I was looking so uncommonly fresh that it startled my mom. She’d never seen me like this. (Red jacket, Hawaiian shirt, hat with a bird on it, sunglasses. Great lighting.)
“Are you going to a party?” she asked. She sounded hopeful, which stung. I was 30 then, living with my rich parents and washing dishes 6 days a week at a sorority in Berkeley. I was surrounded by beautiful, horny girls there, but I looked and felt like shit so I just ogled through a hole in the dishpit and blasted Indestructible Beat of Soweto on my little boombox. What was this, the 80’s?
But things were looking up now. Kappa Kappa Gamma  was closed for the summer, and I was about to hike up the mountain overlooking my parents’ house and do some drugs. On my last day of work, I’d walked down to People’s Park to give the wooks one last styrofoam container of bisque, and they’d given me 4 gel tabs of acid.
None of my friends would do acid with me, due to my penchant for thinking I was a religious prophet and taking my clothes off, but that was fine.
“It’s not really a party” I told my mom.
“Okaaaay” she said. “Don’t forget to change that tire on your car.”
I ascended the mountain on foot, took the acid at the top, right as it was getting dark, and realized suddenly that dark was going to be a major theme of my vision quest.
How? I asked the mountain.
Just…be a creature on the mountain it said.
I inched my way down. Right foot. Pause. Right foot. Pause.
Maybe I should take my clothes off, to get in the zone I thought.
I threw my jacket into a ravine and ripped off my shirt. A bunch of jingly shit fell out of my pockets as I was removing my pants. This will save me the step of rejecting technology and throwing my phone into a creek I thought.
You’re doing it again I scolded myself.
It took me about 8 hours to reassemble my outfit.
As the sun rose, I realized how muddy I was. I’ve turned into a wook I thought. Those wooks gave me drugs to turn me into a wook, and it worked.
It was beautiful out. I hiked to the top of a ridge and looked down at the seaside village where I was raised.
Boy, I hope my mom isn’t doing her morning hike today I thought. But of course she was. My mom’s very good at sticking to her fitness regimen.
“Wow” she said when she saw me. “How was your party?”
“It…wasn’t really a party” I said.
She looked at me funny.
“Ok, bye” I said.
When I got home I ran into my dad, who looked irritated.
“I lost my phone again” I said. “Sorry.”
He handed me a tire iron.
“Go change that tire on your car” he said.
C’est la vie I thought to myself. 


  1. Bud Smith

    Hahaha, this is so perfect! I laughed my ass off. I was also in awe of the gentle but deliberate construction of this story, how smoothly it changed gears and took us on this journey. If I was working at a journal and this piece came in I would publish it, just I would delete these last lines “When I got home I ran into my dad, who looked irritated.
    “I lost my phone again” I said. “Sorry.”
    He handed me a tire iron.
    “Go change that tire on your car” he said.
    C’est la vie I thought to myself. ”

    You should end the piece at: “Ok, bye” I said.

    Oh, and of course, I would have to google ‘wook’ and make sure it’s not anything socially evil and hey hey hey it tuns out it is: A wook is a hippie without any ambition, motivation, or drive other than drugs and image. They’re generally in their twenties, college students (or dropouts) at small-town liberal colleges and dependent on an income other than their own.

    Kinda feel like WOOK is the real title of this piece

  2. Benjamin Niespodziany

    Yes to this one! I love the leap from taking the acid to waking up the next morning. Not making it too trippy or surreal is nice. It stays firmly planted, face down in the concrete. Love Bud’s idea of calling it Wook and stopping at “Ok, bye.” Styrofoam of bisque and gel tabs of acid were both great visuals. I didn’t know acid came in gel form. “You’re doing it again I scolded myself.” I think this line is buried as being one of the most crucial. I’d love to see more elaboration/expansion with this ‘it’.

  3. Teresa Plana

    This made me laugh! The first line is a killer too, really drags you in. I love the matter-of-fact way it’s written. My favorite part is the relationship with his mother. I wonder if you could cut out the dad and make it just about them two?

  4. Jack O'Connell

    I liked it a lot. Brisk. My favorite part is the push and pull between him wanting to take his clothes off and knowing there are some reasons why that’s not a great idea. The back and forth and “you’re doing it again”. That gave me a window into him, scolding himself, not being entirely happy with himself, which made him really human and vulnerable and got me on his side.

  5. Rachel Pollon Williams

    Okay, that was fun. This guy could be so fun to follow around. If you decide to expand it, see him in situations rather than hear about them. I love that he was all dressed up for the occasion (what an outfit!) only to shed it all. Thanks for the smiles!

  6. Bill Merklee

    Yes! Great read. I love the opening, especially that the MC has an appreciation of great lighting. There are so many places to go with this guy — the sorority, his wary friends, his religious proclivities, People’s Park. Absolutely a story cycle here. Agree about ending it five lines earlier.

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