It was about that time when a charcoal-faced tramp came to our table carrying a thick book. He was wearing sandals and a bahama shirt, and was dragging a large carpet bag across the floor. The drooling idiot at our table thought it was funny, and said he looked like me. The tramp reached into his bag and, one-by-one, pulled out three rubber chickens. He threw them into the air and began to juggle. The fiendish bastard! Suddenly, my stomach became a boiling caldron, and I felt nauseous. The jalapeños that came with lunch hit me like a swig of drain cleaner. I broke out in a sweat, I had trouble breathing, my vision was blurry, and my head was spinning. I felt an episode coming on.
The impulsive sensations that multiply, spreading across frayed nerve endings, flooding and making simultaneous all perceptions, and triggering impulsive aggression, the prelude was the splitting headache, sensitivity to loud noises and bright lights, dilated pupils, rapid pulse, blurred vision, labored breathing, temperature rising. My mind was already agitated and combative. I could feel the wolf was off his chain, watching it grow discontent with its body, hypersensitive to a cloud of fluctuating deviant animalistic drives. Spasms, convulsions, while my bones forcibly elongated and changed shape, muffled growls, frothing at the mouth, shredding clothes, fingernails splitting lengthwise, bleeding, and legs no longer able to maintain my body upright. I was unable to swallow because organs were concatenating in an elastic membrane called flesh, and it burned like fire. The accelerated flows of structures were contorting, reshaping, and morphing into the body of the infected animal, the beast. The rush hits the central nervous system, penetrating the synaptic relays, creating a virtual tributary of adrenaline, radiating through open canals. It moves so drastically through my body that fires unknown neurons, making me feel alive, as do other carnivores. I imagine myself running free, limited by nothing: no fences, no walls, and no chains.
Before I knew it, I had scampered across the dance floor and out the back door. I made a dash into the garden and out into the moonlight. By the time I quit running, I was somewhere around the fourteenth hole on the golf course. I looked at my hand, and much to my surprise, it wasn’t covered with hair. I wasn’t turning: the wolf was fast asleep. I had somehow managed to stay on top of it by recognizing that I was pissed off. But something else was going on. The lights on the boats streaked across the sky leaving tracers and the moon had a kaleidoscopic effect as it ducked in and out of the clouds. It didn’t make sense, until I remembered the earthy-tasting Kool-Aid. That rat-brained scumbag of a host had juiced the entire crowd with magic mushrooms. He thought it was real funny, too. The sadistic jerk got a kick out of watching everyone flip out. These people were capital-offence weird: what kind of demented freaks bring circus clowns to their anniversary? What began as side-splitting laughter and good fun, abruptly devolved into a nightmarish hallucination of melting furniture, oppressive anguish, catatonia, and a room full of creepers, zombies and child molesters.
Ironically, most of the guests had no idea of what was happening. They were already pretty drunk from a day of pro-bowl drinking on the golf course. The other guests at our table assumed that I was having a bout with dysentery, and they saw my unannounced exit as totally logical. One woman at our table told my wife, “I hope he feels better. We see this every year.” In effect, the pie fight that I saw developing never took place. The host and hostess had simply chosen to serve key-lime pie.
When I arrived at our room, the effects from the mushrooms were all but gone. The sweat was pouring off of me and I was still panting several minutes after I arrived. About fifteen minutes later my wife arrived when one of the groundskeepers gave her a lift in a golf cart. I watched carefully through the blinds to make sure he wasn’t followed. My wife stayed for the entire floor show, which ended in a juggling contest between the clowns to the theme song of Clint Eastwood’s “The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.” When it was all said and done, she thought it was cute.
“Are you going to be okay?” she asked.
“Yeah, I’ll be fine.”
“Was it the clown with the chickens?”
“Do you want to talk about it?”
Cross-posted at http://jimmygabacho.com/?p=555