Universe W-2020: The Psychenauts 2
April 25th, 2020
I hope you’re ready for this one. It’s a doozy.
The year is 1945. The United States of America just draped both of its nuts, one slightly bigger than the other as most pairs of testicles are, across the face of Japan, ending the world’s most destructive and horrific season of the hit human series Who’s Got the Biggest Dick in the World? Hitler allegedly offed himself a few months ago, and the remaining humans inhabiting the Universe’s most mediocre-at-best planet are getting ready to attempt to move past the tragedy. For some, this means the building of monuments; for others, the attending of mass funerals; for the unlucky few, this means peeling the radioactive dead skin off their charred bodies. If you think that’s bad, just wait until you find out what the US government got up to after putting another war trophy in its case over the mantle.
In an attempt to make sure the Russians didn’t attain the status of most terrifying collection of humans, Gruncle Fred sent a love letter to the smoking remains of Nazi Germany asking, very politely, that they send over their best and brightest so the super intelligent Nazi scientists that were obviously just following commands could avoid letting their big ol’ brains go to waste. Germany, missing all of its limbs and reduced to a stump of a man, agreed happily, and slowly but surely all of the more popular Nazis (you know, the ones with the most badass dueling scars on their faces) were shipped over to American soil to continue their righteous journey into the rabbit hole of scientific discovery. Even politicians traded their roles of red tape for lab coats to avoid prosecution; it was a pretty good deal, all things considered. Very forgiving. This little project was dubbed Operation Overcast, and was, on the whole, a complete success.
The Nazis that didn’t get casted over to North America faced one of two fates: a trial followed by a well-deserved death, or a lofty retirement to a small village in Argentina where they could live out the rest of their days in peace. There are also rumors that some Nazis escaped to an obscure patch of forest located deep within the bowels of a lakehouse community in northern New Jersey, but that’s beside the point.
Regarding le Overcastees, they were presented a slew of options once they got off that well-disguised plane and stepped onto the land of the free: some of the overcasted Nazis went on to work for NASA, literally becoming the deciding factor in America’s taking one giant leap for the rest of mankind’s ass; some were swooped up by the coordinators of secret black projects that involved back-engineering ancient UFOs that were accidentally found in archaeological dig sites; some went on to influence political and corporate figures for years to come, taking all of their remaining stolen Jew money and putting it Dollaristic use; and some, well, some convinced Grunc’ to build them their very own private, largely inaccessible facilities so they could continue their work in peace.
One of these latter scientists went by the name of Doctor Kurtis Blum – a fan of the planet’s more arid climates, he got that Fred money and went directly to a small town named Lyme located in New Mexico where he bought an entire lake. This lake was promptly drained and, after all the sea life was gathered and sold to the lowest bidder, refilled with saltwater so salty that it would make the Dead Sea die of hypernatremia.
In the center of this massive killer lake is a pimple of land called Prunus Island, named after the delicious plumbs that grew from the once-fertile soil, fertilized of course by the migrating birds that stop here to shit and fill back up every single year. This, according to Doc Blum, was the perfect location for his work.
What kind of work was Doc Blum so eager to continue at this perfectly located laboratory that acts as a natural quarantine for its inhabitants? The bioweapon kind, of course! Specifically a pathogen that could cripple the population of a nation to the point that they would destroy themselves, paving the way for a long-awaited rebirth of the Third Reich. That’s not what Blum told Gruncle Fred, of course; as far as the Democratic Republican was concerned, Doctor Blum was working on miracles, like a cure for the common cold. For years. Without any success or progress whatsoever. And it was just fine.
This pathogen, originally discovered in the frozen brainstem of a four-thousand-year-old mummy perfectly preserved in snow and ice in the Alps, was experimented on and genetically altered, the final product a corkscrew-shaped bacteria with a mind and will of its own, dubbed Montauk Syndrome because of how ominous the word Montauk sounds. The plan was to somehow spread the bacteria in such a way that was not only impossible to trace back to the laboratory, but also impossible to stop until it was already too late. A species of insects called ticks were chosen for this task; they’re these tiny little bloodsuckers that sit on the tops of blades of grass, waving their tiny wittle awms in the air until something with blood in its body unknowingly picks them up. The tick then crawls all over the host-to-be’s body until it finds an especially appetizing spot to burrow itself into, and then it does just that, sometimes going so deep that the host’s skin closes up over the wound. Once the tick has its fill, it dislodges its bulbous blood-filled body and moves on with its life, digesting its bloodmeal and doing little else until it grows hungry enough to warrant the search for a new host. The bugs have a very limited range of natural predators and an astonishingly fast reproduction rate; you can see why they, like the location of Prunus Island, were perfect for the task at hand.
