“Hey kid,” said a stern, authoritative masculine voice that appeared to come out of nowhere, “keep using that stuff and it’ll rot your brain…”


I resented this. “Look,” I replied, “for one thing I’m not a kid, I’m 52 years old, and for another…” There was a pregnant pause. “…Ah fuck it, I can’t remember what the other thing was. But you get the point…”


I looked around for the originator of the voice, but he was nowhere to be found. “Asshole,” I muttered, “What the hell does he know. The straight bastard.”


Reaching inside my jacket pocket I pulled out a wrap and cautiously opened it. I tipped out a portion of the brownish powder onto the top of a magazine I was using for a surface. Using my credit card I lined it up nice and straight, chopping it out as I did so to get rid of the lumps. Then, with a flourish of a twenty euro note I hoovered it up into my nostrils, first one and then the other. As usual, the burning sensation made me feel as if I’d just snorted a line of red fire-ants. Moments later I could feel the stuff trickling down the back of my throat and the taste made me gag. I fought the urge to be sick. That was the last thing I wanted to do – this stuff was expensive, three hundred euros a gram. I was damned if I wanted to waste it.


This was street ‘theo’ – probably anywhere between 12 and 25 % pure, I estimated, but still pokey enough, by anyone’s standards. Stuff had a kick that could only be described as brutally savage. Although maybe that was due to the impurities. I don’t know. I’ve never had the lab-grade shit, although I’ve heard that it is surprisingly mellow. Theo is unlike any other category of street drug. Unlike its cousins serotonin and melatonin it has no practical pharmaceutical use. It would certainly be no good as an antidepressant, which – rumour had it – was what it had been originally developed for. The problem is (from pharmacological point of view) is that instead of doing anything useful it induces intensely religious hallucinations, which tend to be followed by a mania that can in some cases last for months or even years afterwards. The stuff directly activates the ‘God-circuit’, which even Timmy Leary didn’t know about.


The rush came on fast and furious. Ream upon ream of cherubim appeared out of nowhere, and in no time ended up festooning every available surface in my flat. The ceiling parted, disclosing flocks of seraphim and lesser angelic beings. Light poured down from above – holy light, light from the higher realms. I could hear a heavenly music. I was just getting into this when an imposing figure strode up to me and proceeded to glare at me from close range. A tall, old guy, with an impressively long white beard, bald head, sandals, and a pair of burning eyes.


“Hey fuckface”, he said, “who are you calling a straight bastard? I’m the goddamn prophet Moses. I’m the hippest there is. They don’t come any more turned on and tuned in than me, you know.”


I apologized shamefacedly – “Sorry dude, I kind of thought you might be a government official or a teacher or somebody from the HSE. Or maybe my old headmaster. I assumed you were a projected authority figure, you know?”


The dude with the epic beard grunted in disgust. “Projected authority figure,” he sneered, “Didn’t I tell you to stop sniffing that crap…?”









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