But woe unto them that were with him, at the valley gate, and at the University of California at Berkeley.
June 20, 1970
LSD became illegal in California in 1966, two years before the real world got so hallucinatory that it became redundant.
Certain elements missed both developments and continued to experiment sporadically with a substance that was becoming increasingly dangerous. It wasn’t just law enforcement. Ever since the cracks had appeared in the sky, there were scattered reports of weird things happening on psychedelics. The reports from peyote users in Mexico almost strained credibility. Even those unpatriotic enough to doubt the Nixon administration’s ever more strident warnings about drug abuse were starting to take notice.
Not the Merry Pranksters, and not Ken Kesey. He lay on the floor of an unfurnished San Francisco apartment, watching the swirling colors gently distort the malleable plane of the ceiling. Beside him, his friend Paul occasionally glanced up from the book he was reading and fulfilled his promised role of trip-sitter. It was pretty boring. Ken had been lying pretty motionless ever since taking the LSD tab, saying little. Still, the formalities needed to be observed.
The colors began to swirl a little brighter. The pulsing fractals started to expand, simultaneously growing out and gathering in.
When he reached the end of the chapter, Paul gave another cursory glance back at Kesey.
His friend was standing upright. No, not standing. Hovering. He was hovering about a foot about the floor. His face was expressionless. His eyes had lost all features, all signs of pupil and iris, and were radiant silver.
“DO NOT BE AFRAID,” said Kesey, but it was not his voice.
“What…what’s going…who…what are…help!”
“DO NOT BE AFRAID,” said Kesey, and it was definitely not his voice. “I AM THE RIGHT HAND OF GOD. I BRING YOU ETERNITY. ALL THE WALLS WILL FALL AROUND YOU.”
Paul tried to stand. He took a second to catch his breath. Kesey – the thing in Kesey’s body – seemed content to let him. He just stood there, hovering.
“W…who are you?” asked Paul.
“KNEEL,” said the thing in Kesey’s body.
“But…who…what are you?”
“KNEEL,” said the thing in Kesey’s body, somewhat more forcefully.
Quivering from head to toe, Paul knelt.