No part of this manuscript may be reproduced without the author's explicate consent. All characters are purely fictional and any resemblance to anyone is purely coincidental
Mushroom Run by Slava Bodolinski
Copyright 2006 Slava Bodolinski
The author does not intend to encourage anyone to perform any of the actions portrayed in this story.
Mushroom Run is a fast paced adventure story about two friends' adventures one summer in the craft of picking wild psychedelic mushrooms while living on a shoe string budget. There is much witty dialogue, humor, romance, interesting encounters, hip events and deep reflection on socio-political, philosophical, environmental and artistic issues. Many anecdotes in this piece are destined to become cherished favorites in the canons of American literature. This piece does a fantastic job of exposing post-modern, hip, psychedelic culture as it flows.
A shaggy-haired, bearded neo-hippie of about twenty-three
sits in a library at a computer screen.
"Nice!" he remarks, aloud, to himself.
He does something with the mouse and gets up to collect print outs from the printing station. These he puts in a knapsack and exits through the main doors, waving to an older librarian as he leaves.
We follow him through the doors and over to some bushes where a Border Collie waits guarding a skateboard. They are on a college campus. It is summer.
"Hey girl," he says.
The dog is wearing a harness and leash. Her tail wags. He picks up the skate
board and the dog avidly follows him to the sidewalk. He grabs her leash and hops on the skate board. He pushes off a few steps until the dog begins mushing. From there he just steers the dog who pulls him on the skateboard. We follow them rapidly through the campus and onto the residential streets of the city. As they approach a certain house he tells the dog, "Left, baby." and she pulls left into a driveway.
Before entering the house, he takes the leash and harness off the dog; once inside, he deposits these, along with the skate board, in a hallway.
He enters a room in a city house. There are couches, a
record player, cassette tapes strewn; curious items adorn the shelves
and hearth – wooden elephants, unusual rocks, talismans and feathers. Pictures of Jerry Garcia, Bob Marley, Bob Dylan are hung on the walls, as are prints of Alex Grey's works. There are also paintings by the people of the house. There is a fish tank.
Another young man walks in and they begin talking.
Chris, "So did you find any leads on the web?"
Nate, wearing green cargo shorts and a red t-shirt, "Two which show real promise. The first is the North Florida Shroom Guide. It gives hundreds of locations for plentiful mushroom fields, varyingly rated for safety. It lists fields throughout the Southeast, with an emphasis on Florida. We should find plenty of the mushrooms we need through this guide."
Chris, "Nice. Some kids just put that site together?"
Nate, "Yeah. And the same kids who organized the Shroom guide sell spores and kits, too. Oh, I also put out a general query on Psychedelics.com appealing to anyone down in Florida who could help us. I got a reply from a 'Rave Child.' He told me there's this guy, Mushroom Magician, who offers free tours of all the fields he knows to visitors; he doesn't charge any fee and's been doing this since the '70s. Rave Child says this guy helped him out finding mushrooms and that the Mushroom Magician is a cool old activist hippie, very openly involved in The Cannabis Action Network."
Chris, "That doesn't sound too legit. That's gotta be a cop, or by now he's known by the cops, you know."
Chris takes the sheaf of papers Nate has handed him.
Nate, "Yea-ugh. I'm pretty sketched on that, too. But, if he's openly involved in Cannabis Action Network, he must smoke, or the other heads would have figured him out by now. And, I checked several sites and all confirm that Psilocybe mushrooms – the magic mushrooms - are legal in Florida in their *fresh* state. You can't dry them or bag them, you certainly can't sell them, but you can't get busted for having fresh 'shrooms. Maybe the Mushroom Magician just works on this premise. What one does with the fungi after he shows you where to pick is one's own business. I could see being a Good Samaritan like that. Anyways, I e-mailed him from one of my lesser used screen names – from Ernest. We'll see. I've got to get to work."
Chris, "Alaska's home. Wanna smoke?"
They go into a back room. Nate and Alaska hug. A large colored Glass Pipe is produced and packed with dank pot.
Alaska, twenty-something years old, has long black hair, some of it in dreadlocks. His coarse beard is the incidence of having more important concerns than shaving. He wears bib overall blue jeans over a Rastafarian colored T-shirt.
Alaska, "We painted a whole house today. It was so hot. It's good to be home."
He pulls from the pipe.
Alaska, "What're you doin' later?"
Nate, "I've got to work in ten minutes, till 9:30, then after that I don't know. The Maniacs play Joe's Bar tonight. I should leave pretty soon for work."
Nate takes a last pull from the pipe. He exhales.
Nate, "Chris, hold Gypsy till I'm gone a few minutes, I don't want her jumping through the screen door again after me."
Alaska, "Yeah, call her in here and shut the door"
Nate calls Gypsy the dog and she comes in. Nate closes the door and the next we see of Nate, he is opening the door of a bookstore. He greets a pony-tailed older fellow who is behind the counter and says "Hey." Nate goes behind the counter. In seconds, an attractive older woman approaches.
Older Woman, "Hello. Do you have any Milan Kundera?"
Come nighttime Nate, Alaska and various young hippies are in a bar dancing to "…don't Tell me this town ain't got no heart, you just gotta poke around," - Shakedown Street by the Grateful Dead. Some one hands Nate a beer. He nods in appreciation. Inside the bar vibes are high. Outside of the bar smokers buzz under the nighttime sky.
