LSD, or as I like to call it Lysergic acid diethylamide (ha!), is a non-addictive psychedelic drug first synthesized by a Swiss chemist named Albert Hoffman in the 1930’s. After accidentally dosing himself with enough LSD to be absorbed through his skin, Hoffman experienced a “dreamlike state and perceived things as an uninterrupted steam of fantastic pictures and extraordinary shapes with an intense, kaleidoscopic play of colors.”
During the 1960’s LSD became popular as a recreational drug within the counterculture (hippy) movement and was reported as encouraging thoughts leading to antiestablishmentarianism. <-------That is probably the longest word I've ever used.
Anyone familiar with Aldous Huxley, the writer of ‘A Brave New World’, would be happy to know that he was one of the very first people to document his experiences with LSD and was famously requested to be injected with 100mg (40 times the normal dose) of LSD on his death bed. Strange way to go out, but I suppose he just really liked LSD.
Anyway back to the story…
After an agreement was made to meet back in the kitchen in twenty minutes our next stop was to the nearby mini-mart.
“What should we take on our twelve hour LSD adventure?” Squealed Uncle McPato, unable to contain his excitement.
“Twelve hours? Does it really last that long?”
Brad Pitt seemed a little apprehensive. It was his first time experimenting with a psychedelic drug and he was understandably a little taken back by the amount of time his trip was going to last.
“What if I have a bad trip? What if I trip too hard and I never come back?” He asked with enough panic in his voice to make me question whether or not it was a good idea. It wasn’t as if I’d never taken LSD before, but taking it with three people I had just met, although they seemed like nice guys, didn’t make me feel 100% comfortable.
“Candy. Like…lollipops and gummy bears and … water! We need to stay hydrated!”
That last bit would prove to be the most sensible thought we had all day. It indeed was a hot day and hydration was very important.
With what seemed like a garbage bag full of candy and enough water to quench the thirst of one thousand men we headed for the beach in search of the perfect spot to swallow our tiny tabs of acid.
“TRIVIA QUIZ NIGHT TONIGHT. WINNER WINS $100 DRINKS VOUCHER. STARTS AT 7PM”
A sign gently rested next to a seat outside of one of Canoa’s small bars. It’s white chalk writing seemed rushed as if the bar was so full of customers that spending more than thirty seconds on the quiz night sign was deemed an impossible task. I am personally a massive fan of quiz nights, not because I think I have good general knowledge, but because I tend to enjoy being competitive regardless of the activity.
The thought of us taking part in the quiz night swiftly exited my mind as fast as it entered. We had arrived at the beach and our attention had quickly turned to ingesting the acid.
“Keep it under your tongue. It will enter you blood stream faster.” Susan Sarandon had apparently done this many times before and was quick to dish out some handy tips.
“You’ll also want to be smoking some weed while you trip. It really seems to bring out the acid and make the trip a lot more relaxing and enjoyable.” He added tapping his pocket suggesting he had come prepared.
The ‘tab’ had no noticeable smell or taste and was so small that I found it difficult to keep track of its whereabouts under my tongue. Every five minutes I had to physically put my finger in my mouth to make sure it hadn’t fallen out or I hadn’t accidentally swallowed it. After half an hour or so my saliva began to break it down to the point that it became mush. It was at this very moment I had no choice but to let it naturally flow down my esophagus and into my stomach. That was it. No turning back from here.
It was only moments later that things started to turn a certain type of peculiar. The sand between my fingers suddenly possessed an indescribably pleasant texture with the water, although a good distance away, becoming an enhanced shade of wavy blue.
With my vision in extreme high definition mode, I noticed myself feeling not as comfortable around new people as I would normally be. Using the palm of my hand as a distraction, I could somehow see every single tiny little detail. It was as if my skin had been stripped back and all that was left to see was bones, muscle and tendons. The trip had well and truly begun.
