The Fastest Way To A Man’s Heart Is Through His Blood:Brain Barrier

Prepare yourselves for the best Ok, Stupid submission of all time.

A close friend of mine went on a date. During this date, he accidentally found himself on a bizarre acid trip. I can’t make this stuff up.

Ever the creative soul, this friend created an audio accompaniment to the story. Hit “play” if you dare.


Now, I present to you, “The Fastest Way To A Man’s Heart Is Through His Blood: Brain Barrier”, by an anonymous weirdo who is close to my heart.

Without warning, I became painfully and acutely aware of the air currents in my studio apartment. My Persian rug had begun to dance crazily and weave itself into a five-dimensional hypercube. Under no small amount of distress, I retreated to my bathroom, gazed deeply into a shaving mirror, and watched as my face dripped into the sink. My date was arriving in five minutes. But more on that later.

Our saga of romance begins, as so many of our era do, with coy flirtation, platitudinous banter about indie bands, and the occasional nigh-nude Snapchat. Maya had garnered my interest by being an enthusiastic hermeneutist of the Bhagavad Gita, my then-lastest literary obsession. It helped that she was an attractive brown girl, which, if nothing else, ranked relatively high in terms of sexual novelty given my history of dating largely within my race. Our first outing had gone relatively well in spite of slight gastrointestinal concerns brought about by a suspect pot of Philadelphian mussels, and we were eager to see each other again after we conquered our respective invasive gut bacteria.

The very next weekend, my comrade, confidant, and bon ami Michel informed me that he had procured at wholesale several tabs of a bizarre research chemical not subjectively unlike LSD. His source, though personally unvetted, was generally well regarded within that most ill-fated of internet communities: yes, sirs and madams–the Silk Road. Not one to shy from a challenge (and, astoundingly and improbably enough, a legal one at that), I agreed to gamble bodily and psychological integrity to test one dose of the material in question.

Michel and I supped that afternoon on salmon and quinoa. I slipped a delicate square of blotter between my cheek and gum, and hoped for a mercifully benign experience. Medicinal bitterness. Within minutes, my entire mouth was numb: a cause for distress?[1] What was it that was now ravaging its vile way through my bloodstream? What could cause my lower face to fall asleep? Cocaine? Too expensive. Ketamine? Too exotic. PCP? Dreadfully, far more likely. My friend’s response to a distressed text read “LOL go bench press a car.” The insouciance was not met warmly on my end. My concern was not so much that I would have to ride out a PCP bender, but that I would have to come to terms with the fact I was now one of the millions of Americans who had tried a drug favored by rednecks, reprobates, and the all-around batshit crazy.

“Ça va?”

“Ça va bien, Michel. Allons-y. I gotta walk. Feels like my skeleton’s about to jump out through my mouth.”

We alighted to the streets, and Michel brought me to what he hoped would be a salubrious change of scenery: the local hippie park. My companion assured me that all of the drum circles and DIY guerrilla theater renditions of The Tempest were in fact occurring in consensus reality, and not simply in the slow-burn of my tainted brain. After an hour, my feelings of nervousness and ill will began to subside. We returned to my abode, shook hands, and I was left to my own devices. A strange experience, to be sure, but at least it was brief.

Moments after Michel’s departure, my phone rang. It was Maya, and she wanted to know if our movie date, obviously long-forgotten by your intrepid author, was still a possibility. She had expressed a nascent interest in Kubrick, and I felt reasonably sober enough to attempt The Shining, a personal favorite I happened to have on hand.

“Come over whenever you’d like!”

“Great, I’ll bring some beer!”

This was a kindness I did not deserve. Maya had some Bodhisattva nature to her, to be sure. I miss her.

As if on cue, the hallucinations manifested as I pushed “end call”. With the room’s decor now doing an insane dervish and my reflection seething and swirling like overcooked bean soup, I resorted to assuming a rapid succession of yoga poses in a wholly futile attempt to sober myself up for my audience. Maya would arrive in mere minutes.

The doorbell rang and, battling a brain fogged beyond reasonable description, I teetered down three flights of stairs to my building’s front door. Maya, grinning with a childlike innocence, help up a six-pack of watermelon beer. Best to be honest, I told myself. I swung the door open.

“Brass tacks, here: I may be on a little acid right now.”

Maya giggled and assured me that it was no cause for concern. As a health science PhD student, she may have viewed this experience as a field observation. More likely, it was her unbridled generosity and willingness to indulge my more base and reprehensible foibles.

In my apartment, the cold, anarchic anxiety of the drug began to bubble back up. “Drink the beer; humans drink beer,” I told myself. My hands trembled like a grotesque geriatric as I popped a can open. With surprising difficulty, I brought the can towards my mouth and felt beer spill out of my trembling maw onto my chin and neck.

“This isn’t really that bad! I wasn’t sure what to expect with watermelon beer,” Maya offered.

I nodded. My pupils were black saucers. I kissed her on the cheek to get a closer look at her hair; the slow eddies and currents were transfixing. A concerned look broke on Maya’s face, so I tore away and loaded the DVD into my laptop. Its keyboard was now utterly incomprehensible. “Who replaced these keys? Is this fucking Kufic script?” I wondered to myself. I did my best to ignore the mess of little white scribbles on the keys and sat next to Maya on my bed.

As the credits rolled and that iconic opening sequence worked its cinematic magic, the soundtrack’s Dies Irae seemed almost impossibly loud. I told Maya to adjust the volume as she saw fit; bafflingly, she decided to raise it.

I would hazard that under the influence of a supremely surreal pharmaceutical and joined by a warm companion, I have never enjoyed Kubrick’s masterwork more thoroughly. Every harebrained theory about the film–e.g., its allegory of the Apollo 11 mission, the pervasive numerology, its implied elegy for victims of the Native American holocaust–seemed plausible and immediate. I empathized deeply with Jack; all white men are Jack, especially when tripping their balls off. The mise en scene was more deliberate, the bleak humor funnier, and the horror more palpable. Maya seemed to have liked it.

“You know what I want to try? The 24/7 Halal place down the street.”

I thought I was up to the challenge. As we walked down the street, the night sky seemed darker than it ever had, and each streetlamp was a sun ready to supernova. At the counter of the Halal restaurant, Maya placed her order.

“One falafel sandwich to go, please.”

I looked at our cashier, and any ability to form sentences left my brain completely. Squinting, I looked at this massive Ethiopian specimen. His skin darkened to an inky jet, and I swore that I could make out the swirls of small galaxies and stars in its deepest recesses. Snapping out of this hallucination, I asked for the same as Maya. I stared at my shoes as Al Jazeera screamed on the television. The fear had caught up with me.

We ate our snacks back at my apartment in the most awkward of silences. Mine tasted like sand, and two thirds of it went untouched.

This was not our last encounter. One week later, we would have noncommittal, unenthusiastic sex. I would never see her again.


[1] The initiated among you, fair readers, will surely note that this anesthetic effect is unique to a certain class of experimental psychedelic. Being relatively green at the time of ingestion, however, I was led to believe we had been burned and that I would now be under the influence of some far more malevolent drug. All aboard the crazy train.

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