Read The First 11 Chapters of The Sexual Adventures of Time & Space

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The Sexual Adventures of Time and Space 

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The Sexual Adventures of Time and Space by Brian Sfinas

The following 38 excerpts from the journal of Michael Thorn and accompanying letters were confiscated from the residence of Kyle Accadian on October 30th, 2013 by the New York Mills Police Department. They are to be transcribed verbatim and entered into evidence for the trials of Kyle Accadian, Henry Cook and Katelyn Hegemann.

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I

“He murdered that girl, you know,” said a concerned, but not necessarily angry voice from one of my dreams last night. The premise is absurd. I get that. I’m not asking you or myself to look for meaning in something I summoned from my subconscious mind at random. It’s a mish-mash of fears and aspirations. Smatterings of images from movies and snippets of music. Splashes and then abrupt absences of color.

But, I don’t need to tell you what dreams are like.

I’m standing outside my apartment now. It’s winter, and it is cold enough so that the same amount of fog is emitted whether I’m exhaling smoke from my cigarette or not. I’m just kind of watching cars go by. I look down. I spit on an ant with sugary, sweet saliva and watch as it begins to devour its own thorax. It shifts about and sputters. It dies.

“He murdered that girl, you know.”

I wake up at 2 am to the first alarm. I turn it off and reset it. I get out of bed. I go to the fridge and find six full glasses of water. I take the first and I throw it in my own face. There’s a towel on the counter. I dry my face and upper chest and go back to my room. I lay down. I close my eyes.

Where was I?

The thing about dreams… The thing that people think is the thing about dreams is that they can’t be controlled. You go to sleep, your brain throws a bunch of garbage at you and you wake up. Sometimes you have good dreams. Sometimes you have bad dreams. It’s all random, or perhaps the secret messages of an unseen god. Humans seem to have always had a problem reaching an agreement on that part, but I know that most logically-thinking people believe that dreams don’t really mean anything.

I believe we are a curious creature. I believe we look for meaning where there is none. I know we all fear death, and perhaps that fear has something to do with dreams. I don’t think dreams really have anything to tell you. However, I don’t think they’re random, which is to say I think there is something important there amid the chaos. I think they can be controlled. I think you can learn to do things in your sleep that translate into who you are in your waking life.

I know what you’re thinking. The premise is absurd. I get that.

But I’m going to show you how.

I wake up at 3 am to the first alarm. I turn it off and reset it. I get out of bed. I go to the fridge and find five full glasses of water. I take the first and I throw it in my own face. There’s a towel on the counter. I dry my face and my upper chest and go back to my room. I lay down. I close my eyes.

I’m at camp as a child now. The sky is a collage of black and red photos. Faceless people. I look to my brother and sister, playing in the toy room. They are not the adults they are now. I look down. I am fully-grown. Still here, at camp, looking through the past into various aspects of my youth. It is sad here. You can feel it before you even wake up. The time we can’t get back. The people we were before we were us.

It’s sad, but I visit often. Two or three times a week. My brother’s teeth before the braces. My sister’s weird overweight phase. The rolling forested hills of camp. The mosaic-like sky composed of expressionless phantoms. The unyielding whisper of quiet and light wind.

I wake up at 4 am to the first alarm. I turn it off and reset it. I get out of bed. I go to the fridge and find four full glasses of water. I take the first and I throw it in my own face. There’s a towel on the table. I dry my face and my upper chest and go back to my room. I lay down. I close my eyes.

I’m in the city now. It exists simply for convenience. It’s every city I’ve ever been to. It’s New York and Boston and Kingston. It’s London. You just turn a corner and you’re where you need to be. The hotels all have pools on the roofs. You look down from ledges an infinite distance to the street below. You don’t fall though. You don’t have to.

There’s a festival of some kind going on, too. You can pick out where the city meets the beach from just about anywhere. Sometimes there are meteor showers, but usually there’s just nothing. Sometimes there’s an impending sense of doom. Sometimes the city is destroyed. It’s very much like our waking lives.

I wake up at 5 am to the first alarm. I turn it off and reset it. I get out of bed. I go to the fridge and find three full glasses of water. I take the first and I throw it in my own face. There’s a towel on the counter. I dry my face and my upper chest and go back to my room. I lay down. I close my eyes.

Flying is really pretty simple. The way I like to start is I lay face down in the dreamspace and just push off from the ground with my hands. I think what happens is my mind misinterprets the moment gravity is supposed to kick in because it isn’t present and I just stay there. Float for a bit. Push off more. Go higher. Fly far.

One of the things that I never understood is how my mind puts together the landscape around me. I travel grand distances, the terrain ever-changing below me. I pick out details. It is so meticulously crafted. I’ve been on planes. I’ve seen movies and TV. Still, however my mind puts the pieces of Earth together in such a calculated way is beyond me.

And no matter where I am, I’m always close to my childhood home.

I wake up at 6 am to the first alarm. I turn it off. I set the second alarm. I get out of bed. I go to the fridge and find two full glasses of water. I take the first and I throw it in my own face. There’s a towel on the table. I dry my face and my upper chest and go back to my room. I lay down. I close my eyes.

I am with her now, and there’s nothing else I will say about that.

I wake up at 7 am to the second alarm. I turn it off. I get out of bed. I go to the fridge and find a full glass of water. I take it. I take a sip. There’s a towel on the floor and a good amount of water. I use my foot and swish the towel around a bit in the puddle. It accomplishes nothing.

I begin my day.

-Michael Thorn, June 10th, 2011, Morning

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II

I end my day.

Organic lucid dreaming isn’t new. There’s plenty of information available on the subject. Google “Stephen Laberge”. The practice I described in that passage is only one of many ways to achieve awareness while unconscious. The reason that that method works is because your body is still in a relaxed, dormant state from just waking up. By splashing your face with cold water, you rouse your mind to its most alert. This effect sticks around while your body is still very much ready to go back to bed. You fall back asleep with your mind active and can much more easily identify the false reality.

There are other ways. I hear meditation works. Not for me. There are ways to just naturally ascertain that you’re dreaming, but I find I can’t do it with the regularity that I achieve with the water method. I find myself much more likely to just go along with whatever my subconscious is generating if I do nothing to intervene. They make for fun experiences, but the images I conjure in these instances are usually random and confusing. There was a time I would record them in great detail immediately after I woke up. Right in here. Keeping a dream journal is supposed to increase the likelihood of you retaining memories you create in the dreamspace. I suppose it worked, but with the way things turned out it’s become abundantly clear that the events that transpire in the waking world should take precedence.