A small batch of ticks was injected with the Montauk bacteria and human trials were completed on a small batch of leftover Jews from the shower days, and much to Blum’s excitement, the disease worked without a hitch! Well, there was the small bullseye-shaped rash that developed from the bacteria boring through the host’s body in all three hundred and sixty directions from the bite wound after implantation that could, theoretically, alert the host to the presence of the bacteria in his/her body, but that’s a non-issue. Once the bacteria’s inside you, it can’t really be evicted, and within weeks of continued subjectification to the disease, the bacteria found its way into the brains of the Jews and convinced them to literally tear each other to shreds. In the future, the most common misdiagnosis for brain-based Montauk Syndrome will be paranoid schizophrenia because the humans who catch the unidentified sickness literally lose their fucking minds without even realizing it while they watch it happen from a distant, foggy place in the back of their minds.
Following the human trials, a small batch of ticks was released into the wild on the island where they were picked up by a flock of migrating birds. The infected ticks were then treated to an all-inclusive vacation around first the land mass known by the humans as the United States of America, and eventually the planet at large thanks to tourism and division among Earth’s population. Slowly but surely over the course of the next seventy-ish years, Montauk Syndrome was gifted to 99.9% of the humans on the planet; by the time 2020 rears its synchronized head, any given human of Earth is more likely to be infected with, arguably, Earth’s most destructive neurodegenerative disease, than they are to be healthy.
The best part: with the collapse of the government and the fall of public health institutions, nobody is really aware of this disease, its origins, nor its debilitating effects. The symptoms of neurological Montauk Syndrome include, but are not limited to: insomnia, joint inflammation, cramps and pain, muscle spasms, trouble balancing, uncontrollable nerve firing resulting in a burning pain underneath the skin, numbness, exhaustion and fatigue, Bell’s palsy, extreme paranoia, impaired memory, spontaneously blurred vision, constant nausea, brain fog and difficulty with thinking, sensitivity to light, extreme irritability and explosive episodes of rage (especially directed towards humans the infected spend a lot of time with, such as family, friends, and classmates), panic attacks, the swinging of one’s mood from maniacally happy to suicidally depressed, both auditory and visual hallucinations, and a whole mess of coleslaw to boot. It’s kind of like tripping on Acid to be honest, except take all the good stuff about an Acid trip and turn them into their exact evil opposites, then make the shit permanent. If you have the Montauk bacteria boring through, chowing down on, and breeding inside your brain, everyone around you will just think that you’re an asshole and they’ll outcast you like you’re trying to build yourself a wooden cave, especially if you’re the one that spread it to them. The best-er part: since nobody on the planet knows about it, nobody is working on a cure.
Whew! – fifteen hundred words in and the story can begin!
It’s 5:08 when Sam’s eyes burst open, his entire body waking up with the spontaneity of a last-minute cocaine binge to Las Vegas in the 1980s. He checks his alarm clock to witness the ungodly hour for himself, groaning as he shakily sits up and rubs the crust out of his blurry eyes. When his sight decides to return to him, Sam fishes around for the white tee that he tore from his perspiring body last night, but nothing seems to be biting. No matter; other shirts, even entire bathrobes lurk in these carpety waters, not to mention the fish.
The left leg of Sam’s damp pajama pants unscrunches itself as it falls down when Sam stands up to traverse the minefield between his bed and light switch. One’s mind is not fully functioning when the body is the determining factor in waking up, and as soon as the swirly pad of his trembling finger mushes against the light switch, Sam’s eyes begin to sizzle, forcing him to don his nocturnal hat for the time being. So much for a goodmorning.
On the bright side, in the half-second before Sam’s eyes started stabbing themselves, he was able to locate his shirt, the bathrobe, and a bottle of water missing approximately fifty-eight percent of its contents. He stumbles through the dark and brandishes his armor before attempting to procure his potion; I say attempting because he trips over what must be solidified darkness and falls into a head-on collision with his bookshelf in the process. Damn, hardly two minutes have come and went today and our hippie-to-be already wishes the day was over.
Instead of further endangering his own safety and well-being, Sam takes his slightly nauseous waterlogged stomach and sits lotus to meditate. He got into the habit roughly a year ago when he started finding all of these websites and VidTube channels dedicated to the mental, physical, and spiritual benefits one may receive through meditation. Always one for trying things other humans find odd, he immediately began a daily practice.