Brad Pitt’s fiery red hair and blue eyes burst into life as part of his face began to melt and warp like a Salvadore Daly painting. Time was non-existent as the feeling of wanting to do everything and nothing at the same time became the over powering theme of my scrambled thoughts.
Without it even registering what I had agreed to I found myself slowly walking towards the ocean. Conversation was beyond my level of understanding as I could hear nothing but nervous laughter echoing around me as if I was in a tiny little bathroom.
“Where are we going?” I asked firmly grasping a gallon of luke-warm water.
“I thought we just agreed to take a walk that way down the beach.” Uncle McPato replied pointing off into the distance.
As my eyes squinted in reaction to the harsh, glaring sun, they fixed on a moving black dot approximately one hundred metres further down the beach. As we slowly walked closer to the black dot it became obvious that it was alive. Human silhouettes danced and laughed on an otherwise empty beach. It was just us and them. If we were to walk the way we intended to, we would be obligated to interact with them in some way. This was a terrifying thought. What if they knew we were on acid? What if they think we’re weird? What if they were police!?
“Hey! You over there! Hey!”
We had been noticed. My eyes darted from Susan Sarandon to Brad Pitt to Uncle McPato and back to Susan Sarandon. We had no other option but to stop.
“Someone has to go say ‘hello’ to them.” I announced to the group hoping that in saying this it would somehow grant me immunity.
“I would, but they’ll totally know I’m fucked on acid.” Brad Pitt was noticeably the most paranoid of the four of us. He was honestly a terrible representative to force into approaching the group.
“All someone has to do is casually go over there and say ‘hi’. We can’t just ignore them. We’ve already acknowledged that we heard them.”
Uncle McPato was right. It would be incredibly rude of us to choose to ignore them, besides, at this point we were only five metres away, huddled in the circle whispering to each other. I don’t see how we could’ve acted weirder than we already had.
“Hey! How’s it going?” Susan Sarandon, although a little hesitant and anxious, was brave enough to start the conversation.
“What you guys doing with all that candy and all that water?”
It was a group a rowdy Americans. I couldn’t bear to hold eye contact for more than a split second. Anything more than a quick glance felt as if I my thoughts were being read and able to be communicated telepathically. The four of us had awkwardly positioned ourselves with our body language caught between wanting to stay and wanting to leave. I needed to keep walking. The very thought of engaging in conversation with new people was frankly the worst possible scenario.
“We’re all on acid.” Susan Sarandon had done the unthinkable.
Too nervous to see their reaction I immediately turned my back to the group. On any other day I would have loved to watch the reaction on their faces, but today was not any other day, today I was on acid.
“Oh serious? We’re on acid too. Come join us!”
As surreal as it may seem, we had somehow found another group of young travelers doing acid on an empty beach in Ecuador.
The following few hours were a lit bit of a blur. Our five new friends seemed strange, yet friendly and interesting. I know that most of the Americans we met that day will be reading this story, so I need them to know I mean strange in the nicest possible way. I mean really, I was on acid, everything was strange.
Colours were beautifully exaggerated and conversations, although enjoyable, were confusing and drawn out. We chilled, swam and watched vultures circle above us as we played with a dead fish on the sand. It was as if we had all been transported to a dimension where time was irrelevant, no other outsiders existed and the only forms of nutrition were candy, cigarettes and water.
“It’s starting to get dark. Do you guys want to head back to our place?”
The sun was started to set, however, the acid was far from wearing off. As we made our way back through the little town we once again come across that sign…
“TRIVIA QUIZ NIGHT TONIGHT. WINNER WINS $100 DRINKS VOUCHER. STARTS AT 7PM”
Only this time the words seemed to hover over the top of the chalkboard. Unless I had completely missed the invention of three dimensional chalk boards during my time at the beach, I’m pretty sure this was a result of swallowing LSD.
“It’s 6.50 pm. Do you think we should enter the quiz?”
Without any hesitation the nine of us herded ourselves through the bar’s tiny wooden door like a sounder of wild acid filled boars. Our entrance proved to be the loudest thing most of the elder quiz organisers had heard in decades.