One of the hardest things about practiced lucid dreaming is it becomes very difficult to fall asleep. It is impossible to notice the moment at which one loses consciousness, and believe me when I say that all of my friends and I always try. Likewise, there is a space between sleeping and becoming awake that you know without me even having to describe it to you. You remember. The peaceful one. It must exist on the other side as well, between your conscious state and your unconscious one. The trick would be to learn how to notice it. So far all attempts have been unsuccessful.

It’s possible that it has something to do with the fact that your memory is very finite in dreamspace. That is to say, you can remember some things within your dream, and often (or always with practices like the one mentioned above) you can remember things that happened in dreams after you re-enter the waking world. This short-term inner dream memory and memories of dreams you’ve had should come under scrutiny, though. Keep in mind this is the crap your subconscious is coming up with. Trying to explain it to anyone else is really a waste of time.

Perhaps the mind has evolved to disregard and/or distort the memories we have of our dreams as a defense mechanism. It would make sense. We’ve survived as a species because of our ability to understand and interact with our surroundings. The rules that dreams impose on you are starkly different than the physical laws and natural limitations one can repeatedly experience in the waking world. By distorting our recollections of our dreams, maybe our mind is trying to make sure we don’t get confused about what we’re capable of. It’s easy to test theories when you’re awake and can make repeatable observations. It’s trickier in dreamspace because of its finite nature, although it should be noted that it can be done.

Anyway, you know how when you want to get to sleep, you can’t? When you were a kid, you probably knew the feeling worst on Christmas, or before the first day of school. As an adult, you probably know it as the “what the fuck is wrong with me I have to be at work in the morning and it’s 2 am” feeling. Some part of your brain keeps you active and alert even though you’re trying your hardest to achieve dormancy. The reason you can’t fall asleep is because you’re not really trying at all. We simply can’t. You either have to stay up long enough, exhaust yourself with physical activity or use some kind of drug to get to sleep. There is no “try” at bedtime.

Ask any parent and they’ll tell you that I’m right.

The opposite happens too. The reason coffee exists is because when we have to focus on something that doesn’t interest or excite us, our mind is like “Okay, now’s a good time to rest.”

I know. The premise is absurd. But think about why we yawn. It’s to get a rush of oxygen to our brains to keep us alert. You yawn when you’re bored, even after a full night’s sleep.

What I’m getting at is that your body and your mind are in constant conflict and if I were you, I’d side with the folks upstairs. “Ally yourself with those in power.” Eric used to say. The body needs. The mind allows.

I guess this brings me to the beginning of the story.

The reason I got into lucid dreaming was a simple one. My body and my mind were at war and I – siding with my mind, and like many teenagers before me – was doing a lot of damage to my body.

-Michael Thorn, August 29th, 2013, Evening

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III

The summer of my sixteenth year was, to say the very least, a learning experience. The most important lesson of which was that in the war between brain and body, the former’s greatest weakness is that it exists inside of the latter.

It was a less refined time for me. I drank a lot. I smoked a lot. I did the mushrooms and the cocaine thing for a while. I never did heroin or crack. I guess I’m pretty proud of myself for that.

But I wasn’t happy. There’s a longer story here about a teacher and a three-day digital music festival, but we’ll save that for another time. The moral of the story is that I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do or who I wanted to be. I was very angry and the anger was directionless.

But, I don’t need to tell you what being a teenager is like.

It was during that summer that I got my first job at an electronics store that I won’t name, but needless to say it’s a very big chain and you’ve been in one. If you’re reading this account hundreds of years in the future, don’t worry, where I worked in my youth is irrelevant to the story.

It was the guy who hired me, Eric, who first said to me the magic words that I’ve said myself countless times since. Sometimes people listen, say “that’s cool” and never think about it again. Sometimes people flat out dismiss you. But sometimes, and it’s rare, something incredible happens.

“What if I told you there was a way that you could get higher than you’ve ever been, every day, for free, with no physical ramifications and no adverse affects to your social life?”

Not all of that, it would turn out, was true. But, needless to say, I was in.

Eric explained the dynamics of immersion with a simple example that I could instantly relate to.

“Have you ever tried to punch something or someone in a dream and it feels like your fist is going through water or moving in slow motion?”

I had. You have.

“It’s because of muscle memory. When you’re asleep, your arms and legs are usually tied up in blankets, or under other parts of your body. So when your synapses fire and your limbs move, they meet resistance and you’re unable to control your body’s physics in the dreamspace because your brain interprets that you shouldn’t be able to.” Eric said.

I kind of understood.

“Ever see a sleeping dog appear to be running, and hear an older person say ‘oh, he must be chasin’ rabbits’?”

That I understood completely.

***

I wasn’t the best at setting goals. I knew that I wanted to do something productive with my life; I just didn’t know what that was or how to get there. One of the things I feel like my upbringing lacked was clear instruction on how to move through the various stages of adulthood. I think it’s because the finish line has changed so much in America in the last fifty years.

When I was growing up every adult said the same thing. “You have to go to college if you want to get a job.” Parents, teachers, guidance counselors, bosses, all of them. You had to go to college.

So, most from my generation went to college. When we got out (2008 for me, but go about five years in any direction and you’ll be in the same situation) there were none of the great jobs we were told would be waiting for us. Loans had to be paid off. Many of us ended up in stations well below our potential.

I didn’t. I actually wound up at an amazing place. Better than the electronics store anyway. This place has a foosball table. It’s a small-scale marketing firm and I’m one of the ad writers. For the most part, I like the people I work with. There is a pretty one and an annoying one. There is a grumpy one and a foolish one. My job is routine enough that I can do it with little to no effort. I use my free time for nothing particularly productive.

In my youth, I wanted to be a professor of English. My major in college was comparative literature. I didn’t really follow through. Drugs got in the way. Drinking got in the way. Sex got in the way. Sleep got in the way.

Procrastination, which had always been a factor in my formative years, turned into something else as I aged. Before it would never affect my progress, and there was even a time when I would have said that I did my best work under pressure. Not any more. Now, simply nothing gets done.

I know I’m not alone. Some people deal with it by getting married and having children. By forcing themselves to have goals and responsibilities, they quell the voices in the back of their head that all of us hear. The ones that remind us that none of this really matters, and that we’re just ticking off the days until it ceases to matter with finality.

It’s best not to think this way. Actually, what I mean is that it’s best not to let anyone know that you think this way. They’ll think you’re crazy. They’ll think you’re depressed.

How dare we squander this gift we were given, right?