At first, our boy could hardly keep still for thirty seconds without this leg twitching or that arm slapping him in the face, but now he’s trained himself to be mindful for hours on end. During his sessions, he just stares at the inside of his eyelids, watching his brain put on a light show of swirling greens, reds, purples, and blues – well, during his normal sessions, that is. There are times when Sam’s sessions get considerably less normally, especially when his main squeeze Cannabis gets involved. He’s felt himself float off the floor, he’s felt his body be overtaken by a rushing, tingling sensation reminiscent of how others describe the onset of astral projection, he’s seen clear and pristine images and visions appear before him – one time the dude literally felt a sideways eye open up underneath his forehead. He was actually sober for that last one, although other humans rarely believe him when he tells it.
During the Acid trip with Tyler a few days ago (when he wasn’t smoking herbs with extraterrestrial bug things, that is), Sam did a lot of thinking about his family life, that thinking coming back to him now. He lives in a household of three: himself, his mom Daisy, and his younger brother Jack. His father, a degenerate by the label of Chuck Monta, embarked on a journey to live his best life (read: abandoned the fuck out of them) when Sam was very young, on the day he was born, actually, and he’s barely in the picture today… well, today specifically he’s at their house because his mom picked him up last night, but normally he’s not in the picture.
Chuck obligatorily hand-delivers the Montas a lucrative “child support” check on the twenty-fifth of every month, as if it makes a difference to the shitty situation the kids are in; Daisy always tells Sam and Jack to appreciate what they have and that money will spoil them right before going for a joyride in this month’s new sportscar to buy expensive bottles of wine for her wine cellar or a new pair of running shoes to throw in her closet or this or that, the kids don’t see anything from the payments. Sam doesn’t hold it against her though, not really; Daisy had an understatedly rough childhood, and that on top of being abandoned by a disposable douchebag really did a number on her. Jack doesn’t really speak to Sam about the family situation, or anything really, but that’s okay. Everyone has their own ways of dealing with things, Sam’s being the inhalation of burned Cannabis followed by sitting catatonically still by himself in a dark room for hours on end. Better than shooting heroin, amirite?
Over the past year of his life, though, Sam’s noticed something of a correlation between himself smoking more and more Cannabis and his family drifting further and further apart. Ever since she found out about his smoking habit, mom’s been spending more time alone in her bedroom with the television on, and Jack spends his time either at school or locked away in his room watching videos about aliens, conspiracy theories, and subjects of that nature; Sam doesn’t really have an understanding of why his family does what they do, he just knows that they don’t approve of his “drug use” and he misses the time when he and his brother and mom were able to get along.
Family is very important to our twentysomething, and, following his last trip, he decided to take something of a Cannabreak in order to hopefully salvage what’s left of this broken home. Even though he had just picked up a couple ounces, he gave his entire stash to his brother and told his mom the good news, worded in a very specific way, too: her son is breaking his “drug addiction”. Sam doesn’t see himself as addicted to a drug because he doesn’t see Cannabis as addictive nor as a drug, but that’s beside the point; his housemates seemed pretty exuberant when he told them what was up, his mom even hugged him! But Sam, being the smart little bugger he is, saved enough nug for an emergency bowl. It’s stashed away in a little bagglet resting atop his backup grinder which is stashed away in the compartment beneath his desk drawer that nobody else can ever find for some reason.
When his eyes finally open twenty minutes later and his Sam time has come to a sudden end, Sam decides that today’s rudest of awakenings constitutes an emergency.
Amazed at the ability of his muscle’s memory, Sam has his bowl packed and his ass up on the roof in no time flat. He sparks his bowl and inhales, drawing the soothing smoke into his lungs and exhaling it as the top of the sun peeks over the horizon. It’s only been a few days since he last smoked, but his tolerance to the herb is already nonexistent; after one hit Sam feels it, after two hits he’s airborne, and after the third, he’s feeling it.
‘It’s funny,’ he thinks to himself, or perhaps says aloud to the open air, ‘I’ve sat up here at least a thousand times to burn, but the Universe has never looked so beautiful.’
Although there’s still a few hits worth of charcoal left in the pipe, Sam decides to head back inside. He carefully crawls down his roof and maneuvers his way through the open window that he could have sworn he closed… oh well, whatever. The stoned serpent slides his paraphernalia back into the drawer and digs through his closet for some comfy clothes to wear for the day. He decides on a tie-dyed short sleeve tee paired with a pair of jeans with holes in the knees – true hippie clothes. Before he can sit down and veg out, though, there is something Sam must do, something of extremely high importance: take a stoney shower.
