After My First Kiss A Punch to The Heart

 

(from The continuing stories of JT and his quest for Culinary Nirvana)
I stopped off to see Kathy and bought a nickel of gold weed then went to the magazine store to buy a pack of big bamboo rolling papers. I was feeling a bit frisky, which is adolescent code for horny, so I decided I was the one who would set the tone tonight. The four musketeers met up by the corner of the schoolyard near the woods where many of us underage derelicts quench our mind thirsts with beer or wine or sometimes both. I hoped Ken would get out of being grounded, he almost always did, but this time he was busted with weed which was like the ultimate crime of the century or something. Felony pot smoking! Every suburban parent’s nightmare, a child that has been turned into a stoned out zombie from doing the “reefer madness.” Maybe his old man was just too drunk to remember what happened. Or maybe just beating Ken was lesson enough. I flipped when he showed up carrying a six-pack. “ Hey Ken man, give me the cardboard from the six pack, I gotta clean some weed.” This was a ritual in the neighborhood, copping some beer from an older brother of a friend outside the stores then rolling a few joints to get even higher. It was just another night in the land they call suburbia. On this eve we were a group of 12 strong all pounding down alcohol and puffing away on yellow gold high-quality marijuana. Someone suggested heading over to Beth’s because she was having a party and there in an instant and unanimous agreement. Ken grabbed me and pulled me to the side. “JT, did you take those pills I gave you last night?” “Of course I did bro it was awesome. I did the red ones and brought the other 4 with me. I figure I’ll do one and give one to Carrie and you and Sue can have the other two” Ken thought for a moment then said “Lets you and me do the tuies and give the girls one yellow each. The tuies are a lot stronger.” It was decided. We called over the ditz sisters and offered them each a Nembutal. Carrie took it without question and washed it down with some of my beer. A foreign feeling came over me, and somehow I just knew the moment was now. I grabbed her hand and held it like a boyfriend would feeling the sparks instantly. I knew Carrie could sense it too by the smile on her face and the odd twinkle in her eyes. I pulled Carrie in front of me and peered into her soul through her beautiful ocular portals. Without one single word spoken, with just one seemingly small act of mysterious energy, the whole of the cosmos shifted to a slightly uncomfortably yet fully confident and happy alignment. We exchanged nervous glances at first, and then looked deeply into each other’s eyes searching each other desires. Our eyes engaged in the only conversation necessary. With a sensuous and tender movement, our faces shifted slightly and slowly, very very gradually as we moved closer to each other. Maybe she was born with it, or perhaps it was Maybelline, but at that moment no other female had ever looked so amazingly beautiful, and for a brief few moments, no one else in the world existed. I felt a tingling that emanated from my groin and echoed through my entire body out through my fingertips as our mouths opened and our lips met with a furious and gentle tango explosion. All the blood in my body seemed to take the elevator straight to the top and made me wobble so that I nearly lost my balance. With our mouths locked tightly to each other, our tongues danced that tango, tossing and toggling inside each other’s mouths in a desperate search of our new raison d’etre. With slippery hormonal precision, our mouths performed the minute waltz in ten seconds as our tongues danced the entire Swan Lake to artistic perfection. Jesus shit man we were embracing in a wet and desperate lovelock of synergetic bliss. Eyes closed and mouths now hermetically sealed to each other our faces rocked gently as we both drank in the most incredible love infected chemical secretion either of us had ever experienced. We kissed and swapped salivary gland fluids for four or five minutes utterly oblivious to any lifeform outside are now combined nucleus.

My endoreticulum was running amok and scratching my back while it tickled my soul. I loved it! (see? I did pay attention in biology) The only sound in the universe was the soft panting and moaning of Carrie’s throat and the slightly louder moaning of mine. After what seemed like two lifetimes the magic was shattered by a familiar voice when Ken broke up the vibe. “Well, it’s about fucking time you guys.” We broke our lip lock and looked at each other knowing exactly what he meant, and we knew he was right. I think we both felt glad we waited because that was the most perfect kiss and saliva exchange in the history of Cupidon.
From that moment on Carrie and I would become inseparable, holding hands or walking with my arm around her shoulder. We were high from weed and beer, and soon the pills would be kicking in, and even if they didn’t fuck it, I’m in love which as of right now is the best high I have ever felt. Our friends looked at us as if this was how it had always been, no one even seemed to notice how different we felt. We, however, could not stop looking at each other, smiling and kissing the night away. The music was loud, the party was crowded, yet nothing existed outside of Carrie and me. We continued drinking and smoking whenever something came our way, and I gave the weed and papers to Ken and left him in charge. It was getting late, and we were very stoned and delighted. But time was running out in the evening.
No sooner did we decide to leave than a strange tension built up between us. Well not really between us but more like inside the both of us. A sense of anticipation and curiosity filled the small portion of our private universe. Ah, the moment of truth. Should we continue our adventure into adulthood or just take it easy? I felt that awkward feeling because we were headed to that moment we would say goodnight to each other and figure out what the next step of our relationship was going to be. Should I try to cop a feel and touch her breast, maybe take it further tonight or be happy where we are and wait? Suave and cool operator or caring respectful dude? The pills had one scenario and my mind had another. Should I make a move? Fuck man, what if I try for the tit and she gets pissed? Oh my god so much fucking pressure. Tuinols on one shoulder and my conscience on the other. As we walked closer to her house we chatted nervously and pointlessly about nothing. That’s when I realized she was sweating it out too. Well its time to make my move, be a man, do what a real man would do. But what man? Be like my asshole Dad? I’ll never get laid if I’m like him. Like Artie, the scumbag? No, he would probably rape her though I would never say that in front of Ken. Fuck man I have no role model since James got drafted. That’s it. What the fuck would Jameson do? He was caught having sex with his girlfriend once when her old man came home unexpectedly and caught them. They had to break up and James was a mess for months afterward. They got back together of course because they really do love each other but they had to steer clear of her parents. What kind of shit is that? He’s in the army defending I don’t know what an has to hide his relationship. What bullshit! But James was my hero so that was it. I’ll do like James would do. I stopped walking, grabbed Carrie and pulled her close to me. Our eyes met and I could see the look she had was curiosity with a side order of apprehension. “Carrie, I really dig you a lot, and I want us to have a long relationship. This love shit is so fucking confusing! Well if it is love we should be able to talk about shit like this so here it goes. “I want to have sex with you really bad right here and right now.” Her eyes narrowed and she seemed to be contemplating what would be next. I took a deep breath and continued. “But I want it to be right, the right place and time and the right reason. I just don’t think tonight is that time.” Now her eyes began to smile and I think I heard a breath of relief. She smiled the most beautiful smile I had ever seen. Without a single word we both knew it was the perfect choice. “Jesus shit JT, I want to have sex with you right now too but I don’t think, no, I know I’m not ready. But I would have if you asked me to.”

My relief was evident too, and I smiled and said “You would have?? God damn it, now you tell me.” We laughed and embraced each other holding tightly, and I am pretty sure she felt that uncontrollable male muscle pulsating slow and hard up against her hip. Life was beautiful, we were in love, and this new high we found was the best ever. We walked up to her house and stopped just out of sight should anyone be spying on us. We swapped spit, sucked face, made out, French kissed, toggled tongues, whatever the fuck you want to call it for 15 minutes before we said good night. I walked home like each step was taken on a carpet of foam rubber with my head so high in the clouds it took a special request from gravity to keep me on earth. I can’t wait to tell Ken. Jesus shit I hope this lasts.
I’m not sure if the incredible feelings I was experiencing was from love, beer, pot or pills. Most likely it was a combination of all the above but to say my head was spinning would be an understatement. I could feel the effects of all of them having a group hug in my cerebellum, but all I could think about was Carrie. Damn man, I hung out with her as friends almost every day and now all of a sudden I can’t stop thinking about her. I walked straight into my special little spot in the universe past my Mom who was mumbling something about the time, past the dinner table which generally beckoned me over for a tempting bowl of cocoa puffs, utterly oblivious to all the sights and sounds surrounding me. It felt like the giant smile not only went from ear to ear but wrapped around my head a few times. Fuck man, I’m in love!

For the first time in ever, I woke up happy and wide awake. I am ready to start the day a teenager in love. Think I’ll go into the kitchen and surprise my Mom with a kiss. The surprise was on me though because as soon as I got to the kitchen my dear mom was sitting at the table with a bucketload of tears in her eyes and my dickhead old man pacing and just mumbling over and over how “Everything’s gonna be alright.” Mom’s head was shaking, and all she could let out was a desperate sounding sob. She kept trying to catch her breath but sounded like she was going to choke. I looked at my mom, but my words were directed at my Dad. “What’s going on?” My old man looked at me with a shut the fuck up look on his face and spoke forcefully when he said, “Its not a big deal. Jameson has been shipped off to Viet Nam and is headed to a place called Quang Tri. He will be defending the honor of the entire country and our family because he is a brave son doing the right thing.” I knew it was half trying to convince mom, validate his hawkish war stance, and most importantly to him send a dig at my anti-war friends and me.