Another day. Monday morning is seen through open windows. Chris walks through the front door. Nate is cleaning the glass of a fish tank with a sponge scraper tool. To him Chris says, "What's up?"
Nate, "I just got these replies," he says as he goes to grab a stack of papers off a coffee table "…from the Mushroom Magician. Says he's in his last year doing guided tours, but'd be willing to help us."
Chris takes the letter and reads aloud.
Chris, "'Hello Ernest,
It is always good to hear from another who seems to
respect the magical properties of "God's Flesh" as the
Native American Indians, Incans, Mayans and Aztecs
called it. I respect your rainbow gathering needs and
desires because I myself am one of the early
incarnations of your tribe. I was at Woodstock and
the Atlanta Pop, both in 1969 (I'm 54) and I believe
this was the beginning of what you and your friends
are continuing to this day.
You asked me if I wished to help you but you did
not mention in what way. Rave Child is a friend of
mine here in Florida where mushrooms are plentiful and
free for the picking, come on down for a visit, it is
an experience you won't ever forget. I give free
"Shroom Safaris" every week, but this will be my last
year doing so. People from all over the world arrive
here every week to attend these outings where I charge
nothing for my service and everyone gets to keep all
they can pick. I stay in touch with many of my
See you soon?
Nate, "Now isn't it cool that we found this guy?"
Chris, "Says he stays in touch with most of the people he takes out……"
Nate, "Yeah, figured by that he means if he thinks you're cool he'll propose mailing you more in exchange for money."
Chris, "Well, that's cool, I dunno. We've got the North Florida Shroom Guide, I'd rather try our luck with that first. You know, we can just hit fields on our own. And your friend Oatmeal lives in Georgia. Have you talked with him?"
Nate, "Yeah, I spoke with him earlier. He'll take us out, too. But he said it's been very dry around his area."
Chris, "So.. when's the truck going to be ready?"
Nate, "The mechanic said Wednesday."
Chris, "AweSOME! We're doing this! But, man, if we hear any sirens whenever… whoever's driving has got to pull over so I can get out and run. P'foom – I can run pretty fast. Bye Nate. Nobody'll see me."
Nate, "Hehheh. Just imagine five pounds. How irie everything'll be."
Chris reflects, "I'm gonna get five pounds all by myself… and sell it ALL in eighths! Gonna come back, pay rent on time, start a grow closet, buy new clothes, a guitar, drums, a base…"
Nate, "A banjo."
By the set of the sun in the sky, it is late morning. In the living room of Nate and Chris's house, Nate gets off the phone.
Nate speaks quickly to Chris, "Truck's ready. He said it was the MAT sensor. Gimme a ride down there?"
Chris shouts, "Wooowhoo" and he, Nate and the dog rush out the side door of the house and climb into Chris's piece of shit Buick and head out towards Nate's mechanic's.
Late afternoon is becoming evening. The setting sun shines orange light on the city scene. At the front of their house, Chris is watering plants on the porch. Nate drives up in a bucking, gasping blue truck.
Nate, "I've got to take this back, it's still fucked up."
Chris, "What do you think it is, the cylinders?"
Nate, "It could be. Past third gear it just starts bucking and jerking."
Chris pops the hood and looks underneath.
Sky, a tall, handsome, very longhaired young man walks by the foot of the driveway.
Sky, "Nathaniel! How are you my very excellent friend?!"
Nate, looking back at the truck, "Mmmm… all in
all good, very good. This is just a temporary inconvenience. You all done with the Rainbow Gathering?"
Sky, "Yeah, I'd had about enough of that scene. I had fun. But I also needed to get away …from Jasmine mostly – it was too much! I gave her the car, and all the money – but I have your cook stove."
Nate, "Shite, what're you going to do? You need a place to stay?"
Sky, "Ah, no, not with you my friend, not when I could stay in a house full of beautiful girls. Come, meet your delicious neighbor Susie, if you haven't already. I hooked a ride back with her from
the last show – Phil Lesh and Friends."
Chris and Sky exchange nods and Sky starts to walk. Nate accompanies him, in more of a prance. Finally Chris follows behind.
Smiling Susie, two doors down, is on the porch with
Susie, "Hi! I've noticed you heads for a while. Been meaning to say 'Hi'. You're a friend of Dmitri's, right?"
Nate, "Yeah, I've known him for a while."
Susie, "You're Nate?"
Susie, "He's told me a lot about you. He says you know more about ethnobotany than any of the professors up at the university."
Nate smiles. "Well, it's nice to meet you. He's mentioned you as well. How did you fancy Rainbow?"
Susie, "I LOVED it. I was thrilling and thriving in this communication nexus which was present. Rainbow Gatherings are a good thing, an antidote to the rampant consumerism and selfishness which are threatening the very life on the rest of the Earth. The urge to contribute and foster life is very strong among the happy, well adjusted Rainbow People. And it's like nearly everyone is doing something creative and productive. People there are really tuned in and turned on. How come you didn't go? Have you ever been to one?"
Nate, "I did make it to five of them, but this summer I needed to work and save money. Was there a rainbow on July 4 th?"
