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Station 9. Dave falls a third time

Wood carving by Susan Hagen, story by Mike Walsh

Dave had gotten to the point where he hated tripping with his roommates, John and Gina. LSD wasn't good for people who were emotionally unstable. Dave had known John since junior high, and they'd always had a good time tripping together, but John and Gina got weird when they tripped, which always bummed Dave out. They were just taking too much acid. They needed to chill.

For instance, one evening the three of them dropped some acid at the quad. They sat on the grass and watched the moon come out and the sky change colors as it got dark. Gina and John started talking about suicide. Dave had heard it all before, so he ignored them. He didn't want to let their whining ruin his high.

Gina went into the library to use the bathroom, but she never came back. Dave and John went to look for her, but they couldn't find her. They wandered about campus for the next hour and a half looking for her. She was suicidal and tripping. It wasn't a good combination.

A feeling of dread settled over Dave and John, and they eventually came to the conclusion that she had done herself in. They speculated on the method she might have used to kill herself and tried to convince themselves that it wasn't their fault. They walked back to the apartment but had no idea what they would do if they found her dead body there.

"I'm not calling the cops if she dusted herself," said John. "I'm too wasted."

They found Gina in the apartment. She was eating cookies and watching television. She had gotten lost and hadn't been able to find them, so she had returned to the apartment.

Dave started yelling at both of them for talking about suicide at the quad. Oddly, both John and Gina sat there laughing at him.

"What are you laughing about?" he asked.

They told him to look in the mirror. He did and immediately saw what they found so funny. A big smile was plastered to his face, and he couldn't make it go away.

"This isn't funny," he said, laughing along with John and Gina.

"Maybe that's what they mean by shitfaced," said John.

John and Dave had moved into the apartment near campus at the start of the fall semester. A few weeks into the semester Dave had started dating Gina, a philosophy major, and she had moved in too.

At first the three of them got along wonderfully and were inseparable. They cooked, went to parties, got high, and collected furniture for the apartment. They had lively philosophical discussions and did wild abstract paintings. But things got bad during the spring semester when Gina and John both became suicidal. Not only that, but they began sleeping together as well.

It had never been any secret to Dave that John and Gina slept together occasionally. It all started when Dave was planning to go home for a weekend. Just before he left, John asked him if it would be okay if he went to bed with Gina. He said he had gotten the impression that she wanted to, especially when they were tripping. Dave didn't like the idea, but they had always shared everything else, and he knew John hadn't gotten laid for a long time. He didn't want to come off as the uptight, jealous boyfriend either, so he said that Gina could make her own decisions.

"Cool," said John. "By the way, could I borrow a ten spot off you for a couple tabs of blotter?"

"For you and Gina? So you can get her in bed this weekend while I'm gone?"

"Well, yeah, I guess," said John. "You just said it was okay, man."

"Just don't use my bed," said Dave as he gave him the money.

Dave couldn't stand being in the apartment anymore. John had dropped out of school and was there almost all the time. Sometimes he went on eating binges, sometimes all he did was exercise, and sometimes he seemed a bit paranoid. He was getting weirder by the day and taking all the drugs he could get his hands on. Gina was almost as bad. Between the two of them, it was almost impossible to study there. Plus, neither John nor Gina had put much money into the common fund lately. It was just too much for Dave. He felt like he was babysitting for two basket cases. Something had to give.

One night he sat down and, in a very deliberate and controlled manner, told them exactly how he felt. No one freaked out, and all three agreed that they couldn't continue with the same living situation. They would have to split up. John and Gina would find different places to live, and Dave would keep the apartment.

"But what about the trip to New York?" John asked.

They had planned a week long trip to New York City during spring break, and they had purchased non-refundable round-trip tickets. They decided to go ahead with the trip. It would be their last chance to spend much time together before going their separate ways.

They had a fine time in New York. They stayed with Gina's brother in his Manhattan apartment and went out to clubs, restaurants, and museums all over the city. On the last night of their vacation, Dave, John, and Gina each dropped two hits of acid and went out. They didn't have a specific destination, so they decided to ride the subways looking for adventure. The trains were like a circus, and they met numerous freaky characters. They were so high and were having so much fun, they stayed on the subways for hours.

They eventually met a guy who volunteered to show them the subterranean world beneath Manhattan for a hit of acid. Dave, John, and Gina were happy to oblige. He led them through a labyrinth of dark, dank passageways. They were amazed to find an entire community of people living underground and had a fine time partying with them, distributing joints and sharing wine.

At 4 a.m. two cops with dogs walked by Dave, John, and Gina on a subway platform. They became paranoid and resurfaced. They went into the first bar they saw and found themselves in the middle of an Elvis party. Elvis imitators sang and swiveled their hips. Middle-aged women screamed. The three of them danced until dawn.

They didn't get back to the apartment until 6 a.m. They climbed up on the roof of the building and watched the sun rise over Manhattan.

"We're not going to be friends anymore, are we?" asked Gina. "I can just feel it. It's over."

"It all just fell away," John added. "What a bummer."

"It was the drugs and sex," said Dave.

"But last night was okay," said Gina.

"Yeah, just like in the beginning, when we first got together," said John.

"It was a real cool time," said Dave.

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