Hope for the best, prepare for the worst. A battle of wits was to be had tonight. People were going to engage themselves in a mental war with themselves. It was in the midst of the sixties and a psychoactive drug called LSD was all the rage. Not only for hippies, but now becoming a high society norm for the deemed squares to widen their horizons. A group such as this monthly took part in the indulgence of booze and the drug as a way to unwind. Regina Voolhorth was having a dinner party once again.
This collection of professionals could not have asked for a nicer night in which to take part. The moon was high, large, and bold enticing for their activities. They were once again in the foothills of Malibu, just outside of LA in a rich and beautiful bungalow. The gates opened up and the first guest snaked their way up the drive, ready for a night of releasing inhibitions.
It was quite typical for Rod Torgaine to arrive first. He was quite the eager individual. Energy radiated from his fingertips to just about everyone he encountered, whether they like it or not and he was blessed with a smile that could charm a rattle snake. A self-employed artist, he sculpted clay and marble into beautiful proportions of the human form. He used his experiences in tangible things to form opinions of anything from environmental to political issues. Some would call him an activist for the human condition, others….an idiot. But no one could deny that he could stir people to believe in his passion and ideals.
He swaggered up to the front steps to the door swinging open and Regina beaming in the foyer.
“Rodrick, darling, I was so glad to hear you could make it!” He openly cringed at the use of his full name.
Regina was quite the looker even though she was into her mid-forties. Always in sheen and glam fashion, dresses and skirts that showed off her long legs and yet very busty figure. She was a bit of a swinger in those days, a recent divorcee and always on the prowl for….young talent.
“Of course, Reg, wouldn’t miss this for the world,” He slyly winked at her before adding. “Now where’s the scotch, I’m parched.”
She ushered him in and directed him towards the sitting room where he could help himself to as much of his artistic fuel as he damn well pleased. He was one of the few on her list that she could not quite ensnare and the more drink he had, the better her chances.
The next to arrive was the always preaching Melissa Mayhew. Rod was the artist, but Melissa was an artist in her own mind. She was their gateway to the hippie culture that had made its way to their front doors in California. After receiving a large inheritance, she made it her life’s goal to travel and spread love and peace wherever she was at the time. She was usually the one that brought whatever the mind altering substance was. She always seemed to be dressed in long shirts and pants, because to Regina’s dismay, she never shaved her legs.
The single people in the group were typically there earlier, for the couples always ran into this or that, making them sluggish and late. A sharp silver jaguar made its way through the gate and parked. Out came Mr. Peter and Jen Cornish, lavishly dressed in a dark gray suit and her in some sort of white animal fur (Purposely to piss off Melissa). Peter was an Ivy League grad turned CFO of a production company in his mid-forties and Jen hadn’t been employed since she was in her teens, even though she was in her early twenties. His large belly barely scraped out of the jag as he got out, but he always got the check out to dinner.
As they made their way to the sitting room Rod was breaching his third glass of scotch while Regina swooned over his lopsided grin. A conversation concerning Vietnam was brewing and turning debate style, very typical of Rod and Melissa.
“We need to help the poor bastards out, rid of all the Communist infection’s spreading. If need be amputate before it takes control of the world.”
Melissa snorted in disgust. “At what cost, Rod, the lives of one million turned 50 million! Young kids dying for what?! Different ideas? Just like here with race and segregation.”
And on and on it goes, from one subject to another. Rod drinks, while Melissa pulls a bag of pot out and goes about rolling one of her joints. She is so adept at this that she never looks down once until she is inhaling the so-called “devil’s lettuce.” After the first few drags, tension dies down and her laughter begins. Gone is the public forum. The rest of them thank God.
Another couple make their way inside, followed closely by Milligan. Nobody knew Milli’s real name, or where he was from. He always seemed to be dressed in a white shirt and leather jacket, never letting go of the greaser days apparently. The only thing he ever carried around was a pack of smokes and a careless Bronx-like accent. In fact, no one knew much about him. He met Peter one night in a bar five or six years ago and they spoke all night. Peter does not remember what they talked about or how many drinks they had. The one thing he does know is that Milli is a genius. Peter woke up and had about 12 napkins stuffed in his pocket, full of rich film ideas Milli had written down. Peter must have mentioned that his company was in a rut of disappointing pictures and he met his salvation on those napkins. He went to the apartment Milli was staying in (written on one of the napkins) and put him up in his house. Peter paid him to write these films and Milli didn’t stop writing for 40 days straight only to leave the house to smoke cigarettes on the back porch, about two packs a day.
Eight scripts in 40 days. Rough drafts, but brilliantly written. They were as dark and mysterious as Milligan was himself. Peter was forever in his debt, it made them both filthy rich.
The couple who walked in before him was the Bradners. Irish Catholic and proud of it, bastards. Gene had the cushiest job of all of ‘em. He made concerts happen all over California, a record label exec who had people call him to schedule tour dates. Where he took the calls and handed them off to his gorgeous secretary, where whispers of infidelity flooded the 39th floor. His wife, another replica of blonde beauty, was lacking upstairs. Things would go in one ear, and wisp out the other before recognition could pass by her.
And all of the guests had arrived.
Inside, the booze was flowing and music had started. Regina was making sure to be the center of attention on her own turf among much younger women. She was rocking and rolling her curvy hips to the likes of Dylan, the Beatles, and other music popular in most circles. Peter had made his way over to the silver platter of appetizers and was chowing down pigs in a blanket like he was the big, bad wolf.