Mom was becoming increasingly more hysterical, so I chose to let that shit slide for the time being. In the calmest voice I had used with my Dad in some time I intoned outside of Moms audible range, “Dad, Jameson is going to Nam. He is going to risk his life for nothing. Not a big deal? No big deal?” Unfortunately my brazen in love self-began growing balls and my voice raised a few octaves. “ What the hell do you mean no big deal? James is going to fight in a bloody and senseless war halfway around the world.” I was using every ounce of Zen energy to remain composed, but the old shit was feeling guilty and believed increasing his own volume gave him some warped sense of authority. “First of all watch your language young man, you’re still living under my roof. We live in the United States of America and our country needs our help.” I rolled my eyes, yet he continued, “Just because you are a pansy ass chicken who’s afraid to fight doesn’t mean both my sons have to be.” The Old shit felt that his drunken slurring statement was in need of an exclamation point, so he slapped me hard in my face. I was stunned.

The shock converted quickly to anger, and it took every ounce Karma I had to not punch the shit out of his old drunk ass. Mom let out a little scream as my eyes burned holes in the wallpaper and my fingers began to ache from clenching. Being the better person, I headed back to my sanctuary to worship my stereo headphones and pretend I didn’t live in this hell hole of a house. My dickhead father, my wailing mother, and the thought of my brother shipping off to Vietnam for real had completely destroyed the fantastic feeling of love from my first kiss. Fuck them, I’m outta here on my eighteenth birthday!
TBC

A Slice Of Life (from Zen And The Art f Culinary Maintenance)

 

J.T. Hilltop
I was seriously depressed, spent 33 days as an unwilling guest at a South Carolina correction facility on my way to Arizona, and I never made it any further west then freaking Georgia. I played around in Atlanta, Columbia, and Myrtle Beach, and finally realized it was time to get back home to Long Island where I could at least waste my life away with some friends.

After two wasted years and a week of senseless sporadic hitchhiking in the south I finally made it back home to Centerlawn. It had only been two years yet as I quickly learned it’s a strange new world around here. Nearly everyone I hung out with has either gotten married, moved, or joined the “Establishment” and are doing their nine to fives. As for me I‘m officially unemployed and living at home with my Dad of all people. My next tattoo way just as well be a large “L” on my forehead so everyone can see what a loser I’ve become. What a cruel world. I had to do something, I was relented to the ultimate embarrassment of getting cash from my old man for doing menial tasks around the house, which had been seriously neglected as of late. A twenty three year old earning a teenage allowance. I needed to move out on my own again really bad but jobs were scarce, and I have zero money let alone security and rent for a month. Then my old friend Universe created its mysterious cosmic connection and the answer appeared in front of me. My cosmic companion placed fates ironic ad in the classified section of the local paper, “Looking for line cook for six day week. Room and board included. Inquire at Glen City Country Club.” “Fore!”

Thank you destiny! It opened up a whole new world to me. Long Island has tons of country clubs and most of them offer room and board as part of a compensation package. I could bounce from club to club until I get back up on my feet. Hey its not like Maggs Garden Apartment but it’s a room with a bed. I went to GCCC the very next day in my best clothes wearing my best attitude and charm. I got the job on the spot thanks to all my previous restaurant experience. Zen and the Art Of Culinary maintenance is back in the house.

The country club circuit is different from restaurants. For one thing it means split shifts. The members get breakfast and lunch Tuesday through Sunday, and dinner Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday which meant a break from 3-6 on those days. Mondays the kitchen was closed so we all had a day off. The hours were very mixed up but the work was steady and the pay was decent. A great staff, quality food, lots of waitresses, and we all got along and had fun. The room and board left a bit to be desired, the staff referred to it as “The Monkey House.” A small room with a cheap bed and dresser with showers down the end of the hall but what the Hell man, it was still better than having to see Dads face everyday.

Alas, I’ve learned that anytime anything good happens to me something has to come along and fuck it up. After losing at love three times in a row I opted to not get caught up in any serious relationship but that didn’t mean I would stop flirting. As I have also learned I have a pension for flirting with disaster, this time disaster being the General Managers daughter. Eight years younger than me but she was just too hot to let pass without making a pass. I put my flirtatious charm into overdrive and soon their was a very thick air of sexually charged tension. As the Rabbi said before the Bris, “It won’t be long now”

I was employed at Glen City Country Club for just under a year when the ill advised flirting with the bosses daughter teamed up with that old practical joker JT‘s fate and raised the level from disaster to catastrophic cacophony. An accident that would send me to the hospital would set off the next series of unfortunate events in my life.

The members of the clubs get a lot of perks and have a lot of all day golfing tournaments. On most big outings we had to set up two refreshment stations serving soda, beer, water, a hamburger grill and cold sandwiches. We loaded up a golf cart with folded tables, food and drink, and ice buckets to keep stuff cold. The tournament was over and one of the other cooks, Jose, was driving the cart we had just loaded with all the tables and leftovers from the refreshment stand at the 9th hole. He was driving the loaded cart along an elevated tee, a two foot incline, when he noticed something fell out of the cart and jumped out to get it. The cart kept moving towards the edge of the incline so I reached my foot over to hit the brake. Unfortunately the gas pedal bore a striking resemblance to the brake pedal so instead of coming to a stop the cart, full loaded with me in the passenger seat picked up speed. Or it’s quite possibly the beer I snuck or the two Valiums I washed down with the beer an hour ago, but either way I put the pedal to the medal and the golf Cart took off. Literally. Not enough speed to break any golf cart speed records but enough to send the cart full speed ahead to the edge of the elevated women’s tee into a triple one and a half twist gainer with a perfect swan dive straight into the ground. … I remember seeing a bunch of things rolling around with me but don’t remember any pain. In fact I was shocked when I saw the amount of blood coming from my arm.

Jose freaked of course and in his broken English I believe he said “Jesus and crackers JT, you losing focking blood”. Indeed I was, I grabbed one of the table cloths and wrapped my arm as Jose took off towards the main house screaming “help, help, help” That’s when I passed out. I awoke in and ambulance but I was seriously disoriented. The medic told me to relax and I told him I was in considerable pain.Next thing I knew a familiar feeling of warmth spread across my body. My old friend morphine was entering my bloodstream for a reunion. I closed my eyes, smiled, asked the medic to throw away the pill box in my pocket and drifted off into a different state.

I woke up about one or two days later, my arm was tied up top a pole with this huge sock that would be too big for Shaquile O’Neil, and sitting across from me smiling was the managers daughter. I knew instinctively that nothing good could come from this, so naturally, I asked her out which was extremely awkward considering when I got out of bed I realized the tied on hospital robe I was wearing exposed my big white hairy ass….. Was tha a good thing? Or a bad thing? Time and fate would tell….
TBC

 

I

Culinary Nirvana Takes Center Stage

 

(From Zen And The Art Of Culinary Maintenance by J. T. Hilltop)

