This piece is brought to you by Roscoe Myrick of The Portland Timbros. Any illicit references to illegal drug use by Roscoe himself is definitely true and not fabricated in anyway. Everything else is a crapshoot.
Images provided by RedCityImages.com
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My name is Shenanigans, would you like magic mushrooms?
1. Eat this
2. Drink this
3. Take my hand
4. Hold on tight
Welcome to WTFestival. I’ll be your guide. Let me ask you this; How are your booty shaking skills? It’s my birthday. I’m looking for a good booty. Leave the tent.
She takes my hand. Her grip is strong. Her gate is fast. I stumble on the uneven ground. I want to say I have a moment of doubt, but I dont. The music is repetitive. It sounds discordant at first, then slowly eases into rhythm. Shenanigans wants to dance. I’m nervous.
Don’t make me regret you. Get out here.
I follow. She provides a soft hand, a reassuring smile. I won’t catch her eyes again until we leave the stage. Her hips seem to be made to dip just before the bridge drops. Did she miss it? Is she telling you she knows what’s coming? I try to keep up. Something is hazing my mental.
Sweat surfaces. My mind is a looped reflection in a jar.
I left something back home.
Obsessive mind thinks about a forgotten travel item that never seems to make onto the check list. Kanye West sample. Okay I’m back in. My urge to move is rising. My body and the beat unite and I feel…impressive. Shenanigans look at me.
Don’t worry. I can feel you. The magic is real.
Permission to be nonsensical. I just awakened my caracas… stop loss… final boss. Chakras! The movement has become ineffable. I think I stop. People are shapes, shapes are people or a person, place or thing but I cannot decide which. Everything is turning up paisleys — I buy a new dress. Stomach is churning. Water. I don’t stop. The suspense is in the *ding* sound. I like it. Then I don’t.
Check in. You look awful. You need water.
I’m relieved she stopped. I thought we might be stuck in the music forever. The shapes of the world return. I begin to panic. I need water. I feel sick.
Bad news. I lost the water.
I got you.
She points to the trailer marker that is just a painted question mark.
That’s where we get water.
The road with no lights leading to a dark forest. Fuck it, let’s push this trip.
Down there is a forest that will soothe. In this forest is serenity, laughter, and… water. You will have to tackle this journey with defiance. Can you do that?
I want to say no. I’m confused. It’s hot. Sweat has drenched my shirt and now it chills my skin with the intermittent breeze. Before I can mutter, she grabs my hand and squeezes uncomfortably hard. It upsets me. I go. We get to the top and I can’t see below. I’m losing my sense of control. My heart is bleeding, bleeting, beating. I kindly tell it to stop. I tell the heart that I didn’t mean to say stop altogether but rather to stop bugging me out. Just play it cool.
Breathe. Walk. You aren’t dying. I’m here.
I kneel to the ground. I want to breathe but I can’t. I feel the weight on my chest. What did I forget at home?
You know what is probably down there?
She raises her voice.
It’s probably just some hippy shit! Is that so bad? Is that scary?
The idea of spending the next couple of hours with a girl named Shenanigans walking through a forest that is designed to tease the totter of my sanity is just about the scariest thing I can imagine. But I sense some trust growing. Something I feel for her. I don’t want to let her down. She pushes me. She redirects me. She wants me to be okay. So I am. We sit down at some wooden tea house area. I don’t like it. I’ve got one foot in the experience but I’ve got multiple toes on the line. This spot is theirs, someone’s, anyone’s — just not mine. I’ve got to move. Get me out of here.
We have to find water.
We leave the tea house. It’s so dark.
You better pull yourself together soon because I’m starting to get really fucking high. No pressure.
Oddly, I feel more grounded. I feel needed. We wander in the dark.
I don’t know what that is. I want to be there. I want to be there now.
I don’t know what that is. I want to be there. I want to be there now.
We enter the shower of white ribbon and flickering blue and red lights.
How big is this place? I think it goes on forever. It literally never ends.
The mushrooms are growing. The drone is ever present. Like a heartbeat, you only notice when it stops. In this white ribbon shower nothing else exists.
You should try these. You can get in if you don’t get wet.
I didn’t see Jimmy enter the shower. Jimmy hands me the glasses. They resemble 3-D glasses but do not have the customary red-blue color combination. They delay movement. I’m walking through ghosts.
Epiphany: Ghosts and humans are not natural enemies.
What the fuck? These glasses! Mushrooms?
Shrooms are no gatekeeper. You see it.
I wonder what Jimmy is on.
Why aren’t there more of these glasses here? They should have more glasses here. People need to see this. Why are you the only one with glasses? Is it possible that these glasses aren’t made specifically for this shower? What if it isn’t intentional? What if we — excuse me — what if Jimmy has found this completely by accident? Jimmy, you may have inadvertently found the most mind-blowing combination of things. It has to be intentional. Is that cynical? When did I stop believing in beautiful things? Am I terrible person? I’m a terrible person?
Shenanigans begins to spin with a disturbing speed. She’s a spinning carousel. She’s little individual boxes and she’s gotta keep the force to keep her together. I remember something my mother told me once.
