Monday, February 8, 2010

Lost Boy Mountain by Lester B. Morrison

Phone call recorded by Mr. Whiskets to Lester B. Morrison on 1/29/2010.

Whiskets: Les, the tape is rolling. Can you still hear me? I can barely hear you now.

LBM: Yeah, loud and clear. What do you want to know?

Whiskets: OK, so I got your new book in the mail. Is there any background about yourself you want to fill me in on?

LBM: Well, maybe it makes sense... (tape inaudible) ...I dropped out of the University of Rochester in 1991. I was sort of a local pariah in Rochester so I decided to move back to Minnesota. In my spare time I started to write my novel Lost Boy Mountain. I've been working on it for the last 19 years.

Whiskets: Is that how you met Alec? In Minnesota?

LBM: Soth? Yeah, I knew him a long time ago. I was a few years ahead of him in high school. We reconnected when I moved back.

Whiskets: What do you do for work? Are you an artist?

LBM: Not really. When I moved back I desperately needed some work and as I'd had some bio lab experience in college, I figured I might try to land a something at the teaching hospital but unfortunately my sketchy past came back to haunt me.

Whiskets: Sketchy past?

LBM: In college I designed an experiment that proposed to attenuate a certain strain of bacteria using gibberellin, a plant growth hormone. I didn't know much about the biochemistry, but I figured that, bacteria being simple plants, this stuff might do weird things to other organisms. It sure grew big fuckin' watermelons! Only problem was, I picked an organism called Pasturella Avicida for my test case - its common name is fowl cholera but I didn't know that. If it had gotten loose, it could easily have wasted all of Rochester's bird populace. Thanks to the superior wisdom of the lab director, that didn't happen, but for a long time afterwards, every time I'd see a dead bird I'd weep like a newborn. I did manage to smuggle out five grams of pharmaceutically pure gibberelic acid. I guess I could have grown some killer tomatoes, but I finally lost the stuff. Message to self: Check pockets before doing laundry.

Whiskets: Can you repeat why you dropped out of college? I think the tape didn't record that.

LBM: In my sophomore year I started doing psychedelics in a rather serious way. Some friends got hold of a bunch of Sandoz tabs. Sandoz was the only pharmaceutical outfit ever to produce pure lysergic acid diethylamide-25 and ergotamine in a form that looked like Pop-Rocks. Ergotamine comes from a fungal rust that grows on certain cereal grains. In high doses can cause vascular stasis, thrombosis and gangrene. That's how my buddy Ben lost his foot and resulted in me having extreme panic attacks that forced me to drop out of school. Well, that and the foul cholera episode. When it isn't turning you into a leper, the ergotamine slots so perfectly into the complex serotonin metabolism of the primate cortex. Brings about some random stochastic happenstance, some entropic slippage where - although you have the taste of cat piss in your mouth - you also find yourself trying to poke out the eyes of god. The morning after my first trip, I finally understood colors.

Whiskets: Ergotamine Pop Rocks?

LBM:Yeah, that shit's crazy, I haven't touched it after Ben lost his foot. Last year I got my hands on an entire pint of liquid LSD. This was the stuff that freaks in California were using to make blotter acid back in the 60s. But I had to be different, blotter acid and tie-dye isn't my speed. I decided to bottle the stuff mixed with dimethyl sulfoxide. That way, just touching will start you on the way to squeegeeing your third eye. I decided to make some quick cash so I crafted my own burette out of the tube of a Bic pen and marked up graduations up the side indicating how much liquid is in the thing. I attached a stopcock arrangement at the bottom so I could portion out small quantities into these tiny amber bottles.

Whiskets: You were selling liquid LSD mixed with DMSO?

LBM: It was one of those things that seemed like a good idea at the time. But damn, it was painstaking work filling those hundreds of tiny bottles. Turn the stopcock just a little, drizzle one full, cap it, next. There did get to be a rhythm to it after a while. But nothing is perfect because each time, a little bit would dribble down the side of the vial, and pretty soon my fingers were drenched. I couldn't wipe it off - this stuff was precious - so I just let it build up into a sticky goo, eventually it completely covered my hands. With the DMSO mixed in, I was tripping pretty much 24 hours a day.

Skin is porous you know. It actually breathes, which is why you will die if you paint yourself all over. I wasn't dying exactly, but my hands were starting to breathe. And I mean like, BREATHING. It was fascinating just watching them, but I had a hundred vials left to fill and I needed all my concentration. Without it, I knew there was a high probability I'd be counting the molecules in the tabletop inside of a couple minutes. But oh man, it was getting difficult. Little peripheral flashes at first, you know? Those darters you get? And then there was that optic nerve thing. I could close my eyes, sort of bear down on the muscles behind my forehead and an electric purple Major Fifth chord would arc across the inside of my skull.

I got nearly all the bottles filled before I started floating out of my body. The tension was incredible. Like before a storm. Big thunderheads rolling in, the temperature is dropping and the wind comes up, turning the leaves over the way it does, rustling through your hair and clothes. I couldn't stand it any longer. I licked my hands all over, drank what was left in the burette, then knocked back a couple vials just to make sure I'd be good and dosed. I still have super-power acid night vision, cognitive invisibility and... (phone disconnects) (tape ends)

Editor's note: Lester's book Lost Boy Mountain comes in a baggie filled with what looks like floor sweepings. I do not advise you handle it for prolonged periods of time.