A True Story of Ecstasy
Written by Matt Lehtola
After fasting all day and most of the night, Ricky swallows a gray elephant and a pale blue Mitsubishi.
“It's that taste,” he says, and grimaces. Then he takes a long gulp from his Red Bull energy drink, and looks out at the cars on I-95.
In the past, Ricky has ingested a myriad of things, such as green Nike swooshes and double-stacked yellow Batmans, most of which contained MDMA.
MDMA stands for Methylenedioxymethamphetamine, a 29-letter word that is the key ingredient in the often colorfully decorated little tablets known as ecstasy.
Ricky and his friends prefer the term ‘roll,' and within the next few hours they will all be ‘rolling,' enjoying the ecstasy-friendly climate at Space, a huge club in downtown Miami.
But first is the drive from Boca to Miami , which takes about an hour.
Scott, 23, wears a black and white Adidas track suit, and is sitting in the back window seat, commonly known as the ‘right nut.' He is about to eat two Mitsubishis. Before he gulps them down, he sticks his tongue out at me in the rear-view mirror, and I can see the crumbly little pills lying there, like twin kitchen timers set for Broil.
‘Riding bitch' in the middle seat is James, who is in the process of rolling a rather hefty blunt under the bulb of an Itty Bitty Book Light. Next to him and behind me in the ‘left nut' is Antonio, a tall 22-year-old business major.
Back up front, Ricky has put Sublime in the CD player, and the bass begins to thud as “Don't Push” creeps out of the speakers. A cigarette peaks out from behind his left ear.
Having recently shaved his head on a number two setting, Ricky is constantly running his left hand over the short stubble. He nods his head to the music, and the smile on his face is that of a 22-year-old college student who has all his homework finished and a long weekend ahead of him.
He begins telling me about an ecstasy-fueled adventure that he was on a few weeks earlier, along with Antonio, Mikey B, and “this girl Christy and her friend Julie-you don't remember them?”
|Ricky says, “We get back to the car after another crazy-ass night at Space, and the front left tire is flat, and we're all out of our minds, we can't grasp the concept of a flat tire.” Antonio laughs behind me, thumping the back of my bucket seat and exclaiming, “Yo man, I could not believe that shit!”
“Chill man, I'm trying to roll this blunt!” says James, sounding flustered.
Ricky pauses briefly to lower the music, and then he picks up a CD case on the floor by his feet. It happens to be Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band, his favorite Beatles album.
“I need the light James- you almost done?” Ricky says, and James hands him the tiny lamp.
“I heard about this, but I forgot to ask you about it,” says Scott, addressing Ricky with earnest. “What happened?”
Before answering, Ricky takes two gray elephants out of a half-full Tic-Tac container and places them on the CD case, partially covering the faces of John and Ringo. With great care, he grinds them into powder, using the blade of a small pocket-knife procured from the glove compartment.
It appears the Itty Book Light isn't just for reading in bed.
Ricky continues the story, saying that, after the rave, they got back to the car to discover that the left front tire was flat.
Seeing the flat tire, Mikey B said that he could change it, and he made a good start, getting the jack and tire iron out of Ricky's trunk.
“We're all just standing there, watching Mikey B and ‘blowing up' like mad- it seemed like we were in the Twilight Zone,” says Ricky, handing the CD case and lamp to Scott, who balances it carefully on his knee. Using his driver's license, Scott divides the powdery hill into thin lines.
Putting the pocket-knife back into the glove, Ricky warily eyes Scott's handiwork, and then explains that, after jacking up the car and taking off all the lug nuts, Mikey B couldn't get the tire off the car. It was stuck hard.
James snickers. He knows from experience that people in a beleaguered, ecstasy-induced state can't even carry on a coherent conversation, much less change a tire.
This gets a shaky laugh out of Scott, who looks a little beleaguered himself after railing a line of powdered ecstasy through a dollar bill.
“Against my better judgment, Christy and Julie go off somewhere to find help, and we all just sit there, figuring that they'll get lost and we'll never see them again,” says Ricky, watching Antonio and James visit with Sgt. Pepper's. “You know how it is man, after you've eaten four or five rolls you could get lost in your own house. I kept trying to ask Antonio what to do, but we kept forgetting what we were talking about.”
Antonio laughs, and I hear the click of a lighter. Pungent weed smoke invades the climate-controlled atmosphere. James must have finished the blunt.
Accepting Sgt. Pepper's from James, Ricky snorts up the last line of dusted elephant, rubs his nose, and continues the tale, saying that when the girls came back, they were in terrifying company.