Thursday, July 28, 2005
Amyl Nitrate Science
When your name is plucked from the hopper, you must answer the call. You must stand and be true. Such was the scenario yesterday afternoon at my place of employment. The company president summoned me to his office, his tone grave.
"Steve, the time has come to burden you with a critical mission. Our professional reputation is at stake, and the exacting Japanese have requested we represent ourselves in the form of physical presence. In this case, yours. Go forth to Round Lake Beach, IL. There you will tin many wire tips with sotter, disassemble drive-thru posts, mount headset transmitter modules, and most of all, submit yourself to their queries, lectures, insults, and imperial commands. Be brave. Wear your proud face, but speak with humility. The continued patronage of this vendor is essential to our survival in the harsh world of the restaraunt register business.
Take my tools. If you lose any, I'll dock your pay. Good luck."
Equipped with a stunning array of grimy hand tools, I fired up my vehicle and shot north along the highway. I zig-zagged past many an automotive, slunk by many a squad car, raced a Metra train or two, and finally arrived on location at six in the evening.
It was a piece of cake. I aced the fucker. Everybody went home happy. Except me. What I mean is, I was happy, but I didn't go home. No sirree.
My former roomie was grandma-sitting. His task was too look after an elderly woman suffering from moist pnuemonia. Feed her dogs, cook her dinner, administer suppositories, vaccuum her floor. Stuff like that. It was happenstance that he was sequestered away in the same region I was due to visit. Far from the city in the northern boonies. Nearly Wisconsin.
Naturally, we decided to drink some beer. We called Megan, a friend from years past who we hadn't seen recently. Three years ago she left us to hide deep in the woods with an obsessive mechanic.
Upon completing my work, I bought a twelver of Beck's Dark and wandered my way under the starlit night, arriving at the mechanic's woodland home at ten at night. We stood on the upstairs porch, where we engaged in convivial revelry.
Things got weird. A jolly fellow named Justin was aggressivly inhaling smelling salts. He was not unconscious, nor was another person waving it under his nose. He was administering himself. I inquired.
"Splain it, share it. Ammonium Nitrate? You afraid of passing out, Justin?"
"No no no. These are poppers."
"I see no cheese, crunchy breading, or jalapenos."
"Amyl Nitrate, dude. Poppers. They get you high. They're like nitrus for beginners."
"Sure. Want one?"
"I most certainly do. You raid Hunter Thompson's briefcase or what?"
"Okay, here you go. I'll warn you, these things will make you need to shit. Bad. But they feel great. You get light-headed, kind of fuzzy wuzzy, and relaxed. Real nice."
I took one. So did a few others. We stood, a circle of four, and we tapped our white ampules together as a toast. "To idiocy!" Following Justin's lead, we jabbed our fingers into the red dots at the center of each popper, and from each a quiet pop and hiss escaped. Making loose fists, we snorted the inhalants with nose chuffing abandon. Our snouts wriggled. Soon we were all wobbly and chattery.
"Whoa. That's..This is... Neat."
"I feel like Weird Al." (group giggles)
"This stuff thins your blood. Isn't it great?"
"I gotta poo." (guffaws and giggles)
"Squeeze your sphincter shut until you're done with that. Don't waste it."
"My brain is expanding. It's trying to make my eyesocket give birth." (hysterical giggling, stomach clutching)
"Shit on a stick, Wilbur."
"Where's a stick?" (contagious chuckling)
Soon we were all laughing uncontrollably. We pooled all the ampules together and passed them around, taking turns breathing in four and five at a time. We were out of control. Soon we'd cracked fourteen of them. We drank a bunch of beer and inhaled a ton of amyl nitrate. We had very thin blood, severe susceptibility to laughing fits, and no logical thought whatsoever. We were speaking nonsense phrases and loving every second of it.
Alas, all good things must end. We left Megan to giggle herself to sleep and Justin to finish the beer and bratwurst. We parted ways. I got lost on the dark streets of Fox Lake. Eventually, I found home. I feel normal today. I think.
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