Regina had put two bowls of punch together…one with only liquid and the other with LSD waiting for its moment to shine. But it was not quite time yet; inhibitions needed to be dropped somewhat before they would be completely discarded.
Not to say that some were not already there. Melissa would do just about anything sober and Rod was extremely inebriated, wooing the married women.
“It’s not easy to mold clay in the form of a woman. Such a perfect specimen to duplicate has its difficulties. Especially the collar bones and the neckline, my favorite part of the female anatomy…and tonight does not disappoint.” He left that last line hanging with a goofy grin and just about any of the women would have jumped his bones as they looked on hungrily.
Gene and Peter were speaking about the nature of their businesses as Milligan looked on, smoking a cigarette in the house because Regina was too engaged with Rod to give a shit. The mysterious guy looking on had other things on his mind. He was looking across the room but it seemed like nothing at all. His gaze was fixated on something far away, and yet so close to his mind.
It was finally time to do the deed and see what the night had in store for them. Regina brought in the two bowls of punch and made sure to mark the one with the drug and the one without. They had “scientifically” measured out the dose so that a cup each would finish the bowl and provide then necessary high.
With bright eyes shining they lifted their glasses and toasted to each other.
Like a bunch of young children they waited eagerly for the effects to kick in, prematurely all having as much to drink as possible to relax for a good trip. Melissa was particularly excited since she has not taken acid in about six days, a new record for her.
“When do we expect this stuff to hit, Melissa? Is it the same stuff as last time?” Peter asked.
“No, no, no actually this stuff is better, we should feel it in about twenty minutes,”
Regina interjected. “What do you mean…it is the same stuff from last time. I used the batch left over…”
“Reg…I put mine in the bowl, please tell me you didn’t add yours too.” Melissa coolly added.
Regina’s eyes looked in horror as she realized her mistake. “I, oh no. This-,”
“Well boys and girls, looks like we’re in for one hell of a ride.” Rod drunkenly slurred.
Milli looked on smiling widely as the rest of them nervously waited. And when it hit, it hit.
There are two sides to every story, they say and this one is no exception, but maybe a third can be considered. For those accustomed to the drug, they were able to coax their minds from escaping them. For the others, they were in a losing battle with the worst trip of their lives.
To put it bluntly, Melissa, Rod, and Mrs. Bradner and Cornish were all very well introduced to this mental incapacitation.
Gene, Peter, and Regina were not, and therewithal lies two sides of the triangle.
Milligan it seems, was on another facet of acid. His was not, in fact, holding his mind back from communicating with his thoughts; it was freeing it.
The worst trips were not felt or viewed in any sense, but realized. They came upon the threesome in an instant it seemed to them. Vast and vivid hallucinations began to blur reality. Any sane perception was etched out by the acid. Faces turned grotesque and invaded their own space. After a short time, where tears were involved with both the women and men, the rest of the group made sure to put them in separate rooms in some sort of safe situation. This was quite easy in the large house they occupied.
The others roared with laughter. Their visions did not consume them as they did the others. They resisted the alternative reality and felt apprehension, yet happiness as they indulged in the fantastical. Melissa was in a space of her own, melting to the music that she put on over the record player. Step by step she felt the lights rise and fall on her such as they would on a stage. They hit her just as the sound waves did, breaching her ears.
The other three were in a more passionate delight. On each of the others faces lit a sexual charge perceived by the mind in pure ecstasy. Everything seemed shiny to them, as if polished and pure. They inched closer and closer, the married women to Rod. A desire lurked there that came out in waves of color and music. And soon enough they were touching and kissing and moving towards a space of their own to occupy.
Milligan lingered alone with Melissa. He saw the comings and goings of his supposed friends. (Alleged friends…did Milli really have friends?) The visions of grandeur did not stop with reality and fantastical illusion to Milli. He created them. He sculpted them as Rod would stone or marble. He did not just let his visions take over, he accepted them as a pre-ordained reality. They were who he was. He had opened up his eyes to true freedom.
The solitary ones in their rooms, were having the worst nights of their respective lives. Nightmares haunted them, tore at them, and stripped them of pride, dignity, even love. They invaded their vilest memories, which for these three successful people, were decrepit. The way they attained such power and wealth was not even questionable but morally skewed. The drug took those regrets and intensified them in the faces of those they trespassed. Internally they screamed, but no words could come out or even begin to describe their terror at not being able to take back such transgressions.
In yet another room, everything seemed skewed. This passionate lovemaking was turned on its side and Rod could not explain why it felt so wrong. Of course, he had been with women in marriages and even with a friend’s spouse, or two. This time, the world seemed to forbid the unholy lovemaking. Rod could not place why it was happening this way, but to him he was looking to get out of there immediately following the affair. It continued full of lust and color clashing indefinitely into each other. The two women were thoroughly enjoying themselves, much to their delight. Body parts seemed to be everywhere in their cause for infinite pleasure.
In the morning, everyone but the two women was alone. Rod, for one, had slipped out of the room when it was all over and lamented on the whole experience. Melissa woke up amidst happy dreams of music and laughter in her ears. Cornish, Bradner, and Voolhorth woke up still in their nightmares for a few hours. The real interest lies in Milli. He was holed up in a room of his own. Scattered about are pages and pages filled with ideas and versions of his favorite stories torqued into something more mystifying. The most interesting story he wrote was of 8 friends who took too much acid.