After what feels like five minutes of unadulterated steamy bliss, Sam hears a very neurotic knocking on the bathroom door. He calls out, “Yooo” and gets the angry voice of an annoyed little brother in return.
“Get out of the shower asshole, I need to leave for the meet!”
“A’ight man, sorry, I just got in here, I’ll be out in a sec.”
“You’ve been in there for half an hour, are you freaking kidding me?!”
Sam dams the flow of water and leaps out from the shower, sort of drying himself and throwing on clothes as fast as he can. Time hasn’t gotten away from him like that in a long time, hopefully Jack isn’t too mad… oh who am I kidding? Dude’s furious. Hesitant to leave the bathroom and fight with his brother, Sam first drops some Vizone in his eyes to at least appear sober. As he opens the door, so the rain begins to pour.
“Why the fuck did you smoke.”
“Kuz I had a bad morning and I–”
“I thought you were trying to quit!”
“Dude I’m not actually addicted, you can’t even get addicted to Cannabis it’s li–”
“Oh my god, would you stop calling it that?! It’s weed, its pot, it’s a fucking drug Sam. It’s a drug!!”
“Dude, you were here with the aliens, you re–”
“You’re twenty Sam! Twenty freaking years old! And a human, not an extraterrestrial! When are you going to grow up and get over this stupid high school druggy shit?!”
Sam opens his mouth to speak, but no words come out. Instead, a single Vizone tear rolls down his left cheek. It’s never eye to eye around here, only eye for eye.
“Why don’t you guys…” Sam says, struggling to understand where the animosity comes from, “why can’t you just love me for who I am?”
Jack looks his brother dead in the slightly bloodshot eyes and says, “Because you’re a fucking psychotic fucking drug addict and your smoking tore our family apart. Asshole. Now get out of my way.”
Jack pushes past Sam and slams the door behind him. Sam, feeling as broken as a mirror tossed out of an airplane, slowly climbs the ladder back to his dusty room and quietly shuts the latch. A few minutes later when he’s silently looking out the window, he sees Jack climb into an unmarked black car parked in the driveway. ‘Well that’s not mom’s car.’
The vehicle backs into the street and peels out, leaving pebbles and skid marks in its wake as it races towards the Skunksville Dam.
“Bye, bro. Happy birthday.”
The Devil’s Cabbage
Things don’t get better for Sam as the day goes on, unfortunately. Broken from his zoneout, he hears what he can only assume is his mother hobbling around downstairs. Yesterday she disappeared after a big fight in the morning and didn’t return until the PM, and she brought their dad with her, too. Sam snuck in last night without being accosted, don’t even trip, but it was hard to ignore the pig squeals echoing from the basement. Or did he just imagine that par–
Footsteps ascend the ladder, saving Sam from remembering last night too clearly. He prepares himself for whatever his mom is about to throw at him, verbally or otherwise.
“Hello?” Sam asks in the gentlest voice he can manage.
“Uhm, can I come in?”
“Yeah mom, why couldn’t you?”
Sam hears what sounds like words said under a breath before his mom fiddles with the handle and takes one step inside. With her eyes mostly shut, her body clad in a fuzzy pink onesie, and a driblet of drool falling from her bottom lip, Momma Monta looks around as if she’s never been in this part of the house before, rolling her eyes and quickly exhaling through her nose. She says, “Sooooo I’m going for a run, I can’t be in this… place, this morning.”
Before Sam can answer she walks out, but then turns right back around to let him know that “It reeks of fucking poht in here,” before leaving and slamming the door behind her. He can hear her struggling to climb back down the ladder before the hatch falls in line and slams shut as well. Daisy then retreats back to her room and climbs back into bed, her sleepwalking trip coming to a close.
“Goodmorning to you too, mah…”
Sam’s emotions, never the most stable, begin the downhill slope shortly after his mom leaves his presence, and his mind slips into some pretty murky recesses. He’s had trouble with depression and anxiety and about a hundred other mental processes his entire life, and Cannabis has been the one thing that actually helps him cope and deal. It works a hell of a lot better than the flavorless candies that were shoved down his throat by psychiatrist after psychiatrist when he was in grade school, that’s for sure. The thing about the Cannabis though, it enhances one’s thoughts as much as it provides one with mental medicine; what I’m getting at is that when everyone around Sam is making him feel like a sentient piece of shit for trying to smoke and help himself out, the Cannabis doesn’t help him. It just takes his self-deprecating thoughts and amplifies them, birthing within him the need to smoke more and more until suddenly he finds himself smoked so silly that he doesn’t remember smoking, and then he smokes more. It’s a powerful Moksha Medicine, that Cannabis, underestimated by many and truly respected by very few.
