Chapter Fifteen: “Rat House”


A little after Thanksgiving we ate mushrooms and decided to see the U-Men at the Central. Clark chose to stay home and read Hemingway’s “The Snows of Kilimanjaro” while listening to “I Am the Walrus”. He said his mind was open enough to understand it, and the first, second and third person narrative would “meld” with Lennon’s “I am he as you are me and you are he and we are all together.” I was in no condition to argue. The ‘shrooms were potent, with lots of blue on the stems and nice fresh caps fringed with blue.
The mushrooms were consumed around six p.m. and we were nicely toasted by seven. Eugene and I hopped in my 1968 Mustang with the straight six 200 cubic inch engine and drove off to Pioneer Square, leaving Clark to his reading and meditation. The roads were wet and the lights of the car reflected off them with a vibrancy otherwise unnoticed. The tires swished along in time to the tape that was playing, Eno’s Taking Tiger Mountain (By Strategy). It was all making sense, my life was falling into place as the psychedelic forced connections to the world ordinarily imperceptible.
Eugene and I arrived at the Central around 7:30 p.m. and just watched the bar fill up over the next two hours. Life swirled all around us and the people watching was terrific. Mark Arm came by and Eugene tried to say something to him, but was too wasted to utter anything more than a few squeaks that sounded like a chipmunk. I laughed maniacally and Mark just smiled and moved along. Our eyes must have looked like saucers, dilated from the mushrooms.
The U-Men were incredible, making sounds like crystal being crushed by concrete bricks. They were as good as the Butthole Surfers only without the strippers and film loops. I sat back and melted into my chair, then I felt dry and became a skeleton for a few hours, or minutes, or days, who knew when time is a philosophical concept.
After the show Eugene and I went up and told Johnny and Tom they were amazing and they nodded at us and laughed because they knew we were tripping.
The drive back was just as psychedelic. I thought I was in an actual artery, being pumped like red and white blood cells to the heart and the brain. Eugene popped out Eno and put on Zappa, always good for a giggle.
“In honor of Clark,” he said.
The traffic flowed like blood. I knew I was close to understanding everything in the universe, an epiphany, my Zen, my enlightenment. Zappa brought me down to earth as the Central Scrutinizer from Joe’s Garage and I was back to driving home to the Rat House and the fleas and Howard’s trailer in the front yard. So close, yet failure.
When we arrived, the lights were out in the trailer, Howard must’ve been at Ritchie’s because his car was gone, but all the lights were blazing in the house. Eugene and I entered and Clark sat on the couch, eyes wide as half-dollars, holding a tennis racket like a club.
“The turkey moved,” he said, fear choking his words.
Looking at him, he was pale and possibly in shock. He shook slightly and pounded the racket repeatedly into his left hand. I laughed.
“The fucking turkey moved! Don’t believe me? Go look for yourselves!”
Eugene and I approached the kitchen with trepidation. What if Clark was right? What if he wasn’t just high, we didn’t have just fleas and rats, maybe we had ghosts as well.
There was the turkey carcass we had leftover from Thanksgiving. It started to shake. I jumped nearly a foot in the air and Eugene and I ran out to the living room.
“IT MOVED!” Eugene shouted. What could it have been? What could possess a turkey carcass to move?
“WHAT ARE WE GOING TO DO?” I screamed, terrified.
“I DON’T KNOW!” Clark shrieked. We all trembled by the horror we’d witnessed.
“I took my bicycle out to go to the university,” Clark began, “I’d read the story and decided I needed some fresh air.” This was a long ride from South Park, but Clark had done it many times, stoned, tripped out, and sober.
“I came back and decided I was hungry so I took out the turkey, but when I started to cut into it, it turned into a baby. A BABY! I knew I was hallucinating so I came in here to listen to some mellow music and calm down. When I went back in there the fucking turkey was moving around. I’ve been sitting in here ever since.”
Clark’s story sounded sincere and we had seen the turkey move.
“I think we should leave,” I said. “If we go until we come down maybe it won’t move anymore.”
Quickly we exited the house. Piling into the Mustang I pulled out and headed for Rob’s house. We called his house the “Rhesus House” after Rhesus Christ of the Immaculate Deception. Rob was always good to see when high, since he was constantly stoned as well. We still had some mushrooms and we could exchange them for safe sanctuary at his place.

Donnie the Vegetable Boy and Rob were sitting in front of a huge bong, at least three feet tall, cleaning stems and seeds from their stash. There must’ve been at least two ounces that needed to be cleaned. Clark showed Rob the mushrooms in the baggie and he nodded. He handed him three ‘shrooms, which should be enough to get anybody off then Donnie ripped the bag from his hand and gobbled down the remainder, about ten mushrooms.
“Hey, fucker!” Clark said as he pushed Donnie who lost his balance and fell on the floor, giggling like he was mad.
“Oh, dude, he ate some acid like an hour ago,” said Rob.
“Fucker doesn’t need my mushrooms then,” Clark said, “I hate that shit.”
“Mellow, mellow, sit down and relax, it’ll be okay. What are you guys up to?”
We related the night’s adventures ending with the moving turkey. Rob’s eyes widened perceptibly, possibly because he was peaking. He got up and dug around in a box of cassette tapes and took out KISS’ Alive! Rob had miserable taste in music. As he was about to put the tape in the stereo Eugene leaped up and laughed, screaming, “PISS ON KISS!” and grabbed the tape from Rob’s hands. He threw the tape on the floor, screamed “PISS ON KISS!” again, and started jumping up and down on it. All the time he’s laughing. I started laughing and shouted, “PISS ON KISS!” Rob was in shock, he was peaking and Eugene’s demonstration shattered any mellow he was harboring. Soon, Donnie and Clark were up and jumping around shouting “PISS ON KISS!”
Donnie found a plunger in the bathroom and took off his shirt and stuck the plunger to his chest like a giant nipple.
“Pith on Kith,” he said.
Rob crawled away to the couch to take a bong hit to calm himself down.
“I think you guys should leave,” he said exhaling a huge cloud of smoke.

After pissing on KISS we had sobered up enough to venture back to the Rat House and the ghost turkey. As we pulled up to house we could see a light on in Howard’s trailer. Eugene knocked on his door and Howard let Eugene in. Clark and I approached the house very slowly, all the lights were still on inside.
In the kitchen the turkey lay there, still as a carcass should be, then it started to move again. This time I grabbed it and out of the hole where the guts were came a small black tail. A hallucination!Slowly a black and white kitten extracted itself from the turkey carcass, walking backwards. It was Lizard Brain, our new cat. She was covered in turkey viscera.
“You little shit,” Clark said, picking up Liz, “You scared the shit out of me.”
“Christ, that cat gave me the fear. I need a drink.” I pulled a Rainier out of the refrigerator and downed it in three gulps.
“Grab me one please,” Clark said. “Now I have to bath you, don’t I?” he said to the cat that was unaware of the horrors that awaited it. A cat and a bathtub are two things, as you know, that don’t go together.


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