Susie, "Yes! It was a cloudless sunny day and, miraculously, a circular rainbow appeared around the Sun around noon!"
Nate, "It always does. There may be a God or two."
Sky, "Are you guys hungry? I am. I would really enjoy a
Chris, "I'm going to go work on the truck."
Nate, "You sure?"
Susie, "It was nice to meet you."
Susie, Sky, Nate and Angela start walking.
Susie, Sky, Nate and Angela take their seats in front of Amy's Place. They pick up menus. Amy's Place offers patio dining on a busy city street. They discuss the very important consequence of the Rainbow Family, ecologically sound living, teleology.
Sky eats heartily throughout the meal.
Susie, "I believe that this Earth experience is a teleological yet variable, free will game of discovery. Different venues give us different lights to see ourselves under. Daily life is meager fair, unless you really pump your vibe into it. School is a bit of meat and occasional marrow. Rainbow Living is just solar powered kaliedescopic disco lights flashing smiley faces on free Krishna Camp meals of organic beans and rice and breads and veggies prepared with Love; justified, eons old, wise hope; mirth; humor; karma and capitol B Bliss."
Nate, "Yeah, Rainbow Gatherings are a great get together for quality Earth Souls."
Susie, "I learned more about bio-diesel, solar power, organic farming, waste management, alternative crops, intentional communities, juggling, shadow puppet performances… theater … more about the psychology of people in love with being post-human than I learned at all my years at University!"
Angela, "It would be sooo nice to have money and just Rainbow gather everyday."
Sky, "Money – ughh."
Susie, "No need for it once you arrive at Rainbow. Ohhh, to wake each day in the woods to rythmic drumming, guitars, yodels of consciousness-glee, prayer circle, knowing looks, meaningful conversations, art camps, dancing, swimming, celebrating, …"
Sky, "Family child care."
Angela, "Thirty thousand souls celebrating each breath, thousands engrossed in real, open Love making… The free, unselfconscious passing of a joint. Then Lovin' Ovens preparing free breakfast, each different camp working on lunch – Raver's Camp, Krishna Camp, Turtle Soup, Granola Funk, Sprout Kitchen…"
Sky, "'Everybody does a little, so no-one does a lot.'"
Angela, "I love how true and deep and strong concern for communal welfare and healing are among the Rainbow. I just love it. They've caught a Krishna Vibe. This is a force to be encountered – to learn from! Before I got there I was concerned with self-sufficiency. After a short time, I was learning new ways to let the Family feed me – meta-physically and spiritually – and learning how to feed back. The ways the Family fed me are ways which I'm still processing."
Susie, "Like begets like. Negative energies in Babylon beget negative currents. War, dollar worship and mistrust beget general suspicion. Buying huge gas guzzling SUVs alieviates the tension a bit for some people… and this solution dismisses the environment from radical concern, encourages vainity, lawn pesticides, soap operas, Brittany Spears, forgetting of the connection to the Gaian Spirit. This negative vibe programs a hundred million aggravated souls to work the daily grind doing nothing with their collective life but watching hockey pucks shoot across the ice. Rainbow begets creative resourcefulness, myriad independences, participation and group solidarity. I partook of a redemptive collective wisdom there – I've got shivers, good shivers."
Sky, "How could you not be socially transformed by events at Rainbow. Remember all the children with expressive, awe-filled, painted faces having an all day party under the sun on July fourth?"
Susie, "Mmmmm, that was a picture of how things could be. John Lennon's 'Imagine' come alive."
Angela, "All that self conscious primalism, technological optimism… That celebration took in all the tiny details of love and sex and spirit and brings your anima up to where it ought to be."
Nate, "We can change things. The enlightened attunement of Rainbow culture feeds more of the palpable good vibe which can transform individual populations of people... eventually the whole world."
Sky, "I think our universe is Jainistic. We go through epic sagas, rise and fall, attain enlightened living en mass, in myriad diverse formations, then fall down to neanderthalic states, elect Bushes as presidents, and must on our own – but watched by the gods - restructure god-head consciousness in massively diverse ways on our own."
Nate, "The goal in evolution for human types is to experience the process and results of fine tuning the frequencies of Collective Minds – into a scientific art form, something that the gods could admire. And in making our actual, breathing, responsive minds' more finely tuned we go about opening the channels and perfecting the rhythms of Collective Heart. We become something with spirit and soul, something which, all together, is much, much more than its abstract. And we can have so much fun learning how to do this!
Later that night, Nate, Sky and Susie are in Susie's living room drinking beer. Indian tapestries hang on the walls. There is a TV, which is off; there are two couches, coffee table, record player, potted plants and a fish tank.
Nate, "I've been planning a mycological expedition to
Sky, "You're planning a 'shroom run?"
Nate, "Yup. I got directions to hundreds of fields - off the web. I also have a friend in Georgia – I should be ready to leave in a few days. Would you like to come?"
Susie, "Wow!!! How much do you think you'll harvest?"
Nate, "I think five pounds seems a reasonable minimum. I've
heard from folks who've done it that in the right place and at the right time one can pick five pounds in a single afternoon."
Sky, "That's a lot of money you're talking. At least four or five thousand dollars."