Working in a restaurant at age 14 was more than just a J.O.B., it was a spiritual transcendence. It was being part of something that lifted an entire staff of “Restaurant People” to a higher plane. At that impressionable age I was fortunate enough to find myself in the employ of Cavalieri’s restaurant in the socially envious position of pot washer. Four nights after school, and Saturday nights, I was the head pot washer. But, being the envy of my high school buddies was short lived when I discovered that the “head pot washer” had nothing to do with pot and even worse, I wasn’t really in charge of anything other than some sudsy water that involved way more than merely washing pots. I was also permitted, implored even, to use my hands to scrape and clean the organic food remnants and other indefinable residues left on the plates by our satisfied customers. So it was that this head pot washer was cleaning everything that anyone found so objectionable it was left on the used plates in the restaurant. Poised at the suds busting helm I decided that I was going to be the best Goddam pot washer they ever had.
On one particular night an epiphany of sorts smacked me in the head so I felt compelled to let everyone in the kitchen know my lofty intentions of becoming a black belt in the art of pot and pan scrubbery. When I told the chef, the sensei, the absolute ruler of the kitchen of my plan I was certain he would beam with pride. I really looked up to the chef even though he was so old. Man that dude must have been in his 50’s. I believe he always worked hard and the years had been kind to him, although not without consequence. Deep furrows stretched into spaghetti lines across his face, and he always seemed to be deep in thought even when he was drinking. I noticed he was quite fit for an old dude, and he was deceptively strong. Crazy coot could throw 50 pound bags of potatoes halfway across the kitchen with ease. Sometimes directly at me! He always wore a dirty and tattered black bandana which concealed the badly receding headline and his eyebrows sported the thickest hair he had. Like angry caterpillars on steroids those eerie brows housed some very dark and serious eyes. Eyes that narrowed instantly at the first sign of anger. Like holy shit man it wasn’t only the eyes but that bulging vein that stood out and threatened me personally. Eyebrows that said grab a scour pad you insignificant piece of shit the are dirty pots to be assimilated. Every second I prayed it wasn’t the angry face that was building up inside his maniacal mind but the funny one. Not siree it was not the anger I was about to get a full emasculating dose of. He looked me directly in the eyes and with his most compassionate paternal demeanor his eyebrows alloed his eyes to tear up as he laughed uncontrollably. A laugh that came all the way from the balls of his feet. In between his deafening guffaws the chef attempted to tell his sous chef Andre what my intentions were, and that was met with a roar of laughter that could cause a soufflé to fall to it‘s knees. Regardless of their snickering daggers of contemptuous chuckling I maintained a stiff upper lip, and decided I would take charge of my own soapy destiny.
The fuck with them! As empowering as it may seem it wasn’t the joy of busting suds for a living that kept me coming back. It wasn’t the dream of one day being admired, no revered as the Chef Ultimate, the absolute ruler of the kitchen. It wasn’t that soul warming food, it wasn’t even the lure of the attractive and flirtatious waitresses that continually tempted my teenage libido with a false sense of possibilities beyond imagination. No, there was something else about this experience that taunted my inner Cheshire cat. They paid me money so I could but weed.
So despite all the bad karma that seeped out of the sink drain I thought nothing could possibly drag me away from the restaurant industry. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll be the Chef, and become a raving lunatic who screams at anyone dumb enough to stay within ear range of my booming voice. An insane Guru who proudly sports a tall white hat accentuated by a bulging forehead vein that popped out with ease whenever challenged. A slightly touched man who is permitted by law to carve carcasses with an array of razor sharp knives of all sizes. I can’t help thinking how proud that would make Mom and Dad. Oh the hell with the Stock Exchange Mom, I wanna make Chicken veloute and dine of foie gras. Trade in the stock market returns for recipes. I want to carry big ass knives around. My gastronomic voyage would be completed once I became the all powerful illustrious Chef
Anyway that was the dream. Truth be told the restaurant industry simply jumped up at me and shouted “This is it” Este Este Este!!. This is what you ask? It was the people, the “restaurant people”, an almost cosmic group of mix matched misfits. I was spellbound by this diverse group of dedicated individuals who work together in a form of impromptu performance art centering around biodegradable remnants of the tastiest and most orgasmic morsels of nutrition I had ever indulged in. Each person plays an integral role in this drama. Like an experienced stage hand I set up the props over and over so the chef could turn organic ingredients into edible works of art, perfectly arranged on the plate I had cleaned. Our lead waitress, Laura would put six of these recently cleaned, now presently food adorned plates on a large oval tray, also cleaned by yours truly, and with swanlike grace effortlessly carry it off to be placed in front of some more than likely alcohol saturated patrons. The patrons would then eat the wonderful dish of blissful organic delight, inadvertently leaving something on the plate that would eventually become my responsibility. The waitress would entertain them with a variety of skits, ranging from cute and flirtatious to downright suggestive. The performance continues. Meanwhile, backstage the chef, Jimmy ( his given name was too hard to pronounce) is performing voice exercises and using my deer in headlight eyes as his focal point. Rapidly building to an everlasting crescendo I listen intently to the chefs advice, disregarding the part where he assures me I should either procreate with myself or leave this God forsaken establishment. Or die. Sufficiently emasculated, red-faced, and disenchanted, I returned to my potsink in a highly evolved state. Taking a “the show must go on” attitude, I needed to ready myself for the onslaught of table remnants that our patrons found objectionable. In walked the lovely leading lady, flashing me that piercing knee buckling waitress smile, and began emulating the chefs thunderous performance. Thankfully, it was not directed at me, but rather on the only person here that was truly as lowly as I am, Rod the busboy. Now I got an opportunity to view my peer’s reaction to a brutal lexiconic workover, so I might hone my anti-beration skills for the next portioning of verbal abuse. It would not take long, and I unfortunately had little time to study my new mentor, so I was left to my improvisational skills. The burning narrowed eyes of my dream vision, the waitress, met mine and for just a few seconds held me in a frozen state. While flashing her signature seductive smile, Laura’s eyes softened, and in that songbird like voice, she asked, “JT, will you set up my next tray?” With a wink, she was gone, the busboy was fighting back tears, the chef was deciding my fate, and I of course, was oblivious to anything that didn’t involve setting up Laura’s tray like it had never been set before. As the chef pondered the proper selection of various swear words and insults in his bi-lingual assault ability to more effectively crush my spirit, I arranged Laura’s tray smiling silently. The chef began to explain to me who I was working for, but fortunately for me his lung busting performance was interrupted by the appearance of anther equally as enigmatic presence. The next character to enter, stage left, was a tall, tuxedoed, and very suave Frenchman bearing the title of restaurant manager. Didier. Didier’s job, as I understood it, was to make the entire cast so miserable we would reach deep down to our inner selves and come up with the performance of a lifetime. I wanted to reach deep down and pull out a Smith and Wesson but then again, I was young and impressionable back then, and of course a pacifist commie bastard, so I did indeed find myself motivated by the threat of that French penguin. Not to mention another opportunity to allow Laura to know that I may be way young, but I am also an awesome dude willing to please. Didier began to roar at all of us, and yet then again, to no-one in particular. It was delivered in a language foreign to me that sounded oddly complementary. Rod the busboy assured me that those seemingly sweet words that came thundering out towards the entire cast were in fact foul vulgar French slang that could make the onions break down and cry. As Didier loudly and cantankerously explained to us how important it was that we comprehend the significance of his tirade most of us merely trembled. Even Jimmy looked worried when Didier was in the kitchen. Oddly the only one that was not intimidated was Laura, my fantasy vivacious waitress, who seemed to render our fearful leader speechless using only her eyes. Or was it her gorgeous thighs? No matter like the Wicked Witch of the West Didier disappeared in a puff of smoke. Or maybe Jimmy was burning something, I really don’t remember. But he was gone, Laura’s tray was set to absolute perfection, Rod the busboy had regained his composure, and Jimmy was ready with the next round of tantalizing treats arranged in artwork on my clean plates. All had performed admirably in Act I, but Act II is yet to come. Rush hour, when the dining rooms reaches maximum capacity, the pressure elevates, tempers hone their skills, and back in the kitchen the shit really hit’s the exhaust fans..
TBC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I Wanna New Drug ( From The Insidious Adventures Of JT Hilltop)

new drug

 

J. T. Hilltop

The moment I saw the shit eating grin on Kens face I knew he had scored something special. My heart was racing even before any kind of chemical assistance would kick in. Will it be some opium streaked black hash? Some wheelchair gold weed or Thai stick?  Whatever it was I knew we were about to embark on an adventurous ride somewhere. “Yo, JT. Check this out Bro, my cousin Jerry just came from Brooklyn with this.”  Ken passed me a small tinfoil package, “Here man lets  do a line.”   I opened up the packet and noticed a familiar white powder, but it seemed almost wet. “What is it man, some super coke or something?”  Ken chuckled, “no no no man, this is fucking powdered THC, Jerry just calls it T. Its like all the good shit from weed all packed into this powder without smoking. You and me are gonna see just how powerful it is.”

Ken  used me as a barometer for his drugs because like him I have like a natural ability to metabolize drugs and  can normally handle at least a half a hit more than most kids. If someone did one hit of Blue Cheer we did two.  So if it freaks us out he dials it back or warns his customers how far to push it and if it doesn‘t get us jazzed he knows its weak shit. Carrie and I had been doing a lot of coke lately and frankly I wasn’t really digging it that much. I’d rather smoke a joint, eat a couple of ludes, and then just have sex or something. But everyone was chasing the coke high. This new T powder could be a welcome change, a new drug. I took the square piece of mirror from the table, poured out the powder, then went through the awesome ritual of chopping and forming two thick and two thin equal sized lines of the powder. Ken passed me a rolled up twenty dollar bill so I placed one end up my nose and bent over sniffing the first line like professional Dyson. Tilting my head back I dipped my fingers in my beer and dripped some into my nostrils forcing the residue further into my sinus cavity. It burnt a little bit and had a kind of chemical taste but it walloped me instantly at the back of my head turning it numb. I repeated the same processes on the second line passing the mirror to Ken. My nose hairs probably disappeared running away in flames but my brain would not be registering any pain. I felt it going right to the back of my cranium tickling my cerebellum.

