Last night I imbibed six mescaline capsules, which is three times as many as I had a few weeks ago, thinking it would utterly launch me into the stratosphere. I took them around nine pm and waited for the come up, and it took quite a while . . . nearly two hours by my reckoning, which a random guy on Reddit assured inquiring minds such as my own that this was Totally Normal. With any hallucinogen, no matter what it may be, it’s always a bit of a mystery when it will affect you and in what way, which you might say is one of the many fun parts about the whole thing.

Before downing the cactus capsules I had taken a shower and shaved as though I were going on a date. I wanted to feel clean for the long strange trip. And so as the sacred dust worked its way through my broken tired world weary body, I lay on my couch in my pajamas, my skin still warm and my hair still damp from the shower, with headphones on and an album playing on my TV, which had been recommended to me by my friend Monty. We had listened to this same album on my birthday in New York City when we were cruising through Starlight Central on MDMA I had got some time ago in San Francisco. This particular album was comforting and built up slowly, and I thought that I needed something like that just then.

NEW AGE OF EARTH is the perfect thing to put on when you’re alone and waiting to ascend for a meeting with benevolent Lord Cactus, as I was. By the time I got to Nightdust, the 22-minute long song that caps off the album, I had drunk three cups of tea and about a liter of water, and had done many pull-ups and had stood outside on my balcony looking down at the lighted windows of my neighbors’ cozy little apartments. It was warm outside with a little breeze, and so I figured I ought to suit up and go for a walk through my neighborhood.

I remember the first time I ever did mushrooms, 16 years ago now, my friends and I sat inside a basement listening to music and waiting for whatever was going to happen to happen, and use having absolutely no idea what that might be. And once we started hallucinating, we decided to go outside into the summer night. I remember this intense distinction of Inside World and Outside World. Walking in and out of a house felt like teleporting to a completely different environment with its own unique properties. There was the safety and consistency of Inside World, whereas Outside World felt like an adventure whichever direction you took, and possibly danger too.

And so saying, I knew last night that I had to see Outside World for a while. It was 63 degrees out, but I wore two layers anyway on account of the peyote making me feel slightly cold. I walked through many of the parks in close proximity to my house, and it hit me then how twisted I was. The strangest sensation was that I felt 15 feet tall and among other giants. Mostly everything else had a sort of mushroomy feel, more so than acid. I dug it. . . .

In Kleistpark I saw teenagers huddling together in the grass or beneath old columns, smoking rolled cigarettes and looking at their phones, and music playing from a little speakers. It made me feel vaguely lonely that I didn’t have any sort of group to go to then.

A long time ago now, when my cousin Jack and I drove all the way Los Angeles on a bust writing assignment, we did mushrooms at 2 am on Santa Monica beach, crossing under the pier and the rainbow ferris wheel into Venice Beach, where we lay down on the sand by the shoreline and watched the pink sky and listened to the ocean. Heading back up to Ocean Boulevard, I spotted five or six people sitting around a bonfire in the sand. I approached them and asked how they were doing, and they didn’t treat me strangely at all. We talked for a little while, and then I said good night and walked with Jack to a nearby park where we befriended another group of strangers. You would be surprised how friendly people can be at night, I suspect because to be out that late, it’s usually intentionally. And so Night People are alike in that way.

It’s like the fella said:

I know the night is not the same as the day: that all things are different, that the things of the night cannot be explained in the day, because they do not then exist, and the night can be a dreadful time for lonely people once their loneliness has started.

Back in the Here and Now, I was stoned to the bone on mescaline, and I felt that same sort of night loneliness that I frequently feel when back on planet earth, probably more times than I could possibly count. However, I endeavored to swerve from the nightmare path that leads to the Dark World, which would have taken me all the way down, such was the fragility of my altered mind. I thought instead of how nice a night it was, and how I was excited to eventually end up back in my warm apartment where I could listen to music and watch movies till the sun came up. I passed through the dimly-lit park and through the wrought-iron gate in the direction of home.

Back in my fortified tower in beautiful Schöneberg, I washed my face and brushed my teeth. I saw that my neighbor Isabel had texted me back from earlier, and I asked her if she wanted a gummy. She said yes, and so I went one floor down to give it to her. She invited me inside and said she had to meet her friend at our U-Bahn station, and I asked if I could come along. And so we went back out again and met her friend Lea halfway. She immediately hugged me and offered me a sip of her beer, which of course I took. I ended up hanging out with them in Isabel’s apartment till four AM. They were very sweet to me and it made me feel less lonely.

Eventually I went back upstairs to my starry purple apartment and peeled off my jeans and put on my pajamas again. I made tea and lit incense and lay down on my back on the floor. I wished that I had plants I could water, and thought that the first thing I will do this week is to get plants to put all over my house. I thought also that it was essential I get a lot of cacti, now that we were such good friends. I felt that so strongly that I have no choice but to follow through on this, lest I disappoint almighty Lord Cactus.

Did I, like my friend Monty instructed, become one with cactus? I do not think I have yet glimpsed Cactus Empyrean as Dante and Beatrix did . . .

. . . but I reckon I can advance further to it by adding a few more capsules. For now I have to let my brain reset, such is case with all hallucinogens. And a few weeks from now when I have got low on all the chemicals in me, I will once again dial the number of King Cactus, Lord Castus—my brother, my captain, my king—and kneel at the foot of his spined throne, seeking wisdom. I can’t wait!