Nate, "Yup. Possibly quite a bit more. And the whole deal seems almost fool proof. Cubensis are legal to possess in their fresh state in Florida. The case of Fiske versus the State of Florida established this. There are so many varieties of wild mushrooms in Florida that an amateur mushroom hunter cannot be expected to be able to recognize all varieties. So, as long as you simply explain to any law enforcers that you've been picking for your supper, even if they spot Psilocybes on you, your cannot be arrested."
Sky, "You're sure of this?"
Nate, "Absolutely positively. It's the only state in the nation where this is definitely so. I *think* that ruling holds for dried mushrooms, too. Some heads I've spoken with said it's very rare for cops to hassle you in Florida over a bag of fresh mushies - they know the courts' precedent on that. But they do try to bust your ass if you've got them dried up and in multiple plastic baggies."
Sky, "Interesting. I remember you talking about picking mushrooms in Louisiana. In Louisiana, if the cops stop you and you have fresh Psilocybe on you, you will be going to jail. The police are authorized to arrest you. But in Florida they're legal? So it's just a matter of picking them, taking them to a location for drying, bundling them up in overnight Federal Express packages and sending them home. Total risk time is about twenty minutes. Where are you going to send them to? Not your house, I hope?"
Nate, "Oh hells no. I've got a safe address. Chances" he says with scorn "of detection are extremely nil. They smell like any other edible mushroom and unlike anything dogs are trained to smell for."
Nate takes a swallow of beer. "I've been planning to go with Chris."
Sky, "<groan> I just don't enjoy him. He's too sketchy. But, I'd love to go. It would really help me out, too. Ha ha." Looking
at Susie, "I LOVE this altruistic hippie life – it multiplies the brilliant arrangement of beautiful chances. Ha! Another miracle right in my lap, just when I was needing one. Live this life, let probability occur."
Nate, "I am in love with altruism."
Sky, "The thing is, I don't really have any money… I have the opportunity to work the Meridian bar in Ithaca for two nights, starting tomorrow, for about $60 to $80 per night. I could take a bus tomorrow."
Nate, "Hey, that'd be fine. I'd be glad just to have you along." A pause, "Namaste." Sky smiles and bows his head. Nate sips some more beer. "And I want to repay you for the kindnesses you did for me at Rainbow Gathering in Vermont, and so many other times."
Susie, "Oh, you guys are such great people. I love knowing friends like you."
Nate, "I've got about $350, and my buddy Dane said he'd be happy to lend me about $400, and if unforeseen things happen, he'll Western Union us whatever we need to get home."
Susie, "Hey, you guys are welcomed to send mushrooms to my address, too. I'll hold them for you."
Sky, "We'd give you some for yourself."
Nate, "Yeah, of course."
Susie, "Cool." She starts rolling a joint. "I can't believe things like pot and mushrooms are illegal. These things are augmenters. My intellect has been piqued and expanded since I started *utilizing* psychedelics. They're helping me become a better person."
Sky, "They're illegal because of conservative ignorance and misplaced fear. But the situation is changing. Our parents' generation started the revolution, and were going to see it through. I verily believe that one good seven hour psychedelic session can be as informative, enlightening and life changing as four years studying philosophy and fine arts at University."
Nate, "Psychedelics inspire a love for learning in everyone I've ever met who has sampled them."
Sky, "I have love for all who learn love by loving to learn."
Nate, "Right on. It's preposterous that courses in psychedelic inquiry aren't widely offered at colleges and universities in America – at least on the graduate level. There could be community psychedelic research centers in every village - Psychedelic Boy Scouts! If a kid was having trouble at home or in school, a guidance counselor could take psilocybin or mescaline with him. Psilocybin holds so much possibility for positive transformations in an individual – and the entire species - by virtue of the enormous amount of information that it makes available in reasonable yet profound cadences. Psilocybin is a source of gnosis, BUT, the voice of gnosis has been silenced in the Western mind for at least a thousand years. Using these sacraments respectfully, we may release ourselves into a realm of pure self-engineering. Something about the experience just naturally tends to bring out the best moral standards in ordinarily good people."
Sky, "So true. It does. What a foolish government. Numerous Nobel prize winners – like Richard Feynman and Kerry Mullis - attest that they use LSD and mushrooms monthly for creative insights. Most of the original inventors of personal computers were greatly inspired by acid. Steve Jobs of Apple Computers said that taking LSD was 'one of the two or three most important things he has done in his life!' Bill Gates has acknowledged that he has been informed by LSD. And yet we're told in schools that it's wrong and are punished if we follow suit. Sent to prisons! I've had quite a few professors tell me they enjoyed tripping."
Susie, "I know. I've heard the same about many of my teachers. And it seems to me a very noticeably large percentage of tripsters from our generation are going into teaching."
Nate, "Psychedelicists have learned the fine arts of communicating information, of making it useful, of imbuing it with Love. I'm headed towards teaching."
Sky, "I know you'll be an excellent teacher. The kids will eat you up."
Susie, "Good for you, Natty, good for the kids!"
Sky, "Yeah, I've noticed from my high school and college years that many of the teaching majors are psychedelically oriented."
Nate, "At least the First Amendment upholds our access to the psychedelic culture. That may not be true everywhere in the world today."
Sky, "Huh… Persecution of Saints continues. I could see there being fines for selling heavey drugs – like there are fines for DWI, but jail time???!"