Alas, Sam smoked the last of his emergency stash earlier today and has no bud left. Although… his pipe still has some charcoal in it… and there’s definitely some Kief in the grinder… hmmm. Sam takes his pipe out and places it on his desk, engaging in a staredown of contemplative proportions. He ultimately loses this staredown, deciding that it would be better to get higher and float in a daze than to sit here in a puddle of malignancy.
For those unfamiliar with the ways of the devil’s cabbage, Kief is essentially a very potent powdered form of Cannabis. To obtain this resource, one needs three other resources: Cannabis buds, a standard four-piece herb grinder, and time. One grinds up the buds in the top chamber and the flakes, loaded with little tiny crystals of TetraHydroCannabinol, among other cannabinoids, fall into the middle chamber. The floor of this middle chamber is not a solid surface, but rather a mesh; over time the THC crystals and small bits of Cannabic plant matter fall through this mesh and gather in the bottom chamber, resulting in what some stoners call a Kief Garden. Normally in stoner culture – or at least as far as Sam is concerned – Kief is only to be consumed on special occasions. Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, special occasions rarely pop up in Sam’s life, so he has a metric fuckton of Kief accumulated in his Garden, and this morning, it’s looking ripe for the harvest.
Using his scooper, which is literally the flattened metal bit from the end of a pencil, less the eraser, our psychenaut-in-training piles scoop after scoop of the magic green dust onto his ashy bowl. He packs it down every few scoops, as to fit as much as he possibly can in the bowl, until the bowl is full. With a flick of his Qic lighter to ignite the end of a spool of hemp wick, Sam turns the mass of THC into ash in no less than five hits, completely overloading his system with the stuff, sending his brain blasting off into higher dimensions of consciousness, the likes of which he hasn’t visited in literally weeks.
And that’s when he feels something go pop.
Triple Dipped Tabs
Allow me to tell you a quick story about our buddy Sam. I know, this one is all over the place, kind of like the brain of a Montauk host, but stay with me… and don’t worry, Sam’s peacefully sitting at his desk, jamming to some hip-hop and coloring outside the lines in a trippy coloring book right now, you won’t miss a thing.
So about nine or ten months back, Sam, Tyler, and Tyler’s friend Harriot embarked on a little LSD trip. And by little, I mean triple dipped tabs with twelve hours to kill.
The trip started as many of Sam’s trips do: an extended walk through a forest, in this case the forest surrounding a lake by the name of Bablbrok Reservoir. Our psycheteers allowed themselves to get lost for hours, wandering aimlessly through the woods until they found a lovely little clearing to lay down a blanket. With the blanket lain, there they sprawled for hours on end, gazing up at the sky and watching the leaves dance and morph into each other only to reemerge as distinct, individual leafy bodies. There was music, insightful conversation, a little bit of mind reading, it was truly an Acid trip if ever there was one.
The sun eventually began to set though, and the triad decided to spend the night half of their trip at Harriot’s house. With no parents at home to suspect drug use, they made some tea in the kitchen and headed for their cave upstairs, where the paper on the walls was more animate than the humans themselves.
On that night, Harriot’s bedroom, their chosen cave for the trip, was reminiscent of a treehouse in that it was high up off the ground, had great views from the windows, and had quite a bit of stuff taking up the limited floor space. That did not deter our gang, they simply had to be innovative, a trait that comes quite naturally when one is taking a Psychedelic. Another thing that comes quite naturally to the Psychedelic mind is the want to listen to music and, occasionally following that, the urge to watch a certain TV show called Rick and Morty, an Existential constant if ever there was one. As for how the gang went about watching the show, well, that’s more complicated. Harriot had a laptop which they would use to stream the show, but a laptop’s screen isn’t big enough for three pairs of eyes, of dilated eyes, no less. She also had a television, and after a considerable amount of searching, a HDMI cable to connect the two. With one head cut off the hydra, though, two more grew – when they pressed play, no sound came out of the TV. In that moment, Tyler had a stroke of genius – he took out his phone and streamed the episode on there too, synching up the phone’s sound to the tele’s vision perfectly. Human innovation, what can I say?