“When’s there is nothing left to say, a hug is the last resort.” – The Moms
I grab and hold her. I keep her together if only for a moment. She looks at me with giant blue and green eyes. I can see her eyelashes framing them equally.
Why do I feel pressure not to let her down? What did I leave at home? I want to say… I love you. I don’t. Shenanigans quietly and calmly grabs my hand, gently this time, and we leave the shower. It looks so small from the outside. Whatever happened in there, it set us right. Her hand in mine is so warm, it’s so right. This hippy shit ain’t so bad.
We are almost there!
I forgot where were meant to be somewhere. Where is that place anyway? Is this a loop? Will we end at the beginning?
Laughter promised calms me. We arrived at the hollowed out bottom of the hill. This is water. We drink for the first time, ever.There is a stage by the name of Late Option Lounge. We arrive just as Cello Joe begins a set. It’s clear why this forest exists. The pounding drone has all but left my mental. Cello Joe is soothing as he strums while beatboxing. He eventually finds a groove and loops it together seamlessly. He sings about love unrequited. His rhythm is like that of a hurdler, a leap, short steps, leap again. Shenanigans. She is asleep. She is delicate. For a moment there isn’t anything else around. Her mouth is slightly ajar leaving my forearm slightly moist. Her hair quietly prancing. It occurs to me that I feel something. Protect this thing. It is your life’s task. I whisper to the timber, you are beautiful.
I knows it.
I don’t know when or how we left the Late Option Lounge. Bodies rejuvenated, the mushrooms remain steady. Time to dance again. We start the long walk in an empty field back to the pulsating stages.
Do you hear barking?
It’s a bear. It’s not moving like a bear. It’s moving like a man, dressed in a bear suit, who has ingested too many hallucinogens. He shrieks then grunts, in that order. Aggressive and fearful
I AM NOTHING BUT A BEAST.
I step slightly in front of Shenanigans. I’m surprised my instincts resemble the patriarchy. I wonder if this is presumptuous. Who am I too assume Shenanigans doesn’t have a heavy left hook? Or some special hold that can bring anyone to their knees? I have none of those things.
BEAR MAN(with tears)
Embarrassed. Nothing but a beast.
You don’t look like a beast to me. You are too gentle. Give me your paw.
He reaches out and grabs her hand.
I can’t feel her. But I can feel you.
He grabs shenanigans tightly. Shenanigans shades a bit dark. She gives me a nod. The bear man reaches his arms into the air. I see his skin turn red; transparent. I see veins working to stress. He brings his arms down with a blow to the earth. It’s painful to see. It’s messy. Shenanigans grabs me. I feel her.
He’s lost. Time to go.
She shuffles her feet quietly. He wails. She clutches me. He seems so far away. So disconnected.
Promise me, never be lost to me. Keep me here. With you.
She clutches my chest. It hurts. Squeeze harder.
I love you.
No. Stop it.
She flickers. It’s awkward for the first time. I want to say something to save it. Back pedal. Anything for her to keep a hold of my heart.
Let’s remix. I know just the place.
It’s light here. The energy is different. It’s not skull shaking nor soothing for the mental. It’s festive. Sangria mixes, skirts twirl and flowers tuck behind ears.
Shenanigans takes off her shoes and mixes her feet in the sand. Movement natural and inviting. She’s not dancing for you though. She’s connecting, body to beat. I robotically repeat movements then I watch her. Exploration time.
Bear. Approach bears with caution.
Your smirk is cute but it ain’t going to feed the bulldog. Come over here.
I glance over at Shenanigans and she’s still kicking up dust. Lady Bear and I move together.
What’s in there?
She points to my chest. I shrug and change the subject. Had bad luck with bears. She sighs.
Frank. Too much.
They came here together.
Frank is sweet. Never makes an empty gesture. His mental teeters when his cup runneth over. How about you? There is depth to you.
WTFuck does that mean? Hide judgment. Who the fuck am I? My favorite character is lady bear who talks in gypsy whispering. I say this all out loud.
Ah, your mental is too strong. You ever want to get the fuck out of there?
All the time. I remember Shenanigans.
Did you come with someone?
My eyes follow the dust toward Shenanigans. It feels like I came with her.
She’s beautiful. Do you think she’ll be there when you return.
Return from what?
This magic isn’t real.
Cynicism Bear? She held my heart.
We have all held hearts. Look at my hand.
Fingers open empty. Shenanigans, she isn’t alone anymore. People all around. I struggle to see her. Excuse me, I have to go. I yell out! She doesn’t respond. Shenanigans! I see her moving through a sea of movement.
I’m here. I’m here.
Jump hugs. My hands fit like a glove into the small of her back. It’s so familiar that its right. The bear. She told me the magic isn’t real. That got me thinking. This entire time I’ve been here I’ve had this feeling that I’m missing something. I thought I left something at home. I realize now I didn’t leave anything home. You have it. You carry it. Shenanigans, I love you. I want to be… with you.
But you said.
This only exists here. Can’t you understand that. It’s always the same in that it will never be the same. We are coming down. It’s over.
There is so much more.
Words aren’t needed for happy endings.
And she was gone.
I packed up and went home. You know what? I’m no different than I was before. My minds not blown and my heart isn’t bitter. I’m just fine.