A Trip. Short Story

“It’s called x-ray.”
“That sounds really stupid.”
“Ok, well, it kind of does, but he said that it was called that cos it lets you see through all the bullshit. See what the world is really like.”
“So it’s like that pill from the matrix?”
“You know, the red pill, blue pill thing?”
“I thought you didn’t see that movie.”
“I didn’t.”
“Then how do you know what you’re talking about?”
Dave rolled his eyes, “everyone knows the gist of it ok. So is it like those pills or not?”
“Not. It’s a high. It fades away. I don’t know exactly what it does but-”

“Wait, I thought you’ve taken this before.”
“No, I’ve seen people take if before. It looked like fun.”
“Ok. So you haven’t tried it and you’ve done no research.”
“Well, I tried, nothing came up online, just shit about actual x-rays and stuff. Look it’s been out for a while now. Loads of people have taken it, there’s been no real side effects. You’ll feel off for a day or two then you’re back to normal. People have described it like a spiritual experience. They see the world for how it is and their true place in the world.”

Dave looked at the pill sitting on the table. It looked like an aspirin pill. He had thought it would look different. Like a piece of paper or some kind of interesting shape on it at least. It looked, as it was, kind of boring.

“How long does it take to kick in?”
“About twenty minutes.”
“Ok, so do we take them now or?”
“No, no it’s better if you take them alone.”
“Yeah. Makes for a cleaner experience or something I don’t know.”
“What if I hallucinate and jump out the window or something?”
“You won’t, just relax, it will be easy, smooth. How about this, you wait until I get home, then I’ll ring you, we’ll both take it and then when it’s over we ring each other again, ok?”
“Um. I guess. You could stay here and just do it in a different room, that way if we-”

“You’re supposed to take it somewhere familiar.”
“Here is familiar, you’re here all the time!”

“Ok. So I’ll go home, get myself ready and give you a call ok?”
Tom stood from the couch and started moving towards the door, Dave sighed, “Ok I guess.”
“Cool, I’ll talk to you in a bit. Relax man, it’ll be a blast.”
“Sure sure.”

Tom closed the door behind himself and Dave looked at the pill again. Really it was supposed to be a good high, a few hallucinations. Dave took a deep breath and released it slowly. He had heard before that if you took something while nervous it could give you a bad trip. He just had to relax was all. Still, the nerves were there. It wasn’t a great shock to him though, so far his only experience with drugs had been a few drags off a joint or two at a concert and even then he wasn’t a huge fan of it. He just felt sleepy rather than anything else. Hell, he’d probably take the pill and pass out after ten minutes, waking up once the high was over.

His phone rang, Dave looked at it for a moment, did he really want to do this? Once he answered he couldn’t go back. He picked up the phone, finger hovering over the answer button. He pressed it.
“Hey, I’m at home, gotten myself comfortable and I’m ready to do it. You?”
“Uh yeah, I guess I’m ready.”
“Cool, on the count of three ok?”
“One, two, three!”
Dave picked up the pill and swallowed it, grimacing at the bitter taste. He grabbed for a glass of water and took a gulp, then another mouthful to swish around.
“Oh fuck that tasted bad.”
“yeah. Right I’m off. Talk to you in a bit, ok?”
Dave hung up and looked around the room. Everything still looked normal. Why wouldn’t it though? It took a little while to kick in. He had heard music in the background when he was on the phone to Tom. Maybe that was a good idea, something soft, light, relaxing. Dave stood from the couch and went to his CD player, he dug through the discs for a moment before selecting one and shoving it on. He set it at a low volume. Loud enough to be heard but low enough that it wasn’t distracting. He sat down on the couch again and tried to relax.

He didn’t know when it started happening, he only knew that something was happening. The couch felt different, softer all most. He also felt much more relaxed than he had before. This wasn’t so bad, if everything was like this he thought he was in for an awesome time. Occasionally he kept thinking he saw things out of the corner of his eyes, but they weren’t worrying, they were just there as they were supposed to be.

