Chapter Eleven: “Rat House”


Donnie was addicted to anything that would alter the normal everyday survival perceptions of the world: uppers, downers, speed, coke, pot, Benzedrine, acid, mescaline, an endless list of mood and consciousness modifiers that would have put an ordinary man in the grave. But Donnie was no ordinary man, he was a drug pig.

Drugs are essential in altering perception and allow greater freedom to contemplate the universe and one’s place in it. This can lead to enlightenment and in some cases Instant Karma, where one realizes one’s mistakes and instantly applies correct action to halt the bad karma. I believe that changing one’s consciousness is universal to the human experience and is at the heart of Zen.

However, you can open the doors of perception only so many times. Maybe the first time you open the door you peek through to the other side and decide not to enter. Eventually you open the door and you go through and you become enlightened or you meet your destiny, at least something happens. You learn something about yourself. Donnie opened the door one too many times and was quite a bit addled because of it.

Rob was a good guy, he smoked a lot of weed and was pretty mellow most of the time, except when you destroy his KISS tape while he’s peaking. He also had the worst taste in music of anyone I have ever known. The best record he had was the Dead Kennedy’s “California Über Alles” that he found when he moved into his house.

My drug of choice was alcohol. I’d drink almost anything from a dry martini to Green Death, which is Rainier Ale. We debated whether they put formaldehyde in it to give it more kick.

Trashed on Green Death I decided to go to Rob’s place, the Rhesus House, and hang out. When I got there Rob and Donnie were snorting some white powdery substance off the screen of their television. The T.V. was on its back and the movie Frankenstein was playing. Yes, the television was still plugged in and turned on. There was a crash of lightning from the movie, then a snort, lightning, SNORT, finally “IT’S ALIVE!” followed by a loud “AH!” from Rob. Evidentially the drug was having its effect.

“You want to do some?” Rob asked me.

“What is it? Coke?” I asked back.

“We don’t know. We think it’s DMT. Try it and see.”

So I did a few lines and it hit me almost immediately. The effect was speedy with hallucinations like a psychedelic.

“Why are we doing this off the T.V.?” I asked.

“Because the mirror broke,” Rob said and then started laughing. Donnie started laughing too.

“Seven years bad luck, man,” said Donnie, laughing even more hysterically. It was contagious, I started to laugh too even though I didn’t find it all that amusing. Ah, drugs.

We decided to go to Goose Shit Meadows. It was after midnight and we were stumbling around in the dark by some buildings off the main quad when Donnie fell in a window well. It was a good six foot drop and we were lucky he didn’t break any bones. He attributed his luck to how flexible he was after snorting the drug.

“See, I ain’t superstitious,” he said after we dragged him up from the hole.

“Black cat just crossed my path,” I said, completing the quote. He looked at me with a puzzled look. So I said, “Willie Dixon, ‘I Ain’t Superstitious’, the old blues song?”  Donnie narrowed his eyes. He looked at me suspiciously.

“Are you mocking me?”

“No man. You said you weren’t superstitious. You know. Seven years bad luck for a broken mirror.”

Slowly his look changed from suspicion to friendship. I was relieved, I don’t think I could beat him in a fight. Drug users have superhuman strength.

Donnie often said he never got colds because he had willed himself good health while on an acid trip. He was also good at pool and billiards because while tripping he could “see” the trajectory of the balls as if he had a laser sight in his head. Donnie was insane.



Rob and Donnie the Vegetable Boy bought an ounce of hash and declared it would last three months. Clark found himself at their house almost every day. The brick lasted a week.

It isn’t uncommon for druggies to miscalculate how long their supply would last. Often, as in blotter acid, they would buy a few sheets and think it would last six months. A month later they were buying three more sheets. Or buying a pound of pot only to discover two months later they were dry again. Constant drug use is a challenge, especially when you deal and use…you’re constantly using up your profits.

I was on mescaline when I found God. It was a cold, clear winter’s night and we’d dropped at eight o’clock. Around midnight we were driving around in the woods and stopped to urinate. As I pissed, steam rose up from my stream and I followed it with my eyes until I saw the millions of stars in the sky. Then the stars disappeared and a huge black void opened up revealing God to me, a vast, empty, unfeeling presence that neither cared if I lived or died or peed. I was reminded of a painting by Kasimir Malevich, “Black Square”. When displayed it was placed where the main icon in a Russian Orthodox home would be. To me, he was saying, “This is God.”  With this new information about the universe I did what any astral traveler would do, I zipped up my pants and ran back to the car because it was freezing outside.

As I grew older my understanding of the universe changed. When you venture down the path you learn as you go. The universe isn’t as vast, empty or unfeeling as it was that night. Since I’m in it, and Paula was in it, and everyone else, it was a place filled with mystery and wonder. Perhaps God’s hand guides things, this is unknown to me, but I do know forces exist on earth and in heaven that are mysterious and powerful. When you tap into those forces things can go your way, if that’s the way you’re supposed to go.


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