Huddled up on the small amount of floor space not taken up by beds, nightstands, shelves, and other late-teenage furnishings, the tripping triad watched their favorite show together, Sam laughing so hard that he had to swing his head down just to contain himself.
Right into the very solid corner of metal bed frame.
Before this day, Sam wasn’t sure what the other humans mean when they say they’ve had their bell rung. Now, he knows exactly what they mean. At first the pain was pretty obnoxious, but shortly after the impact, the LSD took over and the pain disappeared. But, about fifteen minutes later, the substance’s effects were eclipsed by the increasingly sharp pain that was emerging from the impact site, a pain so persistent that it was making watching the TV difficult. Sam, thinking faster than his brain could keep up with, started to rub his head in hopes that the pain would subside with a little massaging, and that’s when he felt what can only be described as plate of bone collapsing into his head like a see-saw; he pressed the bottom in and the top jutted out. This is when his vision began to cloud over with blackness and his hearing started to fade away. At that moment, Sam was certain that he would be the first human to die because of LSD, that certainty mostly coming from the shame his DOPE childhood drug education left him with. Regardless, he did not want to stress out his friends by loudly dying in front of them while on Acid, so he pushed the top of his skull back into place and decided to remain calm and die in peace. Then, everything faded to darkness as he fell forward and released his last breath.
Everything was darkness.
Everything is darkness.’
‘Everything will be darkness, forever mor–’
“SAM SAM WAKE UP OH MY GOD!!!”
Bam! Suddenly Sam was awake, laying flat on his back, his skin pale as a ghost and blanketed in a thick membrane of sweat, his friends above him, shaking his body. Then he laughed, he laughed and laughed and laughed with unbridled ecstasy at the fact he was still alive. Then he felt the side of his head, smiling at the utter lack of displaced skull plate. When he explained to his friends that he hit his head and detailed everything that followed, his friends gave him weird looks – apparently, as far as they perceived, Sam never hit his head at all. What was weirder is that they had never even started watching Rick and Morty before Sam passed out, they were just listening to music and talking. Strange shit, that LSD, especially when paired with some blunt force trauma to the ol’ noggin. Sam thinks that he died of internal bleeding in his brain after cracking his skull on the bed frame, and that his consciousness (or spirit, or perception, or whatever one wishes to call it) zapped itself into a different reality. OR that his brain, high on triple dipped LSD and extremely capable of anything, everything, and nothing at all, fell into an emergency state and used the once-conscious energy of his consciousness to instantaneously heal his fractured skull, although that wouldn’t really explain the time jump. Oh well, no way to know for sure; after all the commotion, the gang turned on Rick and Morty and just chilled for the rest of the night; Sam’s head felt cloudy, but when he woke up the next morning, he was feeling fine. He decided to get it checked out if, and only if, something weird happened in the future that may be related to this strange little experience.
And for six or seven months, nothing weird did happen. Sam continued to smoke Cannabis every day, and he even tripped a few more times without any complications, major nor minor. That is, until April 25th, when he smokes far too much Kief and something goes pop inside his head in the exact spot where the metal collided during that fateful Acid trip all that time ago.
Sam feels a hard pop followed by the pleghgh of liquid running down the inside of his skull, causing him to drop his crimson red colored pencil. The bowl goes clank as it hits the desk.
On the inside of the human skull is a barrier between the body’s blood supply and the brain, aptly named the Blood Brain Barrier. Still weakened from a collapsed skull fragment jutting into it a few months back, the sudden excess of blood rushing into Sam’s head from the Kief he smoked broke the levy, allowing a tiny bit of blood to leak into his brain cavity, the blood of course swarming with that lovely corkscrew-shaped Montauk bacteria that everyone on Earth is infested with.
The bacteria, having been genetically engineered and subjected to half a century of genetic mutation, has learned exactly where to go in the brain to get to the tastiest matter. The colony bores its way through neuron after neuron, Sam not feeling a thing on account of the sudden light-headedness, until it finally reaches his pineal gland, a small pinecone-shaped brain organ that releases DMT when it’s in a good mood. DMT crystals are the most delicious treat known to the Montauk bacteria, and given Sam’s proclivity to meditation and Psychedelic use, the worms just hit the fucking jackpot.