-Michael Thorn, August 19th, 2011, Afternoon

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IV

Insomnia was a large part of it. It’s going to be mentioned a lot. There were many, many nights when I skipped sleep entirely. My record was seventy-eight hours without rest. On the one hand, I feel like I’ve lived twice as much as the average person has in the same amount of time, but on the other I think I know why my hair is almost half grey at the age of twenty-six. An acceptable price to pay.

There were some stretches when the chemistry of my body astounded me. I recall dozens of unique instances when I had to get rest and wake up early in the morning and my body simply wouldn’t let me. Pills were taken. Incredible amounts of pills. Sometimes they may as well have been chocolate-covered espresso beans for all the good they did. When my mind was active, there was simply no chance of my body falling to sleep.

It isn’t always unproductive. Most of what you’re reading here was penned at 4 am. Sometimes it’s miserable, lying in bed desperately trying to lose consciousness. Doing nothing more than spinning around in the sheets. Trying to find the right spot. It’s a small penance for some of the great dreams I’ve had, and there’s something to be said for smoking a cigarette by streetlight when the roads are empty and the wind is calm.

Eric often talked about humanity in its infancy, when we would have needed to work in groups and hunt and gather to survive. In our earliest of scenarios, there would have had to be a person or a group of people assigned to tend the fire throughout the night. In order to keep everyone warm and predators at bay, the flames would have to blaze without interruption. Someone must have stayed up. There must be those of us predisposed to being awake in the hours usually reserved for sleep, as it has always been instrumental to our survival.

Eric explained this concept to me as it related to the lucid dreaming lifestyle, saying that our ability to control ourselves and consciously act in our dream state is simply an extension of our desire to be active when we’re programmed to be dormant. It also explained the inevitable love/hate relationship people like he and I have with our circadian rhythms.

That isn’t to say that night owls are necessarily always good candidates for lucid dreaming, as the introduction of any routine-changing element into one’s life has the potential to be disruptive. In fact, if you find that you’re more productive in the late hours, when most people are sleeping, there’s probably a reason for that. It’s probably that most people are sleeping. You’re not distracted. You can focus.

In fact, as I would learn with Dorothy, the introduction of my regimen has a tendency to erode the emotional constitution of a person regardless of how ideal of a candidate they may seem. More on that later. The reason I’m making it a point to say this, though, is for anyone who ever makes an attempt to recreate our grand experiment. I am a unique case, so the details of my physiology may be relevant.

The plan is for this history to never be read by anyone, but as these things have a habit of getting out anyway, that’s how I want this to be treated – as an oneirological case study. It started as a dream journal, back when I didn’t have complete control. I thought at the time that I might find patterns in the madness of the dreamspace. I did, but they were my own cognitive repetitions and nothing more. After years of practice I simply dream what I wish on any given night, and the waking hours are the ones that need to be recorded lest they be forgotten. Most of the dream records from my early lucid experiences have been removed and even now as I write this I’m reading back on other previous entries and finding them juvenile. Knowing what I know now, it’s fine to remove them. All you really need to follow is the story of my consorts and the device, which I have recorded in great detail and will organize to the best of my ability.

Revisions will no doubt pose a problem. I’m not a perfectionist, by any stretch of the imagination, but stories like this shouldn’t be half-assed. I remember when I was maybe thirteen or so, one of my teachers told us during a lesson that the Bible had been translated and re-translated so many times that it was likely that a lot of the original ideas in it were long gone. The idea of millions of Christians walking around and living their lives by a book that had been commercialized and lost its righteous instructions briefly appalled me. I set to work trying to revise it. I gave up quickly. In the short amount of time since the words escaped the teacher’s voice box, the seed was planted I had realized that the faiths of the world were charades. Churches are cartels. They launder sin. I know this now. But one passage from that revision always stuck with me and is relevant today.

In the book of David, King Nebuchadnezzar says, “Once, I dreamed a dream and now that dream is gone from me.” The King James Version of the Bible reads “3. And the king said unto them, I have dreamed a dream, and my spirit was troubled to know the dream.” Morpheus references this passage in the first sequel to The Matrix. If you’re reading this in the future, The Matrix was a masterpiece of a film made by two brothers (surname: Wachowski). After it was completed, one of the brothers got the sex change operation he had always dreamed of. The following sequels to the movie were cinematic abortions. The sex change operation was obviously one of the reasons, but don’t tell that to Lara (formally Larry) Wachowski. The character of Morpheus’ name sake is also the Greek god of dreams, but his power pales in comparison to that of Athena’s, so that bit is just for trivia’s sake. It is important to note, though, that two of the most influential pieces of fiction in all of history (the Bible, The Matrix) had the opportunity to correct it, and neither did. Lazy scholars. Inattentive wordsmiths.

Anyway, I re-wrote that line in octameter:

Once, I dreamed a beautiful dream,

But now that dream is gone from me.

Fixed. Somehow, when I wrote that line, I knew it was right. Read it aloud. Doesn’t it just sound better? Biblical scholars dead for over a millennium would agree with me. I was and am still sure of it. I am fully aware that in the context of that passage, King Nebuchadnezzar wouldn’t have described his dream as “beautiful”, but my way conveys the same meaning and in fewer words. The rest of my revision aside, that is how that small section of the Bible is supposed to be read. If you ever give it a look (and it’s worth it, just don’t join a giant, globally-accepted cult) substitute my bit for theirs. You’ll find it much more to your liking.

I’ll talk more about religion later. It’s dying in the 21st century anyway and isn’t super important anymore. Most people have wizened up. The important thing to take away now is that I’ve selected my words very carefully and have put this story in the order that I think best communicates the important lesson you are about to learn. It’s not chronological. It doesn’t need to be. You’ll get it. You’re smart. It’s reminiscent of the anachronistic nature of dreaming too so you can put that in your back pocket. Above all, though, you can trust this guide to be an accurate portrayal of everything that has so far come to pass as well of everything that will come to be. This is my pledge. This is truth.

Again, though, I highly recommend that no one ever try anything they read in here. By all logic and concepts of karmic justice, I should most certainly be dead.

-Michael Thorn, September 3rd, 2013, Evening

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V

My best friend in the world, bar none, was Kyle. Kyle had been my partner in crime (literally and figuratively) on a myriad of occasions in our decade and a half of friendship. Working in tandem, we have robbed every single party we have ever been to. If you’ve ever invited Michael and Kyle to a celebration, congratulations, we stole stuff from you. It was probably alcohol, but if you didn’t have anything either of us liked to drink, it was something else of value.

We were smart though, we picked something you wouldn’t miss and you didn’t, so it’s okay to still feel the same way about us (positive).

