Come Run with Me, Eternity
Beneath the Diamond Sky
Where Lost and Starving Angels
Whisper We Can Never Die.
It was another Acid Day. He was frozen and lonely. Empty. He sat alone in the kitchen of a shack he had found himself inside after hitch-hiking for nearly an hour on a windy day with spitting, chilling scattered bursts of rain.
He looked at the wall in front of him. It was made of cedar shakes. There was a faucet sticking out of it, down near the floor. The kitchen wall was the same faded gold color as the outside of the house. It seemed to the young man like he was outside, looking in. A giant porcelain utility sink was braced against the wall. It turned to paper. It crumbled up into a ball and fell to the floor. The sky, outside the window, littered with gray clouds, poured into the kitchen like paint from a spilled can and sat across the table from him.
The man had a name. It was Chester Willis. His friends called him “Chet”.
“Hey, Chet, how ya doin’?” asked the sky, pulling its coffee mug up to its smiling sun.
“Good,” said Chet. He rested his chin between the palms of his hands and he felt the table, clean and solid, under his elbows. He had never been happier.
There were other people in the house. They drifted past him and he could sense their chi shimmering throughout the house like shadows, like smoke, like memories. They were tripping, too. He wondered who they were. Then he remembered that he had gotten a ride from two of the men and they had talked for some time on their way to this place. He couldn’t remember their names, though. Those two had introduced him to several other long-haired men who seemed to like him immediately. Everyone was happy. He didn’t remember going to the kitchen or why. Then he smiled at the sun and the sun smiled back at him. He tried to pick up his cup of coffee, but he misjudged where the handle was and he knocked it over. The cup crashed down on the table. Cold, black coffee splashed up and swept him off his chair and onto the dirty linoleum floor.
He didn’t know how he got there, sitting on the kitchen floor, looking up at the coffee pouring down off the edge of the table. It looked like a waterfall. His butt hurt. There was coffee on his pant’s leg and he rolled onto his knees and hands and climbed to his feet. Colors spun around him and the music from another room carried him into the air and he danced like Fred Astaire before he remembered to find a dishrag and clean up the mess he had made.
Chet was from Michigan. He had dropped out of college fifteen months earlier and he had lost his student deferment. Chet had a civilian skill as a offset printing press operator and, because of that, he didn’t get sent to Vietnam, at least not immediately.
The driver of the van, the one that had picked him up, reached into a small cooler sitting between him and his passenger up front. His passenger, a fellow who seemed to be about thirty, wore his hair like Gregg Allman. Clearly a freak. He twisted like a chameleon, reached back and shook Chet’s hand.
“You’re a soldier,” he said.
It was pretty obvious. Chet was in combat fatigues and wore his hair like an inmate.
“I e.t.s.’ed out of Fort Sill three years ago,” the man up front said. “How are they treating you?”
“I’m treated almost like a civilian. I had a civilian skill as a printing press operator and they sent me here right out of basic,” he said.
“You going out to Medicine Park?” the long-haired fellow asked.
Chet said that he was.
The passenger pulled himself back into the front seat and punched the driver in the shoulder. He dipped his long fingers into the pocket of his old flannel shirt and came out with something pinched between his fingers.
He stretched back to the soldier and said, “If you’ve got eight hours to kill, take this.”
He pushed a dark red colored, barrel-shaped tablet into the soldier’s hand. It was a third the size of an aspirin. Chet looked at it.
“Heads up,” yelled the driver, flipping a can of beer over his shoulder. The other fellow ducked down, hit his forehead on Chet’s knee and covered his head. Chet snagged the beer can out of the air and almost dropped the LSD on the floor. Once he had things back in order, he decided that he had nowhere particular to go, that no one was expecting him, and this was fate.
He popped open the can and swallowed the tablet. “Thanks a lot, guys,” he said. “Who are you?”
Five minutes later, he had that familiar metallic taste in his mouth, that tantalizing dimming-of-the-lights sensation that always came just before the first big rush. It came back now, the tang of copper, and he rode on a current of air until he stood in front of the kitchen sink, which had returned to his sight.
He grabbed a towel that was hanging from the sink and his arm became a tentacle. The suckers were numb. He couldn’t touch or grasp anything. His antenna went down and he stopped receiving signals. He shut his eyes for a moment and he saw the planet from miles above. It was beautiful. It was blue and it was floating on an ocean of smoked glass.
Next, he found himself wiping up coffee from the table and from the floor. Sitting quietly at the table, the driver of the van who had taken him here asked, “Are you okay?”
“Huh?” Chet replied. His head cleared for a moment and he said, “Sure, I just…” and he stared at the brown-stained rag in his hand. It looked evil.
Then, he was in the living room. He slipped down into a vacant chair and joined the five or six men that were staring, smiling beatifically, at the television. The television was on and it looked like a weather report was being broadcast. The colorful map of the United States pulsed and throbbed and began to leak outside the television screen. it grew to fill the wall of the room. Texas and Florida spilled onto the floor.
He asked where the bathroom was and he followed the instructions. He looked in the mirror and saw his body deformed and twisted. Tattoos roamed wild on his cheeks. His face, in the mirror, split, exploded, poured down to his shoulders, changing color and size. It turned to crystal and began to break apart. He couldn’t take his eyes off his reflection. It was hypnotizing. Is this really me, he wondered.
The floor pulled him along. His knees lifted his weightless feet and he moved forward in a dream. He fell into the craggy, red-rock chasm.
Outside, the blustery wind threw stinging sheets of gravel up against the house. A storm door, missing some hardware, crashed shut again and again
The house was breaking apart. He looked up through the kitchen ceiling and saw the roof of the house tearing away and then he could see the full moon and shadows from the racing clouds. It was November in Medicine Park, Oklahoma. That blast blew down all the way from Colorado. There was nothing in its way.
He floated down the stairs and joined his new friends. There was much music and laughter.