It took about fifteen seconds for the inside of my head to explode. A mushroom cloud erupted in my brain  forcing my skull to grow like five inches to compensate for the euphoric growth. I imagined my forehead like a Cro-Magnon. Dead brain cells were being piled up in brain cell body bags by the endoplasmic reticulum synapse police as what was left of my sanity began triaging the remaining frazzled yet live cells. I got up to walk but my feet and legs had filled up with helium so I couldn‘t feel the ground. As I closed my eyes and tilted my head back I visualized walking, or rather floating in someone’s garden. The garden was beautiful full of running streams, fruit tees, and flowers. It seemed as though it should be familiar but I couldn’t ever remember being there before. None the less I wanted to walk through it until I noticed the paths were lined with what I  thought was cooked spaghetti. The pasta began slithering and hissing as it morphed into snakes. It felt like two people were watching me and I began chuckled thinking I must be in the Garden of Eden with Adam and Eve wondering who the fuck I was. I did however realize I was tripping and needed to master this new high so I focused as best I could.  I opted to try and negotiate a walk through the garden.  The helium continued to fill up in my legs. It was as though  I needed to be tethered like the balloons at a Macys parade or I may float away. I took a few steps forward without feeling my feet on the ground but going forward on complete faith that I still knew how to walk and the floor would happily meet my unfeeling feet. Everything looked distorted to the point of surrealism. Dimensions came and went or piggy backed on each other leading to total confusion. On top of that apparently some of the helium was escaping because as Ken spoke to me he sounded like Theodore or Alvin from the old Chipmunks cartoon. The world had morphed into slow motion, or maybe stop motion it was hard to discern.

A squeaky mouse voice whispered in my ear, “JT, I’m too fucking high man. I can’t fucking move.” Then the squeaker began laughing. I looked over at Ken and his mouth was laughing but his eyes were like fixed, open but staring into nothingness and registering no emotion. He was seated in a multi colored cushioned rocking chair that was hovering a foot above the floor. Except for his laughing mouth he looked like he was frozen solid. Somehow I made my way over to him, “Are you okay Bro?” I think I was swaying, like a weeble that wobbles but doesn’t fall down but I can’t say for sure. Ken stopped laughing, “I think I’m a wax statue.” For  two seconds that seemed like sixty we both thought about what he said and broke out laughing. I laughed so hard I had to sit down, if only I could figure out where a chair was. It took us somewhere in the vicinity of forty five minutes to regain our composure. Or maybe it was two days, that was how high we were.

Once I was able to maintain a lucid thought I realized all the hallucinating I had been doing. Ken was back in that green recliner, I had legs, and I had visited the Garden Of Eden. Best hallucinations ever, we found a new drug and it was beyond groovy. But this shit was definitely way strong so it had to be cut with some mannitol. I knew instantly our entire town would put the cocaine on hold and get into this new THC.
TBC

Epilogue.        T became the new drug of choice, it was like being more stoned than you had ever been before without falling asleep.  After about six to eight  months reports of kids being hospitalized after using powdered THC and becoming paralyzed, like frozen. It seemed someone had adulterated the chemical by adding something far more dangerous and it quickly fell out of fashion. Much to my dismay cocaine once again became to drug of choice at bars. I didn’t dig coke too much because you only got one good rush from coke on the first hit then spent the rest of the night trying to relive it until your mouth hurt from grinding your teeth. Not to mention the paranoia it caused. None of that however deterred me from putting as much of it up my nose as I could afford. We invented snake lines which were the longest white powdered lines possible but it still had people going crazy looking for more. I continued snorting even though I didn’t particularly care for coke because it was still a drug and the rush of doing illegal shit was addictive. The shrinks later on would tell me I suffered from an addictive personality disorder but I still think like most kids I was just always looking for kicks, I just had a bigger sweet tooth for the forbidden than most.  Either way my mantra back then was most definitely  “I wanna a new drug.”

Like A Bat Out Of Hell Part 1

bat 1

 

 

 

I’m Coming Home I’ve Done My Time

J.T. Hilltop

I woke up feeling good as I looked over at my thirty scratches on the jail cell wall. Each day I made a new scratch. It was my countdown to freedom. They don’t supply you with calendars in jail so I had to keep track like some sundial making ancient Roman or something. My cell wall calculations were my oracle and they foretold that its time for “Yankee Boy” the now infamous New York jailbird in some South Carolina Correctional Facility to get out of this hellhole and back to….. Well I‘m not sure where I’m going yet but believe this my brothers and sisters anywhere is better than jail. I was ready to breath free air once again. I was finished with my 30 day stint for driving with a suspended license. Yea I know, major crimes division was all over me but the truth is they locked me up for that because they couldn’t make the marry-wanna charge stick and they had no real proof that it was me using a garden hose as a credit card for gasoline. Thirty days may not seem like much to you but when you can’t go anywhere, get feed cold instant shit grits four days a week, fill up on some bitter spinachy thing called turnip greens, and the highlight of your day is watching some dudes argue over the game of checkers it feels like forever. Not to mention it takes less than a week to lose your identity and fill yourself with a nagging sense of hopelessness. Besides all that thirty days without even seeing a female was torture for a 20 year old with hormonal overdrive syndrome.

So it’s time to alert the friendly guards so they can escort me to freedom. I was feeling a little bit New York cocky so I addressed my jailors in terms they are not especially fond of, “Yo turnkey! Hey oh, today is day 31, I’m supposed to be getting out of here!” My words echoed off the jail cell bars so I tried again. “Hey! Oh! I did my time I want to get out of here!” Maybe yelling louder will help. “HEY COUNTRY BOY I WANT TO GO HOME!” But no guards came by and even if they did they would probably just stare at me with utter disgust and distain, the one thing they’re real good at. It was beginning to feel hopeless, like I was destined to be my own Lifetime TV movie about a young hippie who gets locked up in a South Carolina prison for thirty days then ends up doing a life sentence in a prison run by sadistic cops. The other prisoners, most of which have never even seen me but were happy to trade insults with me all the time, had a sudden change of heart towards me. Insults and trash talk were really just bullshit, spoken to sorta brighten up the day but when the cops fuck with one of us? Man they fuck with all of us. Nothing like a little injustice from authorities to break down barriers creating a bond between the oppressed. Someone else started yelling on my behalf, “Yo, let Yankee Boy out.” Another voice repeated the phrase and then another. Before long it was an out and out chant of a brotherhood of wrongly incarcerated inmates enjoying any opportunity to piss of the guards. An ear shattering chorus of “Let the Yankee go!! Let the Yankee go!!” now shook the iron bars.

A loud clanging of a billyclub on those prison bars brought a momentary silence, long enough for a guard to raise his voice. “HEY! Alla y’all better shut the hell up right now! I ain’t hearin no shit from y’all today the Braves is playin’. Y’all bess shut up right here and right now! Whicha Y’all started this mess and done ruined my game anyhow?” Just my luck, my old pal Billy boy, always ready to rumble with a man in handcuffs anytime of the day and a big fan of kicking Yankee ass. Fuck it come hell or high water I’m gettin outta this shithole, “Me, I started it officer Billy. Your favorite long hair Yankee. I done finished my time and I want outta here now!” Billy walked up to do what he does best. He stared me down for a few seconds then spoke in his own special brand of condescension, “Now listen here Yankee boy, if’n its time to kick yaw stinkin’ long haired ass out this jail I be happier an a pig in a New Yoke City shit puddle but I ain’t no judge or no record keeper boy. So you bess shut your mouth now an let me get back at mah game. I’ll check with the warden bout your time you can believe that. Tell ya what now boy, if’n you done ruin my baseball game fir no reason I’m likely ta kick yaw ass alla way to hell boy! So yawl better be right quiet till then son.” His dissertation contained the usual amount of greasy spit flying off his unruly thick mustache. That vile saliva always seems to accompany his attempts at proper use of the English language. I wiped my face, “Listen here turnkey, I been counting every day here and the judge done give me thirty day and its been thirty day. Great day in the morning how much longer I needa stay here? I wanna git outta here.” Jesus shit only been there thirty days but I’m starting to talk like him.

I stood at the bars waiting patiently for Billy boy to return but he didn’t come back for over an hour. When he finally did come he walked up to me smiling, “Seems ain’t no one here today can look up to check yer story boy. Now lookie here, heres what we gonna do, yew done gun shut yer trap an get on back to yer little home there ith alla the other law breakers here and I’ll leave a note ta have em check it out first thing come morning.” To make sure I understood he put one end of the Billy club between the bars pointed at my chest and slammed it right into my diaphragm causing me to gasp. The pain was a not so gentle reminder of how mean an sadistic he could be, especially with people in no position to fight back. He smiled triumphantly, gave me a sarcastic “Y’all have a nice day” and walked away loudly lecturing the lot of us on keeping quiet so he could enjoy the game. The rest of the inmates started calling the guards names and offering words of comfort to me. I’d gone from dumb shit dirty Yankee asshole to a prison guard whipping boy martyr which, sad to say, wasn‘t much of an upgrade.

I paced my cell. Two steps at a time as that was all the pacing room I had. The minutes passed even slower than a watched pot. Dinner came and then lights out squashing all my protests in vain. I was here until tomorrow. My living quarter was tiny cell with all the amenities literally at my fingertips and once lights went out we had our nightly talk session, where we offer each others therapists help for the criminally insane. I remained silent because I was afraid my voice would crack and betray the fact that tears had welled up in my eyes. The inmates in my neighborhood tried unsuccessfully to cheer me up as I lay in silence. They finally tired. I fell asleep and dreamed about the beach.