Kyle, like me, was caught up in the complacency of middle class life and not doing much to dig himself out of it. Most of his excess money went to drugs and alcohol. He was overweight but not fat. He was addicted to video games. In many ways, Kyle was the poster boy for the mid-twenties American male in the early 21st century.

Kyle was also reliable and had the remarkable gift of ingenuity. Nothing in Kyle’s apartment (or mine for that matter) went broken for very long. He had built his own computer and upgraded it himself regularly. His mind was willing, but his spirit was lazy as fuck. He had done the organic lucid dreaming thing before. He enjoyed the concept, but didn’t have the discipline to make it routine the way I did. For him, dreams could only be remembered if the actions he took in them were instinctual and motivated by stress. Several times in Kyle’s life, notably when a girl was involved, he would regale me with horrific tales from his sleep. Acres of bodies on fire. Satellites the size of buildings obliterating cityscapes. His own death.

His problem lay in maintaining memory between the dreamspace and his waking existence. When he was content, his mind simply didn’t care to recall anything. When he was miserable, he replayed every image from his nightmares throughout the day. The device would solve this problem, allowing Kyle to spend more time with his pleasant thoughts. It was simply a matter of control, and at the time Kyle had very little.

I’ve found that most people define themselves by the relationships they cultivate with others. Kyle does. I don’t. After years of successfully being (mostly) self-motivated with the assistance of drugs and alcohol, I’ve come to the realization that life, as we perceive it, is really just a string of responses your body has to its surroundings. You might feel very happy when you’re with your significant other, but you could just as easily feel that way with someone else. Non-believers, worry not, a long time from now, long after you’ve closed this journal and walked away, long after your love has left you and long after you wade through the bog of the single – you will realize that the new feeling of love you’ve found is just the same as the old.

The old love doesn’t go anywhere. It morphs into the sick feeling in your stomach that will basically compound with all of the other former loves and create “who you are” via a depression proxy.

This brings us to Kate. Kate was Kyle’s girlfriend, a mother of one and a slug of a woman. I don’t mean this aesthetically, as Kate was attractive, but one of my favorite stories of her involves her jamming a knife between her apartment door and her door frame so that her young son couldn’t escape and then going to the bar. She wasn’t a bad person, but this is from my perspective and I’m not confident I’m a force for good.

While I had known Kyle since my youth, Kate had only been around for about two years. With that said, I know more about Kate than I do most people and I care about her beyond the fact she is my best friend’s mate. I consider her a friend and I will talk about her at length later, but for now you know all you need to.

“This cunt at work…” Kate begins as she walks into Kyle’s apartment one afternoon. I allow myself to drift off.

Kyle and Kate work at the same local safety supply manufacturer. They’re both salespeople and work in the same office space. It is weird. They sit all day together on the phone selling safety goggles and Kevlar to small businesses, they go on their lunch and cigarette breaks at the same time, and then they go home to one or the other’s apartment most nights. That’s too much time spent together. It’s not healthy at their ages. But, they somehow make it work.

This means that the story Kate is telling is mostly for me, although it’s entirely probable that he wasn’t there when these events transpired and she is addressing both of us. Either way, I’m not paying attention. I’m just nodding and smiling and laughing at appropriate intervals. She’s giving me all of the facial cues I need to seem engaged.

Again, I like Kate, but I rolled the dice that the story she was telling would not be the most interesting thing I’d heard that day. Kyle was doing something similar, but he was also scrolling through his phone while nodding. He could get away with that. I’d be asked if I was listening if I gave my inattentiveness away.

Kate was going to make food later. I could take it or leave it. My body was hungry and to that effect I probably should have been paying more attention to the human who was about to feed me, but my mind was too busy concentrating on itself. Keeping my physical husk alive isn’t really important right now. I am more interested in the nothingness.

***

After dinner we all sat in Kyle’s living room, drinking and smoking. Kate makes some joke about how cuddling is better than sex because it usually lasts longer. Kyle isn’t amused. I’m not really paying attention to their silly relationship chatter. They might as well have been two foreigners from the same country speaking the opposite of English.

I’ve had some “relationships” in the past, if that’s what you want to call them. Unimportant girls. There was a skinny one and a curvaceous one. There was a dull one and one I couldn’t keep up with. They are distant memories now. One thing I’ve always been good at is getting over that sadness. It’s always been very easy to find new mates. I’m tall, fit and handsome, I should probably mention that. I’m just not sure if I ever had any real love to give in the past.

I had said it before her. I love you. It’s actually very easy. Beyond that, it is an indefinable concept and therefore open to interpretation. In my opinion, I was never “in love” before Dorothy. I was infatuated, yes, but I remember for a long time I wasn’t even sure if the time bomb ticking in my upper torso had any other function than to inevitably give up and allow my body to die. That’s not something I look forward to; both my mind and body can agree on that.

Perhaps the reason that our capability of love is associated with the heart (even though that particular organ has nothing to do with affection) is because early medical practitioners thought people died when they simply didn’t care any more. No more love, no more life. If that was the case, the only thing keeping me moving must be the grace of Athena. Egotistical comment. No hero am I.

It’s around 10 pm when Kate goes to bed. She has a tendency of drinking herself into a stupor and acting out until Kyle tells her to go lay down. She does. Now it is just my confidant and I. Together, we are two of the most creative and intelligent people that I am aware exist. Without other distractions we could have moved mountains, made millions, and engineered political upheavals. At least, that’s what we have always thought.

Once Kate had closed the bedroom door we smoked some more pot, drank some more vodka, and watched a horrible movie from the 80s while making snide comments about it in the vein of Mystery Science Theater 3000. “Riffing” is what it’s called. I am way better than Kyle at it. This isn’t a direct result of me having superior wit (which I do), but rather that Kyle has a dad.

When I was little, my father was exceptionally abusive. My mom was smart and got rid of him as soon as it was evident he was unfixable. As a result, I got most of my male influence from Michael Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett. While I’m grateful to them for the company they unknowingly provided and the vicious tongue I have maintained after years of practice, there is also reason to believe it has skewed my worldview.

I don’t like most people. I don’t like most places. I don’t like most things. Seriously. Name a noun, and I’m sure I have something negative to say about it.

Another thing Kyle and I have in common is that we don’t endear ourselves to the productions of society. So rare it was for us to find something that we collectively believed truly deserved the time and attention of brilliant intellects such as ours.

Kyle fell asleep on the couch. I must have dozed too because I didn’t realize it until he was snoring. I quietly let myself out of his apartment. Brilliant intellects indeed.

