Trip report – Did I ever tell you about the first time I did mushrooms?

Trip report

Trip report

Did I ever tell you about the first time I did mushrooms?

Written by Dan

I was about 16. The mushrooms grow wild on the bleak moor land that surrounds the grotty little town where we grew up. They spring up in September when it starts to get cold (colder). A whole bunch of us trekked up the hill past the reservoir to some back fields where they seem to be more abundant. It was a clear bright day and we spent the entirety of it crawling around, hunched over bunches of reeds foraging for our goal, then scurrying back to Trev or Adma to have our acquisitions verified, under the scrupulous eye of a teenage fungal inspector. There was a large group of us (more than would be consuming the collection) so our harvest was bountiful. We three quarters filled a plastic carrier bag with tiny liberty cap mushrooms- trust me, that’s a shit load of fresh mushrooms. We split our collection in two, 3 of us lived in one part of the town and 3 in another, to be consumed the following night, owing to an extra day off school to attend a teachers funeral (we would instead spend that time experiencing our first psychedelic come down).

On the night of the event we met up at another friend‘s house (The Drunken Master). He lived in a large 3 story house with his older brother and mother. His mum was often not around and trusted the boys to destroy her home in her absence (which we never did! No matter how large and chaotic the parties got). This was one of those times and the guys permitted us the use of their kitchen to prepare our brew.

“Tut, tut, tut! – You and your psychedelic concoctions.” – The older brother (Evil Grandpa) muttered over my shoulder as I simmered down the pan full of brown/black liquid.

“Do you want some?”- I enquired.

“Fuck no. I’m gona enjoy observing you guys though”.

I cooked the liquid down until there was only enough to fill one large tea mug. While I was doing this Kat and Moo made old school, 3 sheet builds and filled them with cigarette tobacco and cheap hash. These were for me to roll before I got too fried to do it. Out of the small group present I was the only one capable, at the time, of rolling a smoke able joint without the aid of a mat or machine.

We took the cup of what looked (and tasted) like soil boiled in water and three of the joints to the front garden, where coincidentally the sun was just about to set. We stood in the circle and passed the cup and one of the spliffs around. The Drunken Master took one sip while his older brother wasn’t looking; the rest of us consumed the foul broth evenly between us, gagging occasionally as we did. The cup was soon empty and we decided to sit and watch the sun go down and smoke the other two joints. As we were finishing the second joint the headlights of a car lit up the wall of rough cut stone across the street, on the building opposite us. The shadows had acquired pearlescent edges which rippled and shattered as they crawled and scurried over the surface of the building like frightened rats. I don’t know what everyone else saw but we all went; “oooooooooo” in unison. Then the car whose headlights had caused the effect slowly reversed past the end of the drive way. All 4 of us fell off the step in complete hysterics – a car driving backwards was the single funniest concept on the planet at that time in our pubescent, psilocybin soaked minds. We realized our trip had begun and decided to return indoors and try and prepare more spliffs before that became impossible. We were already too late. Those of you who know what I’m talking about, you already know. You also know that it cannot be put into words. For those of you who don’t know here is my best attempt at recollection and interpretation. From the moment we re-entered the house things became extremely fractured. Time is an abstract concept invented by humans to account for the discrepancy between what they are currently experiencing and the illusion of their memory. Mushrooms remove the illusion and the discrepancy.  We had become wild and giddy. I recall a lot of running to and fro between the living room and the kitchen for no apparent reason, we just couldn’t keep still. Drunken Master and his brother watched us quietly grinning, as we became more and more animated and blatantly out of it.