 

DIVIDED HOME

divide

 

 

My mom always hoped I’d make something of myself and had her “list of idea’s” of what I could be. I doubt being an inmate at Rikers Island was even on the list yet it was a remarkably easy goal to achieve. Sorry Mom. But anyway I’m a product of my old boy, my Dad, a working class martini drinking, advice giving, home owner with a white picket fence and a two car garage used for storage. Most families had 2.5 kids which, if my algebra and biology lessons are correct is actually impossible, but my old man bucked the odds by having six kids all of which it turned out were boys. The starting lineup for a hockey team if we could skate. However, I would never make it in any sport. I guess you could say I’m the typical suburban failure. I was the youngest off those boys and my destiny was laid out at birth. I was mom and dads last hope at having a daughter so I came out of my womb a prepaid disappointment. An unwanted middle class kid in a town built on the hopes of a generation that survived World Wars and the great depression and were required to remind us about that at every opportunity. They fled the concrete jungles for a promise of a utopian society. Suburbia, the enchanted land just outside the reach of urban decay my parents grew up in where they could dream of an ideal future. They dreamed of having a girl and I totally fucked up their dream.

I didn’t have to be a constant source of disappointment if they just let me be who I was from the beginning. I’m a cook at a restaurant and love it which the folks could never understand. I did far better in school than my dumb ass older brothers so mom decided I would be a doctor or a lawyer. Dad wanted me to be a football star because I played with the older kids on account of my brothers but I hated sports. Maybe I hated them on purpose to further add to pops disillusionments for me but I would never attain any of the goals they set for me. I wanted to be a romantic, a poet, maybe an actor, or even just a chef. But I fell in with a crowd of buddies who only wanted to be rebel outlaw bikers so all the hopes and dreams mommy and daddy had for me went floating down the sewer system on two wheels where rats are king. That’s me, King Rat, the badass boy from Levittown. I earned my street stripes from shoplifting at the mall, smoking cigarettes and drinking beer, and being ready to rumble at the drop of a hat. Ready to fight over just about anything, even making up reasons to kick some ass. If you looked up teenage angst in the dictionary you’d find a picture of me and my crew. Suburban heroes, rebels without causes. But in truth we were suburban hoods, wannabes, not bona fide outlaws, just angry young teens looking to make sense of this so called utopian land that treated us so unfair. The suburbs, the new frontier of the fifties. Land of conformity. So all I can say is why me? Why the fuck am I sitting in a cell at Rikers Island feeling sorry for myself just because I grew up in a divided home?

Let me clear that up a bit, when I say divided home I don’t mean my parents split up, no no no. They had a fine marriage, but we had little money and one shitty loaf of bread and a pound of bologna had to be divided up between six kids and two parents. Yea, Pops wasn’t the thickest branch on his family tree, probably because he spent more time screwing mom and having kids than climbing any corporate ladders, so he only brought home enough bacon for a family of four that Moms had to stretch for a family of eight. So with Dad’s mediocre salary and a bunch of hungry kids we had to divide absolutely everything. There was never any seconds at dinner, sometimes I didn’t even get firsts. Being the youngest of six overactive boys I was at the bottom of the food chain. The wildebeest of the dinner table hoping to have enough time to graze a few morsels before the stampede. That’s how shit got divided. I ate dinner in like five minutes, wolfing it down before any of the older wolves finished and started to pick from my plate. We weren’t poor, just divided. I lived in a room divided by imaginary boundary lines set up by three older brothers, leaving me trapped in the crappiest real estate of a four bed suite the same size as a normal kids single room. Maybe that helped me cope with my current situation of sharing tight quarters with three other guys. Or maybe Mom and Dad were preparing me for my destiny but that’s what I mean by divided family.

Doesn’t matter, you play the hand your dealt and make the best of it. I was dealt the lowest card on the totem pole so I did whatever I had to do to get noticed, to be heard over the raging hormones of my big brothers. Johnny was the oldest so he got the benefit of being first in line. The newest clothes, the biggest dinner portions, and a monopoly on Dads time. Brian, or Legs was the next in line, the tall athletic son who used up whatever pride Pops had leftover from Johnny because he played sports. Jimmy, Bob, and Danny shared the middle child status where they existed in relative obscurity and devoted much of their time to teasing me or kicking my ass just for kicks. And holy shit could they kick! They happily and democratically divided that chore up pretty evenly. And then at the end of the line, at the bottom of the barrel came me, a virtual omnipresent bruise. Apparently when I was born the umbilical cord wrapped around my neck so I came out of the womb all blue. It earned me the envious nickname “Blueboy” which everyone called me for so long I’m not sure if anyone remembered my real name, Thomas. But that’s me with a nickname that stuck like Beaver Cleaver. Blueboy O’Brian, destined to a life of crime for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. Just glad they didn’t call me O’Blueboy.

 

Levittown wasn’t a particularly tough town as far as suburban towns go, but it was a town where appearance was everything. Parents spent more money on giving the appearance of being well off than they did feeding or clothing their kids. Like half the kids around town we starved so the family could drive around in a new big Chrysler and dress in high suburb fashion. Us angry teens on the other hand didn’t give a shit about looking rich we only cared about how tough we were, like the street gangs of the big city. Another disadvantage for me, Blueboy was not the toughest nickname around but what could I do, it has always stuck. One benefit was having a nickname, because everyone who was anyone had a nickname. My best friends were Red, Snots, and Digger. Red with a full head of bright orange curls, Snots with his ever runny nose, and Digger, the braniac who tried top dig a whole in his back yard all the way to China so he could run away. When I really think about it none of them that much better than Blueboy, but no matter, we were who we were and we were four young lads with tough ass nicknames preparing for an island adventure. Rikers Island.

We started out our lives of crime on a small scale, just selling a little weed here and there and reselling some stolen items from the mall. But we were hungry for more. Digger had a BB gun and Red had an idea. We planned to rob a Dairy Barn Store in Bayside Queens. It sounded brilliant, Dairy Barns were isolated drive up stores that sold basically dairy items, but you could also buy cigarettes, soda’s, just about anything you might find at a 7/11 store. We would drive up in Slots Rambler and Red would hold the BB gun on the dude inside the store. Me and Digger would run into the store and grab anything we could sell while the unsuspecting cashier would relieve the cash register of its contents into a bag and casually hand it to Red. I sensed trouble right at the start. The Cashier looked at Red and said, “That ain’t nothing but a damn BB gun boy.” Red was quick on his feet, “Oh yea? You want I should shoot out one of your eyes with this high powered BB gun? Why don’t you just shut the fuck up and put the money from the cash register in a bag there and hand it over.” The cashier didn’t look very impressed as he pointed to a sign that said “Store under surveillance” about the same time Slott’s Rambler stalled out. I tripped as I entered the store and Digger fell on top of me. “There’s a camera right here you assholes. Who the fuck thinks robbing a Dairy Barn is a smart idea? You assholes are going down.”

Slotts tried in vain to get his car running, Digger and I scrambled to our feet and the dark of evening soon became drenched in flashing red and blue lighting. About that time I thought I probably shouldn’t have brought the bag of weed with me while committing a crime. “Put your weapon down and your hands up!” Red dropped the BB gun to the ground, Digger peed his pants, and Slotts finally got his car started and in a panic hit the accelerator while putting it in drive slamming into the fence four feet in front of him. We would eventually be tagged as “The gang that couldn’t drive straight” by the local newspapers but for now we just learned a few new legal terms. Intent, transference, and armed robbery

 

So anyway, that’s how I landed this all expense paid trip to the Island to include housing. I have three roommates. They look mean and nasty but I think they’re all nice guys deep down. Theres Shredder here who I assume works in an office, and Knuckles, who I’m a bit unsure of. The real big guy over there calls himself “Hammer” and he calls me Blue Balls instead of Blueboy which he thinks is hilarious. Tell you the truth I don’t really mind that…..”YO BLUE BALLS. GET ON OVER HERE ITS HAMMER TIME!”…oh, gotta go, that’s Hammer now. My culinary knowledge and training suggests he wants me to teach him how to make pie crust. Why else would he have brought such a large jar of Crisco with him? Until next time guys, peace out.

Blueboy O’Brian

 

 

 

 

The Day I Met Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds

lucy

 

Life in 1966 was so damn Norman Rockwell I feared the entire year would be featured in The Saturday Evening Post. But ‘67 arrived and the cold winter ushered in an ugly escalation in the Vietnam war combined with continued civil rights issues including segregation and more riots. Thankfully ‘67 also ushered in the Summer of Love, a glimmer of hope for humankind through the youthful exuberance of believing life can be great. A time of free love, free thought, and free minds. The long hair freaky hippies had taken hold in Haight-Ashbury and The Greenwich Village scene offered up drugs sex and rock and roll to all who dared to try. Dangling candy in front of so many impressionable naïve children. And I had one Helluva sweet tooth.