-Michael Thorn, September 4th, 2013, Morning

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VI

In the war between mind and body, the mind’s arsenal is formidable to say the least. Nightmares, night terrors, panic attacks… All manifestations of nothing but your own insecurities and doubts, but able to cripple you in an instant none-the-less. In an organic lucid dream state, it’s easy to wake yourself up. You simply spread your arms, scream as loud as you can, and fall backward. Try it. You’ll wake up with a start, but you’ll wake up. Things aren’t so simple when you’re already conscious, or when you’re locked in the device.

Awake or asleep, weakness is weakness. The ability to laugh at it has proven to be one of my most useful qualities. Physical weaknesses are easier to overcome. Mental weaknesses create additional problems as they’re allowed to fester. My opinions often prove wildly unpopular with the majority of people, for instance. Weakness. Example: I think bullying makes kids stronger.

When Kyle and I were little we weren’t unpopular, but I was nerdy and he was chubby. We got our fair share of teasing and if anything, I think it made us cleverer. The few scuffles we got into as kids made us tougher. As we got older and started to pick on others ourselves, I honestly felt like we were helping them. They were weak. We were making them stronger.

One particularly gruesome example of this happened on the bus in junior high. I don’t remember anything about the kid other than he had braces and blonde hair and moved away a year or two later. He was sitting behind Kyle, making fun of him for being fat. Kyle was just ignoring him. The kid was a year older than me and two years older than my buddy, but that didn’t stop me from telling him to fuck off. He did not fuck off, and after a few minutes Kyle turned around and told him to stop or he was going to beat the shit out of him. He did not stop, and the next thing I knew Kyguy was on top of him. My friend had easily landed a dozen solid hits before the bus driver pulled him off. When the blonde-haired kid got up blood poured out of his mouth, down his chin and all over the front of his shirt. The insides of his lips had been torn to shreds from being pounded against the sharp metal of his braces.

I thought it was fair. Homeboy warned him. And that kid never made fun of Kyle ever again.

It’s always been my opinion that a little public shaming results in a better person. In the early 21st century, anti-bullying campaigns are everywhere. The opinion of the masses stands in stark contrast to my own. The parents on this planet seem determined to create a generation of non-confrontational solipsists.

As a result, I have to keep my mouth shut whenever this popular topic comes up. I have to practice this same silence when a vast myriad of subjects are discussed. It makes me nervous.

I’ve observed that some people are able to quiet their own anxiety. Kyle and Kate, for instance, have no affinity for it. They are both entirely capable of barreling into a party where they don’t know anyone and engaging unknowns on a personal level without any hesitation. I don’t have this. I have drugs and alcohol.

The thing about me is that I’m exceptionally witty. I’m not bragging, because it’s honestly more of a hindrance than a blessing. The problem is that my brain will trigger funny retorts and unprovoked verbal assaults in short order and sends them immediately to my vocal chords for processing. What I’m getting at is that I don’t think before I speak and it makes for some very awkward moments.

An experience that jumps immediately to mind is a night that Kyle and I spent at the bars in Syracuse. We were both exceptionally inebriated and at least an hour away from home. My recollection is blurry, but Kyle and I had gotten separated and I was talking to some guys outside of a club while smoking a cigarette. One of them started talking about the Iraq War and how horrible it was. I should’ve realized at the time the way he meant it. I started going on about how the government had lied to us about the weapons of mass destruction Hussein had so we could get our hands on their oil. I said some other stuff about the role of the modern military. I might’ve called it “America’s cock”. Stuff civvies think. The kinds of things that piss jarheads off.

I don’t know why. It’s not really their fault. They were following orders and I understand that, but I’m not entirely sure why they’re proud of their role. Don’t get me wrong; if you actually defended America in one of the wars where we were actually in danger, I have the utmost respect for you. WWII vets, I bow in your presence. That is a role that needed to be filled. These young guys, though, come back with a sadly unearned feeling of superiority. The only thing they protected us from was rising gas prices. (If you’re reading this hundreds of years in the future, the goal of the Iraq War was to secure Middle Eastern oil deposits and then gas prices continued to rise consistently anyway. Thus, that was ironic.)

The guy who had started the conversation just stood there with his arms crossed, muscles rippling. I say something about how no one was forcing them to go to war. They made a conscious decision to go fight for greed. “It’s not that simple.” He said. His face was getting redder.

“I’m pretty sure it is that simple. If something’s wrong, you have the ability to not go along with it.” I said.

One of his buddies spoke up now. “You know, you’re allowed to say whatever you want, but it’s because those guys fought to protect that freedom that you’re not picking yourself up off of the street right now.”

Really? Because I’m absolutely positive that my freedom of speech has never been in danger in my entire lifetime. In fact, the US Government itselfconscripted the only freedoms of mine that have changed since GW started that war. The fact that you’re suggesting the most recent war in Iraq even could have even been “lost” in some capacity is laughable. The government wanted a toehold in the Middle East. They lied to the American people and the foolish among us believed them. Then it was just driving a hammer into a nail.” I knew what was going to happen. Drunk Michael often thought himself invincible. Many a night I would suggest that the only way I was going out was with a bomb strapped to my chest.

Sure enough, the guy getting red was one of the very military gentleman recently back from Iraq that I was talking about. He squared up to take a swing at me because, really, how else was he going to solve this problem? Surprisingly, in a moment of drunken clarity, I flicked my lit cigarette with unerring accuracy from my thumb and middle finger right into this gentleman’s face. I didn’t even think about it. A reflex developed on some other plane. Sparks exploded around his head as his friends jumped back, startled. Hadouken. In a second I was gone, weaving throughout the crowded streets of Armory Square back to Kyle’s car. My cell phone was dead, and I waited for at least an hour until he came there in search of me. I didn’t even explain until we were on the thruway. He just saw the look on my face and we got in and left immediately.

I have fewer of these moments now thanks to the aforementioned anxiety, which keeps me from engaging people as much. It’s more of a blessing than a hindrance, really.

Having absolved or at the very least protected myself from falling backward on my sword in crowds, my agoraphobia lent itself to other affects. I didn’thate all other people, but I certainly didn’t envy them either. While I didn’t care for most, I still definitely wanted one for myself.

I wouldn’t say I’m a necessarily lonely person. I’ve had my fair share of the ladyfolk. I also have my close friends, and the folks at my job, and my family… but I’m mostly focused on me. To this end, it would be most beneficial for me to find someone whose main interest was also Michael Thorn. I am well aware that this seems like an unachievable goal. I’m simply not that cool.

