Special K
By Murdoch LaMarche

(Illustrated by Shona MacPherson)

It felt like a weekday. Maybe it was a weekend. I had made a trip up to Brooklyn. My
time had been a bit of a haze. It doesn’t really matter what kind of day it was. No one cares
about that sort of detail.

I was staying with my friend Karl. Karl had some kind of shitty job at some PR firm I’d never heard of. "It’s fucking boring as shit. I don’t do anything fucking important, but it pays the bills.”

Karl had told me that at least once a day since I’d been staying with him.

Now he was shirtless, pacing his apartment, mumbling his daily mantra about his shitty job. He stopped pacing for a moment and snorted a line off his glass coffee table.
I was sitting on the couch alternating between pulls off a cigarette and hits off a blunt.

Karl said he didn’t want any because he had to get some work done. I knew what always
happened after his pacing stopped and the lines started. He began blasting some Chemical
Brothers remixes, went to his work bench, and fired up his torch. Karl made jewelry on the side.
I assumed the jewelry was how he supplemented his income. His apartment was far too nice for a low level drone at a PR firm.

Now Karl was alternating between dancing around the apartment and firing the
enamel on some necklace. “I know it looks like shit, but these rich white women pay out the ass
for this shit.” I was finished with the blunt, and was smoking another cigarette. I asked Karl if he
had any cereal. I needed cereal. “Yeah, just don’t get the Special K, that’s mine.” Obviously that
made me want the Special K even more. That blunt had turned me into a health conscious 30-
something woman.

Karl was distracted by his jewelry and whatever electro he was playing now,
so I found a bowl, grabbed the Special K, and opened the box. There was a gallon Ziploc bag
full of white powder. “What the fuck is this Karl?” I screamed out over the pounding
bass. “What?” he screeched back as he walked over to the kitchen. “What the fuck is this
powder?” “Oh, that's just my Ketamine. Didn’t I tell you I sell mad Ketamine?” “You left that detail
out. Jesus, that’s a lot of K...wait...you keep your ‘Special K’ in...”

Karl interrupted me cackling “Get it? I’ve got my Special K in a box labeled Special K. I’m fucking hilarious.”

“Jesus, Karl, just...Jesus. That a lot of risk to go through to just to make a weak play on words.”

Still laughing Karl assured me that it was “totally cool” and not to worry about it. “So,
man, you want some? I’m going to some dirty punk club later tonight, you’d probably love the
show, especially with this.”

I’d never done K before put I’m always down for anything so I said I’d go with him. He handed me a baggy and told me me about dosages and all that other dull drug “safety” stuff.

I decided to hold off on doing any until we were leaving for the show, and now that time
had come. I snorted a couple lines and told Karl we needed to leave. He said something had
come up and I’d have to go alone if I still wanted to go. Karl told me directions to the club, and
said right now I should blow a couple lines so I’d be floating by the time I got there. He said I
should eat some too, to drag it out longer. It sounded like a good idea, so I obliged and headed out the door.

I was on the way to the show when I started to feel it kicking in. I was beginning to feel it. I realized pretty quickly that I was not going to make it to that show, but the more I felt
it the less I cared. I was becoming detached.

I closed my eyes and saw nothing. I could not feel
my body. I felt like a pure consciousness floating in blackness. I had to sit down. Visions of my
body moving through space were flashing in front of me. I finally found somewhere to sit and
began smoking a cigarette. I was nothing but that cigarette. I was a cigarette with a body
attached to it. I remembered reading some quote along those lines by some famous author, but
right now I couldn’t possibly care less about who it was. I just sat there for god knows how long,
cigarette after cigarette, feeling my soul burning away and floating into the atmosphere,
polluting the blackness that was the Brooklyn sky. I thought to myself (at least I think I thought
it, I very well could have said it aloud to the pedestrians passing me) “I am the smoke. I am
filling the sky. This is beautiful. This is beautiful.” I was no longer a human sitting on something
on a sidewalk somewhere in Brooklyn. I was a being of pure consciousness embodied in smoke floating over millions of human heads.

I soon realized I was out of cigarettes. This was a dire situation. I couldn’t keep up my
vaporous existence without the tube of the cigarette to move my soul out of my meat suit. I
stood up and began floating down the street. Looking for floating yellow-orange lights. Looking
for my fellow smoke beings.

The former darkness had subsided and I was surrounded by the blinding lights of
whatever that celestial Buddha's name is. Maybe it was Amita, I knew it was something like
that, but I knew it wasn’t important. This blinding light was begging me towards it to become
enlightened, but that wasn’t my goal. I was seeking the soft yellow light of hungry ghosts. I was
a hungry ghost, hungry for the smoke of cigarettes. I ran from the blinding light towards the
small floating light I saw down the sidewalk. At least I think I ran, I could have been slowly
trudging towards my fellow hungry ghost. I must have run, the ghost was so shocked at my
appearance. I had probably appeared in a plume of smoke before his eyes. I was certain that
was what happened.

“Jesus fucking Christ, man, what’s wrong with you. You can’t run up on
people like that.” the ghost exclaimed. I guess I didn’t really appear as a cloud of smoke, but
that didn’t matter now. I introduced myself to him “Hello, my good sir, as you can no doubt
guess, I am a ghost trapped in this human form, and I need your help. The request I have for
you is very simple: I need one of those cigarettes to help me escape this terrible meat suit.” He
responded, “What? Dude, you’re just mumbling sounds, I don’t have any money. What the fuck
do you want?” I realized my eloquence had been wasted, I was speaking in the language of the
ghosts, this man was clearly not aware of his true form. I took a deep breath, closed my eyes,
exhaled and carefully pronounced, “Could I please get a cig from you?” “Oh, is that it? Sure,
bro.” I gingerly accepted the cigarette and sprinted away from him down the block
screaming “You have my eternal gratitude!”

I held off on the cigarette until I got Karl’s building. I sat on the stoop and smoked it with
purpose. Meditating on every puff of smoke. After it was gone I just sat there feeling my mind
slowly incorporating back into my body. Karl showed up while I was still reintegrating. “Jesus,
man, you look like shit. What the fuck have you been doing?” “I have been through the sky
over everyone’s head. I left humanity. It was beautiful.” Karl didn’t seem to believe what I was
telling him “Sounds like you had a good time. First time you hole is always amazing. But you
need to come inside, you look like a psychopath, you’re covered in dirt, and you’ve burnt holes
all through your shirt.” I went inside and smoked another cigarette it wasn’t nearly the same. I
decided it was time to sleep. Karl started blasting Dada Life and working on a necklace. I curled
up on his couch and had some of the best sleep of all time.

I’d have time to tell Karl all about my adventure tomorrow

murdoch lamarche lives at an undisclosed location