Spiralling down in paradise

By Adam Hankinson

Warning: this piece contains strong language

I watched Tommy undergo massive transformations before my eyes. His shaggy mop of hair which made him look like a 12-year-old was trimmed and cut, soon to be dyed black, along with his choice of clothing. The new Tommy, who was no longer that shy kid who hung around with the nerds, experienced his first taste of romance, thanks to his new portrayal of himself. Her name was Ali, a goody-two-shoes Christian girl, who he met at the Christian youth centre opposite Birdie Park. His old friends attended the youth group and obviously despised me, condemning me to be the spawn of Satan. I'd converted their old pal to the dark side.

I was high one Friday night and bored out of my brain. Tommy would meet me at the park, smoke a joint, and retrace his steps to see Ali. I decided to join him after we had both ingested a bottle of DXM and smoked a joint. When I walked through the door the chatter in the room fell into an awkward silence. I knew Tommy had told them stories about me and all of our drug induced adventures. So, of course, they were apprehensive when it came to mingling with me. Jeremy, a socially awkward kid from our computer class, demanded I give him some dex. His reason was for the purpose of demystifying his old pal Tommy's new-found reality that he spoke of religiously.

“I just want to see what it’s all about.” Said Jeremy in a nasally voice. I warned him, and said it was no walk in the park. Jeremy's track record with mind altering substances was a big fat zero. He was yet to drink a single beer, let alone smoke a cigarette, and he wished to strap himself in for the wild ride of DXM. He ignored my words of caution and ventured into the bathroom with a bottle held in his limp hand.

The infamous wave of nausea hit me when I took a seat in the overheated lounge which compensated for the bitter winters night. The effects were increasing as the minutes ticked by. I turned pale and clammy. The first phase of DXM was always the toughest. However, the user would always be rewarded once they surpassed the cherry-vanilla waves. The humidity became unbearable. I feverishly arose from my seat and made haste for the front door. Outside, I purged my guts out, and rested my head on a sign post that read: Lower Hutt Christian Youth Centre. Quite a sight to the people who passed by. I returned to a room of suspenseful silence. Everyone was seated in rows while an older man recited a prayer. I took a seat in the back. Tommy and Ali were a few rows in front of me. I slipped through the cracks of my chair and left behind this trivial circumstance, only to re-emerge without a spine and a new kind of sharpness in my eyes. I admired the new view of the room, that suddenly became animated and set in slow motion; I allowed the climatic entities to possess my willing vessel and embraced the vibrancy of this new perspective.

I knew Tommy was tripping also by the way he was statued on his seat, his body stiff and robotic, with lifeless dilated eyes. An evident sign of what we labelled “the creeper” pose. Ali caressed his thigh and gazed at him with worrisome eyes. She then turned around and leered at me with conviction. I raised my eyebrows at her, feeling giddy and child-like. She huffed in disgust and returned her focus to a now melting Tommy. His body twitched rhythmically as if he landed back into his body every so often, before he scattered into a state of oblivion. The silence in the room was broken by the worried voice of a girl.

“Jeremy!” She screamed.

“Are you OK? You’re sweating and you've gone all pale!”       

The curious eyes of the room were all directed at Jeremy. He gazed into space; his eyes were larger than flying saucers; he was a million miles away. He took shallow breaths and rocked back and forth like a lunatic. Tommy turned to face him, his distorted eyes widened; he knew Jeremy was strapped in for this wild ride just as much as he was. He continued to rock back and forth as his girlfriend frantically rubbed his back. He opened his mouth as if the words he was soon to speak would silence the racing minds of his fearful friends. We all anxiously awaited an insight. What came out of his mouth were not words exactly but they certainly offered an insight:


 The astonished faces of the youth group stared at one another blankly. I couldn't help myself and cackled hysterically from the back row. I was now not only out of the box, but the box itself. The preacher glared at me, then at Tommy, then back to me.

“You boy! Out - out now!” 

My laughter echoed around the room right up until I closed the door behind me. Funnily enough, later in the evening, after Tommy convinced the youth leader not to call the ambulance, Jeremy joined us. He ditched his girlfriend to wander through the city streets following aimless pursuits and nonsensical chatter.

“I feel fucking amazing!” he screamed manically, climbing up onto a private school pillar fence, scaling the tops of the brick laid fence with a psychotic glimmer in his far away eyes.


teenage rebellion, drugs, tripping, friendship