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A Bus Ride and the Certain Doom
By Julian Drury
I hate the fact of not having my bus-fare in bills. It’s an annoying gamble to me, in using only coins when riding the bus. The reasons for this are simple: for one, there’s always the potential that when you approach the slot to insert the coins that your hands will fumble, thus forcing you to drop the coin to the ground and then frantically search for it. This potential is made even worse in the event of having people standing behind you to board the bus, who have to wait until I can find the missing coins which fell from my hand. Or, an even rarer occasion, I will insert a coin and hear the automated machine respond, “Coin Not Accepted.” After three attempts of inserting the coin I realize that the coin I kept inserting was in fact a Canadian Quarter. How the hell I had one, beats me. Of course I was able to dig out another coin from my wallet, but by the time it is all said and done, ten minutes went by just to get on the bus. This is made worse by the fact that the bus was already ten minutes late. Of course, as with any other bus ride, the confusion and loathing wouldn’t simply end with me sitting down. No, something else always has to happen.
Two people began screaming at each other in the back of the bus. Two women, fighting about a whole series of things that I won’t bother to take the time ti listen in on. It’s all bullshit to me anyway, so listening in doesn’t excite me much. The bus driver, of course, did nothing to intervene. The loud veracity of the screaming, however, does annoy my ears. Nothing of course my headphones can’t cure. Picking music to listen to becomes the challenge. Scrolling through the playlist to find the right song is important. Finally I’ll settle for Led Zeppelin, Immigrant Song. It’s a great song, and perfect to drown out the noise of the two screaming women in the back of the bus.
The rain clouds are picking up quickly. It seemed sunny when I first stepped onto the bus, and only a mere eight minutes into the ride and it seems as if a major rainstorm if brewing. The clouds blanket the sky and are very dark-gray. Thunder is following, and lighting for certain. Occasionally looking out the window to my right, I can see the fleeting world withdrawn. It’s very empty, which is unusual. Even though it looks like a great storm is brewing, there would still be some signs of activity in some respect. There is nothing. I guess I should be disturbed by that, but Led Zeppelin is an awesome band and I’d rather just sink into the music. Of course, the bus ride would never grant such a complete satisfaction.
Of course, when I ask myself why the bus has stopped moving for a lengthy amount of time, it usually is because the bus was not able to beat the passing train. Because my bus route rests between a train-track, there is always the random chance of a train passing through, and delaying the bus even more than it already delays itself. Honestly, it doesn’t really matter. That’s because I can now feel the full effects of that joint. Man, it’s kicking my ass.
My neighbor Reggie, the apartment complex’s stationary drug dealer, told me that he had gotten hold of some weed the likes of which had never been smoked before. Of course, hearing this alone sold me to its idea. The only thing, in the back of my mind, was that Reggie ripped me off in the past, and I wasn’t willing to be a sucker again. I decided then to buy just enough for a joint, which alone was twenty bucks. Though, Reggie also rolled it himself for me with the special cigar-like papers that he uses, and added in what he called a “special powder.” It was “Special Powder, straight from South-of-the-Border.” Sounded nice enough.
I thought what he was saying it was cocaine he laced into the joint. Obviously I am wrong. I’ve smoked joints laced with cocaine before, and what I tasted was not cocaine. It had a sweet taste, almost like sour candy, and hit me harder than the weed did. The feeling is completely indescribable. What I can say, is it made me feel like something inside my brain “clicked” or unlocked. What it clicked or unlocked, I can’t say for certain yet. Now that I am feeling the full effect of the weed and whatever this “special powder” was, it probably isn’t a good idea for me to still try and go cash my check. That is, of course, the whole reason why I got on the goddamn bus in the first place.
I’m starting to sweat, I’ve never sweat before when smoking weed. This powder stuff is something on a whole different level. It’s a good thing there aren’t too many people on the bus. Why won’t this damn train hurry up? I’ll look at the news reports on my phone. There’s probably not much going on, but there seems to be a problem. I’m having trouble focusing on the news headlines on my google app, the drug is worse than I expected. Though, I can catch a few headlines:
UNEXPLAINED WEATHER EVENTS.
PANIC IN SEVERAL CITIES.
MASS POWER OUTAGES.
The last headline made me smile, because god knows New Orleans has power outages so often that it seems like a rather normal thing to just have your power cut off at some random point for no other reason than to cause inconvenience.