We were being shooshed from every direction. There must have been around twelve other tables filled with mostly middle aged people; their eyes dark, beady and crow-like.
“Hey guys, we’re only a group of two. Do you mind if we join your group?”
Two middle aged American men had somehow decided that the loudest, creepiest looking group would somehow meet their quiz night needs.
“Yeah, that’s fine. Grab a couple of seats.” Susan Sarandon was quick to offer the two men a spot at our table and not unlike the other people in the bar, they seemed serious about winning the $100 drinks voucher.
Introductions were made and the fact that we were all tripping on acid was kept quiet. It was understandably something any normal person at a quiz night would find difficult to slip into conversation.
“Triton is the moon on which planet?”
“In which country is the world’s highest waterfall?”
“What instrument did the jazz musician Miles Davis play?”
The questioned seemed to be endless, however I had a sneaking suspicion we were doing better than we all expected.
“Excuse me what is the name of your team?” A strange looking elderly woman had appeared out of nowhere. She was holding the answer sheet to every team in the room. Her entire face seemed to breathe as my focus shifted to the number of strips on her button up shirt.
“Um, we’re The Far Out Beach Club.” Uncle McPato replied with pupils the size of dinner plates.
“YOU’RE the Far out beach club?!” She seemed a combination of surprised and pissed off. How could the most obnoxious, nonsensical group of people be doing so well? I actually don’t have an answer for that. Maybe it was the acid allowing our minds to unlock certain memories in our brain that were otherwise inaccessible. Maybe every other team were just super unintelligent or maybe we were in fact just a bunch of knowledgeable people. I’m really not sure.
“Okay, we have a tie between ‘Quiz on your face’ and ‘The Far Out Beach Club.”
“Whaaaaaaaaaat?” Our table erupted in screams of disbelief as our neighbouring tables chatted amongst themselves, occasionally glancing over unsure as to why we were acting so unusual.
“There will now be a tie-breaker question. The team who answers correctly will be the winners.”
There was a brief moment of silence before the strange looking old lady moistened her lips and adjusted her glasses in preparation for reading out the final question.
“In William Shakespeare’s play ‘Macbeth’, how many times is the word blood mentioned? The winner will be the closest number without going over.”
I had no idea. I didn’t think any of us did. As I tried my best to ignore the need to stare at the striking arrangement of patterns on my teams clothing, my eyes quickly scanned our table for any potential signs of an answer.
“I know it, I know it! I know the answer!” One of our American friends, Jean, had suddenly realised she knew exactly how many times blood had been mentioned in Macbeth.
“Okay, um, give me a sec.” Her eyes glared at the table and her pointer fingers firmly pressed against her temples as she attempted to remember the exact number her English teacher had once announced to her class all those years ago.
“42! It’s 42!”
“Are you serious? Is that really the answer?” Susan Sarandon was as surprised as the rest of the people at our table.
“Yes! That’s definitely the answer.”
Both tables jotted down their answer and nervously waited as the winner was announced. Two Americans that had joined our group at the beginning of the quiz seemed restless and jittery.
“Oh, by the way, we’re all on acid.” Uncle McPato revealed, waiting for a reaction as he slowly took a sip of his rum and coke.
“Oh really? That’s why you guys were acting so weird the entire time!” The elder American men didn’t seem at all as concerned as we may have imagined. “They look like the type of people that may of experimented with psychedelics when they were young.” I remember thinking to myself as I studied their ageing faces and long, greying hair.
“The correct answer is 42. The winners are The Far Out Beach Club!”
We had done it. The most bizarre ending to an even more bizarre day. Sure it was only a quiz night, but to beat out some of the most unmistakably serious quiz goers whilst under the influence of a potent psychedelic was, at the time, quite an accomplishment.
I have since attended several quiz nights and am yet to come close to winning. Maybe acid does in fact make you smarter. I doubt it, but…maybe.