April 29, 2016 - H4 - LSDaytona Beach
I can’t speak for Brent, my hitchhiking buddy from yesteryear, but for me this was the lone acid trip of my singular lifetime and, yes, it skewed psychedelic. However, I discovered immediately that I do not like it when I can’t trust my senses… After all, they have kept me alive and safe all these years.
When I dodged an angry kid that sliced my face with a box cutter…
When I capsized my Hobie Cat in the raging Fort Pierce inlet…
When I smashed my sailboard across jagged reefs in Hawaii…
The list goes on and on…
If you can’t tell a joke from a poke, corn from scorn, or charm from harm, then you’ll eventually wind up dead…
But enough with the editorial and back to the story.
After I swilled down my sugar cube, I lounged about in the shady sand in front of Cheech and Chong’s white panel van parked on the world famous Daytona Beach basking in the setting sun’s tangerine sheen. Propped on an elbow, I squinted out into the Atlantic’s cascading waves, pondering what it would all feel like on LSD.
I didn’t have to muse for long.
I sensed a cold tinge at the base of my spine and, like icy static, it crackled up my backbone and engulfed my neck in a full body shiver. I hooted with a weird voice and, a moment later, Brent did the same.
Our eyes met.
It had begun.
We took turns shuddering and whooping, punctuated with giggles, and I had to admit that I felt pretty dang good. Wearing that fake captain’s cap, Brent took on the look of an old salty dog, his frizzy hair sizzling in the sunset like so many firecracker fuses.
“Well, well, well, you boys doing alright?”
It was the Tommy Chong doppelganger, beaming from around the fender with his sundown glasses and ragamuffin beard. I just laughed at the hillbilly face and he chuckled back.
“You guys want to go explore the Boardwalk?”
I thought that sounded like fabulous fun but Brent did not, opting to spontaneously scamper up and sit on top of the van, instead. I marveled how he got up there so fast but Daytona was calling with a hallucinogenic hello and I really had to answer. I shuffled off through the sand with the Chong-man like I was wading through a warm snowdrift. He tied a bandana around his greasy hair and, when he turned and smiled, one of his lenses had gone black like a pirate’s eyepatch.
“Arrr… Pretty good stuff there, eh, matey?”
I nodded with enthusiasm and eyeballed the weird looking cars that dotted the beach. Volkswagen Bugs and Boxes, rusting muscle cars, patched up campers and psychedelic vans, all looking so festive, somehow, especially the beach girls in tee shirts with the funny pictures that kept changing.
We trudged up towards a black school bus parked in the sand, the final glow from the setting sun glinting off its curtained windows, darkly ominous like a precursor to Pink Floyd’s hamburger children being shuttled off to their meat grinder in The Wall.
I didn’t like it.
The Chong-man was fascinated.
“Wow, look at that, man, cool, like, really, really cool.”
He strode up to the side of the spooky-dark bus and knuckled the side door like he was late for school or something.
I didn’t like it.
“Hey, man… Don’t do that.”
The tinted door screeched open like a glass accordion and I half expect to see the Crypt Keeper behind the wheel but what I saw was even weirder…
A pear-shaped woman with monster hips and powerful thighs like lime-colored Playdoh frowned down at us with a face about the size of a postage stamp. There’s a strong possibility that she might be the uncanny origin of the whole yoga pants phenomenon.
“What do you want?”
“Your bus is really cool… Can we look inside?”
She turned and shouted something nefarious to someone inside…
“We got ourselves some dinner.”
An interior voice grunted inexplicably and she waved us aboard.
I couldn’t believe we actually stepped up into the jet-black school bus because it all seemed bizarrely inappropriate but now I was intrigued as well. We thumped up the steps and my head rose up into the peculiar domain… The padded benches had all been ripped out with varying levels of success, save for two remaining along one side about half way down, the rest replaced with Gross Encounters of the Turd Kind.
A netted hammock over here, some taped up bean bag chairs over there, love beads, soiled curtains, pillows on the floor, and an eroded camp stove on a crumbling card table where the pear-girl stirred a pot of something nasty, probably eyeballs.
A black man sat on one of the benches like an overgrown kid that had forgotten to go home.
He was as thin as a lightning rod and he wore a hat with a huge feather. On closer inspection, I realized it wasn’t a hat at all, rather just his tattooed head with a goofy feather stuck in his ear like Benjamin Franklin’s pencil.
No, he looked more like Chief Roach-clip on a dime store vision quest.
Finally, a pale man with curly black hair emerged from behind the love beads. He had an earring in each ear and a special one through his nose which made him sound like a snorting pig when he talked.
“Peace, man… You want to get high?”
That sounded like an appalling understatement as I observed tiny pellets of quirky-jerky spittoon out his ragged nose. The Chong-man embraced the idea of expanding his mind another notch or two so he plopped down in one of the infernal bean bags.
Me, on the other hand…
I didn’t like it.
“I gotta’ go.”
The Chong-man tilted his bandana head.
“I know how it is, man… Sometimes you just gotta’ go.”
I waved over my shoulder and scrambled out of the nightshade bus, leaving all those poor suckers to their ill-fated demise with the pear-shaped yoga-lady and her blinking pot of hairy eyeballs.
Just who the Cruella de Vil was this one hundred and one damnations?