The following is an excerpt from the soon-to-be-released Ch 4 of my autobiography.
Those hemp-cannabis days and lysergic-diethylamide nights were few and far between but friends always seemed to have connections and when they were in town, sparks would fly. One night we dropped a couple tabs of ‘blue cheer’. Bill Cobb was spread-eagled on the carpet, jabbering, squinting up at the crater-shaped overhead light attached to the ceiling in the middle of the living room. The light was bright as the sun blazing down from the heavens, and Bill’s hand was aglow with backlighting as he tried to shield his eyes.
“I can see the veins in my hand,” Cobb yelled, “and the blood pulsing through my fingers. I’m alive!”
Then he leaped up and danced ecstatically around the room, stubbing his toe and breaking it, so he said.
“What do you do to fix a broken toe?” I asked him, knowing he was a combat medic in the Reserves.
“Nothing,” he replied, yelping like a gut-shot dog.
Being naturally an introvert, tripping on acid nudged me further inward. Adrift on a time-warp tangent I became voyeur and connoisseur of my own sensuous impressions. Sitting outside on the front steps I was hypnotized by the brick façade of an adjacent apartment building. The lattice-like brick work began to pulsate and writhe, the suggestive ink-blot shapes cast by the lines and shadows and textures taking the form of people and events being projected up on the wall as if from a motion picture booth somewhere behind me. I sat entranced, in Plato’s cave, lost in a moment outside time and space. Colors, too, were striking, the whole scene bulging and popping out three-dimensionally at me.
At some point I was lifted out of my reverie by the urge to journey downtown to the 10th Street hippie district in Buckhead. Surely the sights and sounds and colors of Hot’Lanta on a raucous Saturday night would be all that much more mesmerizing on acid. I slipped into the driver’s seat of my red VW, but something didn’t feel quite right. I didn’t turn on the ignition, just disengaged the clutch and let it roll gently down the hill. I was cradled in a slight indentation at the bottom of the driveway, the car jutting out into the street, tripping to the light fantastic, trying to adjust to a whole slew of puzzling, super-intense sensations. Then suddenly I realized what was wrong: the tires were flat, all four of them! I got out, and with slow bizarre jerky movements tried to assess the situation. I kicked at the right front tire to see if it was okay or not. My foot swung helplessly in the air and I almost lost my balance. I inched closer and kicked it again, and connected. I probably only tapped the front rubber tire of a thousand-pound vehicle lightly, playfully, theatrically, with the tip of my shoe, but the whole car moved, it swayed, it ricocheted back and forth. FASCINATING! I went around back and swung my foot at a rear tire. Again, I watched mesmerized as the car shook and shuddered, gently rocked back and forth like a pendulum. I applied my will to that clumsy inanimate object again and again, wide-eyed, and marveled as it responded to my every touch. I tapped, I kicked, I swatted – and it belched back at me, big-time. INCREDIBLE! Slowly dawning on me was the ego-nullifying realization that I was not in control, something had gone delightfully wrong. I was standing there fascinated and bewildered, kicking my tires in exaggerated slow motion, contemplating the intricacies of time and space, the physics of volume and motion, when a cop drove up. He asked me what was the matter. In the middle of the street, clearly buzzed out of my gourd, I made small talk the gist of which eludes me now, and the cop drove away.
Bill Lott came out and I threw him my keys and we headed into town. I kept thrusting my head out the passenger window, reveling in the rush of wind, the whirling kaleidoscope of Saturday-night lights and sounds which took on a Whitmanesque “I sing the body electric” life of their own. A pod of Harley’s roared by, me the skinny horn-rimmed nerd leaning out the window giving them a silly thumb’s up, and they dipping their mufflers side to side in a return-gesture as one by one they throttled up and blasted around us. The road narrowed at the entrance ramp onto the Interstate. There was a small pothole in the pavement and each biker in turn, as he gunned his Harley, shifted and half-twisted in his seat, dramatically lifting his arm and pointedly thrusting a finger down at the potential danger, warning his buddy behind him. There was a sense of camaraderie displayed by those guys that walloped me that night like an ecclesiastical thunderbolt.
Once back home, still hyper frazzled, soaking up sights and sounds at warp speed, it occurred to me that physical intimacy right about now would be the mother of all epiphanies. So I went next door to rouse Cecelia, whose husband was in Vietnam but that did not deter her from jumping in bed with me at every opportunity. First, I asked her just to write down what I was saying. I was making such astute, wonderful, heavenly observations of everything going on around me, surely it needed to be recorded for posterity. As Cecelia began to lick and nibble my body, I kept up a running monologue, trying to put into poetry the exquisiteness of each touch, each tingle. I got tongue-tied and confused, my words hovering like black holes over a diamond-studded galaxy of feelings, and Cecelia started laughing. That ended that. Except later that night my acid trip went crazy on me. LSD doesn’t go quietly away just because you suddenly decide to slip into pajamas. I bolted upright, by myself, no Cecelia, surrounded by monsters. I turned the bedroom light on to chase away my fears. That didn’t work. I curled up in a fetal position in the middle of the bed and pulled the covers over my head. That didn’t work, either. I sweated and hallucinated and got more and more paranoid. Not an ounce of sleep for me that night, and to make matters worse, the next morning, early, a Sunday, I had to play golf with Tom Houtchins. My eyes looked like they had been sewn open; I was still wired to the max, sullen and jumpy.
More than thirty years later, at a college reunion, Houtchins would remember, and mention, that bizarre round of golf he played with a zombie who spent most of his time in the woods, never once hitting the fairway.