tripping on a hallucinogen, a scared runner hides behind tree to get away from running stick people

#136 Inspiration

P.S.
Doug, from Crusted Salt #1, has returned. He seems to have a tough go of it in trail races. Someone is always after him. Stick people seem much worse than those who worship feet. The whole no-face thing is a bit too creepy.

I wonder if there are runners who race while under the influence of an hallucinogenic drug. There's always the possibility of enhanced performance, like in the case of major-league pitcher, Doc Ellis, pitching a no-hitter while on LSD in 1970. There is a greater possibility of just wandering off the course, because the woods just look so pretty, or because a leprechaun has invited you for a beer at the Psilocybic Cafe behind that that freaking huge redwood tree with the old man's face.

It would take shamanic focus to remember that you're even suppose to be racing. It's also very likely that the idea of running a race will become meaningless and the following trip unfolds:

You sit on a rock and try to get passing runners to understand that there really is nowhere to go, and no such thing as time—so trying to run no place fast is just plain silly. Slogans such as "keep going, "never stop", and "only losers quit" pass through your mind and are seen as infiltrations into a pure reality from an industrialized nation hellbent on production. You start asking runners to stop and quit, because they're only being controlled by the kings and queens of industry. Then you see the fear in their faces, because you're not behaving like a good, sane member of the ultrarunner community. You feel isolated and believe that the cosmic situation of being alone in your perceptions and experience is the result of a banishment by God—one that you can't remember having happened.

The beautiful forest turns ugly, and you want to escape. You take off down the trail—the wrong way—trying to get back to where you started. Then you realize a starting line is an arbitrary construction, and that the real start was your birth. You get hung up on what existed before your birth. How could there be non-existence? How could you emerge out of nothingness into consciousness? Your mind starts to loop on the thought of a complete and utter void. You now live in an insane universe.

Luckily, you bump into an old acid-head who turned on, tuned in, and dropped bathing habits during The Summer Of Love in 1967 (and later went on to be a successful composter and ultrarunner). She sees you're on a bummer trip and sits you down and tells you to focus on a flower growing beside the trail. She asks you to describe it. Every time your mind wanders back to the loop, she tells you to tell her more about the flower. Soon the world has turned beautiful again. She invites you to journey with her to a place called "The Land Of Finish." A "land" doesn't seem arbitrary at all, so you accept. Before you know it you're in the back of her vintage VW bus, which she calls her "cuddle bus", but should be called her "coital bus." The next day, you drive home, upset that you didn't make a PR, and wishing you can remember where you threw away that meaningless wrist-machine that measures time and distance and cost you hundreds of dollars.

~ End trip ~

If I were an ultrarunner, I'd stick to race-induced hallucinations and the reported high of overcoming the extreme pain and lows in the later stages of the race. As far as I'm concerned, I want to avoid seeing a leprechaun anywhere, anytime. They might look cute, but my experience is that they're a bunch of little bastards. Can't trust 'em as far as you can kick 'em.

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Crusted Salt comics by Jimmy Brunelle
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