Something was different, something was changing. Dave didn’t feel all that relaxed anymore, if anything he was starting to feel normal again. He looked at the clock, it had only been about half an hour. It was a pleasant half an hour, but no way was it worth the twenty bucks he had to pay for that little pill. Surely that couldn’t be it. He looked to the people either side of him on the couch, “I don’t know. It didn’t seem like it was worth it to me.”
One shrugged, the other nodded slightly. His mouth felling a little dry Dave stood from the couch and weaved his way through the groups and clumps of people to get to the kitchen. There he got a glass and filled it with water. He watched as the glass filled with perfectly blue water. He took a sip, it was as cold as he expected. He took a few mouthfuls then put the glass down. He looked around the kitchen. Something was off about the room but he couldn’t tell exactly what. He put down his glass and left the kitchen. Back in the sitting room his seat had been taken, “I’m sorry I was sitting there.”
The girl shrugged at him, then turned away and started talking to the man on her left.
“Ugh. Fine. Jesus. This is my place, you know that right?” Dave shook his head and took a sip of his water. Finally the girl broke off her conversation and, rolling her eyes, stood from the couch. She walked off and Dave sat down, letting out a sigh of pleasure. It felt like he’d been standing for hours already. He looked around for his glass, he was thirsty, then he remembered he had left it in the kitchen. Damn. He didn’t want to lose his seat again.

“How are you enjoying it so far?”
Dave turned to look at the man to his right, there was something off about the mans face, but Dave wasn’t sure what. It took him a moment to realise the man had no eyes, just smooth skin where his eyes should be. That was weird. Why did he need eyebrows if he had no eyes? After a second of not knowing where to look, Dave looked at him squarely in his eye skin.
“It’s ok. A little crowded I guess.”
“Yeah. It’s always like this. Well, not for you at least. You get by most of the time, only banging into someone occasionally. We however have to squeeze our way through everywhere. It gets annoying.”
“Uh huh.”

“You’re lucky though. You’re in a good place. Good vibes, nice people. Not everyone is so lucky.” The man leaned over, “Look, we’re not really supposed to do this, but ya know, I’ve been here so long now I feel like we’re kind of friends. After all I know pretty much everything about you. Just. Be careful if you do this again. Avoid everything between Westworth and Lexington and you should be ok. If you’re outside you’ll see most of the dangerous places, but that place has really good blending. You don’t notice until you’re half way through and by that point you’re pretty much screwed.”
“Um. Ok. I won’t then. Thank you.”
“You’re welcome Dave.”

“Hey, listen, you wouldn’t happen to know where I’d be able to get a drink do you? That tap wasn’t working earlier.”
“Yeah, sure, I’ll be right back, hang on.”
The man stood and disappeared into the crowd, Dave looked around trying to spot him again but he was gone. For now he just contented himself with people watching. Was that offensive? To call them people? Not all of them looked like people after all, though he was sure they were perfectly intelligent beings.

Someone was holding out a glass for him, filled with a light pink water. Dave took the glass from No-Eyes and took a sip. It was warm, but it would do.
“Thank you, much appreciated.”
“It’s the least I could do for you.”
Dave put the glass down on the table and went back to people watching, occasionally he would sip the glass. He and No-Eyes sat in companionable silence. Dave picked up his drink again and No-Eyes slapped it out of his hand, “You need to be more careful dude.” The glass was on its side, black fluid spreading out of it.
“Shit. That looks like it might stain.”
“It won’t. Be careful though, someone spiked your drink.”
“Yeah. Some people think its hilarious. Don’t fall for it.” No-Eyes raised his voice. “Very funny asshole.”
Somewhere to their left someone let out a bark of laughter that was quickly covered by the noise of the crowd. They were getting quite loud. Dave hoped his neighbours wouldn’t complain.

No-Eyes stuck out his hand, “It was nice to really meet you after all this time.”
“Thanks. You too, you’re a pretty nice-” Dave stopped mid sentence, he was shaking his hand in the air. “…guy…” Dave dropped his hand and felt his cheeks blush. Well, luckily no one was here to see that. He looked around his empty apartment, only three or four hours passed but it felt like days. Man that was intense. Though he was starting to forget bits and pieces, he knew that it had been a blast and he wanted to do it again. He had a brief feeling that something scary had happened at some point, but then he dismissed it. No, he had nothing but good feelings about it.

About Alan James Keogh

I am a 26 year old writer who somehow tricked U.C.D. into giving me not only a degree in English and Classical studies, but an Hons Masters in Creative Writing too. Visit my blog where I post short stories twice a week (Monday and Wednesday) and an installment of a serialised novel on Fridays. I did consider writing this in the third person, as though it was written by someone else, but Alan is not comfortable writing in the third person as it seems kinda creepy and unbalanced so Alan decided it was probably best to write in the first person. He hopes it went well for him.
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