 

Having already been introduced to hops and malts and ready something more the promise of mind altering alternatives sounded far too attractive to pass up. “Here man, smoke this. It won’t make your stomach all bloated, no puking in the woods, no head spinning frenzy. Just a nice calm mellow high.” Why not? After all, its all natural. Hey if God didn’t want us smoking the stuff why did he grow it? Funny I thought about God because I would later find out that the summer of love would end my nagging sense of spiritual emptiness. It would fill needs I hadn’t even realized existed. It would also be the summer I met Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.

 

There was a lot of great things about growing up on Long Island but perhaps one of the best and certainly the most game changing was the fact that we could scrape together a few bucks and take the train into New York City. It opened up a whole new world free of judgments where we were actually encouraged to let our “Freak Flags” fly. Turn on and tune in. Timothy Leary, Ken Kesey, Stanly Owsley, and The Grateful Dead. They took over the roles formerly held by Roy Rodgers, Ward Clever, and the Kingston Trio. From Captain Kangaroo to Captain Trips at the roll of a joint. “Hey little man, you think that pot is making you feel good, get ready to grow up and go on a real trip. Just put this little dot on your tongue and let it melt your mind.” Mmm-mmm good!

 

My first venture into the drug netherworld was in Washington Square Park. What a cool place, jam packed with hippies singing songs, doing some sort of floaty dances, or just hanging out and smiling. A lot of smiling. My big brother had gotten us tickets for us to a place called the Bottom Line to see some dude named John Mayall. At the time I didn‘t know much about him other than hearing my brothers bluesy records by The USA Union and The Bluesbreakers. He also bought a tab of LSD for me to try. Even if I thought it was a bad idea, which I didn’t, I would have had to trip just to save face. We were with his three best friends who would be merciless when we got home if I wimped out. But I wasn’t bullied into taking it, I took it willingly. I wanted to see for myself what all the hype about mind bending sugar cubes the hippies were tripping out on. Didn’t realize I would be on a crazy ride without a seatbelt.

The park was a trip in itself. While I waited for the tab to kick in we wandered through the paths. A couple of dudes singing around a few guitar playing longhaired dudes with smiles glued to their faces. Not singing like Cumbaya, more like some folkie shit, some Dylan guy or something. Street actors, comedians, and plain flat out weirdo’s roamed the paths of the park and after about forty five minutes I broke out laughing. “What’s so funny little brother?” What’s so funny? How the hell did I know? What just because I saw some guy walk by carrying his head in his hands? Because the head was laughing even though it wasn’t attached? Well…..yea, so I laughed too. How am I gonna explain that, anyway? Some dude is walking around inside a Dali painting? Besides, when I looked back at the guy he was normal again “Fucking everything man. That dude over there just dropped his head on the ground and the fucking thing bounced back up. That’s what‘s funny!” The four of us started laughing with nary a one of us knowing why. Didn’t matter, the LSD runway was clear and we had taken off. Humor would be the fuel that drove our trip ship.

 

We walked around with what felt like surgically implanted smiles on our faces, so intense were those near creepy smiles that the next day my smiling cheek muscles would ache all day long. We laughed and watched. Peoples faces began melting, tree’s bent over to kiss the horizon and the blowing leaves made weird shapes that took to breathing. It was hard to walk because the ground kept moving. I was watching and laughing when suddenly I felt a hand of on my ass. A tiny little palm giving it a light squeeze. I cocked my head slightly not wanting to seem obvious which must have looked really obvious, but what I saw sent a rush of adrenaline from my toes upward stopping at the groin for a few teasing seconds. The hand belonged to a five foot two smiling young lass about three or four years my senior. That may not seem like very much older now but when your thirteen going on fourteen its an entire era. The amount of cred you got being with a sixteen year old at that age is astronomical. She had very long tightly curled jet black hair and was wearing a sort of gypsy dress. A flood of emotions fluttered through my body, passion, lust, sexual tension and awkward nervousness highlighted by the nagging sense that one false statement or move will reveal my junior status and negate all of those other electric plugged in and turned on sensations. She giggled softly so I looked her right in the eyes, smiled back and whispered into her ear something along the lines of “Gliddy gloop glooppy, nibba nappy noopie la la la low low” Startled she stopped in her tracks, looked up at me for four seconds before breaking out into an uncontrollable laughing jag. At first I was embarrassed, then slightly angered, until I suddenly realized she was tripping too and laughing with me not at me. An instant friendship was born. We were sharing the same bizarre plane in some alternate universe and frankly I forgot about my brother and his friends. I talked to her excitedly about the book “Siddhartha” and she shared the name of a new prophet named Carlos Castaneda. She opened my eyes by opening my mind and over the next year I would study a variety of spiritual alternatives. It was just tangerine trees, marmalade skies, me and the girl with kaleidoscope eyes.

 

Her name wasn’t really Lucy of course, and the Lucy in the Sky was more reference to LSD than anything else but suffice to say both Lucy’s and I had one of the most unforgettable evenings of our lives. Or at least I did. I gave away my ticket and told my brother I would meet him later. Lucy and I found ourselves laughing and crying and in some compromising positions. And smiling. A Lot of smiling. I called her Moss because we rolled around…..I called her Moss and that’s the name I’ll remember her by. It was a once in a lifetime meeting, a two ships in the night beautiful moment meant to share and enjoy before releasing the moment and returning to our previously scheduled lives. I had cancelled my subscription to Saturday Evening Post and graduated to Rolling Stone that night thanks to Moss. I mumbled something stupid like can I see you again but Moss had no intention of remaining in contact, she was just a traveler in time and space, another fucked up teen trying to make sense of a turbulent and confusion world. But I gotta admit, every once in a while I think about the night I met Moss and wonder, for a brief moment, what ever became of Lucy In The Sky.

 

Days Of Skull and Roses

ajaj

The 60’s were days of hope, intense and genuine built on a platform of innocence and fantasy which were fueled by drugs sex and rock and roll. Raw and unkempt was this movement of youthful enthusiasm, pure creative energy, and a thirst to experiment. Experiments in sight sound color art and yes, chemicals. The drugs were not the main focus at first but rather a sort of footnote, a little oil on the wheels of creativity to enhance it. Unfortunately it has come to define the decade in many peoples eyes.
The decade was sullied with the atrocities of war both overseas in Viet Nam and here at home with civil rights in the forefront. But it was that sullying, the soiling of our values and natural evolution of humanitarianism that inspired a collective rebel spirit. In the midst of this expansion of the minds came a band that would have a polarizing and empowering effect on its fans. The Grateful Dead.
Even the name of the band had mystical roots, previously know as The Warlocks upon opening a book and pointing the name Grateful Dead magically appeared. The meeting of a lyricist without equal and a guitarist without equal contributed to forming what can best be described in Robert Hunters own words. Their a band beyond description, like Jehovah’s favorite choir.
Last night The Grateful Dead wrapped up a five show reuniting that was filled with as much magic as the band itself. They did everything right, from choosing who to sit in with the four remaining members, to where and when the shows were played,(finishing up where the last show that included Jerry Garcia was on the fourth of July) to the decision not to have a fake hologram of Jerry on stage. Trey played masterfully not attempting to duplicate or imitate Jerry’s guitar riffs but joining in the spirit of improvising his own sound which was one of the things that set the Dead apart. The Phil zone was in full stature, the drums/space/drums had evolved and had a distinguished and fully matured sound, Bob was playing and singing as good as ever, and a few times I almost mistook him for Jerry with the full face of hair. Or maybe it was a recurrent experience who knows. Chimenti and Hornsby filled in beautifully on the ever rotating keyboards and in my opinion the band sounded fan-friggen-tastic.
When Jerry died in 1995 it was pretty clear no one would be able to fill those huge guitar strings and for many of us it was like Grateful Dead limbo. But this past week the Core Four gave us an amazing present. After almost twenty years they have given us closure. The music will live on, the Core Four will continue to play, and somewhere the spirit of Jerry is smiling and saying “Great job guys, the way it always was, the way it always should be.”

Microdot Management (p.1)

magic rocks

The Night Before
JT Hilltop
Now I don’t advocate the use of hallucinogens (except in my case) but there was this one time when it did come in pretty handy. Not in an enlightened I see the truth sort of way, though that did occur often while under the influence of psychotropic shenanigans, but the time it basically saved my job. I was working as a dishwasher/cook for a Nursing Home back in my hometown in 1971. It was New Years Eve and I had to be in for the breakfast shift at 6AM new Years Day. At seventeen New years eve is a substantially important party and I was certainly not going to miss it just because I have to work early in the morning. I was hanging with my co-worker and good friend Randy-Man. We called him Randy-Man first because his mane is Randy but more importantly because one day he turned his apron around like a cape and I put a huge letter R on it. He was an awesome friend and was a sort of super hero to me and all the cool supernames were taken so it was Randy-Man became his moniker du jour. Anyway we decided we would bring in the new year tripping and then we would both go to work without sleeping. Sort of a pre-hangover/post-hangover arrangement. And so it goes.