I have no interest in trying to be, either. I’m very interested in settling. Eric used to say “never settle” whenever we were talking about girlfriends or dates or one-night-stands. No matter how good you’ve done, Eric told me, the past was irrelevant and you should strive for something better. I also never really saw Eric with any women. He was infinitely knowledgeable on a number of topics, but sadly this wasn’t one of them. With that said, his mantra on the fairer sex may have held some truth.

The law of diminishing returns is especially savage in the beginning of the 21st century. Many of the girls I went to high school with are already married and have children. I am only twenty-four years old. Assuming that as I get older more of the people in my age range are going to have settled in to long-term relationships and life plans, which they certainly will, my chances of finding happiness are always and exponentially diminishing.

It’s a frightening thought, but I am resigned to the whim of serendipity. I also know from experience that most marriages are doomed to fail. Couples just don’t go all-in on one another anymore. Other opportunities are just too desirable and easily attainable. I had cheated on all of my girlfriends. Most of them had cheated on me. My friends were the same way. People I met briefly as well. Complete strangers too. Craigslist is a thing. Infidelity is the way of the world. So, I am not entirely scared of getting older in this respect. Weakness.

The human race has never let me down in its capacity to encourage self-destructive behavior.

-Michael Thorn, August 22nd, 2012, Afternoon

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VII

Henry. Henry was the razor scars on the wrists of society. He epitomized, in every sense, the idea that our civilization has enthusiastically tried to destroy itself in the recent past, subsequently failed and then embarrassingly carried on. I hate Henry, and I’ll do my best to not repeat that sentiment a thousand more times in this – but I’m making no promises.

I hate Henry.

Unfortunately he’s integral to the story, so I’ll start with a compressed background and get through his involvement as quickly as possible where applicable. Kyle has known Henry longer than I have, but I don’t know for how long or how well. I think Kyle might have told me once, but I don’t recall now. Henry’s modus operandi usually involved heroin and alleged sexual assault, which is to say I’ve heard a lot of stories about shady things he’s done at parties from highly reputable sources. He is an absolute piece of shit, but he has access to drugs and that makes him valuable.

Henry works at a locally owned and operated pharmacy. A real mom and pop setup. There was only one pharmacist, an old man, who counted all of his bottles by hand and kept inventory with pen and paper instead of a computer. He was also the owner. He only employed two people. One was a greasy-haired pig of a woman who worked the cash register at the front of the store where convenience items were sold. The other was Henry, his aid.

Henry got the job because the old man was friends with his stepdad. They shot guns together or something. Because the work mainly involved sitting around doing nothing for extended periods of time, a few days a week, on an entirely flexible schedule, Henry excelled at it. He’d work a few days a week, putting away inventory or counting pills out, and he made enough to support his habit. Whether or not the old man knew about his drug addiction, I do not know, but from what I’ve heard the elder apothecary is very absent-minded.

The store was old and didn’t have security cameras. Henry had never stolen anything anyway. The numbers of all the regularly abused barbiturates, the clonidine, the high-risk NSAIDS, etc. were always correct. Henry had also had the job for three years, I was told, and was trusted by the pharmacist.

Outside of his day job, Henry was a drug dealer extraordinaire and could get anything Kyle or I requested. That was his role. In an ideal world, that would have been the end of it, but for whatever reason Kyle insisted on inviting him over to hang out too. I discouraged it, and whenever I asked why, Kyle would just say he was being polite. I like to think Kyle hated him. I know Kate did. They both most certainly do now. But, I digress.

Beyond this I don’t know a lot about Henry, other than that he is a parasite. He’s the kind of guy who will walk into your apartment, pack up a bong just for himself, hit it, exhale, and then say hi to everyone in the room. His sense of entitlement and his lack of tact were abominable and he is easily the worst human being I have ever had the displeasure of acquainting myself with.

hate Henry.

-Michael Thorn, September 6th, 2013, Evening

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VIII

When I was sixteen and working at the electronics store, Eric would make a game out of creating elaborate histories for the customers. Stories that spanned entire lifetimes based on the person’s demeanor and aesthetic qualities. The old woman looking at televisions was a prostitute until the age of forty-five when she opened up her own brothel. The young kid sifting through capacitors was building a bomb with his girlfriend for a violent Valentine’s Day. The twin redheads buying a digital camera were making incestuous pornography. Gruesome yarns.

The patrons never knew what we were snickering about from our ivory tower behind the cash register. They just waited for us to confirm their form of payment was valid and hand them a plastic bag and a slip of paper. Simple exchanges made secretly offensive by the bored minds of two imaginative young males. How desperately we wanted the waking world to reflect the fantastic expanses our minds could conjure.

After we’d cashed them out and the store was silent again, Eric would tell me more about organic lucid dreaming. He taught me the water trick, allowing me to shock my mind to attention while my body was still in a dormant state. He offered insight on properly cycling my circadian rhythms and maximizing my opportunities to become lucid in a dream state. He showed me all of the ways you can force yourself to realize you’re unconscious, and how to escape if things got too intense.

Eric told me things that didn’t work too. He knew about my insomnia. He had a little anecdote for that solution.

“Super easy, dude.” He said. “You just have to tell yourself a story.”

“I try that, and in fact that’s probably the thing that works most often. However, as you’re well aware, a lot of times the thoughts in your head are just too invasive to stave off.” I countered. I had heard this story before. I start to play with a remote control helicopter we demo in the store. It was great for showing kids, who would in turn badger their parents for one, who would in turn give in and we’d get a nice commission. Flight. Easy. Control. Elusive.

“My grandpa used to lay down in his recliner every night after dinner with the TV on,” He started, walking around the helicopter, changing the directions of his hands to delicately manipulate the wind resistance and move it in tandem with me. “And you’d think he was asleep, and you’d go to change the channel…”

Smack. Eric dashes the helicopter to the ground. One of the rotors and the battery pack go flying off behind the counter. Neither of us visibly reacts. “’I’m watching that.’ He’d say, without opening an eye.” Eric recounts as he walks off toward the panes of glass that separate us from the consumer square. “You remember what the point was?”

“He wasn’t watching the TV. The TV was watching him.” I said. I picked up the battery pack. I picked up the rotor. I sat down on the counter to begin reassembly.

“For whatever reason he could never quiet the voices. The faceless people. So, he used the stories on the television to focus on and eventually he just drifted off to sleep.” Eric put his hands against the glass, his nose less than a centimeter from the window.

“I think I’m a better storyteller than TV.” I say.

“That you are.” He says. “I’m going to walk down and get a slice. Do you want one?” He asks.