Susie, "Well, heavey drugs I stay away from. But psychedelics are creating Saints of a new era. Jesus is the prototypical hippie."
Nate, "Yeah, and people like him were condemned for their originality and personal spiritual courage, too. Non-conformist witchy women were burned at the stake for dancing to a different tune than the Churchs'.
Historically the Church and ruling governments have cast a bad light on Gnostics. But today, with the technological revolution, the unprecedented volume of information available to each of us through the internet, and by utilysing entheogenic tools like psilocybe mushrooms, every woman and man can attain a gnostic realm of pure self engineering which is ecstatic, beatific and altruistic to the species at large.
We might not even know about the DNA molecule and all that has come from this knowledge if it weren't for LSD. Francis Crick, co-discoverer of DNA said that he greatly benefited from experimenting with the LSD molecule."
Susie, "Psychedelics do increase imagination, our power to conceptualize our minds, and thereby give us more to love about ourselves. And my historical research has shown that no-one has ever fatally overdosed from the right mushroom species nor marijuana - nor LSD, although that substance has gotten a bad rap in some segments of the popular culture. It can be a very intense ride through consciousness. I personally enjoy it."
Sky, "I love this girl. I can't wait to take more entheogens with her."
Susie, "I love you, too, Sky."
She lights the joint.
Susie, "Unlike alcohol, psychedelic sacraments encourage service to the
best ideals – in thrilling ways. The richness of the experience these substances put you through is profound to share with other people. I have had sooo many excellent conversations, bonding experiences with people because of the psychedelic states we were in – approached levels of intimacy that wouldn't have come up without the empathogens. I am in love with observing the flowerings and fruiting productions of turned on minds. We need this revolution to stop the petty materialism, violence and carelessness which are threatening the very life on earth. Why is it that so many psychedelicists are environmentalists? Because they're happy. They love life. They care to foster, not abuse it. This revolution is a crucial step in becoming the next step – in becoming transhuman."
Sky, "I believe the gods put psychedelics here for us to utilize."
Sky and Nate each puff on the joint.
Sky, "I feel like the millions of layers of translucent wallpaper of my mind have just illuminated and are cross referencing at light speed to create the most pleasant high!"
Susie, "Funny, I was just thinking something similar: that the Christmas lights of my mind have just been turned on."
Sky, "Well, I feel like the folds of my mind are entwining with yours, so… synchronisity!"
Susie, "We are sharing the same dream, sharing memes."
Nate, "We're shaping our lives with meta-conscious power."
Susie, "I can't wait to try Psilocybe cubensis!"
Nate, "Oh, you haven't yet. I love cubensis. They are the finest, most
delicate exogenous neurotransmitter. You spend your whole life observing and learning; you keep searching for more meaning, transcendence, the next step in evolution. What could the next step be? And then you eat these and behold the elysian key. Ah-ha! They are
an ultimate entheogen."
Susie, "What does 'entheogen' mean, exactly?"
Sky, "En from the Greek meaning to manifest, theo from the Greek meaning divine spirit and gen or genic also from the Greek meaning to generate or bring forth. I prefer 'entheogen' to 'psychedelic' because of the '60s connotations of 'Psychedelic'. 'Entheogen' seems more eternal."
Susie, "I've heard that mushrooms were quite similar to LSD, which I love."
Nate, "Eh, to some extent, but I think the sacred fungi are more elegant and harmonized in the visionary states they produce. Ultimately, the great psychedelic dances are penetratingly intricate and verge on ineffable as they are cyclical back to zein en sietch. However, psilocybin trips are most often softer, less jarring and more social than LSD excursions. A psilocybin trip generally lasts half the duration of an LSD trip, six or seven hours as opposed to twelve to fourteen. For me psilocybin is the most profoundly spiritual indole. You really must try it.
Psilocin, psilocybin and Lysergic acid diethylamide are all indole based molecules, like serotonin, melatonin, Dimethyltryptamine and other endogenous human neurotransmitters.
One theory holds that a certain percentage of the psilocin they contain is converted in vivo to DMT, a most excellent and resoundingly fascinating substance. On a smaller scale, it is a native human
neurotransmitter. When Hindu or other sagacious mystics enter deep meditation, their natural DMT is raised. I've had occasion to extract some from plant sources; it's a fairly simple procedure. But DMT can't
be all that is responsible for the feelings mushrooms produce…"
Susie, "I am sooo excited that you guys are going on this expedition!!! I can't wait for us to have pounds of sacred fungi! I don't think I'll be able to sleep tonight!"
It is morning in Susie's apartment. Nate is drinking orange juice and drawing in a sketch pad when Sky walks in from a back bedroom. We get a glimpse of the drawing.
Nate, "Goodmorning Skyshine."
Sky, "Goodmorning bro'. Did you dream?"
Nate, "I was guided through vegan realms of rainbow
people by shimmering bodhisattvas and techno pixies who
emerged from quicksilver spheres. They were the stewards of the realms. The full sensory experience was something like being alive in an M. C. Escher drawing, but in my dream a benevolent, unified, high consciousness pervaded everything – making the overall import much greater than just awesome scenery. I am left feeling that I journeyed to a very ancient future. You?"
Sky, "I slept like a baby. No, more like a man in the
naturalistic bliss of post coital fulfillment."
