Psychedelic Martial Arts Novel 2.0

Amanita Pantherina and the Sleep of the Just

“Hey,” said Greg, as his back slap became a grip that pulled me closer, “I have great news! Jason is coming to China with us.” His head dipped towards me and his voice dropped slightly, “Looks like you’re going to get paid double for this trip!

What about The Silent Saxophone?” I asked.

Greg looked surprised as if I’d asked an obvious question. “Well, he’s going to shoot the whole thing in Beijing now. The script calls for a small cast, and I’m starring in the thing. We’ll just shoot it during our downtime while we’re working on our other project.”

“So I guess you’re going to produce this thing as well?”

Yeah,” said Greg, “It sucks that I’m getting paid in points on the back end though. Increased costs of moving production to China and all.” He sighed, but cheerfully added, “Should be fun though, see you tomorrow!

Succubus Spirit Wife of a Yakut Shaman

Leaving the park, I was conscious of a slight headache, which grew as I contemplated my situation. I couldn’t resist the opportunity to record the enormous disaster that any collaboration between Greg and Jason would inevitably precipitate. Still, there was going to be an awfully long stretch of putting up with these morons before I finally got what I needed from them.

As I left the park, I saw Lydia walking alone on the track that ran along the park’s perimeter. Such are the awkward realities of a small town. You dramatically, perhaps conclusively, part from someone then you see them again the same day. I waved, but she deftly pretended not to see me, and I deftly pretended to be unaffected. Gathering my dignity, I went home to the conciliation of a good night’s sleep.

People like me never feel guilty, so we sleep the sleep of the just.

Unless we don’t.

I went to bed but couldn’t sleep. I was upset about losing my relationship with Lydia and frustrated that Greg avoided my trap. I was also apprehensive about the prospect of recording Greg, Jason, and some number of Lithuanians as they attempted to simultaneously produce two wildly different independent films within the restrictive media environment of the People’s Republic of China. The situation was promising, but there were so many unknown unknowns that my mind kept getting away from me and wasting energy contemplating scenarios.

The threshold question was whether Greg would show up tomorrow as promised. Until I knew what he wanted there was no point in wondering what to do, but my brain just wouldn’t shut up about it. I needed to calm down and I needed a path into Greg’s head, so I decided to poison myself.

My bedroom is simple. I own a folding table, two folding chairs, a rectangle of blankets carefully folded on the floor, and a “guest mattress” up against the wall until I have company. It’s a spartan setup. My only luxury is the power-sucking mini-fridge where I keep my drugs.

I reached into the back of the crisper and pulled out a mason-jar containing the essence of 6 caps of Amanita Pantherina. If I couldn’t sleep, I could at least have a nightmare. Gagging, I downed 300ml of the Gaba-ergic brew that had ushered Greg into insanity. Maybe this trip would tune me into his frequency and help me anticipate his thoughts and keep him under control. I was like a hunter putting on the skin of a wolf.

When Greg confronted the reality of Law school, he panicked. By week two he told me the requirement that he stay in the same city for three years felt like a dog collar. I told him he could escape the pressure if he could “free his mind”, and suggested that a psychedelic trip might be his greatest adventure yet. This is an easy sell to any man in his 20's. With sexual initiation already a memory, psychic initiation seems like a logical step. Sure it’s a bad idea, sure it’s against the rules, but so was sex when you were in high school.

Amanita Muscaria: Not Soma!

When he took the bait, I gave him my copy of Gordon R. Wasson’s “Soma: The Divine Mushroom of Immortality.” This book incited him to eat several dozen amanita mushrooms. I’m pretty sure this is what caused his epilepsy.

Soma is a psychedelic drink which ancient Aryans used to for religious inspiration and as fuel for their conquests. The Vedas say things like:

Drinking Soma makes us immortal! We have seen the light and met with the Gods. What opponent can harm us now? What trap can ensnare an immortal?

It sounds great, but nobody knows what the active ingredient was. Some asshole in the ’50s speculated that Amanita Muscaria was Soma itself, based on the fact that Yakut Shaman use it in their religious rituals. Since the essay was published at a time when these things were hardly studied, the claim was taken at face value and passed into conventional wisdom. Greg bought the mushrooms online which was legal at the time, and tried to reproduce the results he found in the Vedas.

I don’t know what Soma was, but I’m sure it wasn’t Amanita Muscaria. At best the mushroom pushes you into a shadowy parallel universe where you can easily imagine meeting ghosts or ancestral spirits. At worst, it causes brain damage. The decisive factor seems to be how effectively the moisture is removed from the toadstool during the drying process. In its natural state, the mushroom contains ibotenic acid, a neurotoxin which breaks down into the GABA-ergic hallucinogen muscimol during the drying process. A safely dried mushroom has the consistency of a saltine cracker. The batch Greg ordered on eBay seemed a bit squishy. I could easily have said something to him, but I wanted to see what would happen.

By the time he realized he needed his own dehydrator, he’d already developed epilepsy. I convinced him that the hallucinogenic compound in the dry mushrooms was an anti-convulsant, and the logical step would be to fight fire with fire. He spent the next 2.5 years, seizing, wading through shadowy mist nobody else could see, and jumping nervously as shapeless monsters scurried about in his peripheral vision. Eventually, he gave up this self-medication when the mushroom taste became so foul to him his could no longer smell the dried caps without vomiting. Many of the changes to his brain were permanent, however. I think his brain had reduced it’s natural sensitivity to GABA to compensate for all the muscimol, leaving him in a constant state of hyper-alertness bordering on panic. He was a mushroom symbiote, his mind was tuned to the frequency of Amanita Muscaria.

Amanita Pantherina is a more potent cousin of Amanita Muscaria. The potion contained huge amounts of muscimol, probably more than Greg had been able to ingest at any one time. The compound would force my brain into stasis mode, numbing my body and crystallizing my reality into a lucid dream. Half the Jar was more than enough to send me to hell. Expecting something awful took my mind off tomorrows problems. Having purchased my ticket, I prepared to take my ride.

Amanita Pantherina: Still not Soma



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Martial Arts, Law, Science, Philosophy文武双全, body hacking, dyslexia