Inspired by @A but then I realized I'd never written this story down so here.
  1. I was 19 years old and I had just moved out of my fraternity house.
    I didn't like it. It was a fucking mess and it smelled bad and it was really, really loud, and I was drunk and high all the time and couldn't study. And there was no privacy; people would just come in your room without knocking and if you locked the door they'd take it as a challenge and pick the lock or slither in the window.
  2. But I was at the house on a weeknight and someone asked me if I wanted to take mushrooms and I said yes.
    Because I didn't yet value my time or my own volition. And I liked being the kind of person who always said "yes" and "more" and "let's try that."
  3. It was three guys that always hung out together and everyone called them "The Vermin".
    They were really insane. They were always stealing things and breaking things and fucking with people. They were also the three smartest people in the house and they liked me a lot so I liked them back.
  4. So we went to their big shared room.
    It was a giant 5-story Victorian house that had endured decades of amateur carpentry and spilled beer and wrestling and teen frustration.
  5. Their room had a lot of shitty old couches and stolen beer neons and a fourth-hand homemade tiki bar.
  6. And we sat on the couches and ate mushrooms. Like, A LOT.
  7. And they tasted like jock strap and one of the guys said, "How do you like your jock strap?" And I was like ULGH CHEW CHEW CHEW.
  8. And we choked it all down with skunky beer from the house tap and awful laced dry shitty skunk weed.
    We would smoke the worst weed all the time, and it always smelled like a refinery fire with all the awful crap it was laced with.
  9. And as we were sitting there these guys grilled me about why I had moved out.
    Because clearly it was the best place of all time to live.
  10. Luckily another of their friends showed up to put an end to that conversation.
  11. Unluckily he was awful.
  12. He was a football player and he was about 6'8" tall and maybe 275 lb.
    Just gigantic. This giant blond guy with wavy blond hair and a giant nose.
  13. He realized we were all shrooming and he ate some and sat down at the crappy bar.
    He was so big it looked like a little child's toy furniture.
  14. Everyone else was lolling on stinky old-dog couches.
    So he kind of loomed.
  15. His hobby was going to massage parlors.
  16. So he told a bunch of stories about the different sexcapades he'd had at different massage parlors.
  17. They were really lurid and graphic, and since he had a fetish for black women there was a lot of weird racial aspects to it.
  18. And he went on and on and the vermin encouraged him and I was kind of plastered to my grodie couch tripping hard.
    And, of course, brain roiling to stories of beaded curtains and massage oil and sex sex sex.
  19. Finally I couldn't take it any more and I escaped.
    Out by myself into the dark South Berkeley night. Practically ran.
  20. It was February in Berkeley.
    A huge wind storm. There were cherry and plum blossoms everywhere, whipped up off the ground into wild swirls and clouds by the wind.
  21. I walked to my new house.
    It was a nice shared house across from the Julia Morgan Theater. Maybe 8-9 people lived there. I have no idea how I got there.
  22. My room was the closet under the stairs.
    It was tiny but had just enough room for my stuff. I loved it.
  23. I got into bed and turned off the light and looked out the window.
    Yes, the closet had a window. I put on Camper Van Beethoven II & III because it was my favorite album at the time.
  24. There was a plum tree out the window, with showers of petals coming off it in the wind.
  25. My door opened onto the common living room.
  26. As I lay there, my housemates came together in the living room for a house meeting.
    They didn't know I was in my room.
  27. They were a pretty eclectic bunch.
    Some political people. A gaggle of jock girls. A couple of Christians, and a grab bag of others.
  28. But they started talking about what they needed to do to get me out of the house.
  29. Everyone in the group went around giving their impressions of why they didn't want to live in the same house as me any more.
    Mostly it was things like "He doesn't pull his weight" or "I just don't like him."
  30. It was mortifying. I felt awful; all my worst anxieties being articulated by people speaking objectively about my personal failings.
    Without sugar-coating it, since they had no idea I was right through the door listening to every word.
  31. It wasn't until the guy who was really getting kicked out of the house got home that I realized they weren't talking about me.
    They were actually really diplomatic but firm with the guy when they told him. He was really kind of a messed-up kid with really bad acne and he took it without a lot of comment.
  32. Then everyone left, and I lay in the dark thinking about what a bad person I was and how everyone knew it.
    No, the fact that they had been talking about someone else didn't matter.
  33. I watched the flowers come off the tree and thought about how they were like the days of my life.
    Flying off into nothingness, uncounted, making no lasting impression.
  34. I thought about not being alive any more. Nobody would care or mind.
    I had a really stormy relationship with my parents and they'd probably be relieved.
  35. Then I thought about my youngest brother.
    He was 10. He idolized me. He would be inconsolable if I was dead.
  36. So I decided I would probably need to live.
    Haven't thanked my brother for that; probably should some time.
  37. And I lay there and gradually got unshroomed and fell asleep.
    Close to dawn. Not light out yet but it was coming.