“Yeah, I haven’t even thought about food today. Thanks.” I say, but he’s already gone.

Flight. Easy. Control. Elusive.

I wake up at 3 am to the first alarm. I turn it off and reset it. I get out of bed. I go to the fridge and find five full glasses of water. I take the first and I throw it in my own face. There’s a towel on the counter. I dry my face and my upper chest and go back to my room. I lay down. I close my eyes.

***

To me, the concept of time is universal. This has been disputed in some scientific circles with varying degrees of success. On the one hand, humans have developed detailed and intricate schedules that maintain the clockwork routine of society. No other species does this. But, animals do modify their behavior based on seasons and day cycles and optimum mating conditions… They must know something of time. It seems it’s so, anyway.

Further, computers can calculate time. We have machines that record it. If something can be quantified, it must be real, right? Not just a human creation? I can understand the counterargument. That we just made it up. That time is nothing more than the spaces between the grains of sand in an hourglass, and all we’ve done is attributed importance to the inevitable effects of gravity. I don’t believe it though. The space between those grains of sand is much too important.

Time interacts with all of us the same way. At some point, early in our development, it is our greatest ally. Slowly, but surely, it becomes our most aggressive foe.

Time works different in dreamspace. You know the feeling. You close your eyes at 7:01, have an epic adventure seeming to span a week’s time, and then open your eyes and it’s 7:16. Conversely, there are nights when you haven’t dreamed at all, and the moment you close your eyes might as well be the same moment you open them, even though half a day has passed.

My biggest criticism of lucid dreaming, and the reason it hadn’t entirely replaced my drug and alcohol intake at the time, was the finite nature of the dream state. It was never enough. Unlike chemical distractions, there was no danger that I saw at the time in dreaming longer.

The problem had two distinct elements. First was my waking life. Even if I wanted to sleep for twelve hours every day, (and believe me, even in my late twenties I don’t see that being difficult) I have a job and other meager responsibilities. I don’t have any kids and I don’t have a girlfriend at the moment, but it’s still impossible to sleep for as long as I would like without sacrificing some aspects of my social life. Kyle would miss me, for instance.

The second issue was my body’s physical limitations. Even after my record seventy-eight hours without sleep, I only slept for about sixteen hours afterward and due to the exhaustion didn’t have dreams or did and wasn’t able to recall them when I awoke. Then the thought occurred to me that there were probably drugs that would allow me to sleep for much longer.

People can be put into comas, so it must be possible. Didn’t Aaron and Abe from Primer use some kind of drug to sleep for days at a time? Kind of? That drugs must exist. If it does, can it be legally obtained or manufactured? The ideas and questions came rapidly a few nights ago, feeding off of each other and multiplying. I was snapped instantly out of any dozed state I might have been in. I unplugged the first and second alarms. I got out of bed. I went to the fridge and found four full glasses of water. I took the first and took a sip. I sat down at my kitchen table and roused my laptop from its sleep state.

I didn’t return to bed for the rest of the night and went to work exhausted. I didn’t get anything done that day, either, as I was completely engulfed in doing research for the project.

The plans are incipient. All systems about to be go. Tomorrow, we test.

-Michael Thorn, September 1st, 2011, Evening

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IX

Let’s talk about sodium thiopental. In the 21st century United States of America, sodium thiopental is the first of the three drugs that are administered during a lethal injection. Its recreational applications don’t exist. The effects aren’t exciting, and no one short of an anesthesiologist would have a use for it.

Who in their right mind would ever want to put themselves in a coma without a legitimate medical reason?

Also incorrectly labeled as “truth serum”, sodium thiopental is a cardiovascular and respiratory depressant. It slows down your heart, fucks with your brain and puts you to sleep. There is no fun part. If you try it you will puke.

Do not try it.

Psychomotor agitation or “emergence agitation” is a common side effect. It’s a form of delirium in which you wake up and perform a series of tasks that are entirely pointless and have no meaning even to you. I once tied and then untied my shoes for 90 minutes straight while Kyle and Kate tried to talk me out of it. I didn’t hear them. I didn’t know I was tying my shoes. Sodium thiopental is dangerous.

I did hours of research before settling on it. The reasons were as follows: 1. It was not on the DEA’s radar and was nowhere to be found in the Controlled Substance Act of the United States. 2. It could be prescribed in the form of Pentothal and therefore ordered to pharmacies. 3. Henry had told Kyle he could get it before, when he thought it was “truth serum”. He just never had.

Again, I trust Henry about as far as I can throw him, but his word is good enough for Kyle and I know Kyle wouldn’t do anything that would put either of us in danger.

When I called my friend and told him I had something big to discuss he was excited. He greeted me at the door, “Thorny! Old buddy! Oh pal!” and a slap on the back. When I summarized the project he was instantly on board. When I told him my plan for the device and that he would get to build it, he got giddy. We both agreed that we wouldn’t tell anyone else about it, Henry was already too much. This meant, and Kyle swore, that he wouldn’t tell Kate.

-Michael Thorn, September 1st, 2012, Evening

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X

I’ve said before that Kate was attractive, but she is actually painfully sexual. I can’t think of a better way to put it. Being my best friend’s girlfriend, I tried not to focus on her as much as possible, but that was a difficult task. Kate was tall, and had rebounded from having a child very well. She wore a lot of makeup to cover up acne scars from a rampant bout with puberty, but her features were pointed and sharp like a Hepburn or Samantha fromBewitched. She had long beautiful hair and piercing green eyes. She was the manifestation of the concept of a MILF and Kyle spared no details when describing their sexual goings on.

From what I’ve gathered, it’s intense.

Her above-average looks and the fact that she was the only female I’d ever seen keep up with Kyle and myself as far as partying goes were where her positive qualities ended. Kate was known to walk into bars, already hammered, and proclaim to the room that she was good at three things: Fucking, sucking dick and fucking.

If that doesn’t give you a good enough picture, there’s the absentee mom bit. Believe me when I say that I have nothing but pity for that child, but on the other hand I’m doing nothing to prevent the neglect. If anything, the argument could be made that I’m facilitating it. I just don’t see it as my concern. I think that bringing a child into the world that you’re going to keep but not care for is just about the worst thing a person could do.

But Kyle loved Kate, so she was part of the team. I don’t mean to give the impression that I didn’t like Kate. I did. And when Dorothy came into the picture I was grateful Kate was around. Make no mistake, though – Kate represented the abominable irresponsibility of my generation. Through her inaction she has allowed others whom she was supposed to protect to suffer. For that I can never forgive her, as we share a similar guilt.