So Randy-Man and I bought us a few hits of microdot mescaline. My Mom and Dad were out so we brought them back to my house to check out our stash of mind enhancers for the evening festivities. Purple Microdot. Tiny purple dots that looked kinda like purple poppy seeds or as we would soon find out like tiny balls of purple play-dough. They were tiny in stature but humongous in the alteration of the brain waves. In the dining room we placed our enhancifiers on the table to organize our highs. It consisted of a sizeable chunk of black hash, a dime or so of Panamanian Red weed, and ten microdots of mescaline. For me the difference between mesc and acid is that mesc is less physical hallucination and more color appreciation, and it planted a smile on my face for the duration of the trip which could only be removed using surgical techniques. It stretched my smile and laugh muscles to the optimum capacity and the next morning much like after doing far too many sit-ups made those muscles sore when using them. Not that I didn’t laugh on acid, but mesc just made everything even funnier. One of the things I liked about both was it gave me the illusion of having major insight, like I was an existential philosopher spending an hour enrapt at the various conclusions I came up with on my own. Like once while under the influences of blotter acid I reached the conclusion that it is impossible to stand in an empty room because it would have at least me in it if I was standing there. Whoa, mind blown! I still think about that moment of cosmic clarity. But back to the business at hand. I took part of the hash stash placing it in my chamber pipe and wrapped the rest in foil. Randy-Man being the superior joint person rolled a few doobs so we could stash what we didn’t need . Next the microdots. We planned to take one microdot each to start and wrap the others in a paper triangle for later orf maybe another time. Randy-Man accidentally knocked a few off the table onto a short shag rug. Much to our horror it was the same place my baby sister played with her play-dough earlier and the rug appeared to be full of multi-colored balls of the claylike crap that looked eerily similar to microdots. Time for a magic carpet ride. We consumed the entire array of colorful poppy like play-dough dots, hopefully consuming at least one microdot each. We opted to eat all the bits and pieces regardless of the play dough issue. I sure didn’t want the dust bunnies in my Moms vacuum cleaner to be tripping on my microdot tomorrow.

At any rate we now had an hour to wait for the concoction of mescaline and play-dough bb’s to get digested. I made a mental note not to freak out if my fecal deposits had a rainbow effect tomorrow. In the meantime might as well get started on the hash. After a lung bursting head exploding bowl Randy-Man and I were abuzz ready to take on whatever this New years Eve held in store for us. We always believed plans were a deterrent when tripping and short of a rock concert or a movie its best just to let the trip unfold how it wants. So off we traipsed into town to check out the local scene.
First stop was a pub called The Watering Can. Great jukebox, great bartender, great crowd. We grabbed a drink each and just grooved on the scene. One of the true benefits of tripping and smoking your high as opposed to only drinking your high is it lends itself well to the lifestyle of a pacifist which both Randy-Man and I were. Some of the others at the bar however found drinking lends itself more aptly to their more aggressive lifestyle and enjoyed the game of drunk bullying. We pacifist opted to take out our meager aggressions in the more mundane exercises such as playing foosball. A pair of drinking bullies saw that as an opportunity to berate a pair of longhair stoners and perhaps lure us into a lopsided confrontation. They sauntered over and placed the quarter on the table as a challenge. The mescaline was raging so we both laughed and told them to come on ahead and try cause we are on fire tonight! Now I was a decent Foosball player, not fantastic merely average, as was my Bud. However, on this particular evening the mescaline had super enhanced our powers of concentration and dexterity. It also loosed up our inhibitions removing all the stress of competition allowing us to play like champions. We showed the bully’s up by kicking their asses at Foosball with ease. I was making stops as if I already had the balls planned trajectory blueprint and Randy-Man was scoring goal with loud table slamming authority. I even scored one or two from my defensemen. We blew them away while laughing wildly a trait usually not etiquette approved in sports. As I said many of the senses become enhanced while under the mesc spell but as a result other senses often become minimized or dulled. One such dulled sense we acquired was our sense of danger or lack thereof. Usually while tripping that sense can only be awakened by a cop or a horror movie while tripping. Sometimes walking in a cemetery can have a similar effect but we just flat out didn’t realize the danger of showing up drunk ass jocks at their own game. Another dulled enhancement from the mescaline was our inability to control our laugh response. So it was we kicked their asses while laughing about it which apparently bully’s find in very bad taste.
The two alpha males feeling their territory had been pissed on disdainfully and had their manhood’s threatened by two weirdo hippie shits invited us to go outside with them. Not to smoke a joint like we would have done but to have our faces rearranged. We politely declined their offer which confused them for the moment but they were watching us like hawks. Feeling a might bit paranoid we decided to leave The Watering Can for another pub. The Cro-Magnon frustrated jock duo followed us outside stopping us when we went to get in my car. By this point the microdots took on a life of their own possessing even our bodies.
I learned a valuable lesson from this incident. It is extremely difficult even for a bully to punch someone who is constantly laughing and shows no sign of willingness to fight back. We laughed about rope-a-dope and the difference between kung fu and kung flu. They attempted to engage us in some basic violent male warfare by shoving us and getting in our faces. I asked my predator not to get to close because I had just gotten over Kung Flu which sent both Randy-Man and myself into a laughing frenzy. The bully’s looked at each other puzzled because they were more confused than when they were asked to chose #2 pencils for the SAT’s. The alphamost of the pair of confounded pit bulls with great distain in his voice said, “lets just get the fuck outta here, these hippie shits ain’t even worth it” to which the other bully apparently agreed with through a head shake. At least I think that was what made the rattling sound. I guess alpha male jocks find profound contemplation difficult so they just follow behind the apex male and sniff his butt. We stood there making our best attempt at composing ourselves as we watched the injured Dingoes fading into night. We had finally gained control of our laugh response when Randy-Man said, “I bet we coulda taken them.” At that moment we once again lost control of our laughter. It was the funniest thing in the entire world we had ever heard so we bestowed on it a most fitting accolade of non stop laughter we could manage until we could barely breath any longer.
The evening continued along those lines, dodging danger, laughing, drinking, smoking, and hallucinating. Like any other typical party night in town we were bar hopping staying as long as we could before it became ridiculously obvious that we were on something. We opted to go low key so we went to a fall back Irish pub, Finnegan’s Rainbow where life was all about drinking, playing pool, shuffle bowling, or pinball. All we need do was mind our own business and stay out of trouble. Good plan with good intentions until we noticed two young ladies looking our way. We had seen them around town but never got up the courage to introduce ourselves. But now here they are wanting to play shuffle bowl with us. There was a distinct aura in the air and all four of us recognized something mutual on a higher plane. When I looked into one of the girls eyes it hit me. They were tripping too! Not sure how, its not like we had a special mescaline users membership handshake or some sonic trip detector but I looked at the tripping young beauty simply inquiring, “microdot?” After three minutes of the four of us laughing she responded, “Are you asking me if I’m on microdot or if I want microdot?” After the perfect amount of pause I answered, “Both” then turned to Randy-Man and said, “Don’t worry I think we could take them.” The four of us began the longest laugh competition for which there would be no clear winner. It wasn’t funny and the ladies had no idea that Randy-Man had used the similar line earlier but that didn’t matter. Once one person laughs everyone laughs at least until they realize they don’t know why they‘re laughing to begin with. Then you’ll think about it an hour later and start laughing again. Like I said, mescaline makes everything funny. Long story short, the four of us became tripping companions, ingested more microdots, and had the time of our lives playing shuffleboard bowling like pro‘s. That is if laughing hyena’s could be considered professional.
Perhaps we were a tad over enthusiastic or as the bartender called it, unruly, but the time had come when we were no longer fit to be out in public. So the four of us jumped in my car, picked up some beers and got a room at The Muller Ridge Inn to party in peace. It was a double room with huge beds each underneath a large mirror. We had intuitively paired up and each couple chosen a bed to sit on where we planned to laugh in the New Year watching Dick Clark but circumstances had us dropping our own balls instead of watching the big drop at Times Square. Between the amphetamine rush giving extra stamina and the hallucinogenic properties making feelings extra intense the New Year was rung in a few times either without noticing ofr without caring that the other bed could hear and see everything. Then again, maybe we were all just to busy to think about it. We had such a great evening but before we even noticed it was 5AM. A quick shower (two at a time) we drove the girls back to their car in the village, got their numbers, grabbed a jumbo coffee, and headed off to the nursing home to prepare breakfast for the seniors. (No names were used for the fun and lovely lady friends we made because a few of the readers are from my hometown may try to figure out their identity the way they picked up on the real names of the bars we went to and the motel we stayed at)

