A Cut-up Life By Manton Aughtney [PREVIOUS PAGE] [NEXT PAGE] [Texts Index]

Part 2: Little Blurry Mushrooms

All these diverse "personality samples" share an element of commonality: We are drawn together by our patterns of addiction. Personal differences are laid to rest (at least temporarily) through the offering up of substances to be abused: For example, this afternoon when Blurry unexpectedly produces a baggy of psychedelic mushrooms, Grimm becomes at least tolerant of Blurry's eccentricities, if not downright friendly.

Blurry makes an elaborate ceremony of brewing the mushrooms on the stove and telling the tale of how he managed to procure this particular batch of mind-altering fungi. He says he picked them from a farmer's field out by the airport yesterday afternoon. Some cops were apparently eyeballing him from the road and deliberating whether or not to cause a fuss. It's a sticky situation with the 'shrooms in Vancouver. On the one hand the Authorities want to do their part in the War on Drugs, but Mother Nature is being very unsympathetic to their cause: The 'shrooms proliferate even on suburban families' lawns. Finally Blurry serves up the mushroom tea. It's more like a soup, with big chunks of gritty mushrooms floating around. Everybody partakes to some degree: Grimm, Don, and I drink a couple of cups each, while Ronald and Michael, who both more or less shun the use of psychedelics, have only a few sips.

We sit around and wait for the `psibes to take hold. We dither around with the typewriter a bit, typing out a few lines each. Reading over the page I detect the first signs that the collective Mind is mutating:

I am quite capable of taking care of the security considerations of this concept: As with the drawing to close of the act of farting there was an equal amount of pleasure and displeasure: For we wish the smell to depart us in these unpleasancies but the farter indeed enjoys the act and it's consequences. "I'll get that little weed of a man if I have to look all over the entire galaxy!" Aunt Marie laughed diabolically and stroked the human skull which she always carried with her.

There are five fabulous alternatives! Smoochy love synthesizer music started emitting from the stereo system. Weird, very rare. Up until this point there had been about two months supply of cakes, the attention-focus variety, which over that said span of time had altered perception drastically to points hitherto unknown, or at least which had been discarded and replaced during the course of evolution... Whack! Splinters and dissolves into two figures running and laughing, doubling over in spasms of humour laced with toxic reason. Flowing in and out of themselves like a river or a bowl of live crabs. We honestly feel that this type of humour has it's origins in primeval times: when Jim drove up and said: "Here's five bucks, why doncha buy a six pack and I'll see ya at the game." " I know what I don't have:


The evening wears on, and pretty soon I am developing a thirst. "It might be nice to have a little something to drink." I say. Moments later everyone is scrounging through their pockets for loose change, fishing out quarters and the odd crumpled one or two dollar bill, until finally we have pooled eight bucks or so, enough for two litres of wine (extra crude quality).

Since it was my idea to get some wine in the first place, I volunteer to hike to the liquor store, which is within about half an hours' walking distance from the Space. Don says he will come with me. In a strange flurry of exaggerated movements we hastily put our coats on and march out the door, driven by a sense of purpose into the mysteries of Outer Space.

The downtown streets are swept by a cool winter breeze. I feel a mild buzzing in the back of my head as we start down the darkened streets towards downtown.

"I'm beginning to feel an overwhelming sense of well-being." Says Don.

"Yeah, me too. Obviously only artificial though."

"What's the difference between a real sense of well being and an artificially induced one?" asks Don.

"Who cares."

Time collapses and we are suddenly walking through the streets of Chinatown. On either side of us there are rows of crates containing vegetables, seaweeds, dried fish, and large black eggs which appear to have been buried since the dinosaur age. Roast ducks hang from hooks behind steamed glass display windows, dripping brown juice. Fragments of Chinese phrases leap out at us from clusters of evening shoppers.

Onwards through the mingling crowds... The scene changes now to Skid Row, where puffy-eyed natives stagger from bar to bar. We are assaulted by flickering neon signs on the store fronts of pawnbrokers, saloons and cheap motels. We can see into the interiors of decrepit cafes where bums are seated in ordered wooden booths staring blankly over their coffee cups.

Slowly the street scene begins to transform again and soon we are in Money World, the thriving economic centre of the city. Now the passers-by are clad in leather and furs, expensive perfumes waft in the wake of their passing. Trendoids strike fashion magazine poses as they stand waiting in line-ups outside of restaurants.

I am wholly absorbed in the clarity of this Vision. The street has become a vivid studio sound stage where everything is more emphasized, larger than life. Every mundane perception vibrates with Cosmic Meaning. As we approach the liquor store, we are intercepted by a group of bums looking for spare change.

"Back off. We barely got enough to buy a bottle for ourselves right now." says Don, tension in his voice.The disgruntled beggars move to let us by. Except one. And this guy is truly in Outer Space. He's a ranter, possibly into the delirium stage of alcohol withdrawal. In my abnormally receptive state of consciousness, I have no choice but to stop and listen to what he is saying:

"...And Castro is no fool." says the bum, staring directly into my eyes, "He has a Masters degree in Political Science. And he stood there in front of the twenty thousand troops, of which I was one. And he was talking about Stalin. And he says to us: `Stalin looked at the ceiling, and said to Illusion: `PORQUOI?'"

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