When I was 20 years old I had my own apartment just outside of downtown Colorado Springs. It was a small studio apartment with two rooms. It was an attic converted into a living space, so the ceilings were sloped. I guess this was my first apartment; my mother bought me my first bag of groceries after I moved in.
There were two other apartments in the building. For the most part, this was a pretty reclusive time of my life, so I didn’t have too much contact with any of the other occupants in the building.
In March, the town of Colorado Springs vacated, or least my neighborhood around the college did, as all of the students left town for spring break. This year, I stayed home for the break while all my friends and the others in my building left town. Rather than leaving town, I bought a drum set.
Some musician friends of mine lived in a pretty sketchy apartment building up the street. They both encouraged me to develop my own musical arts. Somehow, they caught wind of a drummer in town that somehow (I never asked for details) was involved in a crystal methane deal that went awry. This drummer had to leave town in a hurry, so I was able to buy his drums for next to nothing. I used my spring break money to purchase the drums.
The good news is that my apartment building was empty. I set up my drums and really explored what I could do. (Clearly with so much speed in his body, the guy a bought the drums from really abused the set – cymbals were broken, heads battered – so it took a little work to get the set up and running.)
Somewhere along the way, I ran into an old friend of mine, a guy named Jason. I met Jason my freshmen year of college. He was wild. Jason tripped acid, liquid LSD, weekly. He dropped out of college of our first year. Crazy thing is that Jason left school to do drugs. Like Burroughs depicts in The Yage Letters, Jason went to Mexico to discover obscure hallucinogens, though he ended up selling pot to tourists.
So anyway, I ran into Jason, and we reconnected. I spent my days drumming and reading Autumn of the Patriarch by Gabrielle Garcia Marquez. Each evening, Jason would stop by my apartment with a bottle of V8 juice, and together we would smoke a joint and drink the juice.
One of these nights, he told me a story. He was staying with a friend of his who also lived in the same sketchy apartment building with the speeding drummer and my musician friends. Jason arrived in Colorado Springs, so he told, ran into the landlord of the apartment (he lived on the ground floor), and took some pills this guy offered him. Jason woke up two days later in bed with this guy, and totally blacked out what happened during those days. He seemed a little worried when he told me the story, yet kept a measured and calm voice.