Red Letter Day
Japan was a trip, sometimes in more ways than one. This guy Paul I used to hang out with got a buddy back in the states to mail him some LSD. Something told me not to drop with him, so I politely turned him down when he offered to share. Another one of our classmates had no such scruples, however. I don’t remember his name, but he was the guy who started the Buddhist meditation group in the foreigners’ dorm.
He told me they ate two tabs each and rode the trains back and forth for hours. All the rice paddies were flooded, so it quickly became impossible to tell where the sky stopped and the ground began. Clouds above, clouds below, and in between the mountains were like enormous green Buddha-bodies, swollen with wisdom. For a while, he said, they were bowing gassho to everything. When darkness fell, they started looking at the lights as if each one was a vow somebody had made, a little particle of determination.
They were trying not to attract too much attention – like a foreigner in Japan can ever avoid being noticed! – but as they were coming back toward the college, a pair of giggly co-eds sat down across from them and they began to flirt.
“We started imitating them, you know? Putting our hands over our mouths to hide our teeth, which of course made them laugh even harder, so then we started speaking the most atrocious Japanese phrases we could think of, like gokiburisama deshita and bikkurisumasu, until we knew we had it made. Every girl wants a guy with a sense of humor, you know?
“It turns out one of them has an apartment not too far from the Makino station, so we go there, stopping at a couple of vending machines to pick up a packet of condoms and one of those mini-kegs of Sapporo. Paul was crazy, he wanted to tie them up right away, but I said no, first we had to snuggle and look deeply interested while they told us all about themselves, got sloppy drunk, started whispering secrets in our ears. Which were safe with us, because we didn’t know what the fuck they were saying once they lapsed into heavy Osaka dialect. Mine even blubbered a little, which of course made me cry, too. That’s just the way I am.
“Paul and I were coming down by this point, but the sex was still pretty strange. It didn’t help that they were both virgins. Mine was nice, she went through all the motions of liking it, but blood is hard to hide. I figure she must’ve looked at some of those pornographic comic books that the salarymen are always reading on the subways, because she knew the routine pretty well – even tried to give me a blowjob. But the girl Paul was with lay still as a stone and whimpered the whole time. He gets that look in his eyes. It scares people.”
He said he persuaded Paul to give them the rest of the LSD, four more tabs.
“We told them it was a kind of medicine, that it would make everything beautiful. Pretty soon they were tripping really hard, and Paul got the idea of writing our names on their forearms with the point of a knife. They loved it! You know how Japanese are about anything with Roman letters on it. When we left, they were both totally engrossed, staring down at the red letters as if they could see all the way inside. Hell, maybe they could. It gave us something to talk about the next day, after the mountains went back to being mountains.”
by Dave Bonta of Via Negativa