AFTER MAKING A BATCH of sugar lumps, I always carefully stashed the little envelope that O'Dwyer's crystal came in. Needless to say I had emptied them carefully, but some tiny particles inevitably remained stuck in the sharp folds of the paper, and I was loath to throw any away. I knew that the minutest amount was enough to send anyone off. The adage among cognisant producers was: 'If you can see it, it is too much.' So how many trips did I still have in that greaseproof paper? Four, five?

One rainy day I told Ilona that I had a few trips of undetermined dosage, to be kept strictly hors commerce, and would she like to try. 'Sure, let's drop some.' As she made herself comfortable by removing some constringent pieces of clothing, like her shoes and bra, I clipped off a corner of the envelope and dropped it in the small Chinese teapot. The matte blue bowl was decorated with white jasmine blossoms. It was a magic teapot. Any tea you brewed in it tasted faintly of that jasmine.

This time I noticed another taste, unlike any tea that I had ever tasted before. Not something overpowering - on the contrary, it was barely noticeable. Yet at the same time it had a strong, unusual presence. Like when you don't see anyone, but are aware that you're no longer alone. I realized that we must have taken a heavy dose.

The symptoms came on in ten minutes. Three minutes later we were on a full blown trip. Another three minutes later Ilona stood throwing up in the wash-stand. In between she was groaning like a bomb victim: 'I'm dying, dying!'

I sat down on the floor and did breathing exercises in an attempt to keep my body under control, but after only two breaths I jumped up and joined Ilona at the wash-stand. Fortunately we had followed the rule and taken the acid on an empty stomach; still, the little bowl soon filled with yellowish sludge that stank like the septic tank of hell.

This, I knew, was bad. The toxicity of acid is very low; there is no known lethal dose and there are few side-effects of any duration. But in literature I had come across only a few cases of nausea (all of them in psychiatric wards, occurring in the first phase, when the body is still fighting the new sensations), and none of subjects actually vomiting. The panicky way that our stomachs had reacted could only mean one thing: we had taken too much. Perhaps more than anyone had ever taken.

We had a brief dip in which we could look at each other and say 'Oh my God.' We even managed to stir most of our stomach contents down the drain. Then we looked at each other again and said nothing, knowing that something fateful was going to happen, but that whatever happened, we were in it together. We quickly undressed, scattering the clothes, then were hit by a massive wave and collapsed on the bed. I felt us melting together like two lumps of warm plastic.

This was the last brain pattern I would register for a long time. After that there was a long period of raging, uninterpreted chaos, as amorphous as the sea. Nothing at all 'meaningful' because all mental processing, even at the most primal level, had collapsed. We drank the tea early in the evening and it wasn't until four in the morning that we regained any sense of ourselves as individual entities, in this case two rabbits sunning in the dunes.

We had turned into bunnies, and would remain bunnies for many hours. I had flashes in which I regretted my loss of sanity, but they did not last long. So what if I had turned insane. If it didn't get worse than this I could live with it. I even looked forward to the clinic, where I would finally be able to live exclusively in my mind.

We were very content in this stage, enjoying the warmth of each other's body, the warm folds of matter (the blanket) surrounding us. Only by eleven the next morning were we at a stage where we had been often enough to feel that we were safe. The kind of level where you get on a medium sized trip. It was highly enjoyable and we made love like rabbits.

By five in the afternoon we were unmistakably entering the aftermath. We could move about the room with full control of our bodies, picked up our clothes, made some bread with honey, put on water for tea...

'Let me rinse out that pot, honey. Or do you wanna go back to the dunes?'

Ilona wriggled her nose at me, and laughed like a goddess, free of fear, master of it all. Her large dark eyes with their hugely dilated pupils were popping with joy.

'You know', I said, 'if we could go back there I would. We had it good there.' She snuggled up to me and made me feel a rabbit all over again. This was happiness. We had survived an extreme adventure and had come out feeling wonderfully strong.


I feel melted together with most of my friends. Certainly with all those whom I tripped with intensely. We have shared ecstasy, we may have shared hell, but mostly we have shared each other. We have seen each other defenceless, stripped of ego, in the nude. We have allowed our souls communion. This, like any extreme experience, creates a bond. The bond has proved to be lasting. Most of my best friends are people I have tripped with. Though sometimes we may not physically be close for years, when we are, we know. We were there together.