32. Everything Went Black

Everything Went Black

Then Achish said to his servants, “Behold, you see the man is mad. Why then have you brought him to me? Do I lack madmen, that you have brought this fellow to behave as a madman in my presence? Shall this fellow come into my house?”

1 Samuel‬ ‭21:14-15‬ 

Austin’s world collapsed. He spoke at Cameron’s funeral. With tears he remembered the best friend he’d lost as quickly as he gained. There was nothing left but to numb the pain as the harrowing floodgates of guilt and grief burst. The weed and alcohol consumption intensified. Though he didn’t know this at the time, marijuana can induce psychosis in a small segment of the population. He was amongst one of the lucky few.1 

On one particularly bad day, when Austin’s mental stability deteriorated to all time lows, he took one, or perhaps ten too many hits of a joint. At some point in the night, grandiosity possessed him, filling Austin with a sense of importance unlike any other. 

In his delusion, he believed he was endowed with the sole purpose of benevolently ushering in the end of the age, as if he alone could undo the rottenness of humanity’s desecration and single-handedly unite heaven and earth. The drugged out hippy friends didn’t help. These naively influenced supporters of all whack forms of spirituality and new-age conspiracies only fed into his delusion.  

In his psychosis, Austin believed that technology was the scourge of mankind, leading to our downfall as a human race. In an attempt to save us all from a technological disaster,  he drove to a Taco Bell, removed the spare computer he kept in his trunk and smashed it in the parking lot. His friends found him and drove him back to Paradise.

On the way back during this cold December night, Austin convinced his friends to drop him off at a random location barefoot, only wearing shorts and a puffy jacket. He wandered his way to a vacant gas station to summon the apocalypse and watch it all gloriously unfold. When nothing happened, he continued walking. 

A cop then spotted this strange, barefoot man along the side of the road. “Hey it’s cold out here what are you doing?” he asked.

“Oh, hello officer,” Austin said calmly. “I’m just waiting for the end of the world. How are you doing, sir?”

“Uh, I’m fine. Hey, why don’t you come with me and we can go warm up.”

The policeman brought Austin to a nearby hospital and cuffed him to a gurney where he sat with his hands locked to the bars sitting cross legged in a Zen-like lucidly. “Is he on LSD?” The police officer whispered to the nurse.

Oh, do you mean lysergic acid diethylamide? Austin thought, peacefully attending to their conversation while gazing intently at the cheesy, zoomed-in photos of flowers scattered on the walls.

They must have asked Austin to reveal Nani and Pops’ contact information, because within thirty minutes, they burst through the doors to snatch him up.

“What in the fuck kind of psychedelic shit have you gotten yourself into, Austin?” Pops drilled.

“Hi, Nani and Pops. The world is coming to an end soon, want to watch it with me?” 

After exchanging a perplexed look with each other, they drove him to the psych ward in Chico where he stayed there for a two week observation. 

Austin’s psychosis resolved after a few days when he realized whatever he thought would soon happen clearly wasn’t going to. So, he decided to step off the crazy train. Nani and Pops took him back in in an attempt to restore normalcy.

With his grandiose fantasy proven to be an illusion, Austin moped as a depressed corpse. The guilt of Cameron’s death continued weighing him and the hippie friends that egged on Austin’s trip to the apocalypse now would have nothing to do with him. To make matters worse, dad died around this time too. 

After returning from dad’s funeral, Austin began attending the Christian Missionary Alliance church in Paradise and wound up meeting another man struggling with addiction. Somehow Austin found the one dude in the whole church with similar drug interests. After service and during the week they’d smoke bowls together. When weed proved to be too expensive due to the sheer volume he smoked, Austin transitioned to alcohol, a drug which could numb his disturbed conscience for a fraction of the cost.

For the next few weeks Austin continually got shitfaced to avoid the ever increasing shitstorm culminating around him. When he ran out of money, he snatched some quarters from Pops’ change jar to buy some more 211 Steel Reserve. After drinking who knows how many cans, he decided to drive to Wendy’s. While en route, everything went black.

  1. One of the many articles outlining this phenomenon is an article titled: Cannabis-Induced Psychosis in Teenagers and Young Adults: Risk Factors, Detection, Management. The article can be found here

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