Filbert went his own way, with his brother’s wife, and I moved to Anchorage, Alaska. He got the Firebird his money purchased and I kept on moving. I didn’t know it at the time, but there was a warrant out for my arrest. Those speeding tickets I threw away eventually caught up with me.
Just down the street from Proctors Grocery, Lizard, Mooch, Slim and I shared a two-bedroom apartment off the highway to Eagle. We had the place set up for two things: smoking pot and playing hackey- sack. Led Zeppelin album covers were positioned strategically around the room so that the foot bag would stay in motion rather than stall on a flat surface.
We hacked for hours while we smoked, snorted, and drugged our way through the winter. Lizard was the champion. His falls were epic. He was 6 feet tall. I pity those poor newly married neighbors in the apartment below us.
On Saturdays Slim and I would gun around town in his white Celica stealing things. Our favorite stores were bookstores, head shops, and occult paraphernalia boutiques. Among the merchandise I came home with one day was a bible. All spiritual people should own a bible right?
Beside my water bed was a collection of stolen books by occult masters. I had a fish aquarium with a steel Buddha image meditating while my guppies flitted around in a state of ecstasy. My brass incense bowl smoked with ancient herbal mixtures, supposedly esoteric, the aroma of which was supposed to heighten sensitivity to the spirit world.
Aleister Crowley’s books were my prize possessions. Thoth and the Book of Lies were displayed with pride on the headboard of my waterbed. I had moved from dabbling in spirituality to outright pursuit of spiritual empowerment. I prayed to Baphomet, the deity whose symbol is the sign of the church of Satan. I practiced leaving my body and invoked incantations penned by sorcerers and witchcraft practitioners.
I was dead serious. I wanted to find Him. I wanted to meet God and as far as I could tell, this was His path.
One night I ate a chunk of hashish and drifted into a state of hypnosis, the first step towards a transcendental state. As I floated away from my physical self, I saw light, vibrating and beautiful light on all sides of the tunnel I was moving through. But as I went deeper into this cave of color the saturation got intense, the vibrations turned into screams and I tried to reclaim a sense of my physical self. I fought to feel my legs and my arms. I pinched my stomach and shouted at myself. But I wasn’t home in me.
I pinched my body but it was occupied by someone else. I was shivering in a cold sweat. With all of my muscles taught like a guitar string, I tried to move with intention. I sat up. But sitting up was a mechanical thing, like I was an operator telling my own body to move, and my body obeyed me but wasn’t me. Nice sentence huh?
How about like this instead: Something other than me was inside my being. So in fear I walked with jerky movement out to Mooch who was asleep on the couch. When he saw me he turned away. I said “Mooch, take me to the hospital because I think I have overdosed myself or something.”
We drove around looking for the hospital while I kept trying to will feeling into my body. I shivered and flexed, trying to get any direct control of myself. Then, just as we drove into the parking lot of the hospital I began to groan. Between groans, I would predict songs on the radio. These sounds came from my stomach, not my vocal chords, and felt entirely foreign to me. I vomited bile as the roar of some creature came out of me until finally, with one terrifying growl, I felt the presence within me leave.
Mooch told me later that he couldn’t stand to look at me that night because my face was so contorted and horrible looking. He said that my language was weird, full of curse words and distortion.
That night was the strangest night in my life. I was bewildered and confused. I went home, smoked a joint, and went to bed.