All the headlines seemed to point to something strange, though I can’t seem to grasp myself enough to read the articles themselves. I’ll wait till later, I guess. Looking out the window, though, I might be seeing a glimpse of what the google articles are saying. I just have to last the bus ride until I can get downtown to withdraw money from my bank. I could have just done it at any ATM, but I didn’t want to pay the non-bank ATM fees. Its payday, and I’ve got about five-hundred bucks to sort out and more than likely spend.
The street lights are flashing on and off, even though it’s only three-thirty in the afternoon. Outside, the black clouds are stirring still, but I’m not seeing any drops of rain yet. I figured it should have started raining by now? Finally, the train has moved, and the bus continues down the route. Outside the bus, everything seems to be growing a dark aura around it. Especially the sky, which now seems to have the strangest phenomena I have ever seen. There seems to be a light, a line, blazing in the colors of a red inferno, which slowly seems to grow larger, hovering in the sky within the dark mass of clouds. Looking closer, as best I can, it looks like a slash, like something is slowly cutting a line in the sky. Stop looking out the window. It’s just the high, that’s all.
The more I peek out of the window of the bus, moving closer to Canal Street, I realize that something is gathering in the darkness. Everything inside the bus seems normal, unhinged. Yet darkness, fires, and chaos seem to be brewing outside. The sky continues to rip open, which seems to nearly expose something behind itself. Things are moving about, beasts of nightmares untold. Beings of all shapes and sizes, all colors and sterility, are converging outside the bus. If I am just high, just really fucked up, how can inside of the bus seem somewhat normal, while the outside is completely insane? Either I was passed some serious drug in that chronic, or something tells me that I am in the middle of something pretty wicked. By wicked, I mean very bad.
I remember a story, about the potential of certain drugs or substances to open up the mind of human perception. It was an old Mayan story about a substance (drug) called “Tezca.” Tezca is supposedly a drug so great, and rare, that once ingested by a human, can literally open up a portal to other worlds. It sounds like some really wasted hippie came up with the story, when I first heard it. But, supposedly, as my anthropology instructor, who coincidentally was also a great pot-head, says the stories are true. As he said,
“They believed that the Tezca, which was always ground into a powder, was the residue left over the great gods of the cosmic heavens. Ingesting Tezca allows this human to glimpse into world’s parallel to ours. If enough people ingest Tezca, it is also possible that doors can be opened between the alternate worlds.”
Is that’s what’s happening now? Special Powder, South-of-the-Border? By smoking a joint, did I somehow unleash a rift in dimensions, a cataclysm of cosmic proportions threatening to unleash a whole host of ancient horrors upon mankind? I’m making something out of, buzzing!
Looking outside the bus, makes me want to shrivel up and waste away in some dark corner of what natural world still exists. I have reached my stop, Canal Street. Though, is this really Canal Street? It looks like it, but nothing about it seems real to me anymore. There are these strange things, creatures of fading forms who appear and disappear within flashes of light, and shade of shadow. They are insectoid, reptilian, grotesque monsters peering over waning, zombie-like humans, draining blood from their brains. The beasts creep about, with several arms, and bat-like wings, on buildings, streets, buzzing the sky and walking the earth. One moment they’re there, the next they’re not. This has to be one miserable trip. Should I even step off the bus? Is it that important today, payday, for me to brave this cosmic horror flailing about outside? What am I saying? What am I doing? Despite the fact I desire safety within this relative normal of the bus, my body is being compelled to step towards the exit at the front. The mechanical door opens quickly, clicking and shoving their plastic barriers away from each other. This is it, the moment.
It’s not a matter of guessing. I will face something when I step outside the bus. I will either face what I think to see, hordes of pan-dimensional monstrosities, released by my recreational habits to get high? Will I face cosmic calamities of untold imagination, beasts so terrifying that no drug trip on earth could create them? Or, perhaps even more frightening, will I merely step back out into the quasi-normal world?
Will it all just be as it is, as it was and possibly continue? Will I be so disheartened by the mundane existence, the cashing of checks, the buying of beer only to return home, alone and reap no reward? Will this great doom, this nightmare, be my end? Or shall it be worse, and drawn over years of unending emptiness? Broken is my understanding of what is real. Doom is all I pretend to notice. Step out, step outside. It is not me to judge.
There are Winds. A buzz greets me. The sun god greets me. The tentacles are crawling up my leg. Legions are coming for me, legions of them…
I am ready…I can feel it…I can do anything I want…so can you…walk out.