Today’s Sharing Sunday piece is by Zack (and he’s an American, yay look at that DFA’s second American!) Drugs Were Involved is the second chapter in his psuedo-noveL, a series of short stories loosely attached to one another. The premise came from a lingering through he’s had – a sneeze so mighty it sends the person into an alternate reality. Without further ado, here it is! Give him some love and enjoy the read.
Drugs Were Involved
I have devised a means of hitchhiking through the multiverse. Drugs were involved from the start. If this threatens my credibility with you, so be it.
It began with a nasal infection.
Through careful studies I found my proportions of cocaine, mescaline powder, DMT, and the Coca-Cola secret ingredient. I ground them together; they meshed like resentful siblings in the backseat of a stalled car. I cleared my work desk, putting aside beakers of liquid ketamine and reels of office paper laced with LCD and scrawled with notes that read like, “Into the rabbit hole, flecks of Earth gather in the bristles”review notes now or anytime you see as ‘now’.” I gave the note a long ribbon-like lick and dispensed it into the wastebasket among the rest of my hallucinatory cosmos of crumpled sheets. With the station cleared, I spilled the grinds and lined them like the ashes of worker ants. I used a snub nosed straw to snort the combination like an airplane lifting from airstrip. The straw hung still in my nostril and the skull within riveted.
Thoughts hammered like the pound of typewriter clacks and the chime of the bell cautioned me that I was at the end of my margins, and successfully out of my mind. Strands of electric nerves clung my skin to bone. The feeling of a numb limb flowing with blood once more completed my awareness. Even the crawl of my fingernails growing set my entire being into lock. The knees between my hip and feet melted and dropped my forearms to the desktop. The phone rang, a jarring siren before it answered itself. I thanked God because the mechanical ring of repetition took me to a Sahara of prowling animatronics, salivating and growling on the horizon. The threat of being devoured split with the cough on the end of the phone-line. “My God, Wisterian. You’ve done it! How do you feel?”
“Are you the leader of this tribe, of these savage beasts? I’d very much prefer you remove your main. It is in poor taste my friend.” I said, mumbling with little help from my tongue. I felt the drool dripping onto the desk and soaking what must have been my cheek.
The voice on the other end laughed, I recognized it as the sober, tamed laugh of my own, “Christ, Wisterian. You aren’t making much sense to me. I need to know, did you read my note?”
“The rabbit holes, yes, licked it, yes. Sorry to say there are no rabbits in this land, Meer cats possibly, but regrettably, I am much too large.”
“Never mind holes of any sort. The note was only a test, burn the basket when you are through. Congratulations Wisterian, buy a box of tissues.”
The voice zeroed, I slept in the flatlands beside a lake that smelled of smoked cigarettes and Coco-Cola belches. The land was quiet and the animatronic roar of the telephone never returned.
The sunlight tapped on my shoulder in the later morning. The puddle of drool had dried along with my cavernous mouth. My eyes, hot hot ball bearings weighed in my sockets, waiting to drop to the floor and roll to the nearest crevice of darkness. The night came back upwards from my knees, driven into the hardwood, solidified and soar. I lifted onto my feet, but my hands on the desk held my stance. Senses trickled from the gray matter and I set off from the desk for the phone. A thorough, but short search reminded me there was no longer a phone in the study. There was a phone, before, but as the experimenting progressed it became imperative to tear it from the wall and shoot it dead. There were enough obstacles facing my study without government eavesdropping, agents bent on war intents; and even more worrying, the Coco-Cola people harassing me for use of their secret ingredient: Powdered, concentrated nostalgia.
Receiving phone calls without a physical phone did not worry me. In past studies there had been stimulating conversation with stepping stools and heated differences in philosophy with intellectual, pompous filing cabinets. The wastebasket, until this day, never made contact with me. Now I understood it would speak in clenched balls of paper. I turned the bottom of the basket to the top and watched the sheets hail onto the floor. A majority of the papers were nonsense even by my standards, nonsense and doodles of geometric patterns that with a second study resembled a vulva. I threw those notes back into the wastebasket. Among the spillage, a flat sheet waded underneath the bergs of trash. The paper, disturbing in its lack of wrinkles, looked as though it never belonged to the wastebasket. BUY TISSUES, it read at the top of the page.
