Story from Bill Tope


 Positioned on my back, I lay upon the sofa and observed the world around me.   The first thing I saw was that the light fixture in the center of the ceiling had grown longer and was swinging pendulously, making me quite dizzy. The living room walls, it seemed to me, were now breathing, swelling and then contracting in turn.

I thought back blearily to the evening before, when I had, at least in my own mind's eye, been both a sexual athlete and a chaste Don Juan in service to vulnerable--and beautiful but very, very young--women.  To the best of my recollection I had dropped the acid, in the company of some hippy friends I'd net at the bar, at about ten thirty that evening.  They had told me that they always congregated at the same time every night.  They said they liked my company and would return. Then had followed a riotous, puerile bacchanalia with anyone and everyone.  I wondered briefly, blinking, if I were still a virgin in any sense of the word.  What a night!  I shook my head. Curiously, I couldn't remember a thing.  Just wisps and traces of memory.

I felt something, then peered down at my feet, where Baby, my cat, was nibbling on my big toe; it didn't hurt at all, but it was an unusual sensation.   I glanced at the windows at the east end of the house, where the morning sun was just breaking over the horizon, turning my white shades a golden hue.  I wondered if I should get up--I had to go to the bathroom--but that would have required standing.  I weighed the pros and cons of going to the toilet, decided against it.  I looked back down my body to Baby, who was sttill busy with my toe.

The room felt chilly.  I checked my forearms: gooseflesh had blossomed ever the surface of my skin.  I thought I detected a draft.  I looked at the windows again and the curtains were fluttering in a fresh breeze; had I forgotten to close them?  I felt a mild pain in my foot and saw that Baby had bitten clear through the flesh to the bone and was licking the white metatarsal or whatever they're called.  Still no pain, however. I grunted.

I heard footfalls over the carpeted floor and suddenly there was a man in my ;livmg room:  it was my dentist, Dr. Numbnuts.  He grinned down at me and proffered a huge, menacing pair of pliers and a cordless drill, probably a half inch device.

"You missed your appointment this morning," he scolded. "I'm concerned with your teeth and I wanted to make sure  they got the care they needed."  His black mustache twitched furiously. "The dentist is your friend, you know," he insisted.  With a sigh of resignation I opened my mouth in order for him to proceed.  The procedure was long and complicated and loud but again, I felt no pain.  When he had finished, I looked at him questioningly and he said, "Your teeth are fine, Mr. Tubs, but I'm afraid that the gums will have to come out!  I'll be back tomorrow," he added  My eyes must have opened wide, for he said reassuringly, "I'll just transplant your teeth onto your hard and soft palates; you'll never miss your gums!"  I nodded uncertainly. From where I lay I could see into the kitchen and the edge of the refrigerator.  Numbnuts walked briskly into the kitchen, opened the refrigerator door and disappeared inside. Would he have enough air in there? I wondered.  I had plenty of beer in the fridge, so he wouldn't go thirsty.

Baby had by this time consumed fully half of my foot and was developing a little tummy from all she'd eaten.  She had rolled onto her back and was lying there with her paws in the air. 

I sighed. I was really tired.  The dental procedure had exhausted me. Not to mention the wild evening  I'd probably had.  I really needed to pee, but I wondered if my psychedelic experience would go away if I got up off the couch.  No, I decided I couldn't chance it.  I'd paid it no mind before, but the television was on.  On one of the 24/7 news channels the program host was talking.  I edged up onto an elbow and listened intently.

"Alien spaceships have landed in Edgewood, Washington," she announced briskly, referencing a city just outside Seattle.  "When law enforcement personnel investigated the craft, a portal was opened and the police officers were disintegrated by Harpies wielding a powerful space ray!"  Yikes!  I thought.  Harpies! But as I peered at the TV screen, I noticed a certain familiarity.  Those were the same young women who were at my apartment last night, dropping acid. "That's it!" I said aloud.  I was doped up by Harpies from the planet Exxon and now everyone's paying the price.  And  that wasn't really my dentist, Dr. Numbnuts, it was just another Harpy in disguise!  Everybody knew that Harpies were shapeshifters!

On the TV the Harpies seemed unstoppable! At one point they cornered a woman going through a dumpster and collecting cans of stewed tomatoes and they disintegrated her, tomatoes and all.  What if they started making demands of the federal government. The president might be forced to remove LSD from the National Strategic Reserve of Hallucinogens.  I forgot where they were stored, but I knew that Dr. Fauci was in charge of it.  I glanced at the clock: it was nine a.m., just a little over a dozen hours till the Harpies returned to party.  I made up my mind then:  I got up and went to pee.