatted idly. They weaved the tale of their re-entrance to the festival: The mud splattered children of dysfunction would stumble out of a taxi in tatters and gowns and they’d drag the passed out guy with his ass hanging out to the closest shade with a large crowd watching. Afterwards they’d be interviewed about their various conflicts and so on.
They got lost at some point. The driver quoted Deliverance, as he was apt to do with all his non-southern clientele “I could be taking ya’all into the woods and guttin’ you like pigs” They smoked cigarettes, someone bought water and crackers at a CVS and distributed them, over the course of an hour they became a happy little disgruntled community and Ross was sad to leave them when they arrived at the festival grounds.
Ross felt no fear caressed by that day. He walked with a grin stretched through all of the horrors, dissolving them into nothingness. His lips stretched through life, wide and brilliant, dull and decaying. The future didn’t lie naked before his eyes, but it was inevitable it would be unsheathed. Every fear, every happiness would be a familiar lover when he met them again. He’d seek them out, call their names in the lonely night; this though, was the glorious sun shattered day, and that warmth was the company of existence, propelling him back to the camp nestled like a memory in the hills, the heavenly hills.
Lo the Monster of memory
Lurking with colorful frills
Condensed adolescent dreams
Conscious wind heavenly breeze
Bottomless black seas sucking
All one and existence
Just a closer walk with thee