“Anybody can be good in the country. There are no temptations there.” -Oscar Wilde
It’s Wednesday, and I receive a text from my new friends, the gay couple: “Thanks for everything last night. We had so much fun!” “It was my pleasure,” I text back. They’re response? “We’ll have to treat you to dinner sometime. Or maybe some E,” so we make plans for the weekend. Now, I’m not a huge proponent of drugs (although I used to be) and haven’t done much more than smoke pot in the last year. Also, I haven’t ever actually tried ecstasy proper, but I have used its closely-related cousin Molly, which, despite my mixed history with drug use, was wildly beneficial to my mental state, even after the immediate effects wore off. This is a concept a lot of people misunderstand about drugs. There are the active effects and then the residual chemical changes that your body is left with for better or for worse. Besides, E, X, ecstasy, Molly, whatever you want to call it, has roots in psychiatric treatment in which people, who were psychologically crippled by tragic events were able to confront their life’s darkest moments after ingesting the substance.
Saturday night, I arrive right at their apartment just outside Hollywood, greeted by Steve. Steve is the type to try everything at least once and probably already has. He’s extremely nice but also holds a bit of a dark perspective of the world. He’s also made it clear that he finds me attractive on more than one occasion. His–whatever they are–Chase is locked into his computer as usual, working…even though it’s 8 o’clock on a Saturday night. If opposites attract, Steve and Chase are a match made in heaven. Steve is the dark of midnight to Chase’s golden boy day. After a drink, a bowl or two, and an hour of conversation, Chase asks if we want to go to The Abbey, an bar in WeHo. “Why don’t we stay in and take some E, instead,” suggests Steve. “Sure,” I say so enthusiastically that I find I’m surprised by myself. At this point, I should have had a very clear understanding of where the night was going. After all, I’ve been in situations similar to this more than once, but for whatever reason, I’m not thinking about what comes next, and I’m also mentally unprepared. We each take a pill and 40 minutes later, I start having wild sensations in the bottom of my feet as I drag them through my hosts’ jungle carpet. “Are you feeling it?” One of them asks me. “Mmhmm,” I respond. Apparently they weren’t feeling much, so they each took a second pill and offered me one, too. “Is it safe to take another?” I ask. (Since all of my experiences had been with Molly, which is a powder, I didn’t know how much pillage was safe.) “Oh yeah,” they assure me. Then Chase gets a phone call from another gay couple, who I’d met at their apartment on the first night I went out with The Writer. “What are you guys doing?” They ask, and Chase explains. “We want in,” they beg.
The other couple comes over, and I’m more than a little thrown by the presence of our new guests. Being a third wheel makes you a tricycle. Being the fifth wheel makes you a spare tire. Regardless, we take another pill–this time I don’t even give thought to the consequences, and things (re: my memory) start to get very splotchy. The next thing I know, I’m in bed with this new couple, whose names I’ve completely forgotten, and Chase, whose name I’m also struggling to hold on to. At some point, Steve arrives in the room, but to me it seems like he’s suddenly appeared. “You’re the only one still wearing clothes,” he informs me. I look around a little dazed, and I am. This is where things go bad. I strip, apparently take a fourth pill, then I try to start things off with Steve. I notice everyone’s staring at me and also that I can’t keep my mouth open. Also, I’m sweating profusely. Not because I’m overdosing or anything dramatic like that…although I’ve definitely taken too much. Chase informs me I’m having a panic attack. I can’t handle it anymore, so I roll onto my back, hoping this nightmare will stop, but all I hear is laughing. Let’s recap: I’ve taken too much ecstasy and am experiencing a panic attack, completely naked, in front of two complete strangers and two other people I’ve known for less than a month, whose bed sheets I’ve drenched with full-body sweat. And they’re all laughing, presumably at me. That’s all I remember from this point on other than some very weird hallucinations (which I didn’t know you could even have from E but I promise, you can–especially if mixed with weed). I’m not even sure what level of consciousness I’m registering in, but I can barely speak (not that I want to), and all I can see are these guys running around in skin-tight Velcro suits. Even though they definitely are not.
I wake up the next day, serotonin depleted, wishing I were dead. You’ll feel better soon, I think. But it only makes me feel worse. Normally, I’d make light of the situation but there’s nothing there. I drive home and decide to read The Writer’s screenplay, which is beautiful and also manages to shatter my self worth on so many different levels. I lay on the couch, thinking about how awful the prior night was, especially the laughter. I don’t move until the following morning. But only because I have to go to work.