Take The Long Road Home (by J.T. Hilltop) pt2

road

Where There’s Hope…

When I thanked the sheriff for the ride it occurred to me he may have had an ulterior motive. He wasn’t saving me in the name of Jesus, he was getting me the hell out of his Dodge. I was a hindrance, a public relation nightmare. If some of his people were to engage me in a game of full contact Red Rover and leave this New Yorker dead on the side of a road in his jurisdiction the repercussions to tourism would be staggering. The mother fucker left me off in the middle of nowhere, full on darkness and a stretch of road so straight and lonely it begs tires to rotate as fast as they can in an audition for NASCAR status. The side of road across from me was dotted with a few little shacks, a general store, and a pub advertising a pool table. My side of the road was a fucking swampland. Nothing but marshy woods mainly due, I would soon find out , to the fact that you can’t build a decent structure in mud. The only thing that could survive this side of the highway was Swamp Thing or some genetic mutation thereof. But there was life somewhere because I could hear a deafening din of some kind of amphibian-like croaking. A group of frogs are called an army and this sounded like The Amphibian Marine Corps out on massive combat maneuvers. They shocked and awed me! I had never heard so much ear shattering croaking in my life and the voices in my head were nice enough to remind me of the intimidating alligator congregation so the level of fear intensity was through the roof. I was imagining killer frogs and mutated swamp things waiting for me to take one step too many. Nothing to do but start walking and hitchhiking with my back turned to whatever went whizzing by in the hopes that another pearl white Chevy truck would come my way and not a gaggle of goose stepping backwoods hicks looking for some boot practice. Well it was neither, after the first ten vehicles raced past without as much of an acknowledgment a foghorn drowned out the incessant croaking. An eighteen wheeler was barreling towards me not signally a ride but letting me know in no uncertain terms would it slow down or move over for me. A tense decision, either close my eyes and hope I’m not road kill or take a few steps into frogland. The thought of some Appalachian chef dicing me into human roadside stew swayed me and removed my fear as I stepped into the marshy terrain. With my eyes closed as tight as I could I felt the cold muddy substance on my feet and the most amazing thing happened. The fucking frogs clamed up! I mean like every last one of them.
It was downright spooky, the silence would have been laughable if I had even a scintilla of laugh hormone left in my body. The truck blew past me so fast it kicked up a wind that forced me to dig into the mud to maintain my balance. A header into Hellswamp would have been the end of my existence for sure. Feeling ever so slightly angered tempered with being scared shitless I decided to listen to the voices this time. To hell with it all! I stuck my middle finger up as high as was humanly possible while he blew past down the road and shouted out a resounding FUCK YOU! Even the army of frogs were taken aback and remained silent allowing only a smattering of croaks, mostly from deeper in the marsh where I promised never to find myself. It felt surprisingly good until my reality check bounced. I’m alone on Swamp Boulevard in the town of “Deliverance”, there’s a tavern back about a half mile that’s probably filled with inbred cousins of the gorillas shit kickers from Camden and their drunk ass selves would be piling out of that bar stinking drunk in a few very short hours looking for something, or someone, to do. Being a New Yorker would definitely not work in my favor under those circumstances. My pace tripled as I power walked down the road just hoping to find a somewhat safe area.
A new game for me, step off or become road kill. It took me a good two hours to get past this stretch of hopeless landfill and find at least a bit of road with some shoulder to it. Every time any vehicle came by I just stepped into the marsh and with my back turned with my thumb out to begging for salvation. Nary a ride. But I was past the worst, at least where I ended up had a hint of human civilization to it. Feeling completely exhausted, hungry and dehydrated, and having come down with a chronic case of hopelessness I spotted a tiny abandoned gas station surrounded by wood. I had little to no strength and the station offered at least a modicum of cover so I went around back to find the door open. I always try to see the bright side of things but this was really challenging. Well I can add hobo to my resume? Didn’t cut it, but there was a tiny sparkle of bright. The garage was empty, smelled a tad rancid but not overwhelming, and none of the local anarchistic militia truck drivers will find me. As unsettling as the garage was it was still a haven. I settled in, laid down and began to contemplate where the fuck I went wrong in life and how I ended up tired and starving in some tiny backwoods southern town where not one soul knows I’m even alive. Hopelessness came out in tears of self pity so I gently cried myself to sleep.
“Cold ground was my bed last night, rock was my pillow too.” A line from the Bob Marley tune “Talking Blues” that had become my reality. Not sure how long the burning sun had been shining the full force of its ultraviolet rays on my face acting on behalf of the alarm clock association but it was long enough to impart the slightest hint of reddening discomfort. I woke up with an aching body wishing I was home in bed, feeling dejected, tired, and hungrier than I ever remember. I found a water faucet in the back of the old store and gave myself a hobo shower giving some extra splash to my face to compensate for my lack of caffeine. I chanted a positive mantra to myself in the hopes it would renew my luck and perhaps withdraw a touch of good karmic returns from my good deed bank. I needed something.
I set back out on highway 22 convincing myself that the sleep and light of day would bring me fortune. The third car past me was a small Volkswagon Karmann Ghia with a young long hair college boy with a full beard and the idealistic life outlook that had been missing since I began this ordeal. He drove me all the way into Myrtle Beach chewing my ear off about politics and the southern “head up the ass” mentality that prevailed with most of the young robotic clones in South Carolina. It was like Karma jackpot, someone I could talk to and who understood, perhaps even viewed me as a sort of Kerouac’s Dean Moriarity type character. He claimed not to have much money on him but when he dropped me off on the outskirts of town he bought me a soda, or pop actually, and a buttered roll. Then he gave me the half a pack of cigarettes he had. “Well its sure been a pleasure chattin with Y’all JT, in I hope Y’all fine what it is yer searching for. I’m meeting my Mom and Pops up in Columbia so this is the end of our road. This here’s Myrtle Beach, that a way down there is Conway, a lot cheaper place than the beach and up that away is North Myrtle Beach which is touristy but more for camp like tourists. Make sure y’all check out the boardwalk and be careful.” I didn’t want to leave, almost suggested I go to North Carolina with him but this was my new path, I was going to find out what Myrtle beach South Carolina is all about.
What is it all about? Unfortunately Jonas the preaching sandwhich maker was right, it’s all about money. You can get whatever you want if you have enough money but if your looking for a helping hand its not here. Everywhere I went people tried to hustle me until they discovered my finances, then they would dismiss me with contempt. I was getting more and more hungry by the minute and was walking in circles. I could feel the dust had formed a film of dirt on my face. I was a mess, again busted disgusted and can’t be trusted. My stomach had gone from growling to downright snarling and I couldn’t barely walk any further. Weak from hunger and almost completely dehydrated I took a chance on a KFC.
My feet were filthy, my flip flops had flopped, and I was too exhausted to even formulate my puppy dog eyes but I knew I had to give it a shot, I desperately needed some water. I entered the Kentucky Fried Chicken getting in line behind one other person. When I got up to the counter a young African American boy looked at me curiously saying, “how can I help you sir?” I gave him the readers digest condensed version of my plight pleading, “Please, all I want is some water, this is my first time in Myrtle Beach, I’m trying to get back home to new York and I can’t even get a drink of water anywhere.” The young man gave me a look that said okay but he said, “one minute sir.” and started putting together an order for the drive through window. I was thinking he was dismissing me and was about to leave when he returned, looked me straight in the face and placed a box of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, a biscuit, and a large soda in front of me. “Thank you very much sir, have a nice day’” and then he winked at me. I could see behind his eyes, it was a genuine caring for another human being and he was likely going to end up paying for the meal himself. I grabbed the box and with tears of gratitude in my eyes and thanked him.
As thankful as I was gratitude had to be put on hold for a second, because at the moment I was a wild animal who had finally found his quarry. I found a patch of grass in the back of the building and crouched down with my kill, glaring back and forth from side to side ensuring no other hungry varmit was going to make a play for my fried chicken and bisquit. I ate like a starved vulture nearly choking on the bones as I was not going to let anything palatable remain in the box. If the napkins were edible I would have chewed them. When I had finished my meal, the absolute best meal I’ve had in well over a month, I sat like a sated lion, overseeing my parking lot pride as I leisurely finished my large pop. Time to formulate a plan now, where to go and what to do next but this time with a full stomach. I glanced through the window and saw the young man who had so selflessly given a total stranger, one who looked like a psychotic serial killer than a desperate human a meal. No, not just a meal, that young man gave me far more than mere food. He had given me a renewed sense of good, of the best that humanity can be, a renewed sense that there are things in this srtinking world that can rise above the stench of inhumanity and not only cover it up, but totally obliterate it, if only for a while. I promised I would never forget that young man, his face will forever etched in my memory, and every time I do any good deed, I will remember him and his incredible gift to me. The gift of hope! But for right now I’ll just have to settle for finding a friend ans getting back home.
TBC