“Watch this…” The Drunken Master says to Evil Grandpa. He goes into a draw in the corner and fishes out a cheap plastic monkey mask. The way the mask is painted makes it look like the face has thick sideburns. He slips on the mask hunches up (more like a little old man than a monkey) sticks out his elbows and knees and does a funny  little prospector’s jig as he brokenly sings a supergrass song (their singer had rather unfashionable sideburns at the time) “We are young…”jig, jig, jig.. We are free…..jig, jig …. Keep our teeth… jig, jig, jig….Nice and clean!…” But The Drunken Master is playing a dangerous game, having partaken of the elixir himself, and soon loses his footing on the preconception known as normality. His voice cracks behind the plastic monkey face and he falls to his knees on the carpet laughing like a giddy moron with the rest of us.

The Drunken Master is running round in the monkey mask, I want a mask too! I cut the top off my black beanie hat and pull my freshly dreadlocked, bright green hair out of the top like some kind of crusty pineapple. I roll the hat down over my face and cut two eye holes in it. I look like some kind of balaclava wearing terrorist scarecrow. Kat is freaked out by it and tells me to take it off.  I pull it up off of my face but leave it around my hair making it stand even higher off my head. The door to the living room slowly creaks open horror movie style and everyone turns giggling expecting the next wave of hilarity to come walking round the door. Instead it’s some silent, maniac, masked murderer in a boiler suit floating eerily towards us. HUGE fucking knife held out in front of him, pointed down in a plunging, stabbing, psycho killer kind of way. Big, blank, black eyes staring out dead from behind the cold white features of a Japanese kabuki mask. Silently advancing on us.

No more laughing.

Kat burst into tears.

Sam snorts a chuckle and says – “Calm down it’s only The Drunken Master!” The words break the spell for a moment, and it is indeed, most blatantly Drunken Master in a suit and mask. But no sooner am I relieved by this revelation, then I am ambushed by the new and assured concept that the mask is evil and will possess my friend’s mind and drag his zombie bones on a kill crazy rampage. That is unless, of course, we put it in the microwave. Kat has stopped crying but refuses to look until we promise the mask is gone. I use this as excellent cover to execute my plan. The offending item is secured safely inside the microwave. The only problem now is that wherever I stand in the kitchen its eyes follow me from inside its prison. It does not look happy.

Collectively we decide that things are starting to get on top of us and that we should probably go outside, smoke a joint and try to calm down. This seems sensible. Of course once we get outside we realise that we are in fact in the middle of a full scale war. Everyone freezes, wide eyed with panic. Drunken Master and I pluck up the courage to ninja our way through the shadows to the edge of the garden to see what’s going on outside. To a soundtrack of frantic screaming and yelling from beyond we peer cautiously through the leaves of the bushes in front of the fence. All I see is a hoard of uniformed figures charging to and fro in a scene of complete carnage and chaos. It’s an army?! Where did they come from?!Who are they fighting?! In panic I commando crawl, so as not to be spotted by the invading troops, back to where the other two are stooped. The Drunken Master calmly strolls back, upright. We stare at him in astonishment. “It’s the cub scouts coming out of the church” Drunken Master states flatly.

We know he’s right and try to laugh it off, but you can still hear the nervousness and uncertainty in everyone’s voice. I smoke the start of the joint pass it to Kat. Drunken Master and I decide to venture out into the maelstrom in the spirit of exploration, to dig the scene with our new senses. I think we just stood in the middle of the road, goggle eyed and plastic grinned, at the center of a hurricane of smaller children and high pitched screams. The kids still had a shadow of the solider about them, and their incessant noise did still occasionally swell into the roar of a riot in my mind, but it was no longer terrifying. It was now quite exhilarating and very, very amusing.

I don’t remember hearing the voice but Drunken Master and I turned around at exactly the same moment to come face to smiling face with Mrs. Appleyard; the school librarian. A very mild authority to say the least, but in our current state of mind the mere thought of the concept of the possibility of authority, was even more terrifying than the war, or the mask wearing psycho. We were busted. We were in serious trouble. There would be consequences. Things would spiral out of control. We would be tried as adults. We would be convicted of the trafficking, manufacturing, ingesting, supplying and inventing of class A restricted substances and jailed with rapists and murderers and real criminals and we were far too young, far too strange and far too high on magic mushrooms to possibly survive. We both screamed, involuntarily, in the poor woman’s face and took off running, at full speed, in the opposite direction down the hill.

