The Control Freak’s Guide to Hallucinating
by Robert Hambling Davis
When your face went wavy and your voice sounded like a hyena’s, you pushed the guidebook across the table, pointed, and said, “Read this.” It was all I could do to focus on the print. “When you think you’re losing your mind,” it said, “that is the time to let go, and your madness will turn into vision.” I read it out loud three times, not so you’d hear me, but so I’d hear myself, the sound of my voice, my tongue and lips moving, bringing me back to my body. “It’s not for your comfort zone,” you said and raised your cup. “To your health!” As you drank, I tasted the Lapsang souchong all the way down to my stomach where goateed opium fiends puffed well-packed hookahs. “Your cup is empty,” you said. “Let me fill it.” As you poured me tea, steam rose in rings through the roof of my immaculate condo and surrounded the moon and stars, turning them into a billion Saturns. “Now read the next sentence,” you said. “Live through all five senses and back them with wonder, your strongest sense of all.” I read it out loud, slowly, and sipped my tea. My tongue burst into talking taste buds telling tales of culinary and erotic delight. You reached over and shut the book. “You don’t need this or me anymore,” you said. “You’re on your own now.” Your face faded and disappeared. “I’ve longed for this moment,” came your voice from where your mouth had been. “I’ve wanted to do this ever since we met. Don’t think I’m coming back.” I watched the rest of your body vanish, from your neck down to your feet. Kapoof, even your clothes! How did you do that? I jumped up, shook the book over my head, and screamed, “Yahhhh! Yahhhh! Yahhhh!” A winged stallion rose under me, lifting me through the roof, toward the stars. When we could fly no higher, I threw the book down and cheered as it landed in the jittery hands of the next control freak afraid of losing his mind.