24 February 2003
The tea tastes pretty fucking minging, to be honest. Even with a couple of lemon teabags in the mix, there's still the earthy, fungal taste, which isn't helped by the fact that we're presently sans sieve, so there are itty-bitty bits of finely-chopped matter floating around and collecting at the bottom of each mug. But as one of the more experienced members of the crew, I tell the guys to put up, shut up, and down the lot. Bits and all.
There's something to be said for playing Playstation while you're waiting for the effects to kick in. It's quite a good way of measuring the change in your perception as things start leaning towards the mentalist - footballers in ISS going a bit van Gogh, landscapes in Tiger Woods starting to wobble - and this is no exception. I know we're on a winner when I've been knocked down by Clubber Lang, am being counted out and the referee's hand is pointing out of the screen at me. Taken out of context, Jacqui's comment 'Is anyone else seeing in 3-D?' seems ridiculous, but it made sense at the time. The other sure-fire sign that things are going well is that Mike's leg has started shaking uncontrollably, and he won't stop asking for chewing gum to keep his jaw busy.
To be honest, I'm still feeling quite lucid by this stage - it's probably about time to graduate to either double dosage or the Hawaiians - which means I get to have a detached view of proceedings, verging on the amusedly cynical. I'm still giggling like a fool at the happenings on TV - though as this involves crazily-dressed Laplanders being pulled behind reindeer on skis and falling over a lot, this might not be entirely due to the mind-bending drugs - but I don't feel like I've been completely swallowed up. The lid's been lifted off the world, but I'm just peering in, not throwing myself into the box and having a play.
That's what I think, anyway - and the impression stays until I decide we've reached the time to crack into the Kinder eggs. After the initial disappointment that I've only got a jigsaw puzzle (toys made of brightly coloured plastic that you have to build yourself are much more fun), I realise that I am one hundred percent boxed. Apart from the fact that I can't find any corner or edge pieces - and this in a puzzle consisting of twelve pieces, of which by rights 10 should qualify - I appear to have forgotten what the aim of the game is. After a bit of soul-searching I challenge Mike to a race - about ten minutes later, he yells triumphantly, 'I've done it! It's a hippopotamus - with an owl on its back... actually, I think I've done this wrong...'
Meanwhile, despite the late hour and heavy last night, Paul has been given a major energy boost. While the rest of us laze and look at the floors, he's full of beans and off exploring. [The fact that we have heavy power tools in the house doesn't go unnoticed, and I keep a paternal ear open.] We track his movement by the deep Scouse giggles emanating from the upstairs bathroom - sounds like he's discovered the mirror. After what seems like about an hour of solid hilarity, he re-emerges with a conspiratorial grin.
- 'What we need to do is turn the TV off. Turn that bloody telly off, and let's play a game I've invented. It's called the Mushroom Game.'
- 'How does that work?' (I don't really want to know, but I'm feeling indulgent and am ready to be amused.
- 'We all sit in a circle, and we each get a mirror and a plug. Your plug's brilliant, man - it's the wrong size and everything. Or if not, we can turn the TV off and go to the shops. That would be mad, man!'
The TV stays on. We go nowhere.
* * *
I'm starting to think Paul had the right idea about the TV. It's like it's draining the energy out of those watching, while ignoring it is fuelling his fire. Problem is, I'm tired and it's keeping me entertained. Not as much as Paul himself, who's still coming out with inane genius as we watch snowboarding videos on Extreme.
- 'If you're going skiing, you've got to have a coat with big pockets.'
- 'What, for all the stuff you have to carry?'
- 'No, so you can steal whisky from shops.'
- 'They don't have shops that high.'
- 'Of course they do. Haven't you ever heard of ski shops?'
- 'But you don't even like whisky.' (This from his weary-sounding girlfriend of seven years)
- 'Yeah, but if you were up a mountain, wearing a coat with big pockets, walking through a ski shop, it'd be rude not to. [Momentary pause as he considers the implications of this last statement] Ok, you're right. I picked the wrong spirit. Rum, then.'
* * *
Things are slowing down a little now. We've gone through anti-avalanche berets, more offers to go to the shops, conveyor belts taking you up to the 90th storey (though Paul was adamant he didn't want to be the guy that operated the belt and the bell, he just wanted to ride on it), begging to be let out of the flat to go to the shops, the similarity between herons and dogs, etc. Now we're just watching TV, having a quick come-down smoke and eating stroopwafels.
- 'I tell you what, it's lucky I don't live out here. I'd probably be dead within a month.'
- 'What, because your body couldn't take the abuse?'
- 'No mate. I reckon that snail over there would probably have me first. Evil-looking bugger.'