I took the basket out back and shot it, buried it under the afternoon glare. With the shovel in my hands and callouses rising, I began to think of Emily.
Emily, Emily, thank God you have gone off. No daughter should ever need to see her father absorbed so desperately in his work.
I tapped the Earth with the shovelhead as though I were burping an infant (a thought that assured me it was best Emily had moved into the campus dorms). It will be different. Your mother will be back Emily Darling; she will have never been lowered into the pits of Earth’s forgotten flesh. Her soul is here, is there, somewhere?
Centered in my brow a dull congestion knuckled my forehead. I crossed my hands over the top of the shovels grip and weighed my feet to the ground with the force of my chin. I felt that tickle, of a pinch in my nostril, the primordial signal of a coming sneeze. I looked to the glowing ball of burning gases in the empty blue. How pointless, like a lamp burning, burning only to comfort the fear of darkness.
I sneezed, spilled dust and mucus at projectile rates from my nostrils. Eyelids collapsed and the world was dark, but I am not afraid of the dark. No one was present to say bless you. You never know what changes when the eyelids come over the world. Every person on Earth could take the form of a bowling pin, but when the lights return, they have reverted to flesh (though some women retain the curvature of a bowling pin). Upon exposing my eyes, the sun and sky had traded composure. The sun seemed one burning ball of sky and the once and forever blue sky was now a glowing canvas of sun save for the illuminating blue star.
I sat on the mound of the wastebaskets grave. The shovel in my lap rang. My mood was not one for taking calls, but the scientific necessity of answering a shovel was too great. “This is Wisterian, may I ask who is calling?”
“Did you buy tissues as I advised of you?”
“For what purpose would I buy tissues?”
“Christ Wisterian, you didn’t.”
“The sun is blue.”
“Yes, yes and the moon will be green, that isn’t important.”
“I know that, was it my sneeze?”
“Of course it was, tell me you at least sneezed into your palms.”
I flipped my knuckle sides over and examined the palms on the other half. They shined blue in the new day sun, shined with mucus and deep nose fluids. “Yes I did, of course I did.”
“Well Wisterian, that is your only way back.”
“Now do you see the significance of the tissue papers, you are sneezing entire universes, Wisterian! If you have any desire for your original place, you must lick your palms. Get tissues, they will be your trail through the multiverse.”
“Tissues, yes of course.”
“Yes, what is it?”
“For Christ’s sake, do not masturbate. Do you understand?”
“I believe so. Yes, I understand.”
“Good bye Wisterian.”
“Yes of course. Bye then.”
So I licked my palms. The sun returned yellow and the sky blue. I trekked to the supermarket for tissues and began my hitchhiking through the multi-realms, collecting tissues in my pockets. The collection grew to the point I needed a shopping cart to store the vast amounts of crumpled universe ports. I have little time to record my travels as I am expecting the arrival of a bus now. Regrettably, I have run low on cigarettes and my only proof of this inter-universal travel lies in the feline from the yarn-scraggler adjacency timeline. I have leashed him so he may travel with my abrupt sneezes. He resents his entrapment and calls it a degrading of his ranking as military Colonel.
If my credibility is lost upon you, so be it. I do not need your approval, Isn’t that right Colonel Kreschovik?
About the Dreamer
Zack Puente, a central Californian in route to the southern coast for a second year of college, studies English (and speaks it too). He’s a person that writers (stories, nonsense poems, and even short bursts of novels). He’s still finding his genre, a his little niches, not for himself but for the occasional questions, “A writer? So then what do you write?” Lets just say his style resembles a night stand between experimentation and surrealism, while humor and his characters what from the corner. His parents are very proud.