Nate, "Excellent. So did you get Susie to sleep?"
Sky, "Yeah, she slept after those romp arounds. Hey, I've got a few hours before my bus leaves for Ithaca. I'd like to stop and see Jasmine for a bit. She's working at a café in Allentown . If that's no
Nate, "None at all."
A short time later, Susie hugs Sky goodbye on the porch of her house. Nate and Sky hop in the truck and head off. In Allentown, Nate parks, Sky gets out and goes into the café where his girl Jasmine works. Nate listens to Scarlet Begonias by the Grateful Dead. In time, Sky and Jasmine emerge. Nate gets out of the truck. Jasmine rushes over to hug him.
Jasmine, "Thank you for doing this for him. Be careful." To Sky, "Bye."
Sky and Nate get in the truck.
Sky, "Are you hungry? I could really dig some gumbo."
Nate, "How's everything with Jas?"
Sky, "Fine. We didn't really talk all that much, but we're still friends. Do you know where the Rendezvous is? It's Buffalo's premier spot for Cajun."
Nate, "Yes I do."
They arrive at the restaurant and park. As they walk up Sky asks, "Have you been to New Orleans, Nate?"
Nate, "No, not yet."
Sky, "You really must, my friend. The last time I was there I had shrimp gumbo prepared by chef Emeril himself. Sooo delicious. And I drank Jager Miester off tap and was given $100 by a random guy in the street… Of course my friend got arrested for "Leaning with Intent to Fall.."
Sky, "The Napoleonic Codes are still in effect down there. A cop saw us hanging out on a street corner and arrested Dave for 'Leaning with Intent to Fall.' He spent two days in jail."
Nate, "Oh my god, that's unbelievable."
Sky, "It happened."
They emerge from the restaurant.
Sky, "Mmmmm, that was good."
Nate, "Indeed. And now there's just enough time to get
you to the bus station, without your having to wait long."
The bus station. Sky gets out and grabs his gear from the back of the pick-up truck.
"Much love, brother." Sky says.
Nate, "Much love." Nate grabs his camera and has it focused on Sky when he turns around. He snaps a picture.
Nighttime. Nate walks into his house where he finds Chris playing on a three-stringed guitar. Two other dudes are there.
Nate, "Hey, I figure we can leave with-in four days."
Chris, "Man, I don't know. I just can't take the risk, I think. Anyway, I went out and got a job today."
Chris gives a smile and a nod.
Nate, "Well, I've been fixin' to do something like this since I was a little kid. Finally it's all coming together, and now you're bailing?"
Nate, "Well, I'll see if Sky wants to go. Are you
Chris, "Yeah, count me out."
Nate, "Your loss, Chris. I'll bring some back for you
to munch on. Where'd you get a job?"
Chris, "Music store."
Nate, "Alright, I'll see you."
Dude #1, "Where you goin', Nate?"
Nate, "To my mom's to pick up Gypsy, I left her there
the other day."
Dude #1, "Later."
Dude #2, "Peace."
Nate exits the house and hops into the truck which is parked on the street. He starts it up and drives off.
Nate trucks down a highway at night.
Nate arrives at his mother's house in the suburbs. He gets out and opens the door. He throws down his knapsack.
Gypsy the Border Collie greets him vociferously. She licks him on the face and yodels, groaning in delight intermittently. He eyes a pair of sneakers and says "Yeah." He puts on the sneakers and they go for a jog. Gypsy is not on a leash.
Gyp and Nate return to the house and re-enter. Nate hops in the shower. He comes out fully dressed. His mother comes downstairs.
Mother, "Hi honey, how are you?"
Nate, "Good, mom, you?"
Mother, "I'm O.K. What time is it?"
Nate, "About 12:20"
Mother, "Dane called. He got in from Texas. He wants you to go out to his grandmother's as soon as you get in? You think you'll go tonight?"
Nate, "Umm… yeah, I think that's what I will do."
Mother, "O.k., good, I was hoping you would. Give him
a big hug and kiss for me, for your father, too."
Nate, (smiling) "Alright. I'm just going to make something to eat, and then I'll go."
Mother, "Good." She gives him a kiss. "Love you." She goes upstairs, calling down, "Oh, I washed the clothes you left here."
Nate pops on some jungle music and starts making sandwiches. Beef and mayonnaise for the dog, hummus and veggies for himself. They eat. Nate gets the fresh clothes from the cellar stairs and exchanges them with the dirty ones in his bag. Nate then opens the kitchen cupboard revealing many jars of spices. He turns one; it reads "ill Weed" – formerly "Dill Weed." He opens the screw cap and takes out a nugget of marijuana. He lays it on the cutting board. He then takes out a large carrot from the refrigerator and breaks it in half. He carves a bowl in the thicker end of the carrot and with a small screwdriver taken from a pen & pencils jar on the counter, fashions out a stem. He takes a pull. He then fishes for a small allen wrench in a drawer and enlarges the stem. Perfect. He puts the "ill Weed" jar in his backpack, saddles up, pops the bud in the carrot pipe and looks at the dog.
Nate, "You ready?"
Her ears perk up and she wags her tail. They go outside and into the truck. Once in third gear, Nate huffs on the pipe.
Cresting a hill in rural New York State. Nate pets Gyp on the head.
