November 23, 1980

Restaurant Anniversary Bash.

Today was the long-awaited anniversary party [for the restaurant we all worked at], commemorating four years of existence, held in Rick R.’s warehouse at 8th and Morton. I had planned for a week or more to trip at the party, but this afternoon I suddenly developed cold feet about doing the acid. I moped around in a most dismal mood, feeling depressed and in no mood to do drugs. I also was worrying about my presentation for class due on Monday, for I knew I could never deliver the thing with a brain fogged by an acid hangover. I wasted my afternoon this way. Although it was an hour before the party, I decided to go over there anyway. I went in my bedroom and with my pocketknife cut off a small corner of my piece of blotter acid, thinking to do just a little of it to give me some energy, since I was so sleepy and weary. I then left my apartment and went down to the warehouse.

I could hear music a block away, and ran eagerly up to the door, thinking, “they couldn’t have begun so early, could they?” I pushed through the door and a true spectacle greeted my eyes. The drab, scabby warehouse had been transformed during the afternoon into a thing of beauty. The floor had been covered with carpet scraps and rugs of various sizes; colored lights had been set up in the rafters; color-splash paintings were hanging in midair, moving in the air currents and resembling quilts from a distance; cushions had been brought in to sit upon around low tables; two wood stoves were set up on either side of the room, and spray-paint mottoes were all over the walls: “Isn’t it a pleasure to eat out? Happy 4th!” “The [restaurant] sucks,” “Eat the big one!”

The stage had been moved to the end farthest from the door, and was backed by a couple of sheets with more birthday greetings and swirls and designs, the sheets covering the opening to a room farther back, a light shining from behind to illuminate the spray-paint mottoes and to silhouette the band members when they played. There were more colored lights on stage, reflecting off of the equipment and instruments in a most beautiful way. The warehouse room had been divided down the center by hangings to cut down size and conserve heat, and bore more spray-paint sayings. Near the stage, Rick and his brother had arranged the hangings so that the front of Rick’s brother’s red-white-and-blue VW van projected through at an angle, like some weird space capsule caught in mid-motion.

Although it was early, at least 20 people were already there. Michael C. had spray-painted his boots silver all over, and had eaten a quarter of his hit of blotter, and was soaring already. Bill H. was wearing a piece of tinsel-trim from the stage as a necktie, and had also done a small piece of acid. Bill D. brought in two quart bottles of his electric homebrew. [—This was homemade beer with LSD added; he was famous locally for this combination.—] The atmosphere within the building was wonderful, for everything was so beautiful and right for the occasion. I could hardly believe my eyes. My mood skyrocketed instantly to extreme elation, and I immediately did another small piece of my blotter, and gave pieces to Melanie, Donna Fay, Laurie, and her friend Jessica. [—This one piece of blotter acid was eventually cut into about ten pieces during the course of the night, and each person who ate a piece had an amazing and intense trip. If I had eaten the whole thing by myself, I probably wouldn’t have any cerebral cortex left today to speak of.—]

It’s hard to describe the happenings. At some point in the proceedings “I transcended my consciousness and became a mere enthusiasm,” as I later explained it. All I could do was dance and scream encouragement to the band and dance some more. Every now and then, when the band would take a break, I would wander through the crowd—“float” would be a better word—and pour myself a beer from the keg, only to take a sip and abandon it on a table to dance some more. I found out from rumor that the keg nearest the door had been laced with acid by Bill D. I had been drinking out of it to moisten my throat, not realizing it was spiked. Melanie, who had come with the intention of staying two hours, not tripping, and going home to sleep so she could get up in the morning and go to work, ended up taking a corner of my blotter and drinking unwittingly from the spiked beer to a rather great extent. Her eyes were wild, as were mine, and everyone’s. During the intermissions they played the Talking Head’s newest record, “Remain in Light,” and that song containing the exhortation “Take a look at these hands!” struck us as particularly apt for the situation. Melanie and I kept whipping off our glasses and fixing our crazed stares upon each other, shouting “Take a look at these eyes!” And god, what eyes they were! I shall never forget it. I introduced myself to a wild-eyed and frantic-limbed blonde girl named Margot who was the most frenzied of all the dancers there. I didn’t see how she could move in such ways for prolonged periods of time. Michael C. watched her with amazement for a while and then shrugged, “Die young!” —I could not contain my amazement at the scene, and kept turning to everyone I knew, saying “This is REAL! This is REAL!” as if I couldn’t believe such beauty and wonder could possibly be mine.

The Cigs did “Louie Louie” and one of their numbers altered to a reggae beat, and it was great fun hearing them do different stuff than is their wont. They did “These Are Wild Times” with more energy than I’ve ever heard before, and by god, the song fit the occasion. They ended one song with incredible power and speed and I couldn’t believe I was hearing it. My eyes grew rounder and rounder (Melanie said later my eyes looked like hubcaps) and I could only point in speechless amazement at the stage while my companions laughed and cried, “Yes, you really heard that!” It was like an acoustic orgasm.

Everything is now fading together in my recollection from particulars to a golden haze of joy. I recall Bill D. with a tremendous grin on his face, mouth wide a-gape; I poured my beer down his gullet, where it disappeared without stopping the big grin. “The Orangies,” the followers of some Indian swami, people who wander Bloomington streets garbed all in orange clothes, showed up and had one hell of a time. They danced madly and kept whooping for some reason of their own. Bill D., who had been wearing a sweat-drenched turtleneck sweater, reappeared in an orange shirt loaned by one of the Orangies.

At last that evil son of a bitch, huge Greg M. arrived, drunk on his ass and incoherent, summoned by Steve G. out of a spirit of perverseness. All 300 pounds of him staggered on stage and commandeered a microphone, and he babbled drunkenly of the auspicious occasion of the anniversary of the restaurant: “It’sh been four yearsh shince the reshtaurant first opened—four years shince we firsht got shick—” and so on. I began to think he’d never get off stage. He did at last, but stripped off all his clothes and staggered around stark naked, his great belly obscenely bobbing. The sight was so repulsive to me that I could scarcely bear it. I kept my face turned from his offensiveness as well as I could. Michael C. was equally repulsed, especially when Greg came over and hugged Michael to his chest. Greg at last put his clothes back on, thank god, but commandeered the microphone once again to blabber mindlessly into it. Everyone was grossing out and leaving. The Cigs seemed struck by confusion, and the two or three last songs they played seemed to lose their heart. The crowd diminished by half within the fifteen minutes after Greg’s first appearance. Afterwards it was agreed that “he stole the vibes,” “he was an energy thief.” Whatever, he finished off the party.

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