They think they did, anyway, right up until the moment that Sam’s pineal gland glows with a violet light and sends out a pulse wave, vaporizing not only the bacteria digging through his brain, but all the bacteria in his body, too. He’s cured, just like that, of a disease he never knew he caught, of the most devastating neurodegenerative disease known to humanity; hell, the most devastating disease ever invented by humanity, period! This ain’t the end, of course, we still have to deal with this whole internal bleeding situation.
“Wuhhh what the fff-uck?”
Sam stands as his head starts spinning and the afterburn image of a scribble appears dead center in his vision. He tries to compose himself, but his nervous system starts trembling internally, his entire body feels as if it’s shaking, but it appears completely still on the outside. His vision begins to fade into a white light and his hearing fades into that all too familiar high-pitched ringing.
“Ffuck NO I’m ok-kay, I’m fine, just need t-to turn of-ffff the m-mmmus’ick and walk arrRrround a b-b-bit, I’m okay.”
Turning off the music only makes things worse for Sam, so he walks out of his bedroom and towards the latch in a very wobbly fashion until he falls to the floor of the crawlspace, hardly catching himself on his hands and knees.
“NoooOO! FUCKK! I’m NOT fucking DYING! COME ON!!” he screams at himself, struggling to crawl back to his room.
Eventually Sam makes it back and stands himself up, his nerves trembling significantly more than they were previously. When he tells a
Zeroc doctor about the incident a few days in the future from now, he’ll describe the sensation as being struck by a bolt of frozen lightning. But that will be then and this is now, and now, Sam is sitting in his chair, breathing steadily yet heavily while focusing on his third eye as if his life depends on it while also repeatedly telling himself that he’ll be okay. For a few seconds this actually works and the symptoms begin to fade, but then they come back with the force of what Sam believes to be Death itself.
It’s at this point Sam feels as though his only remaining option is to scream, to scream and yell out as loud as he possibly can in hopes that someone will hear him. It just so happens that while all of this is transpiring, a mister Chuck is bumbling around through the Monta house… how convenient! Upon hearing the screaming, he slams down the ladder and rushes into the attic to find his only son, skin ghostly pale and drenched in sweat, sitting in his desk chair and screaming like a lunatic.
Chuck begins to feel worried, to feel absolutely terrified and overwhelmed with guilt at the sight of the result of his absence being presented to him before his very eyes. Then, he smells the Cannabic aroma wafting through the air, and all those remorseful feelings turn into pure, unbridled rage.
“WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU DOING??”
“Dad??” Sam calls out into the neurological blizzard, turning his head to see shades of a scarlet-faced Chuck Monta through the light, steam geysering out of his ears like he was straight out of an old cartoon.
“Dad call an ambulance, I’m fre–”
“Yer a fucking DRUG ADDICT you piece of LIVING SHIT! I disappear for hardly a couple decades and THIS is how you fucking turn out?!”
Oddly enough, this emotionally driven ragescream is seeming to make Sam’s symptoms fade away.
“Dad I-I-I think I had an aneurysm or something, I need to go to a hospital.”
“WHAT? You fucking IDIOT, if you had a fucking aneurysm you’d be fucking DEAD!”
Chuck stomps out of the room and reappears a few moments later with a phone and a large black garbage bag.
“YOU fucked up kid, you FUCKED! UP! Where is all of your weed shit?!”
Sam, through welling tears and sobs, pleads, “Dad, stop, ple–”
“SHUT THE FUCK UP! You need to go to a fucking mental hospital, you fucking psychotic drug addict! You got two minutes, all of your drug addict shit in this bag or I’m fucking committing you!”
“ONE FUCKING MINUTE!!”
Sam, terrified, jumps up and gathers all his Cannabis equipment. All of his glass pieces, some that he bought, some that he received as gifts from friends and fiends alike, all of his hand-made wooden pieces, his vast supply of rolling equipment, his smoking tools and accessories, everything. Once he’s finished dumping the past three years of his life into his father’s black hol– er, garbage bag, the backwards Santa drops the bag through the latch hole and climbs down the ladder, taking his bag of broken glass out to the backyard. Sam, still trembling from whatever the fuck had just happened here, follows behind and goes outside just in time to see his dear old dad ignite a fire in the fire pit underneath the bag of memories. Not even thirty seconds after lighting the pyre, before the plastic of the garbage bag is even done melting, Chuck Monta goes back inside to sleep off the idiocy his kid subjected him to. His job here is done.
Once the fire’s burned through everything, Sam stares at the smorgasbord of ash, charcoal, and melted glass for a few minutes before walking back inside, packing up all of his belongings that he cares about (meaning the gun and nothing else) and walking off into the woods.