Kyle and I had told Kate about lucid dreaming several times. She had never tried it. It just didn’t appeal to her then. She, like Kyle, was more interested in drinking and drugs. Kyle had at least tried it, though. He understood the draw and had given the concept a chance. Kate just thought it was silly. That wouldn’t always be the case.

Kate had helped me get laid several times. One remarkable example was the party we attended in Amsterdam, NY. New York Mills was just outside of Utica, which was an hour from Amsterdam by car. Kyle and I drove to pick Kate up in Herkimer, which is about halfway there, around 630. We crushed up an Adderall, talked for a bit, and arrived at the venue around 8.

The house looked totally normal from the outside, and the number of cars parked on the street stretched on for so long it didn’t look conspicuous compared to the others. It was an upper-middle class neighborhood, for sure, as was evident by the sizes of the houses and yards. The building we approached was a good fifty meters from the closest adjacent building, and was so well insulated that I didn’t hear the music until we were on the back porch.

We walked into a normal foyer and down normal basement stairs to find a full two-story nightclub. There was an elevated stage with a bluegrass band playing, a full bar complete with bartender and waitresses, and drugs as far as the eye could see. We paid the ten-dollar cover and walked in. Almost instantly women were coming up and touching my sweater – a blue cardigan I wore sometimes to look thoughtful. I soon noticed that the vast majority of the occupants were cute girls, which I later found out was a result of the club being invite only.

Kate knew people, though, and moved throughout the crowd effortlessly. Soon we had drinks, then coke, and then mushroom tea. It felt great. Next, she introduced me to a woman who was a picture of youth and carnal fire at 29. She had a child, and a husband, but that night when she was hula hooping on the dance floor of that underground club she had no flaws.

Upon seeing me she completely forgot about her tethers to her obligations. “I want the young hot one.” She said, hooking her thumbs into the waist of my pants.

“I have grey hair.” I said, almost in disbelief. Being only a few years her junior I hardly thought that the adjective “young” was warranted. But, it got her off, which in turn allowed me to get off, as was my wont.

We fucked in the backseat of Kyle’s car when her husband left the party to get more coke. Oh, he was there. Did I mention that?

I ejaculated in her hair after a huge misfire, which she then washed out by taking handfuls of snow and using them to saturate her matted mane. It was well below freezing outside, but something about the drugs and the sex made her completely ignore any discomfort. When we got back into the club it was much warmer, and she would tell me later that she was grateful for it.

I had sex with her a few more times, going to a hotel in Herkimer to meet her for a few hours on nights she could get away from her family. Eventually her marriage fell apart, and I had something to do with it, but Kate doesn’t talk to her anymore and neither do I so we don’t know a whole lot about it.

Another thing Kate and I have in common is that we don’t hold on to people very closely.

-Michael Thorn, September 4th, 2013, Evening

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XI

Kyle built the first device with some clumsy assistance from me during a single marijuana and vodka-fueled night in autumn. The concept was simple; we would build an isolation chamber and make it as soundproof as possible. At first we simply lined the closet in Kyle’s bedroom with cheap foam, which wouldn’t have looked out of place on the walls of a starving musician’s home studio. Comfort was one of the highest priorities in the early days, before issues like muscle atrophy and mid-coma urination became very real problems. Kyle’s closet was large enough that we could inflate a twin-sized air mattress to about 80% capacity and cover it with a memory foam topper. We bored a hole in the closet door large enough to run wires through. These belonged to an ECG and a CPAP machine to monitor the dreamer’s vital signs and keep them breathing throughout the coma. The entire construction cost less than two hundred dollars.

The maiden voyage of the first devices was a stab in the dark. Kyle and I both wanted to be the first ones to try it out, and it came down to a game of pitch. When it was over, I had won, and excitedly got ready for my first of many vacations.

I was nervous. Mostly because of the drugs involved. I obviously didn’t trust Henry, but Kyle assured me he wasn’t going to pump me full of heroin or anything other than the agreed upon dosage of sodium thiopental. Still, I had never done this before, and there was always a chance, however slim, that something would go wrong and I would die.

At this point, we were so excited about the trip that we hadn’t even thought of a contingency plan. If I did die, Kyle and Henry would be implicated in the death, and whether it was accidental or not, it would reflect poorly on their roles as functioning members of society. I did bring up the possibility before the first trip, and was met with a wall of “It’ll be fine” and “There’s nothing to worry about”. It wasn’t until the side effects began to increase in their efficacy that the contingency plan became an essential element of the project.

The CPAP and ECG machines were tested. Kyle called it “calibration”, but no adjustments needed to be made. A little background on those. CPAP stands for “Continuous Positive Airway Pressure” and consisted of a clear plastic mask that strapped to the face, which connected to an air pump via a ribbed hose. Because sodium thiopental was a respiratory depressant, the CPAP machines would make sure we respire properly throughout the process. ECG (or EKG sometimes) stands for “Electrocardiogram”. This machine consists of a series of electrodes that you attach to various places on your body. These electrodes send information to a machine that interprets the electrical activity of your heart and prints it out. If anyone was ever in danger of cardiac arrest, having a heart attack, or any of the million other things we thought of but weren’t sure if they could or would actually happen – the babysitter would know about it. The sufferer could then be driven to and dropped off at a hospital. Kyle and I had decided a long time ago that if any of us were ever in serious medical danger that either of us could get to the hospital much faster than an ambulance could make it here. So, while not much of a plan, that’s what we had for that scenario.

The rest of the day was spent waiting for Henry, and when he showed up I made him swear up and down that the only thing in the needle he was about to inject me with was sodium thiopental. His word was worth nothing to me, but I had to read him the riot act to calm myself down for some reason. Kyle was going to be there the whole time. I had nothing to worry about.

After twenty minutes of pacing I took my shirt off and lay down in Kyle’s closet. I put the mask over my face and attached the electrodes for the ECG machine with Kyle’s help. Next I begrudgingly gave my arm to Henry who tied a rubber tube around my arm and slid in the needle. Soon he and the tube were gone and I just tried to steady my breathing and relax. My heart was racing at first and the ECG let Kyle know it.

I was lying on my back but I could hear Henry smoking weed over on the couch. I saw Kyle in my peripherals, his head switching from me to the ECG and back, over and over. After what seemed like ten minutes but was only thirty seconds or so, Kyle closed the closet door and my eye caught the last sliver of light before the door shut completely.

For one brief moment the luminous pillar was all I knew. That white ray’s ephemera then gave birth to an abbreviated yet magnificent eternity, my account of which I will now offer.

Michael Thorn, October 6th, 2013, Afternoon

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