It was at or around this point that I realized nothing was the same. The entire world had changed. The whole of existence. The very fabric and concept of reality torn from under me. For the very first time I truly questioned the validity of my perceptions. Not how they were at the time (because I was smashed, that much was obvious), but the fact that they could be altered so swiftly, so radically and so significantly by something as simple and innocuous as a tiny little mushroom. I realised that up until that very moment everything I had seen, sensed and experienced in my life had been a bigoted and blinkered self-delusion. A story that I had been telling myself unknowingly. And that it had no more basis in whatever the “real world” may be, than what I was currently experiencing whilst frying on psilocybin.

That’s a pretty fucking lucky lesson to learn at such a young age. Especially ripped off of your tits on your first trip. And I wouldn’t change it for anything. Although I couldn’t say it helped me to function in the joke that is “normal” society.  But then again, I didn’t really want to anymore. I don’t think I ever did before; this was just another reason to add to the unfortunately, apparently endless list.

 

 

The event which caused this revelation was when the pair of us stopped running. We could no longer remember what we were running from, and only continued running for as long as the momentum created by the hill encouraged us to do so. Once the ground leveled out we slowed to a walk until we were stopped by the grids.

Where we lived you get 3 square electrical grid covers in a row positioned randomly on the pavements. Now at the time we all played a game whenever out walking anywhere with friends where you couldn’t walk over the three grids without some sort of consequence. On this night however we came across 3 grids that where so fucking huge. The words; SO FUCKING HUGE are burnt into my mind forever from the sight and I feel their weight every time I remember. These things were the physical personification of the word MASSIVE. They embodied the very notion of LARGE. We stared at them and knew that the consequence of crossing them would be equally as ENORMOUS. We feared them. On a very primal level. Then we were running again.

This time gravity slowed our pace as we reached the school. We crossed the red gravel sports field to the back of the car park where the bus garages were (what kind of retard makes a school sports field out of red gravel for fuck’s sake?!) We climbed through a hole in the chain link fence which led to a narrow gap between the garages. We did this to get out of the breeze so that I could make a joint. That notion was instantly forgotten. The light from the street lamp in the car park gave off a warm orange yellow glow, while the lights from the car park of the mental ward in the hospital across the street gave off a sickly pink hue (what kind of retard builds a mental hospital opposite a school? – it is no wonder people take drugs).  The walls of the garages were cheap pebble dash. Ragged shards of flint embedded erratically into the mortar, if you were to scrape past one too hard you would leave a chuck of flesh behind. The combination and angle of the two coloured lights cast crazy shadows off the textured wall and we both fell into silence staring fixedly at the wall six inches away from our noses. We could have been stood there a thousand years for all I knew. I was lost in a sea of purple and green visions and coded messages. A universe without words. Drunken Master brought me back by saying – “Dood, I know it’s clichéd as fuck……………..but, I can see the writing on the wall”.

I snorted a laugh at him and turn back to the wall, and there it is; the TRUTH. All of it. The entire terrible thing laid out before me in plain and simple English. I try to read as much of it as I could while it reassembles constantly and quickly evaporates into the cool evening air.

We are brought back by the sounds of voices calling our names.

I don’t want to go back to my name.

It carries with it responsibilities I cannot bear. Like the concept of responsibilities. I would rather stay here in the safe darkness with simple truth and a silent mind.

It was Kat, Moo and Evil Grandpa come to find us (if people called Kat, Moo and Evil Grandpa were coming to find you would you want to return to that reality?). I remember asking them how the fuck did they find us between the sheds? But I couldn’t understand the answer. The Drunken Master and I tried to converse but using a system of symbols as limited as language seemed rather tired and archaic. Communications had become something much more total and terrifying. Now that we had seen a truth we could never remember or express to anyone who didn’t already know.