A moment later, he runs back inside, goes into his brother’s room, and takes his two jars of Cannabis out from inside a leather ottoman/storage thingy, somehow squeezing them into his pocket. Now, he can leave.
When Sam was hanging out with the alien bug things the other day, they made him a very interesting proposal. Half of the expedition team was off probing Tyler’s anus, probably digging for gold, and the other half was sitting around a campfire with Sam. They had fashioned a makeshift Native American style peace pipe out of some fresh beech wood and were smoking a mix of local herbs that one of the ETs had gathered up. The pipe had hardly entered Sam’s hands when the herb gatherer asked him, “So why do you bother with that other human, kid?”
Sam finished his hit and exhaled, replying “What on… wherever you’re from do you mean?”
The ET chuckled at that. “Clever, but we’re both on Earth right now, smartass. What I mean is that you and him are very different on many, many levels. And you’re more than aware of that fact.”
Sam, caught off guard by the insectoid’s insight into his life, dropped his gaze to the fire and watched as the flames appeared to take on the shape of humans dancing.
“I see, not ready for that much reality yet. That’s all right, humey,” the bug said as he slipped the mouthpiece of the peace pipe between his mouth-pinchers and into his mouth. “You’ll get there soon.”
Sam, following his feelings of intriguedness, decided to ask the ET what he meant again.
The bug started laughing and choking on smoke at the same time, but it didn’t seem to bother him. “That, I won’t reveal now. Four days from now, though, at the summit…” he paused to pass the pipe and turn around, pointing to the summit of Bored Mountain, “… of that majestic mountain. Meet me there and bring your friend, whatever time you get around to it. All will be revealed.”
“Yeah, sure. Why not? Everyone likes to be invited.” He takes the pipe back and hits it again for good measure. “Although, I think you and I both know what his response to said invitation would be.”
With that, the other half of the squad came back with a more unconscious than normal Tyler laying on a stretcher. They were quite unsure what to do with him at that point, so Sam offered to guide them to The Commons and back. Now, four days and a mean tribulation later, Sam is taking the lonely trek up the mountain, full of hope that the bugs weren’t bullshitting him, his backup plan stuffed into the back of his pants.
Everything is bathed in distinctively less intense sunlight when Sam breaches the treeline and steps out unto the rocky outcrop, the spot providing him with a most gorgeous view of the Skunksville and Wanapo Reservoirs. The sun’s soft light is especially warming today, allowing Sam to shut off his inhibitions and really be one with nature for a few. Normally in this most abnormal of situations, Sam imagines that he would feel the rush of depression overtaking him… but! Just as he takes the handgun out from his pants, Sam hears a distant sound that can only be described as the hissing of a freshly opened can of a fizzy drink in the distance. He raises the gun up, pretends to shoot a single shot into the air for good measure, throws it off into the woods so nobody will be able to find it no matter how hard they look, and sprints up the trail to the actual summit of the mountain.
When he finishes his climb, a large disk-shaped craft that’s hovering eight feet off the summit lights up and extends a platform to the ground at a fairly medium pace – this excites Sam quite a bit. He walks up the platform and enters the ship to find six human-like (aside from their varying shades of purple skin) beings. The doors promptly slide shut behind him.
With wide eyes and a nervous yet giddy smile on his face, Sam walks to the table in the center of the room and depockets his jars of Cannabis. “Wow, I should have known it would be you guys. What happened to the bugs, though?”
One of the beefier beings croaks (laughs?) before shouting out, “Jokes and Cannabis? This thing’s a riot! We should keep him!”
“Zax! How can you just spoil the plan like that?!” says the one male alien Sam recognizes from the bunker beneath his brother’s bedroom. Then, to Sam, “Howdy, you’re looking healthy. But… something’s off. There were two of you the other day. Where’s your friend, humey?”
Sam recognizes this being, he’s the extraterrestrial he met in his basement earlier in the week, same voice as the camping bug, too. Since he didn’t bother to invite Tyler to run away with the friendly aliens, Sam’s forced to conjure some bullshit on the spot.
“Well uh, he… he uhhh… he didn’t want to come, said he was happier here on Earth.”
Sam can see the being’s eyes light up with amusement.
“HAH! Good, fuck ‘im then. More fun to be had for us! Jarius, get this thing moving; Fleurna, grab the Dee-eff-
Zee-Tee Crystals. Our new friend here has never journeyed to space before, let’s show ‘im what it’s really like out there.”
And with that, they’re off.