Nate and Gypsy pull up to a charming country house and get out. No lights are on. Nate knocks tentatively, then enters. They make their way to the stairs and up them.
Nate, "Alright, which room is he in?"
Nate tries one door and by moonlight the figure of a young man in bed is seen. "Hey!" Nate whispers loudly. A pause. A shot of Nate by moonlight, looking very biblical with his long hair and long beard.
Dane, "Jesus, is that you?" [it sounds like it could be interpreted, is that you, Jesus? Not 'Jesus! Is that YOU?']
Nate chuckles. "I suppose I kinda do look the part."
Dane gets up and they hug.
Nate, "I came as soon as mom told me you were in. We're lucky I needed to be at her house tonight. My house was a drab scene, and so I might've been anywhere. I thought you were due this morning. This is
from Mom and Dad" Nate kisses Dane on the cheek.
Dane, "The flight got bumped up. C'm'ere Gypsy." The dog happily jumps on the bed and begins licking Dane's face. She makes several "yaoow yaaaooow" comments.
Dane, "I've missed you my good girl. When are we going to get some puppies from you? Huh, Dad?"
Nate, "Pretty soon, I hope. So you're going to take one?"
Dane, still talking to the dog, "Oh – yes – I – am…"
Dane says very matter of factly to Nate, "Tell me you have something to smoke."
Nate, "Does a rich man have money? C'mon, let's go."
They enjoy a porch smoke-out.
Dane, "Carrot pipe, huh? Business isn't so good?"
Nate, "I left my Buffalo house not really thinking about the matter. I didn't know you'd be here today. Carrot's as good as anything."
Dane, "Yeah, I know. How much buds do you have?"
Nate, "About an eighth. It's a little medley of different dank."
Nate shows Dane the "ill Weed" container. "A hitchhiker I picked up on the way back from Rainbow gave me this."
Dane, "Ha ha. We're definitely going to have to get more. I love pot, man. I smoke constantly in the summertime."
Nate, "Yeah, it is good to do. How much for a Z of chronic
down there where you live?"
Dane, "About three bills."
Nate, "Wow. How are Kyle and Timothy and Beth?"
Dane, "Oh they're doin' fine. Beth's a social worker now, down in Austin and Tim's in his first year of med school. I finished trying my first case back in July. Well, I was only co-counsel. It was an issue of getting child support from this jocko who tried to hide a business and brand new BMW from his ex-wife and her attorneys. A real heartless SOB who didn't want to support his own two kids. But we got him."
The next day, in Grandmother's yard, Dane and Nate are seen behind the detached garage, smoking a bowl.
Dane, "We should go to Hawaii, bro'."
Nate, "You a surfer now?"
Dane, "Been surfing for two years now. I brought a video of me on the waves. If you still want to start a commune, that's the place to do it. Lush jungles, abundant tropical fruit trees, seafood, happy irie people. My friend moved there after inheriting a twenty-five acre banana plantation. He sends me nuggets."
Nate, "That's risky, growing on your own lands.
Dane, "He grows in his girlfriend's apartment. He brought a motorcycle over. Then the next time he came from the mainland he brought a motorcycle crate filled with growing supplies. He grows donkey dick – two feet tall plants of marijuana which grow to maturity in under two months, each plant produces one huge bud – like a
donkey's dick – they weigh about a half pound – all solid dank buds. He sends me zippers inside of a big chocolate Easter bunny once a month. He makes the package out to the girl who lived in my condo before
me, with a long love letter."
Dane, "I expect you'll be doin' the same with some fungus…yeah?"
Nate, "Oh yeah" intoned with some surprise that the question was even asked.
Dane, "I remember when we were kids – like thirteen or fourteen –
and you'd come back from Dead Tour all mystical and in awe and talk about how these mushrooms were the next step in human understanding. The key to 21st Century evolution. I thought you were …ugh.. deceiving
yourself. But then I ate some in Amsterdam and after about forty-five minutes I was saying to myself, 'Aha, I see what Nate was saying…'"
Nate, Gives a beatific, hippie smile. "Well, man, you're a lawyer now, get behind some legalization efforts."
Dane, "Oh, I've got another year and a half to go. But
should ever the right case come up, I'd jump at it. You know, some mushrooms are legal in Canada. We've got to get you a little piece of land up there, so you can do them whenever you like. Grow your own and not have to worry about some government thug hassling you. In the Netherlands, you can purchase them out of soda machines. Ahh, the civilized world."
Grandma, "Boys, dinner."
They go into the house.
Spaghetti noodles are served in a colander and are giving off steam. Five different sauces are on the table.
Grandma, "Just dig in. I know Dane likes hot sauce. I
don't remember if you do, Nathaniel."
Nate, "I do."
Grandma: "And we've got parmesan cheese, and garlic bread…"
Dane, "Great, grandma."
To Nate, Dane, "I wonder if any of my mom's or my aunts' old stashes are still hidden in her cupboards?"
Grandma, "And I bought beer for you guys."
Nate, "Super." Nate smiles at Dane.
Grandma sits. So too do Nate and Dane.
Grandma, "So Nate, you're almost done with college,
are you still planning to teach?"
Nate, "Right on."
Grandma, "I've got some great literature here on
Cistercian, and Montessori and Calasanctian schools. A
different, more holistic approach to classical
Nate, "I'd love to look at those. I've been thinking of joining up with some holistic alternative communities. Intentional utopian farms of say a hundred people… but I haven't visited enough yet to decide on which one. I've read about Calasanctian schools, they're very... perspectivist in their educational philosophy, very well rounded."
Dane, "Beth went to a Calasanctius School."
Grandma, "Yes she did…"
Two Days Later. Monday. Dane and Nate are lounging in the sun drinking margaritas. The phone rings. Grandma brings it out to the deck.
Grandma, "It's for you, Nate, someone named Sky."
"Thanks. Hello?" Nate answers.
Sky, "Hey, I got this number from your Mom. Are you coming home soon?"
Nate, "I guess so, maybe tonight or tomorrow."
Sky, "O.k. Did you get the truck fixed?"
Nate, "Nooo-oo, I really haven't had the chance."
Sky, "Well, you should do that, it may take a few days, and I want to leave as soon as possible. Do that tomorrow at THE LATEST! Are you having a good time with your friend?"
Nate, "Oh yes, it's been great. I really missed him a lot."
Nate, "How was Ithaca?
Sky, "Well, I only have $110."
Nate, "We'll get by."
Sky, "Dane's sure to help us?"
Sky, "O.K., well I'll talk to you later. Keep having fun."
Nate, "Later skater."
Nate swallows his large glass of margarita and asks Dane, "Are you ready for another?" Dane drinks his down and says "Yes sir."
Two days later. Wednesday. Early morning. Grandma's kitchen. The phone rings. Nate is on the porch smoking a bowl; we see a new, intricate drawing in his sketch book. He enters the kitchen, picks up the phone and says "Hello."
Sky, "Hello, Nathaniel?"
Nate, "Yeah, it's me, Sky."
Sky, "Did you get the truck looked at?"
Sky, "Nate! How do expect to get down there?! You're slacking. No,
don't worry, I've talked with Susie. She's going to let us take her car. It's a '99 Ford escort wagon in tip top shape. She doesn't need to go any great distance for a few weeks and for whatever errands she does, she can use your truck."
After a pause, Nate, "Sounds good to me."
Sky, "I thought it would. How about leaving by Friday at the latest?"
Nate, "Yeah. Dane leaves Thursday, so…"
Sky, "When am I going to get to meet him?"
Nate, "Well, we need to come into the city for a bag.
I was going to call Brie. In fact, I was thinking of having her and Karen as back up addresses for us to send to, in case we have so many packages that it compromises the safety of my safe address."
Sky, "Well, we've got Susie, too, but, O.K. Give them
a call and have them meet you here at Susie's tonight."
Nate, "Alright, I'll call you back and let you know
Nate calls Brie.
Nate, "Hello, sister."
Brie, "Natty? how are you, brother?"
Nate, "Good, good. Busy. You?"
Nate, "As you may remember, I'm fixin' to go to Florida
in a couple of days, I was wondering if I could send you some…Georgia peaches? I'm going to call Karen too and ask her the same question."
Brie, "O..K.. yeah, I think we should get together and talk."
Nate, "Are you free tonight? I'm staying with a friend in the country. Sky is at Susie's, which is two doors down from my house in the city. We're taking Susie's car. We could meet up there tonight."
Brie, "O.K. I'm supposed to meet Karen for lunch. I'm sure she'll want to."
Nate, "Great. Let's do that. Be sure to bring some green leafies. Gonna need some of those."
Brie, "OK. I always do. Tonight at 9:00."
Brie, "Right, then I'll see you then."
Dane comes down stairs and into the kitchen.
Dane, "It's going to be hot today. Want to go to Letchworth Park and swim the gorge?"
Nate, "Yeah. Maybe we'll find some Amanitas. My friends want to meet you tonight. Around 9:00 in the city."
Nate and Dane swim the gorge that day.
Dane and Nate arrive in Grandma's car at Susie's at 9:34. They park on the street, get out and walk up to Susie's house. Nate knocks. In seconds Sky answers the door.
Sky, "There's my man." He hugs Nate. "Dane, very nice
to meet you. Come in, come in." He hugs Dane, too.
Susie, Brie and Karen are there, smiling. The air is
heavy with pot smoke. Brie and Karen have serious dreadlocks. Their garb is hard core hippie.
Nate, "Hey" to one and all.
Dane shakes hands and is introduced to one and all. A large spliff is passed to him.
Brie, "So, Sky tells us what you boys are up to. I think that's great. You can totally send mushrooms to me."
Sky, "I suggested that they keep a quarter of whatever's
Nate, "That's cool."
Karen, "Yeah, Bobby and me have done this for kids before. Dane, you're from Texas. Do you see much Peyote around?!"
Dane, "Sometimes. Some of my friends do it a lot. It's about $100 for five doses. A bag of buttons about this" he indicates with his hands "big. About one hundred buttons. But they're usually small ones. I'm sure if I poked around I could find quantity."
Brie, "You could get $100 for two doses up here."
Sky, "Yeah, could you look into that for us?"
Dane, "I'll see what's around."
Susie, "So what are you guys going to ship the mushrooms in?"
Karen, "They don't have an illicit smell, and by X-rays they could be any food or gardening item, so just bagged up and maybe wrapped in newspaper would be fine."